Archive | March, 2012

Belly Dance Super Stars: Club Bellydance in Albany!

30 Mar

Club Belly Dance in Albany, with the Belly Dance Super Stars!

(Habibia & some of The Belly Dance Super Stars)

This past Saturday Habibia hosted the Belly Dance Super Stars for their “Club Belly Dance” performance. It featured Sabah, Moria, Stefanya, Sabrina, Lauren… and surprise guest Petite Jamilla as well as a slew of local troupes. I was a bit sad that they didn’t have time for another dancer (myself-hahahaha) to join in, but I won’t lie- it was a VERY full first half show. I think the local dancers took about 1.5 hours, while the “pros” only had a 45min spot. Besides, many of the troupes had excellent dancers I would have missed out on! It was nice to have a “look” at all of the Albany/Saratoga local dancers, and take a peek at who would be best to take workshops or lessons from (or what troupe to try to join, hehehe).

Interestingly enough, I found out there is a local Romani Dancer (well local as in her and her teacher are an hour north), and a very cool hip-hop-tribal-fusion group (Nataraja), as well as Tempeststarii Tribal that I’ve heard of before. I also met a lovely girl (Bug Eye Photography) who showed me some trick for photography- and a lovely crew of beginners. I told them about Rakkasah East 🙂 I left my information with Habibia, hopefully she will give me heads up of the next local hafla; Maybe then I can get my feet wet and show them my stuff 😉 (Good or bad, hahahahaha!)

I was surprise most of the cabaret dancers from BDSS were doing more Baladi Style dance for their solos, but I was happy Lauren danced to Fakerni (Hafia Wehebe, makes my heart jump… This song was the first Lebanese piece I ever danced to <3)! They also danced to Adir Adirim in a playful style of Cabaret Vs Tribal Fusion “battle”, of course with Romani moves (yum!).

The most interesting piece, to me, was “A On A Igra” which I personally thought had a modern Egyptian and Spanish flare to it. Why was it so interesting? I like those styles MUCH less than say Turkish Oryantal, Folkloric Egyptian, American Cabaret, or Tribal Fusion! I loved every minuet of it.

Watching these inspiring, crisp, and clean performances makes me what to advance my dance to the next level! I got a fire lit under my bum, and I will practice practice practice so I can make my dance look that good!

Poor Sabah suffered from a mild allergy attack, but luckily my keychain Zyrtec container was able to help her out. I took one too, that room was full or perfume! I never understood why women dump the stuff on them, I don’t think anyone can smell you dance from the stage! haha! ^_~ Belly Dancers Bonding over Meds? Haha, I’m just pleased she’s down to earth enough to ask me my name and to thank me formally for the meds!

Habibia (Top Left),  Sabah and I (Above)

Thanks for reading!

Cheers,

Ayla

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Firefly Bellydance: Kaylee Costume sans Belt

22 Mar

As I mentioned in the last post Katie Montella, a fellow dancer and friend, took some AMAZING PHOTOS this past weekend! Sadly, my Lappy was not happy this past weekend and I wasn’t able to get many of the photos. 😦 Through, Katie then promised I could get them at a latter date- and she’d color balance them for me! (what ever that means! Huzzah/ I should really learn more about photography since it’s such a cool hobby!) Hopefully I’ll be able to commission Darling Stewie to make a banner and some cute backgrounds for me ^_^ Yea! Her work & style is so SHINY! and cute, and she’s super nice in person 😀

My Kaylee Coverall Costume against a regular Grey wall (Note how I distinguish “coveralls” in this one, since I have her “cake” dress too! hahahahahahaha!)

(unfinished) Kaylee Belly Dance Costume, taken by Katie Montella in awesome lighting and background!


I bought THE teddy bear patch, some hearts and flower patches, some Chinese Characters patches (that match her “Kanji”/Chinese Characters), the Firefly/serenity logo patch, and some shiny sequin Strawberries. I’m debating on putting the patches directly on the pants, or if I should make a belt: like a tool/utility belt, with patches, and add some Yarn Tassels or Fringe. I don’t know, but it’s not SHINY! enough (yet)! Any suggestions?

Oh on another note, one of the dancers at the photo shoot said “Oooo… I could see you as a river”. This was at the time I had my long hair flipped every where… BWAHAHAHA! Reference of me in any likeness to Summer Glau? I’ll still take it! 😀

Thanks for reading!

Cheers,

Ayla

Weak Weekend? Broken Lappy, Saidi Cane, & Photos

22 Mar

Oh noes! So this past weekend my Lappy’s Power Jack broke on me, and sadly I could not post 😦 But today, through the wonders of Amazon, I received a new USB/WIFI/PowerJack/”Daughter Board”! Huzzah! I’ve never ripped apart a laptop (just standard towers), but luckily youtube and google has wonderful photo instructions. It was so SUPER EASY, I’m surprised the manufacture wanted to charge me 358$ vs the 1hour & 57$ I spent! I know they have to run a business, but sheesh!

—————– SUBJECT CHANGE —————–

So what happened this past weekend?  Antipode had their main practice before The Penn State Belly Dance Club’s Hafla (sponsored byPennState’s Late Night). Even though it’s a month away, we want to make sure everything works out! We will perform the same pieces (and more) at Rakkasah Spring Caravan, 2 weeks later. Hint for the pieces: I recently bought a Levi Stick/ Flow wand from Flowtoys. Check out this cool vid:

I hope to be able to dance with it as a Saidi Cane Dance (Raks Assaya), but let’s see how much practice I can get in before the performance… and how well it can be seen from stage.

So what is Saidi? Well it’s pronounced Sah-EE-dee, and can be spelled  Sa’idi, Saiidi, Sayyidi, and Saeedi.

The Saidi dance is a folkloric dance from the Sa’id/Said region, or Southren Egypt. (aka Upper Egypt, since it’s further up on the Nile). I really enjoy this dance since it’s bouncy, sassy, energetic, playful, earthy… and interestingly enough, it can be performed by both men and women! The men tend to have more of a martial arts feel, while the women is more light & flirty (almost making fun of the men) & their canes have a crook. For females, Saidi dancing with a cane is called: Raks Assaya, Raks Al Assaya, or Rakset Assaya. (Raks = Dance, Assaya= cane/stick)

Here is Karim Nagi performing Tahtib (Male Saidi Dance)- the 2 min mark is where it feels more martial arts like. At 3 mins he uses 2!

Here is Aziza Performing Saidi (Female, but w/o cane). She’s amazing!

I wanted to take this idea to “ Belly Dance Nationals Competition”, but the website made it sound like there will NOT be the standard competition this year. 😦 Nationals and Belly Dancer of the Universe are the only two competitions I know of that have a prop-centric category- “Proptastic”. In 2009 Valentina won for hooping- that video IS CRAZY! Oh well, I will still make it rock out on video, at Rak, or maybe a competition at a later time. ^_^ I bet there are more out there >_>

Coincidently enough I taught (via youtube) another Saidi Cane Piece to Hakim’s popular song Haboussou. If you don’t know Hakim… he’s an EXTREMELY popular folkloric Egyptian male singer. You know how Justin Timberlake had every song released as a #1 hit? Well  that’s Hakim’s status but even more (I think he has 11 albums, or more!). He’s more of a “man of the people” type singer- lot’s of love songs. It’s also who you will probably hear blasted from every speaker on every corner in Cairo. 😀 No qualms there.

Here are some of my gals and I dancing to Haboussou at their Hafla in 2010. My sis made all those Dresses!

Anyways, I got to clean Haboussou this past weekend, but sadly didn’t get to clean a beginner song I choreographed: “Zombie Nation”- a “Zombelly”-stylized dance (No I am not witty enough to come up with “Zombelly” myself). Nor did I get my cues for Adele’s “Set fire to the Rain” (I was asked to perform Double Veil). ^_^;;

Whoops.

What did we do instead? PHOTOS of course!

I don’t have a huge amount of professional photos of myself- let alone Antipode. Katie (Katie Montella), a fellow dancer and friend, took some photos preparing for the Penn State Hafla. She lent her services for some awesome group shots of Antipode. I had a hard time trying to get them, so I will wait patiently (or crying) till the next time I see her. I did however get 2 shots of myself in my Kaylee Cosplay, and my (not finished) Kaylee Belly Dance Cosplay. More on that in the next post!

Photo Taken By Katie Montella (at InterventionCon Sept 2011)

Yes this weekend was “weak” and full or “1st world problems”- haha! I had fun!

Thanks for your reading & your time!

Cheers,

Ayla

Kanzashi & Dice Jewelry

13 Mar

Disclaimer: Taken from iPhone…

According to Wiki: “Kanzashi (簪) are hair ornaments used in traditional Japanese hairstyles. Some believe they may also have been used for defence in an emergency.

In the English-speaking world, the term “kanzashi” is sometimes applied to the folded cloth flowers that traditionally adorned tsumami kanzashi, or to the technique used to make those flowers.”

I actually found out about them at Otakon a few years ago in their artist ally (by another Penn State Alumni)- ever since I always wanted to make a 3-D cherry blossom belly dance costume.

With a deep bright pink (more like a fuchsia) base color, paring a brown chiffon underskirt would pop. I’d have a matching brown “Branch” running across one of the cups, along my stomach, and to my hips to create the belt; I think it could be made (without looking campy). They would have to be small, but white and lighter pink Kanzashi could be placed all along the costume (with crystals & gems as the center pieces!). Bhuz.com had an interesting discussion about Silk Flowers on Belly dance costumes- but I like Kanzashi more!

I thought about having the famous Turkish Costume Maker, Bella, make me one, but that would run- oh about 1000-1500 USD. O_O

This past weekend Ty-Ty & I decided to try an experiment, with using Cut-Out-And-Keep Tutorial

Her’s looks super nice… I accidentally made some of mine backwards… eh. So I will have to make more before I post my creations. >_< Patience is what I need to learn.  ^_^;;

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Also on a cool note, Sam has decided to try experimenting with Chain Mail and die/dice Jewelry Tyler & I wanted him to be crafty with us. Unless it involved some power tools, Sam wasn’t really biting. I mentioned I had a bunch of Dice (at home) and that I wanted to make a huge necklace to go with it- I bought the Costume inCairo2 years ago, with it already having D8’s on it. I needed to add in D20’s, D4’s, etc to make it complete! He had some extra dice lying around, and after a trip to Michaels, Home Depot, and the Pizza Parlor he came up with the earrings in a few mins.

When I got home from Connecticut he sent me a photo of his 1st necklace.


This is Sam’s first necklace that he made… AND DIDN’T COPY ANY ONE! O_O Just looked at standard Victorian Jewelry, but didn’t copy a single piece. Why can’t I make something that shiny!? I showed him a few techniques I picked up from Father Dunn’s when I did some website/Jewelry repair work for him- BUT HE TOOK THEM AND SPRINTED WITH IT!

I think he should open a store on ETSY- or become my personal smith. 😀 I’m sure all the LARP girls will want this.

Thanks for Reading.

Cheers,

AYLA

Final Fantasy Distant Worlds in Boston!

13 Mar

So this past weekend was full of fun adventure! Kanzashi, Final Fantasy, Die Jewlery- Oh my!

It started last week when my friend Tyler posted on “the facebook” about missing out on concert in Boston. Low and behold, “Final Fantasy Distant Worlds” was coming for the first time to Boston! I logged on to the website and found out they were advertising “obstructed view” seats only. (wahhhhh waaaaaaah). That means we would miss seeing the orchestra/ choir, AND the big screen! (They show artwork, cut scenes, and recorded play to match the timing of the music- brilliant!) I knew that sometime the week before a show, Donation Members or handicap access seats will open up. Luckily some did; Orchestra Seats too!

It was SUPER nice in theBostonSymphony Hall- they had an actual Pipe Organ! This meant of course they HAD to play “Dancing Mad” from FF VI (4 on the SNES). I saw the show inBaltimoreduring Otakon/ Artie’s Week long Turkish intensive- but the song selection was way different.

They even had a “sing-a-long” to “One Winged Angel“.

I let Sam-Sam and Ty-Ty sit in front of me, together, since I got to see the show once inBaltimore. Interestingly enough I sat beside a gentleman who’s wife was in the “Forca”, the choir accompanying “The Video Game Orchestra”. He gave me some tidbits of info behind the group (such as they record music for video games often!), but I won’t spill any more beans.

Now I want to re-play some Final Fantasy games- even though I haven’t played XIII (and XIII-2) ! GASP! I was told they both are decent games, and super pretty.

A show idea for Antipode, that we’ve thought about it Final Fantasy characters. More of a Mog, Chocobo, Tonberry King, or Cactuar type show instead of a specific character or class (thinking about it still). Sam suggested one of us do Chocolina from FF XIII.

Photo of: Moogle, Tonberry, Moogle, Cactuar, and 3 chocobos.

Chocolina from Final Fantasy XIII

He’s serious in starting to do costume masquerades/contests, which would lead into commissions. I think I need to do more sit-ups- not to lose weight- but to make sure my core is strong enough to hold that costume up! haha!

Thanks for reading!

Cheers,

Ayla

Firefly BellyDance: Music Choice

4 Mar

Like this artwork? It was done by Megan Lara 

If you want to buy the set, you can here 

The music from the show “Firefly” is rich with layers, in multiple ways…

For one the roots! There are Celtic, Country, East Asian, & Indian undertones in the music. Not to mention the music sounds fully orchestrated.

Secondly “mash-up”; Interestingly enough most songs around close to 2-2 ½ mins long, yet they change tone completely sometimes 2 or three times! It’s incredible! Little bite sized rifts.

Thirdly the music it’s self can be tensive, yet it still flows. Sometimes it portrays a Bitter sweet catch-22. Sometimes songs spark a feeling, I can only describe as the “Beauty of Sadness”- not “Beauty from Sadness” per say. It speaks of finding happiness in those harsh times- such as when a love one dies and you are looking through old memory books or chatting with old friends. You bring up & remember all the good times, but you know it’s impossible to re-live them. That moment when you hold back those tears and you feel your stomach drop- that’s how the music feels- When you look at it, it really is beautiful that you would love and care for someone/something so much, it brings you such pain…

And to think, I haven’t really gone into the music from “Serenity” (the movie)!

Now how am I going to convey that message? Well… that’s another story. Interestingly enough, “River” is in the title of most of the music. I feel like I should re-watch the show to see how much music is played when River is on screen vs. all the other characters.

Then again, I do see a sadness (and crazy) held within all the women from firefly; Joss always seems to write VERY strong, independent, multi layered women in his shows/movies. I could easily channel some sadness and doubt from Kaylee with… well any scene where she tries to impress the doc (won’t spoil it for you!). I ALWAYS try to make sure I get into character, when I dance… whether it is one already established (Mario, Link, Lucca/Marle/Ayla, Sonic, Tifa, Red XIII, Prinny, Chi, Snape, Akasha, DOMO!, etc) or in general (Sassy or Melancholy Belly Dancer). Ok, I was joking about that Domo one- sort of. I envision he’s usually happy!

Oh, and interestingly enough “Jade” just commented on my last post on having some music ideas for me! Huzzah! I’m always excited for Arabic/ East Asian fused music (as I have very little). ^_^

I wonder if I pitch my idea to Dragon*con I could dance it at their yearly shindig! I love video, but a live performance would be cool… Hum, I wonder how many belly dancers go to dragon*con… I’m sure plenty! :: plotting ::

Thanks for your time!
Cheers,
Ayla