Saturday, December 31, 2011

Good bye, 2011!

Day 365 of practice. One. Freaking. Year!

I did it! Mostly! Yes, I missed a few days due to being sick but I never gave up. I danced every day that I could. I danced at home, at class, in New York and New Jersey. I danced in bed, in line at the post office, in chairs of various sorts, and in the car. I danced on stages indoor and out, alone and with friends. I danced regardless of my furnace breaking, my shower breaking, my cooler breaking. I danced my freakin' heart out!

The one-year retrospective will have to wait. I've just finished ringing in the New Year with alcohol and dance and I do not have the focus to go back through my blog and see what goals I set at the start of this and how I did with them.

Anyway, today's practice was good ol' multi-tasking while I cleaned, chair dancing while I beaded, and then dancing to a song which may well be my next solo -- which is funny because it's a cover of a song I did a solo to back in May! Guess I can't get away from Wandering Star! It felt really good to really dance, to be well enough to move and enjoy it, to rock out while I was cleaning and to sink into a new song and to just feel like myself again.

Thank you all for joining me for this journey. I started out for a year of practice but now I'm looking forward to a lifetime of practice -- hopefully with less sick days ;) Check in tomorrow to see how it starts out!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Weird ways to practice in weird places

Days 363 and 364 of practice.

Blargh! This cold is still lingering on, but I am pretty much functional. Yesterday I even did some shimmies while I washed the dishes, before retiring to bed with a book to do more glute squeezes.

Today I felt well enough that my husband and I went on a spontaneous New Years Eve Eve date. We had a really decadent dessert and I felt the need to burn it off right away, so I started doing oblique-driven hip-bumps in my chair. Later on, it was such a nice night out that we decided to walk around the outside of the mall to get back to our car, and I walked the entire way in bent-knee belly dance posture. You really can practice dance any where at any time! Well, I suppose they would probably get mad if you started doing shimmies in an MRI, pretty sure you have to hold still for those.

By the way, I was really honored today to receive a shout-out from Mahin in the Daily Bellydance Quickies! Thank you for watching my journey, Mahin, and for sharing my blog with your readers!

Tomorrow's the last day of my full year (minus a few sick days) of practice, and I think I'll send 2011 off in style, with some actual dancing and zilling and maybe I'll throw in some veil or sword work, or play with my glow fans. I should probably also post some sort of reflective look back at the year, if I'm feeling deep and introspective.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Snap, crackle, pop!

Days 361-362 of practice.

Ow. When I haven't been in bed with a book, I've been bent over a bead project with a tight deadline. Today's practice involved lots and lots of stretching to try to work out the painful kinks brought on by not really moving for a week.

Sadly, I did not get to go to dance class tonight. I am feeling better, but I still have a nasty cough and low energy. So I'm not quite up for full-throttle dancing, not if I want to recover in time to jump back into classes on Monday.

Oh yes, and yesterday's practice ended up being glutes and lower abs and pelvic floor isolations in bed.

Being sick is for the birds!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

I've been sick

Days 356-360 of "practice."

I apologize for the long silence. I have been down with my worst cold so far this year. It figures that the one weekend when I have no dance plans and my husband is done with school for the year and has no major work projects is the weekend that I would spend sick in bed.

A quick rundown of the days I've missed blogging:
Thursday: Woke up feeling poorly, blamed it on dehydration. Went to holiday party in Phoenix, had a wonderful time. Practiced chest isolations and belly rolls while driving home. Felt pretty rundown by the time I got home and had to admit I was probably sick.
Friday: Woke up feeling horrible, spent maybe 2-3 hours total out of bed. Did a few isolations in bed but mostly dozed in and out while struggling to read a science book.
Saturday: Much the same as Friday, but with a few more hours out of bed and at some point I switched to a steampunk novel.
Sunday: Merry Christmas to me. Still sick. Felt well enough to dance in my chair while beading, though.
Monday: Yep, still sick. Did glute isolations while reading before bed. Hey, when I started this year of practice I had no idea that I could isolate my glutes. PROGRESS!
Today: Still sick but hopefully I can get in some sort of gentle dancing or maybe zill practice.

Luckily BreakOut is closed this week so I didn't have any classes to miss (and poor Jolie is sick, too, as are several other local dancers, because it is a BELLY DANCE PLAGUE!), but Fonda said she would have class at The Dance Loft tomorrow so I really hope that I feel well enough to do that.

Still going to do my best to continue daily practice even though I have fallen way short of my original New Years goal of 30 mins a day. Honestly, I have always done poorly at keeping to daily goals so I am really proud of myself for sticking to this one and only missing it when I am ridiculously sick.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The few, the proud...

Day 355 of practice.

There were only four of us at Fonda's class tonight, so it was a fun, intimate atmosphere with lots of chat and joking while we danced -- come to think of it, Fonda's class is often like that even when there's more than four people. Everyone who is in intermediate has been dancing together for almost a year now, some longer, some less, so it's very chummy. Tonight was pretty much all drills, which was nice. And Fonda gave us all nice soap for the holidays. Mine is Jasmine scented... mmmm.

Hard to believe that there are only 10 days left in the year!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

My legs!

Day 354 of practice.

Drills class was intense tonight. We had to do one-legged hip work, which is not that bad, but we also had to do it with a deep knee bend, and then on releve, which would have been impossible without the bar to hold onto. My legs are already sore and tired, so I'm guessing they'll really be complaining by tomorrow! There was also some brain-breaking layering. All in all a good night of classes.

Monday, December 19, 2011

We braved the cold

Day 353 of practice.

Another cold night at BreakOut Studios. Brooke and I were the only ones who braved it and we were rewarded for our dedication with a semi-private lesson tailored to our specific needs, and with lots of feedback on our individual solos at yesterday's performance, and how to work to be even better in the future.

I had a good time. Jolie is adept at telling me what I need to work on, while framing it in a way that makes it clear that she believes that I can and will conquer it. It was also good to be in class with Brooke who is at a similar place to me, dance-career wise. Sometimes it's just me and Fonda, or me and Kamrah (a local pro and teacher who is really amazing), and I feel like I am a bit of a lump next to the pros!

Anyway, Jolie gave me a lot to think about and work on, which is good since BreakOut and Plaza are both closed next week so I'll have a lot of home practice time.

Epic weekend!

Days 351 and 352 of practice.

Spent the past two days in a flurry of getting ready for performances, performing, and watching my fellow performers. It was amazing! I am exhausted! Pics and video to come, I hope!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Dress Rehearsal

Day 350 of practice.

My new bra is done-ish (I may yet do more to it, but it's wearable now), so I had a quick dress rehearsal to make sure that everything would play nice together and that none of the embellishments would fly off my bra if I had a sudden shimmy attack. Everything seems great and I am extremely excited about my new costume and my solo, which is the closest I've ever come to choreographing something.

Tomorrow is the Plaza de Anaya student recital, so I should probably also practice my zills for that, as we have to do something a little new and different. I am surprisingly confident about playing zills on stage now, as long as I am not leading and zilling.

By the way... day 350! Only 15 days left in the year! Hard to believe.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

So tired!

Day 349 of practice.

Went to class tonight, did end-of-session review and practice for the student recital. It was good. I'm just too tired to appreciate it. Really looking forward to a couple weeks off from my usual Thursday drive.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Cold feet

Day 348 of practice.

No, I'm not having second thoughts about anything dance related, I just have actual cold feet from dancing in my socks on a cold floor. Hey, have I mentioned lately that I hate winter? :P

Other than cold feet, class tonight was fun. We drilled some things and then practiced for Saturday's show and we get to wear GREEN so I am happy.

Now back to working on my bra!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I am a wuss

Day 347 of practice.

It was 45 degrees and pouring rain, so I wussed out and skipped class tonight. A big part of me regrets it because I love Jolie and her classes, but that studio is SO cold, and I can't risk getting sick from it. Not when I have two performances this weekend. My husband is sick and I am trying really hard not to catch what he has.

I put my time at home to good use -- I've gotten a lot of work done on my new bra, although I am going to have to stitch like a fiend to have it done in time for this weekend. I also ran my solo twice and experimented with doing some things differently. I realized that the part I was coming in at was almost a minute into the song, which is too much for a 4 minute song so I will come in earlier. Still forgetting to emote! It's such a new thing for me, and I am worried that my attempts to convey the sense of menace in the song will just come across as me being stone-faced or something. Oh well. No one is paying me for this so they can't complain if they don't like it ;)

I also did some shimmies while I was doing the dishes, partially to practice but mostly to stay warm. I hate winter!!!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Almost bearable

Day 346 of practice.

It was 15 degrees warmer tonight than it was for class last week, which meant that our little room at BreakOut was not painfully cold this time. That's not to say that it was warm, or comfortable, but at least my fingers didn't go numb.

Tonight's choreography was to a song about marijuana. I do not smoke anything, and never have, so I decided it was the same as dancing to the song about alcoholism... and thus very sad. But the choreography was fun because it involved some crazy non-belly dance moves. Over all it was a good class and I'm glad I decided to go instead of letting the cold scare me away.

Now to decide if I feel like working on my solo at all tonight!

See me dance this weekend!

I have two performances this coming weekend, so I hope I'll see at least some of you there!

On Saturday I will be performing at the Plaza de Anaya student recital in Tempe. From 5:30 to 6:30 there will be an open drum and dance, then at 7pm the students will take the stage! This event is free, and you can bring a dish if you want to participate in the potluck meal. I will be performing with the Anaya Tribal students. Click here for the Facebook event page, which has more details.

Then on Sunday I will be performing at the Belly Dance Holiday Show at Fluxx Productions here in Tucson! This hafla will feature visiting dancer Raven Ebner as well as many talented local Tucson dancers. I will be performing with my Wednesday night classmates and debuting my Lovely Creature solo. The event costs $5 and we will also be collecting non-perishables for the food bank. Doors open at 6pm. Click here for the Facebook event page.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Here 'n' There

Days 344 and 345 of practice.

Another busy dance weekend! Yesterday I went to the 4th Ave Street Fair and popped into BreakOut Studios to see some of my teachers and friends dance. I got some practice in while I waited -- the show started 45 minutes late so I got bored and did hip drills. Then I went shopping and got some dance-related things at the Street Fair, including a hip scarf for $5 and a neat vintage ring. The rest of my practice time was filled up by doing finger waves while gaming with friends.

Today it was off to troupe practice really early in the morning, but at least I had Amanda to keep me company -- and guess what? Tucson girls were the first to arrive. That's right! We were EARLY! Anyway, we danced and danced and danced, lots of fun stuff, had a really good time. We also talked about New Year's Dance Resolutions. I don't DO resolutions, but Tiffy said we all needed one and I don't argue with women who wield sharp swords. So I resolved to do daily stretches to fix my problem areas.

I was going to work on my solo today after I got home, but I am simply way too tired. Not nearly enough sleep last night. I did, however, pin fabric down onto my next tribal bra, and gave myself a few good stabs with the straight pins while I was at it.  I'm excited about this bra, it's going to be ornate and pretty! I hope to have it done enough to wear for Sunday's solo.

Friday, December 9, 2011

This 'n' that.

Days 342 and 343 of practice.

I did practice yesterday, but it wasn't much and then I fell asleep before I could blog. I was feeling a little sick so I stayed home from class in case I was contagious.

Today I am still not sure if I am well or sick. I have that feeling that you feel when you have a cold coming -- just a little sore throat, just a little run down. But I've had it for two days. So maybe it's just the weather getting me down. So I decided to have a full-fledged practice anyway. Did some zills, did some shimmies, ran my solo TWICE because I have to perform it in 9 days :) Getting better with the moves but I keep forgetting to work on the emotion/character. Maybe I should put a note on my mirror to remind me.

Also today I signed up for the Amy Sigil workshops here in Tucson at the end of January. I'm excited for them!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Yay drills!

Day 341 of practice.

Did some drills tonight in Fonda's Dance Loft class, including some shoulder shimmies which was good because I haven't really worked on them lately. After our video watching party on Sunday everyone had all these moves they wanted to learn but Fonda told them they had to do drills first to be able to do them right. She's so much tougher in intermediate class, it's fun :D

We also practiced our sword and veil number, which we will be performing at a hafla on the 18th, the same show that I'll be doing my Lovely Creature solo at if I get it finished in time. It's going to be an awesome show!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Ego: deflated

Day 340 of practice.

I guess I was feeling too good about myself after last night! Tonight's classes were rough and full of stuff I am bad at! I managed to conquer some exercises but others had me almost on the verge of tears. My body really was not willing to cooperate, even when my mind knew exactly what we were supposed to do. Oh well. As Jolie said, I'll just obsess about them until I get better. She already knows me so well!

A complaint: Our little room is still not adequately heated. It has a garage door and a vaulted ceiling which is connected to a warehouse loft and they have a small radiator style heater in there. Do you want to know how cold it was when I was driving home? 37 degrees. If it's that cold out, a studio should not be renting out rooms that are inadequately heated! We were all REALLY miserable during the first class. Everyone had numb fingers and our muscles were sluggish. Thankfully for the second class we were able to once again move in to the big, warm, wonderful room, but an hour in the cold room was way too much. If not for the fact that Jolie is only here through March, I would simply skip her classes until warmer weather returned.

Monday, December 5, 2011

What a difference a week makes

Day 339 of practice.

I don't know what happened... maybe I broke through a wall. Maybe I just needed some introspection. Maybe I was holding myself back. But whatever happened, tonight I felt frickin' awesome at Jolie's class. We did 2:16 of a relatively difficult choreography and while there were a couple of parts I was a little iffy on, over all I felt really comfortable with the non-bellydance elements and like I was on top of it, fully committing, and most of all having FUN even when I was really cold. I really really enjoyed myself and I feel like I danced at my potential and didn't let my mistakes keep me down.

And of course, part of the fun was that it was just Jolie, Fonda and I so it was a kind of relaxed, intimate atmosphere and Fonda and I were having fun joking around about alternate choreography and how we should do a Gothic Fusion Horror Circus piece. More and more adjectives kept piling on throughout the night.

I felt so good when I got home that I also did a quick run-through of my solo and played with some different moves and ideas. I'm starting to feel better about the possibility of performing this piece at the Holiday Belly Dance show here in Tucson on the 18th, although I need to work on the emotional part as well as the moves. I'm great at roleplaying, but I have no acting experience so I don't know how well I'm going to do at portraying different moods on my face. Plus there's the costuming... I want to buy lots of new bits for it and the budget just ain't there!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Video Party!

Day 338 of practice.

Another day of dance-related non-practice stuff. Got together with some of my Dance Loft classmates and Fonda brought a bunch of DVDs for us to watch -- various professional performances, all sorts of styles. Interesting to see how different peoples' opinions are about styles and specific dancers.

Practice was pretty lazy, spent the remainder of the day doing stuff with my husband instead of dancing, but I did get my shimmy on while cleaning up for dinner and doing the dishes, plus I did a little zilling.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Makeup Workshop

Day 337 of practice.

Today I went to a 3-hour makeup workshop taught by Jolie (and hosted by my former carpool buddy Dawn who I do not get to see often enough but have seen 2 days in a row now, yay!). This was really good for me because I honestly do not know what I'm doing with makeup. I only started wearing it at age 27 and I have pretty much taught myself how to apply it which means I was doing a lot of things wrong. Not even from a stage makeup point of view, but just from a not looking awful point of view. I feel confident that with a little practice, the things I learned today will help me look better for performances big and small but also for date nights with my husband.

Not really dancing but good for my dance career so it is pretty much counting as my practice for the day. By the time I got home it was cold and rainy and gross and I did not feel like doing anything more than stuffing myself full of pasta and then relaxing on the couch in fleece pajamas. Look, I don't do cold, OK? And we're having lows in the 30s before it's even officially winter. I did do some glute isolations and my shoulder stretches and that is it!

Friday, December 2, 2011

No big deal

Day 336 of practice.

Guess I woke up on the right side of the bed today because by 3pm I had finished my business goals for the day, washed a mountain of dishes, swept the floor, and got much more than half an hour of real dance practice. Yeah. None of that "glutes squeezes while watching TV" laziness that I've been trying to get away with. I did zills! I did a real warmup! I practiced layering a shimmy over an Arabic and a Turkish! I worked on my solo! I practiced traveling moves! I did the Airplane... and I think for once I didn't mess it up. I did some other random things to new music! And when it was all said and done I stretched out all of my problem areas.

I am feeling pretty proud of myself, honestly. If my daily practice was always like this, I'd definitely be seeing serious improvement in my dancing.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Holy crap, it's December

Day 335 of practice.

There's just one month left of my year of practice! Can't believe 2011 is almost over.

Tonight's practice was 2 hours of Anaya Tribal classes. I'm happy that they've been adding more challenges for the level 3-4 students in the level 1-2 class. Tonight we had to play 3-3-7 on our zills while the newbies learned 3s, and we had to layer shimmies over our Turkish and Arabic. I am slowly getting better at that. Turns out that most of my problems with dance all stem from just being too tight, so as I relax more and stretch all my tight places more, these problems will go away. Also I have to keep practicing, of course.

I also added some items to my Plaza de Anaya gift registry! Yes, that's right, Plaza has a registry this year, so that your friends, family, and significant others can make sure to buy you the right dance pants. Wait... there are no pants on my registry! What is wrong with me?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Formations

Day 334 of practice.

Tonight I went to class and broke out of my lumpy funk, somewhat. We worked on formations, and my nemesis -- the 3/4 shimmy layered over an Arabic. I'm starting to get better at it at least, now that I'm not so tight in my glutes and hips. Still hate it, though.

Once again we had Carl providing live drum music, which is nice for two different reasons. One is that Carl is awesome and so is his drumming, and the other is that if Carl is drumming, Fonda doesn't make us dance to Glen Campbell or the Meat Puppets.

Also I got to wear the sparkly stripey pants that I bought at Club Bellydance, with skull socks under them. Dance pants and skull socks make everything better, right?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I am a lump

Day 333 of practice.

Today I gave into the urge to be a lump. I had a more lousy day and felt so bad mentally that I made myself feel bad physically, too. Even before today turned out to be worse than yesterday, I was feeling bad about my current state as a dancer. Maybe I'm wrong, but I feel like I really have not improved noticeably at anything at all lately. I don't think I'm practicing often enough or hard enough, and I've reached the point where I'm not getting better just from being in class.

Jolie's classes have been both good and bad for me -- I love the material and I'm learning a lot of new stuff, but I'm also a perfectionist so it frustrates me when I can't do something. I'm feeling pretty down on myself because I'm not doing as well in her classes as I would like. For that matter, I also haven't been feeling too awesome in my various ITS classes. Lot of issues with not feeling graceful, being off the beat, etc etc.

I want to be awesome and amazing and right now I feel strongly mediocre. And hooray, I asked for the opportunity to perform a solo in just over 2 weeks. I'd better find some self esteem fast.

Oh, and today's practice? Working on said solo. It's the one that Jolie helped me get started on during our private lesson and I feel like I am not capable of achieving the awesome ideas we had for it (both when working together, and then the separate ideas I came up with after another listen), and like I am basically doing the same stupid moves over and over again with no real emotional investment. On top of that I drilled layers over tic-toc shimmies, because that should be simple but I suck at it. And I stretched, because stretching is good.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Like a rockstar

Day 332 of practice.

Tonight's choreography class was about owning it and being a rockstar... which was hard for me because I honestly had a pretty lousy day and a pretty lousy dinner before class and I kind of just wanted to be a lump. But I did my best and I guess I wasn't horrible. I even learned some new tricks to add to my arsenal!

In a bit I'll try to get out of my lumpy funk and work on my solo. But maybe a snack first, to make up for the lousy dinner.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Not belly dance

Days 330 and 331 of practice.

Busy busy busy! Saturday's practice was a combination of stretching and glute isolations while playing games with friends. I didn't really have any downtime, I was on the go or entertaining people all day.

Today I went to Tucson Pole Fitness for their holiday open house, because one of my belly dance classmates is an instructor there and she invited me, plus there were crafts to be purchased and I am a sucker for things of a handmade nature. So part of my dance practice was a sample class of pole dancing! Not at all related to belly dance but fun anyway. I can see the appeal. The "sexy" undulations against the pole were not my speed, but sexy walks and large, swinging steps that spin you around the pole are a lot of fun. I may go back sometime next year to take a few classes just for fun and fitness.

I intended to work on my solo today, too, but instead I had to tend to my Etsy shop, so I chair danced while I edited 84 items to reflect my Cyber Monday sale. Yuck. I hate boring tasks! I may yet at least do a simple run-through of the solo before bed. I did just have a slice of leftover chocolate pie and I'm drinking a mug of tea, so it is possible that I will be awake for a long time.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Dancing with Sata!

Day 329 of practice.

I suppose maybe someday Jen/Sata and I might get tired of hanging out every weekend, but I don't see it happening any time soon! This time she came down from Phoenix and we went shopping for costuming fabric and then had some dance practice with my new mirror. Plus she gave me some stretching tips -- it is really awesome to have a PT as a friend sometimes!

I think my new fabric will be a Turkish vest and panel skirt. It's a nice dark olive green with purple and magenta floral embroidery. That sounds kind of nasty now that I type it, but I promise that it's pretty. I also got some peacock feathers to make into hair accessories and some vintage buttons for use in my jewelry business. Oh how I love SAS Fabrics!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanks for all the dancing!

Day 328 of practice.

Have to say I have a lot to be thankful for as a dancer... Great teachers, an awesome troupe, good friends, the opportunity to take lots of workshops, a closet full of fabulous costumes, and a husband who puts up with me being in class 4 nights a week and in Phoenix almost every weekend for performances and troupe practice.

Today's practice consisted of rocking out while I cooked and cleaned in preparation for the small Thanksgiving dinner hosted at our house. My potatoes were quite delicious. I think the shimmying while I brushed them with olive oil made them extra special.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Drums and zills

Day 327 of practice.

Tonight's class was once again lucky enough to have awesome drummer Carl providing live music for us! We also had Carl's father (also named Carl) but he did not have a drum. It was a small class so it ended up being more like a practice and jam session after we got our zill torture out of the way. We also got to do some veil work which was nice. I haven't been practicing lately and clearly I need to. After all, I have a pretty new veil so I need a pretty new veil solo to use it for!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sore!

Day 326 of practice.

Another intense day of fast-paced class, which is good because there's still no heat in BreakOut so it's nice to keep moving and stay warm. Today was about layers and sharp accents and moving through space. Lots of shimmies! I'm glad to know that I'm burning off a lot of calories before I eat chocolate pie on Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Drum solo

Day 325 of practice.

We did some drum solo choreo in Jolie's class tonight. Like everything in her classes it was HARD! The song was fast and so it was tricky to keep up, even if the move was something I knew. I did have a lot of fun, though. It felt good to get a good workout in class and we were soon warm enough that it didn't matter that there still isn't a heater in our studio.

It also felt good to be well enough to do the warm-up again! My cough is almost all gone, and probably would be entirely gone if not for the dust and hookah smoke that I inhaled this weekend (don't worry, I wasn't smoking, but other people at Aura were, so it was secondhand hookah).

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Busy, busy weekend

Days 322, 323 and 324 of practice.

Whew! My last super-jam-packed-travel-weekend is behind me! I can spend some weekends at home. Hooray!

Friday, day 322. Practiced in my car. But really, honestly practiced. Tried Fonda's advice of practicing chest lifts while singing to make sure I'm not using my breath. This is basically the perfect thing to do while driving alone down the highway after dark, because there's no one to see you looking silly and singing horribly. Also listened to the song for my next solo and got some epic inspiration. I need to learn how to do the Berber walk.

Saturday, day 323. Last Anaya Tribe performance at the year! Headed up to Faerie Fest early with Jen, so we could spend a few hours getting our faerie on. Got a scarab henna tattoo with green glitter on it. Danced on the scariest stage ever, switching off with the lovely ladies of Divine Chaos and their skirt troupe. Had a good time despite scary stage. Later, we went to Aura, the black light party hosted at Plaza de Anaya, and I got to play with my sweet new glow fans and practice some Anaya style with Jen.

Sunday, day 324. Troupe practice! Since we don't have any upcoming performances to drill for, we focused on honing our zill skills and developing a new formation. Pretty exciting.

Now I have to get ready for a meeting with my local Tucson dancers. Like I said, it's a busy weekend!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Tired

Day 321 of practice.

I yawned my way through classes tonight... The drive up was especially tiring and brain-numbing due to traffic. I sure do hate that drive sometimes!

Worked on zills of course, always the zills. Also an intermediate/advanced move that I somehow never learned, so it's good to add that to my repertoire.

Plus I finally got my copy of Carrie Conyha's Trbaret DVD. Maybe I can watch it over the holiday weekend next week.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Made of Awesome

Day 320 of practice.

This week has been full of frustrations, so I'm happy to say that the dance-related areas of my life were pretty awesome today! First I had a private lesson with Jolie, and she helped me work on my next solo, using emotion and gesture like we learned in Monday's class. It was admittedly very strange having someone there while I started working on a solo -- usually even my husband doesn't see an in-progress solo until I'm pretty comfortable with it. But it was also cool to get feedback at the very start, so that I knew what direction to go in. I'm excited and I hope I get the chance to perform it soon -- but not too soon because I need time to work on it :)

Also, having a big mirror to dance in front of was pretty nice, although it feels a little narcissistic to be staring at myself while I dance. I'm sure I'll get used to it.

Then in the evening I finally made it back to Fonda's Dance Loft class, where we had a very special treat -- Friendly neighborhood drummer Carl was there to provide live music! He's going to be a regular fixture at classes for the near future, so we can learn more about dancing to live drumming and playing rhythms on our zills. We did a lot of zilling tonight which is great, I was feeling bad because I haven't practiced my zills since troupe rehearsal on Sunday. It was also so good to see my classmates again and be in the fun, relaxed atmosphere of Fonda's class.

I can tell that I'm starting to feel better, because after all of that, and even though I'm a little tired, I still feel like doing more dancing!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

New stuff

Day 319 of practice.

Well, I didn't make it to class tonight. It was a pretty crazy messed-up day, with my husband doing homework ALL DAY (he's still doing it now, at 12:10am), and my brother and I taking a trip to Marana in his big ol' truck to get my mirror from my friend Helen. I have a mirror! For practicing! In my house! I feel like a real dancer now.

My brother also brought me a pair of glow fans. There are definite perks to being related to one of the fabricators at Fire Mecca! I am super excited about my bright green LED fans and the possibility of doing fire fan tricks at indoor venues. Now I just need to learn how to use fire fans.

Practice was a lot of stretching and some isolations. I feel like now that my energy is coming back, I have some serious fun practice ahead of me. I want to start working on new solos! And drill the heck out of my zills and my Anaya moves, and play with the things Jolie has been teaching me.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Sadness

Day 318 of practice.

No, I'm not really sad. But tonight's class was about emotion and gesture, so we spent most of the night working on choreography to a very sad song. It was an interesting exercise for me, as most of my performances have a happy, impish feeling to them. I did experiment with being aloof and withdrawn for my veil solo at the PJ Sessoms benefit, because the song had that kind of feeling and I was an evil water faerie, after all... But I'm still a newbie when it comes to exploring emotion and characters and being vulnerable on stage.

Class was also challenging for me because we did a lot of non-bellydance moves, and other than some square dance as a pre-teen, belly dance is the only dance I've ever done. I don't know modern or ballet and I can't waltz. So I spent a lot of time stumbling around, but it's good to challenge my brain and body with new things. I want to be a more well-rounded dancer. But hopefully not all of my dance challenges will involve stubbing my toes along the way.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Getting there!

Days 316 and 317 of practice.

Starting to get back to normal! Still coughing but my energy levels are closer to what they should be and I really feel like dancing. Had a good weekend of opportunities for dance... Boogying down at a friend's wedding with some fellow belly dancers, and then troupe practice this morning. Felt good to bust out some Anaya moves again and actually dance, even if Cari threw out more confusing zill stuff for us to work on. Guess I know what I'll be practicing all this week...

I'm also super excited because next weekend Anaya Tribe is performing at Fireland Faerie Festival. Not only do I get to dance, but I can run around in faerie wings before our performance. Squee! We're performing at 5pm on Saturday, so if you're in the Phoenix area and you're not too curmudgeonly to attend a Faerie Festival, you should come out and see us.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Costuming counts as practice, right?

Day 315 of practice.

Since I am STILL coughing, today's "practice" was actually a little costume work. I bought myself a cute Gahwazee coat at the PJ Sessoms benefit, but it had no buttons. Today I decided to fix that and had a pleasant evening of stitching them on while watching a DVD. I haven't been making anything while I was sick, so it was nice to be working with my hands, even if it was a very simple task.

There was SOME actual dance practice today, too. While I was cooking my breakfast I decided to work on the "basketball belly bounce" from Elizabeth Strong's workshop last weekend. It was a fun, easy thing to drill in the kitchen, as I tried to figure out exactly which muscles to use and reminded myself that my belly is supposed to stick out and bounce.

I also spent a while reading an issue of Fuse Magazine, because it's my favorite belly dance magazine and I figure if I'm not dancing at 100%, I might as well fill my head with inspiration.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Missing more classes

Days 313 and 314 of practice.

What a frustrating week it is shaping up to be. Had to skip class yesterday because I was still not feeling great and we had some errands to run in order to get our furnace up and running. Then today, Amanda was running late due to practice, so we would have already been late to class... Then there was an accident along the route from my house to the freeway, so we had to detour through town, where we hit tons of traffic, only to find that the freeway itself was completely backed up. By the time we made it to Tempe the first class of the night would have been over, and since we're not doing the last class, we were looking at a 4 hour round trip for only one hour-long class. The decision was quickly made to return to my house for practice.

On the bright side, we got some very good practice, going over several advanced moves, doing some zills, working on some slow. So the night wasn't a total wash, and now we're not out until late like we would have been. But still, it's frustrating to have to miss so many classes this month!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Back to classes

Day 312 of practice.

Well, my cough is stubbornly lingering but I went to Jolie's classes anyway. I just stretched my way through the workout warmup part of it, with the teacher's blessing because she doesn't want me to DIE in her class. Although I think that might be good advertising for her: "Did you hear about the teacher whose classes were SO hardcore that one of her students fell over dead from the warmup?"

Had some fun with movement and shimmy layering. It felt good to be in class again, with friends and learning new things.

Monday, November 7, 2011

One more day off

Day 311 of practice.

I had originally planned to go to class today, but I'm still coughing and rundown, and it is really COLD outside, so I decided to stay home and huddle under a blanket with a giant mug of rum-spiked hot cranberry cider. Tomorrow is supposed to be warmer so I should be able to go to class.

Did some gentle practice at home, working on my mayas, rib taxims, and Turkish Rom finger snapping. As it turns out, that last one scares one of my dogs away. She's scared of the silliest things.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Coughing my brains out

Days 307-310 of practice, sorta.

Well, my year of dance kind of fell apart with this sickness. I flat out did not practice on Thursday and Friday. I was so sick, and in such a bad mood from being sick, that it just didn't happen. But you know what, I'm okay with that. I've been doing this for over 300 days and I only missed one before, also when I was sick. So I think I've proven that I can practice every day. I'm going to continue onward, having acknowledged the fact that sometimes I am physically and/or mentally incapable of doing anything that truly resembles dancing. From now on, sick days will be for non-physical dance journey enrichment -- maybe I'll spend the day watching videos on YouTube, or sorting through new music, or reading a belly dance magazine or on-line articles.

Anyway, the weekend was full of dance. I went to the Plaza de Anaya Intensive, featuring Elizabeth Strong and Silvia Salamanca. I couldn't fully participate, due to low energy and coughing fits, but even sitting on the sidelines and taking notes when I got too tired was fun and inspiring. Plus the show pretty much knocked my socks off! Other fun parts of the weekend were carpooling with Jolie and getting to know her better, spending the weekend with my great friend Jen, and being paired up with awesome fellow Tucsonan Gina and my beading belly dance friend SaraBeth for an exercise in upper Egyptian group dancing :) All that and I got a badass femme fatale hairclip from local vendor extraordinaire Kyla, as well as DVDs from both instructors so I can pick up more of their style when my health improves.

Now I'm left with a horrendous cough but a strong desire to dance (especially since my husband found more awesome music tonight), so I'm facing a week of going to my dance classes but dancing at partial capacity -- Jolie has already given me permission to skip the torturous crunches, push-ups and hip bridges during her warm-ups, probably because she's had to listen to me cough all weekend :)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Derailed

Days 305 and 306 of practice.

Not a lot of practice going on here these past two days, other than the stretches Jolie told me to do every morning. Yesterday afternoon I started feeling run-down and within a few hours I had a sore throat, a cough, and no energy. That has continued through today and it SUCKS! I have so much that I want to practice and no energy to do it -- not to mention that it's hard to dance through a coughing fit.

I HAVE to be better for this weekend -- it's the Fall Plaza Intensive and I am already signed up for two days of workshops with Elizabeth Strong and Silvia Salamanca! Plus I have a ticket for the show. And then I have the All Souls Procession Sunday evening -- two miles of belly dancing through a parade! If I absolutely have to, I can skip All Souls or just be there as a spectator, but there is no way I am missing out on the Intensive. I've been looking forward to it for MONTHS!

Monday, October 31, 2011

A very happy Halloween!

Day 304 of practice.

What a fun, eventful day I have had so far. I worked some practice into my day, some zilling and working with the heavy friggin' veil. Then I got dressed up in my dryad costume and handed candy out to trick-or-treaters for a little bit until it was time to go to class. No one else showed up to class, so this belly dancing dryad enjoyed a private lesson with Jolie.

I have a love-hate relationship with private lessons. On the one hand it is great to find out what you need to work on and have individual attention to get it done right. On the other hand, there's always those little moments where you go "ARGH I AM BAD AT EVERYTHING I AM THE WORST DANCER EVAR!" But Jolie's a lot of fun and we chatted a lot about things while we drilled, so it kept me mostly relaxed and not stressing so much about all the ways I was messing up.

Now I am beat and it is time to remove my pretty dryad costume and makeup (I drew leaves on my face with sparkly olive eyeliner) and enjoy some faerie beer.

Places that I danced today....

Day 303 of practice.

Today I danced in line at Party City, behind the wheel of my car, and in the aisle at Club Bellydance during the intermission. And by dance I mean drilled moves. It's fun to snatch moments here and there to do a few isolations when I'd otherwise be sitting or standing still.

Club Bellydance was really a lot of fun. I got to see tons of my friends and watch great performances by local Arizona dancers and the five Bellydance Superstars who were touring. And I bought some dance pants and cheap rings. All in all, a great time!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Cat as a prop?

Day 302 of practice.

Today's practice was more work with the heavy veil (to Apocalyptica, layered over shimmies), and also working on various traveling moves from the various classes I'm in. Some of those moves involved holding a cat. Well, the cat wasn't officially a prop, she just didn't understand why she couldn't jump on the bathroom counter when there was cleaner on it, so I had to keep her out of the way and she enjoyed being held while I danced.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Heavy veil!

Day 301 of practice.

I was out at Savers the other day looking for a fake head (no, I'm not dressing like Salome for Halloween, I need it to display hairsticks). While my fake head quest was unsuccessful, I did find a really pretty veil for only $6! I do so love thrift stores. It's a nice purple veil and the color scheme for the All Souls Procession next month is purple, so I thought it would be nice to do veil during the parade.

The only problem is that while I am used to using a silk half circle veil, this is a synthetic rectangle veil... with a border of sequins all the way around the edge. It's HEAVY! I think it would be much better suited for Bollywood-style finger veil, but I don't know anything about that and I can't learn enough in a week not to look like a dope. So instead I'm trying to get used to the weight of this new veil, so I don't get it stuck on my head and also look like a dope.

I also practiced gliding back and forth on my floor. It's much easier on tile in socks than on that awful black rubber floor at the Dance Loft in Vibrams.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Three hundred!

Day 300 of practice.

Woohoo... 65 more days to go until my year of practice is complete!

So anyway, I lied when I said I was doing 8 hours of class this week... it's actually only 7. I'm going to have to forgo sword in favor of keeping my carpool going. It's a shame, because I love sword, but gas is just too expensive to keep making the drive myself. Especially since I have to drive up twice a week until Thanksgiving week, when I will finally have a respite.

Class tonight was good... It was the start of a new session, which means lots of new faces in the beginner class. Level 3&4 consisted of perfecting the zills and lead changing with one specific move for 50 of the 60 minutes of class. Needless to say, those muscles are pretty tired, and so am I.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

New ways to travel

Day 299 of practice.

Tonight was Fonda's class at The Dance Loft (5 hours of class down, 3 more to go!). Tonight was really fun because we went over a couple of traveling steps. I always like to learn more ways to cover ground. We learned how to glide which is RIDICULOUSLY easy at the conceptual level, and it's just a matter of practicing to be able to do it smoothly in all directions.

I also practiced dancing a bit while I cleaned, because that's how I roll.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Limbs fall off

Day 298 of practice.

The problem with having Jolie's classes on consecutive days is that my poor body takes a beating! Then I have Fonda's class on Weds and 3 hours at Plaza on Thurs, so I don't really slow down until Friday. I have a love-hate relationship with this current schedule. On the one hand, I LOVE that I have 8 hours of class a week before I even factor in troupe practice, performances, and workshops. On the other hand, I rarely get a lazy evening at home anymore.

Anyway, tonight's classes involved lots of rib taxims and mayas and taxims and horizontal figure 8s with slow 4-4 shimmies layered on top. Lots of tricky stuff so it was another good, challenging night. But I'm so tired and hungry that it feels like my limbs are all going to fall off!

Monday, October 24, 2011

So much fun!

Day 297 of practice.

I just really had a great time in Jolie's class tonight. I guess I was in a good mood and the right mindset to start with, and then I just synced up with the material and really got into it. Maybe it helped that I didn't have to layer anything over a maya? (Well, we did one slow maya with a simple arm thing over it as part of the choreo, but that was easy). I even volunteered to be in a video of the minute plus of choreo we learned, and I'll post that once the other student says she's OK with it.

I'm really enjoying being in some classes that are really challenging me mentally and physically on a regular basis. There are invariably challenges in all of my other classes from time to time (there was this one passing move in DC skirt that I kept messing up even though it was conceptually simple), but Jolie's class are constant challenges, mindfucks, and struggles. I feel like I'm really going to grow as a dancer during the time that I spend studying with her.

But my glutes hate her. Haaaaaaate.

Dancing on the road

Days 294, 295 and 296 of practice.

I'm back from California. We had to make a whirlwind trip out there for my grandmother's memorial service, which meant way too much driving. Between all of the time in the car and the fact that nearly every square inch of our hotel room was taken up by furniture, it was difficult to practice -- but I made do with what I had. Friday was a bit of arm practice in the car and at the hotel room. Saturday was tons of glute isolation practice while reading in the giant, uncomfortable hotel bed. And Sunday was isolation practice while my husband drove. Ok, I also did some glute squeezes while I drove... there are a lot of long, boring stretches of road, I had to do something!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Away, away!

I'm off to California for a memorial service. I'll be back on Sunday evening and it's possible that I won't update my blog until Monday, depending on how tired I am. It's a pretty exhausting drive!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

End of the session

Day 293 of practice.

Tonight was the last Thursday class for the session at Plaza de Anaya. Sadly, this means no more DC Skirt for the time being... just when I was starting to get the hang of it! But in its place there will be Anaya Sword, so that's awesome.

Lots of drilling and practicing tonight, to make sure everyone remembers what they learned over the past 8 weeks. We did learn two "new" moves in Anaya class, but they were ones that I already knew. Mostly we worked on zills which of course I always need more work on.

Now I'm quite tired and sore, so it's time for some stretching/yoga and sleep!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I'm on TV!

Day 292 of practice.

Well, not REALLY on TV. Fonda brought a television to class tonight so we could watch the video of Sunday's performance and critique ourselves. I've watched myself on phones and computers before but that was my first time seeing myself dance on a television and it was a little weird!

I noticed a LOT of stuff that I need to work on, so that was good. I already knew that my performance face is horrible. Even when I think I'm smiling I look like I'm snarling. Not pretty, and not inviting to the audience, that's for sure. Plenty of technical dance issues to work on, too. I took notes so I'll know what to fix.

After that we spent some time working on formations. Yay, formations!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Layers of frustration

Day 291 of practice.

Uuuuugh. I hate when my brain grasps an idea but my body just won't catch on! One thing that we had to do in drills class tonight was layering a chest circle over a maya. It shouldn't be that difficult, but my maya kept turning into a hip circle instead. I'm not sure that I managed to do it successfully even once. At least I did a little better with layering umis over walking.

It probably doesn't help that I just plain suck at mayas and taxims (which we had to drill in 101). I am so frustrated with how tight my hips and thighs are, and how much trouble I have sinking into my knees. Why did I ever stop going to the gym? I had so much more strength and flexibility then.

Tomorrow I am doing some friggin' yoga and that is final!

Monday, October 17, 2011

On the floor!

Day 290 of practice.

In tonight's class, Jolie had a small piece of floorwork in the choreography, which means I'm probably going to have bruises on my knees. But it was worth it to learn a cool way to get down to the floor! Besides, while it may still be 100 degrees here, I don't think I'm going to wear shorts this week so what does it matter if my knees are a little battered?

At first I didn't want to take this class, but I'm glad I did. Learning choreography isn't my thing, but Jolie uses it to teach us certain concepts. Tonight, for instance, was about switching between fast and slow, and also learning to be still. Good exercises to stretch my brain!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

What a day!

Day 289 of practice.

Busy dance day today! Did a quick dress rehearsal for my solo, then got ready for the group piece, packed up my solo costume, went over to the location, waited for the show to start, danced 20 minutes with my fellow students, then had to quickly change into my solo costume (there were only two numbers between the group performance and my solo!), danced my solo, and then of course stayed for the rest of the show to see the other dancers and make lots of noise.

Now I'm really, really tired, but also very inspired! There were a lot of great performances tonight and I have so much to think about to make my next solo even better. But for now I want to kick back with some chocolate and tea and just relax, because I have a big week with lots of hours of dance class coming up!

I have a long-distance relationship....

Day 288 of practice.

...with my troupe. I wish I had been able to go to Pagan Pride in Glendale today and dance with Anaya Tribe, but this is the one weekend in about a month and a half that I get to spend at home. It was a hard decision to stay in Tucson today, but I really did need to practice for tomorrow's performance, which is what I did. Still, it sucks to miss performances and hang-out time because it's a 2-hour drive to get there. Sure hope the state goes through with building a commuter train so that at least some day I can kick back and read instead of driving!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Dancing... at home?

Day 287 of practice.

Lately it seems like I'm always in a class, workshop, or troupe practice. It felt weird to be home and have time to just dance, play around with new music and work on some solos. I think I'm going to dance to Convivio at the student performance this weekend, simply because I was so busy getting ready for the Shakedown that I never worked on a new solo. Of course now I have all these great ideas, but not enough time to really get to know a song and perform it with confidence.

But it is really, really tempting to perform to a Nick Cave song, just to keep up my trend of choosing unusual songs for Tucson performances :)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

All by myself!

Day 286 of practice.

None of my awesome carpool buddies were available tonight, so I had to drive all the way to Phoenix by myself. I took advantage of this by heading up a little early, which allowed me to meet my friend Meghan's adorable new dog and actually eat dinner before class! Of course, traffic was so bad that I got in so late that I missed the first class of the night, but whatever. PUPPY AND RAMEN! What more could I ask for?

Well, actually, I could apparently also ask for a new bustle skirt and a veil because I acquired both of those tonight.

But there was also dancing! We practiced formation changes in Anaya Tribal, and in DC Skirt we learned the last move on the syllabus and practiced a lot. I'm quite tired from all of the dancing and the driving!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Day 285 of practice.

Another dress rehearsal for Sunday's performance. I'm looking forward to finally performing instead of practicing ;) Feels like we've been working towards this show forever!

I suppose at some point I should actually figure out what I'm doing for my solo at this show, too.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Practice practice practice!

Day 284 of practice.

I'm so happy that I was able to go to class tonight! My muscles are less happy than my brain, but whatever. Suck it up, muscles! We used to do Olympic-style weight lifting, we can darn well do some crunches.

One thing that we drilled is paddle turns, which was great because that is something I always need to work on. Much like zilling it's something that I am not naturally good at and I struggle with it, so I don't practice often enough at home except for when I get a bug about it.

I also did a little practice at home to new music, because I am trying to work up to practicing at home during the day even on nights when I have class -- because otherwise I'll really only have one or two days a week with home practice, and that's not good.

Seeeeeecret

Day 283 of practice.

Well, Jen/Sata and I were working on something special and slightly secretive today and it took far longer than we expected, so we didn't get to go to Jolie's class. That made me a bit sad, because I really enjoyed the classes last week and wanted Jen to experience them, too. But we did have a lot of fun anyway, and it's always good to actually get to hang out with one of my troupemates.

As such, today's practice consisted of dancing while I cleaned again, and rocking out in my chair to some potential new dance music. Now I'm about to round the day out with some lovely stretches.

Monday, October 10, 2011

I'm beat!

Day 282 of practice.

Did I say come back Sunday for a review of the Shakedown? Tuesday would be more accurate. Today was too busy and tomorrow will be as well!

My practice today mainly consisted of dancing while cleaning -- quite a few times I completely abandoned the cleaning to really get into the music. I also did a couple minutes of these glute exercises that Jolie has us do in class and wanted us to do as homework, too, but my thighs are too tired from doing a zillion drops in Miriam Amaya's sword workshop yesterday, so I didn't do many!

Tomorrow I'm spending the day with Sata, and fun times will be had!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

At the Shakedown

Day 281 of practice.

I'm at the Desert Shakedown taking a workshop, selling jewelry, performing, and hanging out with my awesome friends. Oh yes, and shopping. Definitely shopping. This post has been pre-scheduled. Come back on Sunday for a review of the event!

Friday, October 7, 2011

On the road

Day 280 of practice.

Today's practice will happen behind the wheel because I have spent the entire day getting ready for the Desert Shakedown and now I'm about to take off to pick up my friend Cynthia and head up to Phoenix. Hooray! I hope I'll see you at the Shakedown tomorrow. I'll be at my Erthe Fae Designs booth for most of the day, and I will be performing with Anaya Tribe at 2:50pm.

Again with the tiredness

Day 279 of practice.

Seriously tired this week... so tired that I skipped skirt class! I almost skipped class altogether but I had someone who wanted to carpool so I decided to go after all. And I did have fun and worked on some things that I need to work on, including lots of zill practice, so it was all good. You know, aside from the fact that I wanted to nap instead of driving.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Dress Rehearsal!

Day 278 of practice.

Today was a partial dress rehearsal for our student showcase next weekend. I like my costume but I think I need to inject more color -- our colors are black, red and yellow and I am mostly black whereas everyone else is wearing a lot of red. Maybe I can make some red tassels next week.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Oh boy

Day 277 of practice.

What have I gotten myself into? Ha ha. My abs are killing me and my arms are exhausted. It reminds me of when I first started going to the gym. My body has grown complacent, it's comfortable with the level of belly dance I was doing and is protesting against this intense fusion stuff. Well, suck it up body, we're going to keep doing this!

Yep, I just got back from two more hours of classes with Jolie at BreakOut Studios on 4th Ave. Tonight was Bellydance 101 and Technique and Drills. I expected 101 to be really boring, ie, "This is a hip drop" but then she made us do rib circles without involving our shoulders or spine... completely controlled by the muscles around the ribcage. It was INTENSE. And in the drills class, we did crazy arm drills.

But it was also a lot of fun. We started 101 out with some walking practice, including walking like zombies as a creative exercise. And in Drills, to practice keeping our hands flat in a controlled snake arm, we had to imagine that we had little animals riding on our hands. My little friends were giant scarab beetles, because I got to handle one at an insect festival last month and it was SO COOL. But I guess that was cheating because I was supposed to feel bad if I dropped my little friends, and of course scarabs can fly.

Monday, October 3, 2011

My butt, it has been kicked

Day 276 of practice.

I'm going to have some sore glutes, abs, arms and more tomorrow because I got my butt kicked at Jolie Roberson's class! I had no idea how out of shape I was until I had to do push-ups. Yikes! My CrossFit body is long gone. It's going to be nice spending the next 6 months taking some more intensive classes 2x a week and really getting into shape again.

I'm really happy to be able to add more classes to my schedule. I've been thinking about it for a while but balked due to the expense -- the problem is that there is no Plaza de Anaya equivalent in Tucson, no one studio that I can buy an unlimited pass at and have access to multiple teachers. It irritates me that I have a membership at Plaza that would allow me to take all the classes I want, and yet I'm only up there once a week and I have to pay extra money for more classes down in Tucson. But whatever. Since Jolie is awesome and she's only here for 6 months, I decided to suck it up, plunk down the cash and get some more diversity in my dance education.

Tonight's class was Combinations and Choreography, where we learned some slinky moves and put them together to a song, focusing on expressing the emotion of the song. This is the sort of training that I really need to improve my solos, and I usually only get it in workshops. It will be nice to have it on a weekly basis!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Enough with the tired and cranky!

Days 274 and 275 of practice.

Ugh. I'm tired of not sleeping well and being tired and cranky all the time! I barely practiced last night, and this morning I desperately wanted to blow off troupe practice so I could sleep in. Getting up at 7:30am is just not for me.

But I'm glad I sucked it up and went, because I had a good time, got some good practice in, and went to the bead store for a kuchi piece to put at the center of my new bra. Now I just need to figure out the best way to attach the darn thing.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

9 months!

Day 273 of practice.

9 months of daily practice under my jingly green belt! I bought myself a present yesterday, beautiful teal lace harem pants (swoooooon), and I let myself take it easy today because DANG am I tired! Went to bed at 1:30am and woke up at 4am, 6am, 8am, and 9am. That sort of bad sleep is not acceptable after 3 hours of dance class and three hours of driving to and from dance class.

Anyway, I am SUPER EXCITED about my dance future because starting next week I'll be taking classes with a new teacher! Not that my current teachers aren't awesome, but these classes will be more focused on technique and solo material, which I really want some formal education on. My solo stuff is really a combination of isolations, basic tribal moves, and crap I made up. I get lots of compliments on my solos, but I know it's mostly because of the energy/emotion of my pieces and the fact that people like the veil work I've been doing lately. I want to take it to the next step beyond that!

More later... Now I need to sleep, and I'd better not wake up repeatedly!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Class class class.

Days 271 and 272 of practice.

Wow, how did I forget to blog after class on Wednesday? I guess I had other things on my mind!

Anyway, class has been good for the past couple of days, keeping me busy with learning new things and fine-tuning the ones I know. Lots of zill work! Tonight in Anaya class each person had to go to the front and do a move with a special zill pattern all by themselves. SCARY! I only screwed up a little bit, though. Yay for practice!

Now I'm so tired that my arms want to fall off, so I think it's time for a cookie and sleep.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

All I do is zill!

Day 270 of practice.

Another day of zill practice. I mean, I also worked on some other stuff, but mostly it's zills. They're definitely the area that I need the most improvement in. In fact, I should probably be working on them for a few times a day, since there's only so long I can spend drilling them before I get fed up at my own badness.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Performance Recap and Today's Practice

 Day 269 of practice.

Above, a photo that Jen (aka Sata) took at our post-performance Pei Wei meal. She, Amanda and I grabbed a bite because we'd had a long, hungry day. We were far too hungry to bother with such silly things as removing our hair flowers and makeup before eating.
And here's a lovely photo of almost the entire troupe! A couple of members couldn't perform on Sunday, so it's not quite everyone, but it's still a large and colorful group of tribal dancers.

My first troupe gig was not just a performance, but also a talk and class on belly dance, for a group of teenage girls. I have to admit it was a bit intimidating to be working up close and personal with our audience, and an audience of non-dancers at that! I'm really used to performing for my fellow dancers. But it was also very fun to be part of these girls' first introduction to tribal belly dance!

The afternoon started with Cari and Tiffany giving a talk about belly dance, tribal style, and Anaya, then we did a big performance, then the girls got to learn shimmies and our five basic fast moves... Then we were split into groups, with one or two troupe members and three students, to come up with a short routine and dance on stage for each other. I think most of the girls were a little nervous about dancing but they were also very supportive of each other, cheering and clapping and having a lot of fun.

I think this was a great introduction for me on what it's like to be part of a troupe -- it's not just having a set group to dance with, but also becoming a part of the dance community AND the local general community. Many of our gigs will be at community events, fairs and festivals and parades and pride events, where we'll be introducing the public to belly dance. I'm very excited to be part of it!

Compared to all that, today's practice was nothing to carry on about -- I drilled some mayas, did some stretches (legs, hips, why are you always so tight?), and of course played my zills while practicing my gahwazee.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Tune in tomorrow...

Day 268 of practice.

Today I had troupe practice AND a two-hour gig with the troupe AND a MECDA meeting... I was gone for 13 hours, I'm totally exhausted, and I've still got makeup on my face and a garden in my hair... so tune in tomorrow for my thoughts on my first troupe performance :)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Skills

Day 267 of practice.

Today I worked on various skills... Zills of course, plus lunges, levels, rib taxims and mayas. All things that I really need to polish. I'm happy to say that my Saiidi rhythm is starting to sound a little better.

Keeping this post short because I need to finish my new tribal bra and pack up all my stuff for a busy Sunday in Phoenix!

My glutes hurt!

Day 266 of practice.

Yesterday we had to do some level drills and some walking lunges, and it's really embarrassing how sore I am! I used to be really good at that sort of thing when I was going to the gym, but now I'm out of shape. As much as I love dancing, I need to admit that it is not a well-rounded workout.

Anyway, today's practice consisted of dancing while cleaning, and doing some zill drills. Took it easy today because I ended up a little crunched for time and very tired, but I'll make up for it with a busy dance weekend.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

100 days to go.

Day 265 of practice.

Look at that! There's only 100 days left in my year of practice!

Anyway, tonight was dance class night, as Thursdays usually are. It was fun! We did some peripheral vision exercises and re-learned one of my favorite moves in the Anaya classes, and DC Skirt class had two new moves, and I even took a turn leading the little trio I was part of.

Now I am tired. I need an in-house masseuse to be waiting for me every Thursday when I get home.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A day with no zills!

Day 264 of practice.

I thought we would do zills in class tonight, since we're going to be playing them for our student performance next month, but we focused more on slow. Ha! A break from my own horrible zill playing!

After class, my Anaya Tribe troupemate and carpool buddy Amanda came over and we worked together on our new tribal bras, which we need for a performance this weekend. Tedious hand-stitching is much more fun with a friend who likes to talk about bugs and science and other weird stuff. A fun night!

Zills. Sick of them yet? I sure am.

Day 263 of practice.

It's going to be all zills all the time around here. I can't stand how bad I am with them. I think maybe I should put on my zill mufflers so at least my bad playing will be less offensive.

I am getting marginally better at playing rhythms while doing basic tribal moves, which is to say that I succeed occasionally instead of never! Still pretty ugly though. I think I don't really have a good natural sense of rhythm, which is born out by the fact that I also sometimes have a hard time finding the "1" in a 4-beat song.

But whatever. Dancing is what I love to do, and if I have to zill, too, then that's what I gotta do.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Clangity clangity clang.

Day 262 of practice.

That's the sound of me struggling with my zills! I'm making progress, but I still have a long way to go. Well, that's what practice is for! That and also cleaning up my technique, so I worked on my gahwazee and choo-choo. Fonda keeps teasing me about my gigantic gahwazee steps (something I have struggled with since I started dancing!), and Cari is a stickler for having your left hand turned just so in a choo-choo, so they're both things I want to focus on til I have them just right. I'm sure I have other things I need to work on, too, but I've decided those will be my goals for this week.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

I'm a water faerie!

Days 260 and 261 of practice.

Here's a picture of my costume from yesterday's performance! I danced to "Ocean" by Collide, and my character for the piece was an amoral water faerie... Shy, seductive, alien, and graceful. Also she wears tiny winged bird skulls over her ears, because I've been waiting for the perfect excuse to wear them. I got a lot of compliments on the costume and the dancing, so I'm floating on Cloud 9.

Over all, the Healing Through Dance benefit was a success! All of the performances were great, we had an enthusiastic crowd, and we raised a nice amount of money for the Sessoms family! Speaking of raising money, we ended up with a lot more rummage sale donations than we expected, and Plaza de Anaya has kindly allowed us to leave a rack of items in the store, so if you were unable to make it to the benefit but would still like to shop, head over to the studio this week! There are some really nice items! I personally came home with a new tie top, gahwazee coat and panel skirt all in beautiful Autumn-appropriate colors. There are things for tribal, fusion, and cabaret dancers, and some clothes that can be worn for day-to-day stuff, too!

Today was troupe practice, where I got my brain broken by more zill patterns! I really need to work harder, and also get myself a private zill lesson with Mahin, because she is awesome and I need help. We also talked about upcoming gigs, costumes, and our dance levels. I am pleased to announce that I am now a Level 2 Anaya Tribe Dancer and I only need 1,000 more EXP before I level up (a little joke for my gamers there).

We have a troupe gig next weekend but it's for a charity event and I don't think it's open to the public, so if you want to see me get my group tribal improv on, you need to come to the Desert Shakedown on October 8th!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Fabulous daydream life

Day 259 of practice.

Do you ever daydream about a life where you have no obligations and can spend all of your time on creative pursuits? I know I have it easier than most because I don't have a dayjob or kids, but sometimes it gets so annoying to feel like I'm going to have most of the day wide open for dance and yoga and jewelry and costuming, and to instead spend it running errands and cleaning the house.

Well, at least I got a lot of cleaning done today.

And I shimmied while I cleaned. And my zills turned up.

But I'm tired, and I didn't get to do yoga like I wanted to, and by the time we got back from our late dinner with a friend we hadn't seen in forever, I was too tired to do a dress rehearsal for tomorrow's performance, which means I have to do it tomorrow before I leave, and if something doesn't work I won't have much time to replace it with something that does work. I don't even want to think about everything I have to do before I leave tomorrow. Uuuugh.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Where are my zills?

Day 258 of practice.

My zills are missing! I couldn't find them in my dance bag at class last night, so I figured I had left them at home... but I can't find them at home, either :( I had to use loaner zills and class and half of them had elastic that was too tight and the others were too loose.

Otherwise, class was fun. In DC skirt class, Shannon had members of the student troupe pair up with non-troupe students, which was awesome because I was able to have the more experienced dancer lead the combos, and then talk me through leading them myself. We practiced passing and fading and my partner was so happy with how quickly I got it that she gave me a big ol' hug.

In other awesome news, my sweet friend Jen aka Sata brought me back a beautiful green bead and medallion belt that she found while on vacation in California. It's the perfect shade of green, I'm pretty sure the medallions are set with malachite (one of my favorite stones) and it's so pretty that I must have gotten compliments from a dozen people just during class!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Why so tired?

Day 257 of practice.

Just got back from class at The Dance Loft. We practiced for our performance and I had a good time, but on the way home I was suddenly struck by drowsiness! Don't know why, but I'm having a hard time focusing now.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Work and Play

Day 256 of practice.

Tonight I worked on my solo, and my Anaya moves and tribal basics (I've been taking HUGE steps for Gahwazee again so I drilled taking little steps, for instance). But I also played around by hearing a random song on my iPod and wanting to get my dance on. I might just use it for my solo performance at our upcoming student show here in Tucson. It's fun and funky and it's NOT A VEIL SONG. I love veil, but I don't want to be typecast as "Sophia Ravenna, the girl who always does a veil solo at every hafla." Especially since there's a veil part in our student performance.

The other thing I did today was go shopping for supplies for a new dance bra. Yay! I bought a nice bra to use as my base -- dang, good bras are expensive! But if it's the only thing between my nipples and the audience, I want it to be good quality.

Maaaaayaaaaa

Day 255 of practice.

Worked on some nice, juicy slow mayas today. At least, that's what they should be. Sometimes I think that Mayas, Taxims and Snake Arms are only put in beginner classes with the idea that if you start them right at the beginning, you might maybe not suck at them by the time you're tackling all of the other advanced moves. They're certainly not easy, at least, it's not easy to make them look pretty.

I really need to focus on being able to sink deeper into my knees. I have really short hamstrings and achilles tendons, and ever since I stopped going to the gym that made me do a zillion squats several times a week, they've really tightened back up. My hamstrings especially have been bothering me a lot lately, and it's embarrassing how bad I am at doing levels right now. I think it's time to go back to doing squats at home, as much as I hate them, and lots and lots of stretching, which I do like.

In awesome news, it has been raining A LOT and the temperatures are down, so heat is no longer a barrier to dance practice. I just have to balance my desire to dance with my desire to work on the yard while the weather is nice and the ground is soft!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

I don't like dancing to the flute!

Day 254 of practice.

I've been learning so much from this improv challenge. Tonight's lesson was that I don't enjoy dancing to New Age-y Native American style flute music. Really, the whole message of this challenge has been to reinforce to me the importance of having some sort of emotional connection to the music. Some songs have personal meaning to me. Others just conjure up fun memories of dancing with my friends in class. Then there are the songs that draw me in with their beauty. And then aside from all that are songs that have nothing wrong with them, they just don't inspire me to great heights of dancing.

Other than improv, today's practice consisted of various isolations while I was waiting for customers at a bead show, and shimmies while I did the dishes. I should probably practice more (didn't I say something about DC Skirt?) but to be honest, I feel like making some jewelry so that's what I'm going to do.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Maybe I should actually dance?

Day 253 of practice.

Today I realized that I had been so caught up in practicing my zills for Anaya class that I had not been practicing the moves at all! Oh no! So I did two songs worth of fast and one of slow. It was scary how much trouble I had remembering combos, but they eventually came back to me. Of course, while I was doing that I realized that I haven't practiced DC Skirt either, so I know what I'll be doing tomorrow.

I also worked on my solo, which is coming along nicely, and my random improv. Today was "Blink" by Infected Mushroom. I really don't like that band very much, so it was hard to get into it. But I did it anyway, and explored some different movements.

Then it was zill time and my zills were just horrible. Plus the elastic really is barely holding on, so I think I'll go to the fabric store on Monday. It would be good to fix them before class on Wednesday.

What?

Day 252 of practice.

Today's improv practice was to "What?" by Rob Zombie. It's fun to shimmy to metal music. I was caught unawares by a very abrupt ending, though. That's my least favorite part about doing improv to unfamiliar music... You can't always tell when the song is winding down and you might get caught in an awkward pose.

I also practiced my zills, which sounded awful. Even the chicken in my pants can't help me once I start moving my arms!

Then I worked on my solo, which was fun. Afterwards, another song came on and I was catching accents. My husband walked in and said "Did you just do chest lifts to that?" to which I said haughtily, "Of course not, those were chest DROPS." He merely looked amused. I guess it is weird to be just standing there and then do a series of quick chest moves, but slip them into a performance and they make it look awesome.

Friday, September 9, 2011

I have no class

Day 251 of practice.

No class for me tonight! Everyone's off at Vegas for the Belly Dance Intensive. I almost made a last-minute trip out there too because it sounded like so much fun, but my fiscal responsibility prevailed. It WAS nice not to have to make the drive up to Tempe, but I miss my friends and I miss the dancing. Today ended up being all weird, so I didn't get to practice much.

Random improv was another Rajna song. I'd complain, except that I saw some of the other stuff Chris put on that playlist and I'm not sure I want to dance to most of it! I guess he wanted to give me a challenge.

Zills are still not-great. And my elastic is shot, guess it's time for an exciting trip to JoAnn's for replacement elastic. If I had to choose one thing that I hate the most about being a belly dancer, it would be replacing the elastic on my zills! It's so annoying to stitch through and I always poke my fingers. You'd think that with all the beadwork I do, I'd be a whiz with needles, but no, I stab myself when I'm beading, too.

Wow. This post is kind of negative. I guess I'm Miss Cranky Dance Pants because I'm not in Vegas!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Stupid mosquito

Day 250 of practice.

There was a mosquito at The Dance Loft and it bit me at least 5 times... including twice on the belly! Good thing I'm not performing this weekend, I'd feel all self-conscious about big red dots on my tummy. Otherwise class was fun, there were only four of us so we got to practice dancing in a tight little group, and doing duets. Plus we did a lot of zilling, so I don't have to practice that today.

I asked my husband to find me a new song to do some improv to while I was at class, and when I got home he'd made me a playlist of 18 songs! He's awesome that way. I put it on shuffle and the song that came up was another one by Rajna. It's called "Buried Philae" and it's amazingly awesome. I think it might be a femme fatale song. I wanted to drape myself in jewels, wear smoky eye shadow and stalk across the stage.

Healing Through Dance for PJ Sessoms

I am pleased to announce that my next performance will be at the Healing Through Dance benefit for PJ Sessoms, who is the other of my classmate Jacque. Mrs. Sessoms is battling cancer, so we're putting on a benefit to raise some money to help the family with the costs. See the flier for all of the details you need!

I'm part of the "...and more!" performing, and I am also donating two pieces of my unique handmade jewelry to the raffle. There will also be a rummage sale of gently used costume items, so if you're looking to work on your costume closet, you can't go wrong there. All in all, I think it's going to be a pretty awesome event and I'm looking forward to it.

By the way, there is no set admission but they will be requesting donations at the door. Plaza de Anaya is donating the use of the studio for the night, so all of the money will be going to the Sessoms family. Please come as you can and donate as much as you can, whether is by paying at the door, buying raffle tickets, or participating in the rummage sale. I hope I'll see you there :)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Getting down to business

Day 249 of practice.

No more Miss Lazy Dancer! I've been noticing over the past week that my midsection was getting a little squishier than I would like, the results of not practicing hard enough and eating out too often. This is unacceptable! I need to dance harder and eat healthier and be the best dancer I can be.

So tonight's practice consisted of a nice dynamic stretching warmup to get the blood flowing and everything all loosy-goosy.

Then I did the shimmy drills section from Serpentine with Rachel Brice, which built up a nice sweat and reminded me that my shimmies on the down suck.

Then I grabbed my Rajna CD, because somehow I've never listened to it, and I set out to do some improv. But the first song was only 2 minutes long, so I decided to do the second song too, and it was over 6 minutes long. So yay for over 8 minutes of improv to unfamiliar music! Boo for the fact that the second song had a lot of dulcimer or qanoon or some other vibrating instrument that required more shimmies.

Then I grabbed my veil and practiced my solo.

Then I came in here to update my blog and SaraBeth's comment on yesterday's post reminded me that I had not practiced my 3-3-7 zill pattern! So I spent a few minutes working on that and made some progress.

Now it's time to take a relaxing shower, and do some stretches so I don't wake up with sore abs tomorrow!

Good, good, bad.

Day 248 of practice.

Today's practice was broken up into three parts.

First part: Partial dress rehearsal for my upcoming solo. While digging around in my closets, I not only found a pretty blue silk scarf big enough to be used as a veil, but I also figured out my costume for the solo, too. So I put it on and danced in it, making sure that the veil was going to get along with the costume. I just wore the clothes, though. I need to decide on hair and jewelry and put all those on with it next time, to make sure nothing will catch on the veil or otherwise not work out. But so far, pretty successful!

Second part: Awesome local dancer Kamrah posted a challenge on her blog to do improv every day. Well, I already improv all the time so I decided to try the advanced challenge, which is to do improv to songs I've never heard before. Today I danced to "Aim for the Head" by Creature Feature -- yes, I did belly dance to a song about shooting ghouls. It was a whole lot of fun! But there was a part in the middle where it was just someone talking, and I had to just kind of pose and I found myself wishing that I had my sword or some other weapon to make me look badass. Of course, no one was watching, not even the cat, so it didn't really matter.

Third part: Zills. Ugh! Why am I having so much trouble with the 3-3-7? Anaya wants us to layer it over a Turkish, and I can fake it in class when I'm following the better zill players, but at home it turns into 3-3-what was that awful clatter? I'm going to have to work on it every. single. night. until I can do it on my own.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Drilling those zills

Day 247 of practice.

Got my practice done early today! My friend Dawn invited me to join her and a few of her troupemates for some zill practice, because we're all pretty unhappy with our zilling right now. So we spent a good 45 minutes talking about them and practicing, working on triplets and beladi. Much more fun than practicing at home, being around other people helped me stay upbeat and focused, instead of giving up and doing something else.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Solo Saturday

Day 246 of practice.

I worked really hard on my cleaning so that I would have time to work on my solo before company comes over... and it worked! Hurrah. Not only that, but I got to dance and explore some floorwork on a freshly-mopped floor. So nice :)

I'm still trying to figure out exactly what I'm doing with this solo, but I'm enjoying the song. This week I'll work on my costume... I think I might wear my amazing black, aqua and cobalt silk wrap-pants. I normally don't use them in costumes, but I think they might be just what this piece needs.

The rest of today's practice consisted of shimmying my way through various chores, which always makes things so much more fun.

Nothing to see here

Day 245 of practice.

Not much to report today, just some simple isolations. It's really hot in my house. September hasn't gotten the memo yet that it's supposed to be cooler than August. C'mon Autumn, why don't you visit AZ and stay for a while?

Friday, September 2, 2011

New session!

Day 244 of practice.

Tonight was the start of a new session, which meant lots of fresh faces in Anaya Fundamentals, and starting over with DC Skirt, which also had some new people. And one of those newbies is none other than frequent (only?) blog commenter SaraBeth. YAY! For a long time, the running joke was that we were never at the same dance events, so it's really awesome to be sharing a class with her. Amusingly, we both wore the same black iris sparkle scarf, so we had matching butts.

It was a really fun night. We did lots of zills in advanced class, and I enjoyed having my friend Amanda keep me company on the drive, allowing us to catch up with each other. Next class may find me with a FULL car for the drive up. I love having carpool buddies :)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Antisocial

Day 243 of practice.

I didn't go to class today because I was feeling cranky and antisocial. Blame the heat... or the rain... or my sleep schedule which still hasn't normalized from the double-whammy of vacation and sickness (my body: weee! Let's stay up reading past 2am like we used to! Oh, but then let's wake up at 7 when the husband's alarm goes off, and not fall back asleep!). So I stayed home and did shimmies and arm and hand isolations, on top of the housework dancing I did earlier.

Hopefully class tomorrow will snap me out of my funk. I do find myself eagerly looking forward to troupe practice... only to remember that the next one isn't until the 18th! There's a big part of me that wishes we could have practice every weekend... whereas the rest of me reminds that part that it is, in fact, a long drive up to Tempe and I have to get up at 7am to do it.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Small animals fleeing in terror!

Day 242 of practice.

Oh no! I've once again decided that I really need to work on my zills! Anaya Tribal has recently decided to start adding more variety to the zilling that accompanies their dance moves, and they've passed that along to those of us in their classes and the student troupe. No more getting away with simple triplets, now we have to be able to play baladi, saiidi and more! Oh no! I'm familiar with all these rhythms, and I've learned them before, but that doesn't mean that I can reliably play them without having a stronger player nearby for me to lock in on. This would probably be much easier if I was one of those people who had gone to an actual school, and played in a marching band. Then playing music and moving at the same time would seem natural!

In order to actually have some fun tonight, instead of just tormenting all of the ear drums in the house, I then put away my zills and worked on my solo for an upcoming benefit I'll be performing at (more details later this week, but it's at Plaza de Anaya on Sept 17th, so save the date!). I plan to do some veil work, as that was specifically requested (could this be my specialty? I guess it is for now!) but I decided to dance sans veil tonight to get a sense of the song and what moves work well with it. I found myself playing with nice, deliberate walking, and sinking down into poses. Feeling very slinky tonight.

Sword challenge completed!

Day 241 of practice.

Well, it's been a week of spending five minutes a day with a sword on my head! I discovered a few things... Five minutes seems like a long time when you have a sword on your head. If I didn't hold my head just right, my neck hurt. And all this time that I thought my sword didn't balance well because it sucked, well, it turned out that I was the one who sucked. I have to be tighter with my isolations! After just a week I noticed less wobble. I think I'll keep up the sword practice, although I might not do five minutes at a time every day.

Yesterday's practice ended up being fun. I walked into the office with my sword and my husband had pulled up a drum solo song on YouTube, and I started doing isolations to the song... I basically did a very simple 2.5 minute drum solo while balancing my sword. It was FUN! I think I might work on a very short drum solo that I can do with my sword, to pair with the Convivio solo, since that one is only 3.5 minutes long. I wouldn't want to do a whole routine as a sword-balancing drum solo, too limiting and too gimmicky, but it would be a fun way to impress a crowd, and even if I never end up using it after all, it will be fun to practice.

The rest of today's practice was hand and arm isolations, since I was busy getting some things caught up, but tomorrow I plan to get tons of practice -- including going to the park if it's not storming or over 100.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Anaya Tribe!!!

Days 239 and 240 of practice.

Saturday was a lazy practice day -- I hurt my foot and wanted to take it easy so I could be ready today. Did my sword drills and a few other things but no major dancing.

But today, today was an awesome day! I got up at 7am so I could get up to Tempe for my first-ever troupe practice! I'm now an official member of the Anaya Tribe and I am SO EXCITED! This is a big step forward for my dance goals, and practice was so much fun -- no breaking moves down for new students, just dancing and perfecting and getting ready for upcoming performances.

After practice, I grabbed lunch with a couple troupemates (I have troupemates!), then went out shopping, hung out talking about tattoos and hair, and then went to the MECDA Sunday Shakedown, where I got to enjoy being an audience member.

All in all, a very fun day... but that getting up at 7am is a killer... I'm so tired and I still have to go put a sword on my head for five minutes!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Smorgasbord

Day 238 of practice.

Worked on all kinds of things tonight... sword balancing, a new solo, stretching, rib taxim homework from Anaya class.... I was all over the place! Probably would have danced even more but I'm tired. Well, there's plenty of time for that tomorrow.

It's a shame I'm not currently good enough to do a rib taxim with a sword on my head, because then I could have been much more efficient.

Video from last weekend

Hey, I keep forgetting to post this! My wonderful friend, classmate, carpool buddy and cheerleader Dawn Sehar took this video of my Veil Performance at the hafla on Saturday. Watch me dance! Admire the beautiful colors of my veil. Marvel at the whiteness of my belly!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Worn out!

Day 237 of practice.

I'm beat, and I only did 2 hours of class tonight! Skirt and Fan was doing a choreo, which I missed the first part of, so I had to skip the class. I miss it so much! :( Next session we'll be back to just skirt without fan. So sad!

Anaya classes were fun, we're changing up our zills more, which makes my brain hurt. And I had to lead a move that I didn't really know. Good thing other people in my group did, so I had them tell me what to do so I could pretend to lead ;)

Most importantly, it was good to see my Tempe dance friends who I had not seen for a month!

Then I came home and did my sword practice. Note to self: do sword practice before class, when your muscles aren't tired!

Back to class

Day 236 of practice.

It felt so good to just go to class today! I've missed the structure, and the friends. Plus it's nice to dance for an hour and a half, especially while the rain pounds on the roof of the studio. All in all, a lovely night. And we did some sword, so I got my 5 minutes in, though it wasn't specifically chest isolations.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sword on my head!

Day 235 of practice.

On Saturday, I took a sword workshop with Anaya Tribal and it reminded me that I had not worked with my sword for a while, so I really should practice more. Then today Mahin issued a practice challenge... five minutes of practice with a sword on your head every day for a week. How perfect! That Mahin, she's psychic or something.

Tonight I decided to spend 5 minutes doing rib isolations with the sword on my head, because it was around the middle of the difficulty list and I like rib isolations. I'm happy to say that I didn't lose my sword, but it did wobble around a lot. I especially need to clean up my rib circles. Well, that will give me something to aim for this week!

I think I actually got half an hour or more of dancing done today. I had a lot of beadwork to do, and since I had music playing while I beaded, there was a whole lot of chair dancing going on. Plus I did some hand isolations while I read -- hey, my left hand has nothing to do while my right holds the book, I might as well exercise it.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Still taking it easy

Day 234 of practice.

So at this point I pretty much have to admit that I am NOT practicing 30 minutes every day. But I am still making a point to practice every day, even if I'm sick or tired or traveling. And once I'm all better, I have a lot of things I want to add to my daily practice to bring it over 30 minutes each day.

When I started this, it was easy to think that I'd suck it up and practice for half an hour no matter how bad I felt or how busy I was. And many days I did, and I still want to aim for that goal on days where I'm not sick and exhausted. It's just that right now I find myself unexpectedly tired by the time the house cools down at night. I blame all the housework I did today. If I'd been lazy, I'd have plenty of energy for dancing!

So today's practice was a bit of dancing while I cleaned, some hand isolations, and some mayas. Tomorrow will hopefully be better!

Paying the price

Day 233 of practice.

Well, I knew I wouldn't emerge from yesterday unscathed. I've got an ugly-sounding cough, and between the coughing and yesterday's dancing, my abs are already protesting. But whatever. I regret nothing! I had a wonderful time, and I really needed to get out and dance and meet more of the local community.

I do need to take it easy so that I can make class on Weds and Thursday, though. With that in mind, today's practice was floreos, hip slides, and rib slides. The slides felt really good, they're so much fun and it's good to stretch out the ol' obliques.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Take that, sickness!

Days 231 and 232 of practice.

So, yesterday was lame. I did a bit of chair dancing but then zonked out in bed before I could actually practice. Today, however, was 4 hours of workshops, practicing for my performance, performing, and lots of open dance. My feet hurt, and I'm tired, and my voice is threatening to go out, and I am SO GLAD that I left the house and danced today.

Now... more sleep!

Friday, August 19, 2011

No class for me :(

Day 230 of practice. I think.

How many vitamins do I have to take to get rid of this cold? UGH. I'd just better be over it by Saturday, so I can enjoy the workshops and hafla that I'm already signed up for. I mean, they're actually in Tucson for once, I barely have to drive at all. It would be ridiculous to miss out on them. Plus I really, really want to actually see some dance friends. It's been weeks.

Practice today was more easy hand isolations, but I also broke out my veil and found that I can still use it. My thumb is healed up enough that I don't even need a bandage. I guess all of the vitamins went to that instead of fighting the cold? Who knows. But playing with my veil made me happy and helped me feel more dancerly.

Time for more sleep! Healing sleep!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

More of the same

Still sick. Still unhappy about it. This is so frustrating. I have zero energy and I feel like crud. This makes 4 weeks in a row that I've missed my Wednesday night class! I really hope I feel better tomorrow so I can go up to Plaza de Anaya. At least I won't be letting Dawn down if I can't, since she has a meeting down here and won't be going up either way.

Practice remains gentle, easy isolations. Actual dancing is beyond me right now :(

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Frig. I'm sick

As if 2 weeks of vacation didn't throw me off enough, it turns out I've brought back my least-favorite sort of souvenir... an airplane cold! There should be a law against sick people flying. Or maybe I should just give up and wear a mask.

This sucks especially hard because I'm supposed to take workshops and perform on Saturday. Oh yes, and I'm supposed to do a veil piece, but I snapped one of my thumbnails down to the nailbed, so I need to figure out if I can even use a veil with my thumb all wrapped up in a bandage.

In short, this week can bite me, and I am going to go back to doing gentle finger waves as my daily practice and bombarding my body with vitamins and tea.