Friday, March 29, 2013

Las Malvinas

"I remember, I think I was in middle school. It was me and one other boy in my class. Everyone was talking about the war with Britain and how we were going to win and gain the islands. And it was just me and him who said, Are you kidding? We aren't going to win las Malvinas [the Falklands]! There's no way we're going to beat the British! It's all a lie!

And I realized that it was not what people wanted to hear. Everyone else thought we were crazy for speaking up. And so I began to realize. I shut my mouth and began to read and read, everything and anything. And it was many years before I opened my mouth again."

--My Argentine Spanish Literature professor, on growing up during the Falklands War and learning to doubt what is generally accepted.

Monday, March 11, 2013


When I lift up my hand to rest my chin on it, I can't help but notice that my skin smells like tabeekh. Tabeekh is the Arabic word for cooking; this cooking usually involves a variety of spicy and strong smells like that of onions, garlic, tomato sauce, etc.

My skin is stained with my culture. I barely make tabeekh. But I smell like it anyway. When I pick up things from home, I don't notice until I'm back in my apartment that my clothing, the fabric of my backpack, even my suede boots smell like my mother's cooking. It smells like Egypt. It smells like home.

It's a classic example of East meets West. It's like I couldn't escape even if I tried. Egypt won't let me go. The East is relentless. Don't ever underestimate its power.

And I'm forever grateful.

Sunday, March 3, 2013


I've figured out part of the reason why I love dancing so much.

I think we do a lot of things halfway. How much concentration does it take to drive down the highway, or vacuum, or wash your hair? These are all things we do often, and they don't require that much skill, really. We've grown up doing them. We can bake a cake while thinking about a conversation we had with someone. We can go grocery shopping and turn a single thought over and over again in our minds the whole time.

But when I dance, I get to use every bit of every count and every movement. The whole point of dance is to create something bigger than yourself, to expand and push the ceiling as far as it can go. It's all about how believable I can make this movement feel, how deep into my emotions I can go through this expression. I may just look like I'm stretching out my hand, but with that movement I am trying to relay to you just how deep my love is for you, or my heartbreak. I feel so deeply, and I need to express it as deeply as I can as well.

So while everything else in life is about how quickly I can finish this certain thing and move onto the next thing, dance is all about how much I can stretch out this second of time. How much story I can tell with these few movements. I may only have your attention for a few minutes, or I may only have my full attention for a few moments. I have to create the best art I can, and I have to do it as genuinely as possible. That's when time stops and I am engaged on every level. Everything just feels right for a few moments, but those few moments feel like minutes, hours, entire days.