Thursday, June 30, 2011

10,000 hits!

Hello and thank you my loyal readers and those who get to see my little blog for reasons that I shall list below.

You have made the number of viewers of this blog reach 10,000! That's umm... rather a slow and self-deprecating feat, considering I began writing THREE YEARS AGO! It's really fun to notice that the porn blogs I bookmark occasionally visit can get 10,000 hits in 3 weeks!

Here are some interesting search leading to this blog that are memorable enough to be featured in this entry.


Whatever Lola Wants movie (sometimes with "Ismahan")
Aaron eckhart nude (thank you, you gorgeous hunk, you)
Cross-dresser belly dance (I can't really find an entry where I wrote about this, though...)

There are those who visited the blog to see the pictures, who stay awhile (like 5 seconds), and who even like the blog so much that they follow it and even bookmark it.

Regardless whatever your intention of visiting, I sincerely thank you.

Now that the GuidetoArtSchool's best bellydance award has gone offline, I also need this to pat my back with.

I promise I'll blog more! I have so much to blog about!

Friday, June 17, 2011

fcbd presents: devotion 2011 - the home

School ended on June 3, while Devotion, the one-night-only annual recital of FCBD, would happen on June 17. Also, an apartment was yet to be found. What was a boy to do? Well, he simply had to extend his stay.

So, he extended the stay, found a home that was coincidentally less than 4 blocks away from Devotion 2011, which was coincidentally, titled The Home.

That is the story of my life. Isn't it just amazing that so many things can fall into place and the pieces of the puzzle just match themselves up?

As I am writing this, I just came home from Devotion. It was too short. It was that good that I felt it was too short. I mean, I could just see them dancing forever (of course, the dancers and the musicians aren't gods, although they do convey god-like qualities when they are performing, I mean... just how many languages can Ling Shien Bell sing in? She just sang them without reading the text! French, Indian, and whatever other languages I didn't understand. And by golly, Colleena Shakti really worked that gungru! Talk about full-body coordination. And she is sooo purdy...).

Below are my photos, an unofficial documentation from the event. I just had to take some pictures to remind me of the moment I witnessed. I could always buy the Devotion 2011 DVD, which I recommend you also do. This year's performance had it all: dramatic, cheeky fun, with the always hilarious Rakadu Gypsy (dressed as plumbers) did a Raqs el Assaya number with plumbing uncloggers (you know, the sticks with the red rubber pumps attached).

It was not easy for me to take pictures with my pocket digital camera, so I had to miss the people I really wanted to take pictures of. For what it's worth, however, here are the pictures that I felt good enough to be shown here.

Oh, and I apologize to Colleena Shakti for forgetting to turn off the flash when I took a photo *smacks head*.

Helm. Nuff said.

Devyani Dance Co. (directed by Megha Gavin), FCBD's Sister Studio in Birmingham, AL.

Ghawazi Caravan (directed by Devi Mamak), FCBD's sister studio in Australia.

Colleena Shakti, the other half of NakaRali.

Elizabeth Strong.

FatChanceBellyDance - as represented by Stefanie and Wendy, swathed in assiut goodness.

And finally, the creatrix herself: Carolena Nericcio.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

a very important notice: the tribal code

I received the ATS Tribal Code in an e-mail from Ms. Sandi Ball a while ago, but what with all the hoopla of moving to my new apartment (yay!) and packing to go home for a much-deserved two-month vacation (DOUBLE YAY!!), I wasn't able to squeeze in the time to write. I mean, you should've seen my room in the hostel. It was a total wreck when I started to pack. Well, it still is now, but it's more organized now. Somehow.

The Tribal Code is included in the BlueDiamondsBellyDance (BDBD - FCBD's student troupe) Guide Book. There are nine points in the Code that all FCBD dancers and students must adhere to, yet I feel they are also beneficial for other troupes in general.

I'm definitely going to print and put this on my wall so I can be reminded of The Code at all times. When I have my own studio, I'm going to make a big poster out of it too. I mean, I believe that it is the exact same code that resulted in the totally fascinating and intimate performance between Ms. Kristine Adams and Ms. Anita Lalwani during the Observe the Creative Process event at FCBD's studio on Saturday, 23 April, 2011. Just look at the photo. There's that moment of genuine warmth and tenderness shared between the two. And that, my Dear Reader, is the perfect example of great troupe camaraderie.


Commitment: Be there for your dance sisters. Whether it’s making sure your cues are strong or getting to a gig on time, we all need to depend on one another.

Communication: Ask questions and learn from the more experienced dancers and teachers. Also, don’t let things fester. Express yourself in a constructive, respectful way.

Awareness: Be aware of how your words or actions can affect others. What makes sense to you may be understood differently by someone else. Take considerations to think before you speak or act.

Teflon: Don’t take things personally! There are too many unique individuals in this group to avoid minor misunderstandings. Let things slide off your ego – don’t let things stick!

Humility: We all can benefit from going to Level 1 and Level 2 classes and working on technique. We can also benefit from allowing room for all our personalities to exist.

Trust: This dance form is founded on trust, on and off the dance floor. Earn people’s trust and give yours as well.

Respect: Treat your fellow dancers (and human beings) with compassionate respect and be mindful of others’ talents and limitations. Respect the dance form for what it is rather than how you would change it.

Support: Come to the shows of FatChanceBellyDance and of your fellow dancers. Not only does it support the dancers, it is a great way to learn about performance!

Joy: Dance for the love of it! Enjoy yourself and the company of others.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

killer drillz with zoe jakes

Anyone who has witnessed Zoe Jakes performing (live or otherwise), knows that this woman is the epitome of awesomeness. There are certain qualities that she embodies while dancing: confidence - without a doubt, control - absolutely, contagiousness - her power and grace just descend from the stage and grip the audience.

There are videos that show her dancing and putting a flair of comedy in her performance. Even when she's inciting laughter from the audience, that laughter is wrapped in awe. Her performance at Tribal Fest 11 that I had the honor to witness, on the other hand, was very dramatic. It was very, very grand. The dress, the headdress, the back-up dancers, the confetti, her spot-on facial expression... everything was just the right amount (nothing was over the top) to drop my lower jaw.

Zoe Jakes is perhaps one of the pioneers of fusing breakdancing with bellydance. She has perfected "ticking" (precise popping & locking) and she uses it in her performances, along with her crazy spins and turns. Meanwhile, I'm a sucker for drills. I don't really care much about choreography, which is why I thoroughly enjoyed Rachel Brice's DVDs, especially Serpentine (released by the fabulous WorldDanceNewYork who completely understands the art of videotaping and editing instructional videos and dance performances).

Unfortunately, Killer Drillz is not by WorldDanceNewYork but by Bellydance Superstars.

It's every dancer's pet peeve - and perhaps nightmare - when they bought an instructional DRILL DVD, hoping to get a clear picture of what's going on with the instructor's body so as to learn and emulate the skills, and yet the angle of the cameras and the edited video actually hinder the dancer from learning anything.

Yes. It's that bad.

There are four megasections in the DVD. The first one is the warm-up (two sections). The second one is the individual drills (with the crappy angle and editing) where Zoe briefly shows the drills with arms, shoulders, chest, and hips. The third one is the group drills, during which I don't quite know how to look. In the third one, Zoe is accompanied by several skilled dancers to mimic a classroom setting (doing drills with shimmy, chest, belly, and hip). The final megasection is the performance.

However, Zoe is facing the dancers (unlike in WorldDanceNewYork DVDs where the dancers are behind the instructor and all of them face the camera in clear-cut angle and no crazy fast editing). So, in a way, it is not really helping me. Then again, maybe it is just me and my absolutely dysfunctional sense of orientation (not sexually).

Even in the final solo performance, the editing is just crapola. Yes, yes, I totally want to see what Zoe's magnificent headdress looks like from close-up, but that doesn't mean I want to see it multiple times. I want to see what's going on with her whole body. There were instances when I gritted my teeth and took deep yoga breaths to calm myself down.

On the day I received my copy, I quickly looked at it and during my evening work out, I popped in the DVD and decided to do the Shimmy Group Drillz. My shimmy never looked so, so good. I still had trouble layering it with body undulation, but I really enjoyed the shimmy drill (it's 10 minutes and 34 seconds long, non stop).

In overall, I've only had two runs with the DVD, and for Zoe's effort, I'm giving Killer Drillz 3 out of 4, while for camera work, I'm giving it 1 out of 4.

Friday, June 10, 2011

zills on top of your head

Once, I heard a legend about Ms. Wendy Allen's method of teaching Torso Twist and Circle Step. She made the students put the four zills on top of their heads and just do the moves without dropping them. If the zills stayed on top of the heads, that means the head stayed level. That's the whole idea of doing Torso Twist and Circle Step: head stays level although parts of the body rotate and move.

Last night, we all did it. I managed to keep my zills on top of my head for a long time, but they fell in the end. What can I say, I just got a hair cut the day before (oh sure, blame the HAIR!!). The funny thing is, I was thinking of doing the Torso Twist and Circle Step two days ago because I realized I had to practice those moves. The Arm Undulation plus those two are my biggest problems. I'm still working on those.

We also did Chico 4 Corners. Ms. Allen put us in duets, and I paired with a gorgeous Amazonian named Tasha. She pulled up Chico 4 Corners face-passing with me and I was alert enough to catch it! Yay!

Apart from the Flock of Birds concept, there's also the Pizza Box or the Phone Booth (both are PB!) concept. A pizza box or a phone booth usually has a square base. Use this imaginary base on the floor your dance on, align it with your partner(s)'s imaginary PB and you won't go wrong while doing moves and steps that require angles, like said Torso Twist with Pivot, Circle Step, Arabic Half Turn, and Turkish Shimmy Half Turn.

It was a fun night, but that's not all! You see, Ms. Allen has a three-legged pooch called Abby (full name Abbynoodle as written on her tag... Or is it Abbey? I forgot). And the little dog is just the cutest thing! Abby is so, so friendly, so trusting, and so, so calm. She just sleeps in her little cot that Ms. Allen placed in the front corner of the studio. I told my boyfriend that I at first, I hadn't realized that Abby was a tripod: she just bounced around actively as if she had all of her legs. That taught me a great deal: to live life with a positive attitude and to remember that miracles exist and prayers are answered.

Imagine that. Me, being taught a life's lesson by a canine. What's next? A homophobic Tracy Morgan (be prepared, the comments are even more homophobic)?

Sunday, June 05, 2011

devotion 2011 & tips

I'm writing to remind you about a few things.

First: Devotion 2011 Show is on Friday, 17 June 2011. Have you bought your tickets? Don't forget that there are workshops by Colleena Shakti, Devi Mamak, and Elizabeth Strong starting on the Monday leading to the show.

Second: Posture. Ms. Suzanne Elliott reminded us to stay in performance angle all the time and not to flatten out and anchored by the mirror in front of us. Also, "leading from the elbow" means elbows are lifted while shoulders are down and back, at the same time opening the chest and engaging the back muscles. However, the elbows must stay in front of the chest. Never bring the arms to the back in order to get that lifted-elbow look. Imagine you're holding a big Swiss ball in front of you, and now lift the elbows so they face the ceiling.

The same arm position is held when the arms float above the head (elbows facing the back wall), and when the arms are down and wrists rest on the sides of the body (elbows facing the front wall).

Sensei Kae said that when being done correctly, it would really show off the triceps. Just like bodybuilders. And no, I'm not going to put a picture of big, burly, hunky, scantily clad hunks on this post. You can search for such images on your own.
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