Tribal Remix day 3: Sera Solstice’s Good Morning Flow – review

with Sera Solstice after a workshop

with Sera Solstice after a workshop

It’s taken me quite a while to write on this workshop, because there was a lot that I needed to sort out in my head. The workshop description sounded intriguing enough:

Welcome your day of dance with a body-focused flow of movement. Designed to relax, open, and strengthen and remind the dancer of her original love of dance.
We will work into dance-technique in a round-about way, focused first on feeling, relaxing into our movement, and then gently honing in on technical execution.
We will work through smooth expansive sequences, slow and fast isolations, and upbeat hipwork drills and layers.
Finally, we will string together a grouping of movements into a choreographic sequence.

Sera initially worked us through a gradual warm-up, not as cardio or yoga intensive as most other dancers do, but quite flowy and relaxing, yes. After that, we had a bit of a moving meditation… Anybody that has seen her DVDs know there’s a meditation thrown in between the warm-up and the technique, and while some might dismiss it as “woo” or “twee”, I rather like the focus. She worked that angle not from some esoteric energy or universe to visualise or connect to, but from very tangible, very obvious items for us as dancers: the ground we were standing on, the building we were in, the air we were breathing, the people surrounding us. It was rather interesting, in that it helped me connect a bit better with the environment instead of just plopping myself into it, and I could see a use for it as a centering technique before performances. After that, she started giving us a basic move, which could be a simple footwork or arms, and left us to work on it, eyes closed, trying to learn to feel the flow of the move to see what worked better for us, what our bodies enjoyed the most, what felt more comfortable. I found this exercise very intriguing, I know a few people were trying to build combos or the like. For me, it was a license to just let my body go and notice what movements flowed naturally, and while I was at it, think about why. I have to say, this was rather a revelation for me, I had not ever stopped to think about these thinks, and what I figured out during that time was rather interest and let me to start thinking more in depth about it all. We must have worked through five or six steps or sequences with this method; I get the feeling that it should be a great way of exploring basic moves to combine or enhance them.

We then moved onto combos. I am very sad to say that I *sucked* at them, my brain had already gone into a totally different tangent and was busy doing its own thing so I kept using the wrong arms or putting the weight in a different spot. I honestly can’t remember a single one of them (shame on me); they were all very slinky and flowy, but I do remember that after a while I *did* feel I was starting to “get” this particular flow, which has been difficult for me in the past. By now I was pretty much in a haze; you can see by the photo above that I look completely soaked and tired, but look like I’ve just had the best birthday present *ever*.

I found this workshop with Sera super-inspirational, giving me food for thought even though my body was frazzled and my brain was fried. And the following day, when I walked onto the stage at the Ifield Barn Theatre, I know that I did it with a new found confidence and self-assurance that I’d never felt before, and that I picked in no small part during the workshops.

Would I take another workshop with Sera? Definitely. I found her very much in tune with what her students needed, attentive and clear.
Bring on Tribal Remix 2015!

Inspiration: TerziMoirai at Tribal Remix 2014

This week, our ATS class started learning (or reviewing) Dueling Duets. What are they? An ATS formation where a standard 4-formation transitions into two duets facing each other. You can see a great example in the video below, from the 2:45 mark onwards. I loved this performance, I was there for it and it was *so* energetic and the connection between the dancers was great.

Review: Shimmy Sista’s Shrug

Shimmy Sista Shrug

Shimmy Sista Shrug

I’ve heard plenty of good things about ShimmySista, but since they are based in the US, I didn’t want to order, to avoid expensive shipping and risk being stung by Royal Mail with huge taxes. Luckily, someone I know in the US did order one, and found it a *little* big, and knowing her personally, I knew it would work for me. I purchased it new from her and shipped it reasonably, and didn’t get any taxes on it.

The shrug is an interesting shape, as you can see in the photo. It is a touch big on me and I will need to reduce the bottom, but that doesn’t make it fit too bad. The cut frames the bust beautifully too. The material is good stretch cotton, seams are all overlocked properly with a 5-thread serging and a healthy seam allowance (no hair-thin seams here!), and the finishing on the open edges is an overlocked rolled hem that creates a teensy bit of a lettuce effect on the stretch. The only thing I would suggest is that it requires a wash before first use… I wore it straight into my ATS class, and when I inevitably removed it halfway through, I had black fluff all over my armpits and inner elbows, which wasn’t attractive.

This is a shrug that might not work for all styles, but if you wear standard tank-tops and want something to cover up for class, it should be really useful. And the asking price is more than fair. I am just sad it doesn’t come in any other colours or options… a black mesh or stretch lace version would be quite useful and pretty, and I wish there was a clubbing version made with something more interesting or textured, like irregular big hole stretch mesh, to combine when I go to gigs or the like.

So if you’ve been eyeing these, give them a try! I’ve found I am not using mine as much for actual class but it’s a great way of covering up to wear before or after, and I’m pretty sure it should be quite cool over a decorated bra and paired with cotton tribal trousers or the new FCBD Bessie skirt for a light summer costume.

You can purchase the Shrug at Shimmy Sista’s store, here http://www.shimmysista.com/shrug.htm

Addendum: On Thursday, I came back from class, went to remove the shrug, and one of my nails -which aren’t sharp, and are maybe a couple of millimetres long, so pretty tame as far as talons go- went through the stretching fabric, just like that. I am *not* happy about it, but there’s nothing I can do other than fix the tear. It’s the first time I ever have something like this happen with a piece of clothing, and suggests to me that the fabric in the area was a bit too thin, which is ironic seeing that it was very close to the area where I was thinking of taking it in as it was too loose. Anyway, in the interest of full disclosure, I wanted to mention this. And I think that I will re-evaluate any future purchases.

Inspiration: Poi Belly Fusion with Firecat

Firecat doing a belly-poi fusion piece in Brighton

Firecat doing a belly-poi fusion piece in Brighton

Yes, I should post a bit more often, but I’ve been tied with a couple of commissions and have had zero time to do anything other than work, class, and practice. I’ve got a few costume projects up my sleeve, and will write more about them once I take a small work holiday (hopefully soon) and I can tackle those.

Now, for a bit more inspiration. Firecat is a poi-bellyfusion artist from Brighton, and has released this video. The piece is effective, but overall it’s FUN, helped by the choice of music, and shows a different side of what you could do, if you wanted to add something a bit different. I admire this because I did have a very short stint trying to learn poi, I know is not easy no matter how flowy it looks, and requires as much dedication as dancing does. Enjoy!

Inspiration: Kae Montgomery and Daruma Dance Collective

I am still trying to sort things out in my head from Tribal Remix, and feasting on Tribal Fest videos, so I thought I would post something completely different in the meantime… trust me, both places have offered enough videos for quite a couple of months!

I loved how this looks: transitions are great, the stage dynamics are brilliant, everything is energetic and plain lovely. As always, watch here or head over to YouTube for the HD version.
Enjoy!

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