Well 2016 certainly has been a doozie (and I’m not even talking about Prince, David Bowie or the circus of an election year we are having). Our family has spent most of this year trying to get acclimated to new environments such as apartments, studios, communities, etc. And we are slowly getting there. I feel like you never really feel settled after a big move until like five years later. Sigh!  But, as I sit and write this today, we are together, we are healthy, and we making new friends in Atlanta. And, although not nearly as much, we are still dancing! Oh, and Joe continues to amaze me and make me so proud busting his bum at his new job every day. His work ethic is just incredible.

I wanted to let you all know that Babette Soleil is almost fully recovered from her bout with mono. She’s done a great job resting up and all her symptoms are mostly gone at this point, except she still gets that tired, run-down feeling after dancing or walking a lot. So much fun (eye roll). Due to getting herself all sick and exhausted, she’s decided to stay in Atlanta for at least a few more months in order to fully rest up and get a game plan going forward. So, during this time, that means that she won’t be available to teach our Dance du Soleil classes in Columbus every week. However, she will be visiting once a month (yay!) to see her true love and she definitely wants to hold a class while she’s there. She’s planning to schedule visits for the first week of each month so she can perform at Opa too, although this month Mary has been so nice to fill in for her. Thank you Mary!  Please everyone go support Mary and see her show!

As for me- I’m only teaching one class a week right now at a fun dance/ fitness studio down here called Dance it Off. It’s mostly beginners who are more or less interested in the fitness aspect, but they are such a great bunch of students and the studio has welcomed me warmly. The owner is a professional dancer on the theater circuit in Atlanta and teaches a fantastic Broadway inspired fitness class (among many other classes).

As much as I love teaching my class at DIO, I have to admit, I am growing a little ansy teaching only beginner level classes. I have just recently decided that I’m going to seek out a space to rent to begin Dance du Soleil Atlanta. NOT a whole studio, mind you. Just a few hours a week somewhere to focus on the advanced level belly dance and jazz techniques that I have spent the last 18 years developing. And, I’m really going to get serious about marketing myself and Babette to teach more workshops around the country too. On a side note, I’m on a major diet because I have gained a bunch of weight not dancing in the past year. I’m on my way back and I’ll get there. Trying to do it the healthy way this time.

Oh! And maybe the most exciting thing- Babette is competing at the Essence of Bellydance in a couple of weeks in the Oriental/ professional category. EOBD is a big festival sponsored by Atlanta Fusion Bellydance that takes place every September in Atlanta. They bring big names (Raqia Hassan, Sorraiya Zaied and more!) So wish her luck! It will be kind of a big deal for her if she actually wins it 😀

Gosh you guys just have no idea how much I miss all of you and the studio. I hope you’re all doing well. Drop me a line anytime to let me know how you’re doing and what you’re up to.

Much Love and Shimmies to You,

XO

Leyla