Saturday, July 30, 2011

Happy Dancing Cheesecake Day!

Day 211 of practice.

Who comes up with these days? Ok, it's actually National Dance Day *and* National Cheesecake Day, so I decided hey, why not combine them? But I didn't feel like eating an entire slice of cheesecake before dancing (too heavy!) so instead I had cheesecake frozen yogurt. Yummy! Then I danced! First I danced around a bit while doing the laundry, then I moved to my dance space and got some Anaya Tribal practice in. I even broke out my zills, much to the dismay of my dogs. I haven't been dancing much to music lately, except at class or when I have someone over for practice, so it felt good to really get into the rhythm and musicality of it again.


Day 210 of practice.

Today I did shimmies because I didn't really feel like doing much else. Too many other things going on as I try to get ready to leave for a trip on Monday. Tomorrow I'll make time for some good practice, but today was just chaotic and didn't work out how I planned, plus I was just tired and unmotivated. Hopefully I'll get some good sleep tonight and feel refreshed tomorrow!

Friday, July 29, 2011

New pants!

Day 209 of practice.

Tonight Dawn and I went up to Tempe for class, as usual, and we had fun, as usual. It was a good night of classes, with lots of practice and review and some new moves, too. I'm really honing my Anaya Tribal moves, and getting comfortable with DC skirt and fan. Over all, I'm happy with my progress right now.

But wait, didn't I say "New pants!" up there? Why yes I did! There was a bunch of great new merchandise at the studio, so I decided to treat myself to a new pair of dance pants, because it's been far too long since I fed my addiction. I picked up a great pair of ruched, ruffled brown capri-length pants. They'll be great for steampunk, great with boots, great to transition from Anaya Class to DC class by throwing a skirt over 'em... really, a good investment!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Shimmies and mayas and blog posts

Day 208 of practice.

I skipped class tonight, because I was feeling rundown and dehydrated and really not up to an hour and a half at the hot, hot Dance Loft. Instead I stayed home and practiced shimmies and mayas. Another unexciting practice, but at least I'm working on things that need work. It's hard to get excited about practice when you're rundown and it's hot, after all.

However, I can get excited about the fact that my friend Aquariann asked me to write a guest post over at her blog, in honor of the fact that National Dance Day is this weekend. Click here to read it!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Normal practice

Day 207 of practice.

Nothing exciting today... I did some DC skirt and fan practice, some Anaya Tribal practice, some shimmies while I did dishes. The usual stuff. The sort of stuff that I should really do every day, but instead I slack off. I've also been working on some non-dancing dance stuff... helping a friend with costume ideas and struggling to write a guest blog post for another friend. I do like to keep busy!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Drill baby drill!

Day 206 of practice.

No, I'm not talking about oil, I'm talking about hipwork! I haven't been happy with my mayas lately, and I've never, ever, EVER been happy with my taxims, so tonight I made myself spend most of my practice time drilling them. No music even, just trying to make them smooth and big. A well-executed maya or taxim just makes a dancer look like she's made of water.

I also did some stretching, because I haven't really been making that part of my home practice for the past few months. It felt good! I need to be better to my body. After all, it's the only one I get -- although my husband keeps going on about us eventually replacing our fleshy bodies with robot ones.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Another weird place to dance

Day 205 of practice.

Today I was at the mall, and I walked into Teavana, where they're always playing some world music. Today's CD must have been "Arabic Groove" or something, because it was straight up belly dance music! So while I shopped for tea, I practiced my hip bumps and my drop kicks. My husband really can't take me anywhere.

Practice today was hand and ab isolations while watching DVDs and stringing beads. I am the master of multitasking! I think tomorrow will be some serious Anaya and Divine Chaos practice.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Getting my Anaya on.

Day 204 of practice.

Today I practiced while I did some housework, and then I busted out some Anaya Tribal moves because I haven't really been practicing those enough. There are a lot of moves that I need to brush up on, I should probably just work my way through the syllabus and see what I do and don't know well enough to just do from memory.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Old songs and new ideas

Day 203 of practice.

Today I attempted dancing to a couple of different "non belly dance" songs that might be good for future performances. One was good, the other didn't fit for my idea but was still fun to dance to. It was nice to experiment, since I tend to practice to the same songs over and over again.

I'm hoping to find something, either already in my play list or new, that speaks to me as perfect for doing a skirt and fan solo. I just LOVE skirt and fan!

Friday, July 22, 2011

The power of practice!

Day 202 of practice.

Tonight I was once again struck by the power of practice, as I was not lost in DC Skirt and Fan class tonight. The time that Dawn and I spent working on the combos Tuesday really paid off!

Anaya class was also a lot of fun because we relearned some moves that I hadn't done in so long that I barely remembered them, and we spent a lot of time doing slow.

Now I'm totally beat. I think it's time for chocolate and sleep!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Roses and Rain

Day 201 of practice.

It is so hard to get a good picture of the back/side of one's own head! I love my chiffon roses by Mermaiden, and I keep meaning to do a post about them. Actually I have a whole series of posts that I want to do on the various beautiful things I wear in my hair.

Anyway, tonight I went to class at The Dance Loft like a good girl. The above photo is how I wore my hair. What a mistake! It was really hot in there and all the fans were on and my hair was blowing all over the place. A monsoon blew in while we were dancing and dumped a decent amount of rain on the neighborhood, so it was actually wonderfully cool outside when I left the studio.

Other than the heat and the noisy fans, class was fun! We reviewed moves and worked on our performance, which has been pushed back to October due to never-ending schedule conflicts.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Two hours on day two hundred

Day 200 of practice. Yes, that's right, TWO HUNDRED!

Whew! Just got done spending a couple of hours practicing with my friend Dawn Sehar!  We worked on the DC Skrt and Fan combos we've learned so far, and the infamous Anaya Tribal Oojam Bomb (complete with zills, much to the dismay of all of my pets). It was a lot of fun and it felt great to really dance hard and work on learning things instead of drilling basic skills or goofing off like I've done for a lot of my practice lately. It's also nice to have a friend to keep me company and laugh with me when I screw up and help me puzzle out combo notes.

Now to relax for the rest of the day... unless I decide to go to the park for more practice tonight!

Making a space for myself

Day 199 of practice.

I've complained frequently on this blog about how I don't have a good space to practice in. My living room isn't exceptionally big and it has a stupid low-hanging ceiling fan (in case you're wondering why I don't just replace the ceiling fan, it's because I am a wuss who gets vertigo on stepladders). Well tonight I finally said "Enough is enough!" and I rearranged my house to make a space for myself. My entryway and dining room will now serve as my practice space, and now all I have to worry about is dancing into the corner of my too-big dining table.

Dance practice consisted of dancing while I cleaned and rearranged, but tomorrow I look forward to some high-quality practice, including being able to practice fan and skirt without hitting the ceiling fan with my fan.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Chair Dancing!

Day 198 of practice.

Tonight I danced in my chair, because when you're feeling sad there's nothing quite so perfect as sitting in your chair, listening to good music, and dancing with abandon.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Things I can do while reading

Day 197 of practice.

I don't mention it a lot on this blog, but I am actually a nerd (there goes my femme fatale image) and a big-time reader, especially of fantasy books. After 5 years of waiting for it to be written, and all week waiting for it to actually arrive in the mail, my copy of A Dance With Dragons is finally in my hot little hands and perhaps understandably, I have spent all day reading it instead of dancing.

So what sort of practice can I do while reading? With paperbacks, I often sit splay-legged on the floor to practice my glute squeezes. Or I'll alternate which hand holds the book, with the other hand doing floreos or other exercises. But this is a 900+ page hardcover. It's almost too big to handle and I'm starting to understand the appeal of an eReader. This book my outweigh the smaller of my two cats!

Belly rolls seem like the best answer, so that's what I'm off to do!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

I am a social butterfly!

Day 196 of practice.

Wow, I am one tired dancer. I was just thinking about it and I realized I've been out of the house and social every day this week. Monday and Tuesday were spent with Jen, Wednesday was class, Thursday was carpooling with Dawn to class, and today was lunch and shopping with my Mom (scored some sweet dancy stuff!) and then I spent the evening at the Metal Arts Village, where I got to hang out with Fonda and meet a lot of people. I'm an introvert, so all of this socializing has worn me out. Or maybe it's the heat. Either way, tired!

Because of this, I'm taking it easy on the practice tonight... Shimmied while I did the dishes, and now I'm dancing to Pandora tunes while I clean the house (being gone all the time is not conducive to a tidy home). The pile of dance stuff that needs to be put away is particularly intimidating, but really it's mostly fluffy 25 yard skirts!

Friday, July 15, 2011


Day 195 of practice.

I was so out of it after class last night, and then I got distracted by catching up with an old friend on-line, so I completely forgot to update my blog! Shame shame!

Classes were good! Dawn and I enjoyed a nice carpool, catching up with each other's dance lives and daily lives, too. At class, my Anaya classes really helped me refine some moves that I had learned before but haven't practiced enough to get into my muscle memory. And skirt and fan broke my brain, but I had a lot of fun with it! Shannon posted videos and write-ups for the combos we've learned, so I should be able to practice more this coming week, especially since Dawn is going to come over for a practice session.

I'm feeling really happy and excited about my dance life right now!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Classy class

Day 194 of practice.

Tonight I fought off the remnants of the drowsiness of doom and went to class at The Dance Loft. It was a fun night, we did some drills and then we worked on our student performance. I had some trouble with the balancing props section because my hair was so slippery! But otherwise I had a good time, even though I was still a little out of it.

Fonda even wrote up some homework for us, two sets of things we can practice. I think these will be great to take with me on my upcoming vacation. If I want to get out of a boring conversation, or escape for some quiet me-time, I can wave my print-out and say "Sorry, I have to do my homework!"

Allergy meds suck

Day 193 of practice.

I'm taking allergy medicine for the first time in my life. I bought the brand that the doctor said would make me less drowsy. If this is less drowsy I don't want to see more drowsy. I went from "I should go out and get some dinner" to "I am so sleepy I cannot keep my eyes open" in a matter of moments. Thank goodness I was home when it happened! I took a three hour nap and I NEVER nap unless I'm seriously ill. I thought that the nap would ruin my chances of sleeping at bed time, but it's a struggle to stay awake.

Anyway, since I am suffering from a bone-deep weariness, and Jen and I shopped all day instead of practicing, today's practice was lots of pretty floreos and finger waves while watching The Daily Show, because I am far too tired to actually move or think.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Sata and Sophia Drop the Bomb!

Day 192 of practice.

Today my friend Jen, aka Sata Silversiren, came down from Tempe for a visit, and we got to spend some time practicing together. Hooray! I almost never get to practice with friends between classes. We worked on the Oojam Bomb, because it's a really hard combo and Jen has more experience with it than I do, so she was able to help me remember it.

Tomorrow we will hopefully get together again before she goes home and go back over the combos we worked on together at the Rachel Brice workshops, and maybe some skirt and fan? We'll see! Also, there will be retail therapy, because if there's one thing dancers enjoy as much as dancing, it's shopping!


Day 191 of practice.

Not feeling particularly great right now. Kept the practice simple... working on the range of motion in my hips with various stretches and isolations.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Day 190 of practice.

Today I was working on some homework that involved a Maya variation and I was really annoyed to find that it felt like my left hip was not doing anything. I mean, it wasn't really just sitting there inert, but I don't feel like it was nearly as mobile as my right hip. I'll need to practice more and see if I was just having a bad day or if I need to spend some time really working my left to give it the range of motion that my right has.

I also did some work with my fans, because hey, fans are fun!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

I'm a fan of my new fans

Day 189 of practice.

Tonight's practice mainly consisted of doing "raver fans" with my new fans. In the skirt/fan fusion class, we only use one fan, in our right hand (leaving our left free to manipulate the skirt), but I figured I might as well do them with both hands, since I have a left hand fan too and who knows when I might get the chance to take a double fan class. I don't want to be amazing with my right hand and lame with my left. I also did some floreos, some belly rolls, and I'm about to go do shimmies while I wash the dishes.

Anyway, I really like the new fans. My old fans are bamboo and silk with sequins glued on. The silk is fading and fraying, the sequins fall off all over the place, and the bamboo doesn't open as smoothly. My new ones are plastic and I dunno, nylon? They snap open smoothly with a loud, satisfying sound! And they have a pretty scalloped edge with a tiny dot pattern. And of course they're green! I can't wait to spend more time dancing with them.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Skirt + Fan

Day 188 of practice.

Skirt! And fan! And skirt! And fan! No, I'm not once again talking about oscillating fans or ceiling fans that interfere with my dance. I'm talking about Divine Chaos Skirt and Fan combos, the class that started tonight. I'm SO excited about it! I love skirt, and I love fan, and now I love them together!

And I also had fun in Anaya Tribal class, because I finally learned the Oojam Bomb. This combo is so ridiculously long, and I've never had it broken down for me, so every time someone would cue it in the "fake it til you make it" section of class, I'd stumble around like an idiot. Now I'm still confused, but least I have an idea of what I should be doing.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Veil + Fan

Day 187 of practice.

Nope, not fan veils. My veil, and the fans at The Dance Loft. It's really tricky doing veil with really lightweight silk when fans are blowing on you. Otherwise, class was fun. Just hot and loud with all of the fans going! Fonda is planning a student performance sometime in September and we're practicing hard for it. Also I bought myself a sweet hip scarf/belt, almost everyone in class has them and we're going to wear them for the performance.

Blown away

Day 186 of practice.

Well, I didn't really blow away, but we had some crazy windstorms today. Could it be because my new DVD by Tempest arrived in the mail?!? Who knows! I'm excited to check the DVD out as I really love Tempest's style and it apparently has a warm-up that is good for daily practice. My practice could use some more structure!

Today's unstructured practice included hand drills, shimmies while I washed the dishes, glute squeezes while reading, and some practice of various versions of Arabic. On Fonda's advice, I've been working to smooth out the chest lift and drop on my Arabic. I do it well enough when I'm dancing slow to medium, but apparently I get very choppy when I get fast. It's so good to have specific things to work on!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Thunder and Fireworks

Day 185 of practice.

Another rainy thunderstorm today. I like this! I don't like the humidity, and I don't like how much my pets get scared (especially Daisy, who walks through the house whining until she finds someone to snuggle up to, then she shivers. Or she hides behind/under furniture), but I like the rain. Since the storm was in the afternoon, the fireworks shows went on as scheduled. I didn't go out to see them, but I could hear them from the house... as well as all of the illegal ones being fired off by my neighbors!

Simple practice today, arm and hand drills and glute squeezes mostly, and then some slow moves because I felt like it. While I was doing slow moves, my husband started playing drum rhythms on the wall and I had fun correctly guessing each one that he played. All in all, it was a pretty nice, relaxing day, part of a lovely weekend. But I have big dance things on the horizon so I need to get into some more serious practice this week!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Dancing in the rain

Day 184 of practice.

It rained today! This is kind of a big deal because it feels like we might be in for a real monsoon season for the first time in years. The desert has been so dry, and of course if you follow the news at all you probably know about the fires here in AZ and also in NM. We had a storm on Wednesday, but it was at 3:30am so I didn't get a chance to dance in it. Today's rain came in around 10pmish, so I paused the movie we were watching and ran outside to dance just a bit. It was surprisingly COLD so I didn't dance much. Ha ha! But it felt so nice. I wish the storm had lasted longer.

The rest of my practice consisted of shimmies while I did the dishes and glute squeezes while I read. The big problem with monsoons is that it makes a lie of our unofficial state slogan "But it's a dry heat!" The only thing worse than trying to dance in the heat is trying to dance in heat and humidity.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Half a year down!

Day 183 of practice.

More than half the year is gone and I'm still dancing every day! Go me! Woohoo!

Today's practice was nothing special, I did isolations in the car on the way to a party in Phoenix. Really too tired to actually dance, but there will be plenty of time for dancing tomorrow and Monday. Hooray, 3 day weekend!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Weird places to dance

Day 182 of practice.

What is the weirdest place that you've ever practiced dancing? So far, for me, it's Office Max.

I don't know if it's all Office Maxes or just the one near us, but it seems like every time we go there, either there's a problem ringing us up, or a problem with the person ahead of us, and there's only ever one person working the register. So annoying! Today we were there to buy some card blanks for my jewelry business, and the lady ahead of us was doing a return, which required the use of the only register. After a few minutes I got horribly bored and put the package of cards on my head and began to do mayas and hip slides. After all, if I have to be stuck in line, I might as well DO something.

Today was apparently the day for multi-tasking practice, because not only did I do that, but I also just shimmied my way through an entire sink full of dishes, and now I'm going to go lie in bed with a book and do glute squeezes. It's the lazy girl's guide to shortcuts for dance practice when it's too hot to dance and you've only had 5 hours of sleep so you really don't care!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Last night's costume

A friend was asking about last night's costume, so here are a few pictures! I kept it simple, because I was doing veil and also because it was hot. Just black and burnt orange pants, and a black halter top with black and copper lace overlay. Jewelry is a necklace, earrings, and bindi, and I put my hair in a bun and mostly circled it with a variety of flowers.

Dancing with my new veil

Day 181 of practice.

Ok, this is not the best picture because my camera apparently thought that it should focus on the doumbek on the counter, even though it's at the edge of the frame instead of the center. Really, my camera doesn't like taking pictures of dancers in dim rooms. It's used to an easy life of well-lit jewelry. But I like this picture, because it shows my veil a bit, and my cool pants that everyone liked, and it gives you an idea of the space I was dancing in.

I had a lot of fun dancing tonight! The Luxor is a nice spot to perform at because they have an open "stage" space, but there's also room to go between the tables if you want. Also, customers can see the dancers from pretty much wherever they sit, but some spots are better than others. And the food is delicious! And the other dancers were really good! There was a nice mix of soloists and student troupes, and a good variety of tribal, fusion, cabaret, and folkloric styles. Big thanks to Gina for organizing the event and letting me dance!

And even though I was busy getting ready for a performance, I actually practiced today! I did a dress rehearsal of my solo, and I also danced around to a few other songs because I felt like it and I wanted to practice. I'm already thinking ahead to future solos, although I'll definitely continue to perform to the song I did tonight, and Convivio, too. I just want to build up a nice arsenal of solos... but I'll discuss that more tomorrow!