‘Sudden Clarity’ Poetry Book Reviews

On SUDDEN CLARITY By Maria Grujicic

“Sudden Clarity” is a collection of poems which tell the story of a dynamic, intimate life and expresses itself through dance. The photographs were taken by Maria Grujicic herself, as she envisioned and imagined the themes of her work. The style of poetry is distinctively unique and breaks the boundaries of the conventional. It is bold, audacious, different, artistic, open and truthful in its presentation.

“I loved the different intensities and subject in the whole collection. Maria Grujicic spread her life out on a canvas of words which so beautifully involved the reader. I particularly liked the shorter and medium length poems because their themes were subtle but direct. A Familiar Path echoes my thoughts exactly. A Place for my Tentative Birth is excellent…beautifully creational, Uncomfortable reality is just fantastic as is Her Big Beautiful Eyes. The best are, A magical play and Something Of my own….Maria Grujicic breaks language conventions and puts a combination of words and phrases which are exciting and moving to read. An exciting collection/anthology.”
Chris Pownall

Maria is a poet who’s voice can be heard through her writings. She is a visionary author with works exuding a passion of love and respect for nature. One can get lost in the landscapes through pictorialization & illumination over and over again. Sudden Clarity will make your heart & soul dance bringing you to a point of rejuvenation. Kenya Smith aka KonciouSLea

“I hear the voice in the poems as poetry of old, the poet’s voice speaking out to the elements, to Nature, to ourselves. And when the poem makes of them a listener it has great resonance. I also like the titles that tell me a distillation of an experience, such as Sudden Clarity, A Place for My Tentative Birth and A Work of Intimate Art.” Mariana Romo-Carmona

“Some of her poems have a powerful punch ending that gives chills and makes the reader ponder a new beginning, to take the story further in his or her mind. Great work!” Eric Pasley

“Very sombering and well written. This poem paints a picture without heavy description” Jaleesa McLean’s comment on “Rose Of Determination” of “Sudden Clarity”.

“Love how the black and white contrast with the “colours” of the poetry. A bit daring perhaps but it works!” David W. Aston

“Wow! What an amazing quantity of poems. I like them very much!! Go on publishing!” Lena Truper

“Amazing book! I have read 8 poems without putting the book down! This is the first time that I have read more than 5 poems at once. I liked all her poems and mainly “A place for my tentative birth”. Little NJ Poet

How to Improve Your Dance

Dance classes are fun. They are a great way to get motivated and meet people. You may also get opportunities to perform with a group. Dressing up for a gig is a chance to try out a new look. Talking about hair, jewellery, make up and clothes at dress rehearsals help keep nerves at bay. It’s fantastic to see the other women all dressed up, and when I first started with a troupe, it was a good way to get ideas on what to wear. Performances take time and you will spend the whole day preparing and performing. At the end of the day, if you’re like me, you feel the reward of giving back to the community, and as one of my past teachers affectionately said, ‘and to show off a bit.’

If you really want to improve your technique you need to set aside some time at home to practise. Deb Rubin once told us at one of her workshops in Sydney that a little practise each day works well. This makes sense because it sets the tone for practise as part of your routine. I tend not to think and plan about what to do. I put the instructional DVD on and just watch. It takes a lot for me to get motivated, but once the DVD’s on, I can’t help but start!I have a few favourites that I’m working on and stick to those until I get all the combos right.

Learning the combinations help you fit right in when you take a workshop because you have a structure to work from. You might find workshops hard if you go with no dance experience to a workshop, but of course it depends on the workshop. People are friendly and open and teachers work at your level. If you have no dance experience and want to get the most of a workshop? You don’t have time to practise? You’re not very good at memorizing steps? Go for an improvisation class. I went away with a lot more attending these workshops because it opened my mind to possibilities for self-expression and choreography.  A workshop with Orchidaceae Urban Tribal Group is an example.

I particularly related to Francesca Pedretti’s Tribal Bellydance Emotionale. At her workshop we did some improvisation moves based on a poem from ‘Dante’. He was a major Italian poet of the late Middle Ages. This was a pleasant surprise because I sometimes get my inspiration for writing my own poems through dance.

After attending workshops, if you’re like me, you do some reflecting on your strengths and weaknesses. I enjoy myself more if I do the moves properly. If you want to see a real improvement in your dance, it’s a good idea to work on your fitness. So I decided to give dance classes a break for a while and join a gym. The gym membership included a fitness check, and I worked towards my goals. After a month I started to see results. I didn’t plan to, but I lost weight, and I developed more energy.

A good gym will also provide a spa, pool and fitness classes, including yoga and other higher intensity workouts. The body gets bored with routine, so plan a varied workout. The gym also helped me develop more confidence, flexibility, and posture. The problem with dance classes (even with the advanced classes) is that  go at the pace of the participants and fitness isn’t the main goal. That’s fair enough, because it is impossible to please everyone and you are there to work as a team. If you do want to improve further and you can afford it, I suggest you do one to one classes, much like you’d hire a personal trainer. But be realistic with your goals.

Some teachers include some yoga moves as part of the class. I really like this because it improves posture and flexibility, as you get warmed up for the class. When practising alone, try to memorise a few of your favourite stretches and do them often throughout the day. Even when you’re at work! Troupe costumes can be tricky. They don’t always suit every body. A good teacher is open to talk to you about it.

In Sydney I did a workshop with Kami Liddle and a few weeks before I went, I did some lessons at home using her instructional DVD. I didn’t have much knowledge about Tribal Fusion but it worked! I was more confident and could keep up. Hooray!  I also made new friends.

Once you start learning on your own, you may feel alone. But don’t stop. Keep yourself open for any other dance workshops that come up. I learned more doing the workshops than my normal classes because they are longer and more intense. The teachers give a lot of valuable advice so take a pen and pad with you, and don’t be afraid to write things down. A video camera also comes in handy. Workshop events include performances which are a big inspiration.

These are some more performance favourites:

Smokey Eyes

Valentina Martin

My advice is to think about what can help you learn and grow because this is what will bring out the best in you, feel confident, relax and have fun! Before a class I like to do myself up a bit to get into the mood for dance. There are no set rules on that. Be you. If you like wearing lipstick- do it. If you’d like to try out a new outfit, do it. But my advice is to dress simply at your first class, just to judge what’s acceptable.For workshops I suggest you take a few change of clothes, water, a towel and snacks.

These days I have a lot more time to dedicate to writing and dance. I started Flamenco, bike everywhere, and joined a gym. Eventually I’ll be replacing flamenco with tribal fusion, as I find what style of dance suites me. I recommend trying a bit of everything, before settling with one or two styles you love. This will give you a sense of achievement and belonging. Workshops are also great ways to try new styles!

It’s been a while since I’ve performed and I think the break has been a good time to reflect. I’m focusing on my poetry books and other projects. In time, I will perform again when the time is right.

It’s wise to try different teachers when you first start learning and not get attached to one.

Thank you for reading. If you have any experiences and tips on dance please share in the comments section.


© Maria Grujicic and poemsthadance.com, 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 poemsthadance.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Bellyfusions Paris Festival 2015

On January 2015 I spent two weeks in Paris doing dance classes and whatever else came up. I did ATS classes, flamenco and ballet, and of course as I wrote in another post, did some voice lessons. I went with the flow and enjoyed an artist’s life here for a short time. Perhaps not as a tourist because I’ve already done the touristy things but for learning and all things DANCE!

Now on my last day in Paris, I’m regrouping and recalling my experiences. It was intense and fun! On this occasion at the Bellyfusion Festival I tried as many workshops as I could and perhaps next year I will do my favourites. These workshops included: ATS, Contemporary, Emotional Dance Oriental, Fusion and Dance Theatre. I was pleasantly surprised to find some videos on Youtube- here they are.

This is cute. <3

If you’d like any information on locations to do dance classes, leave a comment below.

Keep on dancing!

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!

My Big Love

Sydney, Australia

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.

My Most Memorable Travel Experience


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 jewellery 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.

CYMBALS BY THE SIDE OF THE RIVERI 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.”  PICNIC AT NIGHT BY THE FRENCH PYRAMIDAfter 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.

Maria Grujicic Dancing In ParisI 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…