mekyria: (2013 indonesie 2)

Some of the participants were hungry for drum solo day, since we didn't do that much dancing on Saturday they'd love to get some vigourous combinations done. The good news is that it was all about the drum solo. The bad news was that it wasn't a choreography (which is fine by me: brilliant as ava's choreographies are, they never stuck with me in the past and I don't believe a choreography would stick in my pregnancy brain either.

The day started by a ballet class by Helen, a nice looking lady of about 45-50 who gave us a taste of ballet. We started out on the floor doing some starting fluid stretches, then moved on to some basic barre work and ended with an upbeat jumpy cobination. It was fun to have a ballet class from someone other than Susan, my regular ballet eacher.

Ava started out by giving us information about the structure of drum solo's In the olden days, the Riq was the leading instrument but this has changed in recent years to the tabla being dominant. I'd like to get some golden age music out and listen to it from that point of view. The main reason for the change is that Rix is harder (platying drum + the cymbals on the edge at the same time) and that knowledge is largely unavailable nowadays.

The dancer has a coiche to dance to the base rhythm or to the acents. Depending on the situation, she can choose one out of two or choose both.

We did some exercises with dacing to a drum solo with smooth moves only, or with one bodypart only. Ava then gave us five combinations that we could use as we pleased. very useful, I think I'll use these combinations more often during my imrpovisations. We then split up in different groups and danced a drum solo for eachother. I liked the result and I'm playing aorund by videotaping myself this week doing this exercise, to get an idea of what the end result looks like on me and to get some nice footage of what I look like now that I'm six months pregnant and still dancing. there's a nice playground type field close by that I could use, with green bushes in the background. It's far enough from houses and yards to get some privacy, yet close enough to home to drag the camera and tripod with me.

I decided to leave around 4.45, because I had a lengthy train trip ahead of me and I wanted to be home around 22.30. I said my goodbey's to everyone and profusely thanked Artemisia and Ava. Artemisia offered to add me to the 'bellydancing mommies' facebook group so I could have a lifeline when I needed it. I walked back to the station one last time and had a rather uneventful trip back to Utrecht (it was on the long side and it did wear me out).

When I got home, E. and a friend who came over for dinner were sitting in the backyard. I had a late dinner of wild boar stew and veggies and chatted with Ankie, who owns an art gallery and is looking for a different job as the gallery isn't making much now. She's living with her parents above the gallery and there's some tension there too: living together with your parents when you're over thirty is sort of bound to create some kind of tension, as you're all adults with habits and preferences and you can't do everything the way you want, like you'd do in your own place. She left around eleven so I got some quality time with E, we talked, cuddled and went to bed. The dog was extatic that I was back home (for about 5-6 minutes, that's what dogs are like. After that, there's always a more interesting sound or smell that needs to be investigated).

The next week, I slept for most days in order to regain some energy. It was exhausting but so worth it, even when I forgot I had a dance training on Wednesday night because I was so tired.

mekyria: (2013 indonesie 2)

Saturday I woke with the refreshing feeling of not needing to run through my choreography any more or work on my costume, as the hafla was already done. Huzzah!

Instead, I went downstairs to the tiny supermarket below our hotel, got some yoghurt and breakfast and walked to the venue with Sophie. Today was all about oriental, and the program was left blank as to what this oriental would be. Ava got us started with 'storytelling': listening to music (Yearning) and creatign a story in your head. Then using the story to give meaning to your dance. It was interesting, as I felt Western music worked better with this exercise compared to Arabic music.

According to Ava, there is a distinction in the dance world between a bellydancer and an oriental dancer. An oriental dancer is more formal, in the sense of using arm placement, spacial awareness and storytelling. A bellydancer is aimed at entertainment and uses more traditional bellydance elements, thus sending out a different vibe. Overal, Oriental, formal dancers are more respected because their body language during a performance demands respect and distance.

We went over the use of space on stage, and what lines and positions work best . I liked her quote on practice: 'Practice and think of your technique in class or at home. Never on a stage!'. Thus leaving room in your head to work with the stage, with contrabody, storytelling and such things.
'Always go on stage with a purpose. Wheter it's a character you choose to be, or an element you wan to express like fire, water or air, or a story you want to tell.'

We were all a bit exhausted from Friday and we didn't dance much, instead working woth exercises to practice with emotion and storytelling. It was great and I will use some of this stuff for my own classes. After class, Sophie, Jannie (her boyfriend), Jessica and me went out to eat for dinner and had a yummy lambburger with melted goatcheese. We then walked to the square next to the station to meet up with Artemisia and Ava for the 'Pois and toys' play night. It might sound a bit suggestive, but it meant we brought our poi, voi, zills and other props and played around. I tried the poi and I got to do a couple of basic moves. Somehow my body remembered the practice I put into it over five years ago in my livingroom. I managed to hit myself multiple times with my own poi (this is common) then gave up and sat down for a mocktail (alcohol free cocktail). Ava was obviously tired, I think she needs alot of rest to recover from teaching all day plus dancing. Earlier she said 'most people are suprised that I'm an introvert'. No Ava, I am not suprised. I recognize your reservation in behavior as saving of energy. She is a very warm and sharing person but it does take it's toll on her. The further we got into the intensive, the more of her quirky side came out which was nice. She smacks like a squirrel when she tries to change the subject.

Around 22.00 we called it a night and I hobbled back to the hotel for a shower, skype session with E and a good night's sleep. E later told me that he was very worried about me being so far away with the baby and everything and he actually cried during a movie. Probably not because of the movie but because he missed me. He's so cute, when I'm upset he's always being the strong one and trying to make me smile but when I am feeling better I know he has his insecurities and worries too and we then talk about his side.  I was happy because it wa sanother fabulous day, and sad because tomorrow would be the last day.

mekyria: (Default)
I'm back from Leuven and four days of dance with Ava Fleming. It was exhausting but so worth it. Artemisia hires her because she wants to offer in depth instruction to her students: beginners and advanced alike. The four days were not filled with extensive drilling of choreography, but with exploring different concepts and nuances in oriental dance.

Our first day was spent on an Ava style warm up, which was quite useful in both warming up and gently getting the body used to her internal style of layering abdominal and ribcage contractions on basic bd moves. It creates an overall clean look, but with more depth. I can see why the tribal fusion girls like her, it's very muscular. We then proceeded into listening to taxims and different variations and explanations on what the purpose of a taxim is.
'For Western audiences, they can only handle so much of stillness and taxim. Use maximal one minute for those audiences, or use props to keep them interested. Like sword, veil, fanveils, floorwork,etc.for Arabic audience you can go full out, to up and about five to seven minutes of taxim'

She showed us different ways of taxim interpretation and then got cracking on dancing to taxim ourselves. Ava has a really relaxed teaching style, she's a very analytical dancer. We danced in solo's, in groups amd showed the result to each other. She taught two short combinations that work well and can be added when needed, which was nice. After class I walked back to the hotel (it's a 30 minute walk) and had a short nap. Sophie and I walked to the place for the inspirational talk with Ava. About ten people attended as others had families and other obligations. Our group was seventeen people in total.

The inspirational speech was great. She opened with the question 'why do you dance and what are your goals?'. While listening to all the answers I realized that I was completely happy with where I am now as a dancer. Okay, some of it might be lregnancy hormones, but after fifteen years I no longer care what the audience thinks of me. I dance because it makes me happy, and by teaching and performing I make other people happy. I go for quality in both teaching and performing and though it might not be shocking or worthy of international fame, it is pretty good. That was super nice to realize and I just kept on smiling the rest of the week.

Ava herself is currently thinking about what she wants in dance, because as far as achievements go she's done it all. Own a studio, run a company, international travel... Her motivational sounded a bit like 'the Secret' which I totally disagree with. Just because you think of what you want the universe will make it come true, that type of thinking. With a bit of nuance I can agree that by not desperately wanting stuff, oddly enough things start happening for you. After applying for the theater project in 2010, my troupe membership of DDD naturally came out of it, as did the next theater production and the one we're working on right now.

Interesting enough, when this question was asked nine years ago at raks, many people had dreams of making it in the international scene. Now, most of the dancers were less ambitious, focusing more on the long term enjoyment of dance. Ee talked a bit about how the industry of dances very demanding. It was a good talk.

Unfortunately I woke up in the middle of the night because my pelvic floor felt like it was dropping two floors down. I've heard of it (the ligaments that hold the uterus are stretching to accomodate for the baby) but it still was very uncomfortable and hard to walk to the bathroom. It was gone in the morning (phew!). One day down, three more to go.
mekyria: (Default)
I'm in Leuven and so far things are great! Met up with a couple of people plus artemisia and ava and had a pleasant evening talking about dance and other things. Bring on the classes!
mekyria: (Default)
I am looking through pictures from Indonesia and noticed that I had to send out video to two DBC participants. So I send out the video material and then opened the online photoalbum of Monique with pictures from DBC. OMG!! Monique did an amazing job at catching good moments during dance camp. I'll share a couple of my favorites here with you:
Read more... )
mekyria: (Default)
It was a rather relaxed day, starting off with Zumba taught by Fatima. I asked Fatima about teaching Zumba and she told me that if I wasn't planning on teaching it right away, doing the teacher training would not make sense. Her class was fun and included more dance combinations then most Zumba classes.

Aziza and Issam ran us through the drum solo chore, that started to sound pretty familiar by now. The clsses ended at 12.30 so we had time to prepare for the hafla. What we actually did was walk to the shops and do some serious shoe shopping at a store called Tamaris. I bought two sets of shoes: black and brown sandalettes* and blue pumps. They are adorable! We went back to the hotel with Sandy and did the make-up routine and try-outs of eighties outfits. The theme of DBC was eighties and I made good use of my panther print leggins, neon leg warmers and sweatbands. I wore a lot of fluorescent colors combined that do nothing for my complexion but it sure was fun!

The hafla was very nice, a mixed program hitting of with our drum solo, several performances of Aziza, Issam, Khalida, Queeny. We had a couple of drum fanatics in the audience who were mesmerized by Issam playing the drums. A good time was had by all, though we noticed that the french speaking participants tended to not interact much with the others on account of only speaking french. Most of us spoke English with a heavy accent from our own language. It was a really good party.

*Sandalettes: sandals, but with heels! Not to be confused with pumps (heels, but less to no straps)
mekyria: (Default)
Nearing the end! Friday was better, I decided that I wanted to drum for our final dance performance instead of dancing. My big revelation this week is that I LOVE drumming. Perfectionist me loves how you can keep on meedling forever with the sounds, tempo and variations. Artistic me loves to feel the drum come alive underneath my hands, being hypnotized by the rhythm and lets not forget the potential for jamming sessions around the campfire. Dancer me tells me to stop swooning over the darbuka and get up and dance to the music.

It also helps that I can do some of the variations with extra teks in it, meaning that the bar was raised. Eep! Issam collected 'his band' from our group and we worked on playing the whole drum solo while the dancers polished the choreography. I can do a Saaidi with extra teks but I have to concentrate and I will fall out of the rhythm every now and then. Basic saaidi is:

Doum Tek -- Doum doum --- Tek

A doum is a low slap with the hand towards the center of the drum, a tek is a higher pitched slap near the rim. The more embellished version is:

Doum tek tek-e-tek doum doum tek-e-tek tek-e

You play 8 extra slaps in the same amount of time. Yes, my hands were sore. The downside is that I didn't get much dancing done in the last couple of days. The upside is that I got to drum some more. :-)

The evening activity was watching Project bellydance, season one with the group. Aziza interviewed me outside about DBC, some footage might appear as an extra on a dvd sometime. You will see me wearing Khalida's scarf and Meri's lipstick, as I was dressed rather conservative that night. We stayed a bit longer when most people left and the bartender pulled out a copy of the 'Just Dance!' game. It shows you a video of dancing figures and you have to copy it. We could not resist the temptation and did some pretty cheesy eighties songs together, much appreciated and enustomers (group of tango dancers who didn't dare to join in) and the crew (Two bartenders, who kept on suggesting new songs).
mekyria: (Default)
This was the hardest day for me, physically. Mentally I noticed that I was balanced, which is good. There have been weeks in Duisburg that left me crying and confused because there were so many impressions and new people that my brain overloaded. It might have made a different that I already knew several of the participants and that it was in Blegium so I could often speak my own language.

Day 4 started with Jillian Michaels 'Ripped' level 1. It is slightly harder then the shred series but I liked it. High Intensity Interval Training seems to be an easy way to work in a small amount of cardio and strength training into your day. It is hard work though, the back of my legs were killing me.

On day 4 we finished the drum solo choreo and drummed the whole thing. We had a party at Johanna's room for the people staying in the Ibis. Johanna is sassy, fun, smart, and slightly bolder then everyone else. For example, her eighties costume was outrageously gorgeous. We got down to her room for beer, wine, hard liquor from Tsjech Republic and personal stories. It was very good! Sharon and I went back to our room around 01.30, trying to pronounce the Polish tongue twister that Camelia tried to teach us. It sounds like 'tsj tss tsh tthsjsht sthsst sstj tsjj'. Our new friends are:

Camilia - Polland. Blond hair, very slender, has a very tight muscular dance style. Has a great sense of humor, but you need to get to know her in order to understand her. 25ish?
Jannah - Tsjech Republic. Blond, open face, loose and wild dance style. Twenty four I think?
Johanna - Belgium. Strong dancer, very good technique. Blond with a smile like she is thinking of skipping school and going to the pool instead
Hanne -blond, short, full figured and a mouthwatering dancer. I totally melted watching her performance! She is quiet but speaks her mind when she feels comfortable
Anja - Belgium. Slightly older, I think forty something. She had a blast.

At this time, fatigue started to set in and my roommate Sharon told me that I had been repeating the tongue twisters in my sleep that night. She found it pretty amusing :-)
mekyria: (Default)

I don't want to go home. Ever.

We're already halfway, had a lovely dinner with a couple of girls tonight. It is so nice to be surrounded by crazy people who understand crazy me. To not worry about work, to focus solely on dance, to feel like you are learning things that will stick with you through your dancing. I nearly cried during dinner because it was so awesome.

Two more days to go, saturday is the hafla and sunday choreo review and going home.

mekyria: (Default)

The fatigue was okay, I started the day with Jillian Michaels daily shred level 1 in pantherprint leggings. After a quick recap of yesterdays rhythms and a small detour by Issam to other related rhythms, we started on the rhythms of the day: wahda kabira and karsilama. Very nice explanation from both a musicians and a dancers point of view. We did some dancing to the karsilama but haven't gotten to that part yet in the choreography.

Today we learned how to drum the first part of the drum solo, which I am really excited about. How awesome is it to be able to play the drum? I do ofcourse have every intention of continuing playing but since I can't even do one inatructional dvd in two years, that probably is not going to happen. The morning workouts have inspired me to return to my dvd collection and start shredding again. I have fond memories of lying on my livingroom floor whith a dvd instructor telling me that 'results come from hard work, keep on pushing!)

mekyria: (Default)

We arrived yesterday at the hotel that is Not In The City Center. This detail is important, as I arrived after the hourly bus just left. Took a cab instead and arrived around 19.30(left home around 14:20). The reunion with my roommate was succesful, we vaguely know each other from previous events. Sharon is a really sweet, slightly introvert girl, very bright and easy to communicate with. We met up with Khalida and Queenie last night, and two other participants and we had dinner together before heading to bed early on account of having a full day ahead of Aziza and Issam.

Unfortunatly, the hotel room smells like cigarette smoke and it is rather noisy, but the other girls mentioned the same issues so asking for another room felt like too much hassle. We'll deal with it. With the airco on we had a good nights rest and found some more bootcampees downstairs at the breakfast buffet and we got a ride from Femke who is also super sweet. This was fortunate. It is the only thing that causes us some stress, because we don't want to be like 'hey, give us a ride?' all the time. We kind of feel bad about it, on account of being used to get everywhere by public transportation or walking. We knew this before booking so it is not a big issue, just something to get used to.

Bootcamp is perfectly organized, the classes are well thought out in both content and timing and everyone is simply amazing. I will probably write this again at the end of the week, but Q and K are doing a splendid job. We learned three rhythms, danced to it, played it on the doumbek, danced with zills and learned the first part of the drum solo choreo. Time to find some food!

mekyria: (belly dance floorwork)
I'm back from RAKS, a four day belly dance camp in leuven with flisties Artemisia, Khalida and Razia. It was so much fun, I love it! Shared a room with Sandra and I was a bit worried about getting along when we are both tired, but it was great. Actually the whole group was very focused, open and serious about the dance. On our way back home we spotted five rainbows, and I was reminded of our rainbow spotting for Nargis's event two months ago. Seems nature is giving me a rating system for BD events: I think five rainbows means it was excellent!

More on RAKS later, but it was fun to be there. I might do the Ava Fleming weekend in October too, but I have to figure out my schedule/finances for the rest of the year to see if it is humanly possible. 

I contacted the girl I interviewed last week and she like to move in per September the first, so I've made the contract + general rules for her so we can go over them tomorrow. Dad is dropping by tomorrow to finish the last plinths in the room and help me with some other stuff, I need to pick up my super secret info for my business bank account and pick up a package. In short, I asked my boss if I could get the whole day off instead of half the day as I intended. I also think I have a cavitiy in one of my back teeth, so I need to contact the dentist, I'll be at the orthodontist tomorrow for a regular check up so I'll ask them how that works.

Also, I received my first paycheck!!! *does a happy dance* Tonight I have Ben& Jerry's Chocolate Fudge Icecream for desert :) Here are the first pictures from RAKS:

Read more... )

mekyria: (gezicht rode sluier)
 I've been offline yesterday because I went on an a road trip with Isandria and Hadyr to Bella. And I know you guys are dying to know what the Bella store looks like and if we bought something once you'd know about the road trip, so I've been keeping it quiet. I've only been to Bella once, with RakkasahBarbara, three or four years ago and have never bought a new Bella. Click on the link for the really long story! 

Read more... )
mekyria: (zills and practice gear)
Since there's a lot to go over, I'm splitting the review into seperate pieces and I'll send a non-lj friendly email to Artemisia. On to the workshops! For those of you who don't want to read all the details, here's a rating overview:

Farida Fahmy - saidi choreography: nice
Randa kamel- modern cairo style: technique: mwah
yasmina- baladi: loved it
Nour - baladi technique: mwah
Oranit - costume workshop: nice
Fathiem: shimmy layers/combinations: loved it
Asi Haskal - egyptian style mix : nice

on to the details! )
mekyria: (wanna hear?)

Can't write much because I'm too tired, just wanted to let you know that I had a great time at the festival. And that I'm going to write a lengthy review on organising big belly dance events, because there is a lot I weant to write about...

I caught my train to Leuven on time and had a lovely evening with Artemisia, with chocolate mousse, red wine and lots of BD talk. And ofcourse a tour of the new house! Everything went well when I tried to get to the congress location in Brussels and I took workshops with Farida Fahmy, Randa Kamal, Yasmina from Caïro, Nour, Fathiem and Asi. Skipped one, took one costuming workshop with Oranit (very nice Israeli designer, I took notes for an article and got some cards and flyers for Artemisia) and tried to perform on the open stage, but it didn't work out.

Didn't buy new costumes (though was tempted to ask Oranit to make me one) but I went wild on music and dvd's. Inspired and refreshed once more, I have renewed intentions of finally doing the BD dvd's that I haven't used sofar. On the way back home I was wondering about my vision on workshops:There were three workshops that I really enjoyed, because of the way the teacher approached the subject and because of the atmosphere. It sometimes felt with several Big Name instructors as if a workshop wasn't supposed to be fun, but hard work on intricate moves. I feel that a workshop needs to be both, because students will not be inspired by a whole bunch of combinations or a shiny choreography if they're not inspired to practice it after the workshop.



September 2017

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