Sunday, October 22, 2006

More About Asia

Jakarta was awesome! The hospitality of the Indonesian people is unforgettable.
My hosts were Venyci and Michael, owners and directors of Interlude Dance Academy, Brincadeira and El Fuego de la Salsa. It was a thrilling experience to be around so many young talented dancers.

I was welcomed with a gorgeous bouquet of flowers and warm greetings from everyone. I felt totally comfortable the time I was there even during a radio interview at one of the most listened radio stations, (I really wish I could have spoken in the Indonesian language, but fortunately Venyci was able to relay our message about this beloved dance to the non-English speaking listeners)

During the workshops, most of the participants there were beginner belly dancers in Venyci's classes, or dancers of other styles, but they were all eager and serious about learning Oriental Dance (Belly Dance) and other styles of folkloric and Turkish dance. They asked many questions and were interested in trying anything and everything!

In my outings I was constantly escorted by my assigned buddy, Yessy, a lovely talented young dancer/singer/actress, business oriented young lady. She guessed my thoughts and protected me from any hint of disorganization that my result from my jetlag, and prevented me from committing as many cultural faux pas as possible.

"Mr. Sol", the driver assigned to take me anyplace I wished (when there was time and the traffic permitted), was the icon of patience and thoughtfulness.

Then, there were my private lessons with A. Surya and Nyoman in Balinese and Jaipong dances... He, he... Certainly a lesson in coordination, or perhaps a reminder of how we all start at the bottom! Despite my clumsiness, I LOVED those lessons, and was delighted to get a chance to study with these masters, even if just for a couple of lessons.

I enjoyed many of the Jakarta's points of interests, but was very intrigued by our private tour of the Shadow Puppets museum. You have to have been there! For some reason I keep thinking that Kafka would like to have written about an experience like that.

The climatic show, named Culture Blast, was exactly that. The whole program was masterful. Each dance was a joy to watch. The Salsa duet by Michael and Venyci was sublime and delightful. I was the "featured"dancer --you know, the out of town guest instructor thing(out of the continent in this case) and I totally enjoyed performing for that crowd! It was the 5th anniversary of Interlude and I am thankful that they chose me to celebrate with them.

I returned to Hong Kong, after spending yet another night at the KLIA airport (which I know very well now). In Hong Kong I got to hang out with Mey Jen again and explore the mysteries of a Hawaiian Kahiko, and go for a tasty Turkish dinner. Then I got to hang out a lot more with sweet Brandy. I finally got a chance to do a bit of shopping, and we visited a village museum. The experience was much more meaningful because we were joined by her attentive husband who explained and guided me through an offering to Buddha. I will not forget that for a long time.

Actually, I will never forget one minute of this trip.