Sunday, April 17, 2016

My First Belly Dance Workshop and Showcase

9 new DVDs I bought from Michelle
Joyce at the workshops. She was selling
them for $5 and $10.
So, I've been playing around with belly dance for a handful of years now. I've never had access to live classes, so I am self taught through DVDs and youtube. I've never minded this so much, as being a self-conscious person, it allowed me to feel comfortable in my own space and move at my own pace, which is significantly slower than if I'd done classes. I don't practice nearly enough. I need to work on that.

Earlier this month, I attended my first ever group learning experience. I've attended a few of Peach's haflas (belly dance parties essentially), but I'd never been to a workshop or class. I found out about an event through one of Peach's teachers on Facebook. It was a series of workshops with Michelle Joyce, the woman behind Cheeky Girls Productions whom I buy from and list on the belly dance tab of this blog. It was only two hours away in a city I regularly visit and have family in, so I was ecstatic to be able to go there and work with a dancer I was familiar with.

I was nervous at first. Would I be the biggest dancer there? Would I be surrounded by a mass of professional dancers and look like a train wreck next to them? Would I be able to keep up in class?

Finger cymbal (zill)
mufflers I bought.
Well, I did turn out to be the biggest dancer there, although perhaps the shortest. I was indeed surrounded by a mass of professionals, as I found out during the showcase Saturday night. There were other dancers who weren't on the professional level, but they didn't dance in the show. I did manage to keep up in class. I had some trouble with stamina and some of the more complex footwork, but otherwise, I don't think I did too bad for a self-taught dancer.

I decided to dance in the show so my mother and grandmother could see me dance for the first time. I also do enjoy performing, even though I have a lot of things to work on. I quickly realized that I was surrounded by pros when everyone else was wearing elaborately beaded, expensive bedlah with beautiful thobes as cover ups. The dancing was exquisite. I had never seen live belly dance performances before, and getting to see 13 professional dancers perform was a real treat.

I know I was probably not very good compared to them. I do have a lot to work on, primarily my arms. I tend to forget about them when I get in front of an audience. However, the other dancers were very supportive and gave me lots of compliments. I even got a compliment from a man in the audience who came up to me and told me he enjoyed my dance.

I really enjoyed the experience and I'm sad I can't really find local classes in the cabaret styles. I plan to do more workshops though. There's an event at the same studio in July with Vanessa of Cairo about Egyptian dance that I'm really excited about. I like being around other dancers. It's nice to be around people who are passionate about the same thing you are and understand what its like to study this dance.

New hip scarf I bought and wore
to perform in.
Mom took a video of my performance. I watched it during the intermission, but I can't go back and watch it now because all I do is pick out the flaws. Which, I suppose if you aren't a dancer, you wouldn't notice most of it, but I'm sure you'll notice the arms issue. I hope you enjoy the dance. I enjoyed performing, even if I wasn't on par with the other dancers. I'm a bit sad I didn't record some of the other performances, but I was more interested in watching. They were so good.

I can't wait for the next workshop.


  1. Nice job!
    Very fluid hips. :-)
    No wonder that man complimented you!
    Arms are hard - and you did fine with them for most of it. Even the spots where they slipped a bit weren't that bad - we're always harder on ourselves.

    1. Thank you! It just bugs me because in my head, I know what I should do, but the adrenaline gets to me a lot.