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?