Saturday, September 28, 2013

love the Chakra Isolations - a gift

I'm so happy to have finally uploaded a short tutorial on the Chakra Isolations I learned from Shakti! As she told me, it's meant for people who can really appreciate it for the spiritual practise it is; Janeeda of Virginia Beach told me the same thing, and I understand totally. So it's offered online for those who are interested, in exchange for a small donation of any amount. If you are into chakras, or just interested in learning this wonderful holistic practise I urge you to try it. As I said about 4 times in the Intro video, "it's amazing!"
If you'd like to read about how I got started on this subject (because of what was happening with my students), here are my articles about Chakra Energy in Bellydance; and see my other posts on this blog on chakras.
Shakti in Hawaii - photos
Shakti's page

Shakti's website: Cinnamon Phoenix - she's currently living in Hawaii (there's another Shakti of Hawaii; and another Shakti on the mainland who teaches chakra bellydancing, but the website I listed will get you to the right one).
Here is the Intro video: Chakra Isolations Introduction.

 Anthea / Kawakib
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Sunday, September 15, 2013

one show, one costume

Dancing for senior citizens is fun, and they do enjoy the sights and sounds of a bellydance show even though they sometimes don't express it as much as a younger audience. I think that they enjoy seeing dancers so much because of the colorful costumes and happy faces we wear; so for the latest show this past weekend I decided to keep all the dancers onstage throughout the entire show. That is, no costume changes - we just wore one costume through the 30 to 40 minute show (about 8 numbers). Usually we change two or three times, for the different styles of bellydance we do.

So the best choice for an "all-purpose" costume seemed to be beledi or costume dresses, and some of us added Skirt Panels* so we could do the Skirt Combos during the TOBD (Tribal Odyssey) section of the show. Here's a nice shot of our group (PRISM Dancers), several of us dancing together in front while the others are upstage (behind us): 

performance for senior community
PRISM Dancers wearing beledi dresses and skirt panels

The dresses were a great all-purpose choice that let us stay in view throughout the show, even when not dancing. Usually I would not recommend dancers to upstage performers, and to stay out of sight, but somehow I felt that in this case the seniors would enjoy seeing as many dancers as possible. And having all the dancers present and experiencing everything together gave us a stronger communal bonding moment too, so it benefited as well.
It's times like this I really feel blessed having this dance in my life! And I'm so happy to share it with others.

*the Skirt Panels DIY tutorial is here on my TOBD blog.

 Anthea / Kawakib
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Monday, September 9, 2013

stop being so modest!

 I recently read an article (via @PAMGRIER on twitter) about taking credit when it's due instead of giving it away:  Why You Need To Brag More (and How To Do It) by Dr. Peggy Drexler.

This really resonates with me because I've erred that way too many times, sometimes with unexpected and unfortunate results.

Of course I still believe strongly in giving credit where it's deserved, even trying to remember to put photographer's names on my own dance photos in my extensive archive (it's not easy after all these years!). Other ways dancers give due credit is by mentioning who they have learned from; and often when teaching, we will even include the specific teacher or dancer who taught a certain move - who hasn't heard of "Soheir Zaki hips" or the "Dina hip circle"? I also credit my former troupe with helping in the creation of the group improv format "Tribal Odyssey Bellydance", because working out the details DID require having real bodies dancing in real time. And of course in class I also mention which moves were developed by Miramar, who helped create the format. Maybe it's because I'm a visual learner, but often I can even remember not only the teacher, but also the surroundings when I first learned a move - for instance, whether it was my teacher's studio, or at a particular workshop.
Do you find yourself remembering learning moves like this too? It's funny how much I remember about dance considering my memory isn't that great in other areas! At least it makes it easy to pass on the creative "dance credits" to my students and helps teach respect for our bellydance lineage. But I wonder if I need to toot my own horn a bit more?

I love being a "team player" and sharing creative projects with others, but giving away too much undeserved credit and then expecting to be treated fairly in return doesn't seem to work. The recipients of the "free credit" can actually come to believe they deserve it; and a real and factual accounting of the situation can even lead to a fight over rights. I imagine this sometimes happens in troupes, and helps bring on their demise. Certainly, bringing financial considerations into the picture is a sure-fire way to test whether everyone has a clear mental accounting of the facts - or not.

In examining why I've tended to over-credit sometimes, I think my concern for people's feelings - that they feel included, appreciated, and important - is behind it. As I look back on these situations, I see that I've shortchanged myself; perhaps hoping that my gesture would be accepted gratefully and create "warm fuzzies". Could it even be seen as patronizing on my part to do this? Maybe so, but it really comes from a desire to be kind. However, the old adage that people don't value things that are free seems to hold true in this case too - as my husband would say in his rustic way, being "too kind" can come back and bite you in the ass!

Experience can be a hard, unpleasant teacher, but it does teach well. Now I'm learning to honor myself by NOT "giving away" credit when it's unfounded. Like the article says, if we own up to our mistakes, why wouldn't we do the the same for our victories?

Stealing choreography is anathema in the dance world, and it does happen; but outright theft is not the same as delusional thinking, which is what undue credit seems to engender in the recipient. When you look at it like that, it's really not a good gift at all, is it? So stop being so modest and feeding someone else's ego - you're just creating a monster!

I'm sure taking due credit is something many of you struggle with too; according to the article, it's more prevalent in women. It's a trap I can fall into if I'm not careful - maybe I'm afraid I won't find a balance, and will become one of those empty braggarts (brag-arts!). I'd almost rather stay unnoticed. How do you feel about taking credit and giving credit - is it easy to find a balance?

Anthea / Kawakib
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Monday, September 2, 2013

"upspeak" be damned! my latest video promo

Lately I saw someone posting about how too many women do "upspeak" which evidently is ending your sentences as questions? And how we're not supposed to do that? Because it means we don't think we're important or something?

Forget for a moment regional differences, as a teacher (and sometime public speaker) I've learned that my sentences cannot ALL be didactic declaritive statements or I'll not only sound like a pompous ass, but bore my students (or any other audience) to death as well. Framing statements in a quasi-question-ish way (haha! break THAT one down!) invites listeners to engage and keeps their interest. In my opinion, of course; I'm not a scientist and haven't done any clinical studies.
But I can look things up on the internet like everyone else? And evidently, the debate over "High Rising Terminals"  - which I thought at first was some kind of architectural term - conveys anything but "insecurities" about what someone is saying. See what the Free Online Dictionary says:

"...more recent evidence (McLemore, 1991; Cheng et al., 2005; Warren, 2005) shows that assertive speakers, leaders of the peer group are more likely to use HRT in their declaratives than the junior members of the particular peer group."

Well, la-di-da!

So there's my apologia for my "manner of speaking", and with that I give you this, my latest spoken Intro for one of my dance offerings:

 I invite your comments?!

Anthea / Kawakib
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