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:
- Rest periods
- 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)
- Georgette (NSW)
And last but not least!
- Gala (Germany)
- Soraya (Germany)
I’m yet to try a few others, including Ariellah
Do you have any favourites?
Hope this helps, and happy dancing!
Mute this video and listen to my poetry. Wait for the dancer to start moving before you start my first audio.
Let me know what you think?
The weather permits me to dance
Sensations build through passing years
Rain grows and returns to the sky
Wind blows in sudden reply
I hide to avoid the ache in the sea
It bleeds as I dance
To rhythms of chance
I turned and saw
Broken glass was left in the sea
Nature’s miracle changed them to
clear, smooth stones
The bits healed like meditative clones
An anonymous dancer
And a subconscious heart
Led a silent breath to ask
Does he look handsome
When I dance?
By Maria Grujicic
Dedicated to my big love.
This was a poem that I started to write and edit before I went on holiday, and continued editing in Sydney. I romanced and tried to take my breath away from myself as I envisioned what the surroundings were telling me and expressed my feelings for them. My big love? My new-found love for Sydney, the air that I felt while I was there, and my amazing handsome husband who was there with me! I wonder if you can sense these emotions and impressions in the poem, and if you can relate to it in some way too.
THE MIRROR OF THE NIGHT
My two friends and I had an idea to dance in the parks of Paris. But there was a twist. Because of work commitments I could only travel in winter. “We will put on layers of warm clothes, drink wine and tea, and dance to keep warm.” We chatted about as we sorted our costumes and routines. After not having seen each other for a year, we had a lot to catch up on. I lived in Europe for 8 years and left to return home to Darwin, Australia for personal reasons. We’d kept in contact via Skype and I continued to practise the dance moves. Another twist? I could hardly speak German. “French is more important,” Gala insisted. “You are in Europe and you are a dancer!”
At that moment, my heart almost stopped and I took a deep breath to wake up. My living, breathing dream was to be that. And what better place to dance than in Paris! Besides, I had a crash course on French weeks before. Our Bohemian Weekend adventure in Paris was born.
Gala’s apartment in Frankfurt is a beautiful high ceiling old German building. The most memorable pieces were a bookshelf that covered a wall in one of the living rooms that doubled up as a bedroom, dividing the space with a white silk curtain. The large windows and classic white walls gave the sense of more space, and mirrors were placed everywhere in arty ways. A perfect setting that set the mood for Paris that weekend.
The getting there said it all. I was so excited to enter the train and find our seats. Cherishing every moment, of course I had my camera, pencil and pad paper with me. I’d started learning to draw and had some coloured pencils packed in my suitcase that I never used. Oh, well.. next time! Before we knew it, we’d arrived in Paris. I packed much more than usual, because like every woman and dancer, I needed to have a variety of clothes and jewelery to choose from. I stepped out quite awkwardly but found the strength to walk with my luggage in confidence. It is, after all, why suitcases come on wheels!
Upon arriving at our apartment we were greeted by a large beautiful fluffy cat at the counter. “So French,” I thought smiling at the humour. That night, we decided to explore the place where we planned to dance. I had my high black boots on that weren’t the ideal walking shoes for the distances we had to do. I was so relieved to finally arrive, I didn’t mind the dodgy look of the place. It had a charm I couldn’t put into words, possibly because of the colourful lights that reflected on the water.
I saw many young people, especially men loitering about outside a club, surrounded by walls of graffiti art. It was midnight and dark, but the lively atmosphere reassured me as I began to play my finger cymbals Tak-takka-tak, tak-takka-tak, as Gala joined me with the hypnotic dance. Almost forgetting where we were I was startled by a guy who approached us, asking for a light and wanting to know what we were doing. Another guy followed, and thinking the worst we quickly fled.
3 artists, 3 silent voices walked the living streets of Paris late that night back to our apartment, wondering what to do the next day.
What impresses me most about Paris is the way it embraces the good and the ugly, opening avenues for self-expression and beauty. Graffiti art and collages of posters were everywhere, encouraging my senses to explore further. My attempts at speaking French were welcomed by beautiful pouts of moving mouths. How do they do it? Everyone is beautiful in Paris because French beautifies their souls and integrates them into the Parisian unique style.
Paris has a place for everyone with quarters that appeal for every taste. Our quarter was accessible to other famous arty quarters such as the famous hill of Montmartre and in the other direction was Moulin Rouge. We placed our food shopping in plastic bags on the ledge outside our apartment window, which we used as our outdoor fridge and went to bed.
The adjacent building from our apartment block with 3 floors was the focus of my wonderings. There’s a dancer in the middle floor. She is not seen at nights because of the reflections by the lights and so she dances alone.” Gala and I exchanged ideas for writing as we got dressed the next day with colourful layers of skirts, pullovers, scarves, and dangly large earrings. “Oh my gosh!” I cried, “I have no more foundation. “Danke liebe Gott,” Gala replied, “that it will do your skin good to have a break.”
After a long day of preparation we finally arrived at a spot across from the brightly lit Louvre. We chose a tree with a bench surround its trunk, where we made our home for the evening. We were in good spirits as we drank sweet wine and set up the picnic, laughing and joking at the novelty. We had fine cheeses, salad, bread and meats that we ate as we got ready for our performance.
I noticed many men in the distance hanging around looking like shadows but this time I felt safer with just the right amount of traffic nearby not disturb the scene.
I took my cymbals and danced with the Arc de Triomphe du Carroussel as the beautiful background of the outdoor stage. Later, Gala and Lena also started to dance with hypnotic moves that synchronised and mirrored those of a partner. It felt like I was dancing on air.
Later, we walked a little and came to a structure that felt like the Arc de Triomphe du Carroussel. I wouldn’t be able to tell you what the name of it was because I was too involved in the moment to care. “How does the Manchegas song go?” Gala asked as she suddenly halted, a cue for me to sing instantly. “Tarralum, tarralum, tarralum, tum, tum,.. My voice rang so loudly that it felt I was waiting for this moment all my life. The voices of my friends followed with echoing sounds that brought back memories of my time in Albacete, Spain. Listen to the song here: 01-Manchegas de Albacete We walked on after we noticed a security camera and took a train over to the river Seine.
We looked for different backgrounds for our dance by the side of the river. First we stopped at some steps and did fun dance poses, taking lots of photos. I climbed up high on the podium at the bottom of the steps and posed like a dancing statue. Gala wrapped a beautiful red satin scarf around my head that exposed my large earrings and kept me warm. We continued closer to the water, feeling more confident and energetic as the night progressed. We stood on a large wooden plank where the boats dock, making sure we stayed in the middle and not fall into the water. This time, we used our veils to dance to the music from the ipod compact speakers.
The life of people still out and about seemingly pulling us as we walked on, arriving at a bench across Moulin Rouge, a street away from our apartment. We took out the dessert part of what was left of our picnic hamper and some hot lemon tea, sat quietly and people watched.
It wasn’t until later I realised I lost one of my finger cymbals that must have dropped by the side of the river. Losing a piece of dance accessory means a lot to me because of the history attached to it. Nevertheless, I got over it and the greatest souvenir of this trip will stay in my head. Words can’t describe the sensations of a weekend French Bohemian life but I managed to keep these by publishing a book, Poems That Touch The Soul. Paris by night is my favourite and the thought of this theme, along with the river and lights, the surrounding shadows of loitering men, I started to compose ideas of the mirror of the night, my poem later to be titled, Glorified Queen Bee which probably encompasses my impression of the weekend of Bohemian Paris.
The next day was our last, and we explored Paris by day. We bought food from the grocery store which incidentally, was carefully chosen by Gala who was studying to become a naturopath. We walked to the famous hill, Montmartre on our last day to have an outdoor picnic lunch. As we headed towards the river we detoured into different streets, specialty shops, places to eat and a market. Gala helped me choose earrings, practise makeup with the right shades of colours, a tribal dance costume, and other accessories to go with our tribal fusion and American tribal dance style look, bought at chains of budget shops.
I promised myself upon returning to Darwin, Australia that I will do more dance practice because I tend to write more than I dance. I don’t take learning dance routines as seriously as I possible should, or to be kinder to myself, I’m forced to prioritise because of lack of time, and so I fluke the steps and improvise, relying on my reflexes and natural instincts. Gala believes that it is more important to have graceful dance technique and natural style than know the steps. ;) This trip taught me the value of stepping-stones and the giant leaps that are possible by travel because through travel I have gained perspective. Perspective is what helps me see my progress and ways I can improve. My Paris trip didn’t go totally to plan. Certain things happened that could have turned out better but it was a way forward to better things.
Now, I keep positive and hope to one day return to Europe and continue my life there. Until then, I’m enjoying the moments I have. Perhaps my luck will turn and I win this competition, and relive my dream for 6 months of my dancing in Europe. Look at the link here if you’d like to vote for me. A career in education was how I kept focused and justified my travel addiction over the 8 years abroad. “Just one more country,” I told myself. From London to Madrid, to Albacete, then Frankfurt. Finding another job in a different city was as easy as a click of a button on the computer at the local internet café and a phone interview.
“Yes, I speak very good German,” I lied. I was learning at the local school of languages but it would never be enough. And so I found myself in the most unlikely place, Frankfurt, Germany! Throughout my experiences abroad, I have always incorporated dance in everything I did but was always disappointed in myself for not starting at a younger age. It was just a few years ago upon making friends with Gala when my writing matured and realized that in belly dance age is not a barrier and in fact an advantage.
To be honest, I don’t really need this competition to find myself back in Europe. I can do this in time, but I wanted to enter because I think it’s a cool way to express myself and my passion for travel. Little excuses for travel transformed into unique, memorable experiences. A glass of wine in Paris or a tea in London and a why not try a different city, learn the guitar in Spain, another language, and getting totally lost in a big city, pursued me to places I may not have experienced with a travel guide.
Once a traveler always a traveler. In fact, my mind is always traveling because I’m the ideal dreamer. I can create anything from nothing everywhere I go because inspiration is inside me. A traveler can be anyone, and once abroad, of course you then become one! The crunch is that my experiences changed me forever and I can’t remember the person I was. It’s like I disappeared!
Before heading overseas for the first time, I spent weeks packing and unpacking. You might know the scenario.. taking stuff you probably won’t need but taking it anyway. Comfort stuff like maybe a teddy bear memento, a favourite inspirational book to keep you going, a comfort blanket, and enough toiletries to last for months. How things have changed…
- Bohemian Weekend Adventure In Paris (poemsthatdance.com)
- Bohemian Weekend Adventure In Paris (prefacme.wordpress.com)
- Glorified Queen Bee (poemsthatdance.com)
- Paris in 5 1/2 Weeks : Photos Links and Commentary – # 1 (felipeadanlerma.com)
- Paris on a shoestring (eurotunnel.com)
- Jolly Paris (jamesdeeclayton.wordpress.com)
- Paris When it Sizzles (everydaydreamholiday.com)
- Breathtaking Reflections of Paris by Joanna Lemanska (dailypictur.es)
- National Dance Forum 2013 (freiheitdance.wordpress.com)
Gala Yakovleva is my dance teacher and good friend who lives in Frankfurt, Germany. We met through our belly dance classes with a teacher named Soriah and even though we were dancers belonging to the same group, we didn’t talk much. I didn’t speak a lot of German and I was quite shy.
One night, after a few years dancing, Gala announced that she will be starting a new dance class of Tribal Fusion and American Tribal Style. I was keen to try a different dance class that would compliment what I was already learning. What begun as a dance class on Saturdays turned out to be something of an artistic performance creation, of which I found inspiration for my writing that I had only just begun that year. Everything started to fall into place as I wrote as I danced, and I discovered new things about myself that I wasn’t aware of.
Have you ever felt in your heart that you really wanted to do or be someone who was so simple to the eyes of others, but was too shy to do it?
I love to dance, and have so all my life. I feel I was born to dance, but I never pursued it professionally. I’ve done other things and continued my search for the unknown. I even traveled abroad and stayed in Europe for 8 years searching for a career in education and other things… But why not dance?
Upon reflection I think I felt that because I didn’t start as a girl, it was too late for me to do it. Why do I call my passion a hobby, when I wait until the end of my work day, just to rush home, to nothing else but write and dance? I’ve settled for a teaching career, which isn’t bad, I’m a great teacher, but the truth is, that teaching spoils my spirit, my passion for life, because to me, the greatest teacher is life itself. And as a girl I wasn’t able to pursue my passion at school. My parents didn’t understand, and I was pretty much a dreamer the rest of my life.
And so I felt grateful that I found my friend Gala, who understood me and guided me and a handsome, supportive, loving husband, I found my dream in Europe. But there was one problem. Because of personal reasons, I had to return home to Australia. I left my dream behind. But I have kept in contact with my good friend Gala, and she keeps up my strength by swapping ideas and inspiration.
Gala taught me the connection between life and dance, and the inseparable nature of the two. I learned Tribal Fusion and American Tribal and ballet in dance. Last winter, early January 2013, I went to Germany to see Gala for 10 days. We went to Paris with another dance friend, and led a weekend of Bohemian Lifestyle. Gala especially chose the food and wine at the grocery store. We prepared our banquet outdoors and because of the cold winter, we dressed in layers of warm clothes. We danced by the lights of Paris by night. I took photos and wrote ideas for poetry, philosophy, costume making, and went shopping for jewellery and make up.
The photos in my book were taken of Paris and dance classes in Frankfurt, Germany, reunited once again with my dance friends. I miss Gala and the other dancers, but I will always visit and have this wonderful book to remember the moments with them.
I learned many things about myself on my European adventure, including the conclusion that a true dancer, dances anywhere and any time. It was crazy, it was fun and we did it in Paris! I learnt to surrender to my dream, and this is a lesson that perhaps we all need to learn. Sometimes perhaps we deny ourselves our true dream because we are afraid, lack belief, or conditioned to believe that it can’t be true. Perhaps we may even sabotage possibilities with negative self talk in fear of failure.
Now that I’m back home, I am more determined to pursue my dream. & I’m sure of only one thing..that it can only bring truth, which I believe is the key to happiness. Some days are better than others. Sometimes I feel like I’m enclosed in a small space and cannot do what I truly want, and am surrounded by fast paced activities of nothingness. But when I start to dance, and write, nothingness disappears and I begin to see purpose for my life. If this can happen for just even a glimpse of a time in my day, I can truly be happy.
Sometimes we need to step away from our immediate surroundings for all to become clear and find truth. This is true for myself. It is how I came to write my poems as I realised my subconscious love and passion for dance. My varied life experiences at home and abroad led to self-discovery and a realisation of a life of dance that I have always led that relinquished my disappointment of lack of pursuit.
Life is dance, and without dance there is no life, and love for these are inseparable.
I’m a dancer and poet at heart. Two inseparable art forms, one soul. “Poems that touch the soul & don’t adhere to the pattern of life”, refers to a nomadic lifestyle that lends itself to reach the unexplored self. This is an art form, one of its kind because it can dance and has always danced. It unites strongly through poetic philosophy that delves into ethical boundaries, aesthetics, education and love. A concept that encompasses and revolutionises a soul. It becomes true in its purest sense as every word put to paper is felt by my heart and a last breath celebrates creation.
You may want to delve into this book from the end to the beginning or read a few poems in no particular order. They will still retain their sequence because they don’t adhere to the pattern of life. Each poem makes a connection to the soul in different ways and this is what brings the poems together as one.
- Glorified Queen Bee (poemsthatdance.com)
- Featured Poem: False Step (teatimewiththemadartist.com)
- Memories of Manchegas Dance (poemsthatdance.com)
- open (poem) (sirenatales.wordpress.com)
- How to self-publish an e-book (reviews.cnet.com)
- Writer’s Block: A Poem (theevolvingdad.wordpress.com)
- Poem: She Danced Her Way Through the Morning (akhandsingh.com)
- My Soul (ladylovelyblogger.wordpress.com)
- How strong emotion summons poetry – The Guardian (blog) (poemsthatdance.com)
- Bohemian Boudoir (aliceverheij.wordpress.com)
I played with his art
I turned to face his heart
Secrecy ruled my mind
He once saw her dancing from afar
The boards, the floor could be seen
She moved like a light
Beauty revealed through fragile skin
Soaked deep in his soul
Aesthetics of love
Only through passage of chance
And the end of a man and a woman’s dance
Our love was gone
He danced with her perfume on
The rooms that once filled the air that I breathed
Between two windows, two worlds were seen
Two mirrors of the night
Caressing her reflection
Like sweet wine in place of affection
Awkwardness of a quality
Satisfying uniquely him
Intuition entered the light of the sun
as I sang
Lace and velvet covered my thighs
A soothing heartbeat, ready to please
I’m smaller than the appetite of his growing eyes
Laughter ruled my mind
Jewels of her scent I wore
They covered the bareness of a glorified whore
Poetic tea is an offering
All women want is ultimately to be me
By Maria Grujicic Copyright 26/2/2013
This poem is not based on any true events. In fact many of my poems are nonfiction. This poem was inspired by impressions of Paris & a building my good friend Gala and I saw across from where we stayed on our visit in January. We made up stories of a theatrical play, and experimented with ideas of dance. I wrote these down on my pad, and didn’t think much else of them, until now when I turned these into a poem. Have you ever traveled and sat at a café and people watched? Old buildings have a story to tell. Here are some photos I took in Paris to illustrate the origin of my impressions. I wonder if you recognise aspects of my poem in these?
Keep on dancing!
Hint: Listen to each audio as you watch the video, and imagine you are there doing Manchegas dance!
My mood abroad is more alert to broken unknown boundaries. Life abroad is different but I’m the same. It is simply fun. I adore the sensations I get from being in a foreign place with my senses tingling every day. My emotions work overtime and I feel things that I didn’t think possible. Positive and negative energy is being released and received, and part of the learning process.
‘Tum-ti-li-tum-tili-tum-tum-tum-tili-tum-tili-tum.. tirli-tum-tum-tum… na na na na na.. lo necesi…i.i.i.. tas… ‘ Sofia sang audibly as she entered the crowded room of dancers with theatrical arms up high in the air, forgetting the words of the Manchegas dance they were learning, but compensating her inadequacy by filling the air with smiles. Sofia’s overly enthusiastic effort was greeted with an applause and a ‘Hola! ¿Cómo estás?’ And the biggest, warmest smiles she had ever experienced in her life that made her heart feel overwhelmingly welcome and appreciated.
‘Welcome to another class of Manchegas, Sofia. How are you?’ Rang the words of Lola, the dance teacher. Lola was shorter than her counterparts though the grandeur of her dance raised her stature and grace. She was in her mid-forties and had a voluptuous body that fit nicely in the beautiful traditional Albacetan costume that accentuated her desirable curves.
Sofia admired Lola’s big beautiful eyes, long chestnut hair that swayed romantically and a smile that further enhanced her grace as she danced. ‘We have never had a member from Australia before. We all like to practise our English,’ Lola said quickly. And before Sofia could say anything Lola affectionately but firmly grabbed her hand. ‘Come, we are about to start!’
Do It Like A Dance!
I wrote this a while ago and posted it on another blog. Recently my good friend Gala, the dance teacher of our group showed an interest in incorporating the Spanish style in tribal fusion dance. She quite like Manchegas and we might be doing a fusion style of the dance. My good friend and dance teacher from Albacete, Mari Carmen sent me the lyrics and song of Manchegas and we still keep in touch. Me encanta, I’m delighted to keep in contact with my friends from all over Europe! I’m excited for what’s to come and I can only feel humbled by my luck. xx
I have no voice
But I love to dance.
I’m a mute.
But I love to dance
I cannot do.
But I love to dance.
I don’t belong
But I love to dance.
The answer is dance,
I must dance.
I’ve tried many things
But I always turn to dance.
Every day I dance.
I think and sense dance.
Dance refreshes my mind
When I feel nulled
I turn to dance!
I was made to dance.
I remember to breathe and then I dance.
My life is a dance.
I’m soothed, I’m real
I am dance.
Random thoughts after an intense 5 weeks of avoiding my passion.
Not because I wanted to, but because circumstances forced me to.
I forced myself to.
And I was given a wake up call.
My innocent mind failed me once more.
But kindness of heart prevailed.
I cannot stop what I love.
I don’t fit in that box they tried to place me in.
Now I know the reality of love and I can return to my artist self.
I cannot escape my artist self.
Now the hardest part is waiting,
But I am relaxed because I know.
So many thoughts are running through a mind. But the truth never hides.
A Love Poem
I feel crazy and lost without you
I clean my essentials to find you
They breathe fire and hide from the rain
Agony rules my mind
Oh my diminished heart
It failed me once more
How arrogant to think the sensation would last
Without you, what is the feeling of love
But a myth of consolation
For my diminished heart
What is life, without you
But a mirrored constructiveness of a sense
Now relieved by the loss of a thought
That I am now without the person my soul
Always wanted to be
By Maria Grujicic
What colour is your ball?
Is it a blue, is it a brown?
Is it yellow? Is it red?
Is it a mix of both?
How it is that you feel?
What feelings do the colours represent to you?
Green could be frightened, blue could be brave!
Yellow could be happy and orange could give you a frown!
All emotions and colours are beautiful.
If you know the password, enter it on the official Poems That Dance page and it will take you to the full version video telling. The password is the last word on the last page of the book.
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There’s a game that goes with this book and I’ll be posting it soon!
Keep on dancing!