Tuesday, 25 June 2013


Here I go again, going on about how cool bellydance is...

Monday, 24 June 2013

Concepts and Context

Approaching dance through creativity, interpretation and communication.

In September I will be trialing a new format of bellydance class, and I am very excited about it!

I want to shift the focus of my teaching onto the "soul" and artistry of the dance. We will still be working on good technique, but approaching the dance very squarely from the perspective of an artist and performer. In fact this format very closely resembles my own process in putting together a performance.

This is my logical next step from my policy of introducing improvisation from lesson 1, so that improvisation becomes a natural and integral part of my students' dance - I'm taking that principle and applying that to expressiveness, stage presence and storytelling.

The lessons will be themed around a fairly abstract idea in dance. It might be a technical aspect, like "Fluidity", an expressive one, like "Joy" or a stylistic one like "Earthiness".  There will be variations in style, for instance a "Serpentine" themed session with a strong Tribal Fusion leaning.

Technique will be broken down and drilled, with a focus on expressing the theme through the movement. Some lessons will involve combinations or short choreographies, and some will involve improvisation.

Each lesson will stand alone, and be open level. Beginners will be able to learn the basic techniques with no pre-requisite, while more experienced dancers can focus on the style and expression, building extra layers and variations to challenge their technique too!

Dancers who aspire to perform will be tapping straight into the key skills that make a performance vital and interesting. Those who do not will experience a full and layered class that truly takes the dance beyond the physical movements.

This is not a brand new concept. It is fairly common for open level workshops to focus primarily on an artistic aspect, I am simply attempting to bring this into a regular class, in the hope that my students come away with a touch of that post-workshop inspiration and fulfillment, every week.

There is enormous scope for diversity in the classes, and I expect a dancer could revisit a theme multiple times, each time taking away new skills and inspiration. With over 30 strong themes already in the pipeline however, I don't expect a lot of repetition.

Working on these themes has been immensely inspiring for me, as a teacher and dancer, and I hope that my students will share in this.

Fitting in your practice

This is an article I wrote for Yahoo, all about how to fit your workout or training into your busy schedule.

A costume post

This post catalogs the process of making my teal bra and belt set...

Take one bra

Sew a reinforced band along the bottom (I also modified the straps here, but later decided to cut them off completely)

Cover the top half of the cups with large rectangles of fabric. Also pictured is the strip that will cover the bottom half of the cups.

The band is covered with fabric

Which is pleated. I am trying to create an illusion here that the band is broad to disguise the size of the cups.

The belt is a wide strip of upholstery fabric, covered with the pleated silk, which is pinned, pressed and stitched on.

The back bra fastening is removed and replaced with large rings

Then I sew an awful lot of beads on.

The shoulder straps are replaced with strong webbing, that is covered in the silk. The straps cross over at the top of the back, then pass through the opposite side ring before tying together centre back. This gives the look and support of a halter without the neck ache. The fabric on the top half of the cups is gathered and sewn onto the straps.

This is what it looks like on

The photos don't do it justice, the gems sparkle so much I am like a human discoball

The inevitable

I didn't plan to have a blog for my dance life, but I have found myself short of an outlet for in-depth comment on this subject. So here it is!

Watch this space for practice tips, costume making tutorials and news about my classes and events.