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