Monday, January 21, 2008

The Family is Growing

Well, right after the holidays, you may wonder about the title of this post. After all, most people are making resolutions to lose weight, reduce, minimize and simplify. If you ask Mirage, we've kind of done the opposite! This year we've added on, expanded and although there is the potential of more confusion, the truth is we can't be more excited about the changes in the troupe.

It's a tradition for the group to have an end of semester party where we can let our hair down, share some drinks and food, watch videos of ourselves (really, it's actually quite fun) and talk about the upcoming semester. In December, we also do a little holiday gift exchange which includes everything girly and fun we can imagine. The funny part is we seem to come up with a gift 'theme' each year, without any discussion among the group. Last year, it was body glitter (a precious commodity for dancers) and this year, make-up brushes. So, look out world, we'll be such a neatly coiffed and groomed group!

So in addition to our usual holiday cheer and celebrating we did talk a little business, and made some pretty big decisions for the troupe. We decided to invite not one, not two, but three new members to the troupe, whew! From time to time, people ask how they can become a member and I wish I could give a concrete answer to that question. This really is the only decision we make as a troupe that is unanimous and there really is no set format or time in which we plan for it. It really is an organic decision that we think about and then finally decide in a vote (usually after dessert of course).

The ladies we picked are such a great addition to the troupe, not only in terms of dance style but personality, energy and enthusiasm. The larger troupe numbers will actually allow us to perform at more venues (we've got a lot of really busy ladies) and try some new things in our choreographies and shows. And in case you're wondering, we didn't pick them for their hair color or height (blonde, brunettes, red head; shorter, medium, tall), that was just coincidence! So, I'll give everyone a heads don't want to miss Mirage shows this spring! Without further delay, here they are:

Dana Winn

Dana is our California girl turned Texan, who moved here to be closer to her sweetie and fiance (sorry guys, all three of our new girls are taken!). She hails from San Diego where she got her 'hips wet' performing in local restaurants. She has a smile that will melt the audience and a full repertoire of dance movement that I know will dazzle even the most hard-core belly dance enthusiast. She also gets major kudos for dancing with us last December, outside in 30 degree weather. In fact, her whole family gets major brownie points for sticking it out under those conditions. That's what you get when you have a belly dancer in the family, yeah Dana!

Eva Tennessee

Eve...what can I say about this gal? She captured my heart years ago at a dancer debut show when she performed to "Groove is the in Heart". I don't remember anyone else in Mirage history leaping, bounding and dancing across so much of the stage as she did that night. She brings that same energy to everything she does. It seems like the planets were really aligned for her to come join the troupe. I hadn't seen her in quite a while (she was busy with school work!) and ran into her at ABDA's Year and a Day Show. I really wanted her to come dance again with us, and wouldn't you know it...she had decided it was time in her life to take her modern dance/theatre/director background to another level and focus on fusing this with more folkloric belly dance. It's a match made in heaven as far are we're concerned. (P.S. Eve also braved the freezing conditions last December and was brave enough to play zils with the group as well [it had been a while for her]...we learned she truly is fearless).


Last, but certainly not least is Zanjabil (and yes, I did spell it incorrectly in our latest post, sorry)...which is Arabic for Ginger. I've known Ginger for many years now when she first started belly dancing here in Austin. She has an infectious laughter that you just can't forget! We thought we had lost her when she moved to Seattle with her new hubby, but that sweet, southern, sassy gal managed to talk him to returning to Austin. Thanks Billy, we really appreciate it! I admire her quick wit, smart style, and oh my gosh...the shoe collection! I had the pleasure (????) of helping her move once and was frankly astounded by the number of shoes this gal owns. Impeccable taste, lots of glamour and intelligence to boot (she has a Ph.D.). Oh yeah, and she can dance as well!!!! Side note, Ginger would have danced in the cold that night, but remember...she's the smart one who made other plans and was warm, dry and well-fed that evening ;-)

And in case you're wondering what to the call these lovely ladies, I think they've dubbed themselves the Mirage Triad...and I can't wait to see them in action!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Obligatory Promise to Blog

I have absolutely no doubt that among all the New Year’s Resolutions running rampant in this universe that somewhere among the top ten list is a promise to be more consistent with blogging. I’m not saying it tops the ‘lose weight’, ‘get new job’, ‘new relationship’ promises that always bubble up within each of us…I just want to acknowledge that I’m not the only one out there feeling the need to publicly make this promise.

I started my blog in September, feeling all fresh and rejuvenated from a summer hiatus from belly dancing. I had such grand aspirations, and a lovely list of topics to pull from. The problem I realize is that list…I have come to the conclusion that lists don’t work in blogging world. Why you ask? Well think about it. Blogs are supposed to be train of thought, on-line journaling…they should be spontaneous, sporadic, unrehearsed and certainly not planned out in a systematic fashion. Hence my downfall.

So, I decided to look for inspiration and found it in a couple of sources. First, in several blogs that are well maintained by friends. Wow, I admire their tenacity and dedication…and my competitive side also says if they can do…I can do it more often and better, right????? The second came from a simple Google search. Being the ultimate researcher that I am, I thought I would go look for some tips and tools to help out. (Side note, I really am good at finding things on the Internet…I have even had librarians call me to help locate information).

What I found was actually a little scary and has now sent me scampering to start blogging again. These are the highlights from the article.

  1. It’s easy to start a blog. But effort and consistency are required to
    maintain one.
  2. After starting it, a blog wants to be maintained. It wants fresh posts or articles. It wants it often. And not just anything will do; it wants things people like to read.
  3. Without fresh content, a blog gets stale. It whithers. It becomes another statistic.

My thoughts? Well , it turns out I am one of their statistics! Apparently, 66% of blogs (out of over 4 million reviewed) had not been updated in two months and that over a million were one-day wonders. Wow, I last posted in October…but at least, I lasted more than one day!

So, here we go again…I’m letting go of the need to write well planned articles complete with appropriate links and photos and just use train of thought. With any luck, I’ll have something very soon for everyone to look at and a whole semester’s worth of fabulous belly dancing tidbits to enjoy!