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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in ishtara's LiveJournal:

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Tuesday, May 8th, 2012
11:09 am
No dance class this term
It feels odd.

It was only 7 weeks long. I missed the first two do to being on the family trip of a life time. May has become the new June. June used to be insane as all kinds of programs (for kids and some for us) were ending and needed a closing ceremony/party/recital. Now more stuff is ending in May. The result is that May is now insane. Between missing most of the classes, the complete pain in the ass that is registering for a class after it has started, and the May insanity, I just can't.

I will have to email my teacher and ask if I can perform at her end of term party.
Sunday, February 5th, 2012
3:05 pm
Class back on
Let that be a lesson to me. I am usually lazy about registering for Jauhara's class. I do it a week or a few days before. It started Feb. 1. I could have registered in January, but we were paying off Christmas and then there were other unexpected expenses. The weekend I was going to do it, I got an email from Jauhara to everyone saying the class was canceled.

She had to call back and we all had to specially register with this one board employee. After days of is it on, is it not on, it was finally back on as of January 31. (whew!)

I have to start doing a better job of registering for classes earlier.
Wednesday, December 7th, 2011
3:33 pm
End of Term party - November 2011
Joan's dance party was November 23. Our class dance went well. It was Raks Africa which we did for the third time in three years. (Spring 2009 and then in Spring 2010 as a second dance in addition to our class dance.) Since it was our third time, I hope it would be amazing.

More than our class dance this time, I was proud of my solo, or rather trio. I had Jamila and Wardah dance with me. I used "Eyes Like Yours" by Shakira. We had about 30 seconds of group choreography at the beginning and then it was improv solos:

-Jamila with veil
-Wardah with stick
-Me with Isis wings
-Wardah with tamborine
-Jamila with stick
-Wardah with veil
-Jamila with my fans

They each got to use 2 props. The solos were short. In the case of Wardah and tamborine, it was really short since she couldn't grasp doing some kind of move while holding it and just stodd there playing it. She managed okay with stick and veil. She is only 6. People thought she was cute anyway.

I got to use my Isis wings which came on the 17th! I used the blue ones which are a stunning colour. The bad thing was that I breifly got tangled in them since I'd never turned with them before as my family room isn't big enough for that. Oh well. :) People were mostly stunned at the wings and it happened so fast that I was tangled and got out that I don't think it's what people took away from it. The horrible part was that I had a doctor's appointment the day before. I needed a tetnus shot. I specficially asked if I should come back another time since I had a performance the next night. He dismissed my concern. Wednesday, it hurt to move my arm to shoulder hight. I sucked it up for our veil dance and class dance and using the wings, but I could really only do the arm shimmy to make them flutter on my right side.

The big success of the night was Jamila. I worked with her on her props. I worked with her on still moving her hips and legs to do dance moves with the prop and not just stand there moving the prop. All of a sudden, a few days before the performance, it clicked. Her dancing was so much more mature than it ever has been. Her movements were smaller and more isolated. She outdanced some of the beginners in Joan's beginner classes. I am so proud of her.

It was a great night. I can't wait for next term. I've been told (by fellow classmates) to work up a solo with Isis wings. We'll see. I have sword and flying veils to do solos with too.
Sunday, August 21st, 2011
10:12 pm
MED at Pennsic
I wanted to go to a class a day, but some days this didn't work as there were no classes that weren't beginner, or culture, or for men. And I slept in and missed a class or two

Saturday - Maqsum Madness

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Sunday - Fun and Folkloric Saiidi

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Tuesday - Belly Dance for Children

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Tuesday was also the Middle Eastern Dance Exhibition. I didn't dance this year. I missed the first hour due to another class. The acts I caught were good, although I think I enjoyed the dancers at the hafla more. It all made me want to do that tribal DVD more often and really learn more in this area.

Wednesday - Bharatha Natyam and Intro to Fanveils

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I bought myself a tribal bra and matching necklace. I'm annoyed at myself because I later saw it somewhere else for $20 less. I broke my cardinal rule of not buying something the first day until everything hat been priced out. It might need some adjusting too. I wore it over a black top twice and both times it slipped enough that I was glad I'd worn it over something and not on it's own. It's not necessarily a bad purchase because this was the third Pennsic I'd looked for one and at least this one fits me cup wise. I just may need to add more straps to get it securely on, especially if I want to ever wear it solo.

I also bought 2 dances tops at a really good price (so that mostly makes up for the $20 I could have saved.) The kids each bought a dance belt.

Saturday night I went to a hafla/concert. The drummer leading it had his band perform 2 songs. Then they brought out in turn 3 dancers who each did a 2 or 3 song set. This took about an hour. After that, it was a jam session where anyone who brought an instrument could play with his band and anyone could get up to dance. It was my first real hafla at Pennsic. Because they usually happen in private camps, you sort of have to know people to get invited to stuff. Because this one was in the Middle Eastern tent, it was listed as an activity and open to everyone.

I had so much fun dancing. However, it illustrated the fact that I do not know how to improv or what to do with myself for a whole song, much less an hour or two. Again, I had fun which is the main point, but I also realize that no one watching me would have thought that I'm one of the better ones in Jauhara's class. I'm not sure how to fix this lack of improv skills either.
Monday, June 20th, 2011
6:28 pm
Sleep Isabella
Our class this term was awesome. I guess I finally made peace with the school board screwing us over by creating the beginner/intermediate/advanced class, when the other 2 schools got separated beginner/intermediate and intermediate/advanced classes. I think Joan scared off all the true beginners last term so that we only had people with a few terms under their belts.

I loved the music. I loved the choreography. Liz and I got to be the two who led the splitting of the circle into lines and I had most of the semi-beginners in my circle when we made 2 circles. It kept me on my game and that was good. Other than my had falling off in the dance, I didn't screw it up.

I also did a solo, well a trio. I had asked Wardah (Rose in Arabic) to do the Kiss Kiss choreography with me. Her sister didn't want to be in it. Then she realized that if she wasn't in it that Wardah might wear her pink costume and no one can wear her pink costume. So, she joined us in learning it just to wear her costume. In the end, she mostly synched with me, while Wardah did about 20% of the moves. These kids are proof that if you're cute people will forgive a lack of talent. :)

Tara danced a solo for the first time and it was amazing!

Still haven't danced since the last time I posted. I'm hoping things start settling down at home and I can dance more. This term and the party re-inspired me.
Thursday, July 22nd, 2010
11:46 pm
Spring recap
Horrible blogger.

After Christmas, we did a Cleopatra dance. The theme was old music - new choreography. Joan took old music, like from cassette tape, got it on her iPod. We had this music that sounded like a 1950's musical score for Egypt. Our dance was impressive because even though the moves were simple, we were so in sync.

April-June, we did part II of the Cleopatra dance which went a ton faster. We also brought back Raks Africa.


I couldn't get a solo together for the party in April, even though I'd promised. So, I substituted in my kids improv with props thing from Practicum. Grace, Avalon, and Karen's daughter all performed.


I did my solo in June. I screwed up one move, but substituted in a hip circle. I'm not sure anyone noticed. I forgot how much fun it was to perform. I want to see if I can do it again at Christmas.
Tuesday, December 1st, 2009
3:42 pm
Fall recap
Jauhara's class was awesome.

Our class dance wasn't my favourite. She gave her 3 advanced classes dances that came from Spain, India, and Hungary. It was supposed to be the progression of Middle Eastern as cultures intermixed and the fusions between. We had the Hungarian-gypsy one. We did well though. We were the class that totally nailed it.

The end of class party was really small this year. Due to scheduling, she couldn't get the space until about a week before so many people couldn't come with a week's notice. Yet, it worked out for me. I asked my husband if he wanted to come. He did and we brought the girls. Because there were a smaller number of acts (only 2 solos), it was a shorter program for the girls to sit through.

They did the 2 line dances. Grace did a better job than Avalon (7 vs. 4) Grace did most of the veil moves and got part of the drum solo. Avalon just stood there with her veil and I'm not sure what she did during the drum solo. Other dancers thought they were cute. I want to continue to work with them and do another duet with Grace and eventually a family dance.

I finally did a side camel yesterday! Sadly they were in our class dance and I'm not sure I did them last week. Maybe I did. Doing them in front of a mirror really helped. Karen joked in class that long skirts rock because they hide a variety of flaws. I have side camels in my solo. I want to work on this thing over the next two months and do it at the March party. Classes don't restart until the end of January. I really need to push myself to keep practicing and not slack off until class starts. I've come too far to lose momentum.
Sunday, September 27th, 2009
10:03 pm
Class Party + Pennsic
Thursday June 11 was Jauhara's end of year recital. Our class got to do Raks Africa. I fell in love with it when I saw it done at her class party in 2004. This year decided to almost do a "best of" show and several of her classes and students and some of her favourite solos and class dances. I'm so glad we got Raks Africa. When I saw it, I thought it was the coolest class dance ever because it had every prop and style in it.

It had 7 parts: 1) intro in the market square; 2) everyone dancing together plus 2 student solos; 3) veil' 4) cane; 5) African with tambourines; 6) Zaar; 7) ending with 2 more solos and everyone posing. I also used zills. I had them on at the beginning and zilled through parts 1 and 2 including my 32 count solos. (I was the first of the solos). I got to do parts 4 and 6.

The last time I saw it, she had a student who could juggle and she juggled while doing hip movements during the start. We had Tara who was a yoga instructor. She was doing splits and stretches at the the start while the rest of us milled about. 3 of us had daughters. Mine was 6; Christina's daughter (Robin) was 6 and Milika was 9 or 10. The kids came on at the beginning, sat for all of it and then danced with the rest of us at the end. Grace and I had a shtick at the beginning where I had to drag her on. I figured that even in middle eastern bazaars, there had to be some cranky kids who don't want to go shopping with their mothers.

She wanted our costumes to be more folkloric than tribal or cabaret. I ended up wearing my red harem pants, the multi-colour blouse I bought at Pennsic in 2001 and a black camisole (since she wanted us covered). Grace wore her striped caftan.


**********

I only managed to go to one dance class at Pennsic. I had brought my sword to take a sword balancing class but it was canceled. I was really ticked off since I was concerned about it not getting wet or damp in the tent. Fortunately, Pam hadn't parked her car and I put it in her trunk and she brought it home for me when she came back.

The class I took was a higher level zill class. I'm turning into a reasonable ziller. (Of course, I haven't practiced since Pennsic.)

Grace and I did our duet to Kiss Kiss at the Exhibition. I wore my blue outfit again and she wore her pink. I asked if we could go early in the program because I knew she would have problems waiting if we were act 27 of 30. They ended up putting us first. My husband got to see us do it! Grace was incredible given that there might have been 100 people in the audience. When we were done, we courtesied and I walked off. Unbeknown to me, Grace bowed again a few times. We almost need the proverbial Vaudeville hook to get that kid off a stage. I'm so proud of her.
Thursday, June 4th, 2009
3:08 pm
Saturday, March 21st, 2009
12:08 pm
Dance Style
The difference was changing that I liked to dance on a stage to at a party. Either's fine. They almost amount to the same thing in my head: with a group of women, taking turns performing for each other, whether on a real stage or just in the centre of a circle.


You Are Ballet
You are quite introverted. You enjoy keeping to yourself and cultivating your talents.

You are dedicated and focused. If practice makes perfect, you're willing to keep practicing.



While some people may dismiss you as boring, you can be quite edgy and interesting.

You can fit in almost anywhere... and your style ranges from conservative to funky.



You Are Belly Dancing
You are sensual and naturally sexy. Never trashy, though.

You are comfortable in your own skin. You don't have hangups about your body.



You are confident and playful. You love showing off.

You tend to be a little dominant and assertive... but only in a flirtatious way!
Thursday, February 26th, 2009
9:38 am
Sword!!
The Bazaar was Sunday. I went with my husband and both girls. I had very little cash. I bought some bargains at Rosemary's table: a sparkly black and silver top that fits Jamila as a dress (if I take it in), a blue cotton with embroidery make your own top from India (it's similar to the one I mae into the peacock blue tunic except it will more like a choli), and a bag of pearls (which I will use in the SCA if I don't in dance). I spent less than $20 will her.

I went to see the swords. I have wanted a sword for a long time. I was supposed to get one for our 11th anniversary (steel) but couldn't afford it. I wanted to show my husband so that he could buy me one for my birthday. The vendor, Ruby, is from St. Eustache. She convinced us to just buy it now and keep it for my birthday. So, I picked out the one I liked (silver with a black velvet scabbard) and tried it for balance.

It's still sinking in - I OWN a SWORD!

I will have to practice. Zamira said to get lessons. Well good luck with that. Jauhara is teaching us two routines and one involves zills. I haven't done a zill routine in years. Every teacher I've had (other than Jauhara) has taught veil or a drum solo. We are using zills only because Jauhara asked at the end of November what we wanted to do after Christmas and I said that years ago I had had to purchase multiple props when Jauhara got on a props kick. I own a stick, zills and a tambourine and had danced with none of them in years. Zills can be had for as little as $15-20. Swords cost $70. If it is this hard to get people to get zills, then I can't see a sword class being offered any time soon.

I had someone on Facebook ask for pictures of my sword. It is odd as she doesn't dance. I'm not sure if she gets that it is a balancing prop and not a fencing foil.

Halyma was awesome. Because I didn't show up to buy a sword, I didn't have the cash or my cheque book. She asked Halyma who took my credit card and will reimburse Ruby. What a wonderful person. She is the only major teacher in Ottawa, I've never taken lessons/workshops with.


I'm also really enjoying our zill routine in class. I seem to be doing the best out of the class and I don't consider myself a good zill player at all. I guess those classes at Pennsic where they made you dance while learning to zill paid off. People are able to do the class dance or zill while standing still; I feel for them. Learning to zill while dancing from the get go solves a multitude of coordination problems later.
Friday, January 30th, 2009
11:02 am
Frustrated
I'm pissed at the Ottawa School Board. First they left Jauhara's 2 Wednesday night classes out of the Continuing Ed book. They printed her other 4 and every other course by every other teacher, but not those 2. I emailed her to find out why she discontinued them because I enjoyed it so much last term. She was shocked because they were supposed to be on. The school board screwed up. They were added, but only online if you searched for them. Jauhara emailed all her students to point out the error and tell us that we could register even if it wasn't in the catalog.

I registered Monday and it was my Facebook status for 3 days - that I was thrilled to have signed up for her class again. Today, I got an email from Jauhara. Due to the error, enrollment is down. She has to combine both Wednesday night classes (the 7:30-8:30 one and 8:30-9:30). I wasn't completely sure how a Beginner/Intermediate and Intermediate/Advanced class are going to get combined. Someone is going to get overwhelmed or bored. Anyway, Jauhara wanted to know if we could be there for 7:30 or if 8:00 was a better starting time to split the difference. I emailed her back that I could not be there for 7:30. I take my daughter to an activity from 6:30-7:30 and could only get there for 8.

Less than 30 minutes after I emailed her, I got called by the school board telling me that my class has been changed to 7:30. I tried to explain to the guy that two classes were being combined and I'd just had an email while my teacher sorted out the time. He informed me that the school board has decided that the class starts at 7:30 period. I said, "Then you better give me my money back." They are refunding my credit card.

Disappointed doesn't begin to cover it. I am once again frustrated that in Canada's 4th largest city, I am unable to take a dance class. I work Tuesday and Thursday nights and those are the nights 80-90% of teachers choose to teach. By starting this course at 7:30, that extra half an hour means that every teenager and bored housewife who wants to take a beginner class because isn't it naughty and this could be a laugh for 8 weeks gets a class, but I who take this seriously (and was so excited to register that I was the one who caught the catalog error on January 2) gets screwed out of classes until April.

Current Mood: pissed off
Friday, January 23rd, 2009
4:36 pm
My daily smile
I was doing Rachel Brice's arm DVD. I called my 6 year old daughter in to show her the short performance Rachel included. She watched and then asked me if she was a real person. She thought Rachel was some kind of CGI cartoon because real people usually can't move like that.
Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008
11:40 am
Class Party
Last night was Jauhara's Class Party. She actually had 17 acts (15 minus the two line dances)Read more...Collapse )

I loved being in 3 number - well 4 because one was two dances put together. All our class dances went well. I was pissed off last week because I had learned to do the camels with the backwards "candle hands". No one else could do it because no one else had really tried. So, she changed it to forwards and I had to re-learn it - that was my reward for being the only person who worked on this choreography - I had to re-learn it. I can't remember if I did forwards or backwards cameling last night because when I tried to reverse the arm movements, I may have reversed the camels.

My duet went well. Grace had had problems getting her veil back off in only 16 counts, but she did it right last night. Everyone was so supportive of her. Everyone came up to her after the show and told her how well she did. She was the only performer who had to come in a car seat. :)

I did wear on that blue top I bought. I basically hacked up a bra that fit bandwise, but not cup wise and cut the cups open, added some padding (to push up, not make bigger) and I cut off one of the straps and converted the other to being halter style to be like the top. It was very jerry-rigged. I wore it under the top to provide side coverage since I fell out of the side not the front in dance class. I wore it for the duet and the veil dance and there were no Janet Jackson moments, so we'll call it a success. I wore it with sparkly blue harem pants for the duet; Grace was all in pink and I was all in blue.

I loved Cynthia's solo and Stephanie's. I would love to learn to do sword and I want to work on my tribal. Now that practicing class dances are over, I'm going to do my Tribal DVDs at least twice a week until classes start again. I missed a lot of Kahina's solo (due to costume changing). The part I caught had tribal elements. On the whole, everything was great. Even the beginner, beginner classes should be commended for getting up and doing it. As Joan said at the start, "Some of these dancers are professionals; some are dancing with 8 hours of instruction." I never want to be such a dance snob that I can't be supportive of people taking the risk of performing with 8 hours of class time.

One of my classmates talked about how nervous she was. I was energized to perform in front of an audience, but I wasn't the least bit nervous. Maybe that shows further evolution in myself as a dancer.
Monday, November 17th, 2008
1:19 pm
Not a surprise


Your result for The A-Muse-ing Test...

Your muse is Terpsichore!

30% Terpsichore, 20% Calliope, 0% Thalia, 10% Urania, 0% Clio, 0% Erato, 10% Euterpe, 10% Melpomene, and 20% Polyhymnia!

Terpsichore is the muse of choral song and dance. She is known as the "one who delights in dance." She is the one that rules over dance and chorus. She will give you the inspiration for grace of movement and the ability to stay on tempo.


Call upon Terpsichore when you are in need of a little grace and elegance.


Go somewhere that lets you truly shake your legs out and get rid of the blues. Take someone by the hand and just cut loose. Let the music fill you and don't think about anything. Allow yourself to just move and feel and experience the sound as it moves through you. Just be yourself as you cut loose. The freedom that Terpsichore offers through the grace of dance can fill the soul and free the spirit.


Take The A-Muse-ing Test
at HelloQuizzy

Sunday, November 16th, 2008
11:26 pm
Orion/Etude
I was amused that when I got my Award of the Orion (an SCA award) on November 8th, that one of the 6 arts categories for which they gave it to me was "belly dance". First, I almost never use the word "belly dance", preferring "Middle Eastern Dance", because belly dance has a lot of connotations. Second, I never dance in an SCA context. In fact, one of my major SCA pet peeves are the "belly bunnies" who can't seem to grasp that just because Middle Eastern Dance goes back to the middle ages, that dancing in modern costumes, showing off body piercings, and playing modern CDs from a huge ghetto blaster is not medieval re-enactment. However, since there is no award system in Middle Eastern Dance, it is still kind of cool to get an award in it. I am at the level for which the award was given, even if I only dance at Middle Eastern events for other women/dancers and never to titillate drunken fighters.

I found the music for our class dance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bAXYhSmcLgk Who else but Jauhara can watch a movie about the Khmer Rouge and think "hey that piece being played in the background would be great to choreograph a dance to"?
Thursday, November 6th, 2008
9:51 am
November
So here we are in November. Classes are more than half over. I am re-converted on going to class once a week. A friend of mine posted about how hard it was to get back into healthy eating after Halloween candy. Her comment was that sugar is like a drug - the more you have, the more you want. I agree with her about that. But also for me, dance is like a drug in a good way. The more I do it, the more I want to do it. Weekly practice propels me into dancing more at home.

I am a bundle of creativity these days. I have 4 - count them 4 - ideas for solos. All of them are to non-traditional music (i.e. rock over Middle Eastern). I don't think I have time to work even one of them up into being a solo for December. Partly this is because, I really need to work on some of the moves I am picturing. Yes, in my head I see choreography that is too hard or challenging for myself. :) But it is good to have goals.

I'm loving our class dance with the fans to a Mike Oldfield Asian inspired techno-waltz. The song is so quirky. I got to class really late last night - like 25 minutes late in a 60 minute class. They were already starting the class dance. As I was putting on shoes and stretching, I got to watch them. It was so cool because you almost never get to see a dance that you are in. It is going to be good.
Friday, October 31st, 2008
12:59 pm
Dream
I had my first belly dance dream, although it was sort of more of a nightmare. I was performing somewhere but I couldn't remember my choreography, and they used the wrong music. I tried to make it work, but laughed through it all. Finally, I found the music, but I still couldn't remember and therefore, looking even worse, since I couldn't blame the music. Also, it was done on a shag rug and it was really hard to move on.

So does this officially make me a dancer, that I'm finally having these dreams? Normally, I have ones about having to write a final exam despite not having been to class all semester or when they tell me that I really didn't graduate from high school 20 years a go and have to go back and finish one class.
Thursday, October 23rd, 2008
3:27 pm
Dancer's Bazaar and wardrobe malfunctions
Sunday was the Dancer's Bazaar. I went with a $20 bill which was a huge deal, taking $20 to buy stuff. I did buy a $15 top - which I shouldn't have.

It had silver coins and was light blue. Blue and silver are a rare combination even though most of my costume pieces are blue and silver. What I liked was that even though it was backless, it came down over the stomach. I don't currently fit in my dance tops. I'm really self-conscious of how fat I am. While I lose the weight, I need something (preferably cheap) to wear to dance in until I fit back in my expensive stuff.

I wasn't allowed to take it to the bathroom to try it on. Instead, she fitted it over my sweater and said it would fit because "your breasts aren't as big as they look." I'm not even sure what "your breasts aren't as big as they look" means. Is it a compliment? Is it saying that I look more stacked than I am?

I wore it to class last night to see how it worked. I tried it on when I got it home on Sunday and I thought it worked. But I guess I couldn't get it working last night. I had the back band as tight as I could and was trying to hoist it up, but I was sagging like crazy. Worse, at one point, I fell out of it on the side. Fortunately the class didn't care or at least they didn't make me feel bad. Clearly my breasts are bigger than this vendor thought because they don't stay in the stupid top. People gave me suggestions about attaching it to a bra and getting more coverage. I guess I'll have to to have something other than a t-shirt to wear to the class party. But this $15 solution is now going to cost me sewing time which I don't have. I'm ticked.

Class was good. We finished the veil and drum parts of last year's dance. Now we have 5 more weeks to learn our fan dance.

My finger still periodically hurts. Zamira told me to bring gauze and medical tape to the workshop and she'd help me tape my middle, ring, and baby fingers together (to give the injured ring finger support). I'm excited about the workshop and it's great that's she's so supportive.
Thursday, October 16th, 2008
10:15 am
Class
I made it through weeks 3 and 4 of classes. We are 2 minutes into the fan dance and have learned the veil dance and drum solo from last year. That means I have almost 3 new class dances swirling around in my head. I'm going to have to practice in the week because I can't keep things straight. Joan keeps telling me I'm doing well though.

The finger thing is still annoying. I am 98% healed. I don't notice it most of the time, but certain things, like chopping vegetables, still aggravate it. Veil work puts strain on it. I'm worried about the weighted veils on October 26. No one is going to be allowed to shake my hand until then and I'm going to be super careful because I really want to do this.

I'm working on losing weight. If all goes well, I might be able to fit back into costumes by Christmas. If I can't wear anything to the class party this November, I will in the spring. I am loving this class and am strongly thinking of doing it again in January. I love the class dynamic. I loved all my teachers (Zelia, Lalita, Nikita, and Leslie) but didn't connect to the fellow students. This is the first class I've been in where the other students are fun and friendly since I last took class with Joan in 2002.
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