Wednesday, November 3, 2010

In The Absence of Updating

Forgive me to those who were watching this blog and have been checking back to see if there were any updates. My life outside of belly dancing had to be taken care of first before I could continue updating everyone on things happening in this part of my life. I have a little time to catch up on a few things for everyone.

The Hanford Renaissance Faire in October went well and we had a nice crowd gathered for all four shows that weekend. There were a few little hiccups here and there, but it was still a great show for all. JenCee made some new friends while we were there. We had the pleasure of meeting, drumming, and dancing with the Ottoman Traders, another belly dancing group that are based on a known group of traveling gypsies and traders through the Persian country back during the 1500s. JenCee feels we may have made a few great friends and look forward to continuing that friendship with that group for possible events together in the future.

The Fresno Fair performance was shortly after the renaissance faire and we had another great turn out for most of our show. We didn't expect everyone to stay for the full hour, but we had a continuous crowd coming in. JenCee was asked to open the hour with our Tunisian Fusion number before we continued on as Ananka members. We had another great performance and had a gentleman ask for autographs from all of our members.

From these events, I am waiting to receive pictures so I may post them. I received a few from the Desert Dance Festival and hope to have them posted here as soon as I am able.

Now that we have ended 2010 and beginning 2011, Ananka is making preparations for the Rogue Show that will be taking place in March. We are learning a few group numbers that I absolutely love and have begun learning the basics of another dance that will be a great closer to the show. I wish I could give out details as we get them, but we would like our show this year to be a nice surprise for a lot of people. Therefor, I can only give out a little bit of information as far as progress is concerned. The Rogue Show will be on the weekends of March 3rd and 4th as well as the 11th and 12th. Rogue Fresno's website has all the information for our show along with other performances that will be taking place.


JenCee will be trying to get our group going this upcoming year with a new dance to be presented at a festival in June. We have tossed ideas back and fourth as to what we want to do next and have yet to settle on something. We are planning to have a general idea of choreography, music and costuming soon. So far some good ideas have been placed out on the table and plans are being made to possibly start attending renaissance faires later on in the new year if time allows.

On a personal and a more individual goal, I am creating my own costume for an idea I have for a solo piece. I am hoping to have something ready to go in September when Ananka will be hosting it's student party for old and new students. I have selected 3 music pieces that I am still deciding on which will work better for the solo I have in mind. Until then, I will continue working on the costuming I wish to have completed as soon as I can.

I apologize again for not keeping everyone updated on things over the last several months. Please be patient with me as other aspects of my life have taken priority over updating this blog. I will continue to try and post when I can.

Thank you for your understanding and patience.

Hanford Renaissance Faire October 2010

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Great Responses!

This past Sunday JenCee debuted our Desert Dance routine at Ananka Dance Company's student party. I must say, we got a great response from those who attended. Sadly, the video camera malfunctioned before we were able to perform so we were unable to get our performance taped. So now we are up for round two.

I am also happy to say, that a few friends who came with me to the party got 267 pictures and several of them turned out excellent. So big thank you to both of them for coming and taking pictures when I couldn't or when they felt the need to. It meant a lot to those who have seen them so far and to me.

Coming up this weekend, JenCee will perform our dance for the seniors at the Bethel Home in Selma, CA along with our own group dances with members from Ananka. We only have about 3 more practices to get things worked out before our performance in San Jose, CA for the Desert Dance Festival.

I will be sharing pictures as soon as I edit them a little. Until then, I will keep you all updated as soon as things develop.

For anyone attending the Hanford Renaissance Faire in Hanford, CA, Ananka will be performing both Saturday and Sunday (October 2nd and 3rd). We are performing at 1pm and 3pm both days. So anyone who plans to go or those who wish to see a free show, come down to Hanford =)

Courthouse Square
Hanford, CA

Look forward to seeing people there!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Some Information and Status updates

It's hard to believe that we only have a few more weeks before the Desert Dance Festival. JenCee has a few....I take that back....many things lined up between now and the festival. Today we will be plastering our jugs that we have been working on. They all came out quite well despite having to learn how to make them from scratch. We will also be finishing up whatever costume loose ends we have today and Sunday. For today, we will be wearing everything, Tunisian costume over the Earth Intruders costume, to make sure it will all fit properly. We can't really afford to do any last minute changes and adjustments, so it has to be this weekend. After that, it's just practice, practice, practice.

Our (Ananka and JenCee) calendar has also filled up quite fast with some things coming up:

September 12th Student Party

September 18th Bethel House (last minute add on performance for the seniors)

September 25th Desert Dance Festival

October 2nd Hanford Renaissance Faire

October 16th Fresno County Fair

We were not quite expecting this month to fill up as quickly as it has. And we are not done on October 16th. That may be our last performance for the year, but will then be kicking things into high gear for the rogue show in March. From that last performance on up to March, Ananka Dance Company will be sewing, crafting, practicing and creating our dance routines and set. It's going to be pretty busy.

A few more little things I wish to share with anyone who is looking for some more online sources for bellydancing gear:

Jon's Imports

The Turkish Emporium

Moondance, Bellydance

I will continue adding sources as time goes on. For now, I will leave you with this:

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Dress Rehearsals Begin

Starting tomorrow, JenCee will begin dress rehearsals every Sunday morning. We found out we are to be performing on September 25th at 4:15pm. So that gives us about a month to finalize everything. We found a location at a local college that we will be practicing at for a few hours. It's a nice staging area since the spot we found matched the dimensions of the stage we will be on when we head to the festival. We do plan on giving our debut performance at the Ananka student party in a few weeks. That is to be held on September 12th. Since we have limited room at the location we are holding the student party at, I'm afraid I can't give a time or place for that performance. Only family and friends are allowed, but even then it is limited due to space issues. So those who do not receive a time and place, I'm sorry but you guys will have to plan on going to the Hanford Renaissance Faire on October 2nd, where it will be free admission, or the Fresno Fair on October 16th at 2:00pm, where there will be an admission for entrance into the fair itself.

I'm still trying to get my jug done. A lot of things have come up over the last few weeks that have caused me to get behind in getting this thing done. So I am kind of in a mad dash to finish the few layers left before tomorrow morning. Currently, I'm waiting for it to dry before starting the next layer. I'm happy to say that my staff is finally completed. Took me a while to get the beads and feathers attached to it since it was a little tricky figuring out how to get these things on when the beads don't allow room to have the string or feathers be put into the openings. But I got it working and now just need to be sure the cat doesn't decide to have some fun with the staff during the night. Moving feathers tends to stimulate a cat's interest when you are not paying attention.

I have had to give up the idea of doing a solo for the previously mentioned student party. Between going to work, school, practice with Ananka, practice with JenCee, and finding the time to do homework, I have not had the chance to finish the choreography for my dance. As a result, I will save the solo for next year and perhaps have a second solo to do as well, if I am allowed for two. Otherwise, I will stick with the best one I come up with.

My instructor has begun teaching us another dance that she would like us to perform at Hanford. I am not sure how many of us will be able to perform this since we are already bogged down with 2 other dances that are not quite lining up correctly. Plus, we are still trying to get the drummers caught up on a few of the dances we have been doing since the beginning of the year and adding our zills, finger cymbals, on top of that. It's a lot to try and memorize, so we are all a little worried as to what will be expected of us over the next month.

I guess we will wait and see. In the meantime, I am making leaps and bounds while working with Jen and TC. So I will continue worrying about what is going on with them and trying to take care of what is going on in my other class before I start worrying about who is going to be able to do what. I will honestly not be disappointed if I am unable to do one or two dances for Hanford. Because I am so pressed in getting stuff with JenCee down, whatever is being taught in Ananka will have be pushed through to the best of my ability. Besides, I may get the chance to perform some of the dances at the Fresno Fair if I am unable to do them at Hanford. I know I will eventually dance those pieces, so I am not worried about it all that much.

Now that I have done a little update on things, I need to go check on my jug and try to add another lay if it is dry enough. If not, then I guess it's going to be another 30 minutes or so before I can do anything else.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Some Dates Coming Up

For those who are local and looking to see some upcoming performances, I got some dates to look for.

October 2nd, Hanford Renaissance Faire. Still trying to get times on when we perform, but anyone who is up for going, it is free and I will be posting times as soon as I know more.

October 16th, Fresno Fair. We will be performing from 2-3pm. That's right, a full hour of performances from our dance company, Ananka. As of right now, we are to be performing at the Pavilion Stage. If that changes, I will be sure to let people know asap.

Tonight's dance class went well. We had the drummers show at 7:30pm to start figuring out the rhythms they will need to play when we perform at Hanford and the Fresno Fair. I have to say, it's entertaining when both the dancers and drummers are screwing up because neither group knows what we are doing XD I take that back....we both knew what we were doing, but communication wasn't all there. Was still a good time though and we ended up dancing a routine faster than it was intended. But after doing that, we all agreed that it was better faster....because the slow tempo was kind of getting to some of us compared to some of the other dances we have lol.

With it being as late as it is, that is all I have enough energy to share. So I hope those who are local can make one of these two events since they are our last performances for the year. If not, then I guess you people need to start planning for the next Rogue Show in the Tower District that will be taking place in March.

On a related note, there is a possibility that JenCee will start doing renaissance faires this upcoming year. Depends on what JenCee wants to do since all of us will be busy with Ananka to get the Rogue Show going in November. That's right, we start getting things going in November so we can produce a quality show in March.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Only A Month....

Hard to believe JenCee only has a month left before we head to San Jose for the Desert Dance Festival. It's getting a little aggravating though since the Festival website was suppose to have the times posted by the end of July and here we are about to hit the middle of August with no word on when anyone is performing. I guess we will have to keep pestering people until something is posted.

Most of the costuming is finished for our San Jose performance. I only need to do some quick stitching to secure a few areas on my robe and waiting on the sash to be finished. We are still trying to get the sash to look right as far as connecting it together with the robe. Mainly little hiccups.

I have also found that I will need to head to a department store in the southeast part of town. Not thrilled about that since the area is not a nice one, but it's the only place I can find simple hip scarves, dance shoes and leotards needed for a few costumes. I will need to head there in the next few weeks to pick up a special leather dance shoe that is a 3/4 sole with a strap around the heel to keep the shoe in place.

These are the sandals I need to pick up. They have just enough sole to cover the ball of the foot to keep it protected since most of the moves we are doing require us to be on our toes and twist....a lot.

I will also be heading to this store to find get another hip scarf that I saw there at the beginning of the year that will match the costuming I will be wearing for Hanford. I just hope they still have them in the shade I want.

For those interested in checking out the store, it's Sunnyside Department store in southeast Fresno, Ca. They have several dance items, mainly square dance items since the owners are into that kind of dance, but they do cater to many forms. I have also found that they give dance students a 20% discount if they are with a specific dance group. I had that happen when I had gone in to purchase a hip scarf, leotard, dance pants, hip scarf and some dance shoes a while back. I had not realized that they were kind enough in giving me that discount, so that was awesome.

The next project is to get our jugs done. All three of us are very close to finishing them. There was a last minute decision to add handles, so our plans to plaster these things will wait until this upcoming Friday. I will also need to finish up my staff as well since that will be needed for the final piece we are to perform for the festival.

Busy, busy, busy, busy, busy.

On a happier note, I am excited to share that my one year anniversary of learning belly dancing is coming up the same day as my 27th birthday. Specifically this Thursday. Best Birthday gift I received last year and to this day, I don't regreat getting involved.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Things Are Progressing

Hard to imagine that our one month break is over! Classes are starting again this upcoming week and we will be practicing with the drummers as of our second class. From here on out, all our classes will be focused on the upcoming performances for the Hanford Renaissance Faire and the Fresno Fair. There may be some time put aside to work on stuff for the Student Party, but that is a little unlikely since we have the last 2 major performances to do before the year is up and we start working on the Rogue Show for 2011 (that will take place in March).

I am also pleased to announce that my Hanford costume is 85% finished! Still working on sewing beads. I can guarantee that project will not be done by the time Hanford comes around in 8 weeks. But I will have a good majority of it done by then and it will still look good. Jen got my gwazee coat done as well as the harem pants. Just need to add a hook in one place so that I can attach the third piece I am working on to the coat. This is to ensure a proper fit/look for what Jen and I had discussed about 3 months ago.


That's right, panic mode. I say this because as of yesterday, JenCee has only 6 weeks left to get our costuming done, choreography down, techniques perfected and any other touch ups that have to be taken care of on everything for the Desert Dance Festival. Our Tunisian Robes are in the final stages of completion. We are just trying to figure out how to make our belts and sashes work/flow with all the twisting we have for our dance. Apparently tassels are stubborn little things that don't want to hang the way they are suppose to. So we have knocked out the headpieces, the robes have a few little things left to finish (trim), the sash pieces need to be put together, and then we are done with those.

The next set of costumes to finish up for the festival.....our Earth Intruders costuming. Jen has hers completed already and TC is just finishing up some little details on a 2 panel over-skirt. Me? Well....I have gotten as far as picking up the animal print material and picking the design I want. Luckily, I only have to worry about making two pieces. The top, which will be a tie top, and a 2 panel over-skirt. Mine will be similar to TC's, although I am going to do a variation on the top and not have some elements that TC has going on for her costume. All three of us will be different, but have similar pieces so that we do tie into the whole primal feel of the last piece of choreography for the festival. TC is also being kind enough to knit our belts out of some awesome colors we found for yarn.

I will admit though, we will be uncomfortable and hot on stage because we will be wearing two costumes, one under the other. So we are pulling a "change onstage" that will be worked into our performance. We have it mostly figured out, but it's all about practicing it out once the costuming is done.

The three of us will be looking for a stage soon that we can do some dress rehearsals. We already know of a few places locally, but we may end up heading to Visalia or even Hanford since Jen knows of a few places in her neck of the woods. We will also be doing a premier of our dance at the Student Party. Our instructor Ely wants to see what we have so far, but we feel that we want to show what we have been able to produce out out of 2 months worth of work and not what we partially have from only one month's worth. Plus, we think we will get a better appreciation and reaction out of those who attend our Student Party =) It's all about the mystery and surprise! =D

Wonderful Bellydance Solo by a child named Leila

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Plate is Full!

Trip to Visalia went well. Spent the whole time working on costuming and hitting Joann's for some materials needed for the robes we will be wearing. I found some fabric for my Earth Intruders costume along with ribbon to be used on a panel skirt. So things are progressing well. Jen is heading on up to Oregon with her husband as an anniversary/vacation gift to themselves. This means that T.C. and I will meet up on Tuesday to continue working on learning the choreography as well as the techniques that I sorely need help with since I have progress so much in such a short period of time.

I have also been in contact with two friends and found them wanting to get involved in some form with either Ananka Dance Co. or JenCee. One will be learning to dance, another learning drums. My friend who will be learning drums will be coming on a little later though when JenCee gets settled with our new found direction. So my other friend who will be learning to belly dance may be joining as early as August when the new classes start up! I'm excited! I got some good friends joining the fun and I know they will enjoy it as much as I have =D

In other news, I have been encouraged to do two solo pieces for the Student Party if I can manage it. I heard a second piece of music that got me really wanting to move and now my goal is to finish the first solo so I may work on the second that works well with the theme of our student party. Not sure if I can pull it off, but I am sure going to try! I also need to start thinking about costuming. I have a Halloween costume I found that I may end up altering in some fashion to be used, but I could go with something else. I haven't quite decided just yet.

Now my assignments to achieve before Friday next, build jug for the Tunisian dance, work on choreography, finish my staff, and work on techniques. That is a lot of work ahead of me when I need to try to get all this done between school and work. So I am starting to feel the time crunch, but it will be worth it. I'm being motivated to get things done and that is what I need right now to be better every week.

Off to rest a little and start making plans for this weekend's projects.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Ideas Are Flowing!

So at practice today the three of us discussed where we wanted to go as JenCee. Did we want to just keep our small group for a few festivals throughout the year? Or continue on as a group and recruit more people for some extra performances we can do on the side? Hmm......let's think on this.....

After having a 30 minute discussion, T.C., Jen, and myself have decided that we would like to get involved in doing performances not only for a few festivals here and there, but do renaissance fairs as well. As members of the Ananka Dance Co., we are already performing at the Hanford renaissance fair, but as JenCee....we are thinking about performing at the Tulare/Visalia renaissance fair, Kearney renaissance fair, Queen Bess and the Pirates fair and possibly a few others. So we may start as early as April of 2011 with the Tulare/Visalia renaissance fair being our first. We wouldn't mind doing the one that use to be at Fresno City College, but that one is going on about the same time we are doing the Rogue Show with Ananka in the month of March. So we figured it would be nice to have a little time to recover and then get going with the Tulare/Visalia fair the next month.

Ideas are being drawn up on different dance styles we would like to come up with. We are thinking of doing a variety of dances such as Egyptian, Persian, Arabic, Tunisian, Moroccan, Tribal (not the modern fusion you see today) and possibly a fusion of the traditional dances to keep in the proper period. At this time, the only members we have are T.C., Jen and myself with Jen's husband, Shawn, on drum. We will be looking for more people who would like to partake in this group a little later on once we figure out what fairs we would like to do and how many. But we may recruit at least 2 more dancers and a few drummers as we start going in the direction we would like to go.

This doesn't mean that we are leaving Ananka. We enjoy performing with our instructor Ely, but we would like to start doing more performances than what is being offered right now. In a year's time, the only performances we worry about are the Rogue Show, Cat House Fundraiser Event, Vintage Days, Hanford renaissance fair and the Fresno Fair. Those are really spread out and some of us would like to continue performing, even if it means going into period appropriate dance for the renaissance fairs =)

So my job in this adventure will be to compile a list of fairs that we would have fun performing at throughout the year when Ananka is not performing. That means doing some research and contacting people to get a list of who we will need to talk to. I should also mention that this will need to be done before November when Ananka starts working on the Rogue Show for 2011.

If we do get involved with the renaissance fairs, this will require JenCee to put together a show that will have to be 30-45 minutes long. That is a long time when you have just 3 members. So we will have to see what we come up with, but I think this would will be a fun experience.

So for anyone in the local area who is a drummer and/or belly dancer, stay tuned. Because within the next few months we may start looking for people who are interested in getting out there to perform at the fairs we choose. We plan to keep the group small. The smaller the group, the easier it will be to choreograph and get creative with what people are doing. We will also be looking for those people who want to work as a group! We can't afford to have people who wish to be in it for themselves or to have the attitude that they should have more floor time than others. This will be a group effort with no drama. I say this because one person's solo is one person's breather before going back on as a solo, duet, trio or an all group performance. We will want to keep this as positive as possible with people getting as much equal time on stage as possible that will work with the group.

So at this time, I am proud to say that JenCee will be rising to new experiences at the start of the new year!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Costume Ideas Forming

Today Jen, T.C., and myself spent 5 hours shopping fabrics, sketching costume ideas, and talked about how the next 2 weeks will go since we have about 14 more weeks before the Desert Dance Festival. We were able to find all our materials at Home Fabrics and Joann's for our robes, head pieces and belts. Jen will be working on a portion of our costuming that will help us kick start where to go next with measurements and the like since we are a little uncertain right now how to plan the sash we are to wear in relation to the measurements of the robe. But we will know how to go about that by Friday when we next meet. I also found some things for my Earth Intruders costume. Found a really nice animal print fabric that I will have to go back for when I get paid this week. Got some pictures of it, so my planning on how to make that costume will take place this week so I can have that ready asap.

I have my staff about half done as well. I still need to add some beads to one side and get the feathers needed to add that primal look. Amazing what a dowel, leather shoe laces, twine, beads and feathers will do to make something look like a good prop piece. Once my staff is done, I will need to shift my focus to the jug as far as props go. Apparently the balloons we were using as a guide popped some time last night from what Jen said. I guess the heat did a number on em over the weekend. So it just means that we will have to start from scratch on the body of the jug. But that is okay, I had a feeling we were going to need to do that anyways since our first attempts were not going over so well.

And I am really catching on to the choreography for Earth Intruders too. After only 2 practices, I have begun to get down the steps of just over half the dance so far. I still need some reminders here and there of what comes next, but that isn't bad considering that some people take a little longer picking up the choreography. So I was surprised to hear that I was picking up things quick from T.C. and Jen earlier this evening. Of course there are some moves I do need a lot of practice on since they are brand new to me. A lot of hip drops, quick hand changes, a "round-robin" move that requires me to NOT look at the others dancing....there is just a lot. But I am confident I will have it all down before the festival. And if my instructor is seriously considering having us perform this for the Student Party, then we will be performing everything before the festival.

I guess we will have to see how things go between now and then. I haven't really had the chance to continue working on my solo piece for the party. I guess we are going for a Femme Fatale theme. So now I am second guessing myself on the music I have chosen since I kinda want everything to be with the theme. But I don't want to bail on the solo piece I have so far since it is half finished. Guess I will have to try and finish up what I have and try doing another if I have time. At least that will allow me to test them both and pick one over the other. That way I can do which ever one I didn't choose at a later date.

Too many decisions.

In regards to the rest of my troupe, I am sad to say I haven't heard from them since we went on our break. There was talk of practicing, but I have not heard any word on people getting together. So getting some practice time in on my own for the stuff we already have will be placed on my list before we start meeting again in August to resume classes. Seems like the list is growing longer on things needing to be taken care of.

For now, I will need to let my mind rest and absorb everything that has gone on today with what needs to be done.

And now for another treat. A large group of belly dancers dancing with swords. Great floor work was done in this performance =)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Success and Failure

Went to Visalia today to meet up with Jen and get started on a few craft projects for our props. Did some shopping, got supplies.

Project #1
Creating a jug

Status: FAIL

Lol, despite the frustration, it was kind of funny in trying to get this done. We did well in making the foot portion of the jug so that it would be customized for our heads. But that was the only part that went right. In trying to make the body, nothing was sticking and we spent 3 hours trying to figure out what can be done to get this to work. So, Jen and I have decided to take a break for about 2 weeks, do research, and come back with a new plan to tackle getting the jugs done.

Project #2
Creating a staff


Got a dowel that needed the metal ending removed and sanded down. I was able to get as far as wrapping my staff at two ends for my hands and get the threading started for my beads, bells and feathers that will be added on over the next week. Need to hit Tandy's Leather for the feathers since the ones I found at a few places are little and pathetic. I should also mentioned that I don't want feathers from the elusive dyed birds. I prefer the speckled bird feathers since those go well with the primal theme. Since I know Tandy's has them, I will be hitting that store on Tuesday without worrying about work.

My weekend projects will be to get the staff mostly completed until I can get the remaining supplies, continue working on costuming, and run through some of the choreography. My brain just about imploded last night at T.C.'s while working on the staff movements and the choreography that accompanied those moves. I have until Tuesday to get most of it down before we move on to another section.

There are already ideas being presented for the Rogue Show for next year. I will not be discussing those though since we have a issue with our surprised being leaked. From what I have heard though on what my instructor has in mind, it sounds like it is going to be another fun Rogue. For now, we are putting most of our focus on our Student Party in September, the Hanford Renaissance Faire and the Fresno Fair. Once those are over with in November, then the work for the Rogue will take place.

I'm now off to relax, nap and enjoy the rest of my evening. It's been a fun, frustrating day and the heat was not welcome. But there are plans in the making of doing some water aerobics with Jen and T.C. some time in the next week or two. The "aerobics" will be us working on moves without gravity being a problem XD

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Progress in Meeting 1

Yesterday's meeting with Jen and T.C. went well. Met for 3 1/2 hours to discuss the routine Earth Intruders that will need to learn since Jen and T.C. already know it. Also heard the music selections for the Tunisian part of our show and discussed some moves we would like to use. My homework is to bring some more suggestions on Friday along with having my own supplies to make a staff for Earth Intruders.

You may be wondering what Earth Intruders is. I don't have video available right now from a performance my dance troupe did at Fresno State this year, but I have a music video of Bjork. If anyone knows her music and is wondering why Earth Intruders sounds familiar, well it is because it is her song we are dancing to.

There are 2 other songs we are dancing to before we do her Earth Intruders number as our closer. So it makes it a 7:14 performance. I may be taking off to Visalia this weekend to work on my staff once I have all my supplies. Although I may end up pushing that back to next weekend depending on some factors I am still weighing. Even though the practice was a little productive, I couldn't do much. Killed my leg muscles doing some work the last few days that left me almost immovable. But I survived.....I just can't do much right now. I have until Friday to get myself healed up so I can do another possible 3 hour meeting.

I am also happy to say that Jen got me a music CD of not just what we are doing for the festival, but also music of stuff we have done so far (along with some extra music of stuff I haven't learned yet). By the way, the music video posted above has some influence on our costuming. Very primitive costuming is to be worn, so we have a lot of planning to do to get the robes made right for removal later on in the show, not to mention planning on how to get our jugs, staves, robes and scarves off stage since we will also be doing a little of scarf work during music transition.

A lot of planning has to be done! Yeesh!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Tunisian Dancing And Others

In doing some research on Tunisian Dancing, I have found that there is a great debate going on between those who hold the Tunisian Dancing high in their culture and those who have created the adaptations for belly dancing. Quite interesting to read although too many hot heads are not realizing that belly dancing today has become an adaptation from what it was way back when. So it is kind of silly to be arguing about it now. It's one thing to talk about the history of it, but to sit there and say that these dances are not the true Tunisian Dance, well it is a given and a waste of breath really. Just my opinion on the matter. I hope those reading this understand that I realize that most of these dances are adaptations and have been fused together with modern ideas/dancing to some extent. But I thought it would be worth talking about the arguments going on right now about it since most dances these days have changed over a period of time to become something more or less than their original form. As long as it is fun to dance and you respect the original dance, I really don't see the problem.

But enough about my personal thoughts on this matter. Jen was kind enough to email some more examples of the Tunisian Dance. Examples are kind of hard to come by, but she found more than what I did. I will not be posting them though, unless it is requested by people.

Our first group meeting will be taking place this Tuesday to start discussing what we will be doing for our performance. We were told that the maximum time of our number is 9 minutes. What has been decided as of yesterday, is a 7:12 minute dance incorporating 2-3 dances. One dance being a routine Jen and T.C. have done with another person who is no longer with our company. I will be learning their spot until the person returns. Then there will be the Tunisian Dancing.

We are considering several options for clothing. The Tunisian Dance will require robes as seen in the video posted in the previous entry. No set idea/design yet on how those robes are going to look, but we are going with an idea that they will be easily removed for the last dance in our performance. This last dance will be the routine already learned by Jen and T.C. But over the next few classes, we will be choreographing the beginning and middle portion of the performance, then end strong with a dance that I loved watching when we performed at Vintage Days (a vintage fair held at a local university).

On a separate note, for anyone who is wanting to ask me to perform a dance for them, I would be more than happy to do so. It will be a while before I have my own choreographed list to choose from, but that doesn't mean I can't do a solo from one of the group choreographed pieces I have so far. I am also experimenting with some free style, or improve, dancing so I am not stressing if I am put on the spot lol. So I am placing the notice out there for anyone interested.

With that, I leave you with a few videos that I wish to share with everyone.

Guys can dance belly dance

Celebration of Pregnancy

Rachel Brice performing Tribal Fusion Belly Dance

Fun Dance for Pirates of the Carribean

Fat Chance Belly Dancing Company

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Little Hiccup

So we had a little hiccup with registration. This is the first year that the Desert Dance Festival was taking registrations online and some of their instructions are not quite clear. But it is forgivable since they were expecting a lot of confusion over the forms and they were willing to work with everyone to make sure all information was correct and every performers name was on their ticket for this event. So now we are set up without a doubt for the festival in September. We will know by the end of July our time of performance. This works out wonderfully for anyone who is wanting to schedule a day or two free to come see some great dancing. For those who may, or will, be missing out....those in charge of the festival are allowing the performers to send in an order for the DVD of the festival performances. So I will be doing that in case anyone would like to see some of what they had missed. Unfortunately, this applies to those who live locally until I find a way to capture video. I currently do not have the equipment/hardware for this just yet. But I hope to soon so I may start sharing some performance via YouTube or another media sharing site. I will have to wait and see though before I do this.

In other news, I had my last dance class yesterday. So now it's time for a month off from classes. In the meantime, I will be continuing to work on my choreography for my solo piece I would like to attempt at the Student Party in September. I am about half way done with it. So far it is looking good, I just need to finish it up and tweak it a little so that it will flow nicely. Once I get the routine down, then I will be adding the balance of the tray. I should mention that this tray is not light. It has a decent weight to it and it is ideal for for balancing...especially when it comes time to start adding more on top of it instead of empty space. That's right. I said add more. Balancing a tray consists of your base tray that can have layered tiers for goblets, saucers, cups, glasses, candles, tea pots, etc., to make the dance more intriguing.....and difficult. But I will not venture into that level of difficulty until I get the basics down first.

I also had a short little meeting with Jen and T.C. before heading home last night. We have agreed to begin practice next week on Tuesdays and Fridays while using the weekends when possible to work on other items regarding our routine. My dance instructor was made aware that I would be joining Jen and T.C. for the Desert Festival. I was waiting for some type of warning regarding my involvement and how it may be too soon to get into festivals, but nothing came. So I will take that as a green light for me to take on the next level and be part of the festival.

I am very happy to get a burned CD last night of several pictures that were taken for the various performances we have done this year. Pictures were from the Rogue Show, Mardi Gras, Vintage Days and the Cat House fundraiser. I know it doesn't contain all the pictures that were taken, but I am happy with having a CD full of what could be put on it. As soon as I am able to, I will be posting a few here. For anyone who may be reading this and is a friend of mine on Facebook, I have already posted pictures from Mardi Gras and the Cat House events. I will be attempting to post some later today once I am free from work, although I may wait until sometime this weekend since I have a few other things that demand my attention this week. Either way, my next post will contain a few pictures from each event, so stay on the look out for that one.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Registration Completed!

Just got an email this morning regarding the Desert Dance Festival in Santa Clara, CA. That's right, I said Santa Clara, I had made a mistake in location in the previous entry. This year marks it's 25th anniversary! One of the girls got our registration completed this morning and sent an email to be sure all the appropriate information was given

This event has a lot of fun stuff going on:


10:00 am to 10:30 pm ~ Shopping
11:00 am ~ Dancing
9:00 pm to 10:30 pm ~ Extravaganza Show - “REFLECTIONS" - Saturday Only


10:00 am to 8:30 pm ~ Shopping
11:00 am ~ Dancing
3:00 pm ~ Special Community Achievement Awards with Cake and Champagne

For those who may be interested in checking out the events, I have posted the website below for your viewing. There will be workshops, shopping and several performances going on throughout the day ranging from the traditional Arabic and Egyptian belly dancing to fusion dance that incorporates modern ideas to traditional dancing. Our group, JenCee, will be performing on Saturday, September 25th. As soon as I have a time of when we will be performing, I will be sure to post it.

Desert Dance Festival:

Our group will be performing a fusion of the traditional Tunisian jug dance to modern music. For those who have not seen what a Tunisian jug dance is, I found a group performance of one to traditional music:

This Tuesday I will be meeting up with Jen and T.C. to discuss meeting times since we will be meeting twice a week to get prepared for this performance. There is a lot of planning and practice to do, especially in creating our costumes. I am excited though despite the work I will be involved with. From now until August I will be dancing twice a week, instead of once a week, and from August to September I will be dancing 3 times a week! Yeah, exercise time for me during the hottest months here lol. Going to take advantage of it though since this is a learning experience for me that I am excited about.

Picture of the talented ladies T.C. (left) and Jen (right) that I will have the pleasure of dancing with in a trio =D

With that, I am off to continue working on my costume that I will be wearing for another performance in October, the Hanford Renaissance Fair in Hanford, CA. As this event draws near, I will start posting times and dates for those who wish to attend. So off to "work" I go.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

All Shades of Excited

So I was contacted by one of the girls who is in one of the advanced classes, and I have had the pleasure of performing within a group, a short time ago. She and another girl in her class are signing up for a performance in San Jose for the latter part of September, and they are hoping that I would be interested in joining them to make their dance a trio. I am honored and flattered that they would consider using me. August will be marking my one year anniversary of dancing and to show off how much I have grown, I will jumping to a level that takes years to do.

Now don't get me wrong, I know I will still be inadequate with somethings and it can't be helped. It will take a lot of hard work and dedication to do what I am about to do. In no way does this mean I will be advancing in the classes I am doing now since this is considered an extra curricular activity. But as far as skill and expanding my list of dance moves, this is a perfect opportunity that I definitely don't want to pass up. Both girls are willing to break down the moves and work with me since this is all completely new in my world. These girls have some experience with balancing, such as swords and trays, but in this dance we are balancing jugs. Yep, new for everyone since each of us have never really tried any one aspect of a Tunisian dance. So there will be a lot of jug balancing and twisting that I have never done, one girl has a little experience and the other hasn't done this type of dancing, but does have the experience with balancing. So it's an odd combination of lacking skills from all of us.

Either way, it will be fun to try and learn. We plan to meet twice a week starting sometime after next week. Each time we meet, we will be working on matching costumes, choreography, balancing, dance techniques, and planning the trip to San Jose, California. It's not far, only about 3 hours or so from our location.

So as my current class comes to a close next week and we have the month of July off, I look forward to a new challenge during that time and working on my solo piece for a student party for the earlier part of September. My solo piece is coming along slowly. I am almost at the half way mark of the choreography. Once I get that all written down, it will be time to start dancing through the steps to be sure it will flow and make any changes/fine tuning required.

I am also slowly making some way in my costuming that I will be wearing in October for the Hanford Renaissance Faire in Hanford, California. Most of it is completed, I am just currently sewing beads onto a piece and it is becoming very tedious. I know I will have it done before October, but it is very slow progress. But the end result will be wonderful and it adds more to the costume already, in a visual sense. Since I am facing finals next week for some classes, the next 2 weeks off will allow me some time to make some head way in getting the piece done and I look forward to that.

Until next time.....

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


I will be posting anything related to bellydancing on this blog. From pictures taken of the troupe to events to websites to sharing what may be going on with my life in this subject. I have only been dancing for 11 months now. My first class was on my birthday last year as a gift my mother gave me since I had been showing interest in wanting to learn this type of dance for a while. So I get to share the anniversary of my learning on the same day as my birthday, which I think is cool. I have learned so much over this last year.

After only 3-4 months of classes, my instructor felt that I had the drive and determination to learn more. Thus, I was placed on crash course mode in January of this year to not only learn moves that I wouldn't be learning until my 2nd year, but to also be placed on stage for group dances. In a year's time, I have gone from exceeding my instructor's expectations in my learning ability to taking the stage for this year's Rogue Show in the Tower District of Fresno, CA, Vintage Days at Fresno State University, and a fundraiser for the Cat House in Parlier, CA. I have learned so much that, despite hitting walls, I am having a lot of fun with the fast past learning I am on. I do admit though that my technique is somewhat lacking since I am currently dancing with people in my class who have been doing this 3-4 years now. I have the skill that matches where they are at, not the technique. But that will change in time, especially since I have so many people to observe and learn from. Besides, I have some tools at home that will help a little in practicing fluid movements and other techniques that I am lacking in because of the fast past learning I have been doing the last 5-6 months.

I do not regret this time because I have had the chance to partake in something sooner than most. Whether it was a smart decision or not, I can't say. But I have impressed many so far with how far I have come in just a year's time that I think it was the best thing for me to really get into what I was doing. Currently, I am working on a solo piece for a student party. Now for anyone who has been dancing for a while, I do not plan on doing this solo for public performances yet. I would prefer to get another few years under my belt before I attempt to do anything of the sort. But for a student party, I feel that I can atleast partake in some fun such as this since there are no restrictions on what I can and cannot do. This party is about inspiring others and expressing one's self, despite not having the experience to do specific performances or dances. What we do at this party is to have fun and show what we have learned so far at our own skill level.

I hope to continue updating this blog and share what I can as I learn more. I do not plan on posting any dance routines on here, but later on when I know what I am doing, I may give some pointers or helpful hints. Until then, I will just share what I wish and hope that people enjoy reading what I post. If not, atleast it is something I am doing for myself and not for the entertainment for others. I got into bellydancing for me and only me. I have learned to be a little more comfortable with myself because I am not someone who is in shape. I am a plus size woman, but that is slowly changing as I learn more and do more in this style of dance.

So for anyone who will be sticking around, thank you for your continued reading. For those that this does not interest, thank you for taking the time to read and I hope that you find something more suitable towards your tastes.