Why is Nicole suddenly front page news ... bellydancing?
In my own words....
As many of you already know, when I'm not on the air on News for the Soul Radio, I'm probably somewhere bellydancing - performing at events solo or with my student troupe "Shimmy for the Soul".
I recently had auditioned - and got in - to a big bellydance show in February featuring Aubre Hill which was later cancelled due to low workshop registrations. I had been super excited about unveiling my double sword solo there and have been working very hard on it for months. Later that same week, I noticed a flyer in Langley advertising a call for auditions for 'Langley Has Talent' - a Rotary fund raiser that is raising $$ to build a muchly needed entertainment venue for Langley B.C. And it was happening around the same time as the Aubre Hill show was set to happen so the timing was perfect.
After a bit of back of forth emails with one of the organizers to ensure I was qualified to enter, I filled out and faxed in my audition application which was accepted later that day. I was told I'd be receiving my audition date and time via email soon. I was excited.
There were a couple of follow up emails asking about what I'd be doing and specifically what I'd be "doing with my swords" and when I explained, the response was "Ok excellent!! Very cool!!". And that is a direct quote. [I literally copy-pasted out of the original email.]
Several days passed and then I suddenly received the following email:
So bad news Nicole :(
CLA (the church we use for the performances)...is not comfortable with belly dancing in the church. In an effort to not waste your time, we have to ask you to withdraw. I'm really sorry about this. Believe me, I fought!
Please let me know once you receive this. This is totally why we need a theatre in Langley!!!
My initial response to them was simply:::
Wow that is really really lame.
But over the next 24 hours, it really started to bother me. The whole thing was just wrong.
The next day I made 2 calls, inquiring if this was a by-law issue. It just didn't seem right.
It seemed very discriminatory. The fact that they did not mention, nor ask about anything regarding 'skin' or style of dress - none of that was even mentioned at all until later. I was just outright banned willy nilly with no good reason whatsoever ... and that simply wasn't right.
So I made 2 calls to reporters, so that they could check into the legality of the situation - one to a Langley paper [Langley Advance] and one to a bigger media outlet [The Province]. I figured between the two, we'd be able to get to the bottom of things.
The front page story and subsequent Langley coverage were the result.
I appreciate everyones comments, support and dialogue around the story.
I'm going to be hosting a hafla event in Langley on Sunday February 23rd 2014 - I'll be performing the 'banned double sword solo" and many great local bellydancers will come and perform. Please feel free to share this event info - hopefully people will choose to come see for themselves before prejudging the amazing world of bellydance - the details are all here: http://www.shimmyforthesoul.com/hafla.html
Nicole Marie Whitney
Founder / Producer / Host - News for the Soul Radio
and proud Bellydancer / Choreographer at Shimmy for the Soul Bellydance.