This summer I did another stint with Suhaila Salimpour in London.
Every time I train with Suhaila I am completely blown away by how much I love her and her work, and how what she teaches is JUST EXACTLY what I need.
This was my third intensive weekend with Suhaila in as many years, and I spent the 6 months previous to the weekend working with her excellent Online Classes to prepare. Finally, this year, I COULD ACTUALLY DO STUFF! I could do the glute squeezes properly, I could layer full time things on half time things and do them walking backwards, I (mostly) did all the warmups without wussing out, I could do the undulations fast enough without hyperventilating... it was IMMENSE.
The thing about Suhaila's format is that it takes a hella-tonne of hard work, and I think it takes a different amount of time for everyone to grasp, because everyone's body is different.
For me my white whale was glute squeezes - I have an old IT band injury (which Suhaila helped heal two years ago, cos she is awesome like that) I sustained from STEPPING ON A TRAIN (yes) which really messed up my right side and whenever my baby learning glutes tried to squeeze, the right side would pull on my IT band and aggrevate it further. I couldn't get into the straddle position Suhaila encourages to practice glutes in - it's kind of a sitting on the floor with your legs wide apart and leaning forward move, and when I started I could barely sit up straight on the floor with my legs together in front of me, let alone some crazy ass splits-ish nonsense! It was one of those movements I just felt I was doing wrong all the time, as nothing was happening and I was paranoid about bothering my IT band.
Also, glute squeezes are just f'ing difficult. It was not a natural movement to me.
Finally over Christmas last year I cracked it: I've learnt that if you just keep trying to do something, eventually, when you've kinda forgotten how much you care about it, it just happens. I could sit forward in straddle and my glutes were UNLEASHED. Literally, as I spent the next few months proudly showing everyone I know that I could sit on the floor and rhythmically squeeze my bum and telling them how long it took for me to be able to do this. Three years people.
So this year, I felt awesome. It was still hard, there was still a huge chunk of stuff I couldn't do, and I was still sweating and frowning like a mother, but I had progressed so far from where I began and I was so proud of myself!
During one of the drills, Suhaila actually looked at what I was doing and gave me a big thumbs up and "You got it, that's great!" and then I was incredibly chuffed and proud and pleased forever more.
Just being in that ridiculously hot (heatwave in London folks) classroom, with non-stop dancing and drilling and being so challenged and learning from one of my ultimate bellydance hero's, maybe my ultimate bellydance hero, and grinning so hard because I loved every second... I actually teared up a bit. Well, quite a lot really. And often. But no-one could see because I was so disgustingly sweaty everywhere, thank Christ.
This year I left knowing that this is what I need and who I need to train with, who inspires me, and that I freaking love Suhaila Salimpour and the Salimpour Format.
I'm doing Level 1 training in London next year, then saving up to go to San Fransisco in 2014/2015 to do a weeklong with Suhaila. Bring it.