Anxiously Awaiting Andrus Ramir!

image After an amazing weekend observing Yanis Marshall, I have a double helping of extra appreciation for the men in the global dance community. It’s rare that I am suddenly bragging about anything but I made Mr. Marshall’s arrival very public on my social media pages and the fact that I was going to get to see him. I would have happily paid $100 to just to watch him. He is so worth it. So when Andrus Ramir told me that Mr. Marshall is one of his inspirations I just beamed. Two people I absolutely admire coming through Atlanta is a dream come true. Where Yanis Marshall is a bright and shining light for contemporary, modern and a multitude of dance genres, Andrus Ramir is our Raqs World Diamond! His presence lights up a room in ways I’ve yet to have seen from other dancers. I can’t help but put him on a pedestal.

I first saw Andrus in 2006 or 2007 during the last part of the summer when one of the former Bellydance troupes, The Fates, hosted one of the incredible conferences we have in our gem of a city, ATL. At Paris on Ponce he was walking outside and just his walk alone made me turn my head and I completely froze in my tracks. Surely the heavens laughed saying, “AA’s life is about to change.” Unable to speak for a few moments, I finally asked others around me, “Who is that beautiful person?!” No one from Atlanta seemed to know at the time but as soon as he got on that stage with those veils and tummy flutters that define perfection we all wanted to know who he was…the rest is history. He won us over within seconds!!! He began to get invited to Atlanta annually and in the three years he’s been away learning from the greats and further developing his signature style, his craft has become incredibly seasoned with even more amazing fluidity, class, beauty and the trademark Andrus Ramir awesomeness that we crave uncontrollably. He is …everything! I could easily write a book about this man…and I might!

Whether you’re a long time fan or new to the Andrus Ramir kingdom of crazy shimmies and ta’arab for days, you’ll be pleased with the upcoming workshops taking place next weekend hosted by Atlanta Fusion Bellydance, World Bellydance Alliance and their partner MissBellydance.com. Andrus is teaching three courses and one of them is Sha’abi. There’s also a show on Sunday night at Steve’s Live Music featuring some of the International Raqs Community Members who have moved to the states as well as some of the areas top stars that often work on Saturday nights (i.e. Karma); so it’ll be a treat to see them in show on Sunday where they can give us the gold! 😉

I certainly plan to be in the audience, savouring every second of Andrus’ outstanding work and performances. Go ahead and join in on the fun. You can register here. MissBellydance.com is giving away some cool prizes to troupe leaders who bring in 5 students or more. If anyone even tweets @missbellydance w/any of the blogs, event flyers, links to the event, etc. on their Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts their store automatically enters the profile to win cool prizes. It’s gonna be awesome!!! Looking forward to seeing everyone!!

Cheers!
AA

Essence of Bellydance – Day Two

imageIt’s gorgeous!!!
It’s certainly gorgeous over here. Because of this event, I explored the neighbourhood, real estate and so much more. Seriously looking to make a shift in this direction if possible. It’s really clean, organised and nice. My only issue of course, as with any place I go, is the parking and trying to find the exact place one needs to go. Let’s cut to the chase… say it with me now, I almost went home because I couldn’t find it. I know, I know, even with GPS I could not find it. I have a directional handicap (recently learned that is normal – I don’t feel so bad), I’m not able to find things easily. I still get lost going home if I miss my exit. Some streets in Georgia are not mapped, so I don’t blame myself completely. In this case, everyone’s directions were useless to me. I ended up calling Faaridah. This is the LAST thing I wanted to do because she’s obviously busy. Well, she was helpful!

Remember Stairwell #10!!!
Here’s the deal, from 10am to 11:45am I drove around and around trying to find the valet sign where we are only to pay $10. Long story short, I found myself in a parking garage for what is to be $12 max for the day. The hotel is next to stairwell #10. So if you suffer like I do and end up in that vast parking deck, try to get to stairwell #10.

The Venue: Beautiful, well-airconditioned, pristine, clean and wonderfully lit, great for photo shoots. You’ll look good under every inch of light. Vendors are set up and it looks like a bellydance shopping mall with amazing items everywhere. My favourite vendors right now, top 3 are MissBellydance (I really like their new stuff, their lifestyle wear, Moroccan Abayas with matching modern dance wear underneath, they have an shimmer set that is to die for, really like it). And all of their professional bra and belt sets are discounted. There’s new jewelry too and tribal belts from Turkiye/Turkey and India. I’m also liking the options from Magical Fashions and Beladi Boutique.

image Food Options: For those of you with gluten allergies, bring a lunch maybe? The hotel menu is available but I really haven’t seen anything I can eat yet. Wait, just found something. Also, Cafe Mezo (YUM INFINITY) is catering tomorrow and perhaps Sunday? They have some spreads, etc plus lots of kebab options. It’s really good. I’m very picky when it comes to food from the region. I had it fresh in the restaurant with Faaridah and MBD, it was amazing. I bought some to go, it was just THAT good. There are also some other spots in walking distance, some offer breadless options. That’s my sandwich in a bowl in the photo.

I hope that helps those of you headed over to the venue or at least clears up some questions for those of you who may not want to come out here due to directional fears, financial concerns. Expect the show and workshop fees, parking under $20 (remember to say you are with Essence of Bellydance if you valet, it’s only $10). I’m hearing someone right now, say they drove around in circles. There are no big signs that say TWELVE, but it’s a gorgeous silver building that kind of blends in with the concrete so just be aware.

*I hope I wasn’t too brisk with anyone this morning. You know directions test my last nerve.

Okay, that’s all I’ve got right now. Just soaking up the lovely atmosphere. Someone called it urban upscale. Whatever, you call it, just call it the place you’ll be at in the next 10 minutes.

Thanks for reading!