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.

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?