Third Poetry Show Is Reading Elitist?

Stories about life, love and travel that inspired the poet to write. Listen to poetry readings and responses.

Stories about life, love and travel that inspired the poet to write. Listen to poetry readings and responses.

I’m going to talk today about literature and dance, and recite and talk about the poem, ‘ Speaking to The Universe’. If you’d like to listen to the audio click ‘play’ on this player. If you explore Sound Cloud, you’ll find it in Spanish, along with other audios.

When I first lived abroad, I made a set of tape recordings to send to them. So, do you think that reading is an elitist activity? As a child, I found reading difficult. Looking back, I think it had a lot to do with my cultural background and the fact that I couldn’t relate to the stories. Many of the stories I heard came from my parents, about the Greek heroes, myths and legends and so on. So at school I felt dumb and left out.

On my Facebook feed today I found a quote about self-care. I had some decisions to make and these helped me out. It’s hard to battle it out in your head alone, so I decided to be proactive and do something about my problem. So I read the quote’ Don’t be afraid to say yes.’ And it worked! I realised I wasn’t saying yes because I was honouring the don’t say no.

So how do you know when to say yes, and when to say no?

Listen on to learn more about this as I talk about how we are all different. So listening to others sometimes doesn’t work because they give you advice based on their experiences. You know yourself better. I go on to talk about reading comics and alternatives to reading and writing through multi-modal texts.

Now to have fun, you need to feel accomplished. So making right decisions are important to me. I’d like to meet new and amazing people. And what I like about that is that also feel brand new. There are no expectations.

So is reading an elitist activity?

I found a great blog called Critical Margins where I got some perspective on the topic. There’s a sense that literary writers look down on genre writers, and visa versa. How do you choose a book?

There’s a wonderful book store in Frankfurt, a few floors high. Lots of books are in German, and there’s a section in English. It’s wonderful because you can have a cup of coffee at the cafe there, as you read your books. The atmosphere is fantastic- lots of energy and enthusiasm for books! So almost each time I go there, I find a book.

You don’t want to buy a book, just so that it sits on the shelf. A best seller doesn’t always suite my taste. So the library is a great place to try out a book before you buy it.

Why do you write? I’m still exploring this issue. I also find genre writing hard because it doesn’t allow me to be my creative self. So is literary fiction then the way to go? (At least in my case.) If you read the definition, then perhaps it is.

If you are thinking of writing a book, looking into the categories is a good idea. But don’t be ruled by them. The problem with reading too much for those purposes, is you might compare yourself. You also want to find your own voice.

Doing these podcast episodes have helped me articulate my thoughts, and this in turn has helped my writing along. Find what’s right for you.

The challenge of blogging for me is reaching other people. It doesn’t seem to be as easy as it used to be. Perhaps because of tighter filters and now with companies who ask you to pay an amount to promote your book or blog. I don’t want to do that, and can’t afford it for that matter. And why should I? It definitely is harder. But I don’t think about that and focus on enjoyment, and the quality, not the number of followers.

signature Maria Grujicic Poems That Dance

Thanks for reading and listening today. If you’d like to publish your own book, connect with me on Fastpencil.

12 Steps for Self Care

12 Steps for Self Care

I don’t often share quotes from other pages, but this one stuck. It’s so simple to read, like a set of principles. I refer to it on my Podcast.

If you found any value on my post, feel free ‘like’ or write a comment.

Copyright © Maria Grujicic and, from February 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Maria Grujicic and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Diary of a Dancer


Lately I’m devoting more time to dance and am enjoying it a lot. I enjoy different styles and I’m yet to pin point my favourite. So fusing the styles is a great way to sustain my interest and my creativity. Of course it is important to know about the different styles to adequately understand how to fuse them as well. The last few years I’ve done workshops in Sydney and practised at the Bellydance school in my home city. I also have a set of tutorial DVDs that I work on at home. I write in the hope that I can find like-minded dancers/artists whom I can connect with. I hope that’s you! Feel free to share your dance experiences and tips in the comments sections!

This week I’ve found myself off-balanced and am stunned by this. It probably means that I’m treading in water, desperately trying to keep up with the music, and compensating by not doing the movements with accuracy. Be careful you don’t fall for this trap! I also don’t know the moves well enough, and lack confidence with the cues. Times like these I’ve felt like I’ve learnt ‘nothing’. I’ve told myself not to give up, take a break and regroup. Above all, not to keep doing the same mistakes!

The next step:

  • Check and adjust your posture.
  • Do Yoga Practice.
  • Do an adequate warm up and cool down.
  • Do drills that target the techniques that you need to master.
  • Drill the combinations, particularly the more difficult ones, to a different piece of music.
  • Listen to the music and imagine yourself doing the steps.
  • Play finger cymbals, bongos or any other instrument to the music.
  • Do you have an injury or a weakness? E.g. a sore ankle? Need to strengthen your balance?
  • Are you overtired?

These are checkpoints that I’ve become more aware of after having workshops with various teachers. I work on these by doing the following:

  • Massage
  • Rest periods
  • Exercise
  • Stretches
  • Physio Therapy (if needed)
  • An adequate diet
  • General Well-Being

Have a set number of combinations to drill each day, heading towards a day where you will then practice the whole choreography. It takes time to master a dance, especially when life gets busy. Best to dedicate chunks of time each day, and be consistent in your practice, than promise yourself a large chunk if time is scarce. If you’re like me, having the head space for 20 minutes is more inviting than 2-3 hours.

My advice is not to fool yourself into believing that technique isn’t important. The day I realised this, I was able to move forward and put the work into my dance. The reward? Having the confidence to dance and have fun with your friends and feel a sense of achievement for performance.

My favourite teachers so far:

  • Kami Liddle (USA)
  • Devi Mamak (NSW)
  • Rachel Brice (USA)
  • Deb Rubin (USA)
  • Myf (NT)

And last but not least!

  • Soraya (Germany)

I’m yet to try a few others, including Ariellah

Do you have any favourites?

Hope this helps, and happy dancing!

Wide Open Eyes

I was excited to find this video while looking for a dance to go with my poem.

Enjoy the audio along with the video. Play them together.
Try playing the audio at different times or repeating it.

Lately I have been pondering about many issues in my life and those of others around me. I have also been thinking about things that perhaps most people don’t. These are the details that pass us by that perhaps would give more meaning to one’s life, but we ignore. Perhaps this ignorance is simply a way to feel accepted among the crowd. Or an intelligent way of relieving alienation. Whichever the viewpoint, it is a safe haven. It is an issue of personal significance that I’ve explored in my poems. It has been a long time since I wrote and the answer is hidden away in my poems because I cannot truly put it into words.

The only reason for being a professional writer is that you can’t help it.Leo Rosten

Tribal Hair & Makeup

English: Tribal fusion dance with Balkys at re...

Image via Wikipedia

Tribal fusion dance is more than a set of movements pulled together to make a choreography.

It’s about character, joining personalities to create a self expressive art, and ultimately a performance. My dance teacher, Gala nurtures every dancer, and helps them develop their look, their grace, their style. Ultimately creating a bond so great between the dancers that is hard to ever break. They are tied. Each very different and together they are one.

This is why I’ve developed such a bond with my dance teacher and the dancers that I never thought possible. And now that I have to leave the group from Frankfurt, Germany to return home to Australia, I am more than saddened. I am like a child about to be separated from the sacred womb of a mother.

I never thought possible that any friendship of this kind could exist. Gala places emphasis on every dancer in the group, and treats everyone as special. She spent a lot of time talking to me about my life goals, the way I project my look, and involved me in the choreography.

I’ve studied and continue to study the tribal fusion philosophy and how the concept evolved. This has helped me understand womanhood, and the evolutionary triumphs and struggles placed along side it.

Tribal style bellydance movement began in 1967 in San Francisco. It was founded by Jamila Salimpour who taught Mashor Archer, a feminist visionary to remove sexist stigma on Bellydancing. Through my search for the place of my cultural roots, I was drawn to the tribal style because the more ethnic and folklore look of the dance and costumes fulfilled my identity. My dance classes are a place to find and be my true self, and I feel accepted and free. So far my favorite tribal styles are Tribal Fusion and American Tribal.

American Tribal Style Dance, also abbreviated as ATS is like tribal bellydance, but features a specialized type of group formation and an improvised, lead-and-follow cueing between the dancers. I have just started learning to do this dance, and I find it graceful, flowing and becoming.

Tribal fusion belly dance is a modern form of belly dance, and it is the style I find the most interesting. It evolved from American tribal style belly dance. It blends elements of ATS with any other style of dance such as hip-hop, breakdance, cabaret bellydance, and more traditional forms, flamenco, kathak, bhangra and other folklore dance styles.

This makes me wonder about the possibilities of mixing the styles of dance that make up my cultural roots and those of which I’ve experienced, such as Greek dance styles, Serbian and Manchegas from Albacete.

The costuming is very similar to other styles of tribal dance. Though tribal fusion mixes authentic belly dance movements with elements from other dance genres. In addition, the music for tribal fusion is often very modern or eclectic. I can only imagine the possibilities that can be created, and this makes for a very interesting process of discovery, creativity and ultimately a performance.

I adore the layered look of tribal bellydancing. The beautiful, often quite covered up look, with heavy fabrics and extensive yardage in the skirts, harem-pants and tops, for me create the romantic look that goes with my personality.

Fabrics tend to be opaque and natural, such as cottons and rayons. Choli tops and other blouse/vest combinations are worn alone or layered with decorated bra tops. Ethnic jewelry, tassels, turbans, and tattoos can also be used extensively.

As a girl I didn’t learn a lot about make up and I’m not sure why. I tried to apply it, but I managed it all wrong. Growing up, I lacked a lot of confidence applying make up because I was worried of what others thought. I loved to put make up on, and abundantly so, but I had the courage to do it only when I went out dancing.

I lacked consistency in my application to makeup and my insecurity showed in my face. Tribal bellydance make-up may be heavy and exotic with facial tattoos and ethnic hairstyles created with braids and hair extensions. I love this because the look is very liberating and celebrates womanhood and femininity, creating a look of  authentic ‘woman power’.

It gives me confidence that I can also use in my daily life. It is through dance that I’ve found a voice, and a way to express my thoughts, and ultimately defining them to find and develop who I am.

Are you a member of a tribal dance group? Please feel free to share your experiences in the comment box below.

Thank you for reading.
Maria Grujicic (Malena)

Introducing Amazing Free Audios By Malena of Poems That Dance!

Here’s a Glimpse of the
The Password is the last word on the last page of the book.

The poems by Maria Grujicic, also known as Malena, are beautiful and tell a story. Listen to them from start to finish as you watch and listen to the cool, relaxing video of Tribal Fusion Dance!



Thank you for listening,
Maria Grujicic (Malena)

A Petal, Malena


 To find out why and how I named the books Poems That Dance, The Thorn And The Petal, and A Gentle Fire, Follow:

The Dance That Walked Away

Image by Maria Grujicic (Malena)

It was long ago
I froze
Like a picture
I froze
Stage fright
In the middle of the night
A stage
Free for one
The dancer
No where in sight
I froze
And I didn’t bow
My head held high
In case
I was too late
To see my face
As the curtains died
And my dance walked away
In hope of another day

By Maria Grujicic

This poem is about stage fright, and timely for the theme of Carnival coming up in February.

In different phases of my life I’ve had to get up and perform in one way or another. There were times when I wasn’t ready and I failed and this led the way for other days of triumphs! When I was 19 I went in a dance competition. I had the routine in my head and I practiced and practiced. As it turned out I wasn’t mentally prepared, and full of self-doubt I stood on the stage.

The music had started, and it was playing, but I froze. The music stopped, I look out at the audience, and at the people, and like a gentle appeal my eyes pleaded for mercy. And I simply walked away. After a few months there was another dance competition on.

Again I practiced and practiced, and I said to myself, ‘I’m going to get up there, do exactly what I’d planned.’ And the music played once more, and I did all the dance steps, resulting a win! It was the most amazing experience of my life, and unknown to me, a kind of life metaphor for more  ups and downs to come!

MALENA IMAGE by Sonja Sofia Yakovleva

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