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: Maraia’s Saidi

I love raqs al asaya, and I love folkloric styles. I know it doesn’t really show much in here, because I talk a lot about fusion and ATS, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy or appreciate the more traditional forms. I also love dancing them, although I really, REALLY cannot jump gracefully enough -or at all, really, and I get sprains at the drop of a hat so I avoid it-, and therefore I don’t really do it in public if I can help it, although I’ve done raqs al asaya performances in years past. And no, I couldn’t jump then either.

I found this performance through a fellow dancer. I really liked it, even if the video quality was low. It was fun and charming, the dancer was enjoying herself, and the folkloric vibe was right on the spot. And for those that want to know the name of the song used, don’t go by the comments on YouTube. The song is available on Hossam Ramzy Presents Gypsies of the Nile, and it’s called “La, La, La Omri Manhounik”

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.

Free: American Tribal Style costume and make-up videos

Fat Chance Belly Dance vol 2: Make up and Costuming video cover

Fat Chance Belly Dance vol 2: Make up and Costuming

Fat Chance Belly Dance have made their volume 2 available to view for free online. The resolution is rather low at 640x480px, and the quality looks a bit grainy, but this has more to do with the original date of the video (1994) rather than any purposeful quality reduction for online viewing.

You can find the whole of the vol. 2 here http://fcbd.com/make-up-and-costume/, in 13 chunks that have been uploaded to Vimeo. There’s a lot of explanation about the whats and whys of ATS costuming, and a few things said in it clarify some things that were not at all clear in the FCBD patterns sold through Folkwear. It also talks about things like choosing a single colour palette for the whole troupe to get a unified look.Overall, because it covers specifically stage make-up, it is worth watching even if you don’t do tribal or ATS, just to get a general idea of how to approach it if you think your stage make-up isn’t up to scratch. It’s not terribly detailed, and there are no real specifics about application or precise techniques like contouring, but there are plenty of videos available online that cover these, and if you still want more, there are blogs and even DVDs from people like Princess Farhana that specifically cover stage make-up, including things like body contouring (yes, there is such a thing).

I am also having problems with Vimeo streaming, but that might be my own connection, but worst case scenario, you can watch the segments one at a time. Carolena has also very kindly allowed Vimeo users to download the files, so you can compile your own little DVD if you wanted, or keep the videos available to watch on your preferred mobile platform. Overall, well worth viewing at least once!

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!

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