Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Open Stage!

I've been really bad and I haven't blogged the new flier for Open Stage. Isn't it pretty?

Anyway, I LOVE the Open Stages at Sky Bar. We get such a great crowd... Dancers and their friends and families, bachelor/ette parties, trivia teams, sports fans, and so much more. To me, the best thing is when someone is there and they realize that they know one of the dancers from a different area of life! Ha ha! It's always such a surprise.

I am especially excited for this Open Stage because I will be doing something really fun -- Doing improv to a song I have (probably) never heard before. I had Chris pick a song for me and send it to Jolie, so I won't even know what I'm dancing to until it starts!

That's another thing I love about Open Stage... it's a chance to really experiment, to play with something that I wouldn't normally do at a regular gig. A lot of dancers also use it to test new material out, to get their fellow dancers' opinions, or just to step out of their box a bit. It's a really great community event and I hope to see a lot of you there. Here's the event page!

Friday, April 26, 2013

No beauty blog today!

Thanks to Liora K, now I have the perfect filler image for when I write about makeup. Sweet!

Anyway, no beauty blog today. I have to get ready for a party at our house this weekend, and finish gathering supplies for the new costume. This means my Friday is pretty jam-packed, and when given the choice between doing my makeup and actually having some good dance practice, I of course chose dance!

I will try to make up for it by having a super duper GLITTER EXTRAVAGANZA next week, because I have a few different brands of glitter (at least half a dozen?) and I think it's time to review them all. Are you excited? I know you're excited.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Follow Your Damn Dreams

Hey, check it out guys, I made my own cheezy inspiration poster. I wanted something about following your dreams but without too much shmaltz, and without pointing to someone else's website, because hey, what if I don't agree with the rest of the content on their website? So I made my own. I know, my graphic design skills are AMAZING.

So anyway, I've been seeing a lot of stuff lately about following your dreams. Whether it's pithy posts on Facebook or friends writing into my Politely Worded blog with advice on how to politely tell their family that they're going to follow their dreams, so there, or blog posts full of tips on how to tackle a big project... it's just been out there.

I've been thinking about the importance of not procrastinating when it comes to dreams and goals. Shira on Twitter asked about everyone's first exposure to bellydance and whether they loved it right away, and I had to say that I saw it at 17, loved it, but waited YEARS to pursue classes. And you know what? That is my number one regret as a dancer. I'm going to turn 31 in six days. If I had 14 years of dance experience under my belt, I would be an amazing dancer. I mean, I'm a pretty good dancer right now (I feel OK saying that because lots of people have said good things to me about my dance and I'm trying to practice building myself up instead of tearing myself down), so how much better would I be if I had started when I was younger and more flexible? What other things would I have accomplished, fueled by the self-esteem boost that dance has given me? Who knows.

My advice to you is that if you want to try bellydance, or rockclimbing, or skydiving, or whatever it is, make it happen now. Don't miss out on years of fun and growth because you've somehow convinced yourself that you're not good enough. You are good enough. Go out there and do it!

Monday, April 22, 2013

OMG MIRA BETZ!!!!!!1111oneoneone

Members of Skirt Full of Fire and Fire & Gold with Mira Betz and her cute little baby boy.

So I just spent the past weekend studying with Mira Betz and I am so stoked! This was my second time doing a weekend of workshops with her, but the first time I around I was a much less skilled dancer and spent a lot of time struggling with technique without really soaking up much knowledge. This time around I still struggled with some of the technique, but I absorbed a lot more and I learned so much!

The funny thing is, looking at what I wrote two years ago when I got back from the last intensive, I see that I thought I had learned a lot. And I guess I had. That time around I learned about ways to improve my posture and my general technique and the importance of not being a lazy dancer. But this time I was able to go even deeper, and learn about artistry and awareness and complete commitment on stage. Once again, I feel like I got exactly what I needed exactly when I needed it.

One thing I really liked is that Saturday's workshops were less about dancing and more about bringing in theater and emotion to your dance, which is of course something I've been working on. There was also a class on keeping your improv dynamic, which was also right up my alley since I don't choreograph.

But the best part was how interactive the workshops were. It wasn't "just follow me while I do this combo", there was a lot of discussion and back and forth and partner exercises. I feel like this really kept me engaged and probably helped me retain the knowledge a lot better.

I'd like to gush on and on and on, but I am trying to break my habit of novel-length blog posts, so I guess I'll just go write in my dance journal instead.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Beauty Blogging For Bellydancers with Special Guest Liora K!

Are you guys excited? Because I'm excited! In case you didn't read about it earlier this week, this past weekend I went over to Liora K's studio and we teamed up to bring you a special edition of Beauty Blogging for Bellydancers! Liora did my makeup and took the photos. I provided the makeup and the words! Together we are an unstoppable beauty blogging team! Above you can see all the things that we put on my face, minus the concealer/powder, and the lipstick which somehow escaped.
 Here's my mostly naked face (with the usual primer/foundation/powder routine I discussed last week) ready to get greenified! We decided that since I wanted to review the new eyeshadow pencil and green lip tar I bought last week, the theme would be "How to do a monochrome green look without looking dead" because there's nothing worse than looking dead when you're not trying to be a zombie bellydancer.

We started with the Aqua Shadow Waterproof Eye Shadow Pencil from Make Up For Ever in color 8E. It's a really nice bluey-teal-green, a great compliment to the emerald shades that are in this year. On one eye you can see the basic shape she colored in, and the other eye shows how she blended it out with a pointy eyeshadow brush. This will serve as the base for the rest of the look.

Make sure to blend it out to where you want it pretty quickly, as it will set into place nicely and then if you decide you want to blend it further, you'll have to add more. Once it's there, it stays nicely! I didn't test this product out with dancing, but I did wear it all day and it stayed perfectly. 
 But wait... How about we layer some other colors on top? A little shimmery green from Belle Pierre (a review of their cosmetics is forthcoming)...
 ..and some matte teal from Urban Decay and a little light green from NYX makes for a nice gradated teal-green look.
 I'm liking it so far!
Let's finish those eyes with some golden olive liquid eyeliner from Urban Decay and that green mascara from the Pantone Emerald collection. Now those are some green eyes! Liora also defined my brows with some brow powder she had, and they're looking quite nice, don't you think? Now onto the lips!
 Wait, Liora, you want to put concealer WHERE? On my mouth?
 Oh, ok! It looks kind of like I have a weird milk mustache going on here. Lining your lips with concealer helps keep creamy lipsticks from wandering around your face, and it also makes your lip color pop a bit by slightly lightening the area around your lips. Pro tip from Liora K!
Blend it out smoothly so it no longer looks like a milk mustache. You can also do this before you apply your foundation if you're worried about the concealer looking too obvious.
 Now what to do with my lips? It's really hard to do all-green on lips, it can really wash you out and that's how you get the dead look! So we used that lovely warm brown Minx blastflipstick (hahaha, that name never gets old), then dabbed a bit of Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Lip Tar in Power Plant on top of it and blended it out. This gives a lovely iridescent green sheen, while still maintaining the warm tones that keep my face looking alive.
 After warming my face up some more with some blush for a youthful glow, Liora decided we could add even MORE GREEN to my lips, and since MORE GREEN is a rule I live by, we went with it! A little dab of pearly green pigment from NYX adds an extra pop to the center of my lips, but as you can see, I don't look the least bit dead. In fact, I look pretty full of life and ready to go out for dinner!

Speaking of which, I did go out to dinner with this look on, and that lip tar stayed put! By the time I went to bed, I had eaten a meal, drank through a straw, from a glass, and from a sport-top water bottle and I still had plenty of green on my lips. This is a really durable product, and I am looking forward to trying it out in a more "normal" color to see if it can be my new go-to lip option.
 Let's have one more look at those pretty eyes. Ahhhh! Love the contrast between the green eyes and the pink of the blush. Of course, if you wanted to make this look even more green, for instance, if you're doing a character piece as a faerie, or mermaid, you could brush a little light iridescent green mineral shadow across your cheeks for extra sparkle. You could also line your waterline with green, or bring more green under your eyes. You could even color your eyebrows green, though that would probably look weird if you're not also wearing a green wig. Just make sure to really balance it out and try to stick with warm colors that bring life to your face.

Thank you again Liora for doing my makeup and taking all these great photos! You rock, lady! If you all aren't already familiar with her photography work, which ranges from fashion shoots to weddings to feminist art, you should definitely visit Liora K Photography and see what you're missing!

PS: If you've got any questions about the specific colors used, leave a comment and I'll dig into my train case for brands and item numbers and whatnot.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Vendors I Love: The Gypsy Kiss!

Let me tell you about one of my favorite vendors ever, The Gypsy Kiss! I've been addicted to Amy's creations since before I even started taking bellydance classes. She found me on Twitter when I was still just shimmying around my living room, and now we interact so much that some people are convinced she's part of the AZ dance community (she's actually in Wisconsin).

There's a lot of reasons why I love The Gypsy Kiss. Of course I'm all about one-of-a-kind creations. There's also the fact that Amy draws from a lot of my favorite sources of inspiration... Faeries, Art Nouveau, vintage materials, and of course tribal fusion fashion trends! And even though she uses high-quality materials, her prices make her work accessible to amateur dancers who want some pro-level adornment. But I think what I love most is Amy's great personality! Her love of what she does shows through in every item, every product photo.

Want one of the above items? Here's direct links:
Natural Beauty Hair Clip (shown modeled by Amy herself)
Genuine Tiger Eye Bindi
Flapper Deco Headband
But really, you should browse the whole shop and pick out your own favorites!

Pictures old and new of me wearing hairclips from The Gypsy Kiss! Yes, proof that I've been buying from her for a long time, there I am with brown hair! Gasp! I think that beautiful spiral clip is the second thing I ever bought from Amy. And the clip I'm wearing in this newer shot is one of my most recent purchases. Let's not discuss how many things I've bought from her between then and now, ok?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Doing New Things!

I'm sure I've mentioned it here before, but I don't like doing new things. It's always a struggle for me to get motivated to try a new class, or do a different style of dance, or be vulnerable on stage, or hang out with new people. I very much like to have my routine, and my usual people and my usual things (with SOME variety, of course. I'm not one of those people who has burgers on Tuesday and pizza on Friday, and always eats at the same restaurant). Falling in love with dance has forced me to do a lot of new things, but I still fight against them.

So, recently I did two new things. The first was I started interning for Skirt Full of Fire. You'd think this wouldn't even really count as a new thing because I already help unofficially with stuff all the time and have assisted at events, but as I was leaving the house to go to the meeting to get everything set up, I started trying to sabotage myself. My brain went "Wait! What if I'm not good at it? What if I screw something up and then Jolie doesn't like me anymore and I'll have to find a new teacher..." etc etc. As you can see, my brain gets pretty over-dramatic sometimes. When I got to the meeting I found that most of my duties were already things I knew how to do. No big deal.

By the way, one of my jobs is writing monthly guest posts for the official SFOF blog. If you'd like to see my first one, here it is: The Only Rule is Work.

The second new thing was that last night I started taking a poi class. This is doubly scary because not only is it a NEW THING but I'd previously said I never wanted to learn poi because I knew I'd hit myself in the face. And you know what? I was right. I did hit myself in the face. And the back of the head. And the chest, legs, stomach, groin, back and arms. None of which left so much of a bruise.

Aside from hitting myself, I had a good time. Both of my parents are also taking the class, the teacher is a friend of the family, the other classmates range in skill from newbies like me to performers, and I actually caught on more quickly than I expected. Plus it's always nice to be in a class just for fun. Sure, I'm taking this class because some poi moves can be translated to fire fans and fan veils, but it's not integral to my dance career. It's more of an extra perk.

So here's to being brave, and trying new things. The worst that will happen is that you'll get hit in the face.

Monday, April 15, 2013

What a weekend!

 You might imagine that on weekends when I'm not performing or at a workshop, I lounge around my house, snuggling with the corgis and maybe catching up on some reading. But nope, even when I'm not in the public eye, there's usually something that I'm up to. This weekend was no exception, and in fact, it was pretty fun and exciting!

On Saturday I went over to Bellydance Tucson to film my first-ever audition video. Wow, was that nerve-wracking! You never realize how many tiny little things go wrong when you're dancing until you're trying to get a "perfect" take! But it was a fun learning experience and I finally got to wear this Anaya Tribal costume that I bought back in Autumn, and I did some new things with my makeup.

Speaking of makeup, after class on Sunday I popped over to Liora K's studio so we could collaborate on this week's Beauty Blogging for Belly Dancers column. I am SO excited! Not only did Liora do some fun things to my face (as you can see), but she took lots of pictures, which you know are going to be 5000x better than what I've been taking with my iPhone in my bathroom.

It's always fun to get together with someone else to do makeup anyway, because they see the things in my train case differently than I do. I pretty much have specific items that I use for specific things, and then everything else is something I saw on sale at Ulta, used once, and then set aside. Between my private lesson with Jolie and yesterday's session with Liora, I definitely feel like I need to be more open-minded and experimental with my collection and see what sort of fun new things I can do.

Be sure to come back on Friday to see more pictures, product reviews, and a nearly step-by-step breakdown of what Liora did with my eyes.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Underneath it all

 Let's face it: lips and eyes are the exciting parts of doing your makeup! But we can't ignore the importance of building our look on a good foundation (ha ha, see what I did there?).

I'm really lucky in that I have pretty good skin, so I can get away with doing light coverage. This is especially important because I have freckles, and I just have to accept that. It's pretty obvious that I have freckles on my arms, and on my chest if I've been out in the sun, so it would just look weird if my freckles were completely obliterated by my makeup. So today I'm going to show you the two sets of products I used in these two different photos.
 We'll start with the look on the right, my old fall-back routine. This is super duper light coverage, really only appropriate for if you have great skin and you're not worried about being washed out by stage lights. It's also good for normal day-time non-dance wear.

First I start with an Urban Decay 24/7 Concealer Pencil in DEA (actually, I use this for the other look, too). Honestly, this product is a little more yellow than I would like, but it's easy to use, masks the darkness under my eyes, and usually by the time I put stuff over it you can't tell that it's yellow.

Next I put down a light layer of Pore Perfection Complexion Primer Potion. This is a lightweight, colorless product that makes your skin look kind of airbrushed. I love it! You may be able to see that I have pretty much squeezed that tube dry.

Lastly, I top it off with a dusting of Smashbox HALO Hydrating Perfecting Powder in Fair. The light tint of this powder makes up for the colorlessness of the primer potion. Also, it comes in a neat container that has this weird scraper that you can turn to get just enough powder. This is nice if you're clumsy (like me) because you don't have to worry about spilling makeup everywhere. Plus it's fun to use.

 Remember when I mentioned that I was pretty much out of my complexion primer? Well, I was running out as the date was approaching for our troupe photo shoot. The local Sephora was sold out, and Urban Decay was sold out on their website. I was seriously worried that it wasn't going to be made anymore! So I decided it was time to invest in some proper foundation and come up with a new makeup routine. This look is a little heavier, especially because you can apply the foundation with a wet sponge for more coverage if need be. It's also really nice for photography, as you can see from my headshot.

I splurged on the Makeup For Ever HD Complexion Starter Kit in 110 Pink Porcelain. This kit comes with a full-sized foundation and small packages of primer and finishing powder, along with a nice kabuki brush. For the photo shoot I used all three products, but in general I tend to skip the primer if my skin is looking good and I'm in a hurry. These products are really easy to use, you can apply the primer and the foundation with your fingers or a sponge, and then dust the powder on very lightly with the soft kabuki brush.

Of course I follow both of these routines up with whatever contouring and blush the day's look requires, but those are product reviews for another day.

Speaking of another day, do you want a sneak peek at some of my exciting recent cosmetics purchases that are waiting for their turn to be reviewed? Of course you do!

Eyeshadow pencil! Nail polish! GREEN LIP TAR. Oh, it's going to be good!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

We're not dumb, and we do have jobs

There's a blog post making the rounds about the "etiquette" of what to do when there's a surprise belly dancer at the restaurant you're eating at. I'm not going to link to it because I don't want to send more traffic to the author (because I know I have HORDES of loyal followers) and I don't want to give in to the urge to give a point-by-point refutation of what the post says. Besides, there is a chance that much of what she said was firmly tongue in cheek and she's not really that ignorant or mean (though there's an awful lot of judgmental language from her commenters, too). Most importantly, I do get tired of how every single time there's something that says something even slightly negative about bellydancers, people flip the heck out and inundate the person who wrote it with strongly worded letters, which just makes us all look way over-sensitive.

But there was one point I wanted to touch on, something that stood out to me more than the usual comparisons to strippers and the body-snarking. It was the fact that there were a couple of times where the writer seemed to suggest that the poor, poor dancer was only shaking her thing in public because clearly she had no other choice, no better career to fall back on, and maybe she should go to technical school.

The author is clearly wrong about two things: That most of us make money at this (hahahahahahaahHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA), and that we're doing it because we're incapable of doing anything else.

She clearly has never met a real bellydancer. Because I am a dancer, and I take classes with a lot of dancers, I've learned that we come from all walks of lives. There are mothers and single women, grad students and high school dropouts, massage therapists and school teachers. We get people who have never danced in their life, people whose only dance exposure is Zumba, and people who have been dancing forever. And yes, sometimes we also get people who teach pole, stripping, and burlesque, and there's nothing wrong with that either. We have neither graduated from nor failed at exotic dancing, any more than a tango dancer is a failed or graduated ballerina -- they are doing two different dance forms.

Oh, and did I mention the smart people with incredibly demanding careers? I know not one but many bellydancing astrophysicists. ASTROPHYSICISTS. They didn't go to a trade school for that. I know people with jobs so technical, I couldn't even explain them to you, but they also belly dance. I know bellydancing accountants, college professors, and physical therapists. I know dance teachers who can tell you every muscle that you're using and point it out to you on an anatomy chart. I know dancers with high-paying, high-stress jobs who bellydance as a way to relax and make friends after work. I know a dancer who pulls 24+ hour long shifts as an air medic.

But you see us doing a little shimmy at the Shawarma House and you assume that there's nothing inside our pretty little heads and it must be either this or starve. Well let me tell you something, if we didn't have dayjobs, we would starve. Most of us attend class several times a week to keep our skills fresh, take a few workshops a year to hone our skills even more and network with our fellow dancers, and then there's the constant investment in new costumes and props and makeup. The few dancers I know who make a living off of our artwork are those who also teach and/or do costuming. We don't dance because it's either dance or starve. We don't dance because McDonald's laid us off. We dance because we love to dance. And if you don't want to watch us, well, there's plenty of other restaurants where you can eat dinner. We'll be waiting for you if you ever change your mind.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Book Review -- Eye Candy by Linda Mason

Ok, I promise we will get back to new cosmetics reviews next week, but I just got Eye Candy by Linda Mason and I am so excited about it, because this is just the sort of thing that I wish I'd had when I first started out with makeup. It probably would have saved me a lot of hassle and prevented me from showing up on stage with some regrettable eye makeup choices.

Linda Mason has been a professional makeup artist since the 70s, so this little book is packed full of know-how on eye makeup. It's mainly designed for the beginner who keeps seeing beautiful eye looks on-line but doesn't quite know how to approach them in real life. Not only will you learn how to do the 55 specific looks that are diagrammed out, but you'll also learn a lot about makeup application in general, which should give you the confidence to tackle all those looks you see on Pinterest and YouTube.

It's the basic information that I really appreciate. When I first started wearing makeup as a dancer, I went to the store and bought things willy-nilly with no real idea of what brush was best for what product, or what looks were best for my eye shape, or even how to do such simple things as properly apply mascara. Before turning you loose on the specific looks, Eye Candy breaks down how to properly groom your brows, what brushes to use for application and why, the pros and cons of different types of shadows and how to use them, how to apply fake lashes (although, to be honest, I don't agree with her method, but you can certainly give it a try), the different kinds of eye liner and mascara and so much more. This information is so handy for the new dancer who has previously not worn a lot of makeup in her life but wants to look great on stage!

After that it's on to several chapters of eye makeup looks that you can copy, ranging from natural daytime looks to really wild styles that you'll probably only ever use for fashion shoots or character pieces. Here's an example of one that falls somewhere in the middle of the spectrum:

Each look is like this... One big photo showing it on a model (and the book uses models with various complexions and eye shapes, so everyone should be able to find someone who is somehow similar to them), then a page that lists what you need, steps it out, and shows a diagram of where to apply the colors. I also like that the colors used are shown as photos of the actual makeup, so you can try to match it up to whatever is in your collection. If you want to buy the exact colors used, they're apparently all part of Linda Mason's makeup line, and in the back of the book she tells you the color names for each look, but I like the fact that the actual tutorials don't try to push her products. There's also tips on how you could change it up, and the reader is encouraged to try any of the styles with totally different colors as desired. It also says what colors of blush and lip color were used, if you want to do the complete look.

My favorite chapter is "Inspired" which has looks inspired by famous people and nature. There's a great green Mata Hari look, styles inspired by Audrey Hepburn, Twiggy, and other style icons of the past. Perfect for when you need to do a vintage-inspired character piece or have to go to a 60s-themed Halloween party.

Although I think Eye Candy is perfect for the beginning makeup artist, I also see it is coming in handy as an inspirational tool for the more experienced dancer. It's so easy to fall into a rut of doing that same look that works for you at every show; this might help you do something new. It would also be great if you're used to doing your own makeup but suddenly have to help out troupe newbies or students with a totally different complexion from you.

Over all, I am pretty happy with my $15 investment in this book. Oh sure, I could probably find all of this information for free on Pinterest and YouTube if I went looking, but I like books and it's easier to have a book in the bathroom while I do my makeup than to try to find room for my laptop in there. Plus you can bring this along to you when you're going to be someplace without internet (like when you get to the hotel you're staying at for your out of town gig and you find they don't have WiFi, ugh!).

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Slump... or not?

So, after telling the trolls of the world that they couldn't stop me from dancing, I spent the past week not really dancing. I mean, I went to class and troupe practice like a good li'l troupe member, but I have not been dancing at home. I could try to blame it on a variety of reasons -- it's too hot in this house, I hurt my arm, Chris left a table in the middle of the living room floor, I had to write a million things this week -- but mainly it is that I am still feeling incredibly uninspired.

But those are all just excuses. No matter what, I could have at least carved a little space out of my living room and done some drills and then taken a shower to cool off. The truth is I haven't felt like dancing, not emotionally anyway, so I didn't dance. Every single day I would say to myself "I should practice today" and every single day I would grab onto every excuse not to. I even considered skipping class!

Today I broke free of the excuses and danced. I wanted to work on my Open Stage solo and on the solo I am going to audition for an upcoming Plaza show. Well, ok, I didn't WANT to work on them (I wanted to sit here looking at much prettier, better dancers on Pinterest), but I knew that if I didn't I would have no one but myself to blame when I looked like a dope on stage tonight and made an awful audition video.

So I put on my music and I started dancing, and I surprised myself. I felt connected to my music. Timing that I had been struggling with in my audition piece suddenly snapped into place. I feel really, really good about the practice I just had. I expected it to feel forced and awkward, but instead it felt inspired.

I need to remember times like this when I just do not feel like dancing. Maybe some days it won't be like this. But if the inspiration doesn't come, I can at least drill. There's no excuse for laziness. Life is too short to not practice.

Monday, April 1, 2013

You cannot stop me

Why yes, it is April Fools Day and I am writing about YouTube trolls, so I think it is the perfect day to post a Professor Elemental song. I do feel like donning my fighting trousers and shouting "I. Will. Not. LOSE!"

You see, I got trolled on YouTube again yesterday. Someone seriously had nothing better to do on a Sunday morning than tell a dancer they don't know that she has no hopes of becoming a pro and furthermore, that she is very, very, very fat (I've weighed 140 at my heaviest. I can only imagine that one needs to be 90lbs or less to please this person). Oh dear me, a perfect stranger thinks I am a horrible fat dancer, I guess I will throw away my hip scarves and lock myself away in my house, sobbing while I push myself through endless Sweating To The Oldies workout videos.

This is the second time someone has chosen YouTube as the vehicle to tell me that I am wasting my time as a dancer. Well guess what? I really don't care what you think, random YouTube trolls. For every one of you, there are dozens of people who love to watch me dance, people who come to every show, people who tell me I am beautiful, and people who are thrilled to have me in their classes, their shows, their lives, their troupes.

I like to think I have a pretty realistic view of who and what I am. I am not the best dancer in the world, in the city, or in my troupe. I know what areas I exceed at and where I struggle. I know it when I misstep. And yes, it may shock you to realize this but I do in fact know that most of my fat has collected in my round white belly. Of course, it's funny, when I took up dancing I expected that comments about my appearance would focus on my awful teeth, but apparently there is nothing worse a dancer can be than FAT*. How dare I show the world anything less than a perfect six pack?

For some reason, YouTube haters don't want me to dance. I don't know why. Are they scared of the competition? Or can  they really not stand for someone else to be happy? Or do they really, genuinely believe that dance falls into some very strict parameters, possible taught to them by an awful, controlling, jealous teacher, and that anyone who doesn't dance the way they do is doing it wrong?

I really don't care about their reasons. I just want them to know two things:

1. You cannot stop me. I have put on my fighting trousers, and they happen to be dance pants. While you are wasting time tearing people down on YouTube, I will be drilling, or working on my new costumes, or encouraging the newer members of my troupe, or looking for new music, or daydreaming about Tribal Fest, or watching videos with an eye towards inspiration.

2. If you troll my videos I will delete your stupid comments and mock you on Facebook. And if I see you trolling a fellow dancer, I will be sure to counter your hate with love. Because I will not allow you to stop anyone else.

*I don't actually think I am fat. Also I know a lot of dancers who are my size and larger who are performing professionally, so stick that in your pipe and smoke it, YouTube trolls.