Sunday, 28 August 2011


Finally finished the flapper costume, and am tolerably pleased with it.

Bra still needs stuffing and I have to make a headband to match, but it's definitely wearable. I've got a gold overskirt to wear with it if i feel I need a little more coverage (the skirt is very clinging and I'm worried about VPL), and a gold stole to wave around dramatically before dumping it mid shimmy.

Both choreographies appear to be locked in my head, but of course I'll practise a few more times before I perform on Friday and Saturday.

I don't know about other dancers, but I often do 'meditation rehearsals', normally during quiet periods at work, where I put on the music and mentally dance along. This backfired on me in a big way last week, I put my music on and closed my eyes to better envisage the moves, then opened them again to find my MP3 player two songs further on and my colleague sniggering at me!

Friday, 19 August 2011


Popped round to my wounded friend C's house this evening and had a quick run through of the duet. It's a Gothic fusion piece, done to a Siouxsie and the Banshees track- Cities in Dust.

There was, naturally, a good deal of confusion as C tried to dance the other half of the duet with me without actually doing any dancing, whilst reading out instructions for me. Much bumping of elbows and smacking of light fittings ensued, and her cats hid under the sofa.

This is only the second time I've rehearsed this dance with another human being, and by hell it showed. There's a sequence at the end that I am clearly going to have to rehearse daily if I'm ever to remember it, and I haven't got many days left- we perform on 2nd September.

The costume is also causing headaches- we're wearing ruched overskirts that must have looked divine on slender R and hourglass C, but look heinous stretched over my wobbly belly. Still pondering a solution to that one.

Fortunately my own solo is going a little more smoothly. The costume should be finished tomorrow, and I'll post up on-body pics. The choreo is beginning to flow nicely, though I still have blank spots in the middle. Again, need to drill it daily, and i'm running out of days.

Also I have been offered the chance to dance on the same night in my teacher's student cabaret troupe, and also the ITS troupe. Naturally I said no. Even if I could hold four choreos in my head and scare up a tribal costume in two weeks, no audience needs to see me four times in one evening!

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Where has the year gone?

It can't possibly be half way through August already, can it? This year seems to have flown by, even though I have been cramming as much dancing into it as possible. I've taken more workshops this year than in the first three years of my dance career put together!

I'm still cracking on with the summer intensive held by my teacher. Although the level of the class is pitched a little high for me in terms of fitness, I'm still getting a lot out of it, but I'm always the first to crack during drills or strenuous warmups. It gets me down sometimes, and I have to remind myself that the rest of the participants are not carrying around an extra six stone of Lilith!

I caught up with the rest of my troupe, Women of Mass Distraction, last week, and discovered that one of them is off dancing altogether at the moemnt due to a seriously crocked back. As a result, I'm standing in for her at the next hafla, doing a duet with our third member.

Gods only know how this is going to work out. Mashallah I already know the music, but those two planned this piece basically on their own, and I have only a sheet of paper to work off as the other troupe member is on holiday.
I also have to make a costume for it, as I won't fit in the invalid's costume bra and skirt :( Disaster looms like a iceberg!

In between panicking over duets and aching from class, I'm also trying to get my solo ready for early September. The piece is choreographed, but I'm short on space to practise it. Suspect I may end uop over the park with my headphones on, and to hell with the funny looks I get. Fortunately the costume is all but finished- pictures to come when I get more than ten minutes to myself!

Monday, 1 August 2011

Summer Workshops are run by Sadists

This, FYI, is the face and body of a broken woman!

I signed up for my teacher's tribal fusion course this summer, as our cabaret and ITS classes stop over the school holidays. I expected a certain degree of pain from a two hour workshop, but this practically had me weeping on the floor.

Dawn began by asking each of us what we wanted to get out of the course, and making notes. The committed fusionistas had a long list of specifics, magpies like myself were more general. I knew I wanted to hone my technique, expand my range of movement and gain tighter control over muscles.

Having got all that down, she then took us through a gruelling warmup, culminating in about 20 years of arm rotations (this is only a slight exaggeration) and a further six months of Planking (yoga, not internet meme).

We worked the upper body, and we drilled it on the most basic level, opening out the muscles and sticking to the simplest of moves, but trying to perfect them. For added impetus, Dawn filmed us, so we could watch ourselves later and spot any mistakes. I'm not a fan of seeing myself on film, but it worked- I can see just how much I'm holding back on moves (eg rib slides) when I should be pushing them to their full extent.

We finished up with belly rolls and today it hurts to laugh. I drilled that forward roll (my bugbear) solid for ten minutes, and I'm feeling the effects, but i also have a nice smooth roll, and an intimate knowledge of every (screaming, agonised) muscle involved. We also did a little work on isolating the muscles on either side of the belly button, which is awesome because sideways belly rolls are freaky things, and I'm all about the weird.

We all got personalised homework at the end after the cooldown, so this week i will mostly be rib sliding and circling in front of a mirror, trying to break through that invisible barrier and get some range!