Wednesday, September 8, 2010

That’s when I realized life is for living!

August 18, 2010:  Just another wed night.

Sitting alone in a beige room clothed in beige. It's not what you think when you think beige. It is beautifully alive and simply elegant. I am waiting... not waiting... I am listening, breathing, stretching, writing... until they tell me I'm "on". At that point I get to express the moment to the fullest. The moment I've created my life around. This moment. This energizing serene moment, right before my music starts. The crowd will be silenced and I am allowed to show myself fully and am fully accepted in all my authenticity. It is me at that moment fully: ME! Alive. Awakened. Conscious. Passionate. In tune. Aware: aware of the music, the floor beneath my bare feet, the lights that may or may not be highlighting my moves, the space which is constantly different ('Is it too small that I can barely turn with two 3 foot veils? Is it so big that I must project myself above and beyond everyone's heads?'), aware of the audience response and emotion ('Is she jealous of my youth, vibrancy and physic? Is he shy or afraid to look at me because his women might sneer at him later? This woman loves my art in all its elegance! And that man ... oh I won't look his way any more.') so may thoughts running through my head. So much to be aware of as I dance and perform for the crowd of seemingly normal Americans. About 90% of the time the audience as a whole appreciates my art, however, once in a while there are a few who fully are confused and awkward. But back to now....

Now: There is the ringing of spoons on Champaign glasses, a toast coming from the other room. "Ice breaker questions, " a man says.  It all turns into mumbles from where I am in the guest bedroom surrounded by beige and white and a beautiful soft pink wall. I am sipping on buttery white wine waiting... writing, living, breathing, stretching. A framed Thank You letter from Jamie Lee Curtis and the Orangewoods Children foundation hangs on the wall in front of me. It thanks my client for her work with the Women for Children Scholarship luncheon.

In the hallway there is another framed article about my clients son's successful recovery from a brain tumor at the age of 4.  The article explains that she had noticed her son had headaches and was vomiting often. She had his eyes checked and found nothing. As the vomiting got worse she had them checked again. This time the optometrist found something in the optical nerve.  Because of her diligence and consciousness she found her sons tumor in time. A neurologist removed the benign tumor and now her son is a 'normal' child: playing sports, and living a 'normal' life. 

I overhear parts of a conversation from the dinning room from a gentleman: “ I got clocked on the right side of my face. I wake up in a hospital bed with tubes in my arms and nose... I think I’m a pretty handsome guy, but now I had no right face and tubes up my nose. That’s when I realized life is for living! So I got out of the hospital. …We went out to clubs and lived it up. I would just tape the tubes from my nose to the side of my ear. People would try not to stare... I had reconstructive surgery. It took me 10 years to finally have full control of my right facial muscles... and I had to work at it.”

On the table beside me there is a newspaper clipping with a man (my clients husband) with a metal around his neck, he is in motion running past the breaking winning ribbon in a triathlon.

So maybe this isn’t a household of beige 'normal Americas’ as I said before.  Maybe each one of them has a heroic story to tell.

My heroic story… hum… I would like to believe I live it each time I dance.  The entire experience is intuitive and heroic. I embrace the moment fully in all its glory and emotion and sometimes that emotion shocks me, and others, a bit. But that is what’s great about it. It is true to what is happening in all our elemental, physical and astral being at that exact moment. Think of it like a painting.

Van Gogh painted mostly outside to capture the changing light of the fields, the sunflowers, the meadows, or landscapes. His textures capture the intensity of his internal state. His colors capture the vibrancy of nature. And in there somewhere the wind and temperature is captured. I’m not sure where, but it is there. I feel it when I look at his art. I feel all the texture of emotion, atmosphere, sound, temperature, past, present, future – all of it. It was heroic of him to give into his passion and do what he felt instead of what was asked of by society. You can see that rampant urge in his art. I dance like an oil painting… colors swirling together, thick and expressive.
From the other room I hear silver on glass again “Clink Clink Clink. Lets here it for our belly dancer!” 

Gotta run…..


  1. Thanks for sharing your story! I've been attending your shows for years now so great to discover your perspective as the performer. And yes, it is obvious to me every time I see you perform that you are fully in the moment and passionate about the dance! Thanks again for sharing our story and your passion for life!

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  3. You have a gift.
    Thank you for your heart.
    Thank you for your art.
    And expressing love through dance.

    Thank you for your voice.
    Thank you for the expression.
    Thank you for your words.
    And writing this gift of creation.

    Thank you for being You. Leilaina. Standing authentic and proud. Inspiration and love.


  4. Beautifully written my sweet Leilania, goddess and true are pure inspiration and such a gift to the community!


  5. A very nice article Leilana. You are a true performer and it's a delight to watch your mastery.

    - Jason