Category: Belly Dance

Back to dance

Since I moved to North Carolina 3.5 years ago, I have not taken belly dance classes on a regular basis. I have taken maybe four series of 6-week classes, but not like I did in Tennessee (two classes per week plus troupe practice on the weekend). I’ve missed the dance classes a lot — and especially performing with the ladies in my troupe.

Last week, World in Motion tweeted that their tribal belly dance 1 and 2 classes would be working on a choreography for a hafla (recital) at the end of August. The first choreography class was last night. It was tons of fun. I remembered how to do all of the steps, and discovered just how stiff my upper body is.

Tension from sitting at a computer desk? I haz it! I can barely do shoulder shimmies where I used to be able to do them easily and freely. All of the riding and walking I’ve been doing meant that my knees and legs felt good. I didn’t break a sweat during dance class. Much more fit. Just stiff between my shoulders. (One of the dance instructors said that my shoulder shimmy looked painful.) Crunchy. Time to go back to the chiropractor!

Okay, my knees felt good until I got home and walked up three flights of stairs to my apartment. My right knee started clicking. Little bit of ice pack and today it’s fine.

Practice, practice, practice.

Trying to get fit

…without having fits. There is a nice walking track around a lake across the street from my apartment complex. I decided I should walk for 30 minutes 2-3 times per week. A lady from work has also been doing belly dance work outs with me during lunch. We’re also goign to walk after work at my house.

Between that and changing my diet to exclude more carbs and sodium, it should make a difference.

I walked for the first time after work tonight. I did 2 miles in about 25 minutes and then took out the trash (so up and down three flights of stairs three times in addition to walking).

GPS Unit: Still Have Directional Dyslexia

Interesting evening last night. Tried to go to belly dance — first time driving by myself. I loaded the GPS with the address, and off I went… Except some how I added a way point on I-40… and the silly thing kept telling me to loop around I-40. I would have been 20 minutes late to class, so I skipped it.

Pissed me off.

And then I thought it was terribly funny.

Hafla at Yoga Haven

Jaia hosted a hafla (think open floor dance and music party) tonight. Talk about a blast! Mary Lou and I went and brought some food. Great food there too — people brought finger food that was really tasty. No potato salad or anything. Most of it was home-made goodness. Tasty.

There was live music (and the name of the group escapes me). They play traditional middle eastern instruments and have performed with belly dancers frequently.

Of the dancers who were there, we ended up dancing together and just having fun. We swapped ideas about how to work with zils and veils. It’s really fun when you can do something like this and just enjoy each others company.

I had a real ball. =)


Our troupe’s dance instructor threw me a curve ball today: she asked if I would like to do a solo. I’ve been interested in doing a solo, but have not considered that I was ready for one. I’d like to have a better repetoire of steps, for example.

Eep! So I have a week to come up with something.

Dance Performance

The big day finally arrived! We met in Oak Ridge for the Secret City Festival about 2:30 on Saturday. The performance started at 3:00. It was a blast! Jaia from Ananda Dance Company, BellaBelly Dance Company, and Gypsy Dream (my troupe).

Check out the photography section for pictures.

Costume DONE!

Okay, 90% finished, but still! Finishing the costume would not have been possible without the help of one of my friends. She spent Friday evening helping me finish the belt and the vest. Yay! Awesome person. I finished sewing the trim on the belt just in time for to leave for the performance.

Easing in Seams Sucks

Easing in seams sucks. Or rather, I suck at it. I had to ease in four seams tonight. Learned how to do it while doing it. You know there aren’t any good Web sites that explain how to ease in seams? I found some pictures. The people in my belly dance class tried to explain it. None of it made any sense to me. It is really hard to visualize.

If easing isn’t done correctly, you end up with kinda amateurish looking gathering or puckering. I have puckering in the seams where the seams were eased. The interior seams are worse than the outer ones. The last one I did had very little puckering. I took apart seams on the interior several times to try and correct the puckering. I’m glad that fabric is on the vest lining. This fabric shows needle and pin holes.

In case you’re wondering what I’m sewing, it’s a Turkish vest as part of the belly dance costume. The other ladies in the troupe said that it is a “pretty easy pattern.” I suppose it is, if you have more experience than I do. I found it challenging (and some what annoying).

And you know, I happen to think it’s a major miracle that I have a sewn vest at all. I really shouldn’t be up right now. I should be getting a good night’s sleep. Big day tomorrow. More sewing. So most of the vest is done… Just have to do the belt now. That should be a little easier. At least I hope so… Famous last words, right?

Sewing project

Sewing Patterns

I love the Internet. When I am clueless, someone has posted a page that has instructions. Here are the ones I used tonight:

Sewing darts

General tips and trick for sewing belly dance patterns

Reference site that has just about anything and everything

What is really stumping me is that the shoulder seams are “eased in”. I’ve read a few pages on easing in seams. What I was told was to basically pin the two seams to match the ends and the notches as close as possible. Sew them evening across so the one side is effectively evenly gathered. Man, I don’t want to start something like this when my brain isn’t functioning.

And the best reference of all? My Mom. I called her about all kinds of things this week. She has been great — and patient about helping me with sewing.

I’m going to bed. Things are not finished, but it’s about as much as I can do. I’m too tired to continue. Good progress tonight, though– finished the shirt, have the darts sewn for the vest (liner and outside pieces). The vest pieces are pinned together. Hopefully someone at dance class can help me with what needs to be finished. Or maybe I’ll be lucky and someone will be willing to just finish the vest. Maybe.

Not a Seamstress.

Okay, so our first performance for June is June 2 in Knoxville. I’m behind on trying to make the costume. I’ve been really trying hard to get things situated together. I’ve failed miserably. Well I haven’t when you consider the last thing I sewed was a t-tunic–up one side an down another.

So here it is, 2:30 in the morning. I’m supposed to have the costume ready for a dress rehearsal tomorrow. I have the fabric cut out and pinned together. I’m really hoping that I have this correct. I’m about to sew the silly thing together… Who knows if I’ll have it correct? I have no idea. I’m tempted to just pin it and then let some of the other dancers (who have sewn these vests) look at what I have pinned before I sew it. That would probably save me a lot of time.

Any way… I’ve finished the shirt (although I think I’ll need to tighten the elastic in it). I have the skirt finished — just have to tie-off the elastic. No big deal (yeah for friends who are real seamstresses!).

I’m still kinda stymied by the belt. There are places with information on doing the belt, but I’m a little confused as tho how to get it to work out okay. Maybe I’m secretly hoping that if I have the silly thing pinned one of the other ladies can quickly stitch it–or at least offer advice. Sigh.

I had set aside Monday and most of Sunday to sew. I got side-tracked on Sunday by going out to the barn. I met the chiropractor and gave both of the girls baths. Monday was a recouperation day… I’ll write about that after a bit. Some stuff happened at the barn on Saturday. I’m still in shock.

Finally: World Grotto DVD


I began working on this DVD before the Hoover (old desktop PC) crashed and burned. The hardware difficulties created an issue for transferring the video from the tape to the hard drive and then processing the DVD. A new Mac Mini and several iterations later, the DVD is finally finished.

Way back in March, Moria of Bellydance Superstars came to Knoxville. The evening after her sold-out workskhop, she performed at a hafla at World Grotto. She was joined by an amazing array of dancers.

I was asked to videotape the performances (although not Moria’s because of her obligations with Bellydance Superstars) and produce a DVD, if possible. Here it is, at long last.

If you have been waiting for this, thank you for your patience.

More info here:


I keep learning more about belly dance and realizing just how much I don’t know. I have over 10 years of dance in ballet and jazz. Yeah, it’s been a while, but still the concepts and movements should still be (somewhat) in muscle memory, right?

Nope, not as much as I would have hoped. I remember how to count phrasing and memorize choreographies. I remember about audience interaction and nuances in phrasing. I remember being flexible. I remember being able to do things that I can’t do now.

One of the ladies in my dance class has been spotting me for posture. It’s been a great help. Not only does the instructor help, but having someone who is standing next to you remind you periodically to hold your shoulders back and up, raise your elbows, and chin up. Nope, it’s not annoying. It’s a great help! It makes it (painfully) obvious that this person needs a lot more training.

I’ve started correcting my posture when I’m standing, sitting, or walking. Whenever I’m watching a DVD or looking at photos of other dancers, I study their posture, where their hands are, how they move and what the audience’s reaction is. Hopefully being aware of their moves will make my own better.

You know I haven’t used the term dancer to describe myself since I was in middle school and high school. I have always loved dance. I wouldn’t say I’m a dancer yet, but I would definitely say that I love dancing.