Friday, May 31, 2013

Pop, Lock, and Loaded With Kami Liddle Review

(Full disclosure: I have a bellydance crush on Kami Liddle. This may taint this review slightly, however I shall resolve to stay neutral.)

The hardest thing about learning from a dvd is often the actual breakdown, often given quickly and with the barest amount of information before you are attempting to repeat what you've seen. Which can translate to reversing, rewatching, and general confusion turning into a half-hearted execution (not to mention fiddling with a remote). Kami Liddle not only breaks down the movement, she does it in such a way that allows the visual of the movement to relate to her explanation that allows any type of learning style to understand it easily. Personally, I need too see the movement with a detailed explanation (muscles involved, and what the "linked" parts should be doing/not doing), which was perfect. Then, she drills the movement enough to actually feel like a practice (I hardly pick up my remote). You can choose to watch the breakdown or just the actual practice segment as well, or just press play.

Kami's lock explanation lends to her unique and elegant style, as well as extra tips to take the hits (and especially the shoulder movement) to the next level, even for an experienced dancer. She even takes the time to remind you what the rest of your body should be doing, whether relaxed in posture or in reaction/in conjunction with the movement. She also encourages you make the movement work for your body.

A choreography is included, which is challenging, but incorporates much of what you've practiced. I particularly liked the format for practicing the choreography. No need to keep grabbing your remote and break posture or momentum. Each part of the choreo is broken down into segments/combos that are broken down and practiced. Kami also has beautiful hand "posture", so for me, the morsels of hand content just added another delicious layer. The entire choreography is much longer than you would normally find in a feels as if you've taken a workshop with Kami.

The bonus content taken from a workshop available to rent online has the same feel (very genuine with a bit more complexity) but the warm-up was the same from the beginning (not a bad thing, but...). The performance of this bonus online available content was taken from Tribal Fest, so it goes without saying (but I have to) that it was gorgeous in all ways.

To say I would recommend this dvd would be an understatement. If your are brand new to this style, I would recommend watching it through a few times as it may he too challenging. For intermediate/advance tribal bellydancers...this is what you've waited for. I've taken a workshop from Kami, and this felt as if I was back there once again. The studio atmosphere with real dancers feels both relaxed and structured because there isn't an overstated set to distract from the content, and Kami's style of pops and lock entwined with her fluidity make this unique and a must have.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Weekly Focus...Variations On A Theme

Every moment we spend doing the same over and over often leads to one of two things, getting better (practice makes perfect) or stagnation (or the definition of insanity). Plateaus and the feeling of being stuck can lead to frustration, which can make your practice suffer.

The answer? Change it up. It's that simple, but we can get so focused we forget the simple things.

For me, that means back to my bellydance roots. American cabaret...the style that most people think of when they hear the word bellydance. The lighter, more ballet-esque movements peppered with playful shimmies that began my bellydance journey...and made me accept who I am.

This week, I'm peppering my practice with a bit of cabaret, and maybe a little modern dance thrown in...

Should be interesting ;-)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tuesday Musings...Seuss-Style

"If you never did you should. These things are fun and fun is good." ~ Dr. Seuss

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Weekly Focus Update...Taking Time

Practice has been fast and furious these past two weeks, and it is finally catching up with me!

After almost two weeks of bliss, my body finally needed a day off. Which I spent in the sun giving my herb garden some much needed attention. (There was a mini boulder I had wanted to move for a long while, now...and I did. Well, I rolled it out of my herb garden. About a foot away. Where it is patiently awaiting its new home!)

Then, back on the horse!

I've come to realize over time that practice has many shapes and forms. And incorporating this idea in my daily practice has given me the flexibility to take away the guilt I would feel if I simply could not fit in an hour of bellydance every day. In fact, one of the easiest ways to get my practice in is in little doses.

Yoga flow in the morning, for about ten to fifteen minutes. Then, maybe an hour or two later, I fit in something else (squats/shimmy drill, jumping jacks with isolations, or even arm cycles paired with ooey gooey movement) for eight to fifteen minutes. Then, if the Universe cooperates, choreography focus! Working on new choreo makes the creative side of me blissful, and incorporates the little movements I play around with in the kitchen.

And keeping a notebook around so I can remember what works and what doesn't is a new practice I'm trying out.

So far, so great. This scenario allows me to keep those serious hour long practices focused, and fresh.

Mix it up!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Weekly Focus...Time

There's good news and bad news this week.

The bad? I haven't had the chance to post my bellydance weekly focus in the past two weeks.

The good? The reason behind the insanity.

Bellydance. A massive amount of practice, rehearsal, choreography, and learning/teaching.

As you may or may not be aware, a little over two years ago, my ankle had a very serious injury that was so serious that walking became crawling. This, if not taken care of, could become a permanent part of my life.

Which also meant no bellydance.

Fast forward to now. I am incredibly grateful, and am finally returning to my regular practice schedule.

Which is my focus. Getting a regular (and somewhat irregular) practice in, either of yoga and bellydance, teaching or learning, dance and bellydance, or yoga and dance.

Practice can mean so many things. For me, it is a consistent dedication to myself. The act of practice includes the drills, warm-ups, cool down, choreographing, movement, and even planning for me. And making that time fit in daily is an important component of that practice.

So far, so good.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

New Review...The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

My first encounter with The Night Circus came over a year ago, when it was featured in Entertainment Weekly's book review section. Oddly enough, my other half was full on for me reading it. At the time, I was fully engrossed in another series, and shelved it to my to be bought pile.

Silly me.

The moment I peeled open The Night Circus, I was entangled in mystery. There's a silent and precious dichotomy to the story telling that feels like a single budding rose opening stunning moment by moment to reveal petal by petal a soft fragrance and inner beauty that grows with each page turned. We learn the story of the Night Circus through the eyes not only of it's performers and admirers, but its creators and inventors.

And all of this, a rich backdrop to a not so simple game. Where the competition is only known to a few, the competitors, their mentors, and a scant couple of not so outsiders. The part that makes this all so beautiful? The love story, not just of a boy and girl, but of a creator and its creation...between magic and the believers unfolds over years, building layer upon layer until every part is utterly intertwined.

First off, let me say I adored the way Erin Morgenstern chose to tell her story. At first, I had to remind myself of the timeline, but it soon became as much of the story as the colors of the circus itself. It slowed the story while equally giving every moment a sense of gravity.

I found myself surprisingly feeling sympathy to the gray, forgetful mentor...and loving the strength the competitors felt towards each other and the circus. Sometimes, those around them would crumble, but Cela and Marco found strength where others couldn't.

The Night Circus itself becomes a living, breathing character in the tale, from the mysterious contortionist, a fantastical path of clouds, to the opening bonfires and ice garden full of glistening living spectacle.

Inspiration, courage, and beauty. All under one spectacular big top. A love story with many characters, but held together by two people who seem to make impossible seem possible.

If I could make a wish and light my very own candle, my wish would be to visit this world once again...and don't be surprised if I do.

Tuesday Musings...Dare To Be You

"We have to dare to be ourselves, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be." - May Sarton