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.
We are living in Bkheshtey in the Aley district (means high place) and was previously known as the bride of the summer in the area of Mount Lebanon. It is truly beautiful. Visited the lady next door named Yvonne yesterday. What an incredible lady. She is 91 years old, so smart and so cute. Other neighbors came in to see who was visiting. Her house keeper/health care aid is Sophia. She is from Sri Lanka. Great girl. Tonight she visited us again. I like her. She offered to clean out the house for us. My biggest concern is staying warm. Last night my face felt so cold I could not sleep. At least we have power tonight. I came on at 6pm . Should have it till at least midnight then off till 6am. Then on from noon to 6pm. No power then tomorrow night. Guess I will get used to it. We have been invited to a wedding as guests of Talal’s tomorrow night. He is doing a wedding zeffet and he letting us video and check it out. I am so hyped.
Today we visited Aley with Talal as escort. This is where Walid grew up. Had a wonderful lunch at Tarbouch. We visited some old haunts of Walid’s in the center of town. We ran into several peole he used to know including an old school teacher and the owner of the fruit store remembered him. We were given the best fruit ever. We visited Samir Khoury at his lovely home. This is Riad’s brother. I know him from Fall River. We then went to where Walid’s house was.
So sad. Area completely devistated. Nice places partially rebuilt next to those empty demolished buildings. All of Lebanon is like this but here in Aley seemed to be worse. They really got hit hard during the latter part of the war. We ran into people he grew up with. Still there! No where to go. It is home. So sad! They look like homeless people with vacant expressions. Walid was so shocked. These people grew up as neighbor hood kids. You could see the quality that is now a forgotten dream. They thought I was Amal. Really hit Walid hard. He looked like he had been punched in the stomach and the air was pushed out of him. He wishes he had not seen it. I wish he had not also. Now I know why my cousins did not want me to go to my grandmothers old house in Westcliff. Just remember it as it was.
Margo got the small theater that belongs to the El Medina Theater to book the entertainment. Good for her. Great news. She is such a hard worker. This was last night.
Khaled called us down for breakfast. We sat and chatted with him and the Maitre-De. Very nice, helpful people. Selim Assaf, Walid’s cousin picked us up at noon in his Hummer with his son Carl. So nice! Took a beautiful ride in the Hummer to his Mom’s house. This house in Wadi Sharur was Walid’s grandmothers and he spent a lot of his childhood there. Had a wonderful lunch with the entire family. Walid’s Aunt, Selim’s Mom, his wife and children. Plus his brother Raghib, wife and children and his sister and family. This house belonged to Assaf side of the family. The houses is upgraded beautifully. The Aunt lives on the first floor and Raghib and family live on the 2nd and 3rd floor. He runs the AC company with his brother. Great family all the way around. Made us feel very welcome. Pretty neighborhood. Houses all stone. Only regret is my camera was packed. Want to go back. Lovely people. Can see why Walid loved it so much. Rained lightly here and a little bit cooler than the city.
We then drove to to his grandmother’s house on his mother’s side of the family. This Melecki’s house. Located on Mount Lebanon. Another house Walid spent so much time in. This house has had no guests in four years. No one lives here now. Very quaint. All stone. Nice large rooms. We arrived at exactly 6pm. Only know this as the entire area went black as we pulled in the driveway. It was much colder here than in Beirut. Thank God I brought sweaters and socks for both of us. This place is so village and so old Lebanon. It’s name is Bkshtay. Guess it means dragon. The house is now just a summer house for family. I realize I could live here just fine. Four rooms is enough for us. There are only the two of us. Who needs eight rooms in CA with patios enclosed and gazebos etc. Just more to clean. Needs some work. Think the roof needs repair and there is war damage on a couple of outside walls. Talal is coming up tomorrow. He is taking us out to see the sights near Aley. We left a bag in Selim’s car. Talal will get it for us. It was all the costumes etc that I purchased plus passports. We need them for sure. My error I should have done a last check. I was concerned about us finding our way around the house. Should have known better than to trust the men. Sent Selim and Walid to buy candles at the corner store. Reminds me of West Wareham. The only corner store! We lit candles and found the gas for the stove. We needed heat. The store owner’s son came up at 7pm to make sure we had all we needed. Now, how wonderful is that. He does not even know us though his father remembered Walid. We have heat, a stove, electricity (sometimes) and water. So much for the comforts of home. The power came on sometime during the night and scared us half to death. The TV, the radio and lights came on. We had gone to bed and it was really cold. By daylight we will sort it all out.
Another fabulous day. This morning I taught my class. Power went out as I started but came back on as soon as generator kicked in. I taught from 9:45 till noon. great class. I come alive when I am teaching. Especially when I have good dancers in class. I covered both Sattouta and Amouna. They loved Sattouta. just fell into place after being at Beit el Din yesterday.
Had my Dunkin Donuts. Talked with Mario Harb awhile. He seems to like us as he has befriended Walid. Also had a long chat with Maya Goarry of Italy. So sweet! Then Amani Jabril of Georgia and I came up with an idea to work together for another tour to Lebanon but not a festival. need to pick select people to attend. Walid and I are also talking about doing more things in Lebanon. I want to research the dance here. I got a new watch. it is cute and different from what I usually wear. Came back to hotel to change clothes. Then it is back to the theater. Amani Jabril asked me to critique her class. i really like her so am happy to oblige. Walid renewed his phone. Sophie the French girl asked me if I would like to go to France and teach. I can do that. I would love to.
Amani, Ali and Nour are back to normal. The whole thing is winding down. They have so much responsibility. Must be a relief.Tonight is student performance night.We will be there to support. Neena should dance. Get out there. Margo will help her but she will have to work her butt off. Margo can get her a place to live that is inexpensive and safe. she also has an agent. he wants her to study Kaleegy for Ramadan Shows. It is a start. She will really need to work hard but she is young and can do it if she really want s to. Again thank goodness for Walid.
Francois Ramieh was Margo’s fiance for 10 years.He is a fabulous dancer and choreographer. Cannot wait to see how the girls made out. Georgia took the Orientale with Francois and Lucy took the veil class with Margo.
Show was did not really exist . Only one girl was prepared to dance. Theresa from Memphis. Too bad but she was game. Do not understand why some of the others thought they were good enough for the competition. They should have been more realistic and been in this show. Theresa did an fine job. have to give her credit. She is a nice girl. Knows Cindy/Shahira from Knoxville. Afterwards we went to Stambouli’s with the girls. Food was excellent. Nice surroundings. Got home about 11:30pm great evening and meal.
Got a very early start this morning after very little sleep. Went to bed after midnight. Was up at 2am and again at 4am as Walid was taking a shower. Gus Hernandez picked us up at 5am and we were on our way to Lebanon. Got to the airport in plenty of time. At check in we discovered we had an extra case that cost us $70-. Am thinking maybe Margo can use it. No need to bring it back. Our flight to Newark left at 8am. sharp. We did finally get seats together. Glad of that. Kind of got a chuckle they gave me a handicap spot. Flight was uneventful. Had a hamburger in Newark. Called Renee, Dolores and Mark. Texted Lorna, Lucy and Gus to say we were fine. We boarded for London just in time. At 6:15pm the captain announced we would be leaving. Then it took another hour as some luggage was found but no customers. They had to find the luggage and take it off. Hence the time delay. Had a great supper after finally getting up in the air. Took a nap and watched a movie “A Fish Named Wanda”. Quite cute. We flew at about 32oo feet. The outside temperature was -40degrees. We are about half way across the Atlantic near Iceland. We have about 3 hours to go to get to London.
The three most critical elements of economy of movement are intelligent feet, proper hip alignment and co-ordination.
Have you ever wondered how professional dancers make things look so easy? It is because their bodies are like well oiled machines tuned to dance with an economy of movement. In other words they dance efficiently.
Efficiency is doing the least amount of work (using the fewest muscles) to perform accurately (dancing with good technique). Misalignment, weakness of the prime movers in a movement, and inelasticity of the muscles that oppose the prime movers contribute to inefficiency.
Balanced Alignment:-Balanced alignment is the foundation of good dance technique. Moreover some misalignment issues pave way for injuries. You need to master intelligent feet. Conduct an alignment check on yourself periodically. Balanced Effort:-A more balanced alignment will eventually enable you to work with less effort. The goal is for the movement to feel easy Find the muscles to use that are most efficient for the desired action. New dancers may rely on the wrong muscles and/or use too many muscles. Strength and Flexibility in Movement:-Repeating moves over and over again can cause an overdeveloping of strength of one muscle group at the expense of other muscles. This imbalance is a major cause of inefficiency and injury. If you do a movement in one direction be sure to do it the other way. If you flex be sure to extend. What yo8 contract you must stretch. You will gain flexibility and strength. Pitfalls of Cross-Training:-it is possible for you body to get confused when cross-training, which can include studying multiple dance forms or styles, participating in a gym or doing karate or any other activity. You are asking your body to do conflicting or contradictory activities. It is important to be aware of that. Good habits are as easy to develop as bad ones. In order to be efficient in a variety of dance forms or activities you must assess and adapt to the unique physical demands of each form and remember that what is correct in one form does not always serve you well in another. The Buddy System:-When working to increase your efficiency, it is necessary to change habitual movement patterns. Pair up with a fellow dancer that is changing the same habit. Watch each other, give feedback and adapt. Monitor your process. Importance of Maintaining Good Attendance:-Someone coming in late or after missing a class altogether holds up the entire class. Attendance is imperative for proper training. If you have to miss learn any missed material from a classmate. The Tip of the Iceberg:-The earlier you begin to work efficiently the more likely it is that you will avoid bad habits and injury along the way.. For those of you who picked up bad or lazy habits along the way remember this:
“As long as you love to dance, your teachers did something right. Even if you have trained your body incorrectly (almost) anything can be fixed with time and effort.