Unless you are literally go-go-going 24/7, have like 3 jobs, nine kids, 2 cats, a yak & 4 dogs, there is NO REASON why you should have to put off bellydancing, if it’s something that you really wanna do. Almost ANY body can do SOMETHING in bellydance, even if you can’t stand up, so DOOOO EEEEEEET! ;) I wish to Heaven I’d started in my early twenties, when I’d first been exposed to the dance. Imagine how much I’d know, and how much I could have achieved by now!?! (And I don’t just mean that in actual life-accomplishments- though that is a part of it. I mean, think of all the confidence I could have gained by this point, all of the friends and worlds I could have known, all of the sides of myself and my dreams I could have explored by now.. if I’d started 15 yrs ago!! ^_^)
Watch a video during personal quiet time. Catch a good YouTube link and shimmy at the bus stop, in the grocery store, or while waiting at the bank. ^_^ Live for today!! Life’s so very, very short, and as it’s said, we are not guaranteed tomorrow. So instead of being afraid, rock those curves, live your desires, and DO WHAT YOU DREAM!! ^_^
As a belly dancer and instructor who loves this art form, I can find myself chatting with just about anyone about it, and so very often those conversations include the person I’m talking to telling me that they “always wanted to take a belly dance class” and me asking “Why haven’t…
Tonight is bittersweet. I’ve been struggling w/this off and on for a little while lately, and it just hit me again while getting ready. Here I am, prepping for my first real show evar (I’ve done many performances before, but they were all associated in one way or another w/RU), and I have no family here to see me.
Moreover, I’ve been performing in the local hookah bar since this past October, and the only family member who’s come to see me.. is my WONDERFUL grandma. (Who, make no mistake, I absolutely ADORE, and feel BLESSED AS HELL that she’s come out to be w/me, aside from the blessings of her still just being here, on the planet.)
While I’m really happy and grateful that ANYONE comes to my shows, and am SO filled w/gratitude to the other dear friends and loved-ones in my life who have come to support me @ my performances, it just kinda hurts a little, ya know? While I know she’s a busy woman, and while we do fight a good bit, my mom and I are still close, and she’s never come out. Neither have any of the family that I think of as being pretty close.. even though they’re all in-state. Granted, they are all 2.5 - 4.5 hours away (including my gramma), and I know that that’s no hop-skip-or-jump. But just sometimes, once in a while, during times like these (especially during prep for big performances, when I start pondering who might attend), it just kinda reaches in, and gets to me. It doesn’t make me angry really.. just kind of.. sad, and, I’ll admit, a little resentful; given the amount of time that I’ve been doing this, and the few big performance opportunities that I’ve shared w/them far in advance, which they still somehow have all missed. …
Ah well. I have practicing to do, and no tome to revel in any little self-inflicted pity parties. Time to finish the last of my planning, gather up the last of my performance goodies and GO TO BED! :)
This place has a lot of fun, belly-able stuff if you poke about a bit & listen. :) Many of their pieces are a great fusion between modern & traditional music, and if you go here, you’ll find even more belly-able stuff on their “Sephardic Music Fest” CD. :) Outside of that (and in places, inside of ;)) I’m really diggin’ Pharoah’s Daughter, DeScribe, and lots of the other more melodic-mix stuff they offer. :) (Plus they seem to have a great selection of free downloads, too!) Check out their player and the BandCamp links on their Music page to listen. :)
My fellow bellydancers; what are your favorite songs to sword dance to? What are your favorite sword moves? Do you like performing w/one kind of sword or another? And as I hear many people talk about wearing turbans for sword work, do you prefer turban or no turban?
hi, im lebanese and im 18 . i find it awesome that you love belly dancing so much as its part of my culture, i was looking up fairouz today and saw a post from you and noticed you like fairouz.. thats great! are you arab? and how old are you? great taste btw not everyone appreciate her great music so i followed you great blog
Hi! Thank you so much for reading & following along! ^_^ I’m not of any Arabic or Middle Eastern descent, but I’ve been a biiiig fan of music from many countries from day one. :) (Which, by the way, as you asked- was well over 25+ years ago. ;)) I also love Spanish music, Celtic music, and many, many more. Just about every culture in the world has something beautiful about it- if you just open your heart and are willing to look, listen, and love. :)
As I prep for my first completely un-associated-with-school show, lately the question of naming has really been pressing on my mind… More heavily than it usually does.. which, if you know me at all, is a pretty great, ever-constant weight. I’ve had a long-standing love/hate relationship w/names ever since I was little, and now that I’m embarking on my dance performance journey, finding a good name is -really- important to me. It goes deeper than just finding something that sounds pretty. It’s gotta resonate w/me on a deep, emotional & spiritual level too, plus exemplify the qualities that I’m looking to embody as a dancer, in addition to the qualities I’d like to evoke and whichi I hope to cultivate in my dance pursuits. (I know, no easy task, right? ;))
I often conjure up names myself, and in addition to the many hours of naming research I’ve done online. Then, when I find stuff I like, I take numerology into account. If I come upon a name whose numbers don’t work for what I’m looking for, onto the next. And while I still do such things now, I’m starting to wonder if this is weighing too heavily on my search and ability to find something that works for me… ..Do you/have you done anything like this? Are there certain things that help guide dancers to their “right” names (spirituality, family history, etc.), or do y’all just pick something in a book or out of the ether that *feels* right..?
I’d thought I’d found my name, but kept getting told that it was too complex and no one would be able (or willing) to read / remember it. So, I’ve had to go back to the drawing board. (Apologies for the bad artist’s humor, there. ;)) What characteristics do you look for in a good dance name? Have you found certain things really work in the realm of dancers’ monikers, and/or seen/heard some things that really don’t? What do you think about people who name themselves after deities or major historical figures? Do you find it egotistical, or feel that they’re just seeking to embody the characteristics of that figure in their dance/work?
When finding a dance name first occurred to me 3 years ago, “Ananda Y/Iara” came into my head. Last year I thought I’d research the words, n’ found out that they mean “blissful/happy” and “water lady/water goddess,” which are, for me, pretty damn perfect. :) -But over time I’ve found that “Yara”/”Iara” is already used here n’ there in bellydance, and I’d really like to prevent using a stage name that’s already in practice. So names like “Iruuna” and “Lyara” started coming to me, “Yllyria” and “Yl’aria” work nicely in sound and numerologically as well, and even combining stuff like “Iruuna Yara” has occurred to me. (But I figure if I go that route, why wouldn’t my original set-upon “Yluriananda” work..?)
Hell, I’d just use “Ylluria,” but the numbers don’t work out, and when I shift the spelling to get them to work, I’m not too terribly fond of the look of them. (“Eluria” which has been done to death, and “Yluriya,” which just soooo doesn’t look right to me…) :P So now I just feel totally lost…
Hey everybody! Coming up THIS SATURDAY, June 23rd, yours truly will be dancing and showing some of my art at the Blacksburg Summer Solstice Fest! :D My performance companion and I will be onstage around 2, and my few little sculptures & polymer clay pieces will be on display in the Community Booth of the Burnt Creative Indie & Vintage Craft Fair all afternoon. :)
There’s gonna be ALL KINDS of food, good music, shows, kid-friendly activities and more, so come on by and visit us! :D
Saturday June 23: Summer Solstice Fest featuring Dog Parade, Downtown Sundown 5k Run, Beer Garden, Food, Live Music, Burnt Creative Indie & Vintage Craft Fair,Carnival, Dancing, Sand Sculpture Contest,Water Wars, Wing Eating Contest and so much more.
Live Music by The PanJammers, Badunkafunk, Electric Woodshed, The Alliens and The Key West Band. Belly Dancing, Fire Dancing and street performers
The event will take place on Main St. between Roanoke St & Washington St, Lee St. between Church St & Draper Rd. and Draper Rd between Roanoke St and Kent Square Parking Garage.
STAGE SCHEDULE 1pm PanJammers 2:15pm Belly Dancing 3pm Badunkafunk 4pm Dog Parade 4:45pm Electric Woodshed 6:15pm Animal Antics with NRV Varmints 6:30pm Wing Eating Contest sponsored by Sharkey’s, P.K.’s & Café de Bangkok 7pm Animal Antics with NRV Varmints 7:15pm The Alliens 9pm The Key West Band 11pm Fire Show!
I’ll mostly be improv-ing onstage, but I’ve still got a week to practice, so you never know! ;D Hope you guys can come, and wish me good shimmies! ^_^
Check it out! It’s an online bellydance competition, that’s accepting entries RIGHT NOW!! GREAT lineup of judges, and FIERCE videos submitted so far. (It’s where the last video I posted about is from. ^_^) If you bellydance and want more visibility and/or opportunities, GO SEE!!!! ^_^
Do you know anyone with a visual impairment? If so, do you think they would find bellydance enriching, or potentially get something out of a bellydance class? If so, drop ‘em my way, or feel free to boost this signal! I’d love to find out how much interest in the blind/VI community there might be for potentially exploring bellydance. ^_^
Wow.. I just tried the Bellydance Superstars’ “Every Shimmy in the Book” with Bozenka DVD, and frankly (for me), it was horrible. Like, I had to stop it in the middle of the instruction, ‘cause it was just that bad…
While there are a bevy of note-worthy moves in this DVD, there are a few MAJOR stumbling blocks in its production which kind of make it unusable (again, imo), unless you’re already familiar w/the moves and only utilizing it for a refresher.
The first drawback I noticed was the pretty wretched camerawork.
Firstly, all too often the camera was zoomed in and focused on Bo’s gorgeous face, when it should have been covering her hip work. Once he zoomed out, she’d clearly already begun demonstrating. And by the time the camera panned out enough for us to see what she was instructing, there was only a second or two left of the demo. :P Sadly, this happened repeatedly.
Secondly, the angles were ALL wrong. For example: Unless Bo was in a closeup, every other bit of footage featured her shoved off to the side of the camera. ..And while I understand from an artistic POV that the Rule of Thirds makes for a more interesting visual, this is an INSTRUCTIONAL DVD, not an illustration shot for Vogue. :P Most of her hip-shots were cuf off at the left, and when there were full-body shots, the camera distance and angle were so panned-out that you couldn’t actually see what Bozenka was doing… (Unless you’re one of the lucky few w/a beeeg ol’ plasma TV.) Bo’s extremely distant, forward-facing reflection sat on the left side of a huuuge empty divide, while her posterior side got pressed into the right side of the frame, making it the only usable example for viewers to study (again, at least for me). Now granted, I do have poor eyesight, but I should not have to continually stop practicing the moves to crane into my telly to see the minute, forward-facing visage of my would-be instructor. (Plus, the video being letter-boxed didn’t help matters. It only made what was already too small even smaller.)
Moreover, when the camera focused on her “legwork” to the front, ftmp all you see are her thighs down- which means given the bizarre pace of the DVD, you had no idea what Bo was doing upstairs in the meantime- WITH HER HIPS. :P
There was other camera wrongness, but I’ve ranted about that enough. So let’s get to the second (and more important) part- the instruction:
While the instruction starts off sounding okay, in each shimmy we go from bizarre movement breakdowns at a super-slow pace to suddenly being told to “go full speed.” Which, as it happens, Bozenka never actually defines. What’s her “full speed,” exactly? Is it moving to 16th counts? 32s? Or are we just going willy-nilly? (I’m guessing it’s the latter.)
..And why is there no progression of tempo? Instead of gradually picking up the pace and coaching w/reminders of form, etc., (like she does- oddly- in the warmup), for -every, single, shimmy,- she goes from movement breakdowns w/holes in the instruction to suddenly “going full speed.” :P She never ONCE says “okay now let’s double that speed,” or “go half-time,” “let’s increase the pace,” or.. anything. It’s just demo of the full-speed move, sketchy move breakdown, a pause while you watch her go slowly for a second, and then, “go full speed.”..WTF..?
And tying into that last point; there are huuuge holes in her instruction. Not only are you missing vital parts of her movement thanks to cut-off camera angles), and being rushed into movements that never actually get defined properly, but there are whole pockets of movement which she’s clearly demonstrating in many pieces that, for some reason, go entirely unmentioned. For example, beginning at the Choo-Choo shimmy, she begins to do stuff like weight changes and various bits of body, leg & foot movement which somebody entirely forgot to key the viewer into. :P While she’s demonstrating one thing, she’s only discussing a fraction of her movements, and viewers have no idea what’s going on, if they’re even doing the move correctly, or (heavens forbid) how to fix the discrepancy between what she’s saying and what she’s actually doing. :P .So again, unless you’re already familiar w/the moves, there’s no way most folks (even folks who’re rather quick on the uptake and/or with a decent dance background) will actually do the movement correctly. :P If you only talk about your hips and begin doing knee bends, foot changes, pelvic pushes and other stuff that you don’t discuss being part of the move, you’re not actually instructing the ENTIRE move. ..I guess you could say it’s very “do as I do, not as I say.” *shrug*
Mind you, I don’t blame Bozenka for all this (as who knows who produced and/or directed the video) but zll this plus the generally rushed feeling of the video (thanks to the shimmies’ instruction time being so oddly choppy & brief) just makes you feel like you’ve only gotten a sampler, instead of a real, full, instructional DVD.
Of course the performance part of the video is gorgeous, and Bozenka is absolutely lovely, but it seems like this would have been much better marketed as a performance DVD w/a “gloss over” of various shimmies, instead of being promoted as a full instructional DVD.
Overall, I give this vid 2 out of 5 flutters. ..Frankly, I would give it less.. but the library of shimmies really are worth putting into your movement library. „You’ll just need to find another, better resource for learning HOW to do each of them. :(
Hey peeps! I’ve got 2 very cool recommendations comin’ your way. :)
First off; I give you the amazing talent & ebullient personality of the lovely Ms. Samira Shuruk. I’ve been blessed to see her dance a few times at DC’s Tribal Cafe, and I have got to say that this woman’s performances are just unbelievable. She dances like a dream, and her vibrant smile & simply staggering energy just light up the whole room. ^_^
She does bellydance and Bollywood, and I swear the woman seems absolutely stunning at whatever style she’s dancing in; flawlessly shining with whatever props she chooses to employ. :)
Secondly, here, have a few links to some audio goodness! *beams* I just found one of these tonight (thanks to the lovely Kindle of C-burg), and remembering that BandCamp can be such a great place for finding new tunes, put one other link up from there as well. :) Both are very Beats Antique-y (Lynx even works w/BA on occasion), and both are GREAT fodder for bellydancing. ^_^ Enjoy!
You know, it’s funny… When hearing the litany of teachers many dancers would list upon mention of their training (when I was a total, newbie beebee dancer), I said to myself “I could never remember all of those names! How do these people remember every, single, person that they ever learned from???”
..And now as I look back on my years of being enchanted by this dance, I realize that I can indeed remember aaaalllmost all of mine. :)
First there was Amira of Roanoke, who taught 1hr intros courses at conventions in VA. Then there was Bambi of NoVA, who also taught me in similar fashion at a 1hr class or two at local cons. Next came the one a teacher at Starwood 2004, who taught me another intro hour course. And then I visited MD, where the lovely Latifa taught me yet another 1hr intro class- but this one had a wonderful bit of beginning choreography. :D Years later, I eventually developed the nards to take a REAL bellydance class, & ended up taking 2 or 3 from the incomparable Galena of MD. :) And while I was still living up in NoVA, I took one Intro to Tribal class from Belladonna. (Whom I got to learn from again; a few years later, only a few months ago, and looong after moving here. Sadly it wasn’t a full course, but thankfully I was lucky enough to be able to take one more class from Bella; a sword workshop! :D I helped Radford University’s Middle Eastern Dance Club attend, and as I was working w/them at the time, I got to go, too. ^_^ *happy shimmies* And today, I wish I could have the chance to learn from them all again. :)
It’s strange.. in the grand scheme of things, you wouldn’t think people would remember the names of folks they encountered from so many years back- and often so briefly… (Especially in comparison with all the other crap in daily life I regularly forget. ;)) In some small, quiet way, I’m still a little surprised now and then that so many of us remember our “dance lineages,” so to speak.. you know? (And if you study for a while, that’s a lot to remember! *lol*) ..But we do, and once in a while, I still think of all my teachers too. -Especially now that I’ve begun to get more serious about the dance.
I guess our teachers leave more of an impression on us than most might surmise. ..Maybe because we’re so open mentally, emotionally & personally when we dance. Maybe because they’re all distinctive and wonderful people who teach us a variety of new things in many different ways. And maybe it’s both. :)
But clearly, our teachers leave an impression on us- one that goes way beyond the ability to recollect a few “simple” dance moves.
So to all you beautiful teachers out there, I guess all I have to say is “thank you for being wonderful.”