Saturday, July 28, 2012

what ATS stands for

Let me say this up front: I am a perfectionist. I've blogged about this and some of you are tired of me whining about this, but really, I'm cringing every damn time I see a video of myself performing ATS®. 

Well, actually, I cringe not only whenever I see videos, but also photos. I'm not talking about the flabby midsection (although that's a huge problem, pun intended). I'm talking about the A, T, and S in ATS®, which are:
  1. Attitude: no ego, know when and how to lead, know when and how to give up lead, know when and how to follow, no drama, no bullying, no seniority, no jumping on pedestal, no belittling. 
  2. Technique: no floppy arms, no floppy wrists, no hunched back, no sunken chest, no unclear cue, no unclear shimmy, no zoning out, no low energy level. 
  3. Smile: neutral smile for Slow, big, toothy smile for Fast. 
I'm lacking in all those. 

I'm working on my smile, though. Anyone who's ever met me knows that I don't have a perfect set of teeth and I always try my best to conceal my teeth (I've been doing that for more than twenty years, so my jaws have muscle memory of their own), and smiling during ATS® Fast is always a killer.

And about the negative list above (maybe some will think it's demotivational since the list has so many no-nos and I didn't try to word it out more carefully using positive phrases), well, the list is for myself and I'm not being too hard on myself (HAHA I just wrote "hard on"), I just don't want me to misrepresent ATS® that I know. 

I'm almost relieved that there's no photo of me doing ATS® at Taqsim Festival: Semarang.

Taqsim Festival: Bandung. Just Tribal Fusion workshop. 

July 2012 saw me and the velvetRAQS director, Ms. Mifta, traveling to two cities in Java. That was the first for me. Ms. Mifta already has lots of out of town workshop experience. We did Taqsim Festival in Semarang (Central Java) on July 9th and Bandung (West Java) on July 21st. The Taqsim Festival in Semarang had both workshops and hafla while we only did workshops in Bandung because it was held on the first day of Ramadan. Then I went to Bali for vacation on July 26th, and a friend was hosting a small hafla and I also danced there. On July 1st, I danced at TAQSIM: the celebration of Oriental and Tribal belly dance, a hafla hosted by the velvetRAQS and Dancewave Center. I had been working on a drum solo by Drumspyder and I was confident enough to present it. 

I was absolutely wrong. 

First try on July 1st: Floppy arms, floppy wrists, weak shimmies, I messed up the Sunanda. 
Second try on July 9th: Floppy arms, floppy wrists, weak shimmies, too-low arm positions when doing Split Arm 2 (right arm above, left arm table top). 
Third try on July 26th: No more floppy wrists, but still floppy arms (although much better than the first and second attempts), more powerful shimmies, higher arm positions when doing Split Arm 2, but my arms were too frantic when doing Arabic Shimmy with Arms and Arabic Shimmy with Arms and Turns. 

Dancing in Bali: NO SMILE.
Ya know, I'm just trying to get a decent video here so I can upload it to our website. I guess it has to wait. 

I heard Rachel Brice videotaped herself when rehearsing. I believe it. 

Fortunately, I don't have to be all negative. I discovered this photo and I thought, hey, there's still hope. 

At TAQSIM: the celebration of Oriental and Tribal belly dance.
I'm leading the dancers in the finale. I wish I'd smiled this big during my real ATS® solo. 
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