The Set of L’Amour

April 9, 2010 at 7:02 am (Uncategorized)

Last week, I was able to plan out half of a duet in the Be Heard! set.  This weekend into next week, I would like to get into the studio to hammer out the second half and finish the rest of the set.  I’ve been solidifying the rest of the music for the show and I couldn’t get over the Open Yourself to Love set.  I had four songs and a running storyline, but realized it was a little too close to the Center Stage film’s performance with a love triangle (though mine did take it a step farther).  So I’m ditching it.  The songs had a lot of great material but I felt were a bit too specific for a topic as broad as “love.”

Instead, I’m hoping to use music from the film Le Roi et L’Oiseau, an animated French film from the 1980’s.  The score is gorgeous and suits the characters portrayed.  Unlike the Be Heard! set which follows closely the story in the film that the music derives from, I’ll be coming up with different concepts.  I’ve had a difficult time figuring out just exactly what I wanted to say with this piece since after all, the show is about giving advice and sharing experiences.  At first, I wanted to go into how love, lust and everything inbetween can lead to getting used and also to wonderful situations.  That you need to keep a good head on your shoulders about who you let into your life.

Having watched one too many romantic comedies, the running theme seems to be that you can’t be happy unless you find someone to love and that it will be happily ever after, after that.  It’s just a bit too perfect.  To me, being in love means giving your whole self to that other person, who will hopefully return it.  That means that all of those sides of you you never knew existed will come out for your lover or partner to see.  When I’m in love with someone, I let down my guard and I become this crazy person it feels like.  I allow myself to actually get angry, emotional, and sad around this person because I love and trust them enough to share that inner part of me that is normally locked away.  So this girl will be showing three parts of herself that get affected when in love that is: the heady/silly/head in the clouds side, the jealous/suspicious/vulnerable side, and the sensual/confident/connecting/feminine side.  It’s supposed to be semi-comedic.  There will be a flower motif that goes along with it.  The girl won’t give her “flowers” (parts to equal her whole self) until the end to show that you should be choosy about who you give your heart to since your love and their’s is a gift to be cherished and respected.

Anyways, I’m happy to have a different idea that’s more suited to what I want to express.  Stay tuned!


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Image Inspiration: From Film to Dance

April 2, 2010 at 7:04 am (Uncategorized)

The two big themes running through the dance that correlate to the movie are the relationship between a niece and her aunt as well as her concern for her children’s welfare and their exposure to the truth.  When brainstorming choreography, I like to keep the imagery from the actual film in my head to stay as true to the characters, the story, and more importantly, the message, as best I can.

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To help Home or Abroad?

April 2, 2010 at 6:53 am (Uncategorized)

In addition to my usual readings and random searches, I often run into stories about women or people at large who are mistreated or censured in other parts of the world.  I’ve heard about bellydancers in Egypt having to wear more modest costuming or not being allowed to perform at all.  About orphanages filled to the brim in China with baby girls because parents prefer to have a son in the one child only law.  About women being sold into slavery and sex work in countries all over the world.  About police massacring homeless children in Brazil, while they slept.  About a woman being shot and killed in Iran for simply standing by watching a protest on the elections.

I’m constantly hearing all of these horrible stories.  It leaves me feeling so angry and sad, I want to do something but I can’t do much.  So I end up feeling helpless.  Two notions often set me at odds.  The first is “take care of your home before your neighbors.”  That means restricting your efforts to only those in your community, state, or country.  That we have enough problems here without having to worry about everyone else’s in the world.  The second view is that we are all on this planet as a global community.  When one country can’t defend itself against tyranny and injustice, it’s up to the rest of us to step in and give what relief we can to those who would stand against it.

When I mention my upset feelings after having watched a documentary, read a book or article, or heard a story from a friend, the reaction I mostly get is that first concept of “take care of your home first.”  I think my dad goes with this view.  An ex and close friend of mine does.  Even my facebook pen pal from Turkey said “You can’t do anything, it’s not your problem.”  It’s practical, but discouraging.  It’s true I don’t always know the exact situation of something going on in another country let alone mine.  But that doesn’t mean that issues that affect people here don’t affect others abroad.

I have been working hard to figure out how I can help.  I think I can help at home and abroad.  In the classic book, “The Robe,” the author details the fictional grassroots movement of Christianity just after the death of Jesus.  You follow two Romans into the backwoods of Middle Eastern regions, where mostly Jewish communities are secretly practicing the concepts of this new faith.  What stuck out to me was a few passages in which Marcellus, the main character, is enquring what big changes have occurred in the lives of these new followers.  And the answer is that no there’s been no big uprising against any of the local and national governments.  No protests.  No huge outbursts of violence to overthrow the old ways.  Instead, you see people starting to treat each other more fairly, with patience, and respect.  They are trying to be more aware of others and extending the notion of brotherly love to all, friend and stranger alike.

To really make a difference, the change has to start within yourself.  You need to stop indulging in negative thinking towards yourself and others.  When you really put forth the effort, it will show, and it will spread.  People will subconsciously pick up on it.  When I am around people who display values such as modesty, humility, discipline, initiative, and kindess, it makes you want to be a good person.  For a good person like that, you will work hard to be worth their giving you friendship.  So I want to encourage that both within myself and others.

In regards to having an impact on the world at large, the best thing to do is first, educate yourself.  You can’t form an opinion on a situation unless you’ve done your homework.  Sometimes all you can do, is stay informed, be aware, and pass it along.  Maybe you can’t do something, but if the story goes on far enough, another person who is closer to the situation and has better resources can jump in.  And if you are really ambitious, research organizations and charities that work directly with the circumstance you are concerned about.  My goal in the next few months is to find one or two that I can contribute to for the next couple of years in some way.

With all this being said, I would like to challenge you to think of ways that you can make your life better for you and those you interact with daily.  And perhaps ways in which you can get in tune with what’s going on in the world.

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Where it Began

April 2, 2010 at 3:53 am (Uncategorized)

This is the trailer for the film “The Stoning of Soraya M.”  It is the main inspiration behind one of my pieces and behind the show in general.  To watch the whole movie, it is available for purchase on Amazon, or you can rent or watch it instantly from Netflix.  It is based off of a book by the same name, but it costs about $150 to purchase.  Lol.

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Movin’ Right Along

April 2, 2010 at 3:47 am (Uncategorized)

Out of my four song narrative in the Be Heard! set, song one, one person’s part of two, and the third one are all choreographed.  Tonight, I got to go to a different studio with a friend of mine to work on it.  We were each in separate rooms getting frustrated with hammering things out for our separate projects.  I’ve never choreographed a multi-person piece before.  Luckily with this song, one person follows along with a frantic violin and the other follows a more sedate secondary melody.  Tonight was about knocking out the crazy one.  I have a rough sketch for the most part of what I want.  It’s just those crazy cross through turns I need to get through.  It helped so much having Megan there to run through things with and ask advice.

Anyways, just wanted to check in.  Keeps me motivated to keep working on bits and pieces at a time.  Whoop! whoop! for progress!

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Whatcha Doin?

March 29, 2010 at 2:45 am (Uncategorized)

For the most part, I’ve been listening to music like crazy for the past week or two, trying to get a playlist together for the show.  It’s been hard finding music that fits and will allow me to use mostly bellydance movements.  I will more than likely have to change around most of my music.

However, I have working on my first set called Be Heard! (title also subject to change).  This piece is inspired by the film called “The Stoning of Soraya M.” which recounts the true story of an Iranian woman who was stoned to death by villagers in 1986 on false charges of adultery so that her husband could marry a fourteen-year old.  The movie was made to bring about awareness to Western audiences that acts like stoning and honor killings are still done in the Middle East.  The message that I am using for my dance piece that pertains to this, is that women need to be more vocal about their life experiences, especially when there are things at work against them.  If you don’t share your worries and dreams with others, no one can help.  I also wish to convey the sense of injustice and grief that the film instills in trying to tell part of the story through dance.  For music, I am using four songs that come directly from the film’s score.  I already have half of it choreographed and will be planning out the last half (hopefully) by the end of this week, with the intention of teaching it to another dancer to see how it looks.

While most of the show is still up in the air in terms of concepts and music, this is the one section that I knew just had to be in there.  I first encountered the film in a facebook status update by Princess Farhana (an international bellydancer extraordinaire), who recommended it.  I watched bits and pieces of it on Netflix and then finally decided to buy it.  Watching it makes me feel mad and absolutely helpless.  It’s honestly what inspired me to put on this show in the first place.  I hate watching documentaries that reveal to you some ugliness in the world but never tell you how to fix it.  This project has become my way of reaching out, and I hope by drawing people together I can pass along positive donations as well as collect donations for a worthy cause that goes directly to helping women in need.

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Why Bother?

March 29, 2010 at 2:14 am (Uncategorized)

Why indeed would I start a big ol’ project like this when I could be eating ice cream, napping, doodling, or doing any other productive activities I fill my time with?  I have two reasons:

1. It’s time to be a Grown-up

Most of my life, I have been that shy, quiet girl sitting in the corner watching everyone else goof off, achieve their goals, have a social life, and heaven knows what else.  The thought of making decisions and having people listen to me on any subject scared the bejezus out of me.  As a result, I’ve always taken on projects and jobs that were below my performance and intelligence abilities.  Enough is enough.  I’ve graduated from university.  I’m paying my own rent.  I’ve worked full time hours at a job.  I can buy my own ice cream and cookies now.  It’s time to start acting like an adult.  And so, I have decided that I need to take on more leadership roles and challenging responsibilities.  The first half of this work will be hard but nothing I haven’t handled before.  Brainstorming, choreographing, listening to music, etc. are all things I can do on my own time without ever having to work with another person.  But once all that is finished, it will be up to me to find dancers, a venue, a charity/organization, helpers, and an audience to watch.  It is going to be one of the hardest things I’ll ever have to do, but I know that it is time.

2. To become a serious Dancer

No, I have not been taking classes like ballet since I was three.  Yes, I have only been bellydancing for about two and a half years now.  But I can honestly say, this is the one thing that I know I could eat, breathe, and make love to every day for the rest of my life.  Bellydance completes me *cue cheesy music.  I may not be the best performer now, but I plan on working my butt off to reach a professional level.  I finally have the motivation and drive to actually accomplish this where I haven’t really had that with much else before, at least to this degree.  And I want to teach.  This is going to be a great opportunity to practice teaching my styles and interpretations of dance to others (and luckily they won’t be beginners, which is good and bad).  This show will force me to put in tons of time, creative thinking, and effort in to make this work and I know in the end, not only will it make me a better dancer, but a better person overall.

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What is “For Our Sisters?”: An Introduction

March 28, 2010 at 7:35 pm (Uncategorized)

Hello and welcome!  This blog is an off-shoot of my main page that will be documenting one specific dance project that I am currently working on and look forward to seeing become a reality.  “For Our Sisters” is based on the idea of women giving advice and sharing their experiences of growing up with their “little sisters” or younger girls at large.  It is supposed to foster good will, love, creativity and community among the participants and audience members.  My hope is to have five pieces each centering on one topic of advice expressed through narrative (belly)dance, short monologues, collage audio, and other forms of media.  The desire is to create a more interactive show for all involved.  In conjunction with the show, I will choose a charity or organization that has a specifically female focus to help raise donations for.

In the chaos that is to be in creating from start to end this big project, I hope to share my inspirations, progress, ideas, and more on here.  This is my first serious dance project and I hope to have everything ready to go by the fall.  Anyways, wish me luck and stay tuned for updates!

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