Monthly Archives: April 2012

Make-it/Break-it Part 2

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I was lucky enough to have some of the pros in the NE Ohio area reply with their own advice! So lucky in fact I thought this needed a Part 2!!

Erika Elliot added- ” Let’s not forget to also have respect for your fellow performers WHILE they are on stage. Don’t talk loudly across the table, or yuck it up with your tablemates/buddies while somebody is performing. That’s just RUDE. Be courteous – watch, enjoy, and support your fellow sistas! and encouraging them with a couple of acknowledging yips, zaghareets, or applause is always an especially nice and courteous gesture! As a performer, I know it can really change my mood (and even my dancing!) to be able to hear a little encouragement while performing. Leleleleleleleleleleeee~~~~~”

I couldn’t agree more!! There’s nothing more stressful to a dancer then to be on stage and look out and see people whispering to each other. You hope they’re saying good things, but where does your mind go? Right to the negative. If you must comment to your friends, please do so quietly and discreetly.

We like to hear cheers, so cheer your fellow dancers on…but also…please remember…

If you can’t hear the audience, it doesn’t mean they don’t like you. Qaina is a good example of this. The way the sound system was set up this year, it bubbled the stage in music, and it was hard to hear anything from the audience. I experienced this myself, and so did Jezebel Shuvani. She asked if anyone liked the opening act, and I replied “Are you kidding? The audience was going nuts!!” She said she couldn’t hear anything on stage!

I’m going to quote a dancer who came off stage as we were waiting our turn backstage. “Well that sucked. It was like dancing for a room of corpses.” Bad attitude. I was very taken aback by this comment, considering we were clapping and yipping as she came off stage with her troupe. So just remember, just because you can’t hear it, doesn’t mean it’s not happening, so don’t take offense, sometimes the sound system was set up that way.

Not to mention, the quickest way to loose support is to have a bad attitude. I almost felt like she was expecting praise, and was angry when she didn’t get it. Never expect praise, just take it when it’s given to you and be humble and grateful.

Maria Parasson- “Anymore, with internet, photography, video, etc., you can’t be anything but true as a dancer to yourself, colleagues and audience. Everything is revealed like it or not! I wouldn’t change to please anybody, but would practice good old fashioned good manners and common business sense. ”

I think what Maria is saying is that when filming you should be respectful to the dancers and everyone around you, also you’d better be prepared when you walk on that stage, because like it or not, it’s going to be captured!

I’d like to add, you should always ask permission before posting any video of a performer.

Kimberly Yamina Winrotte had the best addition…

” Leave your body image issues at the door and don’t project them on/at other dancers. I can’t t count how many times I’ve heard a larger dancer, of which I’m one, grumbling about skinnier ones as well as lithe dancers harping on a larger dancer and saying, basically, they had no business dancing, no matter their skill, because of their size. ”

A FRICKEN MEN!!

I’ve always had body issues, always. It wasn’t until recently I was able to pinpoint the exact time in my life and even the exact phrase that triggered my weight.

Never put someone down because of their size, big or small. It paints you in a terrible light to the others around you. We’re here to support each other, not rip each other apart.

So about the aloof-ness thing… There’s a big difference between being shy and snubbing people, and those around you know the difference! TRUST ME! The people who are snotty/bratty will walk out of an event with out so much as a word or glance to others, while a shy person will stay, applaud, and enjoy themselves.

If you’re shy, Maggie Condon Fowler brought up a great point. It’s much easier to talk to someone after you’ve seen then perform! You instantly have a conversation starter, and every dancer loves to be praised. “What was the artist you picked? That song was so beautiful!” “Where did you find those pants/top/belt/prop?” “Who did you study with? Your arms are so graceful!” The list goes on and on and on. Simple little praises and questions will get you exposure to your fellow dancers.

 

Whew! I’d like to just thank everyone who’s read part 1 and didn’t jump to the conclusion that I was talking to them directly!

Like to admit to it or not, we’ve all done one or more of these things along the road, the point is the people who stick around are the ones who learn from their mistakes and grow.

How to Make-it (Or Break-it) in the World of Bellydance

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DISCLAIMER:

The following thoughts are my own and in no way reflect anyone else’s thoughts, opinions, or statements.

 

This is of course in the world of Belly Dance, but I think the rules can apply to any sort of club, group, sport, team, or just general life.

Qaina having passed, we sat down to talk about how things went. And like every year, there’s always some things that could be changed and dealt with differently. It’s how the event grows every year. The one thing that fails to change is how some people treat us and the demands some people (hahaha this is what we call “vague-booking”) treat Jez and the other staff members.

And this got me thinking.

If you want to make it in the world of belly dance, maybe you should stop acting like such a diva? (Not aimed at any one person in pa…ok it is. Not going to lie. I’m also not going to say who it is that inspired me to write this blog post. I will however say, if you’re reading this, odds are it’s NOT you.)

So here are a few rules I’ve come up with…just general guide lines and things that have come up again and again in conversations over the years.

Followers, feel free to chime in with your own advice.

1. It Doesn’t Matter How Good You Are if You’re a Colossal Bitch.

BE HUMBLE!! Some of the most amazing dancers I’ve had the pleasure to take workshops and classes with are also the most humble and sweet women (and men) I’ve ever met! Lets use Zoe Jakes as an example, hmm? She’s such a darling woman, and so fun! It’s the reason people want to work with her!

If Zoe Jakes was a huge bitch, no one would want to take her work shops. No one wants to be put down or made to feel bad about themselves. Also, no one would want her at their shows.

Divas are a huge pain in the ass to deal with, they make unreasonable demands and demand special treatment that event coordinators¬† roll their eyes and at groan about. It’s not like people running events don’t have ten thousand other things to do…that brings me to my next rule…

2. Don’t Ask For/Expect Special Treatment

If you’re just starting out, guess what? No one knows who you are, and no one cares. The quickest way to get put on the back burner and ignored is to demand special treatment from someone running the show…

Now, the exception to this rule is if there’s a handicap involved. In which case you have the right to ask questions and ask if a special arrangement could be made to accommodate. If you’re nice about it, odds are you’ll get your way. (Like a special pumping/feeding station set up for breast-feeding mothers.)

Lied, another exception is with food allergies, but don’t go asking to have the menu changed just because -you- can’t eat it. Asking about ingredients to save your life is fine, demanding a menu to feed the masses be changed is another. (A common problem at many SCA events, or so I hear.)

3. Send Your Music/Show Info On Time

The people running things have enough problems to deal with, they don’t need to wait on your music or show info. Also, they most likely have a waiting list a mile long for the show of people just begging to get in. If you want to secure your spot, send in what is asked of you in a prompt and timely manner.

If you get bumped because YOU neglected to do what was required, don’t go begging to be put on the show list again, and don’t be surprised if you’re not invited back or your request is declined next year.

4- Arrive on Time and Expect to Stay for the ENTIRE Show

I’m guilty of this offense when I was just starting out when I danced at my first Pennsic Expo then promptly ditched it and went back to camp. I decided to listen to ex-troupe mates rather then my own judgement.

It shows a vast amount of disrespect for your fellow dancers when you arrive at the show, dance in your spot, then change and leave with out so much as a word of thanks or praise to anyone else.

Guess what? Everyone else worked just as hard as you did…maybe even harder! They deserve your respect! Stay and watch them. Support your shimmy sisters.

The ONE exception is a professional dancer who took time out of their schedule to arrive at your event and perform for CHARITY to leave quickly and run to a paying gig because they squeezed YOU in as a favor to you and the event.

If you can’t show this sort of respect, humbly bow out ASAP and apologize to the show-staff. If you paid to be in the show, be respectful of the rules the staff has issued for refunds. No refunds means no refunds. You agreed to this when you registered to be in the show, respect it.

If you have to leave in the middle of an event because of a family emergency/illness we understand that, apologize later, you won’t anger anyone.

5- Be Active in the Dance Community

Yes, you should be in as many shows as possible, but you should also attend as many shows as possible. Let people know you’re there to support them. Be active on forums, get involved with charity events, volunteer time/merchandise.

Talk and build relationships with your fellow dancers. We’re some of the most supportive and amazing people you’ll ever have the pleasure of knowing.

I’ve never felt more supported of blessed in my own personal time of need, all thanks to the love of the friends I made through dance. Be there for them, they’ll be there for you.

If you stay aloof, not only will people think you’re a snotty brat, but you’ll be robbing yourself of lasting friendships.

6- Be YOURSELF.

Be yourself both on stage and off. Studying with the greats is fine…but don’t be their clone. Nothing turns an audience of dancers off more then seeing a dancer and being able to point out exactly who they studied with and even noting the fact they look like a poor clone of said instructor.

People want to see you. They want to see and get to know your personality and your own style. Don’t. Rip. Your. Mentors. Off.

I’ve been told I sound a lot like my mentor when I teach…OF COURSE I sound like Jezebel Shuvani in the dance studio. It’s natural for people to teach the way they were taught…but I have never, not once ever been told “Your dance style is just like Jez’s!” Yes, some of Jez’s combos and moves come second nature in my dance, but I make them my own.

I’d like to quote Chandara Gamal of Bellydance Columbus. “Someone told me at Qaina last night, then when they watched my girls perform, they saw ME in them. That was spectacular enough on its own, but then I remember someone telling me years ago that when they saw me dance, they saw Soraya Al Musri in me. ”

I like this quote a lot. It’s 100% acceptable and flattering for a mentor to be seen in their students, it’s completely another for their students to be little clones. Chandara, you and your gals are doing it right!

7- Be Catty In Privet

We all do it, and we’ve all been there…Taken a workshop or gone to a show that just didn’t measure up.

Don’t air your dislike on Facebook or Twitter.

Yes, you’re entitled to your own opinion about what happened, but it shows a great amount of disrespect to the teachers and staff who worked hard to try and show you a good time.

It also reflects negatively on you, and makes you look like a whiny brat.

If you were that disappointed/disgusted/angry, talk to your troupe mates about it, and explain why it was you didn’t care for it. Saying “It just sucked.” isn’t an acceptable answer. Be sure to be able to support your opinions.

As a whole, we do want to know whether something/someone is worth checking out, and trust me, whatever you say good or bad about an event will get out and get around just fine with out you having to publicly bash it.

There’s a bonus to doing it this way…If you’re the one being a bitch, your troupe mates won’t spread the word and make you look like an idiot. They’ll save you from self humiliation. Sometimes our own bad days keep us from really enjoying what was otherwise a great time.

8- Be Helpful

If someone’s looking for an extra hand to run an event, do it.

If someone needs help pinning a belt in place, do it.

If someone’s struggling with a costume bag and a door, help them.

If someone needs help with eyeliner, HELP THEM!!

I think that’s about everything I had to say…

What do YOU think? Let me know what you think it takes to make it in this wild, sparkly, jingly, world of belly dance!!

Review: Nabi Magnetc Nail Poilish

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So Friday night after getting some Thai food, I stopped into Walgreen’s to break a 20 for my change till for Qaina. I figured, I’d buy something small like a 2 dollar nail polish and that’d be that…well…course not!

Walking in, I found a rather large display of a new magnetic polish by a company called Nabi.

What attracted me was the fact that a lot of the colors were vibrant and didn’t have that chunky glitter in it that I’m not a fan of…yay! I fell for the blue/teal and green, but since I have been burned by magnetic polishes in the past, I just picked up the blue/teal (47-300, no names unfortunately.)

Nabi Magnetic Polish- 47-300

Nabi Magnetic Polish- 47-300

Alright, so I first played with this while skyping with a friend, and in retrospect, that may not have been the most fantastic idea ever…still..

My first impression was this polish smelled BAD. And I don’t mean like a normal polish smell…no this smells like really cheap rubbery kid’s polish. The really low quality stuff. The scent is VERY strong, and doesn’t go away when dried. It does become a lot less noticeable when you put on a top coat.

I played around with the magnet and polish…

I don’t care for the magnet at all. it’s pretty weak and didn’t really do anything. Also, the bottle design is lacking. The magnet is built into the cap, which means you have to close the bottle after every application. You can try using it with the cap only and the brush out, but it’ hard to handle and you run the risk of the polish drying/caking on the brush. (Fast drying in thin coats) Also, the magnet is just flat with no “lip” to line up on your cuticle. This seems like a small problem, but that little lip REALLY helps to keep the magnet from touching your wet nail.

chipping

chipping

This polish chips like mad. I didn’t put a top coat on before going to bed, and when I got up it had already started chipping. I got up and used the bathroom once and washed my hands once before returning to bed. That’s all.

I also wasn’t impressed at first with the magnetic properties…but I decided to try again in the morning.

Fast forward 8 hours…

Nabi vs.Clare's Magnetix

Nabi vs.Clare's Magnetix

I decided to go ahead and use the China Glaze Magnet as it was much easier to use then the magnet provided. You can see the huge difference between Nabi (blue/teal) and Claire’s Magnetix (Green).

I did manage to get the Nabi’s magnetic effect to show much better with the China Glaze magnet, but still…seems like a mute point for most of the world that doesn’t have 10 million polishes and magnets sitting around, right? It still seems lacking compared to Claire’s, see the star design on my thumb compared to the star on the green?

I’m still complaining…I’ll get to something good sooner or later…

So besides all that, this takes FOREVER to dry. One thin coat dries quick, but the magnets have no effect on it. Like all it’s magnetic polish cousins, you need to glop this on to get it to work…and it takes ages to dry.

This stains SOOOOO bad. Use a base coat and any smudges left on your skin from removing srub off with polish remover quickly, otherwise you’ll end up with stained skin.

This dries to a patent-leather type finish, which I kinda do like. I don’t like the fact it feels like you’ll take a chunk out of the polish if it catches on something.

I DO really REALLY like to color. It looks more blue in the bottle, but dries to a lovely rich deep teal which I would wear w/o fussing with the magnets.

When a top-coat goes on, it just shines so lovely.

The price is really good at 3.99 per bottle.

So there you go. If you want to invest some time, this is an okay product. Okay, but not fantastic.

 

Victorian Glitter…And Yea…

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The Yea Part:

Sorry I haven’t been very active lately. The people who follow me on Facebook know the story, so I’m not going to explain things in this blog, it’s not what it’s for. Let me just say that I suffered a major tragedy in my life (Not a understatement…) and I’ve been trying to push forward, and that being said, the blog got put on the back burner while I crammed to get hair accessories and jewelry done in time for Qaina (which was yesterday!). I’m hoping to have more time to post now…So woo-hoo! That being said…

Qaina Nail Art

Qaina Nail Art

Here is my nail art from the Belly Dance event Qaina. I’ve named it Victorian Glitter because of the soft pink. My costume turned out rather steam-punk, which wasn’t completely my intention. The soft pink, grey, and cream just sort of screamed Victorian Era.

Polishes Used:

China Glaze: Dress Me Up (Hunger Games Collection)

Cosmetic Grade Glitter

Sally Hansen’s Mega Shine Top Coat