Saturday, February 22, 2014

Mermaids In Winter



And something that sparkles...

This winter that seems determined to remind us all what winter is really about made me create my own sanctuary of new pieces to chase away the cabin fever.

Monday, October 7, 2013

It Isn't Just A Job...And I Love It

When you find something you become passionate about, you immerse yourself in it completely. Maybe you read about your new obsession, take a few classes...for me, I've submerged myself in every aspect I can get my hands on.

When I began bellydancing (not exactly counting the young me, only because she also had hot wheels and Stars Wars collection to occupy her...I mean, who didn't want to be Princess Leia?), I searched for music to practice to outside of class, dvd's to further my at home study, and relentlessly searched YouTube for new inspiration. My teacher was full of life, possessing a spark that I could somehow feel igniting in myself, deep down inside. But, after a while, the classes started to feel stale, and I was stuck.
Then I discovered workshops. Instead of learning the same thing over and over in a class setting, workshops offer a guest teacher who covers either a specific subject or choreography over a few hours in an intense format.

As I learned more and more, I began to share my love of bellydance with those around me. Which eventually evolved into teaching.

But lately, I've noticed a trend suddenly surrounding me. A few people I know are teachers...not your typical school teachers, but people who have taken their passion and turned to teaching others. And these people, as it turns out, are suddenly doubting teaching what they once loved. Because now, it feels more like a job or a chore. A few have stepped away to take a break then come back feeling re-energized and begun teaching again.

I haven't had these feelings of my passion turning into a chore, something I no longer enjoy. I hope I never do, but there are things I've noticed that maybe I've done differently.

Never stop learning. I try to take classes, workshops, or even incorporate a new dvd program. Knowledge is power, and there is so much to seek out that you really will never run out of things to new know.

Diversify. Find other subjects that relate to your main passion. For me, that includes yoga, costuming techniques, music, and even teaching and meditation methods. I've found that yoga really connects directly not only with Tribal Style Bellydance, but enhances other aspects of my life (bad knee, ankle, migraines, even morning sickness).

Don't forget why YOU loved something in the first place. Incorporating my practice in a way that makes sense for me, and I always make a place for keeping my creative moments alive. That either means choreographing a new number, or after drilling myself silly letting it all out with a five minute improve session, all for myself.

Finally, accepting that making my passion seem like a job may allow odd and ends that aren't creative attach themselves to it. Like planning, scheduling, and even business aspects that aren't necessarily my forte. But, knowing that these things don't have to become the bigger part and take over.

For me, teaching is sharing my passion with others. It isn't a job. The joy in sharing is just another part of that...

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Journey Of Tribal Bellydance

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. But when that journey is filled with many different ways to take that step, is the destination the same?

The style of bellydance that I embrace, love, and am obsessed with has its roots in what most people know as bellydance (or what is known as Egyptian Cabaret), but really was born out of a need to make something that empowered women in such a way that had never been done before. Where women accepted one another, and became their own tribe, dancing with and for each other with their own language of movement.

My own roots began in cabaret at a young age, and still to this day, my heart has a special place for the style.

But, I'm starting to realize a few things as I travel along on my tribal bellydance journey. The true beginnings of tribal bellydance stems from American Tribal Style, created by Carolena Nericcio and Fat Chance Bellydance, drawing from tribal ideology with a strong flamenco influence. Tribal fusion is based in this style...but, lately, I've noticed that there's a sudden influx of "my style of bellydance/belly danse/tribal bellydance" being taught.

Which leads to me wonder what is the true tribal fusion style?

As a dancer of this art form, I feel that I should be true to the authentic style of the dance, and even as I use the word "fusion", I hesitate to teach "my style" to beginning students. Because, honestly, I feel as if everyone is suddenly teaching things differently, and there may no longer be that common ground that really created the whole tribal movement. The language of the dance seems to not have different dialects, but entirely different languages being created. From using the words "gypsy", "Bohemian", and even changing the spelling around to stand out, the true meaning of tribal bellydance seems to get foggier every day.

Personally, I have only taken a scant few ATS classes (and stalked YouTube), but I strive to keep the roots true to my dance and teaching. To keep myself current and constantly learning, I take workshops and intensives from the most well known dancers who define tribal style hoping to keep the authenticity intact. Hopefully, this will include finishing Rachel Brice's Eight Elements intensive series...because, truly, in my eyes, she is the tree trunk that sprouted tribal style as we know it.

I can't speak for other dancers, but knowing and respecting the history of what I love is incredibly important to me. And I truly hope it shows.