A few Novembers ago, upon realizing that I had no contract for the remainder of the dance season, I reluctantly, annoyedly moved back to my family’s home in Virginia. A ballet job hadn’t worked out for various reasons and I chose to leave mid-season. No part of me was proud or excited to move back home, to take up my job teaching at a local dance studio again, to reluctantly catch up over coffee with the people from my high school who never left our town. However, I forced myself to see this unexpected lull in my dance career as a time allotted to me in order that I may develop my other talents, pursue my other goals.
I decided to start taking classes at the university in my hometown, concluding that I might as well reawaken the academic in me while the dancer nursed her ego. The University of Mary Washington is a small, liberal arts school that was originally a women’s college. It sits on the edge of the historical downtown area of my hometown- Fredericksburg, Virginia. There, I decided to embark upon a new linguistic journey and begin learning Arabic. The reasons behind this choice aren’t really profound; Arabic had intrigued me as a language and culture for some time. With Middle Eastern conflicts dominating global news for my entire life, I foresaw Arabic fluency as an asset to a vast array of future, post-dance, professional endeavors.