Feels like dancing!

Tomorrow I’m dancing for the first time in over a year & a half…a small lunch-time performance for the seniors over at Macaulay Lodge. Amazing how just putting myself out there psychically  has opened this perfect little door. All I had to do was think to myself “I feel open to dancing again,” and voilà! …the most perfect little gig that a girl newly-recovered from menopausal depression could ask for.

To celebrate, here I am, performing Raqs Bedaya.
Enjoy!


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A little bellydance for you!

Dance has been on my mind a lot these past several days, so I thought I would dig something out of the archives to share with you today.

This is a piece called Habibity that I choreographed for my dance troupe, Saba Middle Eastern Dance Ensemble a couple of years ago. Here it is in it’s debut performance, March 11th, 2011. Enjoy!

Dancing, Knitting, Quilting, Gardening: a perfect Sunday!

I had such a lovely morning giving Jade her first bellydance lesson today! We did knee shimmies, twist shimmies, played with some veils and learned to walk like a princess/dancer (pointing the toes before each step and walking lightly on the balls of the feet). Here she is:
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That beautiful posture and dancer’s arms come natural to her, as does the great big ear-to-ear grin! We can’t wait for our next lesson next weekend. 🙂

I so enjoyed my hour with these two bright and talented girls. Both got to take home a hipscarf, and Jade is keeping the purple veil (though her mom will have to cut off a good 18″ from the bottom).

And here is Halia showing us a little summer top that I knit for her (notice that she chose to dress appropriately for accompanying her big sister to a dance class!)

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Such a cutie-pie, and looks an awful lot like her beautiful mom.

So that takes care of Dancing and Knitting! Now how about a little quilting? I finally finished the last of the three because-you-matter little boy boy quilts!

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And here they are all together:

 

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Tested and approved by Samuel J. Collins

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I even got out into the garden and cleaned out my flower beds. The sun is out, the leaves are out, green things are starting to peek out of the ground.

I hope your Sunday was as lovely as mine was!

Play!

Melissa at 100 Billion Stars writes wonderful, inspiring blog posts. Her last one was about giving ourselves permission to play.

This is something near and dear to my heart. There are so many ways to be creative and let your playful side out.  You can dance, sing, twirl and move all by yourself in your living room. You can surround yourself with fabric and start cutting and sewing without any rules or idea of where you might end up. You can play tag with your dog or bounce a piece of yarn with your cat. You can write a letter or a poem or a crazy song. Whatever you do, just let your imagination be in charge for once. Just for once! let go of  rules and expectations and create something simply for the sake of playing.

I find myself missing the creativity and playfulness of teaching dance. I feel like my brain and my body are a bit mushy from the lack of it, and I am starting to think about teaching again in some fashion. And so I am taking Melissa’s advice and I am going to play with dance this coming weekend. I have asked my little friend Jade if she would like to learn to dance with veils. (well, actually I asked Jade’s mother and she said yes, lol!) Jade is 7 years old.

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Here is a picture of me at age 7:

 

 

I am going to pick Jade and her 4-year-old sister up on Saturday and we are going to have a play date.  I don’t have any child-sized veils for them…I might need to cut one of mine in half. I will have to dig them out and have a look-see. We are going to have so much fun! Silly, goofy fun and Jade will learn some dance at the same time.

I will leave you with a video of my old dance troupe Saba Middle Eastern Dance Ensemble (who I miss playing with very much) performing a piece that I choreographed for them for Rockin’ the Casbah a couple of years ago. This is women’s Gulf dance and it is all about play. I had so much fun choreographing this piece and I hope you have fun watching it! In fact, if it inspires you to get up and dance along with us, go for it!

How are you going to play today?

A new creative space

I made a new friend last fall when I attended a workshop at The Haven on Gabriola Island in BC. Her name is Patricia. I was drawn to her, not just because she is a generous, kind and funny woman who is a lot of fun, but also because of the fact that she retired early, as I will be doing soon.  We had a conversation about how, when she recently married and moved into her new husbands home, she felt displaced and as though she didn’t quite belong. She lived there in body but not in soul. Her solution was to take over the guest bedroom and re-make it into her own personal creative space. She didn’t take anyone else’s aesthetics but hers into consideration. It is totally and completely, 100% Patricia’s room.  I absolutely love this idea. It has consumed me for months.

I have a sewing room. Like Patricia, I live there in body but not in soul. In the back of my mind it has remained Michael’s bedroom. It was a cobbled-together room, a place where I practiced my “make do” philosophy as hard as I could. I used the sideboard that was my mother-in-law’s as my sewing table because my husband, bless his heart, couldn’t bear to part with it. There was, quite literally, no place for it to go in the house except into the sewing room.  In order to use it, I have to put the foot pedal inside one of the cupboards and sit with my foot stuck inside to run the machine. I actually grew to like the old thing, but it was only a stop-gap for a real sewing table: it is too low and my back gets sore when I sew for any length of time. But frugal is as frugal does, and I made do.

And then I bought a treadmill.  I’ve always wanted a treadmill, but there was never any place for it to go, so guess what…yup! I put it in my sewing room. It was a terrific solution, but as far as a creative spaces go, the room fell kind of short.

And now that we are moving to a new house with none of our history in it,  I have been consumed with the thought of creating my own personalized space with no restrictions other than size. My creative space in the new house is a tiny 9′ x 10′ and faces east.

I  don’t want to “make do” any more.  I want to outfit the room with the proper equipment that I need to be creative in it: a good sound system.  A good sewing machine and a serger. A place for my laptop. Room to twirl a cane, a veil, or myself. I want it to be bright and airy. I want a bit of floor space in the middle of the room to set up my yoga mat or do my bellydance practice.

There is a window on the east wall which I am going to have opened up to install sliding glass doors. I love that these doors will take up most of the wall! Kelly will build a small deck  so that I can step outside, and it will also be our “shade” deck for hot summer days.  On the second wall, I am going to remove the closet doors and turn the closet space into a writing/office space…my computer desk will fit in there perfectly, and I can install lighting and put up funky wallpaper and shelving. I want to devote the third wall to a bi-level counter space – the tall portion for a cutting/crafting surface and the short portion for the sewing machine(s). I will put shelving above and below the counters for storage and a peg board where I can hang my tools.  The fourth wall will hold a large mirror and a ballet barre, and somewhere in this room I want to put the perfect chair for reading.

Maybe I’m asking a lot from such a tiny space, but I believe it can be done and I can’t wait to start creating my creative space!

 

Dancing with Words

Last night was the last of my creative writing classes that I’ve been taking at the college. What an amazing experience this class has been for me on so many levels. I really like writing. Not just bloggy-blog writing (which I also enjoy), I mean that I have really loved the challenge of creative writing. I tried my hand at fiction, non-fiction and poetry. And not only did I discover that I liked it, I discovered that I’m not half-bad at it, either! Or, at least in my own sometimes-not-so-humble opinion, anyway.  It does take a fair bit of time, though. So all the blogging I haven’t done and all the sewing I haven’t done and all the knitting I haven’t done is because I’ve been writing and re-writing my class assignments. And I have got something to show for it all, too! I have a great handful of haiku, two long poems that have gone through many revisions and are now finished and ready to go, a third poem that I am in the process of revising and have great dreams for, a 3400-word fiction piece awaiting revision, and a 5,000-word non-fiction piece that is finished and ready to go (or as ready as a piece ever gets, as I’m beginning to learn!)

Because I enjoyed the process of writing so much, and my mind is so stuffed full of ideas for more, I’ve decided that I’m actually going to jump into the inky swimming pool and submit a few things!

The bummer is that I can’t show them to you! Not the ones that I want to submit anywhere, anyway. For some reason, posting a piece on a blog is considered “published” in a literary magazine world that only accepts unpublished work.

Once again I am reminded of how many ways there are to dance through life, and how much I am enjoying this creative journey.

As Martha Graham said: “Learn to dance by practicing dancing, or learn to live by practicing living. The principles are the same.”

I say, go ahead and insert the word “write” or “paint” or “sing” in here. We are all dancing through life in our own way.