Giving Thanks

Carrara and her sidekick, Buddha

Fall is a great time to reflect, be gracious and look ahead to the future. It’s also a perfect time to simply be amazed at the beauty around you. Happily, between several trips to my other home in Cocoa Beach (FL) and some long, scenic drives to and from out-of-town shows in Albany and other corners of NY, I’ve spent a lot of time doing just that.

This Fall, I’ve spent almost as much time away as I’ve spent at home. Ever since my boyfriend Stacy moved to Cocoa Beach, I’ve become a pseudo-Floridian. At times, it’s culture shock – especially when you have a craving for good Italian food. Other times, you just go crazy over the beauty of nature in tropical climes. Canoeing in crystal-clear Blue Spring with manatees, turtles and thousands of beautiful fish was one of those magical experiences that makes you pinch yourself to see if you’re dreaming!

The bellydance community in Orlando is very warm, friendly and loads of fun. While I still have a lot of Florida Facebook and Bhuz friends to meet, my friends Jennifer and Zana are always up for sewing, classes and other adventures. I’ve also been lucky enough to take some classes with Suspira and Lacey. And Miami’s amazing workshop scene is a long but doable drive. Only time will tell if I end up relocating, but I am so grateful that I have good bellydance friends to make me feel a little more at home in my “home away from home.”

Back home in CT, I’ve had the pleasure of performing for lots of fabulous and like-minded clients. I did tons of weddings, which are my all-time favorite gigs. Whether or not any of my previous clients realize this, they have each challenged me to become better and better at my craft. It’s not always about MY vision, but about how I can tailor my own performance style around someone else’s good ideas. I am thankful that I have, hands down, the coolest clientele. The people who hire me are smart, savvy, creative, well-traveled, and understand the method behind my madness. This is what makes me love going to work, and what keeps me going even when things get tough.

I have made so many people happy this year. While I miss the big, fat regular paychecks and cushy benefits I used to get in my not-so-distant “past life,” my corporate sales gig didn’t bring friends and family together on milestone birthdays, or build bridges between cultures, or send newlyweds off to the future smiling. In essence, I have redefined my place in the world.

I am also grateful to everyone in my dance life and otherwise who has encouraged me to go forth and win over the entire world by being my bad-ass self. A few of you have reminded me that integrity, values and good character have not gone extinct, even in the cutthroat business of dance. You should know who you are! And I love you all.

Finally, I am thankful for whichever Marist professor possessed me to cram for an exam one fateful night during sophomore year in college and catch Shakira’s performance on Letterman. I didn’t know that anything important was going on at the time, but I signed up for my first belly dance class the next day.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


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