After over a year of planning the WildCard BellyDance Intensive in Mexico City has come to its end. There was an earthquake and a volcano erupted, the earth was just as excited as all of the dancers that participated in the event. Reyna, Robin and I showed up sleep deprived and a little jet lagged on Thursday afternoon, June 13th into the bustling airport of Mexico City.
We were welcomed by the zaghareets of Walky and Kika and we knew that we were going to have a great time. Walkyria Ardaat was our workshop host and coordinator and she was amazing! I cannot give enough thanks to Walky, her husband Oso and her tribe of Ghytias as we were welcomed and cared for our entire stay in Mexico City.
We stayed in Coyoacan, a beautiful part of Mexico City. Friday morning we took a stroll down to the Frida Kahalo museum. The museum is the house that she lived in and it was fascinating to walk around and see where her inspirations came from. There is even a photo of Frida doing Basic Egytptain! As we were very interested in trying Pulque, a beverage that is not available in the US, for lunch we were whisked away to a restaurant that specialized in the indigenous foods. We feasted on a variety of foods, but enjoyed the ant eggs, pulque and mescal.
Then it was time to get ready for the evening show. The Friday night gala show was held at a beautiful theater. The house was packed with a very enthusiastic crowd. Walky had hand picked the performers to showcase Improvisational Tribal Style troupes throughout Mexico. I was happily surprised at the diversity of ITS troupes in Mexico. The quality of the dancers throughout the whole show was superb.
The next day, Saturday started the WildCard BellyDance Intensive. The intensive was held in a large, well lit, sunny room that had wooden floors, and much to my delight had mirrors! A great place to teach for 10 hours. Almost 30 dancers attend the intensive and they were incredible. Never have I taught a more talented group of women. They were all thirsty for the knowledge of the dance and were incredibly quick to learn the moves and concepts that we had to offer.
A special thanks to our translator Xiaron Kerr. Not only is she an amazing dancer and ITS inspiration for all of Mexico but her own knowledge of the dance and language helped make sharing our ITS format with the dancers present all that much easier.
Saturday night was the Hafla. Sooo much fun!!!!! The word Hafla means party and the Ghytias Tribe did just that. Everyone dressed up in skirts and choli’s brought tequila, snacks and finger cymbals. Music played all night long and whenever the mood struck ( which was often) dancers would hit the floor and start dancing ITS. It was beautiful to be a part of and I felt so honored when the new moves that we had taught that day flowed into the vocabulary of the dancers.
That night while we were tucked into our beds a 5.8 earthquake happened. We awoke to the shaking of our beds and an immediate check in from our host Walky making sure everyone was okay. We joked that the earth was shimmying from all the dancing. The next day Sunday brought about the end of our intensive. All the dancers loved the scimitar and floor-work workshop and my thighs were burning by the end of the day from all of the laybacks.
Sunday night we were whisked off to a beautiful resort in Tepoztlan. Where we drank tequila into the wee hours of the morning talking about troupes and tribal and the in and outs of the business of belly dance. Monday was all about the pool and hot tub and drinking micheladas bought to us by our cabana boy. I so miss micheladas! I have been trying to make them at home and its just not the same.
Tuesday we were off to Teotihuacan, the pyramids. Lots of sunscreen, plenty of water and an epic hat and I was ready to go. The pyramids are amazing and you can actually walk up to the top of the sun pyramid and part of the way up the moon pyramid.
Walky had the great idea of dancing ITS on the pyramids….check out the YouTube video. It only captures a little bit of the joy we were all feeling while dancing together on top of these ancient and powerful creations.
After walking for so long we were all so hungry and went to eat lunch in a beautiful restaurant that is in a cave. Once we discovered that another indigenous food …worms aka grubs …was on the menu we had to try it! The chef came out to our table and prepared the worms right in front of us. Sautéing them in butter, with onions and peppers. When I say it was a once in a life time experience, that is exactly what I mean.
That night Walky had us scheduled to do an interview with Kika so that we could share WildCard BellyDance with all of Mexico and the surrounding Latin countries. The interview was fun and I am looking forward to seeing it on YouTube. That was also the night the volcano erupted. Not that we even noticed. It happened about 40 miles away and we didn’t even see any ash in the night sky. The only reason I knew it had happened was because of the frantic texts from my husband Dan. Wednesday was a last mad dash for shopping before we packed and rushed off to catch our flight back home.
There is so much beauty in Mexico. So many people to miss. Thank you so much to Walky Ardaat of Tribe Ghytias for having such a strong vision to bring WildCard BellyDance to Mexico City. She is an amazing organizer and we felt cared for the entire time we were there. Thank you to her husband Oso, for being an amazing belly dance husband. Thank you to our marvelous translators Xiaron Kerr and Kika Villagra for helping us to communicate. A special thanks to the Ghytias Tribe, Dafne, Velkana, Adriana, Indriuxx and Miriam, for laughing with us, drinking much tequila, pulque, mescal and micheladas, dancing with us and opening your hearts and allowing us to join you in this incredible journey of dance and sisterhood.