Monday, September 26, 2011

How to enjoy being a student again...

Wow! This past year I have learned a lot about being a student. I have officially been a student of Flamenco for 1 year! Time sure does fly. I have been studying diligently with Maria Gitana and have loved every moment. Plus I learned a lot of things about being a student again.

My motto at Skin Deep Dance Studio in my ATS Belly Dance classes is

 "no negative inner dialogue allowed".

As a Flamenco student, I fail at this concept miserably. Until I became a student of Flamenco I didn't realize how hard it is to keep focused on moving through the dance rather than thinking "I suck", "I can't do this as good as her", "Why can't I get it right", "I'm not good enough", "I'm so stupid" and the list goes on.

I find that the concept of "no negative inner dialogue" is similiar to meditation. Allow the negativity of the mind to fall like dust and bring focus back to the body.

There are a couple of reasons why I started taking Flamenco classes. The primary reason was to learn the dance as it is so I could have a better understanding of how to integrate the steps into creating new ATS Belly Dance steps. After taking a few classes, I realized that this is not possible. Flamenco just can't be done with out shoes on. It takes on a whole different asthetic and actually already has a name called Zambra. I could see where ATS Belly Dance has derived it's posture, arm positioning, floreo's and dance box from Flamenco.

Also in those few classes I fell in love with the dance. I fealt as though I needed it to survive. It is one of the only things that takes me out of this reality. I cannot think about anything besides being in my body and being where my feet are at each moment.

After a while, my teacher invited me to prepare for the Entry Level & Primo Ano certification. Plus perpare for a performance. I was so happy that I had acomplished so much in under a year. What a compliment.

(Please keep in mind that these certifications do not grant teaching ability, only acknowledgement of completing the course. It takes a minimum 5 years+ to gain teaching credentials.)

Anyhow, I found that having these wonderful opportunities available to me also caused me to put pressure on myself. The classes became more serious for me. There was a pass / fail above my head with every step. My teacher did not put this over my head, I put it on myself.

I realized that my original intentions for coming were gone. So, I started to skip classes. I didn't want to have that bad feeling while I was in class. I want to enjoy myself again.

With already being the Artistic Director of two dance companies, Skin Deep Dance & The Bollywood Project, I have a lot on my plate.

So, today I have decided to step back from the performance and certification. I emailed my teacher about my needs and what I want for myself in the class. Today I skipped class fo the last time.

 Next week, I will return to the joy that I once had without any expectations.

As a dance instructor, I know that it's ok. There does not have to be a goal. Fun is the primary objective.

Maria Gitana teaches classes in Seattle and Bellevue. She is an amazing instructor and performer. Please visit her some time.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

She who bleeds but does not die.

If there is anything I love about Oprah is that she LOVES her cycle! I once heard her say that when her cycle comes, she has a celebration. I remember hearing that when I was in my 20's and thinking, YES! I will celebrate my cycle too. Every month I will celebrate my body. It is healthy and clearing away what is no longer needed.

“Women complain about premenstrual syndrome, but I think of it as the only time of the month that I can be myself.”
Roseanne Barr

Also in my early 20's I lived in a punk house on Beacon Hill in Seattle. We used to have bands from all over the world play shows in our basement. We had bands like Naked Aggression, D.I.R.T. and many others. Topics on women's health were included in their lyrics. Many of us were angry about women's issues and society's take on it. I was especially angry about menstruation.

I remember one day coming out of my room in a rage. My friends Melissa and Bryant lived in the room next to mine. I was complaining about how unfair it is that women are forced to buy man made products every month when we mentruate. I was really pissed off! I'm so glad I spoke that day, because Bryant suggested to me that I stop buying those products and use a wool sock instead.

Since that day I have saved myself thousands of dollars on feminine products. However, I did not stick with the wool sock method forever. In the mid-90's, I was later introduced to homemade cloth pads that snap in from my friend Amber Gayle who I lived with at the Apex Belltown Co-op. She made her own out of flannel and I found those to be much more comfortable.

Then finally GladRags emerged. They make the best alternative pad I have ever experienced. I have tried all the cute homemade ones that you can find on Etsy. But the GladRags are far superior.
“ honouring the demands of our bleeding, our blood gives us something in return. The crazed bitch from irritation hell recedes. In her place arises a side of ourselves with whom we may not-at first- be comfortable. She is a vulnerable, highly perceptive genius who can ponder a given issue and take her world by storm. When we're quiet and bleeding, we stumble upon solutions to dilemmas that've been bugging us all month. Inspiration hits and moments of epiphany rumba 'cross de tundra of our senses. In this mode of existence one does not feel antipathy towards a bodily ritual that so profoundly and reinforces our cuntpower. ”
Inga Muscio, Cunt: A Declaration of Independence