Jun. 3rd, 2008 11:55 pm
jademermaid: (Hips O' Doom!)
The show went wonderfully, and the little girls were much less scared and crazy tonight. I spent a good chunk of time (since we had to hang around anyway!) helping the little girls to not run in tap shoes and break their legs, not to cry, and helped out with their little costumes. One girl had a bad sunburn, and her sequin straps were bothering her, so she was running around with her top down! I really didn't blame her though. Another little girl had ringworm, which scared the beejeesus out of me, so I didn't touch her and the rest of the ladies thought that was pretty funny.

Our performance went well, at least I felt it did, and the crowd loved us, so yay! I had a couple more ladies approach me about classes, so that's good, let's see if the actually show up. Melinda thinks that the next few classes will be well attended.

I am SO proud of this group of ladies. They had fun, and managed to pull this thing together with me on very short notice. I don't have pictures, but there is supposed to be a DVD. I'm not sure what the format will be, so I don't know what I'll need to do to get our routine off of it. I'll keep you guys posted.

Thanks for all the good thoughts!

Eye Glitter

May. 1st, 2007 08:26 am
jademermaid: (Default)
I know [profile] maysun67 asked me about the glitter I was wearing on my eyes, and it's really great stuff, so I thought I'd pass on the link.  The color I wore at the hafla was Caramel Apple, and I also have Rachel Brice's Rooster Tail.


Apr. 1st, 2007 07:50 am
jademermaid: (Me tribal)
Our first hafla at the new place went perfectly! It's so nice to have more room to dance--though I quickly realized that dancers expand to fit the space they are in, much like fish! We had a lot more dancers on the floor at one time!

I introduced Jawahir wrong (again, sorry about that!), Mishka's bra came loose in the back (but it was pinned so it didn't come off), and I kept forgetting things I'd promised people I'd play.

But--the show went well, we didn't miss a cue, everyone danced well and played music well and had a great time, and we even made lots of new friends! The only bad thing was that [ profile] gypsy_raihana and I were crampy and bloated, but after a while of moving around I actually felt better. I did the song I'd picked originally, one that I'd considered changing because I wasn't sure how iI was going to feel, and it required a lot of belly work. I didn't hit the cues I wanted to hit, but it went okay.

We had a great crowd, lots of cool people! [ profile] maysun67 and [ profile] madrun didn't show up for some reason though---this bummed me out a bit, I hope they come to the next one.

Patio, the manager, was thrilled with us and was all about having us there every month, which is fine with me, at least while the weather is warm.

We are looking at April 28th as the next date. Check your calendars!

(It looks like there may not be a hafla in May, because of the Onca workshop in Murfreesboro.)

jademermaid: (Default)
This question was posed on a Tribe forum--What do Burlesque and Bellydance have in common?

Before I start, here's my disclaimer-- I came to bellydance after being both a burlesque and also stripper/exotic dancer for over ten years. When I started looking into things, I got a lot of flack about what was and wasn't the origin of bellydance, as well as some real attitude and what I call real blindness as to what makes the world go around, especially here in America. Don't even get me started on some of the nasty comments I have to read about stripping on nearly a weekly basis on any bellydance board. Wake up, people. Stripping and its more theatrical mother burlesque are not the black pool of evil that many bellydancers wish to distance themselves from. Also, I am 42 years old and I find that I care less and less about sugar coating some things, so if I sound like an old bitchy woman, there you go. ;-)

American Burlesque certainly added a few things to modern bellydance as we know it now. I submit that burlesque is one of the main reasons it became so popular and remains so today. Now, I'm not saying burlesque is an innocent endeavor, but I am saying that *judging an entire history by a few trashy hos that bend over for a dollar is a slight on a great many talented performers over the decades*.

Burlesque, real burlesque, involves entertainment first, sexuality second. That entertainment may be comedy, or the introduction of props, skits, stage shows, audience interaction or any theatrical concept within the dancer's reach. The idea of removing clothing is either part of the act itself (I once danced with a performer in upstate New York who had her clothing removed piece by piece by a flock of trained doves), or an afterthought to the real gimmick the dancer uses (an old friend used to come out from a coffin in a haze of smoke and do some creepy poses and fang flashing before carefully shredding the clothes from her body with a dagger). So what has bellydance taken from burlesque and stripping?

Tipping on the body.
Sorry, but before Little Egypt, I have found no instance of tipping on the body. in fact, it seems to have started with private striptease dances at stag parties in the 30's and 40's and moved then to restaurant dancing. If you find something more clear, I'd love to hear about it.

Bedlah are descended from carnival and burlesque dancer outfits. Why? Because they are sparkly, shiny, and sexy, that's why. They are an embellished hybrid of underclothing and exotica. How did a folk dance become a sex thing? Blame America, because that's where Little Egypt and the many fake little Egypts started doing carny shows and peep dancing. It became an exotic and forbidden thing, to see those foreign women (!) take off there clothes in a smoky tent to the tune of horns and drums. Hell, many people still go to watch bellydancers in restaurants because of this mystique.

This is as burlesque as it gets, inspired by hollywood epic movies like Claudette Colbert in Cleopatra, or Hollywood's preoccupation with exotic and cheap movies involving 'the dance of Salome" or "the dance of the seven veils'. It's all so romantic, right? Enchant your sultan with your exotic and forbidden dance, though the sheer seduction of veil after veil... Hell, it's no wonder the fifties started the bellydancing housewife craze. The real queens of veilwork were the burlesque dancers of the 50's in my opinion. The veil or cape was a flirtatious and skillfully turned beginning to their dance.

Undulating floorwork.
I would say floorwork in general, but that would be incorrect. Turkish folk dance has a good deal of knelt moves, but what I'm talking about is the reclined on the floor posing moves, sometimes with undulations and suggestiveness to the audience. Look at 40's cheesecake photos or Lily St. Cyr's chair poses to see what I mean.

Not too many bellydancers use snakes, but some do, and the idea of dancing with a snake was from old carny and burlesque dancing (see the jungle girl and her serpent lover!). It can also take the fantasy Cleopatra angle (see the Egyptian Queen give herself willingly to death by a reptile!). I did about four years of snake dancing when I was touring with my snake Stella, and let me tell you, nothing stirs such naughty thoughts in a man's mind as a pretty girl with a snake wrapped around her, it's a phallic and awesome thing.

I also think that some moves that are core bellydance moves are also core Burlesque ones, but that's one of those things that goes under 'which came first, the chicken or the egg?' for me. Also, since Bellydance has come to America, picked up some influence, then returned to the Middle East and come back again, it's really hard to know who influenced who, but certainly there are many things in common!

The large hip circle, sometimes with a torso dip.
I really think this one is most likely a burlesque move first, because it seems too provacative to have come from the Middle East originally, but I can't prove it.

Chest pops, hip drops, pelvic hits.
These are actually probably originally Middle Eastern, and then moved to a more suggestive place on the burlesque stages of America.

The ballet-inspired movements (arabesque, ronde de jambe, ballet arms, etc.)
Yes, it is possible that they came from ballet directly to bellydance, but I'm more inclined to believe that it was more of a convoluted journey than that. Many burlesque dancers used those movements because they learned them from watching movies or in some cases, they had trained in ballet, like Sally Rand or Sherry Briton. In any case, it is certainly something that the dances have in common today.

Love to you and yours,
(A.K.A. Strawberry Flame)


Feb. 13th, 2007 07:39 am
jademermaid: (FCBD)
I remember that Carolena was pretty adamant about the zilling only being done with the dominant hand leading (R-L-R pause, R-L-R pause). I understood why she said this, because as an instrument, you want the stronger hand to carry the accent, but since ATS dance uses the basic triplet most of the time, and you are moving while playing, it makes more sense to me to alternate with the leading foot, especially in the walking shimmy (R-L-R pause, L-R-L pause). I tell my students to try it both ways and see what works for them, and most of them do like to alternate. I found this today on Tribe, maybe Carolena has noticed that the musical accent is negligible too, in the face of rhythm and balance? Or more likely, she just wants everyone to relax and not nitpick over things like this.

"Stop beating yourselves up! Just put the zils on and have fun. It takes practice, and not over-thinking. Of course the Arabic is easier to zil to than the Shimmy, it's less complicated in the feet, so it's a great thing to practice. for the Shimmy, if you want to play RLR on the right foot and LRL on the left foot, that's fine, too! Just keep the zils on and get to know them while you learn the steps. Eventually it will all come together. And, remember to smile while you are practicing!"

This probably means nothing to most people, but it was cool to see that I was doing the right thing for us even though it was out of format.

Last chance to get in on the big zill order, by the way. Let me know!
jademermaid: (Happy)
I made these comments in [ profile] tribaldancer's journal, but wondered if anyone had other opinions:

I see 'Tribal Fusion' as a catch-all for dance styles that are still finding their niche, as well as defined tribalesque alternatives. Once they find their own section of followers, they branch off and become their own little curiosity shop, and that's okay. I figure as long as there are enough folks to support it, it deserves to at least remain connected through the great Tribal web so that other people can find it--so I'm okay with a Burningman-type hooper performing at a large tribal event. It gives the show some variety and may stir a spark or two for someone in the crowd. I also think that *something* needs to tie it in, though. Even if it's just the costuming or the music or a few movements--it needs to have some bellydance connection. For me, the hooper boy on the Evolution DVD was not connected to bellydance. He was still entertaining (though we mostly just wondered if his shorts were going to fall off completely before the end!)to be sure, but his skills were strictly that of a talented hooper, not a dancer. However, I have seen hoops incorporated into routines that were true fusion, for instance the fire hooping at the end of the fire performance at Triboriginal this year. The hoops were used as a prop, but the routine used bellydance movements and group synergy, two aspects that ring true for tribal style to me.

I know I've made this analogy before, but I see the current American bellydance climate as similar to great movements in the artistic world. Dance is the most primal of art forms, and as civilizations appreciate the arts, artists do all they can to introduce new views, in the hopes of being unique and different from the other art surrounding them. What usually happens though, is that since everyone is so busy being different, we all end up with no definition. This is where we are right now I think, the period of blooming, when everyone suddenly pops up with a new outlook on art and what art means. There will be a breaking off, if not now, then soon, because when there are no rules, people start making them, it's our nature.

The next period is full on abstraction, which we are beginning to see in some areas, such as with Urban Tribal and Hands of Kali- At this point in most art movements, things become so far from the norm that it may no longer resemble the original source.

Unmata performs to the Beastie Boys!

This continues until abstraction turns back to traditionalism. At this point, people will be seeking out the old videos with a vengeance, and trying to get workshops with flame carriers of traditional movement, or at least, that is what I predict. Of course, during cultural swings of abstraction there are always those who stick to tradition, and I think that is important as well.

So as I see it, we are at the apex of the movement underneath the Tribal umbrella, in a few more years people will start looking for grounding again and move back toward Fat Chance or folkloric styles.

But hey, that's just a theory. ;-)
jademermaid: (Mermaid thinking)
While hanging out and socializing at the hafla, I mentioned to my friend Melissa that I've been toying with the idea of themed haflas every couple of months for fun. She mentioned that she and her work friends were dressing up in Rocky Horror characters for work, and that she'd wanted to do the time warp, but she didn't get her Magenta costume done in time. I really like the idea of doing this for next October, and like this one, early enough not to conflict with other Halloween parties.

Of course a couple of the ladies haven't seen or appreciated Rocky horror, so now I have to have a Rocky Horror viewing party so we can have a crash course in alien Transylvanians. There must be drinking and lots of throwing of toast and rice. It may end up being a party of it's own down at the coffeehouse on a rented big screen--which I think is funny--the party to introduce virgins to RHPS so that they can dress and dance at the hafla later in the year.

Anyway, the other themes I want to do are a pirate hafla in September (arrr!) and a hula or hippie hafla sometime in the summer, so that [ profile] gypsy_raihana can finally dance to Green Tamborine!

a couple of other options that have been floating around in my brain:

80's hafla
Heavy metal hafla

Now, these wouldn't be every hafla, they might be every other one, or just a few times a year, because I don't want it to get too far away from the lovely thing we have going on now.

I guess what I need is feedback, especially from local people. If you had enough notice (I'm thinking of sending out a calandar with the months but not the dates of upcoming haflas) would you participate in most of these? I know that I am up for any excuse to dress like a freak and perform, but what about you guys? Would you put on tie dye or coconut shells in the name of a good time?
jademermaid: (FCBD)
The hafla went well, even though many people that I was expecting didn't make it out for one reason or another. I worry about this, because I don't want the haflas to fizzle out, which is why I had considered going to every other month. Several people expressed the feeling that they really like the monthly thing though, so it seems I have die hard hafla people and also opportunists who will come once in a while. This means that I will never know if we will have a packed house where you can barely move, or a very intimate and small situation. I try to convince myself that it doesn't matter--it's just tough when you have performers that say they want to dance and then they don't show.

I did the song that I mixed and burned an hour beforehand, and I felt really good about what I did, and I may do that particular song again soon. The troupe dance went well, and everyone else's solos went quite well too, I was proud, even though we didn't have much of a crowd to see it.

Then Dee Dee asked if we would dance again. I wasn't really up to it, I was ready to just hang out and socialize, but I said yes, and [profile] twisted_tulip's daughter wanted to dance with us, so [profile] gypsy_raihana led our beginner piece and it went well. I totally screwed up the second lead though. I just wasn't in the right headspace, and blanked on the choreography enough that I had to make a big joke of it until I got back on track. It really bothers me when I forget choreography, which I why I hate to do them in the first place.

No one seemed to care too much, but I was glad it was over so I could shoot myself!

Ahh well. Pretty soon I will pass a bunch of the choreo stuff to others and not deal with it!

Next hafla: September 16th.

Coming soon: Special halloween gothla with Tempest, Friday the 13th of October. Costumes encouraged!
jademermaid: (Diana)
Last night Corey and I went to the drive-in and saw Talladega Nights. It was very funny, I say go see it! Will Farrell is in good and goofy form, and the stereotypes are funny without being mean.

Little Man was the second feature, and I tried to give it a chance, we watched about 20 minutes of it before we were both skeeved out by the sex with baby/little person thing and we left.

Do not see Little Man, it will make you cringe.

This morning, I did a small dedication to an altar for Diana at the shrine area. Tonight is her festival, though I don't plan to do anything big this year. Next year I hope to have the stone pond built to place the torches around. That would be beautiful.

Today I have been working on breaking down the choreography for the Halloween gothla performance
after Tempest's workshop. It's tougher than it looks, but I think we can do it, luckily it is short.

Then I'm going to do some drum practice, not sure who is coming by, but that's okay. This evening I am going to celebrate the festival by washing my hair and walking a torch from the fountain to her altar and saying the prayer to Diana that I wrote a few years ago:

Hail Diana, She of the shining moon, she who races in the wood, she of the stag and dog, hear this prayer from a humble heart. Let my injuries be silenced, my muscles stay limber, and my dance be fluid and proper. I pray that you will be favorable to my home, family and animals.

I may read her Orphic or Homeric hymn as well. I really need to work on translating my personal prayers into Latin, but I'm not ready to do that quite yet.
jademermaid: (Rachel Backbend)
Latest Rachel news from Tribe:

Miles Copeland is putting together an all-tribal tour with Rachel, Mardi Love, and Zoe. It will be called Le Serpent Rouge, or the red serpent. Very exciting!

Also, Rachel has spilled the beans that filming will start in January for a Rachel performance DVD. How nice it will be to pop in Rachel and relax, instead of squinting to watch her on youtube or plucking out her performances from the other DVDs!
jademermaid: (Default)
I was about halfway through the FCBD DVD when Corey woke up, so I paused it to let him watch his sci-fi and get ready for work.

Please don't let me cop out on finishing it! I had planned to do both discs today, I need to brush up on basics.
jademermaid: (Default)
For [ profile] amazon_mel or anyone else that needs to go work out:

Today I started with 60 ab crunches (20 center, twenty to each side) This actually helps me with the walking, by taking the pressure off my back.

Leslie Sansone's Deluxe Walk-Weight Loss (1.5 miles)

Rachel Brice yoga and drills (15 minute section)
jademermaid: (Default)

The show at the coffeehouse went well despite a few false starts. I was glad I had some wine to take the edge off, because a bitchy Jill is a bad thing. The morning started with a call from the coffeeshop manager, letting me know that the stereo she had planned to bring was no longer an option. But that was okay because I then realized that our stereo is actually quite portable. Corey showed me which connections were for which speakers and I was set. A heaviness in the air made my knees and back start to hurt, but I pushed that thought out of my mind; there was too much to do.

Okay, pass the wine.

I had a few coins to tack onto my bra, and for whatever reason, I was not one with my sewing implements yesterday. I cussed, I spat, I ripped the thread a couple of times, and finally comprimised by leaving a few of the coins off to save my sanity. Offerings and laments to Athena will be made!

More wine, please.

Then my hair decided to be a bitch. No matter what I did, the buns would not get even, and then when I did get them even, the dreads started messing with me, flopping the wrong way and just being generally a pain. Finally I tamed my medusa dreads--maybe it's my own fault for wanting that medusa tattoo! Luckily my makeup was a breeze this time, normally the eyeliner doesn't want to be even.

While all of this is going on, Rose and Rhonda are on the phone, trying to get themselves together and out their respective doors. I exert my troupe leader mommy voice (and hopefully don't make them hate me) and convince them to ride in the same vehicle. Yay! One less thing to worry about!

Just a sip, and everything's cool.

By this point I'm pretty well frazzled. R&R come and get me, stuff my basket of crap into the van and we are off. We get to the coffeehouse and we are of course very early. I prefer this, but I can tell that R&R are less than pleased with my paranoid obsession with being early. I set up the stereo, it works great, we move tables and test the floor spinnage and then wait.

By the way, the local bellydance scene is filled with the most fabulous, supportive folks ever. We are blessed to have found each other. Dee Dee who manages the coffeehouse was astounded by how many friends we had, and she tried desperately to keep up with the orders. The place started filling up, I had Solace playing in the background...and then I didn't have Solace playing in the background! The stereo died. Was it the breaker? Nope. Luckily [ profile] gypsy_raihana's hubby is a techie geek and he managed to take the stereo apart, retrive our set CD and pinpoint the problem. It was a tiny fuse, which was good news for me, but now I had to find a way to play music.

Luckily, I had brought my wine with me.

Dee Dee had a boom box, so we were back in business. I had thought a boom box wouldn't work, but it was actually just fine! I vowed at that point that nothing else would bother me, and other than my knees giving me some trouble during the set, and one flying earring, it went fine. We had lots of fun dancing and socializing in little sattelites of gossip and shimmies, we drummed, we zilled, we drank coffee. Whew!

The plan is to do this "Lebanese Hafla" every month or so, which will be fabulous. I'm hoping to have a new choreography and our new costumes done by the next one, because as much as I love our basic outfits, we've worn them and danced to the same songs a few times now and I don't want people to get bored. Xenia and a couple of the other gals said they will perform at the next one too. How cool is that?

Can't wait.


jademermaid: (Default)

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