Friday, December 31, 2010

Tomorrow is the big day!

Is it really New Year's Eve already? I guess it is! So tomorrow is the big day, the first of 365 days of dance practice. I'm pretty excited for it! I've got Rachel Brice's Serpentine DVDs to help me learn backbends, I've got some new music to practice to, and I even bought some cheap yoga pants to practice in! Yoga pants are very much like dance pants, and these ones have a cute pattern on the fold-over waist, which makes them more attractive as practice wear than my boring black gym pants. Of course, sometimes I just wear whatever pants I happen to already be in, but if I'm going to be doing the yoga on Serpentine, I have a feeling I'll want to be wearing stretch knits.

I do apologize for leaving this blog blank for a week. I've just returned from a trip to Vegas with one of my dancing friends (where I picked up aforementioned pants), and I didn't have time to pre-schedule any posts to go up in my absence. But from here on out, it should be posts every day!

If you haven't already, have a look at the links on my sidebar. It's a nice collection of people who make my dance life happier, as well as my other blog and my shop (a girl's got to support her dance pants habit, after all!). I'll be adding more links periodically, but the current list is a good start.

Come back tomorrow to help me start off the New Year with dancing!

Friday, December 24, 2010

30 minutes a day, 365 days a year...

... that's the goal! Starting on January 1st, 2011, I aim to practice belly dance for at least 30 minutes a day, every day, no matter what. I had already wanted to step up my practice regimen, and a blog post from my friend SaraBeth (and the first follower of this blog! yay!) inspired me to join her in striving for a minimum of half an hour a day. SaraBeth was in turn inspired by belly dancer Lisa Zahiya, who has started the blog A year of practice... to track her progress and encourage other dancers, athletes and goal-seekers. I'm grateful to them both for giving me something to latch onto, a movement that I can share with my fellow dancers, which will hopefully keep me from slacking off. There are just a few points I need to ponder before I start, which is what this blog is for.

Specific Goals

What do I want to accomplish in this year? So far I have a couple of definites.

1: Get better at group dancing.

2: Hone my solo technique.

3. Improve my zill playing.

4. Revisit props I learned this year but never practiced at home.

5. Backbends!

What counts as practice?

In order to make sure that I actually get my 30 minutes a day, I need to decide what I will consider to be practice. I'm going to count warm-up and cool-down time, as they're good for the body and make me a better dancer by preventing injury.

Dancing obviously counts as practice, but it has to be in the form of a class, a workshop, or dedicated practice. Maybe a performance. But as much as I would like to say that bopping around at a party counts, the truth is that there is no focus on posture or technique at parties, I'm just having fun.

I've also decided that drilling isolations and practicing zills while seated can count as practice, for days when I'm sick or injured.

What obstacles do I foresee?

As mentioned above, it's hard to get into dance practice when I'm sick or I've hurt myself at the gym, and I get sick a lot. I'll need to work out some easy-on-the-body things I can practice when I'm not well enough to actually dance.

Gem show in February is also going to be hard, as I spend at least 8 hours a day working and then usually have a party or dinner to go to every night for 5 days. I'll probably have to do a combination of dancing a bit while I get ready in the morning (drills in the shower? Shimmies while my oatmeal cooks?), and doing belly rolls while I sit behind the counter packaging crystals.

Vacations are usually pretty chaotic and oftentimes my days are filled with activities. How am I going to find 30 minutes a day to practice? I'll have to work that out when I come to it. Maybe more belly rolls, this time in the car on the way to attractions. Wrist circles, too. Throw some mufflers on my zills and play them as we walk down nature trails. I'll find a way.

How should I reward myself?

Dance should be its own reward, but I may need extra motivation. Many people embarking on a new diet or fitness plan find it helpful to reward themselves for every milestone reached. I'm trying to decide if I want to do the same. A new pair of dance pants for every 30 days of practice sounds pretty good! Maybe if I make it for the entire 365 days I can reward myself with a pair of custom-made fluffy lacy pants like these.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Welcome and Introductions

(Me, waiting for All Souls Procession to start, November 2010)

Hello, and welcome to my new dancing blog. I've started this blog primarily to document my attempts to get at least 30 minutes of dance practice every day in 2011. In the days leading up to January 1st I'll fill this space with general chatter about what sort of things I want to practice and what I hope to accomplish. In addition, I'll be using this space to talk about belly dancing in general, share links to videos, costumes, music, discuss my addiction to pants (hence the title), and just generally try to keep you entertained.

A little introduction for those who haven't come over from my other blog or Facebook... My name is AJ, and I primarily do Improvised Tribal Style Belly Dance, as taught by Anaya Tribal in Tempe, Arizona. I've also dabbled in American Tribal Style, Tribal Fusion, and a little Egyptian, but ITS is what I study on a weekly basis at Plaza de Anaya.

I love belly dance in all its forms. I love to watch it, I love to do it, and I love to discuss it. I enjoy the costuming, the makeup, and especially the music! As this blog goes on, I'll get into more detail on my favorite dancers, styles of costuming, bands and songs.

Thank you for dropping by! Please feel free to leave a comment with an introduction, I'd love to know who my readers are!