Thursday, December 1, 2016

Au Revoir 2016!

This time of year I always like to take a moment to reflect on the year and what has transpired. I'm a big believer in goal-setting, and I think it's vitally important to regularly reflect on progress toward goals; assessing what went well, what still needs work, and what just needs to be celebrated.

Looking back on 2017, it was in short, a pretty epic year for me.

The year started with me joining Lunaria Dance Theatre as a company member. It's been amazing and inspiring to work with this group of talented women, as we perfect our acts. Throughout this year we've been working on choreographing and producing our own full-length cabaret show, which will debut on March 11, 2017 at Hale's Palladium in Seattle.  If you're interested, tickets can be purchased here.

This year also proved to be the year that my husband and I finally bought a house! The Seattle housing market has been skyrocketing over the past few years, with demand greatly outpacing supply. It took us two years and five offers, but we finally were able to close on a home that we love.

During the summer of 2016, I also had the opportunity to attend Aziza's Dream Camp in Canada. Aziza and the guest instructor, Mercedes Nieto, were superb. You can read more about my experience at camp in this post

I also was blessed with being able to spend three weeks overseas in Austria and Switzerland. In these countries it seemed that around every corner was yet more beautiful countryside, stunning architecture, and cities blossoming with history and culture; it was a fabulous trip. You can see additional pictures from my adventures here

Some other fun highlights of the year were getting my picture taken as a mermaid, going overnight backpacking for the first time, completing a Wanderlust triathlon, spending the weekend inside a converted railroad car at the Red Caboose Getaway, dying my hair purple, and as always, lots of costumes.

With everything that happened during 2016, the one goal of mine that really got put on the back burner was finishing a draft of my novel. I started the year with 38,000 words written, and ended the year with 48,500. So progress, but not all the way to my intended 65,000 words. 

Well, that's a wrap I think. After all that activity, I plan to spend these last few weeks of 2016 being as tranquil and low-key as possible! Wishing you a very merry holiday season, and hoping you saw some of your dreams actualized this year as well. Let it sparkle!

Friday, November 4, 2016

Star Power: The Lovely & Talented Loretta

I've decided to devote this month's post to my current belly dance crush: the lovely and talented Loretta. Flawless technique, long lines, crisp accents, artful musicality, magnetic stage-presence, flowing combinations, and lithe flexibility, all topped up with just the right amount of sexiness. In short, she's pretty much everything I've ever wanted in a belly dance performance.

I discovered Loretta on Instagram. She regularly posts performance videos that brighten my Insta feed and motivate me to work harder in my own practice. If you'd like to add her to your own Insta-love you can follow her here.

There are a number of reasons why I wanted to highlight Loretta this month. The first should be apparent after you watch a couple of her videos: she deserves it.

But I was also motivated by the possibility of potentially introducing her to dancers who may not have heard of her before. At least in Seattle, she's not a dancer I've heard discussed at any length. But I think her beautiful style and technique definitely warrant wider recognition, not to mention, that I would love for a sponsor to bring her to Seattle for workshops.

And last but not least, I wanted to feature her because other than being able to recognize her undeniable talent, I don't know a thing about her! So my curiosity is piqued. Anyone who knows more about her background, or perhaps has had the opportunity to study with her, please by all means, share your insights in the comments!

Without further adieu, I'll let Loretta's dance speak for itself.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Happy 5-Year Anniversary Sequins & Shimmies!

With all the hustle and bustle of moving and traveling over this last summer, I missed the exact mark when it happened, but summer of 2016 marked my 5-year anniversary of writing this blog. Wow, five years flew by like that! To mark the occasion I thought I would highlight some of my personal favorite posts, as well as reader favorites, over the past five years. (Please note that to read any of the articles linked below please click on the written title, not the picture.)

Popularity Awards
To this day, my post on mahragan music remains the most popular, most viewed, and most shared post I've ever written on this blog. Followed closely by my post on Aging and Belly Dance, and then by the guest post by Azya' Michelle on designing costumes.

Study Materials for New Dancers
One aspect I've tried to incorporate into the blog are articles that allow newer dancers to delve further into the world of belly dance. It's been my intention that these posts provide valuable information that is needed to gain a complete picture of this dance form and to become an overall well-rounded dancer. Some of my favorite posts in this regard are:

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Let's Debate
Various aspects of belly dance can be controversial, citing lengthy online debates among members of the community. Rather than shy away from such topics, I've enjoyed exploring them. Here are some posts on topics that sometimes get some feathers riled up. 

Get Your Head Right
A big part of being a performer is achieving the right mindset to perform and emote to your fullest potential. I've written a number of articles on getting your headspace figured out because this has always been the aspect of performance that is the most challenging for me, as I imagine it is for many others as well. Here are a few posts on cultivating the mental clarity and space you need to perform to your fullest potential. 

I'm had the honor to interview various dancers amongst the belly dance community. While each and every interview has been valued and shared with love, I've selected a few personal favorites where I feel the interviewee shared some very valuable insights.

In Summary
It's been a fun five-years of writing. As I've gone along, I've learned as well; forever both a student and a teacher. To my readers, I extend a heartfelt thank you. I know taht there is so much material out there available online to read. The fact that you choose to spend some of that time with me is deeply honored and appreciated. In summary, I think there's one post that sums it all up:

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Beauty Abounds: Austria & Switzerland

During the month of August I was blessed to be able to spend three weeks in Austria and Switzerland. Strolling through castles, meandering through charming villages, and reveling in all the beauty; it was an amazing time to say the least. Here are a few pictorial highlights of my travels.

Lauterbrunnen Valley, Switzerland

Altenburg Cathedral, Austria

 Belvedere Palace, Vienna, Austria

Swiss Alps, as seen from Schilthorn, Switzerland

Burg Kreuzenstain, Austria 

 Chapel Bridge, Luzern, Switzerland

Chateau du Chillon, Switzerland 

Eiger, Swiss Alps, Switzerland

Hallstat, Austria 

Hallstat Austria 

Fountains of Hellbrunn Palace, Salzburg, Austria 

Hofburg Palace, Vienna, Austria

Innsbruck, Austria

 Kursalon, Vienna, Austria

 Luzern, Switzerland, as seen from Chateau Gutsch

Melk Abbey, Austria 

Austrian National Library, Vienna, Austria

Rosenburg Castle, Austria 

Salzburg as seen from Hohensalzburg Fortress, Austria 

Fountain of Schonbrunn Palace, Austria

Grossmunster of Zurich, Switzerland

St. Gallen Cathedral, Switzerland 

Old town buildings of St. Gallen, Switzerland 

Stephansdom, Vienna, Austria 

Buildings with the ringstrasse of Vienna, Austria 

Buildings in old town, Appenzell, Switzerland

Altenburg Library, Austria