We got up fairly early this morning with banging on the door. It was the local priest. He invited us to see his church in Bkeshtay. He is a relative somehow I guess. His name is Nicholas Karam. We have to be polite even though we did not get in till the wee hours of the morning. This is our last day in Lebanon. The church is across the street from Joseph Saliby’s house. The church is beautiful. The old one was bombed I the last war. They are still restoring the ceilings in the sacristy. Walid talked to him about us getting re-married and renewing our vows during our next trip. He agreed. Joseph Saliby will maybe stand up for Walid. Maya will do the make-up. A new dress purchased from Leyla’s Boutique. I would like Lucy to stand up for me. What a dream. We have always talked about getting married in Lebanon.
After visiting the church we went to the Saliby’s for breakfast. Maya gave me beautiful Lebanese make-up and manicure. I will go home looking like a queen. I feel like a queen. Next trip we will know our way around Lebanon so much better. Everyone has been so wonderful. We will miss everyone.
The highlight of the day was a girl herding goats down the street in front of the church and by the Saliby’s house. It was magical. The scene reminded me of the sheep in Wales back in 2005. Unfortunately I did not have a camera with me and got no photos.
In the late afternoon we went back to Sitti Melecki’s house and packed our suitcases for the flight home. We had to get it done before the power went off again. We just made it. Back to Saliby’s for a snack and coffee. Then back to the house for a short nap. We are totally beat and we leave at 4am.
Talal picked us up at 10:30pm with Neena in the car. We went to a club near the Rouchie. The dancer was better than the one yesterday. But the music was not that good and too loud. The dancer’s show was nice. She was a good dancer. Place was full of people celebrating the Eid. What a great way to end our trip. I am feeling tired and sad. The trip of my dreams is over and there is still so much more to do and see in Lebanon.
Today is the first day of classes. 1st class 9:45am . Not sure what to take yet. Time to get ready though and walk to the theater where classes are being held.
1. Mounir Malaeb – Modern Lebanese Oriental Caracalla Style. Very modern. Not my cup of tea very much Margo’s. Reminds me of modern classes I took years back. Even the music is ultra modern. Excellent teacher. Started with basic chasses and arabesques. Then a lot of floor work great class if you like modern. He is the choreographer for El Bosta. Quite a star.
2. Mounir Malaeb -Debke Really interesting. The debke style I see now choreographed and on TV. Taught a choreographed dance. Traditional mixed with oriental but looking folkloric. Staging is what makes it. The piece he taught was choreographed in 1985. His choreography. Might even be in El Bosta. Will have to check. Very strong and wonderful. Reminiscent of the Bobby days when some of Caracalla were in NY. A very energetic class. Had it in the old days but not now. I enjoyed watching this class . Really enjoy watching the younger girls dance. Guess I have found my place for the week. 2 wonderful classes. 2 more to go. Mounir wonderful. Have his booklet. Very interesting career. Wonderful experience to be engrossed in the dance world again. Feel like I have aged so much in a year. Maybe because I have let it happen. I did not have a problem following Yousry or Anwar last year. Do I have to accept the fact that I am nor 25 any more? But I still love the dance world. Cannot believe I am sitting now in Dunkin Donuts is a sidewalk cafe and we are having lunch in Beirut. City does not feel strange at all.The weather is beautiful around 80 degrees.
3. Amani – A Kathak based fusion oriental piece. Beautifully done. Saw shades of Nadia Gamal in her work again. Excellent choreography. Very fast paced. Even some of the moves reminded me of Pharaonic moves. Amazing work. Amani says that the dance did not start in Egypt but in the center of the Arabic countries like Iraq and branched out from there. Walid always said the dance originated in Iraq. That it came from the courts and maybe the temples. Have to do more research on this subject. Wonderful class and so inspiring. She is an excellent instructor.
4. Georgette Gabbara – Lecture/Class – She says craft before entertainment. Dance lets you know you are alive. Craftsmanship before performance. Dance is sculpture. An artist like a potter getting rid of the ugly. Learning is the way to open all doors. You cannot be so-so. Got to to be powerful. What an inspiring woman. She is 74 and such a lady. The term Madame Georgette Gabbara suits her well. She still runs a studio and has invited me to visit. Her class was wonderful. I am so inspired. She has decided to write also. I feel I have found a friend in her. I feel like I could cry. She showed us three (3) wonderful videos. 1. “Waiting” 2. “The Poem” 3. “The Door” All different and very emotional. She was a very close friend of Nadia Gamal. This woman has touched a nerve in my soul.
It is now time for the preliminary competition. I wish Lucy and Georgia the best of luck. Amani tells me that everyone loved Amouna. Thank you Bobby for your inspiration. This trip is because of you and for you. I am glad Walid is having such a good time, too. He is so happy to be here.
5. The Preliminary Competition:
A really long evening with some really good and some not so good dancers. Lucy and Georgia did really well. I hope they are both in the Saturday night competition. Walid and I both had to jury and we were not told till the last minute. I guess that way you have no time to not accept. That was fine but caused a little confusion on our part. We walked home around 11:30pm. Was not scary at all. City feels safe. Maybe because we are in a Muslim neighborhood. Muslim’s do not drink or take drugs so it was safe. Such a peaceful city so hard to believe not long ago they were at war.
A full and wonderful day of dance. Thank you God for this wonderful experience of being in a dance world and in Beirut no less. Tomorrow we go sightseeing all day. Cannot wait!