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


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.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Back home!

Day ??? of practice.

Uh oh! I lost track of my days when I skipped so many updates during my vacation. I'll have to do a count tomorrow when I'm less tired.

I have been practicing, though it's pretty much been all isolations. I didn't really have the space or the energy for full-fledged dancing. This was an important lesson on how hard it is to dance away from home, and how I should really develop a specific practice regimen for trips, so I don't do such a poor job of practicing while I'm gone.

Anyway, I'm happy to be home and I have some stuff coming up that I will blog about this week!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Arms and Hands

Day 221 of practice.

I wasn't feeling well this AM, so dancing didn't happen. But I did get some good arm and hand drills in while watching Wall-E and The Daily Show tonight. I could really feel the tension in my arms as I worked on moving them slowly, which is a happy feeling for me.

While out shopping today, I found an amazing belt! Well, it's not actually a belt, it's a thing that people in this region in India hang in their doorways, but it fits around my waist and it has cowries and bells and beads and dangles, so I declared it a belt. I expect to be the envy of all my friends when they see my innovative creation. I also found pants that I wanted, but the budget has long since been blown, so my addiction went unfed.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Me and my glutes

Day 220 of practice.

I'm finding that when I get bored, I start doing glute squeezes... even if I'm in line or whatever. Which must be interesting for whoever is standing behind me. But I want to be able to work them into my dance more often. I already do to some extent, using them to sharpen and accent things in class even when I don't need to... maybe because I have minimal hips, so when I see someone with nice hips do a move and it has a lot of hip action, I have to do something extra to get the same impact.

Otherwise, it's hard to practice, as people want to do stuff with me for most of the day. I think tomorrow I'll dance in the morning before we head out, unless it's too hot and humid.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Weather can bite me

Days 218 and 219 of practice.

Buh. I was supposed to spend the day at the New York Renaissance Faire, where I would get to see Veldrina, my one NY belly dance friend. But no. The weather had other ideas in mind. It rained. And it was humid. Is humid. Will forever be humid.

Have I ever mentioned that I have lived in deserts my entire life? The East Coast is not for me.

The other thing I was supposed to do is attend the first meeting of The Anaya Tribe, the new student troupe that I will be joining. But obviously, being on Long Island made it rather difficult to get to Plaza. So I soothed my sad spirit by shopping all day. I bought a femme fatale hat, huge earrings, a bracelet with a beetle on it, oh yes, and clothes for my mundane life, too.

Yesterday's practice was not really worth mentioning, as I was in a food coma and barely moved. Today's practice was much better. I did some isolations, struggled to remember skirt and fan moves (and why, exactly, would I want to wear a 25 yard skirt in this humidity?) then put on some music and danced for my mother in law. It was hard to do traveling moves in the little living room though! I'm starting to miss my tiled entry way practice area at home.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Slow laptop is slow

Days 216 and 217 of practice.

Still dancing, still wishing I was home taking classes. My old laptop isn't doing too great so it hasn't made me very enthusiastic about blogging. Between the way the text lags behind my typing speed from time to time and the way the heat of it running irritates my legs, I've been using it at little as possible.

Practice has mostly been limited to isolations. There's lots of room to dance downstairs, but the carpet is kind of thick and messes me up on turns... makes things like the Oojam Bomb a little hard to practice :)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

I miss my classes!

Day 215 of practice.

The problem with being on vacation is that I'm away from my classes and have to practice all by myself. So sad! Tonight I did some isolations, some drills, and some Anaya Tribal fast moves to music. During the drills I continued to work on my mayas, which feel a little better. But I'd still rather have been at The Dance Loft with Fonda and my classmates!

I did get to chat with Dawn on the phone, and I'm keeping in touch with other dance friends via FB, so at least technology keeps me from being completely cut off from my community.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Not on vacation from dancing!

Days 213 and 214 of practice.

Forgive the lack of a post yesterday, I was in transit for most of the day and my hosts went to bed before I could get them to let me onto their network. Now I'm all internetted up and back to my usual shenanigans!

Yesterday's practice was split up. On the plane, I did floreos and belly rolls. I wanted to be able to say that I practiced on a plane! Then when I got in, I did some mayas to fill out the rest of my time.

Today I grabbed some space in my hosts' home after they were in bed and put on some quiet music and got some real practice going on. I really needed it. I actually had enough space to travel, which meant I had enough space to practice the Oojam Bomb ;) Tomorrow I'll probably break out the skirt and fan.

Monday, August 1, 2011


Day 212 of practice.

Well, this is what I get for thinking that I could enjoy my Saturday... I spent pretty much my entire Sunday working to get everything ready for my trip. UGH. Why is going on vacation so much work? I'm exhausted and cranky. Practice today was shimmies and isolations. And now I have to go to bed so I can get up way too early tomorrow to catch a plane. Hooray.