Category Archives: Life

Summer Days…Drifting Away…

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Well, folks, August is almost upon us! With but two days left in July, I am both reflecting on what the summer has brought so far, and looking forward to the adventures that are coming. This summer marks the 12th year that I have been bellydancing, and I love it even more now than the day I started. I made my return to performing in July with the best performance I have ever given and was met with such nice things said about it. Truthfully that performance could have made or break my big return to bellydancing (in my head, at least) and it made it in such a big way. While I love the way dancing makes ME feel, my favorite part has always been making OTHERS feel through my dancing. And I’ve got a lot of that on the horizon!

So in August! Here’s a quick snapshot of what’s going on!

August 4th, I will be appearing in Dallas bellydancer Dalida’s “Dalida and Friends” show in Plano, TX at the Celebration Event Center and Ballroom. Doors at 5:30, Show at 6. Tickets available at http://www.dalidabellydance.com/# I can’t wait to perform at this event! Dalida is an amazing dancer and lovely person and I am honored to be sharing the stage with her and many other talented dancers. I’ll be performing a jazz age juicy fusion piece full of old school fun with some modern flair! I’ll also be (finally!) wearing my newly finished “Burgundy Ice” costume. This bad boy has been in the works for over a year and I am excited to bring it out!

August 10, I will be trekking down to Arlington to spend a little time with the ladies of Wild Sky Tribal and the lovely Jeanne Mason-Howerton for the Second Saturday Drum Circle at Feed You Head and a little post drum circle nosh and dancing at Narah Cafe! I love any excuse to pull out my ATS garb and I love spending time with my ATS sisters and getting to see them dance!

August 11 I am holding an Open House in Sherman at Kristina’s Studio of Dance to promote my classes beginning the next week! You can come by to register for classes or get information, I will be doing 4 mini classes, 2 Traditional, 2 Tribal Fusion and will be doing a little performance as well. Oh did I mention it’s free?!?! So come by for some free mini classes, to register for the six week series (don’t forget, register before it starts and you save a bundle on classes!!) or just to chat! I’m good with any or all!

August 15 my classes begin with Traditional Bellydance at 12:30 and August 18 at 3 with Tribal Fusion Bellydance. Remember all classes are Beginner Friendly!!!

August 24 is the August Drum Circle Round the Moon at 300 Little Mineral Blvd in Pottsboro, TX and I will be there with Cassandra Campbell, my lovely ATS partner and hopefully some others dancers, dancing the night away! Any and all are invited to come drum, dance or spectate at will!

And finally in August is August 30- September 1 in Denison, TX an ATS Drillhaus with Little Goddess Trybe of Denison and Jeanne Mason-Howerton of Wild Sky Tribal! I am really looking forward to this event as it’s not often a Bellydance event happens 15 from my house!!! Hopefully soon, between Heather Emory, director of Little Goddess and me events will be hopping around the Grayson county area far more often! Heather and Jeanne will be vending at the Drillhaus, so bring your piggy bank and buy some of their pretties!

It’s going to be a Bellydance filled month and on top of all listed I will be instructing regularly again and having regular private practice as well, plus working on things for my Etsy shop which will be popping up with Bellydance costume listings hopefully in the next week! I will have an annoucement about that, soon!!! Yay August! I can’t wait!

Smiles and shimmies! 🙂 E

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Adventures in Old San Juan

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Soooooo many blog posts will come out of this trip, but as we sit here awaiting room service for my little brothers 8th birthday dinner (his choice!) I jus wanted to say how incredibly fun and beautiful this trip and place is so far! From adventures wandering through Old San Juan, the beauty of The Ritz, a trip to the beach today and a discovery that I do NOT like snorkeling and getting to see my family and spend time with them is just all so wonderful.

Tomorrow morning we are going to the rainforest!! I’m a little nervous, I’m afraid I’ll see a snake or lizards and just absolutely pee myself!!!! (if you love either, you are a better person than me. Wish them no harm, just to stay away from me!) Room service should be here soon, I’m going to run through music in my head I think. I have been very tired so far and haven’t gotten to practice like I wanted to, but have been exploring a new inspirational method I’ll reveal to you soon!

Here’s a few pictures from the adventures so far!

Smiles and shimmies! 🙂 E

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Summer Vacation is Not What It Used To Be

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Tomorrow morning Amber and I will be hopping on a plane set for Puerto Rico to meet up with my family for our summer vacation! Who says you can’t still have awesome summer vacays when you’re grown up?! Plenty of dance is on the agenda, on the flight down I will be “skeletonizing” my performance pieces for the Masquerade Ball and I will be rehearsing for that daily during vacation. It might seems odd to a lot of people for a mask and full bustled skirt to be on a packing list for a vacation, but I like it!

I have a couple of tentative dance stops planned while in Puerto Rico, the main one I’m really hoping to do is a stop at the Arabian Fantasy school and meeting Yeshira for a class.

Bellydance especially is permeating my summer reading list, my iPad is all set with freshley downloaded books, “The Tribal Bible” by Kajira Djoumanaha crowns the pile as well as “Unveiling the Mystery of Choregraphy” by Sharon Ross, “Stories of A Travelling Bellydancer” by Zaina Brown and “Global Moves: Belly Dance as an Extra/Ordinary Space to Explore Social Paradigms in Egypt and Around the World” by Caitlin E. McDonald. I’m also toting a couple of my psychology books along for the ride. Can you tell I plan to lay on the beach and read a lot??

I’ll be taking a lot of pictures and will still be blogging, hopefully, depending upon the wifi, but am so, so excited not only to get away for a week, but to get to see my Dad and (oldest) little brother for their birthdays!

I’ve heard there are jungles in Puerto Rico, I hope we get to go to one! So, Bon Voyage!Smiles and Shimmies! 🙂 E

Personal Goals and Growth In Your Dance Training

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I don’t know one single bellydancer (or artist of any kind for that matter) who ever reaches a point where they say “Ok, that’s it. My art is perfect, I have no more to learn and no farther to go. I am complete.” If I ever met one I would probably hyperventilate from laughing in their face. Sounds mean, but it’s the truth. I have heard from some of the biggest names in bellydance that everyone no matter their status in the world of dance has things they want to improve, new things to try, new elements to add.

I was very inspired a couple of weeks ago when I saw via Zoe Jakes Facebook page that she was getting certified in the Jamila Format. “Damn”, I thought, “Zoe Jakes is still getting new training. That’s freaking awesome!” My first experience with something like that was about four years ago when I attended a weekend of workshops in Malibu with Jillina and Lauren. Who was there but Sonia of BDSS. Taking the workshops just like all of the rest of us. Truly amazing dancers never get to a point where they stop learning.

Now, for years I’ve thought to myself, “Man, I’d like to do that festival (or training, or certification)”. But it was only recently that I sat down and made a list of the things that are on my radar for the years to come. So, I’m going to share some with you guys. If you have any I’ve missed that you think just can’t be missed, let me know! I’m always up for new training ideas!

These are in no particular order, and it may be years before I accomplish them.

FatChanceBellyDance General Skills: This one is really high on my priorities list. I think it’s a fabulous starting point for all fusion dancers, you really need to know what you’re fusing after all, and I love the community and spirit of ATS.

Datura 8 Elements: There are 4 phases of training in Rachel Brice’s format, each building on the previous phase. Rachel being the mama of Tribal Fusion and just generally awesome, gets this one pretty far up on my list as well.

Suhaila and Jamila Salimpour Format: 5 levels each and do I really have to say more? It’s Jamila and Suhaila!! Clarity of technique would probably be my biggest reason for these two certifications.

The Dark Side Studio: 4 levels plus Teacher Certification. Audra Simmons program in Toronto is very far atop my list. I love her aesthetic and style. She is a superb dancer that keeps her lines very clean and sophisticated while technically amazing.

Black Sheep Belly Dance: Kajira Djoumahna’s program is three levels and is her own creation of Improvisational Tribal Style that has some roots in ATS. The aesthic is similar, but there are key points that are very different. I really like BSBD’s aesthetic and think Kajira’s program would be beneficial as a groundwork for virtually any style of dancer.

Goddess Workout: Now, I personally hate all the flack I have heard Dolphina get. Her videos were some of my first and I have always loved her spirit and Bellydance Ideals. I think the experience would be invaluable and it would kind of bring a part of my training full circle.

Events

Now, there are ALOT of events I want to go to. But here is a short list of some of the biggest and ones that top my list.

Tribal Fest: Boom. That’s it. The ultimate Tribal Extravaganza and Mecca for Tribal dancers. Yep.

Cairo Caravan: It’s bellydance, it’s on the Queen Mary, my beloved PFar does a ghost tour and I can wear Sailor Trash outfits. Who wouldn’t want to go?!?!

Rakassah West: For some reason this just seems like one of those events where you would have a total transcendental moment of extreme Bellydance love.

Split Tribal Fest: It’s in Croatia, it attracts amazing Tribal Fusion dancers and the performances are in a Roman Palace. Yes, please?!

The Dark Harvest Festival: Again from the Dark Side Studio, this Toronto Festival just seems fun and has, again, the sophisticated, really neat air that I imagine when I think about Canada. Or Portland. 😉

Miami Bellydance Convention: Whaaaat? A non tribal event? Yes, I like those, too. MBDC, by the beautiful Nathalie seems like a fun, amazing event, and is always chock full of great traditional bellydance instructors. Plus, I’ve never been to Miami!

Camparet: In West Texas, this Bellydance weekend set at a boys camp in October seems like a great, get back to your roots, simple event, that seems like they always have great instructors. And it doesn’t seem to “camp-y” for me. As long as I have somewhere to plug in my hair dryer!

Ok! There’s my main ones! I’m sure there are others, which I will add when I think of them. Know of any can’t miss events? Let me know! I am always looking for my next adventures!

Smiles and shimmies! 🙂 E

Dark Harvest and General Skills… Whaaat?!

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I just stumbled upon the fact that The Dark Harvest Festival in 2014 will feature non-other than Carolena Nericcio and Megha Gavin teaching General Skills and Teacher Training!!!!! I’m dying to visit Toronto and The Dark Side Studio, I’d love to go for the Festival and I want to get my General Skills Certification for sure and I might go ahead and get Teacher Training, just cause! Oooooh my goodness I am excited! I see a trip to Toronto being planned for October 2014 in my future! Eeek! 🙂

Smiles and a layback! 🙂 E

The Dark Harvest Festival website: http://www.lavishdance.com/WordPress/?page_id=968

Weekend of ATS Fun! Tassels, Wine and Bellyliciousness!

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Hey guys! So first of all I have to start off this post with the biggest, most giant of thank yous to Jeanne Mason Howerton, who hosted an absolutely fabulous weekend of workshops! I knew it would be fun, but I never could have guessed how amazing it would be.

I started off on Friday dashing about getting wine to take for the sleepover, popped into work for an hour and then headed home to get packed and changed. Heather Emory, instructor of Little Goddess Trybe and one of her students, the lovely Cassandra Campbell were my carpooling buddies and we met up at my house at 5:30 to depart for theland of shimmies. It was a fun filled two hours drive down to Jeanne’s, with giggles, awesome music and Heather’s new car’s gps system, which was obsessed with traffic jams that were non existent. We came up with a brilliant bellydancers fighting zombies movie idea and came across the House of Blades.

We arrived, got our dancing clothes and zills on and got down to learning some duet moves, including passes and new ways to circle up than just the old tried and true Turkish Shimmy. Jeanne is a thorough teacher, making sure we understood the basics of the move including posture and arms and then providing ample time for drilling. Yummy, healthy appetizers were out for snacking during breaks and a little wine was consumed during practice along with lots of water. Two hours later, tired, but happy some dancers departed and the rest of us settled in for dinner and tv. And naturally what do Bellydancers want to watch after bellydancing? MORE bellydancing!!!! So Fat Chance Bellydance’s San Francisco Beledi was popped in and enjoyed while we ate Spaghetti Bolognese and Breadsticks. Jeanne, being Vegan herself provided both Vegan and “Meatosauras” options so that everyone was taken care of.

Sitting there, eating with six other fellow bellydancers,after dancing that night, learning, being creatively fed and watching not only this beautiful show, but especially the “making of” before the show was one of the absolute highlights of my 12 year long bellydance career. I felt such a sense of fullfillment and history and belonging. I was actually sitting there almost close to tears. I just felt the love of this amazing dance for pouring out of not only me, but my fellow dancers with me and on screen and it was just such a beautiful time.

After we finished San Francisco Beledi, we blew up our air mattresses, got into our pjs, cozied up and watched A Knight’s Tale before slowly each going off to their own bed. Oh and while we were watching the movie Jeanne made us desert! Icecream made from only banannas!! It was yummy. Seven bellydancers were asleep in that house and let me tell you, it was pretty much the most fun sleepover I have ever been to!

At 8:20 the next morning (shockingly early time as I am not an early riser being that I work second shift at the hospital) Jeanne awoke us to guess what: an oatmeal bar!!!! I had never experienced that before, but it was amazing!!! Fresh strawberries, blackberries and bannanas; white chocolate chips, buttersctoch chips, almonds, milk, butter, brown sugar, white sugar, coconut, ahhhh! It was amazing! Best. Oatmeal. Ever. We ate, lounged around, then went and played in Jeanne’s costuming treasure trove, from which I purchased a beautiful mirrored, ATS style, banjara belt with pink and yellow tassels.
Then, it was back to work with Spins class (no, no bicycling!) in which we learned some gorgeous spin varieties and how to cue them from other moves, like Egyptian. I love spinning!!!! ATS style turns are just so powerful. Two hours of spinning and it was lunchtime! Leftover spaghetti and sandwiches made of hummus, mayonaise, spinach, cheese, turkey and tomato were absolutely amazing. After lunch all that was left was me Jeanne and the lovely Christal and being a bit full from lunch and tired, we decided the perfect remedy for the afternoon slump was (what else??) hopping in the hot tub with glasses of wine!!! A wonderful, relaxing soak and we went in the studio one last time to learn some basic sword moves. Ouch! That sword, though only 3 lbs is heavy when you’re trying to be all fierce and one handed with it! Definitely got a good start on my sword education and it was a good end to the weekend. Afterwards, we got all packed up and Amber and Sally bug were there to pick me up and take me home!

I really cannot express what an amazing time we had and what an amazing host, teacher and dancer Jeanne is. Her hospitality and laid back nature gave the whole weekend a fabulous sense of informality that was really conducive to learning and feeling comfortable with stepping out of your comfort zone and getting into these moves, but she kept it formal enough that I feel like this was one of the most beneficial workshops I’ve ever done. Jeanne already has the next round planned, unfotunately, I will be in Puerto Rico (I know wah wah ;), but I am definitely looking forward to the next ones and I will be there every time I can. If you are in the Dallas Fort Worth area , you should definitely get into contact with Jeanne and take some lessons from her. She also does Skype lessons. You can find out more at her website, http://www.texastribal.com/ .

Unfortunately, I didn’t get any pictures, but here is one of the lady herself, from her website. I think it really shows her spirit. 🙂

Jeanne

Again, thank you Jeanne from the bottom of my heart, for such an amazing experience and I look forward to many more! I am so proud to call this lady one of my teachers!!! And a really cool side note, I thought was that FatChanceBellyDance had the performance of Devotion on Friday night around the same time we were dancing/ sitting down and watching San Francisco Beledi! Isn’t that neat?

Smiles and Hugs and a Re- Shamka spin! 🙂 E