Seemingly I have a professional photographer coming to shoot me while I am teaching and going around Shanghai. It's for the PR for the next time I come here. That is good news... There is going to be a next time! Guess they must be enjoying my workshops then. I thought that they are, but you never know for sure until you know if they want you back again or not! I know I haven't written much about the actual teaching side of things yet... But I will... In meantime you have to out up with reading all about my hectic social life!!!
In Wednesday this week I had a 'disco nap' after class, then went to the Koala Bar to meet with its owner, a lovely student of mine, Jojo, and Mei. Jojo has an Australian husband, hence the bar's name and she is a lot of fun. Those cocktails have to be tried to be believed! I won't be trying them again the night before a class! Whilst there I got chatting with a drag queen, as one does. He is a history teacher in university during the day and a fashion designer in his spare time when he is not strutting the boards of the local gay club! It was a scream, well it would be, wouldn't it?!
We decided that a quiet drink in a bar was not going to be enough for a night such as this, so we went to Geisha; A chic club in town where all the ladies had free entrance and free champagne. I danced solidly from the time we arrived until we left. It was a great release. One club wasn't enough, oh no. After Geisha, we headed over to Hollywood, another club where all the rich and famous go, seemingly. And I don't think I sat down there once either. I got home by 6am! So a minimum of 6 hours dancing. I loved every second of it.
Teaching yesterday afterwards however was tough. Very tough. However, strangely enough it ended up being one of my favourite classes that I have taught yet. The students are really opening up and relaxing with me and with each other now. The atmosphere is very loving and supportive and I am enjoying getting to know these interesting and talented people. Many of the students are in the fitness industry, running gyms and yoga classes and the like. Two of the girls also have danced traditional Chinese dance to a high level. They have promised me they will dance for me after the workshop at some point....! Looking forward to that.
At the end of the workshop I told them my story about how I got into Bellydance since they had shared their stories with everyone earlier in the week over a group lunch. They had so many questions about Egyptian culture and how the dance in particular fits into that. One man was disappointed because his dream was to be a professional bellydancer in Egypt and I had to break the news to him that it is not possible to get a work visa as a man as a bellydancer, only for women. But he consoled somewhat when I told him he could maybe be a folklorique dancer and would certainly benefit from spending some time in Cairo to learn from the dancers there and to understand the music and culture more. He is a stunning dancer and hopes to visit Egypt soon.
After class I went for a Chinese massage. They massage you with more pressure than I have ever been massaged before (one shoulder is swollen this morning!) and then they put this hot steam thing over you which puts Chinese medicine onto your body. The massage is to remove the bad energy and the medicine is to replace it with good energy. Overall a very good experience and one I would, despite the shoulder, happily do again before I leave. Talking with the girl who had pulverised me afterwards, it turns out that she had intentionally used more pressure on me that she ever would normally because I was a foreigner and there is a belief that foreigners have more bad energy than Chinese!! I didn't really know what to make of that, but I know that if I go back she will take it easy on me, or so she promised!
Right, it's 10.30am here now and I have a melaya lef class to teach...