DVD review: Dark Imaginations (Anaar)

So, I’ve decided to start up a new project. It just came to me, spur of the moment. I’m going to go through all of my various dance DVDs from beginning to end. There’s sooooooo much content I’ve skipped or missed over the years, and a few DVDs I’ve never even opened! (Furthermore, I’ve told myself I can’t buy any new DVDs until I do all of the ones I have…although I have at least one preordered. ;)

They’re arranged alphabetically on my shelf, so I started with Anaar’s Dark Imaginations. (Okay, “D” doesn’t come at the beginning of the alphabet, but Mr. Sparkly filed it under “Anaar.”)

What I liked: This DVD was really fun because it taught me some stuff I’d never seen before–and HELLA gothy stuff, at that. I also like that the moves were demonstrated, then broken down, then drilled. I felt like just the right amount of time was allotted to each. I marked this one as “intermediate” because it doesn’t spend time on basic stuff, although the moves demonstrated aren’t super hard. At the end there are two performances–quite long ones. I didn’t care too much for the first, but the second was AMAZING and SUPER FUCKING CREEPY. I loved it so much.

What I didn’t like: There’s no real warmup or cooldown included. I’m kind of lazy when it comes to doing my own, but I guess that’s kind of my fault rather than Anaar’s. ;) Her speech throughout is very slow and deliberate, which I guess helps for learning, but it seemed really unnatural. The religious/ritual stuff gets a bit heavy-handed at times, but it’s not like that isn’t advertised on the case. It just wasn’t especially my cup of tea. And most of all I wish there had been MORE content! There are only a handful of moves taught here, and they were all awesome. Let’s have more, please. ;)

New things I learned: A weird glide-y traveling move called the “slide” and a creepy-ass crouching arm thing called the “spider”, among others. Also a touch of drama in the arms.

Level: Intermediate

Fun: ☻☻☻☻☺

Education: ★★★★☆

Gothiness: ☠ ☠ ☠ ☠ ☠ AND a motherfucking pentagram ⛧

Overall rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♡

You can buy this DVD at http://www.anaar.info/slides.html

Happy bellyversary to me!

Okay, so I’m a few days late, but better late than never. :) My first-ever belly dance class was January 31, 2009, so this year I’m celebrating 4 years of dance! It’s been a bumpy road–sometimes I’ve taken two classes a week and sometimes I’ve taken zero. Lately, with the baby stuff, there have been some long stretches without dance. But the love of it has been there all along, and that’s good enough for me!

I have been so fortunate to have had so many spectacular teachers on my journey so far, and I’ve made so many friends and seen so many fantastic performances. It makes me warm and fuzzy just thinking about it.

For a while I was worried about how having a baby would affect my dancing. There were a lot of times when I didn’t feel like dancing, and I’m sure there will be more. But I’ve started going back to class (with a new instructor on a drop-in basis) and I’m sort of getting into the swing of things. More and more I feel like I’ll be able to keep up after the baby is here…maybe not as much as before, but enough. And I’m looking forward to seeing if she enjoys dancing, too. :)

Here’s to another four years…or ten, or forever :D

Dancing for two

Another several months have gone by without any posting…or any dancing, for that matter. But there’s a good reason! Sort of. I mean, the thing itself is good, but I’m not sure it’s a good excuse not to have been dancing. Anyway, I have a live-in dance partner. That is, I’m dancing for two. What I mean to say is OMFG I’M HAVING A BABY HOLY CRAP IT IS IN THERE RIGHT @#$%ING NOW YOU GUYS

So yeah. I slept through most of August and September, and was nauseous into October. Then I spent a few weeks where I couldn’t get my blood pressure under control and was having cardiopulmonary weirdness and I couldn’t stand up for very long without feeling lightheaded and short of breath. Now, finally, all of that seems to be under control!

I read a thing recently that showed women who exercise regularly while they’re pregnant have shorter labor and less pain. Uh, sign me up. ;) And soon after, Aepril challenged her students (a group in which I am honored to still be counted, even if I haven’t had any lessons for months…) to do 15 minutes of practice every day for three weeks. Everything just kind of fell into place! So today I set out to get back on the wagon. I did 15 minutes of prenatal yoga and then two songs of improv and a bit of drills. Honestly I was surprised at how much I didn’t suck after such a long break…and my back seemed pretty glad I’d gotten off the couch, too.

Hi again

Okay, wow, so. I haven’t posted in uhhhh several months. ;) I think probably everyone has given up on me. But hopefully I can win some of you back! My totally awesome husband guy made me this great banner for the site, so it’d be a shame not to post anything. ;)

Soooo I kind of got out of the habit of practicing over the summer. I kind of burned out around May, had a bit of a dance crisis, threw myself into some other hobbies, and stopped practicing pretty much at all. Then I went to Tribal Revolution in June and got a bit of my spark back, but it faded with all the other plans and trips we had during the summer. A few weeks ago I went to Raks Geek, which was PHENOMENAL (check out their videos on YouTube), and Moxie and I started working on a choreography together, which we hope to perform around the end of this year. Then last week on a train trip I was randomly struck by inspiration for my own choreo, which I’d largely abandoned, and I sort of continued picking up steam from there. :) I kept taking lessons all this time, so it’s not like I quit altogether…but I’m feeling a bit rusty. Although yesterday Aepril told me I’m doing “awesome,” so there’s that. XD

I think a key thing I learned from starting this blog project is that too much of a good thing is still too much. I need to chill out and cultivate a practice based in having fun and reaching goals rather than making myself feel guilty for not doing enough. So maybe practicing every day is too much for me–and that’s fine. It’s not like I’m going pro!

Video: She’ll Eat You Alive

Okay, here’s my long-awaited (was anyone really waiting for it? XD) video post. To “Rev 22:20″ by Puscifer. As with all my videos, there are things I like and things I don’t. My fingers and wrists really need to calm the fuck down. And you can see it starts to fall apart when I added spins…but I added spins in part so I could document how bad at them I am. ;) Oh, also my glasses started falling off toward the end, haha.

Soooo, this is where I am now. I’m okay with that. I’m just going to keep getting better ;D

 

Bottom line: Happy

Friday was kind of a bust, dance-wise. I did think about my choreography some more while I was at work, but of course I couldn’t practice it. Directly from work we went out with some friends, then they came back to our place and stayed until after midnight. It was totally awesome, naturally, but didn’t leave any room for dancing. Saturday, however, I had my lesson with Aepril. Always a pleasure, always a lot of dancing. :)

The lesson itself was on the unremarkable side, as we mostly just worked with the choreography we’ve been doing (this time worked on character and theatrics, which was fun). But it really made me think, for like the thousandth time, how lucky I am to have had the teachers I’ve had, and to have the teachers I have now. Aepril has such an interesting way of looking at…well, everything, and it really resonates with me. She always makes me think about things, and dancing with her and even talking about dance with her makes me so happy. We’re starting a new choreo next week. :D

Today I made a new video! It’s uploading now. On the whole I am semi-pleased with it. ;) I’ll discuss that in the video post. XD I also had Steve film me performing the cane choreo so I could see how it’s coming along. At the moment it really seems like the problems are just me not being awesome enough. Soooo there’s that. ;) I also did some practice to random songs. I was going to have him film me doing the bit of my choreo I’ve worked out so far, so I could see what it looks like, but it’s flippin’ hot in here, even with the air conditioner on, and I got tired and wussed out. ;)

Dancing: About half an hour?

Stretching: A bit before dancing…should probably do some more

Strength: Probably should work on that, too. But the night is young! It’s not even born yet! XD

Zzzzz…

I seriously considered not doing anything. I was tired. But again, something is better than nothing. Today the only dancing I did was in my head (well, and in the bathroom at work…don’t tell anyone). But I did have a few revelations about my choreography, so there’s that. (The major revelation today was shoulders, which is a nice follow-up to elbows.)

Dancing: In my head, in the mirror.

Stretching: extra for the legs in the morning (I have to stretch my legs every morning anyway for the foot problem, but I’ve been adding to my routine), and I’m sitting in straddle right now ;D

Strength: 20 girly-style pushups, 10 floorwork-style side lifts on each side, lunges back and forth across the living room

Diet: Horrible. Really horrible. Someone get me a salad.

I think I need to start doing this earlier in the day. Can we start having a dance break at work?

There’s probably a pilates layer of Hell

Today I went to pilates. That shit is hard. Parts of me are hurty. Guess that was the point. ;) I also did some of my homework. :D I’m starting to realize that choreographing is having dozens of miniscule revelations. Today was elbows. It was a big deal, trust me. ;) I also did a lot of dancing in my head, on street corners, on the escalator…but nothing really concrete. Tomorrow, though!

Dancing: random silliness, choreographing (mostly seated)

Stretching: extra for the legs, both when I woke up this morning and while I was sitting around watching a movie (does pilates count? we’ll say yes…)

Strength: Pilates, plus a handful of squats and/or plies in my living room

Diet: Okay-ish. Discovered an awesomeeee fast-health-food place around the corner from my work =d Had pizza, but didn’t binge.

Full. Of. Win.

Oh man. Today was awesome, let’s just get that out of the way up front. ;D I had a lesson with Moxie! Before she came I was lookin’ cute in my practice clothes, so I decided to do some practice (it’s nice how that works), and ran through the cane choreo once. Then another song came on and I just kind of danced to that because it was a song. And then I picked a song and danced to that, too, and then I decided not to tire myself out too much. So I watched some videos of other people dancing, which is always fun. I really, really love the internet.

Then Moxie came and we did some yoga, which I really needed, and we talked about choreographing. We listened to my song and I explained my ideas and showed her some things that were in my head. I was so nervous I nearly died. Yeah, I have issues. (As a side note, I later watched Neil Gaiman’s commencement address to the University of the Arts, and he explained that if you feel like you’re walking down the street naked you just might be starting to do art right, so!) But she liked it! And I think maybe really liked it and not just politely liked it. And she had all sorts of helpful suggestions, both for working with what I have and for adding more stuff to it. So I got homework. And I couldn’t be happier. XD

Dancing: at least an hour

Stretching: Like 10-15 minutes

Strength: Nah. BUT, got tips and tricks.

Diet: Stayed within my calorie goal, but ate atrociously. I still call that a win. ;)

Reassessing, recommitting

Today I sat down to think, but by the time I did my thinking it didn’t really seem…useful. I kept telling myself not to have revelations or write things down at work, but really I should’ve just done it. I guess work wins, I’m most productive before 5PM. ;)

I think it’s time to tackle the tough questions. Why do I want to be a dancer? What are my goals? How do I achieve them? How much time am I willing to dedicate to them?

I started writing down some things I specifically need to work on. Things like

  • layering
  • arms
  • strength and flexibility
  • spins and turns
  • chest articulation

I mean, really I could’ve just written down…everything. ;D It could all use work. But I think more and more what I need to focus on is the middle one. I can’t go anywhere without more strength and flexibility. And that’s going to take more than a little effort on my part, because I am in bad shape. Like, it’s a wonder my body still holds me up.

I have been doing pretty well with dieting, though, so there’s that. And my foot seems to be getting a bit better…slowly. But I need to step it up.

Today I practiced a choreo, once, extremely poorly. I also sat in straddle for an episode of a TV show. And I did a bit of general dicking around dancing while cooking and stuff. But this is not enough! Tomorrow, try harder!

Maybe attaching numbers will help. I should make up a chart or something, to give myself gold stars. ;) Actually, silver stars, fuck gold.

Dancing: 5 minutes serious, 10 minutes cumulative stupidity

Stretching: 20 minutes, not very actively

Strength: ZERO

Diet: Under calorie limit, woot. Too much snacking, though.