Happy Thanksgiving from the Austin Bellydance Association
2020 has been a difficult year for most of us, and it's easy to struggle to find things to be thankful for within the bellydance realm. We asked you what unexpected positives related to bellydance you had experienced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and there were few responses. One member replied that thanks to more instructors bringing their work online, she was able to learn from bellydancers that wouldn't have been accessible otherwise. That's great! Most folks told me they have been really disengaged with dance during this time and couldn't think of anything specific. Understandable, given the circumstances. So instead of summarizing what you might be thankful for today, we're switching gears and letting you know what we are thankful for, even in 2020, the longest year ever recorded.
5. Do you remember that ABA had a show this year? We did! The Mad Props show was great and ended with Najla leading the group in her Yalla Yalla choreography. ABA president, Bahaia, had this to say about it: "Thank you to all the performers, volunteers, and especially the event coordinator and ABA VP, Lily Tsai. Thank you to Najla for getting the crowd up and dancing. And thank you to the audience for making this one of the best turnouts for ABA in recent memory." Fingers crossed that we will be able to come back together next year and do the same again (though not in the spring, we have other plans for that one!).
4. We were able to offer scholarships to participate in Shimmy Mob earlier this year, which allowed folks to learn choreography while contributing to a good cause.
3. We took some steps to learn more about the specific struggles that Black and other Dancers of Color face, improve our organization's diversity and inclusion, and renew our commitment to continuous learning and engagement with the cultures of origin of bellydance. We included some great resources in our statement, which you can find in the blog post below. Stay tuned for some improvements to our bylaws that you get to vote on coming in the next few months!
2. We have been able to keep our general meetings accessible to you online and have some new initiatives in the works to keep connecting with our community. At our most recent general meeting, we had folks share inspirational videos to get us all reconnected to our dancing. Last Sunday, we started our virtual book club series with in introductory round on inspiring creative conversations (Missed it? Here's the recording!). The official book club starts this Sunday at 10:30 am and will meet every Sunday at the same time through December 13th. Starting next month, we are launching our Shimmy Show & Grow event, where you can get feedback from a professional bellydancer, improve on it, and show your work at our virtual spring show. Check out our Activities page for more info!
1. Most of all, we are thankful for YOU, our members. We hope that the Austin Bellydance Association has helped you keep your connection to your dancing and the local bellydance community alive, even despite our struggles this year. Our members are awesome. We love seeing you at meetings, engaging with you on social media, and connecting with you on fun projects. We hope that you will stick with us as we continue working to make your experience a good one. You can renew your membership quickly and easily on our membership page.
Here's our playlist of inspirational bellydance videos, in case you missed it: