Archive for July, 2010

No more

I’ve been spending far too much lately – mostly on TradeMe.  It’s dangerous to browse that site.  I’ve never been a great user of TradeMe but lately I’ve been looking in too often.  I blame a woman at dance class who keeps appearing with some amazing piece of costume she got cheaply on TradeMe.  Every time I’d looked I only found brand new expensive stuff – never the cheap second-hand stuff that she finds.  Some people are like that – they can walk into a second-hand shop and come out with some amazing find and when I go in I find nothing and if I do it’s more expensive than I’m prepared to pay.

Well, as a result of my spending spree I now have a purple belly dancing costume.  I’d already made the purple skirt and veil which I used at the hafla.  Now I have a top and belt to go with it.  A trader I’d used before for buying a hip scarf had a closing down sale and I bought some earrings and a red skirt off her.  I’ll soon have a belly dancing costume in blue, black, purple and red.  I need a red top and perhaps a red veil.  I spotted a red veil on a website and enquired about payment but the vendor was slow in responding and I’d already spent enough elsewhere.  It’s probably cheaper to buy it than make one but I’ll wait – there’s no hurry.  The next major hafla is a year away after all.

Right – no more spending.  I’m not normally a shopper at all so all these purchases have made me feel extraordinarily guilty.  Online shopping is just too easy!


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I’m referring to a couple of things I did as a result of wanting something.

Well, since I’d been raving about Serena Ramzy for so long, I went onto the website to check out possible tours to New Zealand.  There were none on the horizon so I went ahead and left a message asking when they might return (Serena and Hossam).  To my delight and surprise, Hossam himself answered and suggested I get in touch with their NZ organiser.  I searched for contact details on the organiser and came up with nothing so replied to Hossam saying so.  He responded not only with the details but saying he’d written to the organiser who was a friend, forwarding my email and adding that they will look forward to returning to NZ!  Excellent!  I contacted the organiser and pointed out that there are a lot more belly dance groups and beginner dancers that would be very interested in a possible tour.  The organiser responded and agreed it was high time the Ramzys returned to New Zealand.  Brilliant!  So my favourite belly dancer and her excellent drummer husband will be touring NZ soon, I’ve no doubt. 🙂


I went to see a couple of chaps performing folk music at lunchtime, some of it celtic.  I’d seen the piper several times at the local pub, the Celtic Inn.  It was very good and I particularly liked the local content of the music and songs they’d written.  I’ve always loved celtic music, bagpipes included.  It stirs the blood and induces the foot to tap.  I’ll always remember the concert given by the Chieftains in Wellington a few years ago – it was sheer joy.

I’ve always particularly liked the bodhran – the Irish drum.  I’ve always loved the sound of drums but the bodhran has to be my favourite.  I had a secret desire to learn to play it but never knew how to go about doing that.  Last night, as it happened, my daughter talked about her wish to learn a musical instrument which was not mainstream.  She’s already very good at electric guitar but no longer wants to play mainstream music.  I think she’s been influenced by her boyfriend who recently bought a didjeridoo and is teaching himself to play.  My daughter, who has also been to the Womad festivals, has been listening to world music lately and expressed this desire to learn to play an instrument which she can play casually at a campfire, for example.  She said she wouldn’t mind learning to play the tabla or doumbek drum and I told her about my wish to play the bodhran.  There was a cheap doumbek on Trademe and on impulse I searched for a bodhran and lo-and-behold, there was one, complete with bag and beginner’s DVD.  I was tempted.

It wasn’t until after today’s lunchtime concert, that I thought again about the bodhran.  I searched online for how much they were new and decided to buy the one on Trademe.  Luckily it had a buy now price which was the same as the start price. 🙂 Having done the deed, I looked at a few videos on Youtube about learning to play it and can’t wait to receive it to start teaching myself.  Finally I’m doing something I’ve always wanted to do.  Fear and uncertainty kept me back but now I’ve done it – I’ve bought one.  I feel very excited.   I’m guessing that what also made me act on this desire was my enjoyment at playing the zills during belly dances at the hafla on Saturday.  One other person also played the zills and there were a couple of drummers.  I enjoyed the feeling of making music together.

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Well that weekend flew by!

I spent Saturday morning washing clothes, etc.  I can’t really remember what I did in the afternoon but before I knew it the time had crept to 5pm and I was due at the belly dancing event (the hafla) at 6pm.  Unlike last year’s event, I was all alone.  Daughter didn’t go because her friend had no money and daughter had no money either.  I could have paid for her but she wouldn’t have gone sans friend.  Everyone else was busy or got the date wrong (or forgot).  Never mind.  I sat with a couple of fellow dancers and their parents (and felt old).   The event went well – no delays this time round and it finished before 9.30pm.   I was home by 9.45pm.

The following day I went to a workshop given by a dancer of American Tribal style belly dancing pictured below at the hafla.

The picture’s a bit blurred, sorry.  American Tribal style belly dancing was essentially thought up in America in the late 90s by the founder of the Fat Chance Bellydance group.  American Tribal tends to be a lot slower and they have a limited number of moves which are structured.  For example at the workshop when we did one particular move familiar to us, Tribal belly dancers always have their arms up straight above their heads.  In another move which is a bit like a hip bounce, they always do the right hip and have their arms at right angles.   Also their hand movements are the same – the woman above who took the workshop likened it to pouring a shot glass.  Even their group formations are structured.  All quite bizarre really.  Their costumes, as you may have noticed are more ethnic-looking.  Here’s a short clip from Youtube of Fat Chance bellydance:

What was good about the workshop though were the tips picked up about improvising in a group dance – the little signals they use to indicate a change in step or movement.  That will be very useful in our improvisation exercises.  Anyway, after a day of belly dancing with exacting movements, today I’m feeling a bit tender.

After the workshop (which finished at 3pm) I went along to Briscoes where there was a sale.  I bought some towels and some bathroom scales to replace the munted ones at home which I suspected were inaccurate.  I wasn’t wrong.  I find out I’m 10 kilos heavier than I thought I was (and even that was heavier than I’d ever been).  I was quite shocked.  I have to seriously do some more exercise and cut down on carbohydrates.

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I was browsing belly dancing-related stuff on TradeMe and Amazon, inspired once again by others’ costumes.  Some people are very clever in making their own.  I’m just not creative enough.

Anyway, finding nothing on TradeMe, I headed over to Amazon where I’d put a DVD of veil work on my wishlist.  I thought I might work on a veil solo with ideas and techniques gained from the DVD.  After I’d added it to the wishlist, Amazon showed me what I thought was another item on my wishlist – Hossam Ramzy’s “Source of Fire” CD.  I thought it must have some nice tracks for me to add it to my wishlist but there were no samples to listen to.  I headed over to Hossam Ramzy’s site and looked at the CDs there where I could listen to samples.  The CD was actually cheaper there too and the GBP rate was favourable.  So I went ahead and ordered the CD at that site.

I looked once again at the Amazon page then thought – hang on a minute – and inspected my wish list – there was no Hossam Ramzy CD there!!!  Arrgghh!  The cunning bastards.  Oh well.  The tracks are nice and I might find a nice slow one for a veil dance.  I ordered the veil DVD anyway.

I then thought I’d better sell off a couple of belly dance music CDs I have and don’t like, to recover some of the cost!

Oh, the performance today went off ok except that the solo dancer before me got the timing wrong and the next person along was a beat or two behind so coming back from my solo bit I didn’t know what step we should be doing.  Bit of a muck-up but not too major.  Afterwards I went off to Warehouse and bought a cheap bra to decorate as part of a costume – I wonder if I can do that without too much irritation.

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The more I do…

I had a 21st to go to today – a good friend of my daughter’s.  What I didn’t know until just recently was that I and a couple of women from my dance class (who also know the girl) were expected to do some belly dancing!  Well we had recently practised one of our choreographies so I practised (finally remembering) the other.  The third dance was an improvised dance where we took turns in dancing solo to a slow piece of music.

I spent last night practising and then this morning after making a dish of food to take, I practised again and also danced along to general belly dancing music while doing things in the kitchen.

The dancing went off well!  We didn’t make any errors and the solo bits were ok if a bit repetitive.  I had the confidence to do whatever, ignoring the audience, and smiled with it.  We got some really good feedback.  It’s nice to get that feedback – it instils more confidence and makes me want to do more.  I showed a class member my new solo bit and she liked it so I feel good about that too.

I came home and watched my favourite belly dancer Serena Ramzy on my DVD and on Youtube.

She inspires me and makes me smile every time I watch her dance.  I was lucky enough to see her perform in Wellington a few years ago and it was one of the most enjoyable evenings of entertainment I’ve ever experienced.

I think the more I do belly dancing the more I want to do and in that way will improve.  Practising for this hafla has been good for getting me up and doing it.  Hopefully I’ll continue after the hafla (the belly dance event next weekend).  I also have a belly dance workshop to attend next Sunday and hope to pick up more dance moves and ideas.  Eventually I want to be able to do a solo for a whole song and feel happy with it and confident, but I’m not there yet.

Tomorrow we have a performance in town at a market which will be our “dress rehearsal” for the hafla.  I’m actually looking forward to it.

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