Saturday, June 29, 2013

Short And Filled With Panic

In which I attempt to calm the panic of not being yoga/Sanskrit perfectly proficient, and somehow practice to become more endurable (my new word...for not quite having endurance mastered).

In less than two weeks, my flight leaves for Portland. Holy three-quarter shimmies, Batman. For real. The flashcards are started (kinda). Here's the deal. I still am not sure I'll even understand the Sanskrit word/phrases unless the lovely Rachel Brice WRITES THEM DOWN.

This leads me to believe that perhaps some time spent on YouTube (you know, the place you go to stalk other bellydancers, cute kitten videos, and other unmentionables) might help with pronunciation.



And them there's the whole fitting in a few hours here and there of ACTUAL BELLYDANCE PRACTICE!!! AARRGGGHHHH. (Cry of panic, or is that the pirate in me sneaking to the surface? Hmmm...)

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Preparation, Anticipation, And Not Being Perfect

In a little over two weeks, this mama bellydancer will be flying across the country to study with an amazing, and dare I say icon, of tribal bellydance, Rachel Brice. I've been in preparation mode for a few months, focusing on different areas to bring myself up another level, as well as just have the endurance to dance for five to six hours a day.

Have I succeeded? Yes and no.

The honest truth is a double edged sword. I have brought my technique to a new level, though not quite where I really desire to be, and have focused more on practice. Creatively, I've worked on a few pieces choreographed for my troupe which I've loved immensely.

But, in reality, I can't put as much time in as I'd truly like. I have a family, and the past few years have changed my love affair with bellydance. Gratefully, I believe that relationship has grown with me. Accepting that I can't be perfect and practice for two hours every single day has been hard. But once I did, a beautiful thing happened.

I became a better dancer, teacher, and felt joy in my practice. The planning of my time has allowed me to become focused and even spontaneous. Sounds strange, but true. Spreading out the components that put together my "practice" throughout my day lessens the pressure on myself. Bellydance happens now in my kitchen, while cooking or even *gasp*cleaning. Yoga flows don't have to be half an hour long. A morning practice of ten to fifteen minutes starts my day (as long as a certain cutie pie isn't up before me), and then at least one more session either at nap time, evening practice, or before bed. Yoga, for me is just as important as drilling.

For Eight Elements (the intensive I'll be flying across the country soon for!!), there's pre-work. Reading material and a bit of Serpentine review. The Yoga For Wellness by Gary Kraftsow has actually enhanced my yoga practice, and that "aha" moment carried over to my Serpentine (a very wonderful tribal bellydance practice companion that is on the top of my pile) time, as well. (In fact, I was so giddy over this, I had to tell the first person I saw right after. My husband is such a pumpkin for listening. Even if I bribed him with ice cream!)

And now, I look at every aspect a little closer to make sure it will enhance my practice, especially planning. Which, for me, includes scheduling, learning, teaching, and even creating costume pieces.

Hopefully, as the trip draws closer, this feeling will stay with me.

Or I can just have a breakdown once we land. (After the plane ride. No need to unnecessarily burden others with my tribal bellydance problems!)

The biggest learning so far? It is okay to be not perfect. No need to beat yourself up over what you can't do when you can focus on what you can do. Which may just be more than you think.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Celebrating...A Bellydance Journey

My most cherished part of the journey that the road (or mountain!) of bellydance has given me is the appreciation of myself as a woman, and the joy of embracing the differences of the beautiful women (and a few men!) I've had the pleasure of knowing and sharing the art of bellydance with.

Whenever I've had the pleasure of taking a workshop or class with a dancer I admire, this concept is passionately expressed, and a safe place is experienced by everyone. There is a simple and utter respect and trust that is shared. No one feels ashamed, body issues are checked at the door, learning is filled with wonder (and for me, the ability to laugh when my body has a mind of its own), and a sense of sisterhood appears.

Of course, there's always an exception. But, as sad as it seems when this happens, I always try to brush it off. The ability to not let others actions effect our happiness seems to be an easy choice on paper, but seldom as easily executed in action. But, the more you do make this choice, the more you begin to see others in a different light. No one is perfect, no one has everything figured out. The joy is in the journey, especially because this one, for me, has no end. It is the journey itself that brings joy.

Hopefully, everytime I dance, teach, learn, even blog, about bellydance, I bring that feeling to others. There isn't one reason we can't celebrate differences and enjoy the journey together.

Recently, I've seen many sides of people I surround myself with, good and bad. Sadly, I sometimes let the bad effect me more than I should've. And, even more sad is the fact that I didn't allow the good to really envelope me. But, everyday, I try. And that is what is important.

With this in mind, the reaction I've come to know may sound naive, but I don't feed into the negative. Believe in the good. Celebrate. And try not to live in the ugliness that tries to get to you.

The dance is as much for your soul as your body. Learning to feed it and feel the beauty is

Friday, June 7, 2013

Weekly Focus Update...Variation

Ah, the sweet feeling of success after a wonderfully challenging bellydance practice, which only becomes an explosive awesome feeling after a week.

Pushing myself out of my comfort zone (and technically into a long forgotten comfort zone that is now not as comfortable) was more rewarding than I hoped.

As a tribal bellydancer, my biggest weakness (at least in my eyes) has been my hands. Flopping around like gasping fish, or just plain ol' bleh, I always cringe with embarrassment when seeing videos or photos of performances. When I danced cabaret style, I always felt those long ago learned habits from dance class sneak its way into my adult brain. But, for some unknown reason, my tribal brain blocked those impulses.

But, allowing myself to dip back into those practices made my arms and hands unite in tribal hand movement bliss!! In fact, in an all levels drill class (a good teacher is ALWAYS learning), a beginner level student who stood behind me contacted me. She knew I also taught, and wanted to tell me how much she loved my tribal arms! She thought it had to either be natural talent (if only!) or hard work and wanted tips or lessons. (The teacher, BTW, is a troupe mate, so no tie stepping and she was cool with it. No bellydance drama, please.) This made my week, for real.

I thanked her, and said it maybe a small amount of talent, but mostly, HARD WORK. And I'd be more than happy to share my thoughts.

Weekly focus accomplished.