Most of you know I'm moved back to Halifax, Nova Scotia from Toronto this winter. This has been such a hard decision for me and about a year of angst went into it. I've had a lot of people ask why I would move to a smaller city at this point in my career, so I thought I'd write a bit about it here.
When I initially left Halifax, many of my friends had already moved away, I was at a standstill in my bellydance and photography career, and I wanted a change. I had taken the Arabesque Pro Course in Toronto in the summer and was completely excited about the idea of working with Canada's leading bellydance company, Yasmina Ramzy, and learning to work with live musicians. In October 2005 I moved to Toronto and started taking classes at Arabesque like crazy.
My first year was hard. Toronto is a hard city to crack and it took me almost the whole year until I started to like the place. When I visited Halifax, Monique and I would have intensive bellydance pow-wows and started our duet group, Cabaret Serpentine. We began putting on shows every 6 months or so and dreamed of working in the same city and starting a business together. I planned to move home in about 2 years after studying intensively at Arabesque.
That didn't happen. I became an apprentice and then a lead dancer at Arabesque. After working full time as a bellydancer, teaching and performing all over the city, I became concerned at the flighty nature of the work and wanted a side career to support it. Something that would be a compliment. After a lot of searching I found Massage Therapy. It felt like the perfect match; I would learn more about anatomy and biomechanics, I would be helping people, I could be my own boss eventually, and could set my own schedule.
2 years later I graduated from Sutherland-Chan as an RMT, with a wonderful boyfriend. :)
We spent the next year and a half together and things just kept getting better. Many of the Arabesque girls had become very close friends, and wonderful opportunities kept coming my way. I had two great jobs as an RMT and had finally started to feel at home in Toronto.
All this time Monique and I kept talking about the possibilities for our business, brainstorming new workshops, choreographies and ideas. I loved working with Arabesque but I was starting to get tired of being an instrument in someone else's vision and wanted the opportunity to create my own work. I missed my family, the tight-knit community in Halifax, the ocean and my friends. When I visited in the summer to help put on "Serpentine Circus", I saw what I would be missing out on if I stayed in Toronto. A chance to be a leader in the bellydance community with something to offer the city, as opposed to Toronto where there are so many amazing dancers, events and workshops going on that nothing really stands out. Creating your own events is so incredibly expensive and complex in Toronto that it hardly seems worth it. In Halifax our network of incredible talented people meant that our shows had been great successes.
So after about a year of driving both Monique, my boyfriend and my family crazy, I decided I needed to try moving back and see if I could make it work. My (did I mention wonderful?) boyfriend finally agreed to move down with me in April, a crucial detail! In December I left my jobs, had about 4 tearful goodbye parties with Arabesque, packed up my crazy apartment and moved home over Christmas.
Since I've moved back, everyone has been so welcoming and wonderful. I'm thrilled to see the interest in traditional Egyptian dance by Halifax dancers, with two sold-out workshops this month! It has been so good to connect with my family again and working with Monique is exciting as always. Our plans are finally taking shape and so many amazing opportunities and projects have come our way already. I've started a great job as a massage therapist as well. I can't thank everyone enough for your love, support, and encouragement this last year, I certainly wouldn't have made it without you.