mekyria: (2013 indonesie 2)
Or the whole title:'The Belly Dance Book - The Serena Technique for Learning Belly Dancing for Fitness and Fun by Serena and Alan Wilson'

I received this book as a inheritence gift from Ada. This book was originally published in 1972 and reedited and republished in 1983. If you are interested, you can get your own copy from Amazon starting at roughly 4 usd. I don't want to bash this book as it is very useful and contains many interesting and helpful hints. However, reading this book, some things struck me as rather odd. Part of it is due to the times changing in the past fourty year, part of it in changes to what is healthy for our body or the amount of control we have over our bodies/ SOme of it is about the position of women in society. It will take me a while to go through the whole book, but I'll share some gems with you in a series of posts.

For your viewing pleasure, I present to you: the WTF review of Serena Bellydance Book.

Foreword, page ix
'Mideastern dancing was often performed in tents, in a kneeling position or posing on the floor'
OMG I've been doing it wrong all these years with standing and walking around and such.

'Students of yoga have aske Serena why she does not do breathing exercises. She answers that she does not need to. As long as we live, we breathe'
I read this as a major smackdown between the upcoming yoga cult in 1970-1980. A long haired hippy person yelling at Serena 'WHY DO YOU NOT TEACH BREATHING?'. And Serena calmly replying 'I call your breathing exercise bullshit, for if we don't breath we would die!! We should not learn how to breath but how to breath better. Bellydance is teaching you how to move while breathing, take that you Lululemon wearing scum!'

Page x
'Another benefit is instilling in obese women the impetus to lose weight.[...] In Serena's studio, each student must check her movements in the mirrored wall, and cannot avoid comparison with her teacher or other students with beautifully trained bodies'
This is the reason why I often teach without using the mirror. Well, and because my beautifully trained body contains delicious rolls of fat. I am not inpsiirng people to lose weight, I am inspiring them to move. I can't help but wondering about this comment, as somebody who was considered fat in the seventies would be regular sized these days. My parents were tiny in the seventees. On homevideo's, everybody in my family plus all bystanders were decidedly skinny. I would definitely not go to a class that would fat shame me, but in those days it probably was a good thing according to this book.

'Another movement in Mieastern dancing is unique.[...]Serena calls this movement the head slide  .[...]Many a tension headache has found dramatic relief from this exercise, which is difficult for most of us to do.'
Next time you're having a headache or a migraine, try headslides. It never helped me to relieve my headaches, but then again I am doing tiny headcircles and slides every day while I wait for my train to arrive, so maybe I'm immune for tension headaches.

I am going to leave you guys with this, as going through the whole book might be  bit much in one post. Stay tuned and remember to do your tent dance, it is heartily recommenden and great fun!'
mekyria: (2013 indonesie 2)
I finally got around to adding my creditcard information to Dawn Devine's new book on Assuit is out and I wanted it badly.

After loging in, I see that my previous attempt to buy the gilded serpent reader is still in my cart, so I buy that one too. Hey, Suzycat wrote an article and I need to support my friends!

And then Dawn posts a discount coupon to 'Teaching Bellydance' by Sara Shrapnel so I had to buy it.

There you have it, my hand was forced.
mekyria: (tribal dance castle fest)
Intentions are great. Ideas that bubble through your head, the excitement of creating something. And then life hits you with amazing things that deserve your full attention.

A couple of weeks ago, I bursted out crying because I forgot my dentist appointment. E. came home and found me crying behind the stove, baking pancakes and stuffing my face with delicious cinnamon and sugar coated Dutch pancakes while sobbing. Because I couldn't remember my dentist appointment. Because I was working late at my dayjob. Because I juggle four roles and I do this illusionist trick with my agenda that makes me believe that I can do everything.

I wasn't crying because I mised the opportunity to get my filling replaced. I cried because I realized that I had a ton of change in my life in the past couple of months and a lot more coming my way. I cried because I wanted it all and couldn't have it. Like a four year old in a supermarket throwing a temper tantrum, I was cursing the world for not making me perfect.

And then I realized that I love who I am and that E. loves every bit of me and wants to spend the rest of his life with me. That I have friends and family that care about me, a job where I can find myself working late because it is all so fascinating. And that the only one who has unrealistic expectations of me, is myself.

So I quit. I decided that I could always finish the book at a later date. In the meantime I enjoy working my way through our garden with a chainsaw, planning our wedding and drink wine in the sun. Life is too short to beat myself up all the time. Cheers!
mekyria: (gothic girl with tanktop)
I like to draw and did a lot of drawing when I was in high school. I even graduated with arthistory/drawing as an offciail course and considered going to artschool. I chose to do psychology instead. I kept on doodling in the margins of my notebooks and I got to use some creative juices on my costuming website (RIP 2001-2013).

I have always seen myself as more of an illustrative artist: strong lines, I love ink and watercolor. Something about the perceived strongness in ink black lines combined with the fluid quality of watercolor and festive feel of bright colors intrigues me. For my first costuming book in 2007 I made black and white line drawings, with the intention of coloring them some day.drawings behind the cut )I'm adding drawings of dancers of color, girls and older women, pregnant dancers, different sizes and male dancers. However, for display purposes a standard mannequin is easier. I also have a couple of drawings that are more like artwork then illustrative but I wonder if people who use this book need to see this diversity or are better off with standard drawings. What type of images would you like to see in a costuming book, besides the traditional how-to tutorial images of patterns and explanation of how to construct items?

I'm in luck

Jun. 4th, 2011 10:13 am
mekyria: (2004 rood kostuum)
 This weekend is the first time that trains are not delayed by scheduled maintenance on the railroad tracks. I can catch the 13.00 train instead of the 12.00 train to The Hague for the scheduled Oum Kolthoum Project rehearsal and I'll be home in time to get some more stuff done for tomorrow's student recital. My students are very happy and looking forward to show their family and friends what they've learned. I have done extensive preparations in the past couple of weeks but there is a truckload of stuff that I need to take with me and I'm not sure if one bike ride will be enough. If you see me balancing four bags while bicycling through the center of Utrecht tomorrow, give me a thumbs up!

In other random news, I had dinner with Asha and Willem yesterday and A lend me two Sookie Stackhouse novels (9 and 10). Can't wait to get started on those! 
mekyria: (lego head kyria)
 It might not be a surprise that I'm big on doing more with less. Spending money is not something that makes me happy (or sad, for that matter). What makes me happy is using the things that I have and buying what I need, instead of wanting things that I don't have and buying things I want, but don't need. In Dutch/Flemish it's called consuminderen (consume + the Dutch word for 'less').

Today Christa, a student of Roos, came buy and took the two bags with fabric scraps with her. I also gave her the two boxes with sequins and beads that I bought eight years ago from a retiring dancer, knowing how much fun she'll have using them. I used bits of those boxes in the past, but it felt like it was time to move on and give them to her. 

On a side note: I'm booked for a performance on Sunday and I found out that if you have a specific book with you, you can travel for free. The catch? You can only get the book if you buy 12,50 of Dutch books this week. The train ticket would have been 12,20. A pretty good deal! Now I'm trying to figure out what book I want to buy, in order to get the extra book and free public transportation on Sunday. Maybe a book on dancers anatomy? 

My question for you is: what are the books high on you 'want to buy' list? Not necessary the same as the books on the 'want to read' list, that's what libraries are for :)
mekyria: (HEC headshot)
the Utrecht University library! I kicked myself today and went to the library to dig for literature for my thesis. Only three more months before the deadline, I need to set the theoretical framework in january. Yesterdays christmas dinner/party at work was great, after the obligatory speech from the director and handing out prizes for publications, we got to digg in on delicious Italian food and chat with our colleagues. This year, they hired a DJ and put a small dancefloor with colored lights in one of the rooms. Nothing fancy like John Travolta's dancefloor, but it did the trick. By nine o clock the floor was full with people having fun and dancing around! Joyce was there too and together we did fun stuff while dancing. She's also a dance fanatic, though more into ballet and modern dance. The traintride home took half an hour longer then ususal due to the snow, so we used it to talk. She might drop by tomorrow during our birthday party. We got our chirstmas present from HEC: a box with fair trade goodies. If you're visiting for our birthday tomorrow, you can enjoy water from a glass bottle made in brasil :) It's my birthday today but I don't feel like partying. First find and read some more literature, then go home and prepare for party tomorrow. We already did a lot of stuff this morning, getting groceries, an extra trip to the liquor store (the dutch word slijterij sounds way classy compared to liquor store) and cleaning and decluttering. We decided to give away books that we like but don't want to keep to friends so our bookcases remain uncluttered. Sort of, anyway. We put everything in a big box, let me know if you're interested in a particular style and I'll see if I have something you like. Lots of English books in there too. Swas, thought that you might like Twilight and other vampire novels. Hanging on to the sookie stackhouse novels, I want to reread those a couple of times the next year. Tonight we're going to make stuff: apple pie and several quiches. Jeoffrey is in charge of those, so I can clean the bathroom. I'm excited because the christmas holiday is finally here!


Feb. 24th, 2009 10:12 pm
mekyria: (lolita stairs)

I promised to read, and read I did. The Dutch railway company helped me out by not letting trains go through betwen The Hague and Utrecht, forcing me to wait for 30 minutes at the station. Read since last weekend:

Kirstie Alley - How to loose your ass and regain your life
There's a lot in it if you want to read about Kirstie, not much about regaining your life or loosing your ass.I liked her open way of digging into the memories that are behind her distorted view of herself.

Madam my mother- Yvonne Keuls
I read this one already and like the first time, it made me cry. My grandmother is also called mammie and she never found shoes that she could walk on, being used to the Indonesian climate and wearing slippers all day.

Johnny and the dead- Terry Pratchett
Nice, though the humor and writing is not as sharp as in the discworld series. Love it though, he has a unique view on the world and a clear and a clear way of putting his idease into words.
mekyria: (Default)

My library books were overdue at the start of januari and I decided that I should work my way throgh the unread books in my bookcases before borrowing from the public library again. I wanted to read ‘De bovenbenen van Olga de Haas’ for over a year now, and found it for a discount price at the Slechte. This book is written by a academic writer who did indepth research between 1993-2000 in ballet, the Dutch development of danceschools in the Netherlands and the views on a dancers life. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in dance: it’s well-written, well documented and entertaining. More then that, it adds information from dancers on dancers. Something that is lacking in a lot of other dance research publication, that focus on the repression of females, the unhealthy body image that ballet promotes and everything that dancers have to give up to follow their dream.

 In her book she strongly argues that dancers don’t give up living to be a dancer. With many examples from interviews, articles this book made me feel like I had an inside peek in the life of dancers. I really like how she explained the professional dance world in the Netherlands, the difference between modern and classic ballet, the opportunities for dancing in a company and the attitudes of dancers towards secondary education, injuries and pain.

Weak points:

-the book is in Dutch, which makes it hard to recommend to international readers. However, I encourage you to check out the English articles of the same writer.

-At times I found the reference to the dancer as a mythical creature on the weak side. She uses several articles and two movies about ballet dancers to make the point that the life of a dancer is often idealised. However, some of the articles speak of the image of the dancer on stage, as opposed to the dancer as a whole.

-the main theme throughout the book is the life and death of Dutch dancer Olga de Haas. The anecdote about her is repeated over and over again in every chapter, which annoyed me because it didn’t add new information to what was already written.

 Interesting articles:

The message of pain. Listening to your body can help to prevent injuries. Rotterdam: Codarts University for the arts


‘knowledge makes you better- online publication:

 website van Anna Aalten:

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