Friday, November 14, 2014

new joint, new life!

I totally thought I had published a post in October after I started bellydancing again! It's been buzzing around here for the last month since then - honestly, it must be the renewed energy through my chakras!

Since I started - very gingerly - dancing in class again last month, my stability, strength, balance, and skills have improved steadily. I'm still doing my rehab exercises, mostly on "off days"; that is, days when I don't teach class, ride, or work at the barn. In late September I resumed riding; and soon after that resumed morning chores at the horse farm once a week.
My left leg (the rehab side) gets tired quickly, especially the outside thigh muscles; so side steps continue to be the hardest exercise to do. When my leg gets tired I start limping a little bit but I know it will continue to improve. When I teach, it's very interesting to experience what feels like a "beginner leg" on that side.

My biggest excitement: dancing at the hafla!

The PRISM Dancers had our Fall Hafla at the beginning of the month, collecting food donations for the local Food Bank; and I absolutely danced my ass off during open dancing! Yes, it was amazing, fun, and so thrilling to be dancing again!
We always enjoy Kabab City restaurant - the staff, food, hookah, and spacious dance floor; not to mention to colorful and beautiful atmosphere.

My students and I danced and enjoyed guest performers. 

We were all happy to meet Lulu and Zyzy, a couple of Veda Sereem's students from Maryland; as well as Nadira from VA Beach, host of the rejuvenated East Coast Classic weekend bellydance festival. It was great to get out and dance, and enjoy time with my wonderful students and friends. 
I'm so happy to be able to dance again! 
dancers in costume at hafla
good to meet dancers Zyzy and Lulu!
dancers in the hookah lounge
Nadira and I enjoying hookah and libations

Anthea Kawakib

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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

an awesome week ends an awesome month!

What an amazing week just passed! I had my last physical therapy session yesterday because I've met my goal: being able to dance again. 
appointment card
cancel Thursday, I'm good!
Last week at my doctor's appointment he okayed dancing - I hadn't expected THAT until October, so I was pleasantly surprised. He just said no fast hip twists, and to be careful with cross-steps. So I danced a little in both Wednesday and Thursday classes, wobbly like a beginner; but every time it's a little better. 
On Friday I danced even more at my rehearsal club... then the next day I was wondering why my abdominal muscles were sore - it really made me laugh. Bellydance IS good exercise! 
It was an exciting week to end a wonderful month of progress. My body is getting back to normal a little at a time. I'm walking well; and I can even sleep on my stomach - something I couldn't do for years! 
And now, I have some fun plans coming up! In October I'm going to a camping event in North Carolina: an SCA historical reenactment called War of the Wings; several Tribal Odyssey dancers will be there and I'll be able to dance too! 
Then next month I'm hosting a hafla with my dance group, and I'm even dreaming of solo dancing - how amazing would THAT be! Every single day I thank God I was able to get my hip replaced - to go from disabled to dancing is like a miracle
I'm REALLY looking forward to dancing in classes this week! I've also been thinking of doing another short video for my Best Belly Dance Tips playlist, on "hand and arm movements", while I wait for my hips to get back in shape. I'm so happy! 
Anthea Kawakib
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Saturday, August 30, 2014

the rhythm of life goes on

So tonight is my last night sleeping with the leg adductor pillow... 

After wearing it for 3 months I almost can't imagine not using it at night!
I've been swimming a little at a neighbor's pool on the days I don't go to Physical Therapy, and it really seems to make a difference. My recovery progress is going well, stairs are much easier; and I rarely use a cane. I AM getting really impatient to start dancing again but I'll just have to wait a bit longer. I'm happy to take things slowly so healing goes well. I'm not stupid!
Today I even took a much needed day off from exercising - I was just too sore and tired! I worked on preparing for an upcoming appearance of my PRISM Dancers at a downtown arts event in a couple of weeks. This will be my first "performance" since surgery; though I won't be dancing, I'll be drumming and playing cymbals for the others. Besides a couple of dance numbers to live drumming we'll be jamming some Middle Eastern percussion numbers; so we're bringing out a couple of rhythms we haven't played in a while: a 10/8 and a 6/8. I even got my old iMac fired up and whipped out a couple of rhythm tracks for my students to use for percussion practice. It's been too long since I played around with my music.

In the midst of life... 

On a sad note, both horses in my "Let Me Dance" music video have now passed: good old Rising Phoenix was laid to rest this week. What a funny guy he was, very cat-like in his personality, with a cute white heart on the end of his muzzle. I'll miss him very much, he was so gentle; he taught me a lot when I was just beginning to ride. After my first hip replacement, Phoenix was the one I felt safe getting on. Not very long after that he was retired from the teaching arena; and now he's joined the lovely black Velvet, laid to rest out in the meadow at White Buffalo Farm. Rest in peace, Phoenie!
horse in a stall
funny Phoenix at White Buffalo
Anthea Kawakib
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Saturday, August 23, 2014

swinging your hips is not just for dancing!

What does walking really feel like?

I'm excited! When I got home after physical therapy yesterday I tried the "new walk".
One of my therapists had previously told me that I wasn't "swinging my hips" when I walked, that instead I was limping; that is, carrying my weight in my upper torso and shifting it from side to side, instead of my hips.
When he told me that, I did try shifting my weight from side to side in my hips, but my leg didn't feel strong enough to carry my full weight, as each leg has to do when you walk.
The feedback I get from this particular therapist is spot on and helps me be aware of how my body is moving. He showed me again that I was dropping my hip while walking instead of stabilizing all the muscles around the hip. My leg was too tired at his office to really work well, but when I got home I tried it again.
And finally I did it - the muscles in my leg DID feel strong enough to support my weight while walking - though I can only do it for a short time before getting tired and sore.
It's been such a long time since I could walk that way! It feels pretty amazing, let me tell you. It actually feels "right"!

Body-Mind Consciousness

When a hip joint begins to deteriorate the muscles get sore from trying to stabilize the joint; and the body starts compensating to avoid that pain, almost without conscious thought. The body has a mind of its own, and it doesn't like sharp pains - it'll do whatever it has to in order to avoid them! And that's how limping starts. In fact, "avoiding pain" starts to filter every movement the body makes so that before long, your entire movement vocabulary changes.
It's kind of interesting to watch my performance and how-to videos just prior to surgery; when you know my hip is not working right you can see me compensating for it; but I have to say, I think I do a pretty good job of compensating!

Hello Again Hips!

So now I'm becoming aware of what it means, and feels like, to move "normally" again. Yes, I'm trying to "swing my hips" now when I walk, though when I get tired, I start to limp - then the cane comes out. That will only be for a short time though.
Every day is a learning experience as I get acquainted with my hip muscles again! It's pretty cool, because I enjoy learning, and I can't wait to dance again - in a couple of months.... I know it will feel so different!
hips motion gif
bellydance students swinging their hips
Anthea Kawakib
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Monday, August 11, 2014

Post-op at Pennsic!

"No sh*t, there I was..." at Pennsic!
2 months post-op I was able to go camp and teach at this yearly event after all, thanks to the help of many amazing people.

Last Saturday (a week ago) we had the Sequins and Shimmies fundraiser show here in Fredericksburg (more on that later); then Sunday I half rested, half supervised the packing of the truck. This year I took LESS stuff than ever, something I'm really happy about! Even so, it was a lot of work for my hubby to get my camping gear out of storage and into the truck by himself. He's so strong!

I had warned my Orluk Oasis campmates that if I did actually come I'd need a LOT of help, and they said "no problem" - so on Monday, with the truck all loaded up, I took a chance and started off!

The long trip wasn't bad, that's something I'd been concerned about, having to sit in the truck for so long; but it was fine. When I finally got down to camp Baris, Carla, and Kumo unloaded my stuff, set up my new tent, new cot, air mattress, and everything else.
I had managed to find a cot that was high enough (with the air mattress) so I didn't break my bending precautions; and the tent is tall enough to stand and walk around in.
I also had a new hard-seat chair to use so my hips didn't slide together as they would have in those folding cloth camp chairs.

Of course I did not go out of camp very much! I did manage to walk up to the Middle Eastern Tent for my Tribal Odyssey class on Wednesday; where Siyala helped me teach several combinations with finger cymbals. My good dance friend and fellow teacher Rajni of Orluk came as well, and helped lead the students. It was also a treat to have the amazing Neefa of Khafif (and also an Orlukian sister) in class too.

So, after standing up for the hour (no chairs in the tent), I walked back to camp, had lunch and rested for a while. But not for long, because it was the day of the Middle Eastern and World Dance Expo! And with my student Siyala set to perform her FIRST EVER SOLO I had to be there - plus she had no music with her, and I wanted to help drum. She totally rocked her number, to live drumming. I'm so proud of her! Here she is dancing while Malik, Mark Cheater, and I drum.
drumming and dancing onstage
Siyala dancing at Pennsic 

The lovely Rajni also performed one of my favorite pieces, the Funky Dance Combos to Arabic rhythms, playing finger cymbals to our live drumming too! Here is Rajni dancing and playing cymbals while Siyala, Mark Cheater and I back her with Arabic rhythms.
middle eastern dance expo at pennsic
Rajni dancing at the Expo 

I was backstage during sister Orlukian Kaheena's Tunisian Duet with Bambi, but here's a photo of this audience favorite:
folkloric dancers
Kaheena and Bambi, Tunisian Duet at the Expo

What fun! My Orluk sister Shakti and I were lucky enough to catch bus rides for the Expo trip, with a stop at Cafe Merhaba for refreshment afterwards. So it was an amazing and wonderful day!

The rest of the week was just resting, visiting, noshing, and enjoying camp life with my crazy, wonderful buddies. On Saturday I packed my gear again, several of our strong Orluk men pitched in to pack my truck, and I came home much happier and healthier than when I arrived.

Although I wasn't able to keep up with my physical therapy exercise routine while camping (it was tiring enough just getting around), I did get stronger from all the exertion. When I first got to camp I was still using a crutch all the time, but mid-week I began taking a few steps without it; and by the end of the week I could walk without assistance for about 20 yards or so; just not very gracefully! Actually, I lurched around kind of like Frankenstein, but whatever!

Words can't even describe how grateful I am to everyone for helping me get to Pennsic, teach, and even get to the Dance Expo; without the help of so many wonderful people it would have been impossible. ORLUK ROCKS!
campers in front of Orluk gate
campers from Orluk Oasis, Roman Road, w10, Pennsic

(Note: the Funky Dance Combos are available to learn online here)
Anthea Kawakib, also known as Atesh
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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

sometimes a crutch is okay

I need a crutch and it's okay!

Tomorrow, I'm seven weeks post-op, and yesterday I had my first physical therapy session as an outpatient. It's in the same place and with the same therapist as after my first hip replacement. He said I wasn't really too far behind my post-op progress from 2010. I was really glad to hear that! I told him my goal was to be walking without assistance next week... and he said that was ambitious, but he didn't rule it out - so, GREAT!

Because my hand, wrist, and shoulder are sore from using the walker and cane, he recommended trying a crutch. I still have my crutches from last time (my first THR happened after a riding accident and I had to use crutches in between the accident and surgery) so I've started using a crutch most of the time now. At least my arm is hurting in a different place!

So today I actually went down to the basement again - second time in almost two months - to start rejuvenating my poor studio! It's a bit slow going using only one arm but at least I feel like I'm doing something.
We have a big show in Fredericksburg the weekend after next ("Sequins and Shimmies") and then, inshallah, I'll be heading up to Pennsic. I've been working on the show for weeks so today I treated myself to dragging out my storage boxes of Pennsic garb and beginning to think about my yearly trip to Orluk... If I can get around well enough, and feel up to the long car trip, it will be my 24th year - an even two dozen. So I have my fingers crossed! Please send me some good energy to help me on my way. Some of my Orluk family:

Anthea Kawakib
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Friday, July 11, 2014

here's a bright spot!

Even though I'm still using a walker at 5 weeks post-op, the "Sequins and Shimmies" show gives me something to look forward to: Facebook Event Page

Each day I am getting stronger - it gives me a sense of wonderment when I think about it. A little effort on a regular basis makes a world of difference!
I saw the Doctor yesterday and he wants me to continue as I have been, but at least he did clear me for driving, and for using a quad-cane when I'm comfortable with it. I don't feel stable enough to use a regular cane yet.
But as I said, I'm getting stronger every day so just have to keep at it. If dance students realized how "magically" their skills would improve with a short practice segment every other day, what amazing progress they'd see!
Just dance a little every day or so with an eye toward clean technique! That's the magic formula for becoming a better dancer!

One day at a time...

Anthea Kawakib
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Thursday, July 3, 2014

a longer recovery...

Whiney and depressed!
I've just been reading the beginning of this blog, back to when I had my first THR, just to see how similar this experience is to the first time. 
And, this time things are going slower. Oh well! I'm a bit disappointed but just have to deal with it. Actually I'm kind of down about it but... I'm sure it'll work out fine in the end. 
My leg hurts today, I guess where the metal is in the bone; sitting in the car going to class last night seemed to catch it right at a tender spot. 
I'm tired and depressed! 
It's just one of those days... 

Anthea Kawakib

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Friday, June 20, 2014

2 weeks post-op, again!

I have plenty of physical restrictions, but they're temporary.

I saw my Dr. yesterday for my first follow-up visit, and am disappointed at longer restrictions than I expected, but he's the boss of me in this case! I can't drive, I have to continue to use the walker, and to wear the daggone leg thingie at night. It looks like this:
hip replacement leg apparatus
what I wear at night
It keeps me from rolling over or crossing my legs, which could dislocate my new hip joint.

I also reread my first several posts here when I was post-op my first THR 4 years ago, and saw that I hurt myself by doing too much.
So I'll play it super safe this time.
I did get rides to classes this week, and it was awkward and tiring, but I enjoyed being '"in belly dance class" again, so very much!
Some students will be over tonight to prepare for the Hafla that's happening next week as well. This is my medical expenses fundraiser. I already owe way more than I've raised through donations... but I'll continue to be optimistic and hope for the best.

Can YOU share my fundraising site with your network? Maybe there's an Angel out there for me: Anthea's Hip
If you're near Fredericksburg, VA you're more than welcome to come enjoy the evening with us and experience a real belly dance party with drumming, dancing, games and a raffle. If you can't come yourself, please tell your friends:
Anthea's Hip Hafla - fundraising event:
Saturday June 28, 4 - 7pm.Kabab City Restaurant
10681 Spotsylvania Ave, Fredericksburg, VA 22408
Any donation for a ticket: Hip Hafla tickets
Facebook event: Hip Hafla

Anthea Kawakib
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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

just another challenge...

It seems crazy that I'd dance when actually pretty disabled! 

The video in the post below is from only a little over a month ago - I could barely use my left hip! That means I couldn't really use it well for balance, or for articulating movements on the other side, my right hip. Yet I'm dancing. 

I think there's something about some performers that just makes us do it no matter what. Is it crazy? I don't know - but the thing is, NO ONE HAS ANY IDEA HOW HARD IT WAS TO DANCE! Yet there I am performing - who can explain it!

That's what "the show must go on" means, right? You don't give up easy. And that's exactly what makes recovery from surgery easier too! 

So here's to having whatever it is that makes us go on in the face of difficulties. I'm so thankful I'm "one of those" types of performers.

Anthea Kawakib
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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Tomorrow, people!

Tomorrow, people!

At this time tomorrow I'll have a sweet new hip - YAY!

Sure has been a busy few days trying to get my office work done so I can relax for a few - like I have a choice! haha
Yesterday I had a nice long phone chat with my old friend Shawkat (who gave me my Arabic dance name "Kawakib" long, long ago - at El Cid nightclub in fact). It was great talking about old times, and how the dance scene is going nowadays - because he's still playing for dancers! Way to go Shawkat, and Nazira - who plays great sagat accompaniment to his oud. It just happened that I'd gotten his new CD in the mail a few days ago, it's available on Amazon. It's a must for dancers who want to learn to dance to live music; you can hear the audience in the background a little, and hear how Shawkat encourages the dancers and audience. Just like being in the club!

And on the horizon...

What I'm looking forward to now is seeing everybody at my Hip Hafla fundraiser! Got a pretty flyer done at least, but my PRISM Dancers will have to do some of the organizing... I'm excited!

See you on the other side!

Anthea Kawakib
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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

one week to go!

Surgery is next week.

I'm starting to feel a little rushed but am trying to keep it together and get things done.
My medical expenses fundraiser is creeping up bit by bit, but there's still far to go. Please share it with your friends, it's sure to help!
There are trades and incentives for donations - from books to videos to online coaching!

I am SO looking forward to having two working hips again!

Anthea Kawakib
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Tuesday, May 13, 2014


I've started on the road to a hip replacement, again.

But, under slightly different circumstances than before...

Four years ago at this time, I was a month out from surgery and enjoying life again! Hospital, doctor, physical therapy and other medical bills were coming in and we were paying them, no problem. 

How different things are now: unless we get crowdfunding to pay for this surgery, I'll be limping around forever. That's harsh. 

This hip, my left one, is going bad faster than the other one did; and I know I don't want to suffer like that again. I've started the process to get surgery in just a few weeks (in early June), so I can be fully recuperated before winter. I'm so looking forward to dancing again!!! 

So all I can focus on now is this crowdfunding project: Anthea's Hip
Please share this with your network and friends - you never know who can help!

In the last few years I've seen other artists crowdfund their artistic projects, like DVDs, books, even tours, and thought, "wow - I could've done that for my booklets, videos, and audio cds - why didn't I think of that!?" 
I would've never thought of that - but it DID inspire to start a project like that to help me pay for this operation; since our insurance is about as useful as my hip is now! If you want the gory details our crappy insurance, it's on that site above, and I'm posting updates there too.

If you have any suggestions, comments, or ideas, please let me know!
photo of fundraising postcard
Project THR fundraiser
Anthea Kawakib
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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

I'm still dancing, but...

What Will the Summer Bring?

Maybe, a new body part.

We've had a busy Spring in Fredericksburg with lots of dancing: our Food Drive Hafla, a couple of local workshops, and shows.
pre-performance selfie
Ready for the Hafla
Dancing always makes me happy, it's my passion and my life.
But, it's becoming physically harder for me to continue as my "other hip" (the left one) wears out.
My titanium hip is great though!
Four years ago I had no choice but to get the right hip replaced; this time I can see the writing on the wall and know that by this time next year, my left hip would be too bad to use; it actually seems to be wearing out faster than the other one did. So that means a Big Decision.
I vote YES, let's do it!
The problem is that our insurance has changed, and not for the better. It appears that I may have to look at crowd-funding to make up the difference in lost income and out of pocket medical expenses. This is a shocker to me, but I'll get over it.
If you'd like to see what dancing with a worn out hip looks like, it's probably evident on my latest videos (does that stop me? No.). Perhaps it's not noticeable unless you're a dancer, I'm not sure; but my balance is off because my hip isn't stable - that is, it's sliding around in the hip socket. Eww!
Take a look at this video I filmed yesterday and see what I mean:
Of course I'll keep dancing and teaching, that's what I do. And coaching is another love of mine, as is writing.

My dancers understand and support my decision about surgery; they're even behind me in planning to use our annual Recital as a fundraising event for "Project THR".
My next steps are to find out which crowd funding options are the best for my situation, as I know next to nothing about them, outside of having seen quite a few Kickstarters on my Facebook timeline in the past year or so!
I welcome any input or suggestions if you have experience with raising money; please comment or email me your tips.

Aside from all this, life goes on - dancing, teaching, and yes, horseback riding!

Make A Connection?

Let's be social - I love connecting on Facebook and Google+ !

Anthea Kawakib
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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

quiet interlude between events!

Reflecting and Redirecting

The improvisation workshop before the holidays went well and I enjoyed meeting and working with two local dance students who were new to me; as well as two of my regular students. I love how my students come and support my events, even if it's a topic that they have studied before!
After our exciting show with the PRISM Dancers on New Year's Eve, I've had some time to regroup and plan for 2014. We're starting our regular belly dance schedule this week, with regular classes starting downtown and the PRISM Rehearsal Club once again on track. We'll have new topics in class; and new performances to prepare for as well.

February promises excitement!

In early February I'm hosting a Candle Dance workshop; and later in the month a Tribal Hafla Food Drive.
I'm really looking forward to both. February sounds like a magic month already!
I'd also like to offer a class on the Chakra Isolations, but haven't decided when or where yet.
All these events are open to dancers; and of course the Hafla is open to the public. We can always use another performer or three, so stay in touch and if you would like to dance, let me know.
Connect with my PRISM Dancers page on G+ to keep track of our events. We love connecting with dancers!

Will we see you at one of our events? I hope so!
Anthea Kawakib
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