July 2010


Rhea, who is the mother of Piper and Melina, is teaching at Moody Street Circus on Sept. 11 and 12, from 3-6. The workshop selection looks pretty nice. I don’t know much about Rhea, but she taught Melina and Piper, both who are excellent dancers and dance instructors, so it should be a good sign.

Is anyone else planning on attending?

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With the show fast approaching, I need to obtain a bra and belt set. It turns out that I cannot borrow one and for me to make one- well, there isn’t enough time. There isn’t enough time to comission someone else to do it, either; my plan was originally to get a nice costume for this local designer named Shadia. Shadia’s work is gorgeous, I hear she’s very reasonable with cost, and she’s local, so that means I can get things fitted to me by her. Even with sending your measurements to the costume designers abroad, people still end up having to adjust. I figure that I’d rather have something fit me right away.

But I digress. I’m learning why I have never bought a bra and belt set of any flavor. They’re kind of pricey. That isn’t to say that they aren’t worth it, but a few hundred dollars is a lot, even if it’s great quality and will last. The ones that are cheaper may fall apart significantly faster, and most of them honestly are not my style. There’s also the issue of fit. I’m short, and on the smaller side; a lot of costumes are not surprisingly made for people of average proportions.

I’ve posted on Bhuz just now, in hopes someone has an amazing bra and belt set that I can purchase. On one hand, spending that much scares me. I try to be cautious with my money. On the other hand, a good bra and belt set should carry me for quite awhile. I’ve remained more or less the same size for the past few years, and I’m always impressed with how different accessories and skirts can change the look of the bra and belt. Even though finding a good set is a current struggle, I’m excited to own my first real costume.

When Meiver was traveling, I started YouTube account for the Middle Eastern dance intensive class for us to use as a group to watch the choreography and have reference. I got the idea from my Bharatanatyam class; the director of the school has beautiful video of her performing some of the pieces, while telling us what she’s doing. The video is unbelievably helpful for that class; while I try to take notes after it, sometimes they’re wrong and I end up practicing the wrong thing. Sometimes I simply forget if we’ve been given a lot of information. Like most of us, I haven’t attended every single intensive class, so I have missed some pieces of information. The account is helpful, because we can get caught up for the parts we missed and hopefully spend more time in class refining rather than trying to remember. Although we initially started the account without Meiver’s direction, I figured having 6-7 of us hashing it out would probably give a clear idea of what we’re doing.

What’s particularly nice about using YouTube for the Middle Eastern dance choreographies is we can see how we look as a group and how everyone fits in. Three out of four of the pieces are really formation dependent; we switch places frequently in the Modern Oriental, the fan veil piece has partners, and the Khaleegi we all have specific roles in the piece. The beauty behind the fan veil and Khaleegi pieces are really the formations of the dancers (and in the fan veil, the fan veils), so it’s nice to see the reasoning behind everything.¬† Even with a mirror, I can’t see the whole visual effect.

These accounts are setup such that you have to login and the videos are private, so I don’t have to worry about having bad video of me for the entire world to see. I wish we would’ve started the account earlier for the Middle Eastern dance class. Not only would having the reference been nice earlier, but also it would be nice to see our practice.

I just registered for both the Mohamed Shahin and Mass Raqs workshops. I look forward to both. Mohamed Shahin is a fantastic instructor. Mass Raqs has a great collection of instructors, and I’ve never taken a multiple instructor workshop series before.

Is anyone else planning on attending either event?

I realized yesterday that we have roughly a month until the performance for Meiver’s recital. While I have enjoyed the training and think it was good to be taken out of my comfort zone, learning 4 choreographies for her and 2 for Bharatanatyam has left little time for my own personal things. I’ll still need to work on the two choreographies, but going from 6 to 2 is going to be a huge break. When I have my “down time”, I plan on working on the followings:

  • Zills. Zills are far from my comfort zone, but I’d like to get better at them.
  • Working with DVDs. I have stack of DVDs I have not gotten the full use out of.
  • Ballet. I’ve been meaning to attend ballet again, but with attending dance class and/or practicing 4-5 times a week, it doesn’t allow for me to attend ballet. I feel that it will be so helpful with footwork. I’m not sure why Middle Eastern dance footwork trips me up but not Bharatanatyam; I suspect it has something to do with not having an emphasis on footwork in most of my earlier classes.

Courtesy of Beatrice Curtis, a British dancer/Bhuz poster/LJ user, a community on Livejournal was created to get to know your fellow Bhuzzers better. If you’re not too shy/private, it’s a good way to get to know others outside the forum context. I must say I’ve had many pleasant encounters getting to know people via Livejournal.

My job has finally begun, sort of. I’m supposed to be very around now, although there isn’t that much for me to do. I have maybe one task to do per day, so I spend a lot of time waiting, in case the professor do need something.

The program is running pretty well, from the students I talked to. No one is upset or overwhelmed by the work (I was told part of my job is being supportive, because this course can be intimidating). I’m still sussing out not only what my role and duties are but also what the course’s purpose is. I know it’s for teachers to learn how to be scientifically minded, but that’s a rather vague goal. What has been most useful for me for finding out the purpose/benefit has been just talking to people. I sit mostly with the one group, because they’re in the same building I’m camping out in and the other people aren’t into the social aspect (they take a shorter lunch).

One of the teachers  who participated in the other class last year said, as a result of this class, she has become more enthusiastic about science and that transfers over to the students. I never thought about it that way. I was looking for something more tangential, like they have all this knowledge or have projects to take back home. Her response was pretty profound and totally sensible. Thinking back about what I get out of classes/workshops I take, sometimes the best thing I get out of it is I have a revitalized energy and focus.

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