Monday, February 20, 2012

Performance Opportunities for Amateur Dancers

Feeling ready to share your dance with the world, but don't know where to start? Then look no further. I have danced at all the events listed below throughout the years and they are all great stages for getting your feet wet:

  1. Saqra's Monthly Revue: Hosted by Saqra, this event occurs the first Saturday of every month at Jimmy T's in Kent. Dancers of all levels are welcome. You can dance to either recorded music or try improv and dance with Saqra's RaqsBand. Very welcoming and encouraging environment for new dancers and a great place to hone your improv skills. Saqra's website has more details.
  2. Med Fest: Seattle's biggest belly dance festival - two stages and two days of non-stop belly dance performances. First time soloists to world-famous professional dancers have graced the stages of Med Fest. Festival always happens in July. Registration for 2012 is not yet open, but here's the link for when it does. Claim your spot by completing the registration form and mailing it in.
  3. Hasani's Hafla: Hasani hosts a quarterly hafla at the First Congregation Church in Tacoma. Her website has the future hafla dates for the next five years! Sign-up by phoning in once registration goes live.
  4. Alauda: This event occurs the third Tuesday of every month at the Skylark Club and Cafe in West Seattle. (Psst! I'm performing at this event tomorrow!) Event is organized by Angela, Medea, and Katana. To register, email Insider tip: register early as this show fills up months in advance.
  5. Leyl Al Arab: This event happens the third Saturday of every month at Enat's in Northgate, and is hosted by BreAnn and Trisha. Each performance includes one or two student dancers, one or two guest dancers, and a feature dancer. Check out the blog for more info.  
  6. Delilah's Belly Dance Performance Class: Maybe not feeling quite ready to sign-up for an event yet? Then Delilah's performance class may be the thing for you. A legendary dancer and performer, Delilah will help you hone your performance skills and after six weeks of instruction, there is a student recital held at the studio that you can invite friends and family to. The recital at the end of this class series was my first solo performance ever!
  7. And more! Other events come up throughout the year. And of course their are other instructors in the area who offer class series with recitals at the end. Sign up for BellyTalk, the Yahoo! Group for Seattle belly dancers, to stay in the loop as new opportunities come up. To sign up, you need a Yahoo! email account, then search for BellyTalk in the Yahoo! Groups section, send in a request to join, and a moderator will approve your request.
Now go forth and dance!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

New Year Goal Review - Part Two

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" - Mary Oliver

I've been a bit late in getting this blog posted, in part because I've been busy and out of town, but also because I have to admit, I've been having some indecision when it comes to selecting my new theme for the year and setting my related goals. Last year, as discussed in my previous post, was the BIG year, with a lot of large life-changing events. In comparison, 2012 is going to be a much more mellow year, which has forced me to look internally for what my goals are and what I hope to manifest in the new year.

After much debate, I've finally decided my intention for the year is on entering this new decade of my life full of health, vibrancy, and energy. Having had a number of health issues recently, ranging from mild to potentially quite serious, it's time to focus on further developing a holistic lifestyle and making daily choices that are honoring my body, mind, and spirit. Thus my theme for the year is Thirty & Thriving.

Specifically, here's what Thirty & Thriving looks like to me:

1. Giving up gluten for a minimum of six weeks and potentially indefinitely, depending on how I feel after those first initial six weeks. Right now, I'm one week in and already feeling positive about the change. And yes, this is even after having to pass on office cupcakes. As a little secret between us, cupcakes are one of my favorite food groups.

2. Make (and keep) those doctors appointments that I've been putting off. I almost didn't want to list this one, because once it's written down and posted, it's there reminding me to hold myself accountable. No more pushing it to the back burner until a day when I have some free time, because we all know those days never arrive.

3. Go on a yoga or other health/spirituality/creativity centered retreat. The last three years I've gone on some exotic foreign vacations, so this year I'm ready to stay in the country, relax, and hand the itinerary reins over to someone else. Currently, I have my eye on Kimberly Wilson's offerings.

4. Ramp up the workouts. I've always been a regular exerciser and I get in a workout six days a week. But I have to admit that I'm not always pushing myself. So it's time to really challenge the status quo, stretch my limits, and try new things. One of the ways I hope to accomplish this, is by joining the group Sweaty Betties, a 20 - 40 something women's only MeetUp group that focuses on being active and convenes regularly to do everything from 5K runs to snowshoeing to salsa dancing. Additionally, I also subscribed to Self magazine for some more doses of inspiration.

5. Get more sleep. I pretty much always get a minimum of 7 hours of sleep per night, otherwise I just don't function. However, the current recommendation by doctors and health professionals is that 7.5 hours is really the optimum amount, so I'm aiming to squeeze in that extra half hour. How am I doing now that I've had 37 nights to practice this habit? Hasn't happened yet. That extra half hour never seems to materialize! Good thing I have another 328 nights to practice.

6. Give up alcohol for four weeks. And actually this one is already done and checked off the list. After all the back-to-back parties in December, I really felt like my liver needed a break and my body needed to detoxify, so sober January it was.

7. Compete in an athletic competition. Growing up, as a state championship swimmer and co-captain of the gymnastics team, competing in sports was a big part of my life. However, I believe the last sports competition I did was the Danskin Triathlon back in 2004, so I'm definitely overdue for signing up for an event. Haven't decided which one or what type of event yet, but I'm ready to stoke my competitive fires!

And since health, is not purely about the physical body, I also have a few goals to address healthiness and thriving in other areas of my life, specifically focusing on spiritually, finances, creativity, and relationships:

8. Meditate for 10 minutes every day. I used to always do this and then started slacking off through the end of 2011. Thus I am recommitting to this habit. So far in 2012, I've been back at my meditation altar every day.

9. Write my damn book already! Ever since I was a child, I've always felt I had a book in me. It's been percolating inside me for three decades now, waiting to be born. It's one of the few things I've wanted consistently through my whole life. And now, in this year of less commitments and events, it is ripe with perfection to sit down and put pen to paper. Since this is a pretty big undertaking, and overwhelming when I think about it, my goal is at a minimum to have decided on what book it is I'm going to write and to have outlined it by the end of the year. Any further progress than that will be extra sprinkles of kudos.

10. Set a regular date night. Le beau and I can at times be rather sporadic with getting together regularly during weeknights. With demanding jobs, my teaching and performing schedule, and the daily grind of life, sometimes we, and probably myself in particular, aren't always making couple time a priority. So it's time to set a regular night of the week as date night and stick to it.

11. Plan my wedding! And to ensure it's a day of celebration and not stress, my goal is to make choices that honor who we are as individuals and as a couple, and to stick to a price tag that's within our means.

12. And speaking of means, my final goal for 2012 is to spend less. I've had enough self-control with money to currently have zero debt and a decent amount saved in 401(k)'s and Roth IRAs. But as far as having a rainy day fund, it's pretty much non-existent. I've already flushed out my budget for the year, so here's to willpower!

There is it - an even 12 for 2012. Et toi? How is your new year going? What joys are you hoping to bring into your life? As one of my favorite poetry lines of all time, written by Mary Oliver says, "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" Plan it now. Begin today.