I got a bit of a rough start in 2015 due to personal circumstances. Dunya, a bellydancers that had been around for over twenty years, dancing, teaching and performing in Amsterdam, passed away. Though I never had weekly classes with her, she was there at several memorable occassions. One of the first bellydance workshops I took was Shaabi style, and I was blown away by her energy and earthy moves. She was also closely tied to the theater projects of my ‘dance mom’ Ahlem and provided feedback and support. At the start of 2015 we (the Dalla Dream Dancers, our pro troupe) visited her at her home, an oriental appartment richly decorated with camels in all sizes, gold filligree inserts in the windows and lush pillows.
She wanted to give us the costumes that she was emotionally attached to, because she didn’t want them to end up with a person that couldn’t dance, or worse, that the costumes would end up at goodwill. I can relate to that. She handed me this costume as a fixer upper. It was one of the first professional costumes that she made and she wore it a lot for restaurant and outdoor performances. As a result it was worn out, with the paint chipped off from the pearls and the fringe in need of rebeading.
I refurbished the whole costume piece by piece and it made an appearance in April at a bellydance party at the cultural center where I teach my weekly classes. February 2016, Ahlem threw a remembrance hafla for Dunya in Amsterdam where friends and family shared their stories about Dunya and how her memory lives on.