Some of you have been following the story of Bellydancingbarbie since the very beginning. For the benefit of those who haven’t here’s a short story for you. It’s a love story.
Once upon a time I was a “beginner” of bellydance, I progressed through “intermediate” and “advanced” pretty quickly as I was a “natural” I fell into teaching lunchtime classes for colleagues in the offices of the civil service after volunteering a demonstration at health at work day.
As my skill grew steadily alongside my love of the art form, I was invited to perform for local Moroccan restaurants. I learnt more and performed more and then I was fortunate enough to do a lot of travelling and live abroad. Can you believe that was over a decade ago?!!
On returning to the UK I worked for a youth charity, was again invited to perform at restaurants and asked if I would set up and teach regular classes. In 2008, after I found myself in Turkey for a week performing and teaching Turkish women, I took the insane decision to leave the legal world & youth charity scene and retrain so that I could share the joy and benefits of this dance with friends and the public to the best of my ability, accurately and safely. I invested several years in academic and practical study in order to become a fully qualified professional bellydancer, fitness instructor, personal trainer and massage therapist. I taught Bellydance in offices, high end yoga studios, Universities and I managed the Edinburgh College gym. I also hired the best of Edinburgh’s private studios and delivered classes and sessions there. All of those studios were grossly overpriced, freezing cold and to my mind dancing in them had the sophistication of dancing within your neighbours rusty old camper van with a mismatched door!
I worked my ass off for the next 9 or so years, building things up, developing, reinvesting, strengthening our little community and working to achieve my goal of one day creating a space that honours the art form and the community of women who enjoy it. I met many challenges along the way and made some sacrifices. Some you may know of, others untold.
In October 2013 I opened Little Egypt.
Whilst things have grown over the years so has the work load which is never finished even when consistently working 90 hours per week. So I took on an Admin and Projects Assistant to help me out a few hours a week. After much consideration the person I took on was Janis, who also happens to be my mother. Here’s the article Introducing Janis.
Now, Janis had a hard time getting her head around the fact that I would be paying her regardless of her wishes otherwise. Why would I agree not to pay her? She’s a devoted team member who gives of herself like any other team member! I believe it’s very important everyone feels appreciated and rewarded in life.
What I wasn’t prepared for however and had no clue about was that Janis has been saving up her wages…
For the first time in 7 years, I’ve just switched on my out of office auto reply. It seems I’m going on holiday! To Morocco!!!
We will be officially closed from 7th March to the 16th March with team members around at Little Egypt in my absence. All enquiries will be answered on my return. I will have internet access just enough to check any urgent enquiries, class booking numbers, do a few live tweets @BDBarbie and @LittleEgyptUK and post images of myself eating multiple tagines, hotdogs or legs, haggling and “doing a camel with a camel” If there’s anything you would like me to source in Morocco let me know on social media, I’m taking a ridiculous amount of extra luggage and if that’s not enough I can post things back to us! Yes, of course I will send Little Egypt a postcard!
I can’t believe it. I’m overwhelmed. It’s like a dream.
Thank you mum for your endless, selfless kindness and thank YOU to every single woman and man in our community who has believed in my crazy dreams for us.
You are what I live for and I love you very much.