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Monday, March 17, 2008

Meet Egyptian Barbie

Now, if the notion of Barbie conjurs up unpleasant thoughts from your childhood and you're ready to head out and join some radical feminist group to rally against the barbie name...just stop, take a breath and let me explain. When I'm talking about Barbie, I'm talking about that gal who is sweet and charming and always dressed to perfection. You want to play with her, invite her to meet your friends and above all else, rummage through her closet. So, meet our Egyptian Barbie, Rania.


Being around Rania is contagious, dizzying and delightful...she's playful and fun in person and on stage...and from the looks of her latest costume debut, even her outfits channel the Barbie persona. They behave perfectly and add a sweet, charming element to her dance...a perfect companion to a dancer we all love and adore! So put aside any judgments you have about the B-girl and enjoy one of our favorite gals in action!



I would kill for those legs and abs...

Really, if I could swap body parts with anyone I would head straight over to Katarina and take those long legs, tight behind and flat abs off her hands (or body rather...). I have several items I would gladly exchange if it was ever possible. I know it may not be appropriate to covet another dancer this way, but gosh darn it I can only dream. In our troupe, we've learned that if you think trying on costumes is fun, try dressing Kat up in costumes...ten times the fun and none of the disappointment of a poor fitting costume. And to top it off, she's witty and smart and devilishly coy.
This last show she lit up the stage, and the room with her kick-butt drum solo and intoxicating smile. I can't remember the last time I've seen anyone have so much fun on stage...wow! She loves her drum solos and always picks music that really get the crowd going. Her performances are sharp and peppy whereas I'm always in the mood to do something slow and moody. For that reason alone (we'll leave her body out of this now)...I envy her willingness to go all out on each number. Plus, she's just one of my favorite people. Yeah Kat!!!!


The show, the show!

So, I am a woefully poor photographer, I'll easily admit it. My biggest problem is that I forget to take pictures...so when I do have photos that come out clearly...I get very excited. I also get a little sad when I realized how many other beautiful moments I failed to get on film. Bad photojournalist...bad! To the dancers I didn't get photos of...I'm so sorry, but I got a little distracted with Sherry, Katarina and Rania and my batteries only last so long. *sigh*

That being said, here are some moments from our show on March 6. And keeping to our semester tradition, we still didn't have all nine Mirage dancers at the show. It's funny, our biggest concern about having a troupe so large was our fear of too many dancers at one time...the truth is that it has allowed us some scheduling freedom we didn't have before. And, each show has such a different flavor and style to it because of the ladies in attendance. It's really quite interesting! This show, we were missing our long-time members Nisaba and Jeanette (I think this was a first!) as well as Dana Winn...everyone was missed, but they will be extra-rested for the next shows.

Okay, enough preamble...here's the scoop on the show. It was short and sweet...and everyone was hot, really hot!!!!! The audience would have been unable to tolerate a longer show because of the fabulous performances...they would have left gasping for air and breath...we love our audience but we just don't want to risk their safety...so we kept the show short. You cannot say we don't practice 'safe shimmies', now can you?

Our guests include the Jasmine and Maribel. Jasmine first performed on our stage last semester when we had a live show with Belahaar. She's smart, sultry and such a sweetheart as well. Rumor has it that when she finishes school she'll be leaving Austin...I'll just pretend to be in denial until it happens...and in the meantime go watch her dance again. You should do the same.



Maribel has of course graced our stage before, but it's been quite a while...our schedules just didn't seem to sync up. She honored us by closing the show and had everyone dancing behind stage to her beautiful music. (Which I have apparently only on tape...I believe it is Amany Blue). If I had to come up with one word to describe her, it would be 'juicy'. In a nutshell her shimmies have their own law of gravity...even Newton would be jealous about the perpetual motion of her hips, When my hips grow up, they want to be just like hers!



I've also have a photo and a clip of Eva Tennessee...who is blazing her own trail of 'modern folkloric' belly dance here in Austin. One viewing of this video will have you hair tossing every time you dance now!


video

Thursday, March 13, 2008

In the presence of a goddess

There are some performances that really hit home, they make you feel a deep emotion (yearning perhaps) or move you in ways you didn't imagine. There are also some performances where you just say...doggone it...how does she look so hot and how can I have some of that! (I mean that from a dance perspective not a 'I'm changing teams' perspective...in case you are now wondering).

I have to admit that Sherry's performance at our last show hit home on all those marks. Really, she's channeling some goddess or sultry 50's movie siren, or one of the classic, golden age belly dancers we've all admired. Her music is always intriguing and interesting and she moves so effortlessly across the stage, it's like she's floating! If you missed the show...shame on you, you'll just have to sit back and imagine the entire performance. The following photos and clip may help a bit but you'll only experience 1/10 of the passion and emotion everyone felt in her presence.


Now for a collective sigh...


video

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The anticipation

Okay, last weekend I did something spontaneous and bought my first costume online. I know, it doesn't sound that dramatic and everyone is doing it anyway...but I took the plunge. It's all because I've been jonesing for a new costume for quite a while and it's difficult to find one I like and that fits well. You could argue that all I needed to do was order something to fit and I'd be set but the truth is I have a hard time visualizing how things will look on me. I also have some difficulty because of the girls*, which complicates costume shopping. So, I only buy costumes that I can try on.

This weekend, the allure was too great and the costume was so pretty...and blue...and I don't have anything blue right now. So, I splurged and bought a beautiful Hanan costume online and I'm worried about how it will fit and look. Will I love it???? Will it love me???? I just want to know, and soon!

They** told me it would ship promptly and even though I know it wasn't sent overnight I was disappointed that it didn't appear yesterday. Today when I came home, again my heart fell when I didn't see a box at my door. However, when I opened my mailbox I found a note saying it did come today but it's sitting at the local post office, aargh!!!! Really, if I had known I would have snuck away from work just to retrieve it.

Now, the anticipation is even worse because it is so close and yet so far away and I have to wait until tomorrow morning and then make a special trip over there to pick it up. And all I can wonder is if it lonely right now, and is it looking forward to meeting me as well?

*One of these days I'll do a post on the 'girls'; some people who know me have already met them...not everyone will be that lucky though.
**If I'm happy I'll tell you who 'they' are, but I may not...especially if I want another one (which I already do).

Imagine the Possibilities

There is nothing like the promise of a new costume to send dancers into a tizzy. We are in the process of picking out one color (yes, just one right now…) to order some skirts, gauntlets and tops for the troupe. Here are the samples of the fabrics we received from L-Rose. I put them on the cards for easy viewing (and not to lose any), and the photo cannot do justice to the beauty of them in person.

I don’t have an actual photo of us looking at the samples, but I wish I did. You would see us huddled together, lovingly examining each small sample. We all had to touch, hold and caress each little square of fabric. And, when one of us would suggest a color choice a collective chorus of ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ went up, as if a world of opportunity was contained within each small square. The process is delightful, but the product will be absolutely yummy...I'm sure of it.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Would the International Olympic Committee even care?

If only we could get scores (Olympic style of course) for daily challenges in our lives. I'd enter the packing/coordinating/traveling/performing/unpacking part of my Thursdays into the competition, and I think I'd walk away with a gold medal. Even the Russian judges would give me extra points based upon degree of difficulty. Not convinced? Here's a look at the contents in the trunk of my car for just today alone.
Notice that the bag with palm trees is large enough to carry a body (it does have wheels though), the lovely polka dot number is packed to the brim and difficult to navigate simultaneously with the other suitcase because of the size difference, the red bag came along for the ride because it's my work stuff (which I'm not reading tonight like I should), and the black bag contained a change of clothing so I could transition from work to the show. Please note, this does not include the skirt hanging in the back of the car so it won't wrinkle. Four bags, four clothing changes, just to cover my life from 5:30 a.m. until now. You try training for that!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Another thought...

In case any of you were worried that I really did think I would pass out while dancing tomorrow night (see my note about giving blood in the previous post), don't worry. If I can make it through a two hour martial arts class so early in the morning, I'll be fine...but possibly moody :-)

And in case you're wondering...the pants are in the dryer, and I've picked my music, whew!

What are thinking about tonight?

What are you thinking about the night before a performance? Are you rehearsing your steps, listening to your music, lovingly pulling out your costume the entire time you are mentally, emotionally and physically preparing for the next day and show? If you are, I want your life and now!

This is me now:
  • I just realized I don't have pants to wear to my martial arts class tomorrow which starts at 6:30 a.m. (no, that's not a typo)
  • I have just put a load of laundry in so I will have a pair of pants for tomorrow. This means that they have to wash and dry before 6:30 a.m.
  • I just ate something for dinner because I realized I was hungry.
  • I was just thinking about food because I taught a class (last minute) tonight and missed my regular dinner hour.
  • I'm lying about the regular dinner hour, I don't have one...but I did have some chicken for tonight, which will have to wait until this weekend because I'm not cooking chicken at 10:30 at night.
  • I have no idea what to wear to work tomorrow and I'm hoping I don't have to do laundry for that as well. My two options are either something I can wear to the show (and lug the backdrop and other gear in) or something I will change out of for the show. My hope and prayer is for the first option so I don't have to worry about changing again.

****Side note, if you're keeping track we're looking at 1)an outfit for martial arts; 2) an outfit for work; 3)potentially an outfit to travel from work to the the show; and 4)a costume. Packing is really a huge issue for me on Thursdays...seriously...if I could hire someone to pack for me for this one day...I would! Now back to the list:

  • I don't know which costume I'm wearing tomorrow because I don't know what I'm dancing to.
  • I don't know what I'm dancing to because the song I originally picked was slow and a little moody.
  • My song choice must be different now because I have to go first in the show, and therefore must do something peppy and upbeat (it's a Mirage-thing)
  • I'm not feeling peppy and upbeat tonight and I'm not sure I will be tomorrow.
  • I gave blood today, and I'm not trying to get sympathy however I'm wondering if peppy and upbeat is violating the rule that you shouldn't engage in strenous activity for 2-3 days after donating blood. And, if I pass out while dancing can I just go back to the slow and moody song?????
  • I'd rather write about not packing versus packing and preparing...that should tell you something.

My gosh, I so want to be the dancer that has everything laid out so neatly, every step rehearsed, and every nuance memorized. I imagine she is gleefully gliding into her bed just about now, and falling asleep (you know she gets at least 8 hours) so she'll be refreshed and ready for the next day. I envy her, admire her but most likely despise the fact that she doesn't have other limits on her time...but that's another story.

If you really are out there...can we trade lives for just one day???? Or, or at minimum will you pack my bags, pick my music (and costume) and tell me what to wear...I know you have the time!

Hold your applause

Before I go anywhere else, I am proud to announce that during the month of February I posted 15 (yeah baby) times on this blog. For some people that is just a pittance of what could and should happen, but given that I only have a total of 23 posts over a six month time period it's exciting news. I'm not going to jinx anything by stating that I'm on a roll here, I just simply want to call attention to the fact, pat myself on the back just a little, and vow to post again soon.