Thursday, 22 December 2011

My New Years Resolution - To Smile!

  Have you ever watched a show where the performer looked miserable? What about one where you can read their lips - counting the steps? It's never a pretty picture. A frown has the potential to turn a beautiful performance into an awkward, bored and stale show. Thankfully we have the frown's much stronger nemesis at our disposal, free to employ at will: the smile.

  Smiling really shouldn't be an issue. If we love to dance, why wouldn't we be smiling? However nerves, anxiety and self-consciousness can easily result in pursed lips and even a frown and furrowed brow from concentrating. The most beautiful costume, the msot incredible make-up - it all amounts to nothing without a smile.

 So what do we do? We train ourselves from the very beginning, using muscle memory. We build a smile into the basics of each move. When considering an Arabic for instance, we can think about the count, the movement of the chest lifting, the movement of the lower abs contracting, the movement of the lips smiling, the movement of the feet, etc. Notice how the smile wasn't an afterthought? It is just as important as any of the other muscle motions, and can be trained into our memory just as well.

  The reason I bring this up is not because I'm a perfect smiler and everyone else is horrible. Oh goodness - far from it. It's because I struggle with it so much - and finally pictures have been taken that show my worried face! I love dancing. I do! However I am naturally quite shy and self-conscious - and this comes out very easily in my face! Here is my proof:

  These pictures aren't the greatest quality, but you can still see exactly what I'm talking about: no smile! In the picture on the left it actually looks like I am biting my lip! *Palm to forehead.* Strange to see, because I was having such a great time! These weren't from a performance either, this is just dancing for fun at the Hafla!

  *Sigh* now you have seen my smile-shame. Look at pictures and videos of yourself dancing, I hope you're not as bad as me but you might be just as surprised! There is almost always room for improvement. If anyone has any tips please post them in the comments section below as well!

  One more thing - we should have a big smile on our face for dancing fast, of course. If we dance slow with that same smile though, we might look a little crazy. My dance teacher suggests a soft, close -mouthed smile. She says to think of a smell that you love, and imagine smelling it and smiling. It works very well when you remember to think about it! Popular ones in my class are vanilla, chocolate, coconut, bread baking, and flowers.

  Hope that helps any of you that struggle as I do! Let's resolve to SMILE! :)

*Note: There may be some dance forms or performances that require a different look. What I have written above applies to general ATS performing.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Christmas Hafla 2011

  Wednesday my dance group had our annual Christmas Hafla! It was so much fun.  For two hours, I got to eat great food, listen to great music and dance with the coolest ladies I know. We did SO much dancing. It was tiring but such a joy! The Level 3 ladies, including myself, and my teacher with us at one point, danced for the other girls! It was nerve racking but so wonderfully empowering. We got some great feedback too though that the others really enjoyed watching us. So much love in our little dance group.

  Here is a picture of me and a friend at the hafla (sorry about the poor quality):

  So you can see I kept it very simple this time, my gypsy rose skirt from Flying Skirts, Red choli, coin bra, bindi from Kuhl Jewels and necklace and mirror belt that were gifts from my mom. My hair was up in a bun surrounded with red and black roses, to match the red/black gypsy theme! You can see my baby bump too!

My friend here is wearing a gorgeous peacock feather skirt with orange underneath, several fringe/sparkle belts layered, a purple sweetheart choli and coin bra she made herself as well! Beautiful! Of course she has a bindi from Kuhl Jewels as well! (No outfit is complete without one, am I right?!)

I hope your Christmas parties are full of just as much joy :)

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Style Inspiration: Peacocks

This beautiful bird has always been admired. Its vibrant colours and impressive plumage have ushered the peafowl into various religions and cultures.  In Hinduism they are associated with the god Saraswati, standing for patience, compassion, knowledge. In Asian spirituality they represent Kwan-Yin as an emblem of love and good-will, and in Christianity they represent eternal life. They have a long history including a part in Greek mythology as well.

Regardless of their lore, the peacock is an awe inspiring creature whose dress we can borrow from to colour and influence our own styles in life and dance. 

Earth Dancer Feather Necklace - Custom Made -FREE SHIPPING- US, Canada and Australia

SALE Purple Peacock Nomad Feather Earrings by Bird Crap Featherwear

Tribal Fusion ATS Cowry Hair Falls,  Pisces

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

The Tribal Way: Reboot

Miss me? I know it's been a while! We are all moved into our new house now, and baby is being much nicer to me too. My energy has (mostly) returned and nausea is at a minimum. Again if anyone is interested, my pregnancy/personal blog is here:

So I'm going to try and give The Tribal Way a reboot with more regular posts, which I hope will be much to your delight! Today I'll just give you an update on how Level Three has been going, but I have a post ready for tomorrow with lots of gorgeous style inspiration pictures!

So I only have one week left of Level Three. In the last several week we have covered the Doubleback Half Turn, the Arabic Orbit, Barrel and Sahra Turns, Sunanda, and Turkish Shimmy with arms and a turn and circling.  My favourite out of those? Doubleback Half Turn without a doubt, and the Sahra turn for slow. Sunanda is fun too, just a bit more simple. The Turkish Shimmy move is fun too, with the different arms and the turn -  but the circling part throws me off still! I have a problem with getting dizzy and short of breath very quickly, which I hope is just pregnancy related. It's still fun though.

I'm excited for the first session of Level Three to be over. That may sound strange, but the first session of each new level is so very challenging and stressful for me! The second session is always a million times better. Instead of just learning a new move and barely keeping my head above water, there is already a basic understanding of the move that I can build on. That's when it starts to get fun - when you can do the move, but now you get to work on it and fine-tune it until you can do gracefully and with correct posture, angles etc. This process of course lasts forever, but each time it is relearned a move becomes more engrained in my muscle and heart and more of a joy to do.

The Sahra Turn we learned last night is just beautiful. When our teacher first showed us what it was, I thought she must be doing 3 moves, not one, as there are so many parts to it! However after we practiced more, I saw it become a graceful combination of moves we already know. The forms of each action within the move are elegant and poised. I can't wait to work on this one until it comes naturally!

Alright my lovelies, wishing you shakin' shimmies!

Til tomorrow...