Thursday, October 13, 2011

Blast from the past, looking to the future

While reading our local paper online the other day I saw a link to a story about an older belly dancer. Clicking over confirmed my suspicions, that it’s about Baltimore area dancer Samara. Kallisti Tribal had the pleasure of meeting Samara at one of our first performances. A local restaurant hosted haflas for awhile and we were lucky to perform at a couple of these incredibly fun (and supportive to our baby troupe) gatherings.

I remember watching Samara dance and thinking thank goodness I’d taken the plunge to try classes and keep up with them, to find other people I enjoyed dancing with, to get involved in this community. When I am Samara’s age I hope I am still doing my dance thing! I also hope I have her attitude too; after our performance she declared, with a big laugh, that Kallisti was “sexalicious”.

Here is the story with a lovely pictures of Samara dancing and zilling away.

And here is a link to our 2006 photo gallery which has pictures from some of those Amer’s shows. Nine people, nine!, in the small performance space in the middle of of the restaurant, with audience on all sides. I’m so proud of how hard we worked for these shows and that we took the plunge and put ourselves out there.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Turning down the noise

I was perusing the forums at Bhuz* and I came across an incredibly helpful reading recommendation from Ozma. A student dancer was explaining how her old teacher had helped her to get out of her own head (my words) regarding dancing. In response, Ozma recmmended the book How to Dance Forever, and in particular the section on "Noise". Noise is all the self criticism, worry and defeatist thoughts that happen while learning dance, which can become patterns that can inhibit dancing.

If you log onto Amazon and go to the book, check the "Look Inside" option and search for noise inside the book, and you can read most of the chapter (thank you to Suzana for pointing this out). It definitely struck a chord with me, as noise is something I have had to work past in dancing. It's the "I'm so old/out of shape/uncoordinated/clueless/etc." critic that can run on an endless loop in my head. When this happens I have to turn it off, focus only on what I need to do in class, ask questions, and act like I look awesome while I work things out (to avoid frowning, angry looks, or "oops" face while dancing).

While reading one line struck me as particularly relevant for ATS/ITS dancers: "Above all, be certain you learn as quickly as possible what happens on count 1. If you don't know count 1, count 2 will be ridiculous." ATS/ITS dancers, have you ever had the moment when you've gone into a move you don't know that well, fumbled the one count, then proceeded to make a train wreck of the next 4 or more counts? I have! I've also hesitated started a move, with the same result, as well as confusing feet, losing the beat, rushing a move to get to the "good part" and so on.

When this happens you can not only mess up yourself, but as a leader you can take your followers down with you. If that happens too many times, you can start to lose the trust of those following you, and when that trust is gone you can lose the magic that makes ATS/ITS work. You don't lead with confidence, your followers second guess what you are doing, and there becomes a tension and stilted quality to the dancing that makes it flat and uninspiring.

So, know your moves! Know them well, inside and out, facing in different directions. Know them to different tempos, how to come in and out of them from different moves, and which ones work and don't work with different music. Know what to do when you mess up, so you can correct gracefully and with confidence. Have your safety moves. Also, know your music! How many times have you fumbled your dancing because you didn't know the music? If you're dancing to live music or a song you've never used or heard before, mess ups will happen. If you're dancing to music you've used before or was picked for a performance, there is no reason to get out there and have no idea of what is happening. Listen to your music in practice, at home, in the car, wherever and whenever you can. Knowing your music is as much a part of training as knowing your dance vocabulary.

And no, no one is perfect and there is nothing wrong with messing up, but messing up and letting the noise take over your head can lead to a disintegration of quality for the whole troupe. Be prepared both physically and mentally so that you can dance with confidence and ease (and joy!), which is the best thing for you and your troupe!

* really, no matter what you're bellydance style, get on Bhuz occasionally and read the forums. There is a lot of information to glean from the members.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Time flying, making up time, long post!

So after about a month, my previously mentioned back pain finally worked itself out. It took so long because I had to fill in for a coworker at a job that kept me on my feet, and that combined with my two shifts a week at my other job (I co-own a cafe) as well as generally high stress levels made me a tense mess. I'm being very careful while doing yoga now, because I think an over enthusiastic arm-sweep-up-and-back-to a slight-backbend-while-in-a-lunge is what did me in. Dancing doesn't bother it at all, though, and that's good because though I'm off the Year of Practice I had still been dancing regularly.

Last year some dance friends and I started tossing around the idea of putting together a tribal (mostly improv) show for the 20th Anniversay of the Spoutwood Farm Fairie Festival. This is the place where I first saw tribal bellydance, and I was eager to find a way to honor that inspiration and my 10th year volunteering at the festival. Talis (who introduced me to the festival) and Jenn of Lilam were also interested in pulling something together, both because it would be fun to dance at such an amazing event and because we'd already be there volunteering, so why not?

We met in December to draft a proposition email to send out to dancers we wanted to work with, and everyone started getting together in February. We pulled 10 dancers from 5 troupes (and 1 soloist) to work up three 40 minute sets for 2 days, featuring large group ATS pieces, solos, small group improv or choreographed pieces, and general dancing with the crowd. It was incredibly fun and an incredible amount of work. Just getting everyone fully on the same ATS page was tough, then picking music, putting the sets together, agreeing on costumes, finding places to dance (we could only get one stage slot so we did "ground" sets too), and making sure everyone arrived at the right time and place became a logistical nightmare. Plus the three of us were managing our own volunteer duties and two of us had wrangle out camping gear too. Thankfully everyone was very professional, and we had some great shows.

For the festival we used the name "The Faerie Ring Dance Collective", and our bio read:

Inspired by the spirt of collective creativity manifested at Spoutwood
Farm and the Fairie Festival, the Faerie Ring Dance Collective brings
together 10 dancers (from 5 troupes and 1 soloist!) to create
performances imbued with passion, fun, and friendship. Grounded in
group improvisational tribal style bellydance, FRDC weaves together
our various styles into a magical expression of the joy of dance.

Our videos:

The full Saturday afternoon stage set (I am in the group pieces, the fast dueling duets, and the basket piece with the rest of Kallisti Tribal).

Transcendence Tribal Bellydance Collective from Talis on Vimeo.

Youtube has the Saturday afternoon ground set and the stage set divided into different pieces. I'm in the group pieces and with Kallisti doing "Amel" with zills. Oh, the tricky stops and starts! Oh the tricky soundsystems! The first part of the ground set is here and the first part of the stage set is here. I think there are nine videos per set. Sadly we have no video of the Sunday set, which happened under a tent were we sheltered from the rain. It was crazy, it was muddy, and it was magical. Those are always the performances that you miss filming!

You'll notice that the name listed for the performance is Transcendence Tribal. That's because this one-off plan has turned into a perma-project. We decided to keep going because we like dancing together, we like have the opportunity to do big group ATS, and it's nice having such a large group to pull from for certain performances. All of the individual members are keeping with their solo or troupe projects too, but we plan to get together once a month to hang out and dance, and then add more practice time as needed. We've also added three more ATS dancers, but we're going to hold it there for the time being to keep things manageable.

Our next performance was at Troupe 'Hip'notic's Summer Solstice Hafla. This hafla is a lot of fun, as it's a community event with all experience levels celebrating the summer and dancing. I particularly enjoyed Tribal Remix's passionate fan veil piece, and Cypress's sword duet. Post-hafla we retired to an after party and caught up with dancers we NEVER get enough time to see. Kallisti Tribal has long considered 'Hip'notic to be a sister troupe, after bonding backstage at a Tribal Pura show. That night's discussion of "the things you do in practice that would get you kicked out of the local bellydance scene if you did them in performance" was an inspiration for the Inappropriate Hafla. For the Solstice hafla, Jenn and Spiral were both feeling awful. I am incredibly proud of both of them for holding their own while under the weather, especially considering they danced again that day with Lilam. I really liked dancing this performance, I felt very connected to the troupe which can be hard for me as I tend to think two steps ahead.

Transcendence Tribal at Troupe Hip'Notic's Summer Solstice Hafla 2011 from Talis on Vimeo.

Next up was Baltimore Pride. We rounded up a big group to put on a show for the last set of the day at the Pride festival. As soon as we started a handful of people rushed the stage, and danced along the entire time. It was tough doing an outside gig in Baltimore City in the summer (hot! humid!), but we had a great time and the organizers were really happy with our set. If we do it again I hope we have time to do some "dancing with the crowd" songs to round things up. I'll admit, I felt pretty special at the festival, people kept stopping us to take pictures. It reminds me of how what we (BDers) do is really unusual if you're not embedded in the bellydance culture. Also, a bunch of women in ATS costuming is an impressive spectacle. After the performance we high tailed to a bar near my house for well deserved beers, burgers, and salted caramel and bacon cupcakes. Mmmm mmmm.

Transcendence Tribal Bellydance Collective from Talis on Vimeo.

Our last three for three performance (I had eyelash glue stuck to my eyes for three weeks straight) was at the long running DCTribal Cafe. 6 years ago Belladonna and Mavi (then of Romka, now both dancing as soloists in DC) started this as a professional once-a-month event for tribal and fusion performance. Kallisti was supposed to dance but Oneira had to travel for work. We subbed in Transcendence, and I'm really happy we got to dance the last show at Tribal Cafe's long time location (it's continuing next month at a new spot down the street). It is always tricky dancing there as the space is long, super skinny, and you have three areas you can lead to as well as some people standing behind you. You have to keep your face "on" the entire time, and remember not to stare at yourself in the wall of mirrors behind the main part of the audience. Because of the space challenge, every performance at TC feels like doing it for the first time, and I'm really happy with how the group (six of us) made it work especially considering two of the dancers had never performed there before! We came in with the FCBD Prayer and Lyra's awesome BSG Gayatri Mantra remix, split into duets (which let some of us use non-ATS combos since the song had tricky changes) for the second song, moved to slow dueling duets, and then finished with small groups to the whole troupe for a fast finale (with planned zill changes that were NOT ALL TRIPLES! YAY!).

Transcendence Tribal at Tribal Cafe, June 2011 from Spiral Dancer on Vimeo.

So that's been the past few months. Right now Kallisti is planning the 5th (already!) Inappropriate Hafla (sign up at our website), and TT is down to once a month practices until the Next Big Thing (possible DC neighborhood festival in September). I'm still taking classes with Shems here in Baltimore, though soon I want to start dropping on in Lotus Niraja's new classes. In August I'll be taking workshops with Lisa Zahiya when she visits town, as well as a day of classes with Amel Tafsout (again, yay!). For July, though, most of us have relaxed our dance obligations a bit. We deserve it!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Month Three of Practice

Well, things were going well, and then I hurt my back. It's about 90% better, unless I stand for a long time. I am totally off my practice track, though, and need to get back on it.

Inspired by A Year of Practice :

3/1/11: Troupe Practice
3/2/11: Yoga
3/3/11: 2 classes
3/4/11: ATS practice
3/5/11: Missed practice
3/6/11: Drills3: 3/4 an regular shimmy
3/7/11: Yoga
3/8/11: Troupe practice
3/09/11: Autum Ward DVD: arms and basic hips sections
3/10/11: Very intentional yoga practice
3/11/11: Free dance time, with zills.
3/12/11: uh oh, tweaked my back
3/13/11: none
3/14/11: canceled practice
3/15/11: none
3/17/11: 2 classes
3/18/11: none
3/19/11: none
3/20/11: none
3/21/11: none
3/22/11: Troupe practice, baskets
3/23/11: none
3/24/11: Two classes. Be careful of stopping suddenly from spins.
3/25/11: ATS practice
3/26/11: none
3/27/11: none
3/28/11: Free veil play
3/29/11: Troupe practice
3/30/11: none
3/31/11: Two classes: swords, vintage style/floorwork (be careful of knees!)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Around here we call it Giggle Cast

You all are listening to YIP! Podcast, right? RIGHT!?! I found them when Carolena linked to their interview with her and Megha, but I'm not going to link to those episodes because you should go and listen to them all.

My boyfriend calls it Giggle Cast, because Tammy and Mary are always laughing. I enjoy the fact that they are having fun, that they mix up light and serious discussions, and that they cover all sorts of belly dance styles and events. I will load up a new podcast and listen while cooking, which is the best sort of multitasking. Sometimes I'll listen when I'm sewing but since my machine drowns out my stereo and I don't want to miss a thing, I don't do it very often.

This blog gets a <"a href="">wee mention in a recent episode. I got to meet Mary for a brief moment at TribalCon, but then barely saw her the rest of the weekend. It seems that is in part because she was interviewing tons of people for future release, so you should head over there and get caught up on the back episodes. Some of my person favorites are the ones with Donna Mejia, Mira Betz, Carolena and Megha, and Florida dancer Carol (who tells it like it is).

Friday, March 18, 2011

Off my practice track

So my back is still bugging me and I'm off my practice routine. I did go to my classes Thursday night. Moving around doesn't make me hurt any more, and actually while I was moving I felt better even if it didn't last. I made sure to take it easy, though, and iced the hurty spot between classes. The worst part is the pain makes me feel snappy, so I'm not at my best right now mentally.

I'm getting my first massage ever Monday morning (too bad I have to go to work afterwards). If that doesn't help, it'll be off to the doctor. In the meantime I need to figure out some gentle practice to keep me moving. I think the culprit was yoga, so I'm not keen on jumping back in. I don't want to drill to much, as I'm worried the tension I hold when drilling over and over would not be a good idea. I'm going to maybe work with some combos and choreography bits instead.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

What to do now?

So I've borked my back. Not sure how I did it but Sunday it there was a twingy sore spot under my left shouder blade and it is not much better Tuesday night. Two weeks ago I pulled something from the top back of my right shoulder blade so it hurt up over my shoulder, but that worked it's way out after a few days. This new one is quite painful. I've been taking ibuprofen. I tried using a tennis ball to roll it out, but I think it's too deep/bad for the ball. We canceled practice tonight. I made some cookies while wearing an icy/hot patch, and now I'm in bed laying against a pillow case wrapped freezer pack, alternating it with a sock of rice heated in the microwave "heating pad".

Part of me had been feeling bad that I did not grab a slot at the Art of the Belly festival this weekend. Now I'm a little glad, because the practice would have left my poor back a mess. Instead I'll be booth sitting for friends while they are performing, and I'll be socializing. And maybe taking long walks on the beach, enjoying candlelit dinners, and cuddling by a fire. Oh, wait, that was from my online personals ad. * Sorry.

As for my practice, what do I do now? For the past few days I've been practicing my shimmies sitting down. I realized surf rock is the perfect music for fast shimmies, so I downloaded Dick Dale's "Miserlou" and put it on repeat. Then I practiced alternating between my "straight" legged shimmies and my active hip shimmies (er, need a better term). Shimmying up to full speed is hard for me, so this is actually good practice!

Tonight I am not sure. I may send my SO downstairs to grab my zills and practice patterns and free zilling to songs. I also just got Belly, so I might watch that. Or shimmy more. And there is, of course, the revolutionary idea of just resting. Imagine that!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Month Two of Practice

Here is the run down for February. It's getting easier to find the self motivation every day, but still hard to find the time.

Inspired by A Year of Practice :

2/1/11: "Serpentine": yoga section and shoulder isolations. Love the yoga but it's too long for every day, maybe come up with my own shorter version. Practice veil parts for performance with skirt on.
2/2/11: Work on veil for CCT
2/3/11: Two hours of class
2/4/11: ATS group dance get together
2/5/11: Veil practice for CCT
2/6/11: Solo practice: listening to music to break down parts, associations for each part, brainstorm movements. Choli reconstruction
2/7/11: Veil practice for troupe, work on sections for solo
2/8/11: Troupe practice, partial costuming. On video.
2/9/11: Veil practice for troupe, work on sections for solo
2/10/11: 2 hours class, fun solo drum solos! Add ideas about focusing on arm work
2/11/11: Veil practice for troupe, solo practice in partial costume
2/12/11: Veil practice for troupe, solo practice - focus on arms/energy/extension
2/13/11: Practice for show
2/14/11: Practice for show, sew
2/15/11: Troupe practice for show, run solos for each other
2/16/11: Practice for show, sew
2/17/11: 2 hours of class, focus on technique
2/18/11: Practice for show, try not to let input from Thur class get in the way, no time to integrate most of that now, revisit next week
2/19/11: Run sets for show, finish costuming, performances
2/20/11: Yoga, finally!
2/21/11: Yoga
2/22/11: Yoga
2/23/11: Yoga
2/24/11: Tribal Con, Arrival: I Like Thinking Critically About Bellydance and I'm happy I got up to do yoga before my flight
2/25/11: Tribal Con, Day 1: My Zills Stink or John Compton has been playing zills longer than I've been alive and I want to incorporate them more in my dancing
2/26/11: Tribal Con, Day 2: Oh Boy I Need to Practice More or thank the gods for Yoga Toes
2/27/11: Tribal Con, Day Three: The Ass Kicking or yes, I will hang in there to the bitter end
2/28/11: Yoga, sweet yoga

Defeat the Beast

So, the 365 Days of Practice are going well. I need to update February, and I did miss one day in March so far. I'm pretty proud that my reaction was, "Whatever, I'll deal and get back on it tomorrow." That's a great reaction for me, because I like to stick with things I start and tend to be really hard on myself when I "fail", which is a pointless reaction because it's not failing if I miss a day and it's not the end of the world. Perhaps I had a better reaction because I knew I'd be getting back on the horse the next day. Perhaps it's because I missed practice because I had a fabulous time having a long dinner and evening of conversation with an old friend, which was way more important than that day's practice.

On the other hand, I think the regular practice is making me have a change in attitude about my physical body. I think I am having some sort of split between my body and brain, but in a necessary way. The other day I was thinking about my natural tendency to be lazy, to want to sit around and do nothing, to indulge my food whims. Then I thought about how good I felt at TribalCon, dancing and working and being on my feet (and sometimes other body parts) for hours, eating for pleasure and because I needed it. Sore but not totally wiped out, ready to start again the next day, ready to dance for fun at night.

I thought about how different are our modern needs nutritionally, physically and mentally compared to how our bodies have evolved to survive. Then this short phrase popped into my mind: my body wants to eat, spawn* and die. It wants to do what it has to to keep moving, pass on my genetic material as long and as much as it can, and that's about it. My body is capable of a lot physically, but it wants to do the minimum to get the work done.

The outcome of this thought process was this: I need to be a lot harder on my body. I'm not saying to hate myself or hurt myself or punish myself. I need to tell my body to suck it up, that we're dealing with modern times and my modern brain and it isn't going to get what it wants. My brain needs to have some control or my body is going to go to hell. The result of indulging all the laziness and sloth is pain, atrophy, ill health and frustration. Sure, I want to nurture my body, pamper it and treat it well, but nurturing cannot slide into excuses. Nurturing is an "also", not an "instead of." I need to get my brain more on board, too. I know what I should do, I know how I should eat and how much exercise I need and my brain needs to drop the excuses and learn to love the work. When I'm active and pushing myself and learning my brain feels better too.

So, things I am working on:

* Cooking healthier foods and acknowledging that enjoyment of food is necessary but that it is also fuel, and not every meal needs to be a huge production or an indulgent treat. When food is special, make it special so that the whole experience is set apart. Also, eat more raw veggies.

* Making sure my practice sessions are at least 30 minutes

* Getting up earlier so I can practice in the morning so I know it is taken care of for the day. Also, that way I can practice again later if I want, or do other physical things: gardening, walking, classes. This is the tough one, especially the days I work late. It's going to be gradual, so it might not happen soon but I'm working on it.

* Deepening my practices by approaching them on many levels. Not just doing the moves, but focusing on breathing, expression, tension, emotion, intention, control, speed, etc.

* Make downtime special. Don't have downtime because I get sucked into messing around online for hours. Acknowledge when it is happening so that it feels intentional and valid, not "wasted" time. It's okay to spend an afternoon sitting on the couch reading or blogging or whatever, but make it happen, not let it happen. And don't forget to make sure it happens, or else I'll burn out.

* I don't address any of the "spawning" things here because I'm childfree. Yep, sometimes my body says "Gogogo!" and my brains says, "Are you sure you're not making a mistake?", but it's not in the cards for me. The only thing I regret about my decision is for my parents sake, but at least my brother has kids.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Tribal Con, the quick report

Tribal Con has taught me not only new ways of thinking about and executing belly dance, it has also told me the importance of supporting the local economy by eating my way through the neighborhood around the hotel and trying many new, delicious beers that are available in said neighborhood. Hey, I was working hard this weekend!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

What the h@ll just happened!?!

I wish I could better remember my performances. When I am in the moment I know what's going on, and for a few minutes afterwards I have the whole thing in my head. After about an hour, though, it disintegrates into a blurred impression with a few clear moments standing out.

Last night I performed solo and with Kallisti at Charm City Tribal's 2nd anniversary show. The solo was a first for me. Well, last year I did a short solo with fire sword for a show of all illuminated performances, but that was so heavily choreographed and so specific it felt more like a fire performance pulling from my dance experience not not really a belly dance piece. The only thing I remember from my three and a half minutes on stage was, at one point thinking, "I'm really glad I know my choreography so well." And that's it.

I was really nervous about last night's solo. I've been taking non-tribal classes for a few years with a great teacher, and decided this year I'd finally try to integrate what I've learned and step out on stage alone. It was really well received and I got great compliments from everyone, and I wish I'd been watching from the audience because my impression? Thinking, "Ah! Arms still for too long, move them!" and "Careful when spinning it's a little slippery up here!" and "One and two and three and four and five AND" (to hit a tricky accent that was eluding me) and "Smile! Look at the whole audience not just over their heads!" And that's about it. Oh, I do remember my belly rolls because they got a really good reception, the feedback made it through the fog.

For Kallisti's set we started with a short veil intro and then went into ATS, adding zills later on. And for that my thoughts were, "Don't fall off the stage when spinning", "Did I just hit my troupemate in the face?", "What am I going to do here, ARGH! zills fumbled while thinking!", "Hey there in the front row I'm smiling at you, oh hey! You're smiling back!" I do remember every time we circled up seeing my troupe mates smiling faces, which is always a great comfort and boost while performing.

I don't really remember any of the moves I use. I have no concept at all what my costuming is doing. Lyra once mentioned how our skirts were hitting each other while spinning in a small space, I had no idea at all because it's like I'm a brain and a body and everything else just falls away. Last I was really worried about the top I wore for my solo because I usually don't wear just bra tops, so I made sure I was tied in tight and secure beforehand because I knew if something slipped I'd have no idea of what was going on.

One thing I wish this happens because I'm having a moment where I'm completely immersed. I've talked to or read accounts by dancers where they recount times when they are getting into the music and everything else just falls away and they are in the moment and it's incredible. I've never had that happen. The closest is usually when I'm dancing with Lyra because we like to try to trick each other or steal the lead or throw in tough moves, so I'm really focused on her and the dancing to keep it going. Usually when I'm dancing it's like the control board of some sci-fi space ship, where the pilot is flipping switches and pushing buttons, scanning the screens and making decisions and maneuvering around. More systematic than ecstatic.

I'll keep trying to be more present in my dancing. I was actually thinking that before I went on: be present, enjoy myself, listen to the music and the audience. Hopefully I'll get to the point where even if I don't remember the entire thing I can have a more detailed impression of what went on. I put so much work into this I want to remember it!*

* unless it goes badly, then I can happily forget it, except those are the moments burned into my brain

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Baltimore Bellydance Extravaganza 02/19/2011

All that practicing is not leaving me much time to promote the event! Charm City Tribal is hostessing a show to feature Baltimore area Tribal and Fusion dancers. I am performing with my troupe, Kallisti Tribal (ATS-esque). I am ALSO doing a SOLO! Yikes! Doing a solo is one my of goals for the year, so here it goes! If I like it I plan on doing it again, though hopefully with a little more prep (I kind of threw myself into this one). I'm sure my SO will be happy to no longer hear the repeating soundtrack coming from the living room. I'll be happy with getting 8 hours of sleep afterwards!

I know it'll be worth it though, and this is going to be a fabulous show and a fabulous party!

* * *

A special, BIGGEST EVER, showcase of tribal bellydance in Baltimore. And a fundraiser in honor of the Second Anniversary of Charm City Tribal events!

From the Creative Alliance:

Stunning gals, glittering costumes and a mind-bending mix of tribal fusion bellydance with hip hop, latin and world dance celebrate Charm City Tribal's Two Years! presenting, Baltimore's big premiere of experiments in tribal fusion bellydance.

Lineup includes Naimah, Lilam Bellydance, Kallisti Tribal, Troupe Hip'Notic and Christina of Verve Tribal. The night wraps with an open dance floor and drinks with the dancers.

8pm. $20 General Admission, $15 for Creative Alliance members. Cash bar.

Tickets at:

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

One Down, Twelve to go

One month of my year of practice (well, year of movement) is done! And though some days my get up and go got up and left, I was pretty happy with the overall outcome. I had a couple of days where my movement was shoveling snow; weather and commuting and the actual shoveling left me pretty wiped out, especially the night I almost got stuck at work.

For the near future my practice is focused on a performance in mid-February. My other goals for the month are to try out new sections of my yoga DVD, keep better notes about my dance practices, and after the performance give a new shot and doing Jillian Michaels' "30 Day Shred" video. I am traveling late in the month, to TribalCon in Atlanta. On the travel days I'll have to be careful about getting in my movement, but the rest of the weekend is going to kick. my. butt.

So, I'm pasting my monthly movement list below, so I can free up the sidebar for February!

1/1/11: morning yoga, shimmy drill practice, hiking
1/2/11: shimmy drill practice
1/3/11: mile + walk
1/4/11: troupe practice
1/5/11: late evening yoga: looking forward to it!
1/6/11: two dance classes
1/7/11: wine break, then yoga!
1/8/11: First shot at "Killer Ziller" DVD, am combo + zill klutz
1/9/11: yoga, Jamila "Hip Work", am surprisingly sore next day
1/10/11: yoga, class work (zills, rhythms, Alf Leyla Wa Leyla)
1/11/11: build set list for CCT, play w/veil moves, zills
1/12/11: shoveled snow a.m., post work yoga p.m.
1/13/11: two dance classes, not feeling the drum riffs
1/14/11: 30 minute walk during lunch, worked 9am to 12am
1/15/11: yoga, enjoying
1/16/11: hour hike in the snow, need to remember binoculars
1/17/11: brainstorming for troupe practice and solo, feeling frazzled between ATS and what I'm learning in class
1/18/11: troupe practice, lots of veil work
1/19/11: "Killer Ziller" combos and zill patterns from class, working on tying hips to R and L and sounds
1/20/11: two dance classes, finally enjoying solo stuff at the end
1/21/11: hours dancing to Balkan Music, good cardio workout!
1/22/11: Rachel Brice "Serpentine" DVD, if not doing full yoga in the future use Sun Salutations to warm up
1/23/11: Yoga
1/24/11: work on veil parts for troupe practice
1/25/11: troupe practice
1/26/11: snow shoveling is it, bad weather, bad day
1/27/11: long walk in the snow, sleepy yoga
1/28/11:Pick up new veil, practice for next show with it.
1/29/11: Practice with new veil
1/30/11: dance to show music, start "Drills, drills, drills". Need to develop ab strength!
1/31/11: "Drills, drills, drills": foot pattern layering and shimmy drills

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Is it a habit yet?

Isn't there some saying about it takes 21 days for a new action to become a habit? Manage to floss every night for 21 days and you're home free? Get up at a new time for 21 mornings and you're all set? Well, it's been 21 days of added activity, and though I can see that the momentum of doing it one day to the next is keeping my forward motion, I would not say it's a habit. Yet.

I just bought a load of DVDs that have been on my wish list. I'm buying music, too, to round out my collection because I need some inspiration. I'm also picking up bits and bobs of costuming I've been eyeing for years. And getting some new zills. My parents gave me money for my birthday, and I am keeping it for ME! Not the house, not bills, for me, to spend on me things.

Can't wait for the zills to come, because I'm taking a rhythms class and my teacher is teaching using the same hand methods that a drummer users. Right with a ring for Dum, right with a clap for Tek, left with a double clap thing for Teka (or Isa, as we've been using). We have a drummer in class too, who is great, and he's also in the technique class I'm taking, which is all Drum Solo work. How he plays for 2 hours I do not know. He's also recording a series of different drum licks that we can practice to, that we can even set to repeat and such. I feel, with Shems and Nate, that I'm in good hands!

Friday, January 07, 2011

A sneak peek at a breakthrough

Wednesday night I was driving home late. I had worked my regular job all day, and then I spent 5 hours at the cafe. I finally got out at 11 p.m. and headed home. As I was driving I was thinking that, by the time I made it to my house, I'd have 45 minutes to get my physical activity in for the day.

Note, physical activity after a 9 hour day at my regular job, which can and often does involve a lot of time running around, and then 5 hours on my feet at the cafe serving people, cleaning, cooking, and more.

Anyway, as I was pondering what I'd do I figured yoga would be it because I needed the release after the long day. I wanted to practice my shimmies for class Thursday, but that would have to wait. And as I thought about the yoga sequence I wanted, I realized something. I was LOOKING FORWARD to it! Not in an obligatory way, where I know I'll be happy after wards that I bothered to pull my mat out. In an anticipatory way, in a way where I was looking forward to being in the moment of doing yoga.

Now today I am procrastinating about changing out of my work clothes and pulling out my mat, but I know if I do it I am one more step towards accessing that yoga excitement more often. At this point, every small motivational point counts.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Practice. And more practice

Inspired by Lisa Z's A Year of Practice, I'm going to try to do some sort of movement practice every day. Yoga, exercise, walking, drilling, choreography, classes. Each kind of movement is a part of putting together my own dance puzzle, as well as taking care of myself physically. I'm going to use this blog to make short notes on what I'm doing, and to examine the dance oriented activities in greater depth.

As for my overall goal? I think it's to make my dancing (and it's practice) less of a chore and more of a joy. To approach practice, classes, performances and fun dancing with the same excitement. To feel like I am progressing and not treading water.

My other dance goals are:

* try a non-belly dance class
* dance an entire song solo
* perform more, for fun or professionally