Category Archives: Musings

Yule, Yoga Bags, Tassels and Cookies


Well the Three Fates (Zahra, Cassandra and I) are hard at working coming up with the most spectacular Yule show EVER!!!! How are we accomplishing this? By sending each other ridiculous costume ideas and singing Wannabe by the Spice Girls via Facebook Chat of course!!! We are really looking forward to appearing at Witch and Famous’ Yule Party at The Londoner Pub Dec 20 in Dallas. If you’re interested in coming out and are up for a Yule Bash, check out the event page here: Both Avalouna and Callidora Tribal will b appearing multiple times through the evening and we will literally take you through every Yule/Christmas feeling possible!

This coming weekend you can come see Zahra and I at the Holiday Handmade Bazaar also at The Londoner in Dallas. Lots of artisans will be there, I will have fascinators, witch hats, tassel belts and my brand spanking new design: pretty sari brocade satin yoga mat bags!! Look for a sneak peak on here tomorrow when I list them on Etsy! They are beautiful, glamourous, fun and will soon be available in matching sets. Cause what bellydance couldn’t use more bags to haul stuff in?!?!

Following the Bazaar we will be stopping by Dalas photographer, Robert Hold’s Gallery and Studio opening! I have yet to set Robert, but am very excited to, I’ve heard great things from Zahra and I love gallery openings (my art history nerd falls out occasionally).

Finishing the evening will be Ecstatic Saturday with some fun dancing and who knows what other shenanigans!

I’m going to have to heavily bribe Amber to get her through it. Poor bellydance wife.

In other news this month, Three Fates will also be appearing at Dalida’s Hafla in Plano, Dec. 29!

And I’m excited because 3rd Coast Tribal Dance Festival is getting closer and closer (I really have to decide what color I want to perform in!!) AND Amber bought me my birthday present early, I get to go to Kansas Jan 18 (one week before my birthday!) and see Cyndi Cyreigna Elliott and take two workshops with her!!! And then I’m expecting a nice dinner in Topeka. I’ve never been to Kansas. Oh and then Jan 19th, we’re appearing at Sunday Soirrees Fire and Ice show! Busy couple of months!

Well, I think, you’re all caught up, in the next week, I’m going to do a tutorial on tassels for sure, release the yoga mat bags and maybe some fun other things as well. I have 3 new tassel belts waiting in the wings too! Oh yes and I’m going to talk to you all about my going aspirations, struggles with fibromyalgia, yoga and diet and about my first experiences with Kundalini yoga. I also have some new drills up my sleeve!

Smiles and shimmies!

🙂 E

I like big tassels and I cannot lie!!!


A Few More Thoughts On Pagan Pride Dallas


So I know, I already talked about PPD in my last post, but I wanted to talk a bit more. I was thrilled at the thought of doing this performance from the start, although my mother was not. I think she thought about smacking me in the hipscarf with her menorah for a bit. But to me that’s what an event like this is all about. People from all walks of life coming together to celebrate the earth and life and happiness. Lots of happiness. It was a lot of planning and rehearsing from the bellydancers, even though when I arrived at PPD I had only met one of the girls I danced with before. You never would have known would you? That’s the beauty of ATS.

The day came at it was perfect. Chilly, chilly weather, a beautiful location right on the lake and lots of happy people. I’m sure for many at PPD there was a much deeper spiritual event going on. For me, I felt a great sense of peace and happiness during the three hours I was at the event. The air itself seemed calm and blessed. I got to meet some lovely people, talk to some great vendors, performed for a good gathering of people under a beautiful tree and smile a lot!

It will remain one of my favorite performances for quite some time I think. I love performances where all you think of is happiness and joy. It reminded me of my dear drum circles I dance at monthly. But bigger and so much happiness. Maybe I’ll get poetic soon and write something to describe for you what it was like in more eloquent terms, but for now this shall have to suffice.

Smiles and shimmies. 🙂 E

On the way!!


Getting ready!


The stage!


Almost time to dance!


October Already?? New Orleans, Chilly Weather, Pagan Pride and Big News!


I’m not quite sure how it’s been almost a month since I posted last! Wow, so much to catch up on. First is the awesome trip to New Orleans/ Baton Rouge I got to take the third weekend of September. We had a great time with one of our couple friends on the four day weekend and I got to meet Cyndi Cyreigna Elliott of Irie Tribal Dance Company and take a workshop with her as well as perform in the hafla afterwards, buy a new Bindi, drool over the rest of her costuming bits and pieces and see the wonderful place that is New Orleans. It was rainy for a lot of the trip and the day of the workshop, rain cozily pitter pattered down as we had class in the mst beautiful yoga studio. Cyndi is a masterful teacher and extremely fun to boot! I also got to enjoy a fun lunch with my sisters from Wild Sky Tribal and eat some yummy Jambalaya and Boudin Balls!

New Orleans was great, I fell in love with the French Quarter and some highlights included a trip to Beckham’s Bookshop where I got a giant bag full of old books about theatre (the neatest bookshop ever, very charming and old worldy!), I got to go to FOUR voodoo shops, have beignets and chicory at Cafe du Monde, wander about the French Quarter, on our last night found an adorable wine bar where Amber and I stopped for a refreshment, our friends having headed back to the hotel (which was great itself, just on the cusp of the warehouse disstrict, about a 10 minute walk to the French Quarter, it was a lovely place and if you need a hotel in New Orleans, I highly reccomend the Hyatt Place. We will return!)

It really was a great trip, I got to see swamps and LSU and the Saints were victorious in their respective games so I had a happy fiancee!

The next weekend, on the 28th my lovely friend and student Zahra organized a private group class in Savannah, TX that I went down and taught and I had a great time with some very fun ladies, and the studio was absolutely beautiful! On the 3rd floor of the fitness complex it was in a turrett and had lots of windows! We had a great time and afterwards went scrub shopping for the muggle job and for sushi and hibachi, where I had my first experience with Sake! It was actually pretty good!

This past weekend on Saturday was a performance I have been preparing for for awhile, Pagan Pride Day!! I was asked awhile ago by Wild Sky Tribal to come down and perform as a guest with them, which I of course said yes to! I had only danced with one of the girls before, but that’s the beauty of ATS, you can just jump right on in there and go after it!

I was awake at the ungodly hour of 8:30 geting dressed and my lovely bellydance wife drove to Dallas so I could get all my makeup on! And hair garden. And jewelry. I only wore 11 bracelets, 3 rings, 2 necklaces and earrings. Still could’ve had more on. 😉 I had my costume on, minus my bra and with a shirt over my choli and we were getting ready to leave as Amber asked what the temperature was like. I popped outside barefoot and with my short sleeve choli on and promptly scurried back inside for a sweatshirt! It was so cold! My choli being a loaner as I wait for my first custom one (by Cyndi!) I was cold! When we got down to Pagan Pride, I hopped out of the car to get my bra on and almost froze before I could get ym sweatshirt back on, plus my big heavy shawl! We were early and walked about for a bit, finding Zahra who was promoting the Witches Ball benefit that is being held November 1 and looking at a few of the vendors. We met uop with Taylor and one of the girls Stacy and wandered about a bit more, getting everything ready and ending up having Zahra save the day with a boombox for our music! We did a 50 minute set with a break in the middle. I danced a solo to Duma Sa Duma and got to do a duet with Taylor to Caravan plus, chorusing and dancing in the pod quite a bit. Afterwards Taylor gave a mini class to some of the spectators and they were very enthusiastic and cute!

Pagan Pride was a fascinating experience for me. It was beautiful at the venue, a misty, dark, gray morning. The first thing we saw was a circle and drumming, some type of ritual was happening and veryone was just so happy, it made me happy. We danced on the circle stage which was made of concrete and was so cold my feet went numb during my solo! It was a great time and I had a blast getting to dance with my new sisters. I also, of course, had to peruse all of the shinies, and ended up buying a crystal, a ring with a beautiful big crystal in it and Amber bought me a necklace and earring set with a pink carved full moon on all three items. I met some lovely people and just generally had a blast. It was my first big ATS performance and solo and I was so pleased with how it went. I am working on getting the video uploaded soon!

And the last bit of news. I have started two new companies. One is a fusion group named Avalouna which is comprised of Zahra Johnson, Cassandra Campbell and me. We will be doing a lot of experimental, fun stuff and just generally having fun in all different ways. Our first piece is a Voodoo/Witchy themed piece to premiere at Monster’s Ball, October 27. The second troupe is Callidora Tribal which is an ATS duet Cassandra and I have formed. We will also be premiering at Monster’s Ball and are very excited to finally officially be dancing together!

Well, I guess that’s all for now! I will have pictures and videos up soon from at least some of my adventures! Smiles and shimmies! 🙂 E



I don’t know about you guys, but I am totally knackered. The last couple of weeks have taken their toll. I haven’t even done anything the past two weekends! More than anything, I am tired in my head. Do you ever feel like that? You’re body is relatively okay, but you brain feels like if you do anything but sit or lay and stare at stuff you might actaully turn to jelly? Yeah, I’m there. And when I get there I’ve found there are a few things I need to do.

First is re-evaluate and take some things off my plate. Right now that is sewing. Now I’m still sewing. Just accepting the fact I don’t have to have a completely new costume for every performance. Also paring my sewing to do list. Putting a couple of things on hold and finishing some stuff up.

Second I need to dance. But wait, shouldn’t you rest? Yes! But also dancing is relaxing to me. So when I start feeling like this I know I’m focusing too much on things surrounding the dance and not dance itself.

Third I need to knit something. Yes that’s right knit. Something that cannot possibly be used for bellydance. Like a scarf. I think I’ll start a scarf. Or finish Amber’s hat. Yes, I’ll do that. Just in time for fall!

Fourth I need tea. I’ve always loved tea and there’s something so relaxing about the ritual of tea, even when drunk out of a white styrofoam cup at work, when it contains a lovely tea it automatically is so much more relaxing than the brash hustle and bustle of my beloved black coffee.

So tonight on this cloudy late summer evening as I sit wishing for rain, crisp weather and a movie-date with my sweetie, I’m drinking tea and trying to relax. Remembering to drink things in the way you do with tea. You don’t gulp down a good cup of tea trying to finish as soon as possible. You drink it slowly, savoring the flavors and the warmth. We should treat life the same way.

Smiles, tea and shimmies! 🙂 Elena

From The Belly of a Traveler


So I’ve hit on this blog a couple of times before, but hadn’t really gotten the time to sit and read it until recently. And I am in love. Written by Kristine Adams, dancer and teacher with FCBD and ATSer extraordinaire, this blog chronicles Kristine’s jaunt about the WORLD spreading ATS everywhere she goes. Now you all know I love ATS and I love adventures, too. And this is the adventure of a lifetime! I am adoring looking at her pictures, watching her videos and reading her tales of her travels throughout these different places, a lot, way off the beaten track. I especially love reading how she finds dance and ATS in the tiniest pockets throughout the world.

Kristine Adams

She has been on her adventure for over a year now and has no end in sight. If you like ATS, bellydance, adventures, or good stories, check out her blog.

Also, keeping in mind that adventures and stories have all sorts of unforeseen expenses and problems she does have a link to give her a little donation, if you can, to keep the journey alive! I am inspired to come up with a way to help Kristine out a little if possible and will be working on this in the next little bit. Maybe something that also spreads ATS to people and can help her journey out too?

Anyways, smiles and Ghawazee shimmies till next time! 🙂 E

A Few Loves…


It feels like far more than 5 days since I last wrote! I spent the weekend tending poor Amber who is sick with what turns out to be… MONO!! Really? Mono! Poor thing. Before we knew it was mono, I thought it was just another case of tonsilitis and popped over to the Green Market for some more homeopathic sore throat pills. While there I found a brand new store with all kinds of new goodies! Some of the best were Almond Dream icecream (dairy and gluten free and amazing tasting!) an amazing variety of couscous and the best was a new food bar where they have hot foods and cold and on the cold bar I found Dolmades (stuffed grape leaves) and a lovely array of olives! Oh and veggie chips! It was heavenly! They also had a wonderful selection of tinned soups (not the Campbell’s variety) and I saw an interesting new line of frozen foods that would be wonderful for taking to work.

With those new finds I am over 5 days with no fast food! This may not seem like a big deal to some, but for a second shift hospital worker, the drive thru is often an easier choice than going home and cooking a meal, but I am determined to eat better and I am already feeling better because of it!

I am very, very busy at the moment, preparing to start teaching again (THIS WEEK!!!!), prepping for my upcoming 7 weekends straight of events and shows, and trying to get a new costume finished for the drum circle this month. Oh and stocking the Etsy store and picking performance pieces for my next three performances and umm sleeping.

I have to admit, I’m a little obsessed with my little medallions right now. I love them! They are so cute and remind me of Tribal beaded medallions, plus I can make them in any color I want! And all different kinds of styles and shapes. I’m making a belt full of them as my newest ATS addition and plan on wearing it to the drum circle this month. Also I’m finally getting my Gillit Plate Tribal bra done and it will be premiered at the drum circle along with my new skirt! I love new pretties!

Crocheted Tribal Medallions made by me!

So there it is. I still have so many things on my agenda to get done on the weekends it’s ridiculous! Like getting really awesome pictures of everything I have amde to go in my Etsy store. And finishing the rest. And finishing a present for my lovely friend and teacher Jeanne before I see her in two weeks! And being very lazy! Ahhh, but I really am very lucky right now. I can see this weekend on the horizon and am determined to cross more things off the list without adding more!

And my final love? Pinteresting pictures of Fall things and hot cocoa!Smiles and shimmies! 🙂 E

Summer Days…Drifting Away…


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 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

The Body of A Bellydancer


So now that I have your attention with that title (I know, pretty awesome, right?) I would like to talk a little bit about body issues. First and foremost, let me start of by saying that I personally know bellydancers with all types and sizes of body. Tall, thin, short, medium, goddess size, skinny, fit, not so fit, used to to be fit and man! look at her!. I think you all rock!!!! You’re all beautiful!!!

Now, everyone has their own body issues, but this post isn’t for whether you think your thighs are fat, have cankles or small boobs. I want to talk about how we view OTHER bellydancers. I read an article lately that upset me a great deal. It insinuated that all that “thinspiration” stuff on Pinterest and the like is awful and that we as dancers may not be looking up to some of the best bellydancers in the world because they ARE some of the best bellydancers in the world, but because they are thin/fit. So I want to talk about it. Because this is my blog and I can. *insert dastardly giggling* Ok, ok I’m good.

So….thin/fitspiration…. Well, here are my thoughts. Some go way too far. Collarbones or cake? Oh please, I totally used to eat cake and still had a nice set of collarbones. I also worked out a minimum of 2 hours 4x a week. Yeah. I was a crazy actress back then. I guess the collarbones or cake one pops up to me because the pictures on it are of these teeny, tiny women. Are those women gorgeous? Yes. If you naturally look like that is there something wrong with you? Umm, no. If you starve yourself to look like that is it an issue? Yeah. So moderation! But let’s not just condemn all that stuff! What about the pictures of “fit/thinspiration” that are of a woman who has worked her butt off to be fit and in great health. Why on earth would we condemn that? Just because she doesn’t sit on the couch eating potato chips? I don’t care what you eat as long as you’re healthy. Just because you don’t look like or even want to look like the women in those pictures, lets not condemn them for looking like they do.

So are we making fitspiration out of top bellydancers? Yes they are smaller and in better shape than the average bellydancer who also has a 40 hour a week job, plus dancing. Guess what?!?!?!? Dancing is their job! Pro dancers can dance for up to 8 hours in rehearsals in a day. (This goes for all types of dance) add on to that Yoga/Pilates which is very popular for stretching and strengthening the muscles so you don’t injure yourself while doing all that dancing, strength training, cardio or the chosen cross trainer of choice PLUS teaching classes and performing. That’s ALOT of exercise! If I danced that much I’d be much smaller too! That’s their job. Not necessarily to be thin, but think about how many calories the average pro dancer would burn in a day with that kind of schedule. Bunches! And yeah, I guess I do make fitspiration out of top bellydancers. I want to be fit enough to do this move or that one. I want my muscles to work like hers, so I’m going to train like her.

So! Why is it assumed that just because you may love the way the big Pro dancers dance, you only do so because they are thin, not because they are spectacular dancers? Honestly, I don’t know. But unfortunately, I see a lot of smaller women being condemned right along with bigger ones. You’re not “too skinny” the same way she’s not “too fat”. Personally, I admire a lot of smaller dancers, but not because of their size, but because they are really, really good. I also admire bigger dancers not because of their size, but because they are awesome dancers. Quality of technique, showmanship, entertainment value and passion is really what matters to me in a performer not what size their costume is. The simple fact is that many of those qualities show up in Pro dancers who have worked so hard to attain those and the careers they have as well.

So, in closing, I don’t care what size you are. I care that you are healthy or trying to get healthy. And guess what you can be skinny and not be healthy or fit. I love that bellydance can make women feel good about their bodies. Maybe they feel too skinny and Bellydance helps them appreicate that they are still beautiful and look great as a tiny person. Maybe they feel fat and Bellydance helps them appreciate their curves and embrace their size. Maybe they’re shy and Bellydance gives them a way to open up to not only others, but themselves. Yes, I want to encourage you if you’re larger to feel confident and happy dancing. But I want to do the same with everyone no matter what your size is.

Smiles and shimmies. 🙂 E

The Skeleton


On Friday I mentioned “skeletonizing” my performance materials, so I thought I would break down what I meant and how I find it useful in my creative process.

One thing you should know about me is that a large majority of the time when I perform I am improving. When I was a younger dancer I thought that to create a piece and have it be really good it must be choreographed to the millisecond and muscle memory must be intact for it all or it would be sloppy. That was the ex- ballerina in me talking. As I performed more and learned more and even through my own practices, I found myself getting bored with this. I would be in the moment and moving to the music and feeling the music- both in rehearsal and performance and while I knew my choreography at that moment I would find that this move made more sense than the move I had planned would. Then it would spiral off and I’d be lost in a improv whirlwind, once again. I stressed about this for a long time. Now, I can choreograph. I choreographed combos and choreographies for my classes all the time. Pretty ones! I’ve even choreographed solos for other dancers! So why was it so hard for me to do so for myself?

Then one day I realised something. I could choregraph so easily for my classes or fellow dancers because that’s what they needed and wanted. It worked for them. It didn’t have to work for me. So I began anew. But I felt sloppy only doing improv. And then I realised something else. My previous “improvs” had felt good because they had direction. Then I stopped thinking about it for awhile.

Awhile later I attended a workshop with Sa’Diyya and one of the things she talked about was finding the skeleton of your music. Visually (she used her mirror and a dry erase marker) separate your counts, mark where your accents are. Well, that made sense, of course, I had done that when choreographing. Then she talked about how she did that even and especially when working on improv pieces. That way you have direction, you know what’s happening when and after that you can go anyway you want.

That was it!! I took it home and started trying it immediately, just for fun. It absolutely worked. By creating my skeleton, like I had in the past, but leaving it unadorned with moves I had the freedom to do different moves each time with the same feeling. I adorned my skeleton instead with colors, shapes, visual stimuli (I think of sunsets and trees a lot. No clue why. I’m weird.). I found by doing this I not only felt I had direction with my improv pieces, but I was learning my music better and really connecting with it on a level I hadn’t found outside of choreography.

Now, I still love a good “get your butt out there, I’ve never even heard this song, let’s just dance” experience. That’s probably one reason I enjoy drum circles and the ATS format so much. It’s hard to do improv with a group unless you’re doing ATS or ITS. But personally in my solo pieces, this has been one of the most invaluable tools I have found.

I hope if you haven’t tried this and you give it a shot and it helps you, you will let me know! Also if you have any methods you use to improve your improv leave me a comment, I would love to hear them! I am always looking for new ideas and new methods to try for growth!

Smiles and shimmies! E :)What does your skeleton look like?

Image from