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.
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Carrara Nour decided yesterday that we (or at least she)  begins her 90-day practice challenge. She started it off with a doozy- 4 hour practice. Not to be expected to be completed at once. I decided to see if I could fit in two 2-hour practices today.

First practice, consisting of drills and zills, is finished. Tiring but finished (and left me with a huge appetite). Probably the hardest thing was to think of how to fill 2 hours of practice.

Tonight’s should be easier: Combination Nation. I’ve watched it once while I was sick but now I’ll attempt it.

Anyone else partaking in this challenge?

I know prop work isn’t that end all, be all of Middle Eastern dance. However, tonight after watching several clips of veil, zills, etc., I realized I should be able to do some kind of choreography with veil, zills, or cane. I’ve studied each one pretty rigorous for at least a year. I know how to manipulate all of them fairly well (zills are my weakest, though). I think I can definitely do something good with veil.

Anyone else already plotting what do study for next year?

I decided wherever I end up during fall 2009, I’m going to make a very big effort to dance more. I want to do something professional soon (in a few years or so) with dance, and I’ve been thinking about what I need to do this summer.

  • I need to come up with some solid choreography. That will entail picking music, “mapping” it, and then dancing to it.
  • I think I should be able to play zills. I’m getting better just doing walking steps and learning a few new rhythms, but I really want to dance with it. I think it’s important to have a strong grasp of a few typical props. I feel like my veil is pretty decent, my cane is okay, but I know zills is bit lacking with me. This is going to involve learning the rhythms as well.
  • I definitely think my technique is stronger, significantly stronger, but I want to really add floorwork to it. I’m not a huge floorwork fan (I lose a lot of height if I’m kneeling), but again, I think floorwork can be dynamic and beautiful when used appropriately
  • Style is something that I’m always working on. I don’t want to be a cookie-cutter dancer, ie. I don’t want to be a lesser version of someone famous. I want people to see me and feel like they’re seeing someone original, not “Hey, she moves just like ____!” I’m not saying I want to do crazy fusions or be sloppy, but I definitely think you can take several of the top dancers in any style and they will be distinct.

I was regretful my veil class was canceled this summer, but I think the extra 3 hours will be good for me to start really executing things. Does anyone have any experience or advice in how they took themselves to the proverbial next level?

I started one over break to sort out my growing pile of workshop handouts and notes. After talking to Danielle, though, I decided to keep a notebook for other class stuff. She made the excellent point that handling my dance training like school would probably be useful. I’ve been thinking about it. I already keep a notebook where I sketch costumes ideas. I additionally have a folder on my computer photos of costumes I like. I just started a notebook that will be full of drills I do daily.

My next organization project is to create technique lists and zill pattern lists, as well as other useful stuff I learn in class. The technique list will, I hope, stop me from getting stuck on the idea that I only know 2 moves. With zill patterns, I hope to really start identifying them beyond a handful.

Now just a matter of getting it together… I unfortunately decided this was a good project to begin during midtrms.

Happy 2009! I hope everyone had an awesome New Year’s Eve. I mself had a very quiet one in, which was nice.

Since I’m a goal-oriented person, here are my goals in physics and dance this year. I hope that they will guide me along.

  • Do well in school. Enough said.
  • Practice more and incorporate other things into practice. I basically want to start really incorporating more yoga into my practice. Since my schedule is weird because of school, I’m also looking to start using DVDs as a supplement to my practice. I will write about the change of mentality with that later.
  • Complete my thesis defense by August.
  • Save money to go onto a trip. I haven’t done a long vacation in a while, so this is really an award/treat for me.
  • Practice Odissi on my own. I miss Odissi a lot, and I have the book that my teacher wrote, outlining many steps or arsas. I feel like I understand enough of the posture to at least be able to drill and keep the strength in my legs.
  • Gain proficiency with tribal dance and learn Turkish Oriental. I love Egyptian Oriental, but I am interested in spreading my wings and trying other styles. Tribal I’ve been doing, but I’d love to be better. Turkish is very new to me, but I love the energy in it. Since my overlying goal in dance is to eventually become some flavor of professional, I’d like to increase my knowledge.
  • Expand and refine folkloric and lesser known Middle Eastern dance. I loved what I did with Aradia while I was in Vegas. I want to learn whatever I can this year. Raqs al assaya (cane), melaya leff, anything.
  • Attend as many workshops as possible. Disappointingly, there has not been much word about workshops in Chicago and making it to other workshops outside of Chicago is difficult. However, I hope everyone just got so busy with the holidays that they haven’t posted events yet.
  • Practice zills and veil. I really would like to be better at both. Zills done well are just amazing and veil is so beautiful.

I’ve been taking a few prop workshops recently. In general, I am not hugely into props for myself. Since I’m still learning, I don’t want to take an impressive but easy way out. I think it’s much harder to capture the audience when it’s simply you than if you have something like swishing fabric about you.

That isn’t to say I don’t enjoy good prop work. I do, and some of it is amazing. Very appropriate for the music/mood/setting.

One of my goals is to develop one choreography this quarter. I think I want to use a prop, like a veil or zills. On one hand, I think it’s good to practice those skills. On the other hand, there’s the innate fear I’m going to not be able to create a seamless dance, ie. the dance will still be good without the prop. There’s also a space issue, but again, I’m still debating about whether I should join the gym, which would eliminate a space issue.

What do you think?