Wednesday, November 30, 2011


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


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


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


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


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!