Sunday, September 30, 2012

Jam-Packed Saturday!

Check out this pre-show shot of Skirt Full of Fire (front row with the fabulous LEGS!) and Fire & Gold (back row with the gorgeous tops!) prior to performing at An Evening of Dance, hosted by Belly Dance Tucson with headliner Sadie!

This was such a crazy busy Saturday! First, I went to one of the Sadie workshops because a friend had a scheduling conflict and offered to let me take her spot. It was a drum solo secrets workshop, with lots of drills and locks and fast-paced combos. I got a great workout! Drum solos are so amazingly hard and it was hard to keep up with Sadie. However, I felt pretty good. All the time I've spent in class for the past year has really trained my brain and body to be quicker at picking up unfamiliar material, or at least faking it well enough that I'm not a hot mess and throwing others off. Sadie did a pretty good job of explaining everything she taught and had a really friendly attitude. I can see why she's so popular! This was her first time teaching in AZ, so a lot of dancers came all the way from Phoenix for the chance to study with her.

Then I went to my troupemate Liora's house so we could do our makeup together. We shared makeup and she gave me some great tips because she used to work at Sephora and she's a fashion photographer, so she really knows her stuff! She helped with my eye makeup and made it look awesome. I also got to wear the new Eye Kandy glitter that Jen brought me from Vegas. WOO glitter!

At the show, we were the opening act, which is always my favorite. When you start the show, you then get to kick back, relax, and watch all the other great performances, which is exactly what we did. It was a jam-packed show (I wish I had a copy of the group shot!) with numerous troupes and soloists, topped off by a set by Sadie, who even went into the audience and got people up to dance. I thought this was great because it meant that those who were seated farther back also got to see her up-close and enjoy her dazzling stage presence.

I was pretty tired by the end of the night, but such is the life of a dancer!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Day Off

So, today I had a really insightful meeting with Jolie, which I will talk more about later. The important thing for tonight's post is that I told her I was practicing an hour every weekday, and she asked me when my day off was, because she knows I take her classes on the weekend, and I was all, "Uhhh..." and she told me I need to give myself a weekly day off from dancing. My legs and abs agree with her. Since I had already made plans to hang out with a friend this afternoon, it was easy to make today my day off for this week. Later I will decide whether Thurs or Fri is a better regular day off, as they both have their merits.

This means I will be amending my goal from "Practice at 3-4pm every weekday" to "Practice from 3-4pm 4 days a week", but that's still good. It's still discipline. It just means that my body actually gets a day of rest, which will be even more important as I start to add some yoga, other dance classes, and plain ol' exercise to my routine to try to round myself out as a dancer.

Now I am going to give myself some REAL rest by sleeping.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Oh hey! I forgot to blog about the fact that my tattoo is finished-ish. Currently the vines only swoop over one hip. It may be some time until I get my right hip done, as my artist is going on maternity leave soon. But that's OK, we had already designed the tattoo so it looked like it was supposed to go over only one hip, and honestly, while I would like to have my right hip done eventually, I would rather not have it done during the winter. When this one has been healing, I've liked to sit around the house in a sports bra, letting it breathe and also avoiding having clothes rub against it -- true fact, shirts with tags in the side instead of the neck are awesome, until you have a fresh, tender tattoo on your side.

My appointment was a week ago, so right now I'm coming into the end of the peeling/flaking stage. It should be nice and pretty just in time for me to hit the stage on Saturday, hooray!

I'm glad that I decided to get this as my first tattoo, rather than starting with a small "starter tattoo." THIS is the tattoo I wanted -- why spend my time and money on something else? Plus if I had waited, I might not have gotten to my artist in time, and I really hadn't seen anyone else in my state doing the style that I wanted. Now I'm applying this philosophy to the rest of my life, too. If I want something, I am going to find a way to get/do it, rather than settling for less.

By the way, practice today was fine. Still bored with drills, but they are what they are. Gotta get them done to be the dancer that I want to be. And I got to play a bit, too, dancing to fun songs, so it wasn't all workworkwork.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A good time

I've really been enjoying classes again lately. There was a while, when I was frustrated by a lack of progress, where it felt like every class threw some stumbling block in my path and had me doubting myself. But now that I've managed to make some headway with things like chaine turns and some of our more difficult troupe choreographies, I'm feeling a lot more relaxed in class. I still struggle with things, but I don't let it get me down. After all, this isn't like a college class where I'm being graded and I have to worry about passing or failing. What is important is that I am there, I try my best, and I work on keeping a positive attitude.

Home practice, however, is a bit more of a struggle. Drilling things at home alone is boring! I mean, drilling in class is often boring, too, but at least I get corrections when I'm doing something wrong, and I get to see my friends before and after class. At home it's just me and Daisy, who just sits on the couch and looks sad that I am dancing instead of rubbing her belly. She's not a very good coach. I am having fun working on some new solos, and I am practicing troupe choreos because we're coming into the busy performance season, but drilling basic skills is such a slog!

Monday, September 24, 2012

So tired!

Mondays and Tuesdays are the hardest for daily practice. I have to fill an hour with stuff that will improve me as a dancer, but not leave me too tired to keep up with class/troupe practice. Even when I take it easy, I am still pretty tired by the end of the night. Three hours of belly dance is nothing to sneeze at!

Played around with veil and zills today, trying to freshen myself up on skills I have been neglecting. I actually prefer to dance without props in most instances, because my personal style relies a lot on the expressive capabilities of my hands and arms, which is limited if I'm holding a prop... But the truth is that audiences like props, and if I want to be a professional someday, I will need to be able to fill up an entire show, and that means having a variety of skills to draw on. It's different when I am doing a < 5 min solo and can thus do whatever inspires me the most.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Last 100 Days

Did you know that today marks the start of the last 100 days of 2012? Hard to believe the year is so close to over! Anyway, Gina Gonzalez suggested taking up a challenge to set 12 goals to achieve by the end of the year, like New Years Resolutions but not. Since I was already looking at a few things I wanted to change in my life, I decided to use this chance to get a little support and a little accountability. I posted my goals on Gina's page and I'm also posting here! Please feel free to ask me how I am doing on them, at any time.
1. Practice dance for 1 hour every weekday, ideally from 3-4pm.
2. Do one thing every day to improve the state of my home.
3. Get some advice and set some goals for taking my dance career to the next level.
4. Get a quote on how much my orthodontic work will cost and develop a plan to pay for it.
5. Maintain at least 100 active listings in my Etsy shop.
6. Finish at least one currently unfinished beadweaving/bead embroidery project.
7. Make at least one project from one of the numerous beading books on my shelves.
8. Actually photograph and attempt to sell the costume pieces that I've already decided I need to get rid of.
9. Do one nice thing for just myself every week.
10. Take some yoga classes.
11. Finish reading Universe in a Nutshell.
12. Develop at least one solo that involves a prop.
Of course a lot of my goals are dance-specific or dance-related, but there's a few jewelry ones and a few general life ones. Let's see how I do!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

My Fully Fusion V Performance

I hope this YouTube embedding thing works! If so, you should be able to click and watch the video of my performance from Saturday. If not, click here to view it on YouTube. (Sorry about the weird sound issue, we're not sure what caused that)

Fully Fusion was so much fun! Rhythm Room was packed with an appreciative crowd, the performers brought a variety of dances to the floor, and Spirtchaser rocked the house with their music. I really enjoyed the chance to perform with live music and will be looking for more opportunities.

Big thanks to Mahin for hosting the event, TC for being such a competent stage manager, Spiritchaser for the chance to dance with them, Chris for filming, and everyone who came out to see the show.

My next performance is at the Sadie show here in Tucson, with Fire & Gold and Skirt Full of Fire. I'll post more about that next week, but in the meantime you can buy tickets from the handy link on the lefthand side of this blog.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Three in a row

Well, I'm 3 days in to my daily hour of practice. I was not feeling particularly enthusiastic about it today. That probably had something to do with my legs being exhausted from last night's class and my random shuffle playing a bunch of lackluster songs.

Tomorrow will be a bit challenging because I'll be touching up the henna on my head, which means by the time 3pm rolls around, I will probably be in the shower trying to rinse all the residue out of my hair. I don't think I can really practice while the dye is setting, because it makes my head SO heavy! Maybe I will move my practice to the evening tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Uhm, ow

So today I ran into the first obstacle to my daily hour of practice. I had to take my car in for service and it was expected to be done between 3 and 4! Shoot! That's my dance time! Not to be daunted, I moved my dance time from 1-2 and rushed through my housework before hand. I had a good hour of practice including nearly 10 minutes of chaine turns, and a few minutes of shimmies while petting Daisy the corgi, because she was scared of the thunderstorm.

Then I went to class and had the most physically difficult class ever -- nearly an hour of levels. Oh, my poor quads. By the end, my legs were shaking uncontrollably. And I still had another hour-long class to get through! I'm afraid of the pain tomorrow will bring. But I also feel good, because I love being able to rise to a physical challenge like that, and I did some things that I thought I wouldn't be able to.

Monday, September 10, 2012

An hour a day

About 1 3/4 years ago, I started this blog to chronicle my attempt to dance for half an hour a day for a year. After that year ended, I kept up daily practice for a while but eventually I fell off the wagon, and lately I have not been doing hardly any home practice at all. This is simply Not Acceptable. I work from home and I have plenty of time on my hands, time which I waste on the internet. I could be a much better dancer than I am, if I just practiced harder.

So over the weekend, I was struck with inspiration. It was time to be really strict with myself and set a time for dancing every weekday. Dancing right after I got up just wasn't working... there was too much "Ok, but first I need to..." because sometimes it is hard to dance when the floors need sweeping and the laundry needs doing and the dogs want their breakfast, and the next thing you know, it's two in the afternoon. So fine. I'll dance in the afternoon, from 3-4pm. That gives me plenty of time to get everything else out of the way -- housework, correspondence, listing items on Etsy. And anything that isn't done by 3pm is just going to have to wait.

Today I gave it a try. At 3pm I parked myself in front of my mirror with a glass of iced tea and an oven timer set for one hour. I set my iPod on shuffle and let the songs dictate what I was going to drill. Then I worked on some troupe choreo and my solo for this weekend, a little playtime to a song I'm in love with, and a quick shimmy drill, then spent the last 8 minutes stretching while I was nice and warm -- so, so warm.

As always, once I got started it was easy to keep going. I love to dance, after all! And I let myself play a bit between drilling, if a song didn't strike me as being appropriate for drilling.

Things I learned today:

1. I need a bigger glass of iced tea tomorrow.
2. Doing snake arms for a 6 minute long song really sucks when you spent the previous night doing arm work with fire fans. Ouch.
3. I am actually making progress with chaine turns. In fact, I kept doing them in the silence after the song ended, because I was on such a roll.

I'm looking forward tomorrow!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

I am performing at Fully Fusion V!

That's right, I am performing at Fully Fusion V later this month! That's what yesterday's very special practice was for. And why did I need to drive to Phoenix for a special practice? Why, it's because I will be performing to a LIVE song by Spiritchaser! They kindly opened their home studio up for dancers to come practice with them yesterday, and I am so glad I decided to take them up on it. They're such a great couple, and it was an amazing experience to be able to practice to the music as it will be played, as opposed to the mp3.

I am really excited for this show. Not only is it my first time performing a solo to live music, but I am looking forward to watching all of the other performers, too! Kamrah has given me an idea of what she's going, and I know Divine Chaos will do something awesome (last year they fused belly dance and sign language into the most beautiful thing I've ever seen). Fully Fusion tends to be an event where people really stretch themselves as artists. I think it's going to be an awesome night.

Monday, September 3, 2012

So Busy!

I had a crazy busy dance weekend, and that's after paring down some of my plans because I couldn't do everything.

Today I drove all the way up to the Phoenix area for a very special practice, which I'll blog more about tomorrow when I am hopefully less exhausted. I also got to drop by Plaza real quick and see my Anaya friends. Every time I see them dance I miss being around them! Anaya Tribal really has some of the best ITS moves, they always look so polished, and their zilling sounds SO GOOD! If you are going to be at the Vegas Intensive, you should make sure to go see them on stage and in the vending area.

Then I got home and went to troupe practice, and only two of us showed up, so we got to spend the night drilling things that we needed to work on -- including 20 minutes of shimmy drills. Hence the exhaustion. I am now ready to eat a cookie and veg out for the rest of the night.