18 Oct 2013 Leave a comment
27 Aug 2013 1 Comment
Utopian Dream is BACK!
…….and Jade Belly Dance is happy to be involved again. Actually even if I hadn’t been invited to teach and perform I would go along (although I am totally thrilled that I am invited to!). In fact the first year I knew about it, that is exactly what I did. I went to the back of each open level class and did the best I could to keep up with Jazz, Argentinean tango, Samba, Contemporary and whatever was going on because the classes were being run by some of the best choreographers and dancers in the world and it was just too good an opportunity to miss. Since then Travers has also introduced some beginners level classes that are open to anyone that always wanted to dance but just hasn’t given it a go til now. There is also the professional level classes and nights loaded with incredible dance performances in many and varied genres.
Ok so may be I am a tiny bit biased about it being the best dance festival in the world. But it is a fantastic dance festival and definitely one of the most friendly and inclusive dance events I have been too.
The festival is run by Travers Ross, his family and friends. Travers is a Coffs boy that has made good on the dance scene. Among many other achievements he was a former choreographer for the Australian version of So you think you can dance? . What I appreciate most about him though is the incredibly supportive and friendly environment he creates and that he chooses to create it back in his home town giving those in regional Australia a unique opportunity. Yep this is one of the few dance festivals that includes things like Belly dance, Bollywood, Pole and Swing along side the usual suspects of Hip Hop, Contemporary, Tap and Ballet.
I aim to write more about this festival in the coming weeks but suffice to say that now is the time to book your holiday to Coffs Harbour, New South Wales, Australia because this is a not to be missed event.
27 Dec 2012 7 Comments
There are so many new types of Belly Dance inspired dance springing up everywhere! Whether it is a new ‘format’ or fusion style, there seems to be a new one I hear of each week. It’s a credit to our dance style that we inspire and support so much creativity but it can be a little overwhelming.
While I was in Bali a few months ago I took a “Shakti dance” class (if you are thinking of taking classes while on holiday be sure to read my post on how to make it easy!). I meant to post about this experience months ago. Arggh! How time flies.
I must confess that I am dubious about the value of many of the new formats and fusions. Some of them really don’t look all that different to what you would see in any standard class. While I can see how some dancers are trying to set a certain standard of teaching capability and/or skill for those working with them, for others it seems that it is merely a marketing tool.
I mention this because I went in to the Shakti dance class in Ubud, Bali with low expectations, it could have also been that I my stomach had been a bit unhappy that day too, I wasn’t sure I really felt like dancing at all. I hadn’t visited the website, I hadn’t heard of Mishaal, all I had to go on was the flyer on the Belly Dance Bali facebook page.
Shakti dance is apparently ‘the yoga of dance’
“Your body is your temple, relax your mind, awake body and soul. Through the natural healing art of bellydance, we cultivate shakti flow, and inner awareness, celebrating the divine feminine within. Open to everyone, no experience necessary, all levels welcome.”
The venue was Radiantly Alive yoga studio in Ubud. It was a gorgeous, large, clean and very peaceful room with nice views over Ubud and lighting down low. Mishaal Miyamoto (also stunningly beautiful) was very welcoming and prepared herself for class in contemplation in front of a small shrine. I didn’t mention that I was a belly dance teacher, I didn’t want to feel the pressure to perform, I just wanted to be in the moment.
Class started with some moving meditation type exercises and then moved onto Mishaal introducing one belly dance movement at a time and allowing the dancers to explore that move within a piece of music and guiding with variations. I have struggled to put my finger on what the key element was to her class or why it felt so different to me. It was beginner- intermediates level (the other dancers were new to belly dance so this makes total sense) and the moves were pretty much straight belly dance with very little fusion in my opinion. There was no choreography and the music was predominantly a fantastic selection of modern world fusion pieces.
It was the way the moves were presented and the energy of the teacher that was unique to me. Despite having entered the class with low energy and feeling a bit out of it, I danced with a joy and enthusiasm that was profound for me. I was on a high for hours later. As someone that has struggled with being shy particularly in new environments, I was quite astonished that I felt so comfortable almost immediately. The other participants seemed to flourish too. Shakti dance doesn’t seem to be exclusively for females either, there was a man in class and he was welcomed like the rest of the ladies.
I thoroughly enjoyed the class and recommend it to both tribal and oriental dancers visiting Bali, actually even if you don’t usually dance Middle Eastern style it would be a nice class to take. I would love to hear if you enjoyed it as much as I did.You can see a very professional clip of Mishaal dancing at her website. (just make sure your speakers are not up too loud because the website has LOUD background music.)
What is your favourite fusion style? (either music or dance) Please comment below.
Seasons Greetings, Merry Christmas and Happy Summer Solstice (or winter solstice if you are upside down on the other side of the planet 😉 )