Monday, April 14, 2008

A gentle reminder

Now that I've figured out how to keep track of various blogs and RSS feeds (yeah Google Reader!), I'm a little obsessed with subscribing to a variety of them. I won't go into too many details, but I am following a martial arts site that has some great practical advice. I loved his last post because I thought, all you have to do is substitute your own belly dance terminology where needed and the conversation would be about dancing versus forms and fighting. Such a great reminder when we are all tempted to go to fast, and forget our own fundamentals! And such a great reason to keep drilling basic movements in class.

Slow down. When I see somebody flying through kata at warp speed I suspect they're trying to conceal something, albeit unconsciously...the real litmus test of expertise is to be found in how well a student performs the most basic exercise taught at the white belt level. Don't be so interested in learning something new - that will come in its own time. Rather perfect the techniques that you're covering right now, no matter how mundane or ordinary they may seem. Remember, the authentic expert is a master of the basics.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

I'll yearn no more...

Whew, it's finally over. I swear that this last choreography has taken more time to complete then anything else I could imagine. We were supposed to perform this in March, and it got moved (twice now) until our May 1 show. The biggest dilemma I had with this number wasn't inspiration but rather selection.

My favorite choreographies (and the biggest crowd pleasers) are the ones that usually come from a musical phrase in a song that I feel passionate about. So for this number, I had that inspiration and idea from the start, but every section was just such an effort to finalize. I can't tell you how many times I reworked just 4-8 counts in some parts! I had more ideas than I could count, but I didn't really love most of them.

And here I was tonight, dreading going to practice because I didn't have the ending...after all this time. I hate to let people down, and I wanted so badly to have it all tied up so neatly. I even left work early in hopes of finding that last minute inspiration. (note to self...rushing inspiration is never a good idea). And it just didn't great ideas, no wonderful movements...the only good thing is I didn't do any damage in the house. (This is a sword number by the way)

My solution? It was there all just phone a friend, or in this case ask the group. As it turns out, all I needed was someone to help me with a few counts, an idea, an interpretation of the song, a fresh eye and ear to the music. In less than 15 minutes we accomplished as a group what I haven't been able to do in close to a month alone. Thanks ladies!!!!

Now some of you may think that's a hard pill to swallow--when someone else comes in and makes it all look so easy when you've been struggling. But here's my take on that. Sometimes we struggle because we haven't learned to let go and allow our inspiration to come from other sources and other people. So, come see for yourself the result of our efforts on May 1...we've got floor work, sword work, yearning, passion and in this case, completion!

Monday, April 07, 2008

If I could turn back time

By the way, I know I've been a little slow on the blogging the past few weeks. At one point in time it looked like March postings would surpass February (for those of you counting), but gosh darn typing slowed, okay it stopped.

I have lots of lovely show pics to share and some wonderful stories. If I could only set them to appear a few weeks ago, I would look really sharp and on the ball. However, I didn't and I can't so you'll have to just hear about them in the future.

Now, I know you can change the date and time of your blog but that would be deceptive. Maybe not along the same lines as Google's Custom Time Stamp which actually turned out to be an April Fool's joke.

And yes, I believed it at first. I was seriously torn up about the potential deception that could occur with emails but equally intrigued by the idea that I could make up for correspondence omissions. I had just started thinking about what would be my 'ten' emails to send out when I realized it was a joke. And, I was quite ashamed of no fake dates on the blog from me...consider it my penitence.

Balance shouldn't leave you stressed

We really can't do it all, have it all and still be happy, content and relaxed. But ohhh, that urge to multi-task runs deep!

So here is an excerpt from an IM conversation with a good friend this evening. We often vent and share snippets of our own daily angst and frustrations, tonight she was bemoaning the fact she can't do everthing.

her: I have always found it hard to balance

me: here's the thing about 'balance', people think it means holding everything in equal proportions or simulataneously. I think it means moving in and out of things so that over a period of time you aren't stuck in one place. It's very fluid, adaptive and subject to change

Perhaps I was having a rare and brilliant moment, maybe the planets did align and the right words flowed from my fingers, maybe it's just something I've been thinking about lately...really and truly thinking, and contemplating. Whatever it is, I think the word 'balance' is over used, a little trite and leaves people feeling stressed and inadequte when they can't juggle everything. I know I feel that way....all too often.

So, let's spend less time thinking about balance and think more about focus, flow, resiliency, fullness and at times, emptyness....


I must have been overzealous last night in my intermediate class. This is what one of my students sent me this morning. I'm wondering though if I should be embarrassed to admit I like her translation?

Am I the only one who woke up at about 4:00 this morning to go to the bathroom and nearly fell out of bed when her legs wouldn't support her? Or the only one who sneezed about 15 minutes ago and almost cried?

"Najla" must be Arabic for "evil".