Breaking news: Shimmy in the City is CANCELLED

Shimmy in the CityWhat the title says. You can read the full statement in their website.

To say that I am disappointed would be an understatement. I booked myself for another workshop with Khaled very nearly the moment the bookings opened, and for the shows soon afterwards. The reason why this is making me rather angry is because, being non-British, I’ve not only had my run-ins with the Home Office, but also because as a consequence of those run-ins, I have, in the past, studied the Immigration Act rather *closely*, and there’s very little I can think of that justifies what they appeared to have done. Unless of course -and this is 100% pure personal speculation- whomever looked at the applications decided that the dancers were really not intending to go back. Without looking at their careers, they probably saw “dancers” and decided this was an euphemism for something else, or they’d be unemployed/unemployable, which is of course a crock of bull. And what if they didn’t want to go back to what appear to be escalating to -or most definitely is, in the case of Yasser- a country torn by civil war? would that have been *that* bad, considering they all have international careers and would have been able to find plenty of work teaching all over the world, if they had wanted to stay here until things calmed down? They have skills, talent, they would be easily be able to settle here and perform all over and pay taxes within the UK. Hey, they often let American actors do it, they let Madonna do it, why not them? Alas, that’s not for me to decide.

What worries me the most is the impact this cancellation will have on the future of the festival. I have only been introduced to Khaled, haven’t really talked to him, but I am friends with people that consider him a dearest friend. It concerns me that Charlotte and Sheila and him have been planning this for a year, have had hotel, catering, workshop facilities booked… and now nothing will happen. It concerns me that there are dancers from outside of the UK -and some from within- that booked travel and accommodation and will now have far less than they expected. The Festival is a great way for UK people to find out more about Middle Eastern culture, it promotes tolerance and understanding. Apparently those values are no longer important for some bureaucrats. And I don’t blame the organisers a bit, but I do blame the Home Office, for their intransigent, miopic, tick-box approach to what is a complex issue.

My thoughts are with Khaled, Sheila and Charlotte, and I hope they come out of this as unscathed as possible.
And I do hope I never have to write something like this again.

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