Friday, December 23, 2016

Looking to 2017...

So this is a companion piece obviously to yesterday's year in review post. :)

As a bit of additional information from yesterday, in dancing in more shows than I originally had planned to and with the healing process regarding dance, I ended up recycling a bunch of pieces that I had done before. And, yes, since these pieces had never been performed here, they were essentially new for the area. They were okay but didn't feel as satisfying as I would have expected them to be. Or, in some cases, it was hard to reproduce the piece as it had originally been intended, which wasn't a big deal since I'm an improvisational dancer but was a disconnect from the enjoyment that I had had on some of those pieces before. And this is important b/c it leads to a bunch of goals for next year. :)

Goal: Work on more pieces
Since I had so few new pieces this year, one of the goals for 2017 is to work on new pieces to have them ready at the drop of a hat should I need to fill in at the last minute for a show. I used to have a paradigm where I knew when the big events were and I'd get ready for those and map that out way ahead of time. I don't have such a blueprint to go by now and while I do have some performances planned already for 2017, it's not within the context of (insert ominous voice) big event so something to adjust to.

Goal: Redefine what practice is/Rekindle practicing
For a number of reasons that I won't get into, I'm taking some distance from the style and term of "tribal fusion", which is also having a rippling effect on my goals for next year. One of the very immediate thought that popped to mind and that I've been wrestling with this past year is how to practice because, as part of that distancing, I don't want to drill as much as I used to.

When I was trying to practice in the last year, it felt so off! Like I had no point of reference anymore and like what I was doing was wrong. It wasn't. The context was different and I ignored that. It dawned on me recently that my whole context around dancing has changed so drastically in the last few years but I've been semi ignoring that and trying to do the same version of practice... which is nonsensical. I don't have a studio anymore, I don't have a troupe or students to lead through drills, I'm not even in the same city, etc. And I'm not going to drill as much.

So time to thoroughly revamp and redefine what practice is, how to construct a practice session, etc. I'm also thinking of not being so all or nothing with practice in that it doesn't have to be long sessions. I just need to do it more and find out what works for me now.

Goal: Redefine who I am as a dancer
One thing that I realized in the last couple of weeks is that the main reason why those previous pieces didn't feel "right" was because I am no longer that dancer nor even that person anymore. They were a snapshot in time and represented a period in my life, sometimes even whispering messages to me (i.e., my subconscious speaking to me) but these aren't as relevant anymore. So who am I now as a dancer? What feels right? Where do I want to take this? I don't have answers right now... and that's okay. I can surely figure that out over time. I'm not going to let that introspection get in the way of actually doing things, though. But I'm hoping that, through the experimentation that I'll do in my practice and performances, I'll explore these questions and hopefully come up with some answers (which will of course change over time).

I have a few other goals that are evolving and I may work on for 2017 as well but this is a good list to start with, especially since some are bigger goals in the grand scheme of things. :)

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Belly dance year in review

I used to do this on a regular basis and then stopped when I closed the studio and really wasn't dancing as much anymore. But I somehow feel compelled to do it again this year.

I was in denial over it but, actually, I did a lot more dancing than I expected to. I danced about once a month nearly every month. Say what? How did that happen? Well, I had signed up for some shows ahead of time and then I volunteered at the last minute for a few things.

In the last couple of years, I had taken some distance from belly dance while still dabbling in it as it was something that I was still interested in but, with the closure of the studio, the dance troupe being on hiatus, and not needing dance as a source of escape and validation in my life, it felt off. I wasn't sure whether I would keep dancing but knew that, to do so, I'd need to do some healing and change my perspective on dance, redefine it and all that.

I knew that, moving here and living close to my beloved friend and mentor Tempest, it'd have an effect and I'd keep dancing but, on top of that, this year also brought that shift in focus and healing that I needed to keep moving forward. Although it feels like that hasn't fully hit until the last few weeks, it's actually been some gradual shift this year that culminated in dance feeling better. Like for the first time in many years, I'm actually excited about dancing again and am actually formulating goals for 2017.

Another interesting thing this year in dance is that I FINALLY got to take regular classes again! I often forget about it (and I'm sure most people do too) but I was essentially self taught. I did take 5 years of classes back in Quebec and then a bout 8 months of classes in Indy before being put in the role of co-director for our troupe and needing to figure out how to do this improvisational tribal style (ITS) through videos. I developed my own personal style through my background and workshops and some experimentation. And a whole lot of teaching. So it's nice to be a student again. And, omg, it's pretty awesome to essentially take a workshop with Tempest each week. :) I feel that my dance has grown more in the last year and in the previous few years and I haven't even put much time in practicing... but I'm planning on changing that in 2017. Anyway, I always have at least one revelation or aha moment a week. It's pretty awesome!

I've also been lucky to be part of the Tempest's students troupe and dancing with awesome women. It was a change to learn choreographies again. lol I was also privileged to essentially get my cake and eat it too and be able to lead Tempest's students troupe for one performance while Tempest was out of town. It felt good to be back in that role temporarily.

I got to teach at Waking Persephone yet again and thoroughly enjoyed the workshop material that I shared. I do love teaching workshops and hope that I get to do it still in the future.

As I've mentioned above, I have some goals that I'm developing for 2017 and it feels wonderful to have that inclination.