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Things to work on from the Leila workshop today:

-- working the standing leg as well as the free leg
-- traveling and turning pelvic circles, keeping it floaty; ending with a hip up into a little knee-up arabasque
-- attitude up in releve, holding, and releasing down into a shimmy
-- using the weight into the feet as an accent
-- using abs for forward pelvic drops, speeding up into a shimmy
-- pelvic rock on top of a "pony" step forward and back, accenting either forward or back
--- moving in a circle, keeping one foot stationary and rotating around it with an accent on the back step (a la Aziza)
-- touch and rock forward, then step (a la Dahlia)
-- 3/4 shimmy under a camel traveling sideways (lead with a cross-over foot instead of stepping directly to the side)
-- keeping strict time with shimmy; supporting and driving shimmy with inner thigh muscles (a la Nagua Fouad)
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Did my first real post-surgery gig last night. I danced a couple of weeks ago in a hafla but that was to recorded music; dancing to a band is a whole 'nother thing and takes a lot more stamina since you never really know what's going to happen. I tend to go full out more quickly and then regret it because then the band turns it up.

Result: I sweated off all of my foundation (though my eyeshadow and lips, both MAC, were flawless -- guess I need to invest in some real foundation, too) AND one band of eyelashes. I had requested "Ana fi Intizarek" since the vocalist sounds super sweet singing it, and we agreed that we'd open with something peppy, then Intizarek, then a nice taqsim, drum solo and tip round/outro. I figured I could do a bunch of timewasting/finger cymbals/how-do-ya-do audience-greeting stuff for the first song to reserve energy, maybe fill with some veil and then launch into the meat of things once I warmed up a little.

That, of course, is not what happened. They started with Intizarek and I had to quickly ditch my cymbals and reconsider the rest of my life and then of course I emoted my guts out (because, hello, Um Kulthoum, you can't just half-ass it) with another ten or fifteen minutes of set remaining. Intizarek led into a long violin taxim (I think, everything is a little foggy) and then a long synth oud taxim (shimmies!) and then a mid-tempo, which I used to take my exhausted sweating self out for a tip round, and then I came back to a drum solo, holy shit. I sat my ass down on the edge of the stage to catch my breath, which was a crowd-pleaser, thank goodness, and George (bless his heart) came and sat next to me and kept drumming. I talked to the band later to thank them and they all said they loved that part.

Also got one of the best compliments I've ever had; someone in the audience said I reminded them of Fifi. (!)

But yes, more conditioning is definitely in order. Once we find a new place and get moved I am going to sign up for aquarobics, I think, or at least find someplace when I can use a treadmill for cheap. I'm thinking the classes would make me go work out weekly.

It was a really nice night, save for the freak sitting next to us. He came in after my set, I think, and I don't know if he had mental problems, or was on some illicit substance, or was just a jerk, but he was very loud in appraising the dancers in a disgusting sexual way while they were working. Luckily he was far enough back in the room that you couldn't hear him from the stage, but we was getting increasingly creepy with one of the dancers who had sat at a table behind us and I was getting ready to turn around and burn him to the fucking ground. I just didn't get an opening to do it; I didn't want to disrupt the performances that were going on. I felt bad not jumping on him, though, or asking the venue to get him the hell out of there. Lesson learned for next time.
superdaintykate: (Default)
Yesterday, while cleaning my studio, I managed to do a 3/4 shimmy layered over a counter-clockwise omi. WHAT THE HELL, BRONCHITIS?
superdaintykate: (Default)
I found sequins in my shower that don't match any of my costumes.

It must be MedFest.

Read more... )


Jun. 1st, 2010 09:44 pm
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Started taking classes with Nadira tonight. I needed to get back into a class, if only to see myself in a mirror again, and I really like Nadira's dancing, and she's fairly close (Capitol Hill). This is just a note for myself to remember what I want to drill for the rest of this week.

Get an easy wobble shimmy going. Keep it down in the knees and juicy.
Shift the shimmy from side to side. Think about feeling the movement in your obliques.
Remember to keep your weight forward and chest lifted.
Add a rib cage slide in counterpoint: hips slide left, ribs slide right.
Now make the rib cage slide a counterclockwise horizontal circle.

Add cymbals (4's).
superdaintykate: (Default)
I sucked it up at got up at early-thirty and drove up to Arlington to take a workshop from Dalia Carella. I love love LOVE her dancing and I dunno when I will get to take her weeklong in NYC so I figured I had better take the opportunity that presented itself (I just found out she was teaching this past week).

Arlington...seems pretty much like Marana PNW. Well, they do have an outlet mall, so maybe Casa Grande PNW.

The workshop was terrific, even though I was deeply embarassed by my choreography retention skills. They have atrophied like a mofo and I need to get into a regular class, right stat now.

I was really surprised and sad not to see any of the Seattle Names in class. I'm hoping they all took yesterday's workshop, and weren't no-shows because Dalia isn't 1) the hottest thing in Real Egyptian, or 2) hung up on drills drills drills. Her combination was all about diagonals and control-release and I wanted to lie down and roll around in it all day. Thankfuly she's going to be filming the choreo she taught today to use as an online lesson so I wil be able to download that beast. It's a keeper and we only got through the first minute and a half, and I only got maybe the first ten or eleven measures.
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Some passages I wanted to keep for reference. (It's long)

Read more... )
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I taught what will most likely be my last class of the year yesterday, a four-hour workshop over on the island. I gave myself an extra half-hour of travel time, since the last time I did this I was surprised by Sunday-morning ferry traffic, but yesterday was a freakin' ghost town at the dock -- I paid my money and drove right on to the boat.

I was feeling fairly safe and optimistic about the drive, since we had much less frost yesterday morning than we have had for several days, and the roads were clear and dry. Same with the hill coming off the ferry onto the island, and the highway...then I turned onto the road toward the town where the workshop was being held, and promptly encountered ice and frost and remnants of snow, since I guess they had a dusting Saturday night. Speed limit be damned, I figured, and drove the whole way at 25 m.p.h. for my sanity's sake. Glad I did, too -- there was almost no one on the road but me, but when someone pulled up behind me, I pulled over to let him pass and, as he sped by and got back into his lane, I saw him fishtail. The road is wooded and so there were some pretty cold patches that weren't getting any sun at all.

But I got to the studio safely an hour before the class was scheduled, got the heater cranking and my stuff all set up and made some notes I needed to take care of. I was getting a little worried when no one had shown up by 10:45, but everyone was running on Island Time and had some ice to deal with, so eventually we had a room full of bodies. I would have had an even fuller class, but we had two no-shows and another woman who emailed me to ask me if she should come, she had been sick, was feeling better but was still coughing. I told her to stay home. Hello, dancers. If you are contagious, a dance studio is a petri dish. And if you are "feeling better but still coughing", you are a disruption. STAY HOME.

So, yes, lesson learned, future workshops will be pay-in-advance only. I had enough dancers there for my needs (and a wonderful surprise drop-in by one of my favorite people), but I have a feeling the no-shows would have braved the ice if they'd invested their cash beforehand.

The class itself was great; once again I failed to be strict about allotted time for each section, so we ended up doing the percussive movements and the shimmy madness only. Next time we'll have a gooey-movement focus so those circles and eights can get some love. For some reason a twenty-minute shimmy sequence is easier on a Sunday morning following three hours of dance than a seven-minute sequence is on a Tuesday night, go figure. We put a hurt on some shimmy, for sure.

Afterward I was tempted to stay for a bit and do some choreography work, but it was already getting dark and I wanted to get home before it got well and truly cold, so I looked around the place fondly and then locked it up tight. I stopped by the thrift store to see if they had any great holiday stuff -- this place is so awesome I would not have been surprised if they had a replica of my grandmother' ceramic tree that I was bitching about last year -- but all I was tempted by was a nearly-complete set of Shiny-Brite violet-blue ombre ornaments, in box, circa 1965. I tend to go for the earlier Shiny-Brites, so I let this one pass, and headed for the ferry.

The boat was still at the dock but it looked like it was full, so I pulled up to the head of the line and got settled in for the next one...and then got waved on, one of the last cars on the boat, so I got to see the sunset over the water. I stopped on the mainland for gas since it's cheaper there than it is at home, so by the time I got home it was well cold and dark outside. I came around the corner to our apartment to see the glow from our Xmas lights reflected off of the building across the way. Jon had lit them for me. There was also a "fire" in our fireplace and an incredibly delicious smell in the apartment, as Jon had gone all out and made a Jamie Oliver long-simmered lamb stew as a treat for me. I ended the evening dozing in our armchair, full of delicious stew and polenta, so I think I had pretty much a perfect day.
superdaintykate: (Default)
I made a mole' base for some turkey to simmer in tomorrow. I roasted three different kinds of dried peppers and now the house smells fantastic. I think it was my way of having a tamale day here since I won't be home for it in December. Making the chili base was very familiar: toasting the chiles under the broiler, boiling them to make a rich red broth...and then painting the kitchen with blended chile because I filled the blender all the way. At least I remembered to hold the top on with a pad of paper towelling under my hand, so the splatter zone was somewhat contained. About six cups of sauce are currently cooling in the fridge, along with cranberry sauce (waiting for bananas) and Jon's butternut-sage gnocchi. Will report back once mole' is consumed.

In other news, I interviewed for a position with a local CSA farm...they don't offer benefits, but employees do get a box of veggies every week, so, there's that.

I read two Margaret Atwood books (Alias Grace and Lady Oracle) and now I am officially on an Atwood tear. I haven't read anything of hers since college (when I got to hear her read Spelling during a book tour). Turns out she's been busy.

Joined FaceBook. I think I hate it.

I think I have decided to choreograph a piece to "Yearning" for Medfest next year. We worked with it last night and it is just too, too gorgeous. I asked my students to listen to it (we turned the lights off) and tell me what it evoked. One said villagers dancing together with shimmering lights, the other said a tent of rich, opulent fabrics. It makes me think of the scent of roses, and how honey might look as it is drizzled into a deep bowl of water. Here's a clip of Angelika Nemeth (for whom the piece was written) performing to it:

And, because I could watch her dance all damn day, here's Aziza's version. Love the sneaky veil tuck after the two-minute mark.

I kept an ear out for it this year and I didn't hear anyone using it, so hopefully I'll be safe next year. It is...quite popular.

The music actually led one of my students to a breakthrough...she's based in Tribal and she said last night's exercise was the first time she didn't immediately break a piece of music down into fours and eights. Success!
superdaintykate: (Default)
A friend of mine sent this to me. She's also one of my students, and has some severe fibromyalgia and nerve blocks...she's tried to explain to me how the dance has helped her and, after seeing the article, I am amazed. I'll put full text under the cut.

Read more... )


Nov. 23rd, 2009 01:02 am
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Tuesday is my last weekly class until the spring (I am planning some weekend intensive classes over the winter), and I want to make it really good, and it's on a great subject ("arms"), and we've been doing some good productive starter improv and follow-the-leader over the last three classes with killer music ("Yearning")...but I am feeling such a freaking block.

I think I need to put music on tomorrow and play for an hour or two.

oh lord

Sep. 23rd, 2009 11:25 pm
superdaintykate: (Default)
Remember Lady Kashmir?


She's back, and now she's posting instructional videos, complete with fake "gypsy" accent!

As far as I can tell, she has at least nine separate YouTube accounts, all chock-full of footage of her fondling herself. AMAZING. GOD BLESS THE INTERNET.

Edited to add: oh, man. Here's footage of Kashmir at a hafla, and the background tells you everything you need to know. And her BRA HAS EYES ON IT.

superdaintykate: (Default)
Nice editing!

superdaintykate: (Default)
I felt I shouldn't have posted that last Fifi clip without the lead-in.

So here's Fifi, and she is going to sing, and smoke some gaddamn shisha. With a chorus of five tabla beledi behind her. Hell yes, Fifi.

ya Fifi!

Apr. 2nd, 2009 08:48 pm
superdaintykate: (Default)
Posting this for my own reference, but feel free to enjoy it. I am in love with the energy transfer at 2:28 and the silent shimmy around the 4:23 mark.

superdaintykate: (Default)
Ranya Renee dancing a nice, juicy beledi style.

Love the slow build to the Party Getting Started at 1:22.

Just nice and solid and uuuuunh. Love it. I think her vids are going on my list.

superdaintykate: (Default)
Posting these because I want to soak them up later. Ah, Bertie. (Bert is the dance teacher in parts one and two -- just got news he has left us. He was an amazing personality, travelled as a circus performer in Europe and was one of the primary forces behind belly dance on the west coast in the seventies.)
Part one: see baby Mary Ellen Donald;
Part two: Katarina's amazingly convincing read;
part three: scorchingly inappropriate floorwork to "Bir Demet Yasemin"!

superdaintykate: (Default)
Saturday morning, I woke up feeling nervy. Jon says I always get nervous before performances, and that is somewhat true, but the nerves are worst when I'm going into an unknown solo gig. Troupe pieces didn't rattle me much after a while because I had done a lot of them and knew they'd turn out all right. Once I had done a couple hookah gigs and parties, I was fine there, too. But this was going to be a solo...totally improv...with a live drummer...possibly with my period, since that was expected to make an a new body stocking that might get blotchy when I sweat on a new place where I am not front of freaking Delilah, for fuck's sake.

I had also put some pressure on by outing myself as a "professional" on the class registration sheet and giving Delilah one of my cards. There was no phoning this in; I had to bring the A game. So, nervy. I lay in bed for a while, then got up, fixed myself a proteiny breakfast (I wasn't going to be able to eat again for maybe seven hours), checked my email, and then when my two-hour-to-get-ready window approached, started preparing.

TL;DR in a big, big way.... )
superdaintykate: (Default)
In our last class session, we danced the entire seven-part sequence together. Since there were seven dancers in the class (including Delilah), this worked out perfectly. First, we each drew numbers to determine which section we would dance (I got section 5, ascent from the floor. The one we hadn't talked about and the one I wanted least. Great). Delilah had a cd from a past workshop that had songs for each section, interspersed with a slow, heartbeat-style drum rhythm in between each. During the slow drum, we were to walk in a circle, then stop and face the center of the circle, where each of us would go and perform our section in turn. It sounds woo-woo, but the drum transition really did help us focus our energies and get into persona for our individual sections. It also kept our muscles somewhat warm, and made us all feel like a part of the whole performance.

Read more... )
superdaintykate: (Default)
For our second class with Erik, we reviewed the basic structure, and then each of us did a complete solo with him. He asked us about our preferences beforehand: what underlying rhythm for the first section (his fallback is maqsoum and that is fine with me), what rhythm for the slow section (I requested samaai), did we want a long improv section (yes, please) and how about folkloric? (Um, sure? Throw in a beledi section, just to say we did it.) This was a really nice touch; it was heartening to have an idea what was coming and when, to have some control over the piece instead of just reacting to what the drummer comes up with.

We also learned that Erik was willing to drum for us, live, at the recital, if we wanted to use him. Sweet.

Read more... )


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