Thursday, 26 July 2012

Choreo woes and cake

I had an amazing idea for a fusion choreography the other day, and have been playing with it on and off, trying to do justice to the music and the visions in my head.

There's a point in every choreography, I find, where it suddenly stops being fun and exciting, and suddenly all the moves seem helplessly clunky and awkward, and the transitions are strained and slapped together rather than flowing and seamless.

Suffice to say that I've reached the point with this choreography!

So the choreography is shelved for a few days until I get my enthusiasm back, and instead I've been doing some drilling.

It's hotter than Satan's conservatory here at the moment, and seeing as I'm already a hot sweaty mess, I might as well make the most of it and get in some energetic shimmy drill.

My choo shimmies and loose, juicy shimmies are already looking better, so next will be tightening up the loose shimmy and playing with vibrations. I was super impressed by Ozgens precision shimmies, and while I don't aspire to that level of perfection, more control would be good. And I can certainly manage flicking sweat around with every hip accent (it was apparently very hot on stage at Gothla!)

And finally, has just turned 15, so I went looking for an appropriate cake picture. I'd love to know who made this!

Saturday, 21 July 2012


The gold bedlah is now officially retired, pending a full strip down and rebuild.

Why? Well, for starters it's pissing gold beads everywhere, and no one likes a carpet-bomber. It's also got no lining, so it hurts to wear, the bra fringe is hopelessly tangled, and some of the accent beads are hanging off.

Look at it, the trashed, tit-flashing traitor

But the main reason it's in disgrace is because it no longer wishes to stay put. This evening, while dancing in front of about 100 people at a local Charity Hafla, it decided it wanted to part company from my left boob, and cosy up with my chin instead. Not to the extent of flashing a nipple, but there's a time and a place for underboob, and in front of half the local dance scene plus OZGEN is emphatically not it. 

Irritatingly, were it not for the costume malfunction it would have ranked as one of my favourite performances yet. I felt really confident, managed to blend the improv with the choreographed sections without ending up repeating myself ad infinitum, and earned gatrifiying applause and compliments at the end. I even got complimented on my lovely (traitorousm untrustworthy) costume!

Impromptu striptease aside, it was a cracking evening, and I felt really privileged to be on the same bill as the other acts. All the troupes, student and otherwise, were well rehearsed, smiling and clearly happy to be there. Such a refreshing change from some others I've seen! It's difficult to pick out highlights as all the acts were engaging and enjoyable.

Tahira's troupe 'Dhalal Banat' were lovely - there were about 16 of them performing a very clever choreography that saw them split into four corners and work every side of the stage (great when there are audience members on three sides).

Fulya and her sister Julie did a duet - this was the first time I've seen Julie dancing as she is usually stall sitting while Fulya solos. Lovely to watch and would like to see more of the other Ms Chapman please!

Organiser Emma Wheate duetted with a fellow dancer to do an Isis Wings piece. I hate Isis wings with a passion, but this actually made me wish I owned a pair. Very cleverly done, and lots of actual dancing rather than just stick waving.

Belly Fusion performed a raucous, Victorian flavoured circus act that went down a storm. I know I've seen them before, and loved them- this was no exception. The characterisation was spot-on, the tribal style moves were perfectly synched, I just loved it.

The night finished off with the afore-mentioned Ozgen. I saw him perform at Gothla last week, and was pretty impressed then (despite the fact that he is about as Goth as a daisy) by his skills, but smaller, more intimate shows are where he clearly comes into his own. His performance was like a whirlwind tour through bellydance, from arrogant Roma struts to incredibly technical belly isolations, audience teasing and pleasing, and even a spot of Zar when the music demanded it. So, so impressed, and what a fabulous way to end a good night.

Despite the booby.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Breaking through the barriers

There are certain moves that are real 'blockers' for me, even after five years of having them taught over and over again. A decent undulation, a nice juicy standard shimmy, a downwards belly roll... there are probably more, but I'd like to maintain the illusion that I'm a half decent dancer.

I don't know whether other dancers get this as well, but good Gods is it frustrating. I see progress in every other area of my dancing, but then the same old bugbears crop up. We're learning a drum choreography in class at the mo, and if I say so myself, I'm not too shabby at some of the more technical stuff, but it takes the shine right off my choo shimmy when it's followed up by a lurching zombie (on a more proficient dancer, you'd call it a camel).

Breaking through one of these barriers, then, is big news, and today I smashed not one but two of them! The setting- Drills and Thrills, a monthly 3 hour workshop run by my awesome teacher.

First down was the undulation. We've been working a lot with Intuflow (caution, autostart music and a lot of woo- youtube is a better bet), gently expanding our range of movement and trying to use every joint to its full range. My main problem with my 'camel' undulation is that my ribs and shoulders act as one big unit, so I spent a lot of time drilling an intuflow move that helps free up the ribcage articulation, and at the end of it, I could do a (very little) undulation with no interfering shoulders!

Next up the juicy shimmy. For years I've suffered from shrinking shimmies, that get tighter and tighter until there's just a little vibration and a whole lot of cramp. I have no idea what has changed since, but today Dawn asked us to do a big old bum wobbling, flab jiggling (my words not hers) shimmy, and for once my body obliged. So much so, in fact, that the dancer next to me turned to watch! 

We finished the session with the now traditional dip in the sport's centre's brine pool. This usually involves a lot of handstands, swimming under water racing, handstands, mermaid imitations and me in a silly hat. However, I can;t underrate the value of it after a hardcore workout. Since we moved to this new venue, I've been much less sore and stiff the day after classes. Plus, you know, mermaids!