Thursday, April 26, 2012

Dancin' with my fans

Tonight I debuted my glow fan solo to "Sydney" by Caravan Palace (a new favorite band). I was a bit nervous because I haven't practiced nearly enough, but I think it went pretty well! At the very least, the crowd at the Luxor Cafe enjoyed it, and I only dropped a fan once near the end, so it could have gone a lot worse. I'll have to watch the video and see how my angles and planes were.

I really enjoyed Open Stage tonight in general. There was a nice mix of dancers. Several of my fellow Fire & Gold troupe members performed the pieces they're working on for our big show next month. It was really exciting to see what they're all working on! I also got to hang out with my friend and occasional carpool buddy Cynthia, who I don't see often enough. All in all, a good night.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


We learned new moves in Fonda's class tonight. Hooray, new moves! Brand new moves that I've never learned before, not variations of moves that I already knew from Anaya. I'm excited!

Also, we did some practice with zills. I'd left mine at home, so Fonda loaned me a pair of gigantor Afghani zills. Those were FUN to play! Big and loud. I can see why some people really like them. If the Collective starts doing more zill stuff I might have to consider an upgrade from my current set, since I really don't like their sound.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Arms fall off

My arms have fallen off and I am typing this with my nose. Just kidding. But we did way too many push-ups in Jolie's class and my arms already felt noodly due to a lack of sleep. Even typing feels like a chore. Quick run-down:

-Fire & Gold is doing awesomely. We have our first performance on Saturday.
-I will be performing a solo at the Open Stage at the Luxor on Thursday.
-My glow fan skills need more work.

That is all.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Suffering for my art

I beat my arms up with my glow fans today! There's these plastic bolts that hold the glow part in and they always scratch my arms up! Today I gave myself a really nasty scratch on my inner elbow, which is annoying because now I have a bandage in my elbow. Oh, how we suffer for our art. I need to decide on the best solution for covering the bolts so I don't destroy myself.

Fonda's classes started back up tonight after a couple of weeks off. We had some review to prepare us for next week, when we'll start learning NEW MOVES! I can't wait. It's been forever since I learned a new ATS/ITS move.

In other news, Blogger changed my blogging interface and I hate it. I do not like change.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Layers are haaaaaard

Geez, what a night. It's amazing how one week off can totally throw you off your game. I felt like a total klutz today, stumbling my way through layers. Eventually my legs just gave up and said "You know what? We are not going to shimmy anymore. You're on your own with this one." Class was challenging physically and emotionally, that's for sure. It's so hard sometimes to force myself to do something that I'm doing poorly at.

More practice is definitely the answer. I've been so caught up in working on specific performances that I have not been putting enough time into my general skills. I'm getting a little sloppy from the lack of drilling.

Monday, April 16, 2012


Oh my goodness it feels so good to be back to things after being sick!

Tonight, Choreography class was a total misnomer, because we spent it doing a spontaneous movement meditation thingie. A little New Age woo-woo, but whatever. I just had fun exploring movement and trying some different ways of expressing myself. My meditation was mainly on how damn good it was to not be stuck at home in bed.

Then we had troupe practice, which was spent refining the finished choreography and working on the next one which is REALLY REALLY HARD. It's going to be a struggle for me to get some of those moves right! It's a good thing that I like a challenge.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sharon Kihara

Hello there, internet. Did you miss me? I was sick in bed for a week. It was wonderful *eye roll*

I got well just in time to head up to Tempe for the Sharon Kihara Spring Intensive at Plaza de Anaya! I had only purchased one workshop this time around, since I decided to spend all my fun money on a tattoo, but I also bought myself a ticket to the show, because really, $15 is a STEAL for the sort of show that Plaza always puts on for the intensives! It felt really strange to be at the show and not have been at workshops earlier in the day, though, and then it felt strange to get up this morning and have a few hours to hang out instead of rushing to the workshop!

The one workshop that I did take was SO MUCH FUN! It was all about creative collaboration in a group setting. We were split up into random groups and we had to come up with a story, and then a choreography to express it. I found it really amazing how much 7 people from varying dance backgrounds could accomplish together in just an hour. All four groups came up with really beautiful choreographies, it was great to just sit and watch them. I had a wonderful time working with my group, I was lucky and ended up in the same group as two of my former Anaya troupe mates and a few other people I knew!

Sharon struck me as a very warm, friendly, and fun person. I didn't get much of a sense of her teaching style, since this particular workshop was more geared towards group interaction with her guidance, but friends who had taken the entire weekend spoke really highly of the more technical ones, so I have a feeling I'd enjoy learning more from her in the future.

Now I'm ready to throw myself back into dancing this coming week. I can't wait to see my Fire & Gold troupe mates tomorrow night!

Saturday, April 7, 2012


Oh, how I love that word. Smorgasbord! It's fun to say. It's fun to type.

Today's practice was a little of this and that -- some snake arms with glow fans, some layered shimmies, some fast turns with spotting, some 3/4 shimmies, and of course some choreography (where I completely skipped the 16 counts of taxims, oops!).

I think I overdid it on the glow fan snake arms, though, since my arm is trembling as I attempt to drink. Uh oh!

Thursday, April 5, 2012


The hardest part about practicing at home is deciding what to practice. Some things are a given -- right now I have to practice the F&G choreography, and I have to work with my glow fans. But what else should I work on? Layering over shimmies? Improving the range of motion in my taxim? Freshen up my ITS, which has been a bit neglected lately? More emotionality?  Hands? Sword? Veil?

I should probably sit down and come up with some sort of plan and schedule, to make sure that everything gets practiced. Otherwise I tend to neglect things. And let's face it, if I want to work my way up to being a professional belly dancer (and I do!), I need to develop good practice habits.

As for tonight, I decided it was a great idea to do snake arms with glow fans. I should probably do that every day to build up a little muscle! And I did some shimmies with a bit of layering on top.


Class tonight was canceled, due to a family emergency, so I was left to my own devices. Apparently when left to my own devices, I eat a steak dinner and sit around doing beadwork and watching silly movies. But of course I also practiced, including trying to learn how to spin my glow fans... which resulted in me scratching up my arms. Just inside my elbows. OW! What an obnoxious place to get scratches. Maybe I should wrap that part of my arm in bandages until I learn to stop hitting myself. As it is, I have to practice over the couch so that when I inevitably drop a fan, it doesn't get banged up on the tile floor.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


Even dedicated, committed people need a little break sometimes. I was feeling really cruddy and run-down today. I almost skipped class altogether, but I really should save that for when I'm genuinely sick or out of town, so I decided to compromise and only take one of the two classes tonight. And it was a good class, jam-packed with dancers, a pleasant temperature in the studio, and we got to do some arm drills, hip work, and traveling across the floor.

Maybe after a cookie and some tea I'll even feel well enough for a little extra practice!

Monday, April 2, 2012


Tonight was all about committing to things. No, I'm not talking about dedication like I did yesterday, but about to committing to what you're doing at that moment. Combos and Choreography was a freakin' crazy sad lyrical piece with pretty much no belly dance in it. It was great practice for committing to unfamiliar moves, to not being "pretty" and to getting sad as all heck.

Then we FINISHED OUR CHOREOGRAPHY in troupe practice! Hooray! It's done! So of course we had to commit to that while we were doing it, dance like we meant it. I am pretty happy and excited. Practicing all week really helped, I felt comfortable with even the difficult parts, even if I messed them up, I knew what I was supposed to be doing. Now it's all about fine-tuning.

Lastly, I am now committed to doing a glow fan solo at our big troupe show on May 20th! This means I have to practice obsessively, which is pretty much what Jolie always expects of me anyway. It's nice to have a reputation of being a person who throws herself into things, even if it means that people then expect you to throw yourself into things and you can't be lazy.

And that's the secret truth about me. I am, at heart, a lazy person. If left to my own devices, I will happily spend all day goofing off on Facebook or reading a book. But having dance goals, and having a blog where I have to write about what I'm doing, keeps me motivated to actually do stuff. Being in a troupe really helps, because if I don't practice I'm not just failing myself, but I'm letting down my director and my fellow dancers. Between that and my intense hatred of being bad at things, I get motivated to actually practice instead of thinking about practice while I read another chapter.

Sunday, April 1, 2012


There's no way around it -- being a good dancer requires a lot of dedication. It means going to class every week, and practicing at home, and showing up to troupe rehearsals. It's hard to believe that once upon a time, I thought it was enough to take a single 1 hour class a week and occasionally practice a bit at home.

Today I had two hours of Tucson Tribal Belly Dance Collective practice. About half of the troupe was absent, but we made due without them and worked on our set as well as some general practice. It seems like the group is getting more comfortable with each other, which is good. It's important for us to be able to offer gentle corrections and to also not be shy about coming up with new ideas and sharing them with the group. Sometimes we get a little too caught up in new ideas, but it's all good.

I also ran the Fire & Gold choreo, which means I successfully made time for it every day this week! Dedication is the word of the day.