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.


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!