Monday, September 26, 2005

My Name is Kelbeh

Recently, Ella told me to look at a particular dancer's, let's called her Yukhnee (it's kind of an enormous Lebanese pot roast), website as she described it as being particularly softporn-like. Amused & alarmed in equal measures, I clicked into the fray.

I saw a few faces I recognised ... but what I did not recognise were the names. Suddenly, peeps I had known by some Chinese or English name were suddenly called some pseudo-middle eastern names like Avaya or Khara or Ibn e Halbwit. It was hilarious and reminded me of a very funny story one of my favourite teachers told me.

Mahmoud Reda had been in town a while ago and (I say this with the fullest respect and confidence that I am right) he is truly deserving of his title as Grandmaster to all dancers and teachers. I have never been in as much awe and like of a teacher as this incredibly gracious, generous and phenomenally talented man. The fact that he tells some of the funniest stories helps too.

At a dinner, Ser forced and prodded me to tell Mahmoud a funny encounter I had a while ago that truly demonstrated some of the ridiculous behaviour some dancers get up to. I was a bit shy (shaddup peeps! I am TOO shy!) and hesitant to tell my story but I finally caved.

A while ago, a particularly unbalanced dancer (no, no .. not BB .. another unbalanced dancer) we shall call CP, got me to perform at a show with her and another dancer. She doesn't like me much but is forced to get me to perform because her clients insist so let's say it's tense ... very tense. After an evening of my ignoring her snipes, she finally lost it ...

"What's your stage name, Stephanie? Give it to me so I can give it to the MC," CP said.

Huh? Stage name? What stage name?

"Like my true name is Asinin and Cindy (the second most painfully Chinese person I have ever seen after CP) is Salamander. So what's yours? Hurry up and stop wasting time!"

Woah ... chill, MsMyRealNameIsAsinin ... flabberghasted & trying really hard not to crack up, I just muttered, "Er .. OK .. my name is ... Stephanie ..."

"No .. no .. you must have a stage name!" CP was almost beside herself.

"Er ... OK .. my stage name is .. Stephanie ... "

"Will you stop saying OK! Fine, if you don't want to use a stage name, then you are just going to look stupid!"

"Er ... OK ..." I am sooo trying not to crack up now.

Come on!! I have enough problems remembering my own name without confusing myself and cracking peeps up with a The Artist Formerly Known as Clueless act! I did not spend years building a cache in my *gasp* real name in order to play diva. It was incredibly hard restraining myself from rolling my eyes out of their sockets that night.

Anyway, I tell Mahmoud Reda this story and we are just pissing ourselves laughing. He then told me a cracker of a story that totally validated my decision not to make an Asinin of myself.

He had gone to the US and a whole horde of women turned up for his workshop in full middle eastern costume and makeup! Classic! And then a bold American woman introduced herself.

"Hi, my name is Kelbeh."

Double take, eyes widened, stifled laughter ... "What was your name again?"

"Kelbeh, Mr Reda," the woman announced breezily.

"How did you get this name?"

"Oh, an Arabic man gave me that name," the very Caucasian lady announced.

"Really ... did you know it means Bitch?"


I was wiping the tears from my cheeks.

Anyway, looking at Yukhnee's website and her students, I remember that conversation with Mahmoud Reda. I so wished he was right there with me as we would have gotten a real kick out of it.

You know, these ladies would have been better off celebrating their individuality and uniqueness instead of denying their identity and pretending to be something they will never be accepted as. Worse, they do not even realise when they are actually offending the people they are pretending to be. I have realised that they would much prefer it - in fact respect and understand it more - if we respected and paid tribute to their culture instead of pretending that we were from it when we are obviously not.

The line is always fine but please ... some dignity please, ladies. At least find out what your names are supposed to mean. Just one wrong spelling or a vindictive person taking the mickey could mean something totally hilarious or obscene.

"My name is Kelbeh ... I live on the clueless floor ... I live in ignorance about you ... guess I've seen you laugh at me before ... lalalalalala .... "

Categories - Rambling Prose


Blogger 3A Gurl said...

you are the best, girlfriend...still laughing, tears in eyes...

12:42 pm  

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