Tuesday, October 30, 2012

...not so lonely anymore

Another busy bellydance weekend in the 'burg - and beyond!

 After much debate on dates, we finally had our Student Hafla this past Friday night, at TAJ Indian Cuisine, a brand new restaurant in town. TAJ is actually in the OLD 'Aladins' location, which is where I did my last gigs as a restaurant dancer, about four years ago (before my hip replacement). Since TAJ has redecorated inside, dancing there again did NOT bring back any memories! That's probably a good thing, because that last Aladin gig was pretty emotional since I knew it was my last.
 Happily, since then I've moved on mentally and emotionally, and don't miss those solo performing days. I always did feel lonely doing restaurant and party work by myself. Maybe someday I'll write about The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Bellydancer, which was the story of my life for twenty years. There were no social networks then either, so it was lonely in a way most dancers today don't experience.

bellydancing at the hafla
Getting the party started!
 Anyway, I danced a short Raks Sharki solo to get things started, then we enjoyed a handful of student solos and duets, including the lovely Souris who performed twice. After the performances we got Open Dancing going, and my students danced with their friends old and new. Even some guests joined in - notably, Richmond dancers Khalima and Heather, and the dynamic Ken Crampton, African drummer extraordinaire! Meanwhile, the TAJ staff seemed to enjoy our enjoyment, which is always a good thing at these restaurant events!

 What really pleased me about this Hafla was that it brought my students (and their families and friends) together not only from all class levels, but even from different towns. That is my real goal, creating community and sharing; taking away that lonely feeling I had as a dancer, I guess! And whenever we can get students and dancers past their inherent shyness in sharing their dance with others, it's a win. So I call this Hafla not only a wonderful social event, but a true success on that score.

 Then, up early Saturday for more! After a short ride on Jessie James, and the small beginner class I teach for my instructor at White Buffalo, it was off to the last Drum Session of the year in downtown Fredericksburg. PRISM Dancer Pixie and drummer/Buugeng artist Jasif turned up. Jasif is working on learning AND creating Drum Solos - with only about a year of drumming under his belt he's come far by studying all he can. I'm looking forward to having him play for us soon.

 Sunday brought a road trip to Richmond, our Capital City. There's nothing more fun than a road trip with my peeps!
 The plan was for me and Souris to ride with Pixie and Jasif, but Souris decided not to chance the trip south because this was the weekend Hurricane Sandy came to town. East Coast, meet global warming! So just the three of us traveled to Brett's house for Rose Ravia's special class on dancing to live music.

Pixie freestyles
Pixie freestyle dancing in Ravia's class
 I have extensive experience in dancing to live music but I thoroughly enjoyed Ravia's approach; her teaching method is clear and dynamic, and she gave the students instant correction and feedback on their solos. Her class was exceptional, I'm so glad she offered it and invited me to bring my students.
 A fun bonus of Ravia's event was a free photo session with photographer Paul Murphy, of which we took full advantage, needless to say. Bellydancers love photographs of themselves almost as much as they love mirrors!

Brett at the piano
Brett in his element
 Partying at Brett's is always fun, he's the best host - and we got to visit with some of the Richmond bellydance community as well, they're such a warm and friendly group. And imagine my delight when I met Cozette, and found a new horseriding bellydancer to talk to - for me, that's the best of both worlds!

  Anthea / Kawakib
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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Staying on top is everything!!

Do I ALWAYS have to hurt myself before a show? NO (just sometimes it seems like it).

I'm not hurt badly, just a bit achy from the unexpected gymnastics I did on top of Reece Sunday. No smart-aleck remarks please!

Reecie's an adorable retired racehorse, a hidden gem in the school where I ride. We usually practise the canter going left, but Sunday we tried going right... and he sped up and zig-zagged because I gave him bad cues. I couldn't help it, since I was losing control and flopping around on top of him, having lost a stirrup as well. But at least he stopped quickly so I only ended up hugging his neck before I managed to get back in the saddle. Bless his heart. So I have some sore muscles in my left hip from that escapade, but it's way better than falling off!

Reece: "Are you done?"
When I'm riding, why does it take me so long to remember to do the things that I ALREADY KNOW from bellydancing? The same things I'm always telling my students before they perform, whether it's in class or at a show:
  • Relax
  • Breathe
  • FOCUS on what you're about to do
  • Enjoy the moment
That's "staying on top" of the situation. I did NONE of those things prior to our canter practise, and the result was almost a fall. And with my Student Hafla coming up this Friday, when I'm looking forward to dancing, that wouldn't be good.
LESSON LEARNED: Teacher, follow your own advice!

  Anthea / Kawakib
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Sunday, October 14, 2012

How to make the "Crafty Cuts" Tribal Bellydance Outfit

This is a fun outfit - big thanks to one of my Recital guest soloists, Yabani Cicek, for the original halter pattern, which gave me the idea! I call it "Crafty Cuts" since there's little sewing involved. This stretch velvet material doesn't really fray so it's not even hemmed.
easy tribal look
Quick and easy costume

The Halter Top is a rectangle with two triangles cut out; and those triangles went into my jazz pants as side flares. Here's the halter top laying flat:
tribal bellydance halter top
Halter, done! Finger cymbals show scale.
 And with the neck straps tied to show where it goes over the head:
no sew halter top
Halter neck straps tied.
For the matching Hip Scarf worn under the woven tribal belt, I cut another velvet square diagonally into two triangles:

So I flipped one triangle around and tied them at the sides:
Hip scarf - it ties at each side of hip. Done!
For the Pant Flares, these offcuts from the Halter Top were trimmed up and inserted into the bottom sides of my jazz pants. I cut lengthwise right up the outer seam of each pant leg, and sewed in the flares. Much better, those jazz pants are BORING!
Halter top offcuts are a perfect fit for the pant flares!
And that Shrug? It's just a long tube, left un-sewn where the arms go... SEW easy!
This is the outfit I mentioned in my previous post
Dancing at Via Colori
We can belly dance in small spaces!

comfortable bellydance costume
tribal belt, yarn hair tassels complete the look
I wore this at a street art festival, Via Colori, in Fredericksburg, VA. Ken of Everybody Drum allowed me and a couple of buddies to come drum and dance at his Drum Dome; it was a great afternoon.

Does the tutorial make sense? Try it; it's a quick and easy outfit for informal performances like drum jams and class haflas. You can't beat a comfy costume!

  Anthea / Kawakib
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