Thursday, 26 January 2012

Dance Flash Cards - My Gift to You!

Last June I showed you guys a great way to mix up your practice and keep you focused: Dance Move Flash Cards. Click >HERE< to check out the post for a reminder, or see picture below.

Now some fancy pants artists out there might be able to write their moves out in calligraphy or use graphics or something else like that, but as for me, I just grabbed a font from the net and kept it pretty simple.  So I decided it would only be fair if I shared it with you!! I have 3 PDF files, one for each level, with each move on it in the font shown above. All you have to do is print it, cut out the labels and fix them onto cards. Here's a preview:

As I said, I have one page each for Level One, Two and Three. I am providing these free of charge. Unfortunately I do not know a way to have these right on my blog in a format that will print easily, so you have to email me and request it.

Email and let me know which Level Pages you want and what email address to send the files to, and I will respond as quickly as I can with the attachments. Enjoy!

Friday, 20 January 2012

Tribal and Gypsy Inspired Decor

Be prepared to dream and drool.

Rich textiles, heavy fabrics, ornate decor, chandeliers and drapes and pillows and lanterns and knick knacks and jewelry and antiques and everything you need to be inspired to create your own little haven. :)




Thursday, 19 January 2012

Delicious Duets

Ah, duets. I think I'm in love. They are just the most beautiful thing to watch, and such a joy to be learning about in my level three class. Solos can be breathtaking and groups can be fun, but I think duets are my favourite at the moment. Such a connection can be present between the dancers that real magic happens. I feel it when I learn a new partner pass in class, and I see it when I watch dynamic performances of duets in videos. There is so much more eye contact between the two dancers, and the ATS mindmeld becomes crucial and awe inspiring to watch or be a part of.

Here are some beautiful duets for your enjoyment ~

(Duet begins at 3:20)

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Monday, 9 January 2012

2011 - A Year of Dance in Review

After seeing this survey on a couple sites, I decided to take part! If you're not interested, that's fine, but if you are, then tag! You're it! I'm inviting anyone who wants to take the survey to go ahead and post your link in the comments below. For me, 2011 was my first full year of dance ever! It was a year full of changes, in dance and my personal life. It will be a year I never forget!

By the way, this brilliant idea is from:

Dilara of Dilara's Diary and AJ of Confessions of a Dance Pants Addict

1. What did you do in 2011 that you had never done before?
Participated in dance class for a full year, danced in front of others, went to Mexico :)

2. Did you keep your belly dance new year resolution, and will you have one this year?
Last year my goal was just to progress into level two, which I did in the spring. This year I am resolving to smile more!

3. Did you introduce anyone to belly dance?
Yes, I got my sister involved!

4. What travels did you take, and did you involve belly dance with them?
In March I went to Spokane with my mom and sister for a Bellydance Superstar show. Then in May I went to Mexico with my boy!

5. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?
I'd like a bottomless bank account so I can purchase any skirt, necklace and bindi that catches my fancy. I'd also like endless energy! Haha - realistically, I'd like more confidence.

6. Which date from 2011 will remain etched in your memory and why?
July 25, because I found out that I would be bringing a new little dancer into the world!

7. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Progressing to level three in dance, starting this blog, buying a house and surviving the first 6 months of pregnancy!

8. What was your biggest failure?
Not practicing as much as I could have.

9. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Neither, thankfully!

10. What was the best thing you bought or made for dance?
I only bought a few hip scarves. I was given a beautiful jaipur skirt, and I made a coin bra and tassel belt!

11. What did you get really excited about?
So many things! Belly dance shows, Mexico, Haflas, starting new levels in dance, a new house, having a baby, Christmas holidays!

12. What did you wish you'd done more of?

13. What do you wish you'd done less of?
I'd say sleeping, but it was quite necessary for baby-building ;)

14. What seemed to get in the way of dance?
Lack of energy and motivation.

15. What was your favourite music from this year?
I really loved Bounce by Solace, To the Mother * East by Filastine, Marcha de la Vida by Balkan beat Box, and Aicha by Khaled. I need to expand my music repertoire this year so if you have any recommendations please let me know! My newest favourite is Sunrise Over Tribeca by Helm and Phil Thornton.

16. What did you do on your birthday?
I went out for dinner with friends, and also had a surprise luau party with family in my hometown!

17. What would have made your year immeasurable more satisfying?
I'm actually pretty happy with 2011 :)

18. How would you describe your belly dance style in 2011?
Well, I was a student of ATS. It was a year of intence growth and learning.

19. What were the major influences on your belly dance in 2011?
Mostly just my incredible dance teacher - trying to emulate her strength and grace.

20. Best thing about being a dancer in 2011?
Experiencing the benefits, sense of accomplishment, and joy from dancing and connecting more with dance friends. Also starting this blog and being introduced to the online belly dance world, and discovering they are a very supportive and fun bunch to twitter and blog with!

Okay your turn. Tag! You're it!

Friday, 6 January 2012

Brilliant Belly Dance

We all know there are many physical benefits to dancing, but did you know about the mental and intellectual benefits? Excercise has been shown to improve mental clarity, alleviate and prevent depression, aid in the regulation of hormones (and therefore mood) and can even give you a temporary high. Well, studies are showing that it can actually make you smarter! Unfortunately not every style of dance can take this kind of credit - the more improvisational, the more an impact it will have. This is no trivial impact either - we're talking a 76% reduced risk of dementia as we age.

Now let's explain. Almost any excercise or dance is a wonderful hobby to pursue well into old age. However, for intellectual benefits, only those which require quick critical thinking have the power to boost our intellectual clarity as well. Quite simply, if our muscle memory has been doing the same thing for years, and we could practically perform on auto-pilot, our brain is not making any new connections - it just follows an old path that is well ingrained. When we do any kind of improvisational dance, our brain constantly has to make snap decisions, and this is what keeps us sharp.

When leading in ATS, we are making many decisions about which move to perform next, based on the music, mood, ability of dancers around us, and probably other factors I'm missing. When we follow it may seem we're in much a more passive role, but in fact we are constantly reading the body language and cues of our leader. Of course we know as well that often the leader hat changes quickly - during turns, fading, etc. All of this quick decision making is what makes improvisational dance stand out from the others in this aspect of health. Not that we needed another reason to keep dancing! ;)

Richard Powers 'Use It or Lose It: Dancing Makes You Smarter'
His website: