Tuesday, November 12, 2013

planning an improv workshop

This morning it's supposed to snow, or as they put it, a 'wintry mix'! I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it doesn't so my outdoor plans for today stay on track. But whatever it's doing outside, at least I can start planning the workshop I'm offering at my home studio next month, on "SIMPLE SECRETS TO BELLY DANCE IMPROV".

Dancers want to know how to do solo improvisation, and seem almost afraid of it - especially with live music; yet it's so easy once you SEE the music patterns, and FEEL the music pulsing through your body. 

Our dancing is another manifestation of the sacred shapes, geometric patterns, and universal vibrations all around us.
indian designs
Indian Line Art
Those are the two keys that really unlock improv for me. I've written so much about this, not only in my Dance Tips booklet but in several of my Zaghareet magazine articles (and even The Belly Dance Reader) that I'm always a little surprised when people still want me to explain or teach it. But I'm happy to do so!
As I wrote in my previous post, last month all my local classes focused on solo improvisation so the students would feel comfortable dancing at the Hafla we had just before Halloween. Each week we looked at a different strategy or trick to do improv. What I heard was that even though they all "knew" the concepts and had my booklets, and read about it, they liked being led through the concepts in class. I like it myself because then I can just dance, as me, and how I feel the music. 

This is probably the way the workshop will go, taking the concepts apart a bit at a time and doing a little "follow me"; and experimenting (as a group) with each other's ideas. We won't have time for much else, the workshop is only two hours, barely time to sample all the delicious improv flavors; just enough time to give everyone a little taste and help them discover these simple secrets! 

 Anthea / Kawakib
- End of Post -

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Food Drive Hafla

Last week we had our second annual Food Drive Hafla (called the "Hungry Halloween Hafla"), to collect food for the Fredericksburg Area Food Bank, and it went great. The fact that it was on the night before Halloween was extra fun, a perfect time for people to dress up.
I had my students vote on where they wanted to have the event, and they overwhelmingly chose a local restaurant/hookah lounge, Kabab City. This is a great place: attractive inside, attentive staff, the management likes us, and of course, they have hookahs! They welcomed us and helped us have a successful event - the staff was wonderful again; the floor space was cleared out for us to dance; the DJ handled our music really well; and I was happy all around, as you can see here:
Anthea Kawakib at halloween hafla
For Halloween I was "Inappropriate Grandma"

Next time we have an event I really hope to connect with more dancers outside of our school. This happened to fall on a Wednesday evening so that might explain why we didn't see anyone but us; I didn't get any feedback on why people couldn't make it so I'm just guessing. I really expected more of a community turnout after an intense month-long promotional campaign; but I have high hopes for next time.

We did have an excellent turnout of my students, plus family and friends. And all levels danced together, both "regular belly dance" and Tribal Style. Now is a perfect time for me to brag on my students and their dancing!

All month long we focused on Solo Improvisation techniques (one of my specialties), using music we'd be dancing to at the Hafla (a mix of Arabic pop, and world fusion lounge). Each week in class we would use a different strategy for improv, particularly the use of Foot Patterns, Motif and Development, and Theme and Variation. We practiced this "home style" dancing in all my classes last month, even my new beginners (just at a less intense level). By the end of the month, wow, they were looking fabulous! What a treat for me!

It really was a perfect night; we collected a bunch of food, and even a couple of checks. Here's SOME of the food donations:
I'm happy that even some late donations have come in, so I'll be making another trip to the donation center this week. Words can't express my gratitude! Thank you to my students (the PRISM Dancers), and everyone who donated, and Kabab City.

 Anthea / Kawakib
- End of Post -