mekyria: (orange butterfly jump)
I am continuing to squeeze in bellydance practice and in a moment of weakness signed up for the improvising course on this website:

Seven classes on improvising by an American dancer who has been performing in Egypt for years. Some of the classes are with live percussion. This should be interesting.

I was reading Andalee's blog about Cairo and I longed for Egypt and this happened. I look forward to working on the classes but I also have to prepare the choreographies for my class starting next Monday, plus find a 48 hour timeslot in February to work on my audition for BDE. I am still working with Jenna's 'The Next Level' dvd, this is a recording of how far I am with her drum solo choreography, it's nice to work on something for myself and though there are a million little things I'd like to correct, overall I am pretty pleased.

In case you were wondering what a dancer could possibly do with a worldwide available choreography on dvd, here are a few suggestions.
1. teach it to your beginners

2. Use it as  atroupe performance piece

3. put on a costume and videotape yourself in front of a webcame in a dimly lit living room with barely audible music
mekyria: (2013 indonesie 2)
With a bit of a break between day 1 and 2 due to health, However, I did get back into it.

Day 3
I was still chewing on the material from Fluid Tribal bellydance with Fayzah. This time I decided to start with the warm up. Unfortunately it was a warm up aimed at superfit twenty year old dancers. It included a whole lot of crunches, some squats, stretches that weren't held long enough for me and so on. I did a quick run through of the tribal basic moves and then moved on to the choreography. I had been stalling this part because the choreography is daunting.

The choreography is 1.16 minute long. The choreography explanation is 8.04 minutes long. I kid you not.

My rule of thumb for creating and learning choreography is that it takes roughly one our per minute of intermediate/advanced choreography to create the basic framework. It then takes three hours to get the framework solid in your body for one minute of choreography. It takes roughly five more hours of practice per minute of choreography to make it smooth and polished. Compared to the other teachers in my area, I am pretty fast with creating and learning choreography.

I did the choregraphy section and paused after every combination, practiced a couple of times, then moved on. At this pace it took me roughly 30 minutes to go through this section. It is a fun tribal choreography and contains some of the moves she explained in the earlier sections BUT I can't get it to work for me. Oriental dancer says 'no'. Instead I jotted down the moves I really liked and created my own practice flow, which is roughly four times slower and a hell of a lot more fun.

I then started on the preparation of my Zambra Mora class and worked on the hand-out. My search took me to Old Bhuz and it was fabulous. In depth threads on dance styles, remember those? Say all you want about facebook but facebook is impossible for searching and retrieving information. We're basically just yapping at each other in groups now with the memory of a goldfish.

Day 4
I planned on dancing but I didn't. Instead I continued on my hand-out for Zambra Mora, created a playlist with music for the class and then decided to make a new free hand-out for circle skirts. It took me three hours, using material from my 2007 costuming book combined with new insights on costuming and what a useful format would be. I then continued to write out the chapters of my Bellydance skirts e-book (in Dutch) that I plan to release later this year. It will contain at least ten extensive how-to's on bellydance skirts and in total will be roughly 50 pages. This is a follow up of my grand masterplan to not rewrite my costuming book, but instead make smaller (wahahaha!) seperate publications for online sales. The freebie turned out pretty good and if I can work some more this week on the rest of the patterns I might send out the newsletter in January announcing the release date, probably start of March 2015. I need products that I can sell during the expected time that I won't be teaching/performing next year if I get pregnant again.

Day 5
I dug through my dvd collection and found some real gems. I started with Jenna's Bellydance, the next level. It is a WDNY dvd so quality is good and this dvd is more my style so easier to work with.

The warm up works for me and I did the three drill sections for a total of 35 minutes. I stopped at the choreography section and instead put on steady music to drill the combinations I wrote down from the fluid fusion dvd. The moves are growing on me and hav an Indian flavor to them. If I continue drilling these, I will put them in my new intermediates choreography, to give them something to chew on. Looking at Fayzah's website, she has dropped bellydancing and is now into futuristic streetdance stuff. I dare you to watch her trailer. It contains dancing octopussy, fire breathing, headstands and a windows phone commercial
mekyria: (2013 indonesie 2)
For posterities sake I'll keep a record of a mini version of Andalee's 90 day challenge. I've just started and I'll see where it ends. My previous bouts of super activity are usually brought on by bad things happening in my life. For example, four years ago my break up with my ex caused me to finish two complete costumes and various projects from my to-do pile, I organized a bellydance show and worked my ass off, creating two solo performances that I am still really proud off.

I might as well make the most of my current state of mind and dive into my costuming and dance passion.

Day 1

I started off easy with one of my alltime favorites: Jillina's Shap up and hip out. It contains three practice flows of 20 minutes each, with the first one on beginner level, second on intermediate and third on advanced level. I usually cheat by skipping the first section but this time I didn't. It caused me to feel a bit frustrated and bored at times because things were moving slow. I really wanted to experience those feelings as students will often experience these emotions in class too (well, not too often, I hope). What helped me is the knowledge that the next sections would be more enjoyable. I also noticed after about ten minutes, that I started to be more relaxed and that I could pay more attention to the details of basic moves. Much like dance meditation, I felt more ín my body'. It helped me to correct my posture consistently throughout the first section and the effect carried over in the other two sections. Nice! I finished up with a couple of sun salutations.

Day 2

This was one of those days that I didn't know what I wanted to do. It is hard to get moving if I have no clear idea of what I'm doing. I popped in the 2th dvd from From A to Zoe, which contains great material but coldn't grab my attention. I wanted to move instead of work on intricate isolations!I was in doubt between doing an Essentrics dvd as I really enjoy those, but that wouldn't be bellydance. I ended up with Bellydance Fluid Tribal with Fayzah, with the idea that it would be better suited to my mood.

Wowza, this is a good dvd! Not for beginners, as all the tribal moves are explained in ery short sections. I did get inspired by the moves and got hooked on pausing the dvd and trying several moves in order to get it right. I did fail miserably at that, I'll need to work at least 5-6 times with this dvd to get the material into my body. Fayzah is a soft spoken, excellent multi diciplinairy dancer. There is some ballet technique in there, some modern... I only got through the explanation of basic tribal fusion moves and the practice flow (twice). She is also teaching a choreography (watched it, tried it, too hard for me right now) and the performances.

I will not abandon my love for Egyptian and folcloric dance but this dvd certainly helped me to get inspired and get moving. So that's what I plan to do tomorrow: try the meditation and warming-up section (I skipped it because I didn't feel like meditation). I recommend this dvd because it has some excellent ideas on turns, moves and combinations that translate well to traditional bellydance.

as I felt inspired afterwards I hunted youtube for clips on skirt dancing. I'll teach a class on skirt dancing in January and I need to prepare. I also started sewing crystals to my old school Bella Bedlah to add a bit more bling to the costume. I end up wearing it every year with different skirts, for different performances so I might as well make it prettier for the next time.
mekyria: (secret look close up)
I am failing miserably on [ profile] replyhazy's challenge to take a prisitine BD instructional dvd out of shrinkwrap every month, view it and write a review on LJ.On the bright side, through LJ I was reminded about the alignment dvd's so I bought a basic kit with a book and two dvds to improve the alignment in my feet and 'down there'.

The interwebz is making me procrastinate. 
mekyria: (tribal fusion sword)
I had my eye on the 'ballet for bellydancers'dvd by Cheeky Girls Productions for a while. I placed a wholesale order and it just arrived! Now I'm totally broke, have to sell the extra dvd's soon, but I can continue the ballet excercises for a while!
mekyria: (2004 rood kostuum)

The workshop with Yasmina from Caïro was a pleasant suprise at the Raqs Congress. She's a beautiful dancer, both from the inside as the outside. I purchased the "Journey of desire' dvd from her and I finally had the time to watch it. First of all, I think this dvd is amazing. When I watched it, I felt like it transported me back to Caior. Even though I've been there for a couple of days, I could almost feel the dry heat and microscopic dust. I have to admire for what Yasmina is trying to convey: how she came to Caïro and made it as a professional dancer, but also the hurdles that she (and all foreign dancers) have to take if they want to perform in Egypt.

The story
the dvd starts with pictures of the english home where Yasmina grew up with Yasmina's voice telling us that at age fifteen she didn't want to be a professional dancer. So how did she end up in Caïro? I won't go into much detail, but the dvd touches several subjects that dancers are interested in, mainly:
- why do dancers want to dance in Egypt?
-what is the magical thing that Egyptian dancers have and foreigners don't?
-your own orchestra: how Yasmina treats hers, and the responsibility that comes with it.
-costumes (includes interviews with several costume designers like Amira El Kattan and Beata Cifuentes stating that:'if you're not good at dance, at least look good'.
-short bit about saidi including cute performance
-a totally weird bit about driving your car in Caïro that goes into a sort of shaabi/arabic MTV danceclip in a garage with Yasmina in a purple wig and disco costume.
-About the golden age of bellydance, belly dance movies and how they're still attractive after five decades. Followed by a golden era clip
-also : what happens if you get a permit and want to perform? Includes interviews with two agents, footage of Yasmina practicing back in 1995 with choreographer.

Interlaced is the story of a foreign dancer that tells us about the paperwork she has to go through to be allowed to dance.

Some things that annoyed me:
-no menu, so hard to flip through
-wonderful dancing, but the editing in several clips is very hectic
-the car driving part in Caïro doesn't fit well into the storyline and the fast forward footage of driving through Caïro is nice, but too long

I absolutely love this dvd and will probably watch it many times over. Also very nice to show to students if you want to explain the feeling that is attached to raqs sharqi in Egypt and most Arabic countries. While I was watching, Jeoffrey stoped and watched some parts with me. I tried to explain how raqs sharqi has the ability to touch all Egyptians and he ahd a hard time believing this. It's a strange concept to us, western people, how a whole country can cry when they hear a classic Oum Kolthoum song, or see a dancer express the music without doing visually complex stuff.

For future reference, I found interesting links about the dvd and about dancing in Caïro as a foreigner:
gilded serpent review
Meissoun - when the lights go out
how to get a dancingpermit in Egypt
sabirye- working in the middle-east
bellylorna - a scottish bellydancer in Caïro

mekyria: (Default)
I bought the new dvd 'the best oriental dancers of Europe'at OM. Mainly because three teachers of the 'verdiepingscursus'are on them: farouq, Ahlem and Mariska. There are two other Dutch dancers on it (Sena and Soraya), German dancers and two dancers from FInland and one from Denmark. I'll post a full review of this dvd in a few days after I watched it a couple of times. This is one of the first dvd's that originate from European dancers, are paid for by several dancers and promoted by each of them.

I think the lay-out of the dvd cover is awful, very kitch. Jeoffrey said it reminded him of what Russion porntapes look like (the lay-out and font, not the pictures of the dancers!). Quality of the recording is very high, editing is off beat more then once (it's a very slight difference between music and movement in some of the cuts). Europeans are obviously miles behind when it comes to making dvd's. I offered to write a review and post it on my BD website and got a luke-warm response. They know that my reviews show my perspective and I try not to sugarcoat it.

I love Mariska's performance. Her technique is wonderful, and though I know very little of Bharat Najam, I think her performance is a good example of good indain dance/bellydance fusion. Peter's performance shows of his subtlety and flowing moves, but I missed the charisma and emotion of his live performances. Ahlem is one of my favorite Dutch dancers. Her facial expressions really touched me, in live performances she seems more distant to me. Again very nice technique (ah, if only I had twenty years under my belt!) though one thing I noticed is that her arms are also a focus point for her. (at least it seems that way in this recording, it never attracted my attention before).

Wether this dvd showcases THE BEST DANCERS OF EUROPE is something that I don't agree with. The other dancers didn't impress me much: maybe because the egyptian style is harder to capture on film then the american style. It's easy to like the BD superstars: what's on tape is what they show on stage. Capturing the emotion of an egyptian baladi might be something that's not figured out yet.
mekyria: (Default)
I bought this dvd second hand from a fellow bhuzzer.Keti Sharif is well know in the BD community for her A to Z bellydance series, in which she has a combination for every letter of the alfabet.

There are two options on this dvd: either follow the complete work-out, or pick one of the three sessions. The lay-out is basic and the dvd doesn't contain extra's like a performance, bio or trailers for her other dvd's. There is no substantial warming up, though she starts slowly and with several stretches. The first part is belly dance based and uses several of her A-Z combinations. I wouldn't recommend this for a beginner, because the instruction is minimal while the combinations are not basic 4 by 4 combo's. Her way of choreographing is interesting and I like her combo's, but if you'r not used to it you'll have to stumble through it the first 3-5 times.

The second part is salsa based and uses salsa steps, square steps and a kick/walk combination. It keeps you moving, but there's a lot of repetition in here. Probably a good thing, because she's also using several BD combo's from the first part.

The third part is calld 'shape' and is based on indi-fusion. It appears to me that it's mostly BD moves, not a lot of typical indan or bollywood moves. This part slows down with stretches, some more A-Z combinations and an impromptu sunsalute.

What I like about this dvd:
-Keti Sharf has a nice voice and gives little instruction, so you're forced to follow along to understand her moves
-her choreo's are fun, easy to remember and easy to incorporate into your dance
-there's a clear distinction between the BD and salsa part
-the production and sound quality is high
-she has her own work-out music with ME rythms and sounds in it and she really dances to the music
-it gets your blood pumping

What I didn't like:
-sometimes a block fades out while they're in the middle of a combination. annoying.
-the third part didn't use Indian fusion moves and didn't get me into shape.
-if you're adding a yoga piece, tell people to have a yogamat ready
-it's very repetitive at times, especially the square step and g-combo
-there is no introduction or disclaimer while this dvd is obvious meant for dancers with experience in oriental/salsa dance

In short:
I would recommend this dvd to dancers who would like to get a taste of Keti's A-z system and want a work-out for inbetween. DOn't expect weight training, it's more like aerobics. I think 39 USD is a lot for what this dvd has to offer. Buy it second hand or go for her a-z combo dvd if you're looking for an instructional dvd. I'm curious about her A-Z program, but it's way to expensive to purchase new. I'm waiting around untill someone sells their copy :)
mekyria: (Default)
The gothic BDSM scene from the gothic bellydance dvd is placed online, together with Jehan's motivation. Check it out on the hip circle:
mekyria: (Default)
I've been watching three bellydance dvd's today:' That's Hot!', ' lights, camera, bellydance' and 'shake it up!'.

Most memorable awful performances:
-Kaya and Sadie dressed up in white feather boas including the white feather headdress, doing extremely huge pelvic moves. It'll take a while before this is out of my system
- meleha doing an oriental fantasy number in a catsuit with ski-pant feet and a black and gold lace thong and triangle bra tied on top of it. Too much 1001 night fabtasy, higly artistic floorwork without any depth in emotion. Why the thong?
-kaya doing the 'seduce the sultan act' with a dressed up guy in the background sitting on pillows and smoking a shisha. Loved the sleeves on her crop top. Hated her adult movie faces.
-bellydancer on speed doing cane dance. I like cane dance when done well, but this was just too much of everything.

what I liked:
-some of the duo dances where nice to watch, they match well when it comes to dance style, though I rather watch a dancer with smaller and more controlled moves. I like the hat-dance thing they did, very cabaret.
-ava fleming showed her amazing muscle control, but I think the music was added out of sync.
-Sadie has good technique and nice flwoing arms
-there are some great drum solo's on these dvd's.

Hate to say it, but my armwork is a bit like that of Kaya. ai. Right now it's a bit between Samia Gamal (she could get away with it, I can't) and kaya (I'd like to keep my arms up, but somehow they always go down). Need. more. practice. I'm going to tape some choreo's next teusday, some of which aren't finished yet, because I like to keep things open when performing.

Adana- turkish folk, upbeat song
Mouna- arabian classic, everything goes style wise (Egyptian would be best, but GP likes a mix of everything)
zay al asal
mekyria: (find your inner dancer)
On the American bellydance dvd is a section with scenes that they didn't use. One of those scenes is an interview with Fathiem. Standing outside in the bright sunlight, her stage make-up looks clownesk, her hair is obviously a wig and she looks tired. So that's the image that I had in my head when I popped in the Fathiem blue magic dvd.

This was originally recorded as a video in the past century. The transition from video to dvd shows in the quality of the material, but it's not annoying. In the dvd, they added chapters and a main menu. Compared to let's say the BDSS dvd's, this dvd contains a very small amount of performances. COnsidering the time period and resources needed when this video was made, it makes sense that 15 performances would be out of the question. The five performances on this dvd are outstanding.

The five dances each represent a different style of bellydance. The first is a very upbeat turkish song, on which Fathiem does lovely turkish bellydancing including playing perfect zills. Zills are one of her trademarks and I can see why!

The second dance is towards a song called 'Caïro'. While the song tells you how beautiful Caïro is, her dance made me homesick to a city that I've never been to. This dreamy performance includes veilwork with a lovely white veil (which is also featured on the cover) that fits perfectly into the music. This is an oriental fantasy piece.

The third dance is to La lorena, a song with spanish influences. this reflects in her costume: black and pink combined in a ruffled skirt, long lace gloves, a beaded bedlah and a pink fringed scarf around her shoulders. In this dance she uses the scarf as a veil, which works great. Again avery soulful performance.

The fourth dance is an upbeat dance to Dulab el Houb. By chosing fast music, she can show her skills on zills again. This lively performance got me on the edge of my chair, not because she's performing a lot of difficult moves, but because every move she makes looks so perfect. She's wearing the ruffled harempants that petite Jamilla was wearing during the BDSS tour. I think Fathiem got there first :)

The fifth song is Djamile, another very popular song with turkish gypsy style in it. The very long intro is purely danced with her arms and facial expression. It shows that emotion in dance can be shown with every part of the body. The song eases into the part where the singer joins the music. Again a slow song, danced very well.

In all this dvd has completely changed my view on Fathiem. She looks feminine, strong, vulnerable and energetic. Her dancestyle includes strong, fluent arms which transfer the emotion from the songs to the viewer. I'd love to see her perform live. She doesn't do locks or pops, which might became popular after this video was made. For all I know she might have compeltley changed her style in the meantime, if she maintains this level of dance I'm curious to see what she dances like now.

On her website there is not a hint at when she started dancing or how long she's been performing. However, it state sthat she received an award in 1991 for woman of the year. It can be asumed that she's been dancing since say 1980-1985. On her website and in her video you can see that she's not 25 anymore, but her choice in costume, tasteful dance and feeling with the music disguise this very well. Let's face it, when you see a dancer, you don't want to think about her physical imperfections all the time no matter what age she is. The costumes in this video are made well, suit her bodyshape and have a very unique touch to it. One of her other trademarks, by the way.

One thing: I couldn't get used to the wig. It's just too huge for my taste. Other then that, I totally love this dvd and will watch it more often. I can see why she got awarded by IAMED now. If you want to know more about Fathiem:
mekyria: (Default)
Sometimes it seems like the weight of the world is pressing on your shoulders all the time. How come that it can be so hard to find the energy for stuff that you love to do?

This is a good week, because I seem to have boundless energy. It might be because it's the week that I'm not taking the pil, I have to start saturday with a new strip. I got up early yesterday to prepare my class, print the bills for the health center, work, went to class and did 40 minutes of pilates afterwards.

I woke up feeling thouroughly worked out. I wish I did this more often! I did Aziza's practice companion this morning for the first time. I love her drills and her shimmy drill is to die for. It made me think about what I want to incorporate in my dayly drills and what I want to achieve. There are two performances on it that I also really enjoyed. She's such a beautiful woman and has a very 'real' feel to it. I like Jillina for her technique, but her stage pressence is obviously highly polished. Aziza shows her audience a part of herself when performing (and when teaching) that really pulls you into the music.
mekyria: (Default)
I ordered the two new bellytwin dvd's about a month ago and did indi-hop today, followed by Ava Flemings 'Dynamic Combinations' dvd.

more about them behind the cut! )
mekyria: (Default)
I've watched Awalim Dance company- Yalla! Yalla!

very nice dvd, good quality footage of live performances on a renaissance fair. It's clear to see why they choose Awalim, I think they recently changed their style a little but kept the name. Tribal troupe with very inventive floorpatterns and changes. They do like to shout the arabic words that they know very often, wether it suits the moment or not (like Habibi, yalla, salam aleikum and aiwa!)

Other dvd: Gypsy Caravan technique part 6

I'm not fond of the overal impression of Gypsy Caravan: I like to see dancers that project a bit of passion on stage. Most of the time they look like they're bored when dancing. This dvd is excellent quality evn if it costs you 40 dollars. It includes several movements and combinations from Indian and Spanish dance to spice up your tribal repetoir, and it certainly does spice it up! Paullette Rees-Denise is a goo teacher and explains every move whil another troupe memeber performs the move from different angles. Nice studio, well dressed dancers. One note: does being a tribal dancer mean that you don't need to shave your armpit or wear a bra that provides support? This was slightly distracting at times. Backless choli's are great when your breast are young and perky, but it's distracting when you are well endowed or gravity has a grip on you.
mekyria: (Default)
I got reply from the manager about the class flyers (see last post) and all he said was 'thank you for your input, we'll put your flyer in our newsletter and promote you on our website'.

I'm curious which one he picked, we'll have to see :)

I watched BDSS-solo's from Monte Carlo yesterday. I somehow feel that the term 'superstar'is not appropriate for this product. It feels like mre of the same thing, but not as good. Jillina did a dance to live music that was very Jillina. Her dancing was good, but the music was uninspiring. Rachel Brice also danced to a piece of uninspired music and she's danced better. Petit Djamilla performed in a glammed up hotpants and bikinibra. That was a big nono.

Bozenka is a new addition and a good dancer. Sonïa danced pretty and bland (but that's not new). I loved Sharon Kihara's performance, including the her peacock tatoos that had green glitter on them so she really stood out on stage. Saida did several numbers, but she also was good but not earth shaking. Where is Ansuya?

I also took a quick look at the Amani around the world dvd that I borrowed from [ profile] ikaiya . It has several performances from 'all over the world' including egyptian baladi. As far as I can tell is Amani a good dancer, with a very distinctive style. Most performances are Amani in a different outfit, dancing in the same style. I liked half of them (won't go into details right now, have to watch it better first). Her interpretation of egyptian baladi is lebanese bellydance with a twist (way too much frills for egyptian). she has the tendency to wear costumes that close high on the waist, which is not a good look.
mekyria: (Default)
Mile Copeland, the tribal dancer.
As found on Sharon kihara's fanpage:

I viewed the American Bellydancer documentary twice now, once from the corner of my eyes with [ profile] ikaiya , the second time with my full attention. Funny bts:
-Jillina imitating the other BDSS when they're on a break in a restaurant
-Rachel brice telling to the camera that she's been a cabaret dancer for 10 years (OMG!)
-Suhaila in a heated discussion, going: 'everytime it's like: you're a bellydancer? nice body, nice tits!'
-the police officer showing her carboot with her uniform on one side and her bellydance gear on the other side, ready to serve the community.

September 2017

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