Time to restart this

Today I got a WordPress update notification, and when I came here to do it, realised it’s been over a year since my last post. Ooops.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I’ve stopped dancing, quite the contrary. It’s that I’ve been so busy dancing that I had little time to write about it. I’d be in class or in a great workshop and I would think “I need to write about this”. And then I would get home and relax and leave it for later.

So, what I’ve been up to? I’ve kept on both my ATS and Tribal Fusion classes topped up with selected Oriental workshops, took part in the Masmoudi Student Troupe with several public performances, attended Tribal Remix where I took the intensive with Jill Parker, and Infusion Emporium where I took two of Heather Stant’s classes. I also sadly got Achilles tendonitis again (more on that, and what I am doing about it, later), and have done a few extra costume items that I will hopefully write about.

Plans for this year are mostly focusing on the Masmoudi anniversary project, although I have a couple of choreographies that are bouncing around and I need to finish. I’ve signed up for the Tribal Remix intensive with Rachel Brice and Mardi Love in September, and will finally take that intensive with Violet Scrap and Hilde.

Working within the Masmoudi student troupe was great, hugely beneficial to my dancing, but also very rewarding personally, as all the ladies are great. So much so, that when the Masmoudi tenth anniversary project opened up for this year, I signed up immediately. We will be parading in Brighton for the Kemptown Carnival, and performing at the Tribal Remix Student Showcase in September this year. And in the meantime, I’ll leave you with our performance last year at Tribal Remix in Brighton.

Inspiration: Alexis Southhall’s Drum Solo

I took a workshop with Alexis about two years ago. She has flawless technique, and has a charming stage personality. I did enjoy this drum solo because it was a great show of how you can do a drum solo that keeps a lot of the “flavour” of Fusion without loosing any of the flourishes and technical showmanship you would expect from a drum solo.


Inspiration: Orchidaceae Urban Tribal

These ladies graced Infusion Emporium this past October. Piny, the choreographer, will also be teaching at Tribal Remix in May 2015.

I love how tight the whole group works, and how flawless the fusion is between styles, but most of all, I love how *strong* every single one of them looks.

Inspiration: Violet Scrap at the Tribal Remix Teachers Showcase 2014

Violet Scrap at Tribal RemixI had to miss Violet Scrap’s workshops, one because I wanted a break in between the other two workshops I was taking that day, and the other because I would be performing. After seeing this performance during the showcase, I regretted not doing it even more.

I have to say, I was a bit weirded out when the music started, but I went with it, and found myself enjoying it more and more as it went on, and by the end I was totally spellbound… She has such a strong stage presence, the musicality was SUPERB, and I loved the whole deranged mechanical doll vibe that the piece had, even her gaze was so intense that it reminded me in bits of the Robot Maria dance in Metropolis… Her expression throughout was *that* good, it projected all the way back, and looking at her, I could see nearly every nuance of the music showing *somewhere* on her body, and if anything, the lighting in the video does hide a bit of it.

Do yourself a favour and watch at full size in HD, even if you prefer less experimental dancing or music.

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. 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 things, and what I figured out during that time was rather interesting and led me to start thinking more in depth about why I am dancing, what I expect from it, and what I hope to achieve. 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 after three days of intense work and my brain was fried with all the info I’d been absorbing. 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!

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