Is your dream too big, or just the right size?

This weekend before last I was so thrilled to be a part of the Harlem Hafla, a first of its kind showcase for Black+ bellydance in NYC, hosted by Brandy Heyward. When Brandy told me she was going to hold this event, I imagined maybe a few dancers that would be very nice and enjoyable, but probably not much different from other events I had been to. Boy, was I wrong.  Boy was I happy to be wrong!  
What transpired was a day of classes and a gala dance showcase that was truly impressive.  Every detail was lovingly attended to–despite lost luggage, missing assistants, and all the many mishaps that love to crop up for a live event.  Thank Goddess Brandy’s vision for her event was so much grander than mine was for it. 
This is why it is so important to be able to hold on to your dream and allow it to be as big and wonderful as you can imagine.  If the Hafla had been what I had imagined, it probably would have been a one and done idea, not an event for which the next year is already being planned.  
This is the problem with trying to go with something safe and manageable rather than expansive.  When you don’t put your full energy into what you are doing, or play it small out of fear you won’t be able to pull it off, you dampen the full impact of what you are doing. Besides, this is just another example of toe dipping–holding back out of fear or doubt, which just diminishes your energy and enthusiasm–and everyone else’s.​​​​​​​
Here are lessons I took from the Hafla:
1.  If it’s not being done, do it yourself–
Toni Morrison said she started her first book because she wanted to read it. One of the greatest idea generators and sources of inspiration can come from noting what services or programs are not available to you or your community.  Part of Brandy’s motivation for the Hafla was the fact that many bellydancers (or practitioners of raks sharqui) of color were being ignored by the majority bellydance community.  So if sisters weren’t doing it for themselves it wouldn’t get done.  
2.  Be inclusive–
Make everyone welcome. On the program there were dancers of all colors, shapes, sizes, ages and genders.  Most were practitioners of raks sharqui, but some were not.  I was completely inspired not only to continue my dance journey but to perform.  I will definitely invite you to my dance debut!
3. Work your ass off–
When something is your baby, there are no excuses, nobody else to put the blame on.  All is on your shoulders, so make sure you have the vision, the heart and the drive to pull off your endeavor.  This is true whether you are planning a program, staffing a show, marketing an MLM–whatever.  It’s on you, to hold to your standards of quality, care, creativity and value.  Aspire higher, not just do the minimum to squeak by.  Make people love what you do so they keep coming back for more.


I’ve had the idea to put on an event for women for a long time.  I’ve even told you about it before and for one reason or another it hasn’t come off. But I have been inspired to do my own damn thing.  Save the date NOVEMBER 4 for me.  More details to follow!

2 Responses so far.

  1. deesavoy says:

    Glad you liked the article, Brandy. I can’t wait for the next Harlem Hafla!!!

  2. Brandy says:

    Thank you for this wonderful article, Dee! It was as much of a pleasure to have you at Harlem Hafla 2017 and, yes! Harlem Hafla 2018 is already on the calendar. See you, then!

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