Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Pursuit of Happyness

Over the past 7 years, Shab and I have been together. Mostly happily, sometimes not. Since we'll be taking a big step forward together, I thought I'd take the time recap the successes that I've seen in her life during that time.

Bellydance Classes
About 5 years ago, Shab took the initiative to begin offering bellydance classes. She was a great dancer and a compassionate teacher so we both figured it would be a good idea. In her first month she had 10 students. Since then, because of the success of her reduced class sizes and training format, she's been able to move her classes to a much larger space.

Bellydance Competitions
If you've read this blog or my other site you're probably aware of all of the titles Shabnam has won. Bellydancer of the Year, Bellydancer of the Universe, People's Choice Winner in the People's Choice Competition, Double Crown Performer of the Year, and the list goes on. And did I mention she designs and hand sews most of her costumes?

Shab at Rakkasah

Shab at Tribal Fest

However, as difficult as individual awards are to win, Shab has also choreographed duet and troupe performances to victories in some of the same competitions. Her troupe Ooh La La and duet partnership with Mandanah, Petite Jolie, have won or placed second in almost every competition they've entered.

Ooh La La in Northern California

Ooh La La in San Francisco

Ooh La La at Bellydancer of the Year - Performing as the Reigning Champs

Queen of the Bay
With a lot of help from Shabnam's troupe and her students, as well as having major contributors in photography, videography, and at the MC post, Shab and I were able to put on a very successful Queen of the Bay Bellydance Competition and Show earlier this year. With the beautiful Zahara winning the competitioin, and with stellar performances by Shab, her troupe, former troupe members, and other top local dancers that inaugural event went well both financially and as pure entertainment.

The Pursuit of Happyness
I met Shab on the set of my friend's move "Pizza" (what's up B.Moss!!!). When I heard her audition I was blown away. She got the part. A couple of years ago I think she may have had the same effect on the casting director's of Will Smith's upcoming movie, The Pursuit of Happyness. A story about Chris Gardner's struggle for success under some harsh circumstances. Shab got a speaking role in a scene with Will Smith as the "hooker with a heart". We don't know if the scene made it to the final film, but when it opens up Christmas day, we'll find out with everyone else.

Hangin' @ the Filoli Gardens

What's particularly fitting about this movie is that when I first met Shab, she was the same type of struggling unrecognized super talent, and she's proven to have the same resilience and tenacity of her co-star and the gentleman he's representing on screen.