Thursday, March 15, 2012

Life Beyond Bellydance

Hello all!
I really haven't been that diligent about keeping up with my blog, but I'm trying, really. I think it's really important for anyone who's interested to be kept informed, but more impportantly I want to have these blog entries for myself and to have a time line to see how I've grown and changed into the person I'll become. Maybe I'll be different maybe I'll stay relatively the same but I really want to see my history.

With that said I've been a busy little worker bee :D
For the past couple weeks I've kind of put bellydancing on the backburner to focus more other things.
I've been training to do a half marathon for this winter and I've been doing fundraising for the Muck Ruckus which is a race to raise money and awareness for Multiple Sclerosis, which is an auto-immune disease that affects the spinal cord.

You can donate here:

But that's the 25th and once that's done I will be back to shimmying my tail off :D


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Dancing is Me. I am Dancing.

As I write this, I'm in the Honors Lounge at my college in a big comfy couch, listening to bellydance videos, with a fairly nice view of the pouring rain outside.
Picturesque right?

It's a new semester and it's only the second week (first full week) of school. I'm only taking four classes, but have a 15 hour schedule. I only had 11 originally and I needed 12 in order to get a scholarship. So I took African Drum and Dance to get my scholarship (free money!)

(Any way back to the reason why I'm posting)

 I thought it would be a fun, creative class, to just pass the time and be done with it, but with this first class I found out that I love dancing African dances. And I had an epiphany. I LOVE DANCING.

It may sound stupid and obvious, but the joy I have while dancing and expressing my emotions through movement and music (Whether it be bellydance or Lamban) is unlike anything I've felt in my life. It's this indescribable rush that makes me want to learn more and do it again and again.
Other dancers know what I'm taking about, and even if you don't I'm pretty sure the feeling transcends throughout whatever it is you do that you're extremely passionate about.

I've found it through acting, as well, and although I haven't been in anything in a while, when I am in a production or a film, those feelings just come rushing back, and I just sit there and bask in the glory of it.

I hope, I pray, that I never tire of dancing. It's such a huge part of my life right now and I enjoy it immensely. Every aspect of it is important: the technique, understanding the movement, the music, and the history behind it. You need to understand ALL aspects in order to fully (and correctly) interpret the dance. That that goes for all dance styles.

This Saturday I decided that I'm going to audition for the African Drum and Dance Ensemble, even though I don't have much experience, I think it'll be a fantastic experience, and if I don't I know I will regret it.

I dance, therefore I am. 

Friday, January 6, 2012

I'm Still Alive and Shimmying

OH NO!!!
It seems I've disappeared yet again!
Good news is? I'm back and hopefully here to stay. College kinda caught up with me and I was too busy to do much of anything. Well. Except bellydance. But I'm alive :D
I'm actually doing quite well in my beginner's class, my teacher thinks I should go up to intermediate but 1) I have car and the beginning class is really the only time my mom can take me.
2) I'm scared I won't keep up.

BUT I've bought a couple of beginner DVDs So I can practice.
I've got Neon's Instant bellydancer and Jenna's Basics and Beyond. I plan to drill the heck out of it so I can be fully prepared to take on the next level (while still attending class of course)

ALSO great news, Club Bellydance is coming to my city in March so I will get to go to my first bellydance show, which I'm immensely excited for! I get to see one of my Tribal Fusion Idols, Moria. She has a really unique way of dancing that I really haven't seen before and am stoked to see in person!
So hopefully this year, I won't fall off the map... again.
I'll do my best to keep people posted on what's going on in my life :P
Oh and Here's Moria :D I've never seen someone use a bagpipe in a fusion dance... but I like it.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Day 156- Bellydance and Fitness

Sorry if this post is a bit misleading, It's more about Bellydance and my life, which frequently involves fitness.

Feel free to stop reading any time... Kidding.

But in all seriousness I cannot get over how much I am in love with my Tuesday Bellydance class. I'm am literally overfilled with knowledge and then some! It's way better than any DVD purchase because I am able to get that instant feedback and know what I'm doing right and what I need to work on.
Which leads on to my next thingy- I have developed a bit of a bad habit... I pull in my elbows too much and need to elongate my arms.

Wouldn't have known that from a DVD... Well Rachel Brice's Posture DVD might have. But that's not the point.

Point is: I love my class and it's awesome. Done.

But not quite...
Life has been pretty awesome lately. College is pretty okay so far... I'm doing killer in my classes (though there's always room for improvement)
I'm making friends here and there. The Honors Club people are pretty cool (I'll get to them later).
Met this guy who was super cute (but he smokes -_-) and I developed a bit of a crush, which was immediately squashed once I realized he had a girlfriend.
I'm don't wanna come between that, he's devoted, you know? Anyway we're getting to be friends and helping each other out in class.

But back to the Honors Club. And the "Fitness" part of my blog.
I was sitting in the Honors Lounge (we awesome smart kids get our own lounge... cool brag :P)
Anyway I was sitting at the computer and looking up videos of the Tough Mudders event, which is a 10 mile obstacle course in mud (hence the name), that I'm going to do. People got super into it (and the electroshock therapy obstacle) and a lot of them said they'd totally do something like this. I suggested the Mud Run since it's shorter and further away (timing wise) and got some pretty positive reviews on it!
I love events like these because they support being healthy in a new and fun way while benefiting those who really need it.
Tough Mudders' charity is the Wounded Warrior while the Mud Run benefits those who have Multiple Sclerosis

Now all I have to do is make a plan and a budget!

Needless to say I'm excited about this new project that's underway!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Day 149- Review of the College Class; Passion vs. Technicality


So this is a little stick on for the free BD college class I tried! Overall I thought it was pretty good for what it was worth (free; hour and a half of one's time). The girl's were pretty experienced (nothing like Amy though) and were excited to teach.
I really wish they had a better curriculum, better organization, and better teamwork. No student wants their teachers to be discussing how to break down a move, it makes the teacher look amateurish... Which they were clearly not.
A couple of the moves they did were for probably more advanced students and not for beginners. Something that bothered me more and more as the class progressed. I did however like how they came to each person and asked if they needed help and to show them the moves to make sure they were doing it properly.

Another thing I found to my distaste was how every girl seemed to idolize Shakira. I asked a girl near me who her favorite bellydancer was and she was like "Shakira! Who else? What about you?" I told her, "Rachel Brice, Sharon Kihara are among my favorite tribal dancers. Fifi Abdou, Aziza, Ansuya, (etc.)
are more of the Cabaret Style that I like."

She looked at me like I had 5 heads.

Don't get me wrong I love Shakira. She's cool and modern and uses bellydancing in her act.... But she's not a bellydancer. I also wasn't a fan of the teachers promoting it either: "You all are gonna dance like Shakira!"
They did however win me back over when I looked at their facebook page and they did have videos of cabaret dancers (legit) and tribal dancers.
Maybe that whole review was just my bellydance diva coming out?? : /

I also made a friend, who I'm currently spamming her Youtube videos of my favorite dancers in hopes that she finds a style and dancer that she likes!

Which leads me to my next point. I was looking at Bellydance Forums and came across the Inspiration thread. Someone said that Sadie inspired them (no surprise there). I also sent a video to my friend also with 3 others and she immediately loved Sadie as well because of her technical ability.

I admit I was the same way when I first fell in love with Bellydance, but as I watched more videos, I was less and less inspired by Sadie's videos. Her videos, honestly, were a downer because I was so convinced that I'd never be that good and could never perform.
I also noticed that while her body was full of expression, her face lacked a lot, as a Forum user said (Aw I love Sadie - But she's so expressionless in the face :/)
 A face, I realized, can make or break a dance.
Zoe Jakes dance at Tribal Fest 8. You can skip to 1:13 if you don't want to see the "Animal Trouble" part... though it is quite funny. She lifts her eyes at 1:47 (ish) and that's her move and I got chills. She's so focused and has this energy about her, but she's such a comedian. I never got that from Sadie, I don't know what she's like: She's neither playful nor serious.

I also look note from the forum user and checked out her current inspiration, Alla Kushnir, and might I say she is INSPIRATIONAL! 
While she may not be as technically great as Sadie, her passion far outweighs that and makes me want to emulate her.
She inspires me to move!

Enjoy this beautiful choreography from a passionate dancer!

Day 149- Practice Makes Improvements!

I'm am head over heels in love with this new Bellydance class! I have no bad remarks at all (except I wish it could last longer!)
It's amazing to me why my teacher doesn't get more recognition, something I hope to rectify with my connections in my community. I've already gushed to my friends to join me at the next class.
So far in the class (beginner's), it's only me and another woman, who has had extensive BD training before. Since both of us have had training before we move at a faster pace, sort of like an in-between between Beginner's and intermediates.
I love it because it's challenging and when I manage to flub or get hip tied (bd version of tongue tied... you get the point... bad pun) she gently corrects me and shows how it's done with an explanation of which muscles should be working.

With a constant reminder to "keep elbows out!" (for the costume and framing sake) I continue to make improvements :D


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Day 141 Bellydance Classes from Hell

So today marks my first OFFICIAL Bellydance class!!! Yay! (does hip shimmy)
It was a TON of fun and I absolutely adore my teacher Amy, who is hilarious and a sweet woman. She completely erased my bad experience of a previous intructor.

Enter: The Bellydance horror story from HELL.

Here in my city we have around 4-5 places where you can receive classes. I went to one of the places because I google searched it and saw that classes were 10 dollars. I was like "okay" and went to the next class. There the lady proceeded to tell me that classes were not 10 but in fact 15 if you were new, but if you paid 30 you can get 3 classes. I went "okay" and forked over 30 dollars. The phone rang, and she ignored me for around 10 minutes chatting on the phone and whips out a cigarette and start smoking while I awkwardly piddled around the small "studio" (it was originally a house).

She finally got off the phone and said class was about to start and that she was the teacher and that it was "highly recommended" (it seemed like she hinted at required) for me to get a hips scarf for the next class and to order with her since anywhere else's delivery would probably take too long (or heaven forbid, it being cheap). I asked how much, and she said $50. Unfortunately, or fortunately, I only had the $30 with me so I couldn't buy anything else.

Then there was the class. She poked and prodded at me and kept telling me I didn't have the "shape" to be a bellydancer and kept criticizing everything without really giving any instruction.
Class finished and I felt very defeated. Bellydance was supposed to be liberating, right?

Months go by, I started working with DVDs and forgetting I actually had a class. I still didn't go back to try to reclaim any money, I didn't see it as worth it.

Then today I went to Amy and we worked together in a beginner's class. It was only me and another student. We drilled simple moves, going at all speeds and... I was actually having fun! I was learning moves the right way and actually loving it!

It was crazy!

After class, as I was taking notes about moves and such, I hesitantly asked about her knowledge of the previous instructor. She politely replied that she had a "reputation" and I promptly told her the gist of my experience. She was super classy about it also, she didn't slander her name only that they had issues.

Another thing that I absolutely enjoyed was that she named each and every instructor and gave an unbiased opinion of their teaching styles, (which was immensely helpful) and recommended (unlike the other instructor) that I try to get a couple different teachers because that's how one learns.

I look forward to the next class and already found a free class for tomorrow :) Hopefully that'll be great!
Wish me luck!