There was a time I kept my (naturally long and strong, baby) nails done and my whole self primped and polished for gigs, both the gigs I had regularly, plus the always last minute work that was a staple of the industry and community I worked in. Had to be ready at all times. It was an amazing life.
Slowly the venues closed, the undercutting and ‘showcases’ mostly ruined the last few spots that paid, and I began to hate the competitiveness of it all as there were more dancers and less opportunities, and I saw the musicians getting older as the dancers got younger, and I could no longer ignore the blatant cultural appropriation and wishtory and dancers who had never set foot outside of a safe white fusion studio suddenly becoming ‘contemporary middle eastern dance artists’ here to “elevate” it all from the oppressed brown people or some such nonsense, and my work became more about making the music and teaching and working in my community than about performing dance.
Earlier today, I looked down at my hands, covered in earth from repotting plants I raised up from seeds, who are ready for bigger pots and even the bigger outside, and laughed. Then I went out and put on some tunes and did a little dance for them, and they danced along in the everpresent wind we have here and we all turned our faces to the sun and shimmied and spun and they didn’t even mind my short nails, dirty hands, and wild hairdo.
Note: This was originally published on my private instagram a month or so ago.