Life Backstage with a Belly Dancer
How can you be a studio owner, a dancer, and a choreographer, while balancing your duties as a wife, a mother, and a friend?
That's the question Kari Peters of Ontario asked herself after her recent belly dance recital inspired by Alice in Wonderland. That title alone is enough to make your head spin, so imagine the additional pressure of coordinating the entire event. While unity was the theme of the recital, unity wasn't a word Kari would have used to describe her life during the planning stages.
"Leading up to these projects your family becomes invested in it as well. Emotionally if not physically. My kids could see how they were only getting a fraction of my attention, as was my husband. They hear the music, watch you stress over fabrics and costume orders, hear you complain about this piece or that student," Kari said.
While she was spending hours creating the event from scratch, Kari had a mantra: I'll deal with that After Alice. Studio opening celebration? After Alice. A friend in need? After Alice.
But procrastinating away her responsibilities didn't make them disappear. They piled up on each other and waited until her time ran out. "I had numbed myself out and it all waited to pounce me on January 16th," Kari said. "I was completely depressed after Alice."
Some belly dancers have said that recitals are almost like children. You have this idea: this grand vision. And then you bring it to life. It's ok to let some things take a backseat to your creation, but you need to take care of yourself afterwards. You can't keep saying you'll deal later.
"Much like you 'deal' with being run over by a Mack truck," Kari said.
To avoid overwhelming feelings, disappointment, Kari suggests something radical: take a week off.
"I know a week- crazy especially if your studio is a main contributor to your household income but it is necessary," Kari advises. "What could have been a week off turned into a month long emotional overload and creative block."
Save yourself a month by taking one week: sounds like the best math equation. Take a week for yourself, for your kids, for your spouse... and for your sanity.
See our Belly Dancer's Guide to Time Out for more tips on how to relax.
Want to learn more about Kari? Meet her alter ego, Kavita, in our personalities feature.
Pictured above is Kari Peters as the Queen of Hearts