Blog

Checking the “Other” box

If you’ve ever filled out any kind of official form for insurance, a loan, a job application, the United States Census, or even to sign up for your COVID vaccine, you’ve probably filled out that section on “Race and Ethnicity.” And there are the usual categories: White, Hispanic, Black, Indigenous,...

Service and Celebrity

I’m not someone who’s really into “celebrity culture,” but I admit that I’ve been really glued to what’s happening with Prince Harry and Megan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in England. Part of that is definitely because I’ve been watching The Crown on Netflix, which follows the life...

Embracing Change

One of the things about being an Adjunct Professor at a college is taking professional development courses. And I’m taking one about implicit bias and sensitivity in the classroom, which has been really fascinating for me. Of course, I’m reflecting on all the situations I’ve found myself in where I’ve...

Ya Salaam!

I woke up Wednesday morning to so many WhatsApp messages from friends overseas, saying “What a relief!” “Finally!” and of course, many saying “Ya salaam!” “Ya salaam” literally means, “Oh, peace!” Arabic speakers say it when something incredible, marvelous, or astonishing happens. Or when you’re waiting for something and it...

Magic at Mills College

Over a year ago, Ann Murphy, the head of the Dance Department at Mills College, and I met for dinner. She had learned about my dance program through one of my students who had recently received her MA from Mills and wrote her thesis about my format. Ann was fascinated...

Hope for the holidays

Here we are, at the end of the year, of this year, which has challenged us all in ways that we could never have imagined. And it’s definitely time for a year-end reflection. At the beginning of 2020, I was preparing to tour and teach like I have every year...

Healing and Empathy

Lately I've been thinking a lot about empathy.  Do we need to have gone through the same experiences to have empathy for others? Or can we have empathy even if we haven't had shared experiences? And if not, how can we truly identify with one another’s struggles, pain, and heartbreaks?...

Witnessing Nagwa…

Close your eyes, and imagine...  Cairo, Egypt. Summer 1968.  You’re at an outdoor festival. The scent of jasmine fills the air. The 35-piece orchestra plays their opening bars—new music with ancient roots. And then the great and incomparable Nagwa Fouad enters the stage.  The audience is smashed together, and you...

My first performance… ever

I am almost 2 years old. My eyes are closed. I can feel my heart beating, and I try to slow down my breath, taking huge inhales and releasing huge exhales. I’ve never felt so scared, and yet being on stage is all I ever dreamed of.   As I wait...

Endings on Opening Night

Life isn't "black and white." There are all these shades of grey—and so many colors—that create beauty in it all. They're never static, either. The shades and colors change all the time.   Every day, I'm feeling that challenge of being fluid, accepting and knowing that nothing will ever stay...