Belly Dance, Hooping, and Fusion

August 23, 2012 § Leave a comment

It has been a busy summer, but I have been able to find more time for hooping!  It is a great full-body work out, invigorating and most importantly, fun!  Being at the “blossoming beginner” stage of a hobby is very rewarding.  I now have enough experience with the hoop that I am able to learn new tricks more quickly (courtesy of homeofpoi.com‘s “learn” page) and there is so much to look forward to learning.  I like to enjoy every stage of a hobby, but this is an especially fun one.

When I first tried hooping, it was in a workshop with a teacher who also taught belly dance.  Most of the students in the workshop were belly dance students, and we started the class by repeating several times, “hooping is not belly dance!”  The teacher wanted to make sure we weren’t inserting unnecessary movement into the hooping because of our belly dance muscle memory.  The two art forms use some of the same muscle groups in different ways.  That being said, there are some types of isolations used in belly dance that are useful with certain hoop moves.  For example, being able to move the chest independently from the hips helps with chest hooping.

Hula hooping is a good cross-training choice for belly dancers.  It’s low impact like belly dance, but is very cardiovascular, while belly dance is sometimes not. Not only does hooping aid in muscle strengthening and toning, it can balance the fitness routine.  It is gaining popularity among belly dancers, especially in the tribal community.  This, of course, leads to fusion!  I am nowhere near being to a point where I could fuse together hooping and belly dance, but I sometimes come across videos of this.  This is one of my favorites.  It is artfully executed and reflective of the music.  Enjoy!

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

February 14, 2012 § Leave a comment

For the romantics:

For the cynics:

In Remembrance of Viktoriya

January 24, 2011 § 1 Comment

I didn’t really know Viktoriya.  I had the pleasure of taking a workshop and participating in a performance with her in 2007.  I only spent several hours with her, but it was an incredibly inspiring few hours.  It was actually a pivotal  moment in my dance direction.

I came into belly dancing with American Tribal Style and began taking some Oriental classes within a couple years.  While I had always been interested in Oriental Belly Dance, most of my performance opportunities and main focus had been on the Tribal side of things.  I had taken many technique classes in Oriental style and learned a couple of choreographies, but it was never really developed in my repertoire.  After being blown away by Viktoriya’s magical stage presence and delightful dancing style, I decided to put more focus into Oriental Belly Dance.

The workshop I took from Viktoriya was on Classical Egyptian Belly Dance.  I loved the flowing, feminine movements.  She told us in her exotic Russian accent that when she performed free style Classical Egyptian she felt like she was melting.  She talked to us about being expressive.  She said a permanent smile on a dancer was American Belly Dance; when you do Egyptian dance, you have to also be an actress.

She talked to me specifically about my shimmies.  I have shared here in the past that I had a difficult time with continuous hip shimmies.  Viktoryia noticed some of the problems I was having and shared some pointers with me.  She discussed technique. She pointed out the two things I was doing wrong (basically, I was not allowing enough movement and my right leg was dominating so I was not alternating my hips evenly).  She told me how she shimmied constantly when she was learning.  She shimmied during every day activities such as doing dishes or brushing her teeth.  I worked a lot with her suggestions, and it took time, but my shimmies are a million times better now because of that discussion.

Rest in peace, Viktoriya.  You will be missed by the dance community, but will certainly live on in the memories of those you inspired.

Cool Poi Style

August 31, 2009 § Leave a comment

Wow. I’ve never seen anyone do as many tosses with poi as this guy does.  Some really clean stalls, too. Very impressive control. Really cool style.

There’s Really Only One Word To Describe Unmata…

January 18, 2009 § Leave a comment

Badass.

The Perfect Poi Search

June 15, 2008 § Leave a comment

I took my poi to my dance studio the other night and got to practice with plenty of room and in front of a mirror for the first time in a year and a half. I remember now why I like it so much. I decided to look around for some new tricks to work on. Enter homeofpoi.com.

I also started looking for new toys that could be easily incorporated into belly dance shows, as fire can be very limiting.

I looked at tail poi and thought it was kind of cheesy looking.

Glow poi is pretty cool, but really only if you’re spinning them in a darker place.

I thought I found the answer when I discovered voi. It’s veil poi created with belly dancers in mind. It’s basically long veils attached to practice poi. I was really excited until I watched some videos and noticed all the dancers were only doing 3 or 4 actual poi moves and integrating in a couple double veil moves. It looked…limited. Not nearly as cool as the idea itself. I did a little research into this prop and discovered that it is, in nature, limiting. Apparently most poi moves cause the long veil tails to tangle, which was a little disappointing.

Then, just when I thought I was gonna have to settle for glow poi, I found this!

Flag Poi! All the ability of poi with all the beauty of veil! And it certainly helps that GlitterGirl puts on such a good show with them. Now, the only problem is finding some as nice as these. That is my newest mission. Find some pretty flag poi!

Majida Anwar

April 15, 2008 § Leave a comment

This is Majida Anwar.  She’s decidedly my favorite southeastern belly dancer.  I saw her perform at TribalCon and she’s awesome!  Definitely one of the most memorable out of the whole two-hour long show. If I ever move to Atlanta, she’ll be the first teacher I look up.

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