Tag Archives: Elements

It’s Alive!!! My Etsy Page Is Alive!!!!


I am so, so, so excited to be making this announcement! I’ve a had a non functioning Etsy shop for about a year now, finding myself too busy to focus on it, but I have decided the time is now to launch it! It is still in it’s beginning stages, and thus very small, but it has started!

My first introduction is The Haunted Headdress line of headpieces! The name was inspired by one of the pieces, The Double Row Turkoman Button Tribal Bellydance Headpiece.

Jeanne in her headdress. The rest of the lovelies are from her own private collection!

The piece was commisioned by my dear friend Jeanne Mason-Howerton and while making it I experienced some very spooky happenings! (No but really, it was creepy!!) Upon finishing I told her via Facebook it was done, but not to hold me accountable if her headdress was haunted! I thought “Oooh, the Haunted Headdress, I like that!!” I also thought it was very fitting as a large majority of the time while I’m sewing I am watching horror movies!

So there it was. I have several more pieces in the works to add to the shop, as well as other pieces of costuming, such as bras, belts, skirts, bustles and coverups. I make pieces that are both ATS and Fusion friendly or can be worn for a myriad of other things! And who knows what I’ll come up with next! As i add things, I will post new items on here and you can visit and follow my shop at https://www.etsy.com/shop/ElenaLewisDesigns

Want a custom creation? I can do that too, and LOVE getting to work with clients to dream up and create the perfect pieces for them!

So there you have it!

Smiles, shimmies and sewing fun! 🙂 E

New Classes Start August 15!!


Beginning in August!!! Elena makes her return to teaching at Kristina’s Studio of Dance in Sherman, TX!! Two classes will be offered per week and these two classes are the basis to advancing further in Elena’s program.

Both classes will give you a solid foundation upon which to build your Bellydance technique and are unique in that they feature Elena’s own syllabus and format of moves. Elena incorporates not only over 12 years of Bellydance and World dance training, but the principles she learned as a classically trained ballet dancer and actress. For more information please email Elena at elewis4507@yahoo.com.

Classes are open to EVERYONE regardless of shape , size, age, physical limitations or gender! Come dance with us!

Class Schedule Beginning August 15, 2013

•Thursdays 12:30-1:30 pm Traditional Bellydance for Beginners
Learn the basic moves of this ancient art form and gain a solid foundation in how to move your body while exploring all aspects of Middle Eastern Dance. In this class we will cover basic technique, become familiar with Middle Eastern music and by the end of the six week session have learned to put the moves we learn together into a short combination.
•Sundays 3-4 pm Tribal Fusion Bellydance for Beginners
The “little sister” of Traditional Bellydance, Tribal Fusion draws inspiration from a variety of dance forms from Arabic nomadic tribes, to Flamenco, to Indian stylization, to the Jazz Age, fusing all these inspirations with Middle Eastern Dance. This fun, diverse style has something for everyone as the sky is the limit on what can be created in Fusion. We will learn the basics of Bellydance and how changing the moves and music makes them “Fusion”, gain a solid technique and by the end of the six weeks have built a short combination from the moves we have learned.
Class Prices and Packages

•6 Week Class Series- Pre- Registration July 24- August 14
•1 class per week- $60, 2 classes per week- $120
•Classes are ongoing and Drop ins are always welcome! $15 per class
Elena is available for 1 hour private and semi private lessons. Private/ semi privates can be utilized to work intensively on technique, focus on choreography, explore props or a specific style of dance or for those who prefer to learn in a one on one atmosphere. Elena is also available for Skype lessons! All you need is the internet and your webcam!

•1 dancer- $35
•2 or more dancers- $30 per dancer
Private lessons are currently offered from Elena’s home studio in Sherman, TX.

Performance Spotlight! Illan Riviere


Ok, so this is more of a backstage spotlight, but I love Illan and I love backstage videos! A fellow dancer sent this to me on Facebook a few weeks ago, and I just adored it. I love getting to see how other dancers prepare before a performance and Illan is just too cute!

And for the performance, here is one of his performances from Sibtribal. Sari as a veil. Wow! He is an amazing performer and dancer.

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 louiseblack.etsy.com

Performance Spotlight! Cyndi Cyreigna Elliott at Tribal Solstice 2013


So, I love Cyndi’s performance style so much! She is the director of Irie Tribal, makes beautiful costuming and is (from what I’ve heard!) a fabulous teacher! I was depressed not to get to meet her at the Tulsa Drillhaus as she led it, but will be attending her workshops in Baton Rouge, LA in September.

A couple of really nifty things about Cyndi’s performing aesthetic, though she is an ATS dancer through and through she performs a lot of solos. ATS is not a solo dance form, primarily, but Cyndi has really managed to bring the ATS solo to something that is dynamic and fun to watch. As lovely as she is when performing with Irie, I just adore her solos.

My biggest point about her (fabulous technique) is; check out that ending! Man, does she stick that stop after all those spins. Amazing! And that Cyndi smile just shows how much she adores dancing. and now, without further ado, I give you her performance this past weekend at Tribal Solstice 2013.

Feast your eyes! Smiles and shimmies! 🙂 E

A Rose By Any Other Name


Tonight I am musing about names. When I began my first foray into teaching I wanted a name. Not for me, I have a name. I like my real name so much, I’ve never even considered having a stage name. It’s served me well so far. No, I wanted a name for people to remember. A name for my business and my company. I chose Callidora, which is Greek, and means gift of beauty. I chose this name to pay homage to my first bellydance experience coming from a Greek background and because I wanted to give the gift of beauty through dance to my students and through performance.

I still want a name. But now I’m wondering if I need one for just myself or if I should save it for the day when I have little dancing minions and give it to them. Do I keep the same name I once chose or do I choose another?

So as I prepare to begin teaching once more, amid all my charts and graphs and lists as I create a curriculum and format, I languish with the thought of a name and the meanings behind them.

Do roses smell as sweet no matter what you call them?

Smiles and Shimmies, 🙂 E