Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Pictures, videos, and blog improvements, oh my!

Remember before when I mentioned how cool it is to have a professional photographer in our troupe? In between dancing in the group pieces, Liora snapped shots of all of our solos and duets! She also had friends operating her camera during the group choreos, so we have amazing pictures from every piece of the show. Check out the Gallery of Images. Also like Liora K Photography on Facebook to see what else she is up to!

By the way, if you see an image that you want to have for your very own, you can purchase a high-res version for only $15. A portion of the proceeds will go back to the troupe to help fund our ventures.

In other news, I have been busy today, working on my internet presence. You can now view a few of my performances on my YouTube Channel (which now also has a link on my sidebar). I also have a Dance Inspiration playlist on there, which is worth checking out. While I was updating the sidebar, I also added a list of my upcoming performances! I will keep it up to date, and when possible I will link to a Facebook event page or other site for the event.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Still kicking

I have really fallen off of the blogging wagon. Between my recent house-sitting adventures, my hatred of Blogger's new design, and the total lack of interaction from my readers (yeah, I said it!), I have not really felt a lot of enthusiasm for blogging lately. Don't worry, it's not just you guys, my jewelry blog hasn't been updated in over 3 weeks.

Anyway, I'm still keeping a really busy class and troupe practice schedule. I actually had to skip the second class tonight because I was just too worn out. Hopefully I'll sleep well tonight, because I really need to practice for my two upcoming shows. I've barely worked on my solo for the Open Stage on Thurs. Of course, I also haven't received confirmation that I have a spot in the show, so there's that.

In the meantime, I'm daydreaming about future solos, new costumes, and going to Tribal Fest next year. I have $40 in my Tribal Fest fund, hooray!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

So much dancing!

Well, I've been quite the busy dancer. On Saturday we had a 2-hour dress rehearsal for the show. Sunday was the show itself, which went really well. I'll hopefully post some pictures and video next week. Let's just say that it is really awesome having a professional photographer in our troupe!

You might think that after a big show we would take it easy, but no! Members of Fire & Gold Belly Dance and our big sister troupe Skirt Full of Fire Dance Company will be banding together to perform an awesome choreography at the BreakOut Studios feature night on June 2nd. It's probably my favorite choreography so far.

Between now and then, I will also be performing a solo at the Open Stage night at the Luxor Cafe, hosted by the Safar Dance Co. That's on May 31st.

After that... who knows? I don't think the troupe has any more gigs lined up yet, as Summer tends to be pretty slow here in Tucson. Given that it's usually still around 100 degrees when I drive to class at 7pm, it's easy to understand why everyone either leaves town if they can, or hides in air conditioned buildings.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Sunday Sunday Sunday!

You know all of those troupe choreographies I've been working so hard at learning? And the glow fan solo I've been talking so much about? You can come see all of that and more this Sunday! Skirt Full of Fire and Fire & Gold will both be performing at Mijana's in Tempe this weekend, starting at 7pm. Visit the Event Page on Facebook for more details!

I got a preview of what everyone else is working on for their solos and duets on Monday, and it was some pretty fabulous stuff! Our troupe members come from a wide variety of dance backgrounds and you can see that reflected in their individual dance styles. It's going to be a varied show with a great assortment of music and dance. Also, we're going to be dressed quite beautifully and colorfully!

There are more performances coming up as well... I think I need to add an "Upcoming Performances" sidebar to this blog so you all can keep track of me!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

National Belly Dance Day!

Today was National Belly Dance Day! I had some free time this afternoon, so I decided to make a treasury of some beautiful dancey-dance Etsy items.

Because it's a Saturday, I also went to the Community Class! It was just three of us from Fire & Gold, so Jolie turned it into an extra troupe practice. We finished our third choreo (and good thing too, since we have to perform it a week from tomorrow), so when the normal practice rolls around on Monday, it will be all figured out and the rest of the troupe can learn it and we can drill the heck out of it and be awesome. I actually feel more comfortable with this piece than with the second one, even though it's been done for longer. This last piece uses a lot of ITS-style moves, so the vocabulary is really familiar to me. There's not as many small accents to keep track of. Plus it's a fun song and a saucy choreo.

I'm really excited for our show next weekend, but also a little nervous. I have to admit I am not really loving my glow fan solo. I am kind of tired of my fans. I actually have a small scar on my inner elbow from where I hit myself with one while demoing for the rest of the troupe. I think I might have to wear sleeves when I perform.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Floor work

There were only a couple of us in Fonda's class tonight and we decided we wanted to start doing floorwork, so she taught us some exercises and ways to get to and from the floor, so we can practice in preparation for learning more in the future. I expect to have sore quads and calves tomorrow!

Now I need to muster up the energy and enthusiasm to do my homework.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The adjustment period

The worst part of tackling some new physical challenge is waiting for my body to adjust to it. When I started taking Jolie's classes last year, my body rebelled. "What?" said my muscles, "We have to do push-ups and stuff? I thought we gave all that up when we quit CrossFit!" After a bit I got used to it, and then I got better at it, and then I turned into the annoying person who wants to do the hard push-ups because she wants sexier arms.

So now I've got this new practice regimen. I'm doing it 6 days a week regardless of what classes or practices I already have, and it's going to be a good 30-60 minutes per day (including the time I spend on choreos and solos and such). Maybe I should not have started it on a Monday. Maybe I should have waited until Thursday, when I don't have any classes.

Today started out fine. I did my practice, I felt pretty good about it because even though doing basics is booooring, I'm staying focused and correcting my errors as they happen. For instance, for a while I've been getting some pain in my feet and ankles when standing in one position to drill. I realized that it's because even if I start out with my weight evenly distributed, I start to pitch forward into my toes and that puts an unnatural strain on my ankle. So now when I catch myself doing that, I can reset into a more even stance and drill comfortably.

Then I went to class and my body was not happy with me. All those hours of dance yesterday, and a bunch of dance during the day, and I expected it to do more dance and exercise tonight? There were moments where I felt so exhausted that I almost cried, but I powered through and waited for the endorphins to kick in.

Soon enough this will all be part of the past, but it's going to be annoying until I get through it.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Making it official

I came to some big decisions last week. One of them was to take a hiatus from the Tucson Tribal Belly Dance Collective. I've been so busy trying to learn the Fire & Gold choreos, and master my glow fans that I had not been practicing my ITS moves or working on the TTBDC set. I still love ITS but I'm finding that it's not really my focus right now. I'd rather do it casually, and break it out at parties with friends, than actually perform it in a troupe setting. Maybe I'll feel differently later, but for now my interests lie elsewhere.

And where is elsewhere? Other than F&G (which I'm really loving), I've decided that what I really want is to be a professional tribal fusion soloist. Dancing with a troupe is fun, but being a soloist gives me total creative control to express myself artistically, dance to the songs I love, and go crazy with costuming. As for being professional, well, if I'm going to do this, I might as well do it at the highest level possible.

So to make it official, I e-mailed Jolie last week and told her that was my goal, and I wanted to have a private lesson to evaluate where I was at and set me up with a good strict practice regimen (I'm pretty sure I blogged before about being baffled by how to structure my practice). Now I have a crazy amount of homework to do, focusing on drilling the hell out of my basics to undo some of the bad habits I've developed.

To give you an idea of what my days will be like now that I'm on this path, here's what today was like:

-Get up, get dressed, eat breakfast, check internet things.

-Private lesson with Jolie, set up practice schedule.

-Come home, get together some beadwork, deliver to Kate's house so it can be photographed for her upcoming book. Something not-dance related!

-Come home again, do chores because they ain't gonna do themselves.

-Decide I want to go ahead and start my practice regimen today. Get into a fight with iPod while trying to set up practice playlists. It thinks that one of the troupe songs is 32 minutes. It is not.

-Go to early dinner with husband, because I skipped lunch and I am staaaaaaarving.

-Go buy groceries.

-Come home for the third time today. Finish setting up play lists, spend about half an hour doing homework. No time to practice choreos or solos before class.

-Drive over to BreakOut Studios, coordinate with a troupemate who is placing an order of tribal jewelry for the troupe. Woohoo!

-One hour of Choreo class. Fun Mira Betz/Gypsy-influenced piece where we got to channel our inner machisma. I enjoyed the hell out of it and want to find a song that makes me feel that way for a solo.

-Over an hour of troupe practice because hey, less than 2 weeks til our big show!

-Come for the fourth and final time. Realize that I still have to update my blog and stretch. Devour all food in the house like a locust.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Community Class

Today I went to Jolie's Community Class. My friend Jen was visiting from Tempe, so she came too, and some of my F&G troupemates were there, so it was a nice way to kick off my Saturday. We revisited the choreography from Monday night's class, and did a few drills, too.

Tomorrow I'm going to touch up my henna dye-job, so I'll be home all day. It's pretty much the first day in forever that I haven't had any obligations outside the house, no classes, practices, family gatherings, errands, nothing. Maybe I'll get some good practice time in and work on some costuming or jewelry.

Friday, May 4, 2012

An Audience of One

Today I went over to the home of my first belly dance teacher. I only had a few lessons with her, but she was the one who really lit the fire under me. I thought I was too clumsy and gangly to dance beautifully. She showed me that I was wrong, and even though she doesn't belly dance anymore herself, she is constantly encouraging me in my journey as a dancer.

Because she hasn't been able to come to any of my shows lately, I told her I'd bring my music along for a private performance, so she could see what I was working on and how far I've come.

There is really nothing more nerve-wracking than dancing for One. Person. It's very intimate and intimidating. It feels weird to look at them the entire time, and weird to look away. And you know that if you mess up, they're going to notice because they're certainly not looking at something else! You can't even really do the "look at the top of their head" trick, because they're close enough to catch on.

On the other hand, when that audience of one is one of your dearest friends and a mentor, it's possible to get past the initial weirdness, relax into it, and enjoy showing off for a friend. I had a good time, and I got some glowing compliments that had me floating through the rest of the day.

Experiences like this help remind me as to why I'm doing what I'm doing. They reassure me that I'm on the right path. And they remind me that dancing doesn't have to always be getting all gussied up in a fancy costume with a ton of makeup for an official gig. Sometimes dancing can just be casual, fun, and friendly, still from the heart, still with all of the technical skill at my disposal, but without the trappings of the stage.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Tired and Busy!

It's the same old story... getting so wrapped up in things that I forget to blog! That's the problem with classes that run 'til 9:30, I'm pretty tired out by the time I get home.

Anyway, things are good. Fire & Gold had our first performance on Saturday and we rocked it. It was an outdoor show, 90ish degrees, on a cement basketball court... So not my favorite venue ever, but still better than the Stage of Doom at the faerie festival with Anaya Tribe.

Yesterday we finished our second choreography. Now to practice the heck out of it! There are a few parts that I'm finding really difficult, and I need to be comfortable with them in time for our big show on the 20th.

Class tonight was really good, and really hard. I hate it when my brain "gets" an exercise but my body just does not want to cooperate.

I'm on a hiatus from the TTBDC. F&G is demanding a lot from me, with the choreos and needing to get my glow fan solo perfected, and I have a lot of personal dance goals I want to work on... not to mention a lot of things going on with my business, and normal life-y things.

Also, I turned 30 today. Yay!