“Praying Arm Lane” by 16 Horsepower
Stole this off Cera Byer’s facebook:
“Song for You” by Alexi Murdoch. Nichelle passed this one onto me 🙂
April 10, 2010: Contemporary Belly Dance Fusion
Truman State University
Pershing Building 225
Kirksville, MO 63501
$25 for one class/$40 for both.
12:30-2:30 PM: The Building Blocks of Contemporary Fusion
This two-hour workshop begins with a challenging stretching and conditioning/toning warm-up designed to target key muscles used in many styles of dance. Students then will participate in drills to refine and hone popping and locking technique and smooth and snaky movement. Modern dance, burlesque, and Odissi Indian dance technique will be introduced to give students more building blocks to pair with belly dance.
3:00-5:00 PM: Contemporary Fusion Games and Combinations
This two-hour workshop opens with several “dance games” designed to get students to think creatively and to explore their own style of movement. Several dance combinations will follow that focus on each dance style from the previous workshop – a modern/belly dance combo, a burlesque/belly dance combo, popping/locking/belly dance combo, etc. Combinations be taught in a cardio-dance style workout.
Hope to see you there!
I am trying to work on recording practice footage and reviewing it in order to improve.
“Sour Times” by Portishead:
Feedback welcome and encouraged!
Oh my, oh my… another crazy weekend has come and gone.
I have been really, really fortunate lately. Just this year alone I’ve already hit Sacramento, New York, and now attended a really badass event in St. Louis. I’m extremely grateful, don’t get me wrong… but I’m a little tired 🙂 Traveling nonstop is exhausting, and I’m more than ready to take a few weeks just to get my affairs in order back home.
But I am SO glad I went this weekend to Naughti Gras. And as usual, I learned so much from this experience.
Lesson 1: I absolutely cannot use last-minute panic to get stuff done anymore, period.
This weekend started off a little hectic. Taking the lessons from EPL Month 2, I have been trying all week to develop good training habits that force me to work — I’e been figuring out what dance classes I can take, applying for a gym pass, working in the dance studio every single day for at least an hour, eating right, trying to plan ahead. But it was odd — every single time I tried to sit down and choreograph the piece I would be teaching this weekend, I had dancer’s block (a close relative of writer’s block). So come Friday, the choreography is still not 100% where I want it. I’m a bit stressed.
15 minutes before we leave, I sit down and crank out the whole choreography. And while I’m definitely happy I came up with something, it really drove home the point that I have literally conditioned myself to only be productve when I’m being motivated by last-minute panic. I’m making improvements — ordinarily I would have found ANYTHING else to do than even go into the dance studio (“I should go to the dance studio… but first I need to alphabetize my magazines…”). I’m feeling optimistic that this time around I have made some positive strides toward not procrastinating, but I’ve been a procrastinator so long that I feel like a junkie kicking the habit.
(I also became convinced 15 minutes before I left that I HAD to make business cards. Thank God for Sharpie markers, pretty paper, and Kinkos).
Lesson 2: Always add MUCH more time than I think I’ll need when planning long trips.
I planned on getting to Naughti Gras an hour before I had to perform. Between the snow, bad traffic, and trying to find the place, I ended up running in on Friday 10 minutes before I was due onstage. I figured I would be ok because I thought Naughti Gras would be one of those events where everything was running a bit late, but no, Murphy’s Law: the Naughti Gras coordinator was one of those great coordinators that strives to keep everyone on schedule. As a performer who’s had to wait several hours to get onstage because of delays, I can’t begin to say how much I admire someone who wants to keep things running on track.
Lesson 3: Stretch. Always.
I run in, throw on my costume, and am headed downstairs 10 minutes later. I paid the price for running late — about 2 minutes into my 25 minute set, I go into the splits and pull my hamstring. It’s definitely the worst pulled muscle I have had, and I am hoping it will heal quickly. Dancers: ALWAYS STRETCH. Especially when it’s cold, you’ve been driving for two hours, and you’re going to dancing for a longer set.
Lesson 4: Shit happens onstage. Roll with it.
My iPod had conveniently froze in the car about ten minutes away from Naughti Gras. No worries, I had brought a backup CD just in case. When my music starts, I realize a few things: 1) Something is a little off with the sound — it sounded mono. As a result, you could not hear a lot of the beats in the songs I was dancing too — my drum solo was just dums, no teks or kas. A few of my songs don’t play at all. Just roll with it, just roll with it, I keep reminding myself.
Shortly after I pulled my hamstring but was riding on pure adrenaline to dance through it, the things I’m hearing finally start registering in my brain: “Why do they keep saying, ‘take it off?'” I look down, and there it is: my skirt is falling off my hips, and you can clearly see the red thong I am wearing under the fabulous sheer harem pants that Suzanne VanSickle whipped up for me (In a perfect world, I was going to wear black boy shorts under the pants JUST IN CASE something like this happened… see Lesson 2).
However, if your skirt is going to fall off in the middle of a performance, the best place you can do it is at an erotic arts festival. I readjust my skirt, pantomime acting scandalized, and continue dancing.
Lesson 5: I think I’m finally figuring out my style and what I want to say.
The workshop was so much fun. We did two hours of stregnthing drills, stretching, and then breaking down and drilling all of the main muscles used in bellydance, sometimes put into some more interesting combinations. I went to lunch with Tricia and Sierra, two of the participants, at an amazing Vietnamese resteraunt for lunch, and then I taught two hours of choreography. As usual, there are definitely things I would have done differently, but overall I had a great time and I hope the students enjoyed it.
But after teaching this workshop, I really got some more insight into what I might be able to offer students that is different from other teachers. I’m really looking forward to getting into the dance studio and start really investigating my dancing and teaching style.
Lesson 6: The Universe rewards you if you learn from your mistakes.
Saturday night dancing at Naughti Gras went SO much better. I got there an hour early, got dressed, put on my makeup and did my hair, and mentally and physically prepared to perform. I made sure my iPod was charged and all my songs were on a playlist.
It went SO much better than Friday.
My skirt stayed on, and even though I had one music glitch (my iPod was still set to “Repeat song” from the workshop), I felt like my dancing was stronger, I connected better with the audience, and I got some good pictures and video (THANK you, Jessica Barnett and Hannah Radcliffe!) I had my business cards ready to hand out and I had a really fabulous time. My hamstring didn’t bother me, and I just HAD FUN.
I am constantly amazed by the burlesque community in St. Louis. Lola van Ella, as always, was an amazing hostess and did a FABULOUS job organizing all the entertainment for Naughti Gras. I hope to work with them again soon… (stay tuned, I’m hoping to have more to report soon on that end 😉 )
All right, I am going back to bed to sleep for another billion hours 🙂
St. Louis, watch out — two great events this weekend!
Bellyesque Workshop: Lola van Ella is hosting me for a burlesque/bellydance fusion workshop!
- WHERE: Floored on Grand, 3190 Grand Ave. St. Louis, Missouri
- WHEN: Bellydance Basics, 12-2; Bellyesque Choreography 3-5
- COST: $25 each/$40 for both
- MORE INFO: http://meganhartmann.com/instruction.html or check out our facebook event
Naughti Gras III: Two chances to see me perform at the St. Louis erotic art festival!
- WHERE: Downstairs stage, Koken Art Factory, 2500 Ohio Avenue, St. Louis, Missouri 63104
- WHEN: Friday and Saturday night, 8:15 PM.
- COST: $5 to get into the WHOLE festival!
- MORE INFO: Koken Art Factory website
Well, folks, it’s come and gone: This Saturday I performed in the sold-out New York premiere of Bellydance Evolution — over 600 people came out to support Jillina and the entire cast.
What an amazing, amazing experience.
I arrived at the theater at 1:30 PM after an hour ride on the subway– just enough time to snag a makeup mirror in the dressing room and get our costumes, makeup, and props out and ready to go. Around 2, we all meet onstage for a group warm-up and pep talk from Jillina. Almost right away we throw our costumes on and begin tech rehearsal on the stage. That’s right, before the show even starts, we were onstage running the entire show in costume! We have one chance to get it marked right onstage — every minute there’s a yell of, “Our line needs to start on the 2!” “This line is supposed to be on the center marley!” or “Flat line in the back!” I have four costume changes in the show, including several quick changes and a change where in less than three minutes, I get completely out of all my tribal gear and into a cabaret costume. Not to mention all my props…
If I can just make it through the show with my sanity intact…
After the show runthrough, we practice the preshow and then book it to grab some dinner. Thankfully, Jillina had some really healthy, light food catered to the theater — salad, bread, pasta, fish, and fruit. Completely ravenous, I inhale a plate in less than five minutes and immediately start on hair and makeup. Luckily we had practiced stage makeup earlier in the week, so I manage to paint myself up in a reasonable amount of time. Before I know it, I hear the stage manager announcing over the intercom, “15 minutes till preshow.”
And before I really even realized that I was in the middle of the thing that I had trained over 50 hours for, it was over! My props were ready for each piece, I didn’t go onstage naked, and pieces that I was stressing about went surprisingly well. I am really happy with how the performance went, and I think all the girls felt like it was overall a success. After the show, I crowd into a van with Sharon, Louchia, Vilia, Liz, and Faith and head to the afterparty in Chinatown.
The next day I was dead the world. I overslept and missed my first workshop, and then get so turned around on the subway that I miss my second one, too. Oh well. I head back to Brooklyn and end the trip with a huge piece of cheesecake from Junior’s — apparently some of the most famous cheesecake in New York. I think I deserve it 🙂
The show also ushered in the end of month II of the “Eat, Pray, Love” Experiment. This month’s goal was training. I wanted to work hard and see results. I have to say, I feel really successful in this month. Not only did I get some really valuable advice and training on creating art from Amy Sigil, but this show taught me a lot about how much putting your nose to grindstone can bring you. Every single day this month I feel like I was actively focusing on setting training goals and meeting them. I’m excited to say I’m in better shape than I have ever been in, and I lost some weight in New York. After this month, I am excited to try and maintain my health and my weight and continue my training regime — I hope that I can continue to practice the skills I have learned in month 2 throughout the rest of this year.
Month 3… I need a few days to synthesize what exactly I want out of month 3. I’ll be posting more on that later 🙂