Monday, August 27, 2012

Working through it

Tonight I was feeling heavy-hearted and a little nauseated, but I went to class and practice anyway because I've missed too many lately. I started to feel better as soon as I got there, which I attribute to the healing power of awesome troupemates. There's such great energy in that group, everyone just seems to generally like each other and to love what we do.

And luckily, tonight was not too demanding. We revisited the choreography that Jolie did in Saturday's class, which I really like and did pretty well at. Then we went over some videos to see what we needed to work on, and did a moving meditation. It was good to just dance, without stressing over choreography.

Now to just get back into practicing at home! Today was all about my jewelry business (ok, and playing video games on my husband's lunch break), but tomorrow I should be able to tackle some chaines and work on some solos and maybe even do some prop work.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Better Day

I woke up today and it was raining! For some people, living in other places, maybe that would mean a bad day. For me it meant that it was not hideously hot today, and I got to dance without feeling gross. I worked on my solo, and practiced a couple of troupe choreos, and did some random improv to random songs, drilled my taxims and chaines, and felt OK about myself.

I am still working out the best time for me to practice. Jolie suggested that I wake up in the morning and get it done right away, before I get distracted by Facebook and chores and such. But honestly, I need to eat my breakfast and maybe have a cup of tea, and wake up fully. And some days I have to do a little housework to get things tidy before I can dance. Maybe I need to do my housework before bed, and drink my tea while reading a book instead of sitting at my computer. Or maybe it will work best for me to dance in the afternoon, as long as I pick a time and stick with it. I definitely can't wait for the evening, that never works. Especially not on class nights.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Hard to stay sad

My husband often jokes that our little corgis, Daisy and Maggie, are the best investment he ever made because I can never stay upset with them around. This is an old picture, but this is pretty much the exact faces they were making at me when I came home from class today.

It's also hard to stay sad with so many good friends in my life. I hesitated to post last night because I didn't want to seem like a drama ball, rolling around and soaking up the drama and needing attention from my friends -- but I kind of did need it. Maybe not the ego boosts (which ARE nice), but I really, really needed to hear other dancers and artistic types saying that they have gone through the same thing. I needed to know that this is something that I need to push through, instead of letting it keep me down. I needed to know that I am not just being a drama llama, but that this is part of the normal growth of a dancer.

Anyway, I am still feeling down, but getting better. I danced this morning. I mean. really. f*cking. danced. (forgive my asterisked language, but it was that intense) I danced so hard that I was honest-to-gosh crying, and that doesn't really happen to me. I danced so hard that I'm amazed I didn't hurt myself. Most importantly, I danced so hard that I remembered why the hell I do this -- I do it because I love it. I do it because the music moves me, physically and emotionally, and while I still need to work on technique, I can dance up a storm and I can let everything I'm feeling come out, and share that with the audience (in this case, an audience of corgis).

And then I did some spot turns and some chaine turns. And they still sucked. But I am going to do them until they don't.

A big thank you to everyone who put up with my drama, and took the time to reassure me, or give me a pep talk, or tell me to just get through it. I love you all.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Sad Times

I'm in a bad head space right now. If there was any ice cream in my fridge, I'd be eating Ben & Jerry's and crying, but instead I am blogging.

I like to say that I'm a perfectionist, but I don't know if that's quite the right word for how I am. It's not like I deconstruct my jewelry because of tiny imaginary flaws. It's more like I expect myself to be more wonderful and amazing than I am.

As much as I love reading, I think books are to blame... specifically, the sort of books that I read growing up. I liked those little girl escapist books where a girl with a heart of gold finds an abused horse and nurses it to health and the horse ends up being amazing, and so does the girl, and they go on to win a race or a show or something. Or the humble young child in the fantasy world turns out to be the Chosen One who saves the world from the Big Bad Evil, despite being a nobody. Add that to the fact that I was relatively smart as a kid, and relatively tall, and I built this idea in my head that I was going to grow up to be tall and beautiful and a genius and really good at something. I just knew that I would find something that I would be amazing at, and it would make up for being socially awkward and wearing glasses and having buck teeth and spending all of my time reading books.

You may not know this about me, but I am 30 years old, I do not have a high school diploma, I still have buck teeth, and I have not done one amazing thing in my life. I have made a lot of jewelry that is nice, and I have written some stories that are nice, and I have done some dances that are nice. I am not amazing at any of those things, but as I have done each of those things, I've always had this stupid expectation that I would be amazing, and someone would notice, and I would finally have found my calling in life.

Real life, of course, does not work like the stupid books you read when you're a kid. In real life, most people are just good at things. I am just good at writing, making jewelry, and dancing. All of these things that I do make people happy, and they make me happy, but I am not the best at them and it DRIVES ME CRAZY.

I'm at a bad place right now where I am just not. getting. better at dancing. I am still having trouble with the same things I have been having trouble with. My chaine turns are sloppy. I can't spot. Sometimes I am on the wrong foot. I don't count naturally, though I am training myself. Everything is something that just sucks until it doesn't. There's not one thing where I can say "Oh, I'm not there yet but I can see that I'm getting better." And I'm tired of it. I just want to cry. I want to give up. I want to go back to safe, easy ITS where I already knew how to do everything and could be the superstar instead of the person who almost crashed into another dancer again doing chaines across the floor.

Part of it is that I have not been practicing enough lately. I'm still not feeling 100% after my laryngitis/throat virus/chronic cough that comes to visit every damn time I get sick, and I've been using that as an excuse to be lazy at home. No more. Tomorrow I am going to practice until I can't practice anymore, because I am sick of not being amazing. I've set myself the goal of being a professional dancer, and I've foolishly decided not to let my late start, or my overbite, or my lack of natural amazingness stand in my way.

Sunday, August 19, 2012


Blurry hands, but I love the expression on my face in this photo that Annalisa took at Amy's baby shower today!

Normally I am not a baby shower person -- I don't like babies, I don't plan to have any children, and I'm not into cutesy shower games. However, this was a hafla to celebrate one of our local dancer's soon-to-be-born baby daughter, and it was all about dancing, eating Middle Eastern food, and having fun. Besides, when else was I going to have a chance to dance to one of the beautiful lullabies off of Azam Ali's album "From Night to the Edge of Day"?

I had a great time! Sinbad's is a little small, but really beautiful (look at those blue rafters!) and we had the place to ourselves for most of the party. There were about a dozen dancers there, half of whom performed a variety of numbers. The mother-to-be did a great Saidi cane dance, the same one that she performed before the birth of her son. What a sweet tradition!

And I got to wear my new belt! It's hard to tell in the picture, but it's two ropes of green seed beads with coins and kuchi dangles! I think I need to sit down and figure out exactly how many belts I have.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Hello out there!

Well, I have been spectacularly bad about blogging! I didn't realize that it had been well over a month since I updated. Time to dust off my communication skills and get back into the habit of regular updates.

So. Hello! I hope I still have readers out there someplace.

I've been quite busy while I've been quiet. The troupes were invited up to Mijana's in Tempe again, which required learning a lot of new choreos, developing a new solo, and sewing a new bra. There was lots and lots of practicing, of course.

Then I had laryngitis for the first time in my life, which was not fun. I had to text or IM my husband any time I wanted to talk to him, and I had to forgo all dance classes and troupe practices due to being contagious.

Then I went on vacation to Seattle, which was absolutely fun! I had never been to the Pacific Northwest before, so it was very exciting to see a new-to-me part of the world, and of course it was great to get away from Tucson's August heat and enjoy perfect weather in Washington. We chose Seattle because Dead Can Dance and Niyaz were both on tour and happened to have concerts there on the same weekend. What an epic experience! I cannot even begin to describe how amazing it was to hear some of my favorite singers live. We had front row seats for Niyaz, but it didn't matter for me because I spent most of the show dancing in the aisle. That evening was made particularly perfect by meeting up with a FB (now real life) friend and her SO for Persian food before hand and staying up late talking afterwards.

An unexpected bonus to our trip was that Tempest, a dancer who I really admire, had just recently moved to Seattle! I didn't get to attend her class because it was the night I got into town, but she did invite me to a world dance festival in Bothell (which I decided was pronounced Bot-hell), where I got to see her dance to live music by Nathaniel Johnstone. Awesome! We got to hang out and talk with them, and they are really nice people. Hopefully they'll bring their workshops to AZ soon! I saw a lot of other belly dancers and a bit of flamenco as well, and did a little shopping too (NEW BELT!). The Seattle-area dance community seemed well-rounded and everyone I encountered was friendly (actually, that goes for non-dance people too. I suspect there is something in the water there that makes people extra-nice).

Now I am back home, catching back up on all I missed. Tomorrow there are new classes to take, and a belly dance baby shower to attend (and dance at!), and then it's back into the swing of Monday rehearsal and after-practice drinks with the girls. I love my life.