Saturday, June 2, 2012


In a fit of ambition, I have signed myself up for teaching an 8-week class on basic belly dance drills. Come check it out! :D

Here's the blurb from the flyer:

Third Life Studios
33 Union Sq. (Somerville Ave)
Somerville, MA

Saturdays, June 16 -- August 11, 10 - 11:30 AM
(No class on June 23rd)

$80 for 8-week session or
$12 / class drop-in

Discover your body!
Learn to belly dance!
Get a great workout!
Have fun!

This class will focus on discovering your body, how its different parts are connected, and how to use those connections to achieve the basic movements of belly dance. We will emphasize technique and precision, and gradually build up to choreographies using the movements we learn.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Lisa Zahiya Workshops

OMG Lisa Zahiya is amazing. She's beautiful, passionate, and incredibly skilled. I learned so much, my brain hurts. Here's hoping I can remember it all for future use.

Belly Funk

Lisa described this as her personal bellydance style. It's a fusion of popping, locking, old school hip hop, bhangra, and whatever else catches her fancy. We worked on how to pop and lock our bellydance moves, decomposing fluid motion into stutter-stop points. Her decomposition of basic 3- and 4-point motions into 6 stop points simply blew my mind. She also taught and drilled us on waving through our arms, and a little bit on tutting as well.

Drum Solo

We drilled shimmies so much. Lisa went around the room banging on people's knees to see whether we had good strength and balance in both legs. There was also a really fun combination, which had a lot of interesting Lisa-touches like the Michael Jackson hop-skip.


This session focused a lot on precise hand movements. We went through several mudra, including the flag, the lotus, and the thing that always reminds me of a peacock. Then she taught us two short combinations, which were surprisingly difficult for all their apparent simplicity.

Hip Hop Fusion

By the time we got to this workshop, my feet were killing me. We did two short combinations, to different pieces of music, and she asked us how they felt. It really underscored the different attitudes that hip hop can carry, everything from happy-bouncy to grungy-angry. At the end, we put the two combos together and did the whole thing through a couple of times.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Stage Space

The first choreo I did, I was dancing in my living room. At the time, I thought it was a terribly cramped tiny space, because I was unable to take real steps in any direction. After doing this choreo in the ludicrously small cranny of the mudroom, I realized just how much of a luxury being able to take steps, however stunted, really was.

I drilled my new choreo in a large space for the first time tonight, and I had so many problems with stage space usage. I stuck mostly to the middle, was unable to spread out to give the left and right any love, and had a terrible time not crowding the front of the room. It's better now, and I'm glad I had the time and opportunity to fix it before performing it. Tripping over the audience would have been awful.

I also made a few last minute tweaks to the movements. Hopefully I can remember them, and they won't backfire on me or look weird or anything like that. We shall see!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A fit of pique

I performed my very first self-choreographed solo almost a year ago, and still haven't received the video for it yet. In a fit of pique, I wondered if I could create, and perform, a second choreography before I receive the first one. I vaguely felt that maybe it would compel the videographer to "get a move on" and motivate him to get me that video.

While I don't seem to be having a whole lot of luck with the video for my first solo -- he's found the raw vids, and is now working on them, but it's still not done yet -- I did manage to finish a second choreography. Admittedly I've only done two now, but at 2 weeks and change, this is the fastest I've ever finished a choreography. Now I just have to drill, drill, drill until I get all my transitions down pat.

The show is coming up in just 10 days, and I'm all a-jitter with nerves and anticipation. It's a little out of my range of expertise, but I'm hoping I can pull it off and make it work. Tell your friends, and come see me dance!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Basics Seminar

Yesterday was Shobu Aikido Basics Seminar. We did about 5 hours of basic training, with emphasis on feeling the flow of the movements, rather than breaking it down into its component parts. I don't really get how feeling the flow lends itself to basic training though -- I'm an especially nit-picky learner who does best when I'm breaking everything down slowly and grokking things a little bit at a time. Still, it was really a lot of fun, and I do feel like I gained something from it.

We also worked with jo (short staff)! [Translation: I got to play with a stick!] It was super fun, and much easier than the bokken the last week. I have "rigidity" issues where I can't quite grasp the concept that both ends of the jo are equally valid as weapons, and that flipping from one side to the other should be easy, safe, and as natural as breathing. I also got bonked (lightly) on the thumb, but it doesn't hurt too badly, so that's okay. Yay jo!

There was a kyu testing after the seminar, which was very interesting to see, and immediately relevant to me. I got to see what my very next belt test will look like. It's pretty intimidating. Hopefully I'll be ready to test soon! :D