Saturday, March 31, 2012

Class and Practice

My tattoo is healing nicely, so it's not slowing down my dancing. Hooray! Today I went to Jolie's community class, where we did a modified version of Monday's choreography, and lots of shimmies. I worked up a nice sweat!

This evening, I worked on the F&G choreo (getting better every day!) and the solos I'm going to present on Monday to possibly be used in our big show on May 20th. I have two pieces I'm working on, for a total of just under 7.5 minutes, with the idea that I can do either one, both, or neither depending on what we need.

I also made time for some stretching, because muscles need love, too!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Fun times at Open Stage

Tonight was the Open Stage at the Luxor Cafe, hosted by Safar Dance Company. I attended as an audience member this time and had a really wonderful evening watching all of the dancers and talking with people between sets. After the show I had a nice long chat with Jolie about what she would like to see me work on (among other things), and I am feeling pretty good about it.

Afterwards I came home and practiced our troupe choreo (less mistakes than ever!), and my Wandering Star solo. I'm taking it a little easy on the practice during the first few days of tattoo-healing, as the area is a little tender and the skin feels tight, which makes some positions uncomfortable. But over all I am feeling great and still so excited about my pretty beetle.

I am also incredibly TIRED, so it's off to bed with me!

My First Tattoo!!!

Squeeeee! I am so incredibly happy with my first tattoo! It's based on the Chrysina Gloriosa, a beautiful green scarab beetle that lives here in Arizona, and it was inked on to my back by Muriel Zao, who is completely awesome. He studio is lime green and has a curio cabinet full of skulls and insects, so I was pretty much destined to love her, but she also had a great attitude and a good sense of humor, which helped me be really relaxed about the fact that I was getting my first tattoo and it was not a little bittie thing (although it's not as big as it looks in the pic. It appears to take up half my back, but it is actually about the size of my hand).

This is just the first part of the tattoo, in a few months I will be going back to get some foliage spreading out from the beetle over my hips, because hip tattoos look amazing on belly dancers. And I'm already daydreaming about what I'll get after that. There's so many beautiful insects in the world! Will I get another beetle? A sphinx moth? A cicada?

I am really happy to say that I found the whole tattooing experience to not be as painful as I feared. I had a full and eventful day after my appointment, visiting with several of my Phoenix-area dance friends, dropping into Plaza real quick, and then I came home and ran through the Fire & Gold choreography, because every day means every day!

Now to see how I feel in the morning ;)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Work and Fun

Good times at class tonight. There were lots of fun conversations before class, about insects and chemical showers and other crazy things. I love dancing because it introduces me to so many interesting people from different walks of life -- massage therapists, astrophysicists, biologists, and more!

Once chatting time was over it was time for lots of drills and shimmies and discovering more things I'm bad at. Well I guess I already knew I was bad at a walking 3/4 shimmy on the down, but now everyone else knows it, too.

Tomorrow is a big day because I am getting my FIRST TATTOO!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Work harder!

For the record, I practiced hard yesterday after I blogged. I worked on the troupe choreo, and my own solo, and drilled various things, and had an amazing emotionality practice where in one song I managed to go from being cute and playful to being moved to tears, as the music changed. So there.

That said, I obviously need to work harder on the troupe choreo, as I had a few mistakes tonight and we have a month to get it perfectly polished for our first performance. Jolie wants us to run it at least once a day. It's a short song, so I should have no problem working it in. Ideally I'll practice it a few times a day, but we'll see. I have a dozen other things I need to work on, too!

The class before troupe practice was a lot of fun, we did a choreo that focused on more belly dance technique instead of modern technique, with an emphasis of dancing with attitude, as if we were each a soloist taking center stage and putting our emotion into it. I had fun with that, since the moves were familiar and mostly easy for me, and if I messed up, it was no biggie because it was just a class exercise and I'd fix it next time.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Always doing something!

Don't let the quiet around here fool you into thinking that I'm not a busy, busy dancer! Friday is the only day this past week when I didn't do anything dance-related, and that was because my dog had minor surgery and spent the night recovering from anaesthesia while sprawled out in my lap.

Yesterday I didn't dance, but I did go to BreakOut to see their Street Fair show (well, part of it... lunch was a SNAFU!). Not only were the junior and senior troupes amazing dancers, but I got to watch Jolie do an entirely improv number in her sparkly purple costume. She's such an inspiration on how to own the song and the crowd. Oh, did I mention that it was totally improv because she had never heard the song before? I'm in awe of dancers who can pull out an amazing show to unfamiliar music. Bravo!

Today I also haven't danced yet (but I will!), however I spent a couple of hours at a joint meeting of our local belly dance community group SABDA and the AZ chapter of MECDA. It's so important to be an active member of the community if you're even remotely serious about dance! Otherwise you'll never know what events are going on and where to see people perform and who is teaching what. I really liked the fact that today, most of the members of the MECDA board came down to give a presentation and answer our questions. We want to have a better connection with the Phoenix community and AZ as a whole.

Also there were Lebanese sugar cookies which are delicious.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Stretch all the muscles!

Well, my emotional homework tonight was interesting. First some In Extremo (German folk metal). I think the song that came up was about a witch trying to convince a lord to marry (or was it sleep with?) her, so I tried to be seductive without being over-the-top sexy. Lots of direct looks, smiles, and hair play. The next song was a Beats Antique that could have gone several ways. I went for sad, because I think sad is what I need the most work on. Not feeling like I had a lot of success on either song. I'll keep on working.

Also did a few minutes of drills of 3/4 shimmies on the up and down (because I need work and the Wolgemut song that came on was perfect for it), some turns and spotting, some walking around and balancing ballet-style because Jolie makes us do that sort of thing, etc etc. I wasn't feeling particularly focused so my practice was all over, but at least it was all stuff I needed to work on.

Then I decided to have a nice long stretch-out, because my muscles needed it and I figured it would help get me into a nice, relaxed state for going to bed early (I have to be up at 7am tomorrow, lame). It feels good to dedicate some time to taking care of my body, instead of just honing my moves. The moves are nothing if the body isn't in good enough shape to do them!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Working hard

It was another cold night (despite being the first day of Spring!), but I actually got warm because we did burpees and squats! Woohoo! I am feeling worked out tonight. I feel pretty good with how I did, both with the working out and the dancing.

Once again I did some practice before class. Two songs of emoting. The first was an old Drain STH (dark girl metal), so I did a kind of distant, detached thing, and the second was Abney Park, from the album where they were transitioning from Goth to steampunk, so the music is pretty melancholy and I think I did a good job of dancing said. I started to feel sad, so hopefully I looked sad. I tried to channel some of that into practicing my Wandering Star solo, too. It's a pretty sad song, but when I performed it at The Luxor I started smiling because I was having FUN! I'll have to work on balancing that. I also did a quick run of the Fire & Gold choreo, but I messed up the count somewhere. Oh well, I at least remembered everything, I think I just did a couple of things as a 4 count instead of 8, which threw me off. I'll try again tomorrow, and every day after until it's PERFECT!

Monday, March 19, 2012


Well, despite the fact that it was disgustingly cold, I had a good time at class and Fire & Gold troupe practice tonight! We made major progress on our choreography, to the point where we'll finish it next week. Yay! I really like practicing every week, it gives a real sense of accomplishment to put an hour into it every week, in addition to classes.

Before class, I did my emoting homework. The first random song that came up was really happy and playful, so that wasn't much of a challenge. As such, I decided to do a second song, too. That one was a bit more ambiguous so I tried being kind of arrogant. Not sure how well I did, but I don't really expect to see major progress on the first day anyway.

To vent or not to vent?

Sometimes I wonder how much I should vent on this blog. There are, at times, things that I want to get off of my chest, but I worry that if I say them publicly, someone will be hurt. I also think that some of the things that annoy me stem from me foolishly expecting everyone to be the same as me in some regards, and that's just not going to happen.

Then again, maybe I'm just cranky because my right hip is stiff and I can't find a good stretch to make it feel better. Stupid hip.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

A community of two

I was the only person to show up to Jolie's community class today, which didn't stop the two of us from dancing! After running through the choreography of the day (which was fun and let me practice the turns that so handily defeated me on Monday), Jolie had me do a little improv practice to try to work on my facial expressions and emotions. I tend to have two dance modes -- happy dancer and Goth dancer -- so I really need to work on broadening that and being comfortable expressing myself to the audience.

Now I also have my self-evaluation form that I need to fill out with a troupe. It's a chart! That I need to fill in! Where are my colored pencils?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Well, here I am, sick again. I had to skip class last night and tonight. I'm frustrated, especially since I've had to miss a lot of Fonda's classes this year, but I'd rather stay home than be "that person" who spreads sickness to the rest of the class.

I just hope that I'm better by the weekend, so I can go to Jolie's community class to make up for last night, and go to troupe practice on Sunday!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Off day

Had an off day in class and troupe practice tonight. I think I'm just too tired from having guests here for the past four days. There were times when I literally stumbled, because my foot fell out from under me. I soldiered on anyway, and I'm happy to say that I found improvement in some areas, such as stretching. It's good to see progress even on bad days!

Unfortunately, three troupe members were missing tonight, so we didn't get to move forward with the choreography, but at least we used our time wisely, drilling the moves from the choreo that people are still feeling rough with.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A little of this, a little of that

Classes tonight were focused on drilling moves that troupe members felt they/we needed more work on. It was good to focus on some basics and drill the daylights out of them. It's also good to go back to things and see how I've improved. I like the feeling of progress!

Maybe it's the warmer weather, but classes were also packed tonight! Hooray! I hope this is a trend across town.

Keeping up

I am just so busy lately! Between my dance life and my daily life, it feels like I'm juggling all sorts of things. There is pretty much not a single day where I don't have some sort of specific obligation. I know this is normal for a lot of people but not for me. I'm trying to adjust to it, but as an introvert it's a little weird for me to be around other people almost every single day.

Anyway, yesterday and today were both troupe practices today. TTBDC worked on some sword and veil numbers, as well as picking out more music to build some full set lists. Fire and Gold gained 3 new members, who had to be caught up to speed on the choreography. This meant that our formation had to be rearranged, with irritated me for no good reason. I was USED to where I was standing, and then I had to MOVE! The indignity! I need to work on not being irritated about silly little stuff in dance.

This post probably makes me sound pretty lame, but it's true. I am not really the cool, collected person I'd like you all to think I am! I'm a work in progress and sometimes I have stupid problems like wanting to sit at home alone on my couch instead of seeing people, or not wanting to make changes to how I was already doing things. I should really be writing this stuff in my private dance journal instead so I could maintain my facade of awesomeness!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Oh yeah. Practicing!

With my official year of practice behind me, I haven't been as on top of practicing as I should be. Oh, I started out alright in January, because the habits were still there, but then February came along with its gem shows and house guests and I lost focus.

Tonight I decided to do some actual practicing, working on moves that I need to improve, especially moves that we're using in troupe choreography (which means I can't get away with being sloppy!). I'm trying to figure out what is causing me to twist in my taxim and rib taxim. I'm also working on getting comfortable with the high arm framing position that Jolie likes us to use for rib taxims and torso rotations. For a while I felt really awkward, holding my arms stiffly and looking like the giant Jesus statue in Brazil (if giant Jesus wore yoga pants). I'm getting more comfortable with it now, I just need to work on holding my arms up high enough. And by the way, this is why having video of yourself is important -- I thought I WAS holding my arms up high until I saw the troupe practice video and realized that I had some seriously droopy arm going on.

Anyway, I was home practicing tonight because I decided that I need to take a hiatus from Anaya classes, probably permanently (or at least until Arizona puts in a commuter train, which is years in the future). The time, money and stress of driving through rush hour and road construction just killed it for me. I already miss my classmates and teachers, but I'll have to make due with seeing them at workshops, performances and festivals.