Bellydance State of the Union

Last night, I had my mentoring call with the lovely Lisa Zahiya of Asheville, and it was suggested that it is about time for me to undertake a little Bellydancer State of the Union.

Over the last six months, Lisa has been helping me to establish my bellydance business as well as to develop a personal practice for myself. Most of the business goals I had established have been met, the personal practice goals are a wee bit lagging, but there has been improvement. I do tend to struggle with them, but she helps me understand how to break them down into manageable tasks.

Dancing cat
Goal 745: Teach cats bellydance entrance piece with veil. Too ambitious perhaps?

Breaking down goals into realistic and manageable tasks is such a positive motivator. It makes you realize that there is truly a path towards your goal.

OK! Now time to evaluate the event planning, the class teaching, and the performances, and the business development of the past few months. I created this spreadsheet below (looks boring, I know) so that I can track profits/ expenses, time spent, and emotional reactions to each of my activities.


What we want to see is where is the most emotional benefit derived from as well as the most profit. I have a feeling that this chart, once entered and analyzed will lead me to drop something or other or to consolidate. Because if it isn’t fun and rewarding, then what is the point?


Is it Art?

A lovely dancer from Florida, Lauren Cheek, recently posted this wonderful essay/ post on whether or not ” bellydance is art”  and what it means to be an artist in said field. She warns you ahead of time that it is snarky, but a little snark is good for the soul! Enjoy…by clicking on the picture!!20221b_edcf3b72d7ce63203c20c66f07bbaea2



Feb 16th at Modern Formations Gallery

February 16th, 2013 Indian Middle Eastern Fusion!

Join Anjali Soi, Ruby Jain, Jemeena,  and Janim for some Indian/Middle Eastern fusion fun!!!! Show starts at 8pm, doors open 7:30. ModernFormations Gallery – 4919 Penn Ave.

$20 – sangria provided : )
kids 7 to 12 and students with ID- $10/ kids 6 and under free

Janim performs with double veils
Janim performs with double veils

To prop or not to prop?

Now that is the question!

I myself am a fan of using props, appropriately, in a bellydance show. I tend to gravitate to veil, 4 yard veil, double veils, fan veils, or fabric in general for the way it moves, glides, and extends the moment and the tension of the song. I also think that as an architect (by day), it is in my nature to want to solve a puzzle and figure out how that prop can best be detailed. How far can I “stretch” the material? How does it work when adjacent to this move? What is the context for this prop? What is the symbolic meaning and metaphor of the form represented by the prop in question?

Janim performs with double veils
Janim performs with double veils

I do believe there is a danger though to overusing props. When a dancer is no longer dancing, ignoring technique, and only wielding said prop, something intrinsic to bellydance is lost. In this case, I believe the prop is now more of a crutch, a security blanket, to hide you from the eyes of the audience. (As a personal side note, perhaps I need to choreograph a piece for my security blanket, I shall call it the woobie dance!)

So the question is, how do we avoid the “prop as crutch” trap? One suggestion, brought to my attention by Lisa Zahiya, is to practice the piece without your prop. Pay attention to your posture, your hands and arms, your feet, and your technique. Is the piece enough without the prop? If you answered yes, then you are on your way to a proptastic performance!

Another answer, brought to my attention in an early morning private lesson with Sherena of Ohio, as we were working with double veils, is to make sure it isn’t all about one move, i.e. spinning. Intrigue is added to any performance by slowly introducing the prop in hand, not immediately jumping into the spins. Introduce stops and dramatic pauses. Introduce stillness in your routine when the audience has time to reflect on the fact that what you are doing is really difficult and “whew, now we have a second to breathe!”

Now, I am interested in your thoughts on the matter? Are you a prop lover or hater? How do you use your props and when?

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