Thursday, March 25, 2010

Review: Tribal Vision: A Celebration of Life Through Tribal Belly Dance

Paulette Rees-Denis, the founder of Tribal belly dance in Portland, OR, was kind enough to let me read a copy of Tribal Vision: A Celebration of Life Through Tribal Belly Dance (Cultivator Press, 2008).

I'm primarily a fusion belly dancer: a little oriental, a little salsa, a little Turkish, even a little ballet here and there. I realize my own fusion comes from my main teacher and HER penchant for fusion, but part of my satisfaction with my current group is the ability to try new fun styles as they come up and encouragement to learn everywhere. I suspect that's why I so thoroughly enjoyed this book. I wasn't sure where it was going at first: the beginning chapters are an intertwining of the author's life as well as the evolution of Tribal on the West Coast. As both stories unfolded, however, it became clear that her life in dance was one of the driving forces behind the development of Tribal belly dance, and that both were a journey of exploration and experimentation.

The real connection for me came through the author's desire to create a safe, sacred space for herself and her students. The ability to let go of the real world and just be is difficult enough, but to be able to do it in front of/with a group of women takes a special level of comfort, and I appreciate her desire to give that to her students. I also loved that every aspect of dance is covered, from troupe origin to costuming to watching a student have that "aha!" moment when her body does exactly what she's trying to get it to do.

The photos were fantastic: a visual history of Paulette, the dancers, the students, and the myriad of costumes through the years. Cammi Vance was in MN a few years ago doing workshops, so it was fun to see her "back in the day" as well.

All in all I'd recommend Tribal Vision to any dancer who wants to enrich her knowledge and dance philosophy. And you can be sure the next time I'm in Portland I'll be looking for a class!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Goddess of Spring

Admittedly, I stole my blog title today from a book I read recently (a quite fabulous book, if you like Greek mythology and romance). But Spring arrived yesterday with her fair face and sunny smile, and I can feel everything waking up around me.

Most excellent.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Friday Night Fun

I'm definitely old. Ha!

It's Friday night and I'm watching a Tyler Perry movie while (drum roll...) organizing my email/contacts list and prepping a class for Monday night.

Yeah. I'm old...and the fantastic part is I don't mind it at all. I had a productive week house-wise, applied for some fun job prospects, heard nothing from any of them, and go back to bellydance tomorrow. Life is good at this moment.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Ireland and Egypt, Oh My

It's a day for dreaming. Fog is thick and heavy outside, muffling everyday traffic sounds and enhancing the air with a weird mystical feeling that I adore (even though I know it's currently hell in traffic).

After much discussion, it's tentatively decided that yes, if we can afford it (ie, if I get a job and/or sell a book) I should go with Aliyah and others in my bellydance group to Egypt for a week of workshops in Giza in 2012. The prospect of bellydancing IN EGYPT is both thrilling and terrifying: after all, usually I consider myself a lower-level dancer than I actually am. But it would undoubtedly be the experience of a lifetime, and while Egypt and the pyramids is on hubby's list of places to see, it's low enough on the list for him that he encourages me to go with the girls and we can go together later.

In other travel news, should I get this job I've been interviewing for this spring (final interview and decision pending) we've decided NOT to wait until our 10 year for Ireland: we'll go next year dammit! I feel like my travel bug has been stifled for the past ten years: ever since the first timeI went to Ireland I've wanted to go back, but while we were able to save up for Florida a few times and went to Mexico once, we've been unable to do those and save for a big trip. I know: we could've foregone the more inexpensive trips and just saved for a couple of years, but the simple fact is we live in Minnesota: the frozen circle of hell in January. The need to escape for a week and recharge is overpowering soemtimes, and unfortunately due to our own stupidity with credit cards (lesson learned!) and various periods of unemployment we just didn't have the funds to save for a $5k trip.

We do now, and if I get a job we can KEEP those funds in the bank instead of using them while I'm unemployed. I'm looking at this is my incentive to get a job...right now I still really am not ready to go back, but if fate gives me the opportunity I suppose I should take it and plan to reap other rewards. So I used the first part of my time off to get myself mentally and spiritually recharged, and I'll use what time I have left to establish a writing schedule. That way even if I'm working full time I can finish the books in queue, and still someday I may be able to quit working in corporate america all together.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

RIP Mr. Garvey

So two Hollywood stars died this week: Corey Haim and Merlin Olson. I'll not comment on yet another idiotly troubled child actor who coked his life away and, surprise surprise, seems to have died from a lethal mix of OTC and prescription drugs.

Mr. Garvey, however...Who, you say? Well, if you're not a die-hard NFL fan who remembers Merlin Olson from his 70's LA Rams days, perhaps you'll remember him as Johnathan Garvey on Little House on the Prairie. The tragic Mr. Garvey, whose beloved wife was killed in a fire along with Mary and Adam's baby...

Yes, I'm a geek.

Anyway, it seems to be a week of death. Ray's father passed away this week also, so our weekend will be filled with memories from Dave and Ray's pasts, probably a lot of alchohol, and a funeral. Sad, and not unexpected (as he was an alcoholic most of his life), but I feel for Ray. I can't imagine how awful it is to lose parents, and this is his second.

Spring and fall are often the seasons of death and rebirth in a literal and mystical way. Lilies are poking their brave little green shoots up through the snow in my front gardens, rain is melting away the last of winter, and yet while the land is waking up some souls are returning to sleep. Transition is hard to deal with, I think, for a tired existence, regardless of the body's physical age, but I've noticed over the years that most of the elderly in my life (directly and peripherally) have died during the major season change, not during the depths of winter. Perhaps those who passed this spring are making way for growth to come and we're just not aware of the impact yet.

Hopefully, the souls passing during this Equinox season are at peace.