Hello, lovelies! Here’s another year-end post on the performances and costumes I wore in 2016. It’s a little late since I was waiting on the Vintage Belly Dance Brunch performance video. Like the previous year-end posts, this one is image-heavy and light on text. The costumes where I posted a full post will have a link – just click on the title to view the full post and video.
I hope you all enjoyed seeing our costumes and pictures. I’ve included a video below my signature. I must admit, I had a lot of fun editing these year-end videos. There are other belly dance performances in the works for 2017, so stay tuned.
Hello, lovelies! This will be a long post, meaning lots of pictures but not much text (you know how I roll). I danced with the two troupes that I belong to: Shimmy Mob DC and Raquettes Amira. We danced at Freedom Plaza and at the National Asian Festival (Fiesta Asia).
On May 14th, I danced with Shimmy Mob DC for World Bellydance Day. World Bellydance Day is where belly dancers worldwide perform in “flash mobs” – we perform to the same choreography and with the same music. Each belly dance “flash mob” represents a different city. Not only do we do this to celebrate the joy and sisterhood of belly dance, but we also dance to raise money and awareness for victims of domestic violence. I wasn’t able to “shimmy mob” last year, so I was very pleased to join my team this year.
As always, we danced at Freedom Plaza and in front of The National Theatre. Here’s a few pictures of Shimmy Mob DC:
On June 5th, four of us “Shimmy Mobbers” danced at the National Asian Heritage Festival (Fiesta Asia). I also danced with Raquettes Amira, my ATS® dance troupe. It was so hot on that day, but it was a lot of fun! Not only do I enjoy attending different festivals, but I especially love dancing at these festivals.
Here are a few pictures from Fiesta Asia:
Following Raquettes Amira stage pics by our fellow dance sister, Jeanette
I hope all of you enjoyed this post. Everyone should experience a little belly dancing in their life, whether it’s taking classes, performing, and/or watching (both live performances and videos). I wasn’t able to get video for our Shimmy Mob performance, but here are some clips from our performance at Fiesta Asia. Enjoy!
Hello, lovelies! Back on April 30, my ATS® dance troupe and I performed for the Sahara Dance annual Spring show, Under A Desert Moon. This year’s theme for the show was “Dreams”, so the 14th annual Under A Desert Moon was aptly titled, Dreaming Under A Desert Moon.
First, here’s my makeup and costume for the annual Spring show and my first ATS® makeup tutorial:
Our group, Raquettes Amira, took inspiration from the dreaming theme to create magical, “elf-like” goddesses. Our dance sister, Illyria, made our harem pants and our dance instructor, Eugenia, made our Ghawazee coats. Elizabeth (aka “Gaia”) came up with the idea to represent different goddesses. You can tell that we have a couple fans of Game of Thrones within our group. I haven’t seen the show, but I will jump at any chance to look like “royalty”.
♦ Here are the ladies of Raquettes Amira ♦
(click on each photo to see a larger view)
We performed a slow piece to “Journey” from Video Games Live, by Austin Wintory. Very dreamy. I felt like we were in a fairy tale. As you know by now, I’m a huge fan of themes.
The following stage photos are courtesy of Christopher “Puma” Smith (via Facebook)
I hope this post has put a bit of joy in your day. This was one of my favorite performances and definitely my favorite costume! Who doesn’t like looking like a goddess? I’ve included our dance performance video at the end. Enjoy and may all of your dreams come true.
Today is Summer Solstice, the official first day of summer and the day with the longest daylight hours. This is also the day where I admit that I have failed. Well, maybe not completely, but I’m not doing too good with my goals for this year. My three goals for this year were starting yoga again, taking up drawing again, and simplifying my life. The only headway I’ve made thus far is simplifying my life. I’m still getting rid of excess clothing, shoes, tchotchkes, etc., but I have failed in the other two goals and I am not too pleased with myself.
And I’ve been feeling it, lately. I’ve been tired, sick with pain and allergies, stiff, and unmotivated. My skin looks terrible and I’ve been feeling listless. This has got to change. I can’t continue with being a useless, sack of skin. Maybe not useless (I’m a fan of hyperbole), but I do not feel healthy. The only thing saving me from being a complete slug is belly dance. But as I get older, that is not enough to save me from merely existing.
So, this week I’m getting back on the horse and taking up yoga again. I started hot Vinyasa yoga last year and loved it. After a couple of years of searching, I had finally found a yoga practice that suited me, but I somehow got derailed. However, the past is the past and I’m ready to try yoga again.
For some reason, keeping track of my progress is a lot easier when I blog about it. I do this with my deadlock posts and while it doesn’t take much work besides washing and separating my locs, it’s nice to see my loc growth from loose hair to the present. I think keeping an active web log (which is where the word “blog” comes from) of my yoga progression will help me stick with it.
♦ MONTH ONE ♦
So let’s get started. I will check my progress every 60 days (every other month) instead of monthly, so that my progression will be more obvious. While my goal will be overall health, I’ll be looking out for two things: flexibility and strength. I’ll also be paying attention to weight loss, but this is not my goal. I’ll still have fat, but if I can see some muscle I will be more than satisfied.
Now for the dreaded pictures. Ugh.
I never was very flexible. Maybe I was as a child, but as an adult I’m as flexible as a brick. While I can still dance, improving my flexibility would definitely improve my dancing. The three moves I’ll be using to check my progress will be a squat, a backbend, and a split. I’m not worried about ever achieving a split, but it’s a good way to see how flexible I can get.
Here’s the truth: I will never have a flat stomach. Those days are over. One of the wonderful things about belly dance is that having a belly is not seen as some character flaw. While I don’t care about not having a flat stomach, I would like to have some muscle definition (I know they’re in there somewhere). And when I say muscle definition, I particularly mean my obliques. I’m okay with not having six-pack abs.
We’ll see how I do in the next couple of months. I always have this fear of starting things up again – my fear of failure is pretty strong. But I must start working towards improving my health. I can’t keep putting it off – I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.
How are you doing with your yearly goals? I hope it’s a lot better than I’m doing.
Title poster by Twiggy and Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club marquee pic courtesy of Sahara Dance. Used with permission.
About three weeks ago my ATS® dance troupe and I danced our last performance for 2015 at the Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club for the Sahara Dance Golden Era Salon: A Vintage Belly Dance Brunch. What a wonderful venue to perform in! I’m really enjoying dancing while people eat, just like the dancers did in the mid-20th century – hence, the “Golden Era”. It was also the first time I danced to live drums, performed by Sahara Tabla. Or course, I like dancing to recorded music as well, but nothing beats feeling the drumbeat of live music.
First, here is my ATS® costume, with hair and makeup:
Next, here are the ladies of our ATS® dance troupe for the Golden Era performance:
Not pictured: Gretchen, Erin K., Erin V.
Here are some of our stage pics. Photos are courtesy of Jeanette Trejeda de Gomez and Stereo Vision Photography. Used with permission.
I’ve already signed up for the annual Spring dance show, Under A Desert Moon (UDM) and I’m looking forward to the new semester. Not only is our dance troupe now a student dance company, but we also have a new name for our company: Raquettes Amira, named after the famed restaurant in San Francisco. It was THE place to see tribal belly dance. I’m really looking forward to 2016!
You can check out our performance in the video below, courtesy of Sahara Dance Productions. Our performance started with the wrong music cued, but I must say that we recovered nicely. Even the audience showed support of our recovery.
Hello, lovelies! As we come towards the end of 2015, I decided to do a couple of year-end posts. They’re more like a photo album vs. an actual blog post. Translation: 95% pictures, 5% words. This post is a rundown of the costumes I wore this year. Needless to say, they’re mainly dance costumes, but still costumes nonetheless.
Without further ado, here are the costumes I wore in 2015. You can click on each title to read the full blog post.
Program flyer courtesy of Kathy Papienski. Used with permission.
Hello, lovelies! About 4 weeks ago, I performed in the bi-annual Raq Out show, presented by the College Park Arts Exchange. Raq Out is coordinated twice a year – once in the Spring and once in the Fall, usually around Halloween. I performed in last Halloween’s Raq Out and decided to do it again this year. This year I performed with one of my dance sisters, Amy. I’ve danced a couple of solos before and a number of times in groups, but this was my first dance duo. Amy and I decided to perform tribal fusion. I was nervous, but I had so much fun!
As always, I must share our makeup and costumes. Here’s our makeup:
Here are the costumes. It’s common in tribal and tribal fusion belly dance for our costumes to coordinate a bit, without matching:
Here are more pictures of us dancers and our costumes:
Stage photos are courtesy of Todd Harris. Used with permission.
It was a blast dancing with Amy and everyone enjoyed our cute performance. My apologies for not taking video of our performance – I was just too nervous. But there will definitely be video of our ATS® Sunday brunch performance, coming up in one week! I’ll leave you with the song that Amy and I performed to, “Unicorn Zombie Apocalypse” by Bogore & Sikdope.
The above photos are courtesy of Ivan Krivega. Used with permission.
Last Saturday was our first participation in the ATS@ Flash Mob. This is a worldwide event that started in 2012, and the first year for the DC team (us!). As a tribal belly dancer who has participated in Shimmy Mob DC (that performs on World Bellydance Day, in which flash mobs from around the world dance Raqs Sharqi) since 2013, I was jazzed to learn about the ATS® Flash Mob.
Flash mobs are always informal. While many of us belly dancers enjoy dancing on a stage or in a restaurant, for flash mobs we “take to the streets” and just dance for whoever happens to be there. Last weekend, we got a chance to dance for an awesome crowd at the Greenbelt Rhythm and Drum Festival and it was so much fun!
Here are some pics of our ATS® Flash Mob. Since this was an informal event, our “costumes” were simplied – what I like to call “tribal lite”. While there’s somewhat of a uniform (black skirts or pants, black shoes; for World Bellydance Day, the designated Shimmy Mob t-shirt must be worn), a costume is not required.
We took video, but since this was our first ATS® Flash Mob and a couple of us (including me) didn’t feel too confident about our dancing, we’re keeping it private for now. Our dancing wasn’t bad, but I felt like I could have done better (I was wandering around a little bit). So, no video of us but here are some photos:
The following photos are courtesy of Ivan Krivega. Used with permission.
No video of our dancing, but I did capture video of other people dancing to the Bele Bele Rhythm Collective. I think I’ve found a new band to jam out to, but I couldn’t find any published music of theirs. Thank goodness for YouTube!
My apologies for shooting the video vertically (trust me, it hurts!) – I didn’t realize this until I started editing. But even if you don’t watch the video, I suggest at least listening to the awesome drumming! I dare you not to shake something on your body.
Here we are with Part 2 of our ATS® summer performances. This one is for our August 13th performance for the Sahara Dance Summer Carnival at Source Theater in Washington, DC. We performed on a stage, which is a bit more formal than our lounge performance in Part 1, but just as much fun!
First, I want to introduce the ladies of Sahara Dance ATS@. This group started last year and the more we dance together, the more of a unified group we’ve become. Since life happens, our members tend to change each semester. But just because some of us may not be able to perform, does not mean they’re not a part of our troupe. Here are those of us that performed in this summer’s Carnival:
Here’s my hair and makeup. One of our dance sisters, Illyria, helped all of us with pinning flowers to the back of our heads. She did such an excellent job! I love how my dreads blended into the flowers. I felt like I could easily attract bees!
Here’s my costume:
Here are some pictures of us on stage. We performed 2 shows that night: one at 5pm and one at 8pm. Usually, the night crowd is a bit more lively than the evening crowd but not this time – the 5pm crowd was fired up that evening! We love nothing more and a lively audience.
Today is the beginning of a new semester of dance classes and of course, this makes me very happy. I can’t wait to see what Eugenia has in store for us. Below my signature is the video of our 8pm performance, courtesy of Sahara Dance Productions. Enjoy!
Love & Shimmies,
Video courtesy of Sahara Dance Productions. Song: “Derwood Green” by Phil Thornton and Hossam Ramzy.
As summer comes to a close, I wanted to share both of our ATS® dance routines that we performed this summer. Part 1 is of our performance for DC Hafla, performed on July 18 at Aura Lounge in Washington, DC. This is my first ATS® performance in a lounge/club setting and it was so much fun!
What is a hafla? A hafla is usually an informal, dance party (hafla is Arabic for “party” or “social gathering”). These are generally performed at a club, a restaurant, or even at someone’s house. It’s almost like dancing at a club here in the West, although haflas are also performed at weddings and at more formal events. Sometimes there are performances, sometimes there are none. Haflas are a great way for people to show off their dancing skills, regardless of skill level. Professionals, teachers, students, and members of the public come together to eat, dance, and socialize. You don’t even have to belly dance at haflas; in fact, you don’t have to dance at all. It’s just a way to socialize in a comfortable, supportive environment. There are always different haflas going on, many occurring on a monthly basis (such as DC Hafla).
Here’s my makeup for the hafla, from bare-faced and boring, to pretty and “tribal-esque”:
My finished face and flowers added to my hair:
Here’s my ATS® costume and a few more pics from that evening:
The following pics are courtesy of DC Hafla and a couple of our beloved friends:
That concludes Part 1 of our summer dance performances. You can check out our video from that evening, below my signature. Stay tuned for Part 2, where we perform for the Sahara Dance Summer Carnival.