Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I paid for this?

Yes, I did! I paid for 10 weeks of having my butt kicked in Asharah's Beginning I class. Monday's now involve joining two friends for the round trip to Joy of Motion's Atlas studio in northeast DC and putting ourselves into her capable hands. The class write up mentions sweat, and sweat I did, down my face, my neck, my back, the floor. I'm not too sore, but then we really didn't get into too many squats or butt squeezes. It was only the first week, though. We'll see what comes next.

So today I think I'll take my hoop to a shady spot in the park and try to work out some of the kinks. Tonight is practice in our un air conditioned studio space; this weekend . . . craziness! I have a private lesson with Lisa Sunday morning, a 4 hour workshop with her Sunday afternoon and we're dancing in a hafla Sunday night. Monday? Exhaustion!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Summer is the hardest season . . .

. . . for keeping up with your dance classes.

My teacher had to move her classes to her home studio, since attendance goes down too far for classes to keep going at the studio she rents. I emailed to see if there was room in the class today, but haven't heard anything back yet. Vacations and life in general keep interrupting our troupe practices.

It would be so easy to say, "Let's take a break until fall", but that way lies, well, not madness but surely laziness. Besides, we have three performances to work on for the summer!

Friday, June 08, 2007

You got me

I usually don't do meme's, but this one comes to me via Toya, and I love to indulge her!

Each player starts with 7 random facts/habits about themselves. People who are tagged need to then report this on their own blog with their 7 things as well as these rules. They then need to tag 7 others and list their names on their blog. They are also asked to leave a comment for each of the tagged, letting them know they have been tagged and to read the blog.

1. I own a lot of socks. One could say I am addicted to them, especially tall socks. I have an entire (small, three drawer) dresser devoted to just socks (tights and such are in a different dresser). I really dig Socks Dreams.

2. I am convinced I am supposed to be taller, probably by a few inches. I am the shortest person in my family, and I think this is because I started drinking coffee as a small child. My grandfather would pour me a cup and I'd take it with evaporated milk and 2 Sweet N Lows. When all of my friends got into drinking coffee in high school they acted like it was a new thrill. To me it was just a tasty tasty beverage. I can still drink lots of coffee late at night and go right to bed.

3. When I tie knots, I usually tie them three times. This is some kind of a holdover from my spell castin' teen witch days or something. When I sew I always knot my thread three times; when I tack something I will pull the thread through and knot it three times. Starting or finishing embroidery? Secured three times to the cloth. Finishing a knitting project? I knot the yarn three times.

4. I wish I had some sort of organized belief system, but I don't. The best way I can describe myself is "vaguely pagan", and that's about it. I guess I pretty much believe that this world and our whole being is incomprehensible and pretty awe-some. As J and I joked at the PA Fairie Fest we really like the idea of, "Be excellent to each other." I think there is more to the world that can be seen, and I'm not talking about needing microscopes.

5. I have a very visual memory, and cannot stand to have my physical environment rearranged by other people. This is why I fuss when we're camping and the campsite is messy, or why I constantly arrange and rearrange my work spaces. It can be frustrating living with a messy person, because I want to know where everything is all the time. Ask me sometime where something is, and I'll probably close my eyes and move my hands around in the air to "place" it, then I'll be able to tell you exactly where it is located. I think this visual memory is one reason I give really good directions.

6. I want to travel and live in other places. I am terrified of going to unknown places or living somewhere I do not know like the back of my hand. This causes me a lot of internal strife.

7. Sometimes I hate myself for it, but I love pork products. Bacon. Sausage. Pork chops. Pork roasts. Pork rinds! There, I said it! I like to snack on pork rinds. I also think pigs are incredible animals, and like to hang out with them. I also think Pig (see: my pet cat) is totally awesome, but I do not want to eat him. Hopefully one day I'll be able to put this love aside and go vegetarian

I participated, but I'm not so much for passing these on. So, I tag you!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The teaching dilemma

Why do so many belly dance students become belly dance teachers? Am I the only person who sometimes wonders if belly dance can be like a university's English Lit. department, turning out students that will become teachers to the next generation of students in a never ending cycle (this is coming from someone with a degree in English with a Women's Lit. concentration. I have two career choices there: teach,maybe at the college level, or be a barista. Ahem).

I ask this because I sometimes wonder about my own place in this chain. A year and a half ago I did an evaluation with my teacher before she moved away. She asked me at one point if I ever thought about teaching belly dance (not in the near future, but when I had more experience). I said I wasn't sure I was cut out for it, as I don't think of myself as very patient especially with people who have trouble understanding and need lots of help, or people who don't think/learn like I do and need different teaching methods to help them understand. This is something I've always had trouble with; one of my big challenges at work is training, as I want to tell people, "Just . . . do it. It's not hard. Figure it out!" (which is much how I was trained to do my my job, or parts of it).

Currently I do not feel I have enough belly dance experience to teach other people. I don't feel that I am 100% totally positive all the time accurate on how I do moves, especially since we do a lot of ATS and it is a codified "system" of dance. I don't want to teach and realize I'm constantly changing what I am doing. Not that dance does not change and evolve, but I want to make sure if I teach a vertical hip figure eight on the down up (taqsim) that I am doing teaching it exactly right. To go hand in hand with that, my troupe is currently tweaking moves, dropping or changing things we were taught to fit the ATS format or to better reflect our style of dance. I feel we're in a state of refinement that reflects our growth as dancers and as a troupe, which is good but also currently unstable.

So with my "no teaching!" stance why then did I just start a notebook where I am entering detailed notes on all the moves I know, from the ATS standards to solo dancer moves to Kallisti specific ideas? Because Baltimore is lacking so horribly in a tribal scene that I feel one day I'm going to throw my hands up in disgust and admit, "F#@k it, I'll teach!" (actually, if you know me you know it'll involve a lot more cussing than that). If I eventually get to that day I want to make sure I have lots of background work accomplished - information on the moves, the formations, how I'd put them together, what works, what does not, tips and tricks for passing on this detailed body of knowledge. Even if this information is never utilized in the classroom it is still valuable for me, a personal tribal compendium perhaps.

If that day does reluctantly come I hope I have other tools under my belt: a Fat Chance Belly Dance General Skills certification, probably an ACE certification, insurance, about a million more years of dance experience, a steady tribal teacher of my own. Ok, hell may freeze over before the last one happens, but you can't blame me for being optimistic! Most of all, though, I hope I have the confidence to pass on not only the practical details of tribal belly dance but also my enthusiasm and love of this art form.

Edited: to correct definition of taqsim. See!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Short letters to things that may not respond

Dear hands,

Play with confidence. Practice. Doing these things will only make you better. The zills and the drum will not bite, they are something to be worked with not against. Honestly, people will not point and laugh if you mess up.


* * * * * *

Dear body,

Yes, I am going to schedule a check up, then get those knees looked at. I am sorry I don't take very good care of you. I admit, going to the doctor's makes me scared. I will try to be nicer to you.


* * * * * *

Dear self,

Admit it, you have to get off your butt. Try really digging into things instead of flitting from item to item. Think of how good you could be if you really, and I mean REALLY, applied yourself. And one last thing. Practice. You know what I'm talking about.


* * * * * *

Dear new notebook,

You're plain, nothing fancy or expensive. I love you. I love your college ruled pages, the nifty pockets, your three sections. I am excited about filling up your pages. Thank you for indulging my Type A tendencies. Maybe you would like a sticker to dress you up?