Dance

feeling lost

Lost your Dance Mojo, what now? Help get your dance mojo back

What you can do if you have lost your dance mojo.

After many, many years of almost daily dance practice, I haven’t danced or thought of dancing for almost 6 months now, I have lost my dance mojo. And does it worry me, for damn sure it does! So I thought I’d dive a little deeper into this feeling and see if I can find my ‘why’ and then ways of re-igniting the spark! See if they will help get my dance mojo back.

Lost your dance mojo

So many reasons

I think there are many reasons that we lose the passion, the drive, the ‘want to’ feeling. For instance, Life can just get in the way, you know the old adage “Life happens when you a busy making plans”. Perhaps you fall out of the habit or routine, your usual class closes, or you injure yourself, your dance buddies are no longer there to drag you to class. Maybe you don’t find it challenging anymore, or like a lot of us, the stress of everyday life and work priorities get in the way.

So if you are currently feeling decidedly un-dance-ified then maybe this will help get your dance mojo back.

Don’t feel guilty

Whatever your reason, don’t feel guilty.

I know that for some of us (sticking my hand up here) we have been so involved in it for so long and have people that depend on us to attend things, we feel guilty when all of a sudden we just don’t want to engage.  

But I suppose like with anything you start off full of enthusiasm and excitement, you throw yourself into it with everything, and then over time your enthusiasm starts to wane, you don’t get so excited anymore, you move on to other things.

I know as professionals we sometimes feel the pressure to produce all the time, to be perfectionists all the time, be creative all the time. Eventually, you will get to a point where you just can’t anymore. Don’t force it. Remember ‘NO’ is a complete sentence.

Find Balance

When we feel like this try and enjoy the time of non-creativity, stop and take in what you have done. Take the time to reload, recharge, find a balance. Even in nature, there is a time for huge growth and creativity (think about trees and flowers, they give their everything in Spring and then die back to replenish in Winter, so they are fresh for the next Spring) and a time to recharge. It’s always good to take a page out of Mama Nature’s book.

It doesn’t mean that you have stopped loving Dance but right now it just doesn’t have priority in your life, for whatever the reason. So what can you do to maybe help get the groove back, get your Dance on again? Well maybe try some of these.

Finding balance

Things to help get re-ignite the spark:

A change is as good as a holiday

Try and look at changing your dance venue/class. Looking for a new teacher, new space and new people might be just the change you need to get things going again.

Maybe take a break

Maybe you need to step back and spend some time sorting through the things going on in your life that may be detracting from your dance practice. Once you have found that balance, dance might come back to you when you need it again.

Dance through it

I know it sounds counter-intuitive but just dance more. We all know that dance is good for stress, it helps with memory and it’s definitely brilliant at lifting your mood. So you might just find you dance yourself right back into your groove again.

Try new things

Find new music that speaks to you, start a new playlist of totally different music and listen to it in your car, at the gym, choreograph in your head (I know we all do it!).

Maybe try a new dance style. Ever thought of taking an Adult Ballet class, a Flamenco class, how about Jazz. This will add new spice to your dance repertoire and get you all excited about dance again.

Do a Workshop 

There is something to be said about being in a room with 20 or 30 other women who are grooving and dancing, smiling and laughing and just generally enjoying themselves, the space and the company they are in. It’s infectious! It will quickly make you realize what you love about dancing in the first place.

Whatever it might be, don’t be hard on yourself. Give yourself some time and space. Remember; DANCE WILL ALWAYS WAIT FOR YOU!

Blessings

Jacqui

Women Day Event

The Uncertainty of……

Self-sabotage and the uncertainty of……, a common thread through most of our lives. Even when everyone tells you otherwise.

As I mentioned in my last post, I have recently re-branded my Oriental Dance Studio due to the misconception of Belly Dance in the area where I live. To go with this re-brand and because it was so close to our National Women’s Day, I decided to host a Ladies Only Women’s Day Celebration.

Everything started off with a bang, major excitement from the Dancers, great enthusiasm for where and how we were going to advertise and how many ladies we could get to join us. Even a very unexpected benefactor and a wonderful sponsorship. Our initial intention with hosting the event was to showcase exactly what the Studio does and to educate the ladies in the town on the history of Belly Dance, as well as hopefully make a little moola to supplement the cost of our costumes for our year end event.

Well, we had posters up every where, or should I say businesses promised to put posters up, but the closer we got to the event the more we realised that the people in this town will promise you the world but seldom deliver. If it wasn’t for my wonderful dancers and the awesome sponsorship we would not have made a cent. And the Ladies that did attend were mostly friend and family of my dancers…..so much for new business.

I had a major bout of uncertainty about 3 weeks before the event due to the absolute lack of interest (and boy we went all out with advertising) that I was seriously considering cancelling the event. If it wasn’t for my SO’s gentle reminder, “who cares how many people attend, those that will come will love it. And besides you are not in this for the money, you are doing this for your dancers”. So the Show went on….

Everyone that did attend absolutely loved it (can hear my SO….’told you so’), but I don’t think we will be doing it again, purely because of the uncertainty of the eventual cost and the lack of interest of indifferent individuals.

None the less we enjoyed ourselves, any excuse to dress up, bling up and DANCE!!

On the subject of uncertainty, exactly a month later in August, Marina and I performed at the annual Tribalation event. This is an annual event held in Johannesburg, South Africa that provides a platform for Dancers and Studios to perform and showcase various types of Tribal Fusion, ATS, Gothic Fusion Belly Dance and is supported by dancers from all over South Africa.

I love performing at the event and this was my 3rd year but as before that voice of self-doubt and uncertainty reared its ugly head. I set myself a challenge this year to perform a totally choreographed piece. Now if people know me they know that I usually only do improvisation….so this was more stressful than I ever imagined. I had that constant nagging feeling that it wasn’t good enough, I wasn’t good enough, no-one would like it, etc, etc,etc….ad nauseum……aaargh!! What made it even more difficult is that it was Marina’s first Tribal solo at the event. Last year she was part of the Studio Troupe number. This year she was choreographing her own Tribal piece, and here I was, her teacher, a nervous wreck about mine, having to be very strong and encouraging for her. Boy, I should have taken a page out of her book. A picture of calmness, strength and grace. Her solo was beautiful! Mine I will always find fault in and criticize, even though the crit’s for it were good.

Women Day Event

So in closing…….Why is it that a person cannot accept that something you do is good, that people like it, that you are good enough. Why do we always self-sabotage…..mmmmm. Something I am still working on.

Blessings,

Jacqui

A Little News….

Wow, but its been an age since I posted anything…..my bad! I think I spend more time trawling other peoples Blog’s and thinking how great they are at it….and how regularly they post, instead of doing my own. Hey, what can I say Pinterest is addictive…lol, so here is a little news from me.

Well, since my last post quite a lot has happened, so I thought I’d give you all a little insight into my mad world over the last couple of months. If you can recall, I have a small Belly Dance studio in Rustenburg, NW, South Africa. As much as it has been my Life Saver over the last couple of years, it has also been a source of stress too. We have been open for about 5 years now and over the 5 years I have never really had any more than 10 dancers at any one time and I look at other studios in similar sized towns with 30 odd dancers and I think, what am I doing wrong….which is a major frustration I might add. I had gotten to the point where advertising no longer worked, word-of-mouth had all but dried up and then the inevitable ‘haters’….okay, maybe that is a bit strong. I should rather say the ‘hugely misinformed’….women in our small town that look at Belly / Oriental Dance as something akin to stripping, parading ourselves for male amusement (not knocking those that do this…whatever pays your bills), wouldn’t been seen dead at a class or event, and the Husbands that will not allow those that want to come and try a class, to even mention it in polite company. Its a never ending battle that I sure many Belly Dancers through the ages have had to deal with. So after contemplating closing the Studio, which only lasted a short while because I couldn’t abandon my wonderful dancers, I addressed the possibility of re-branding the Studio with said ‘wonderful dancers’….and to my utter amazement they were 100% behind my decision. It was so nice to know that it wasn’t just me that thought that what we had created was worth fighting for and that we needed to make these misinformed women aware of the beauty of this ancient dance form.

And so the search for a new Studio Name began. Something that would embody our style, our mission, ethos and studio standard. After a short list of 5, the majority vote was for:

MiTribe Oriental Dance Collective

So on 1st August 2016, Rusty Belly Dance officially became MiTribe Oriental Dance Collective.

Our reasoning behind this move was to clearly define what we do as an Oriental Dance Studio. Although we still firmly base our foundation, and especially that of our Beginners in the fundamentals of Belly Dance, we have steadily become more Fusion orientated over the past three years. We aim to combine different dance forms, such as Tribal Fusion, ATS (American Tribal Style), Ballet, Contemporary, Cabaret, Kathak Indian, Bollywood and Spanish Fusion into our unique choreography and technique classes. We still feature Classical Egyptian and Turkish Belly Dance, but it is not our main focus.

Most importantly, we have to rebrand to suit the conditions of the extremely conservative, predominantly Afrikaans, “small town” mentality we face in our city. Rustenburg is growing and evolving, but it is not as cosmopolitan as the larger cities in the country and if we hope to sustain our growth, we will have to move away from the “Belly Dance” reference. It is a sad state of affairs that, even in this day and age, women are still led to believe that Belly Dance is something akin to stripping. In our town, this radical step is needed to change the attitude towards our dance form so that women would no longer be afraid to be associated with Belly Dance. We understand that we run the risk of being seen as taking a cop-out by Traditionalists, but we daily face comments from unenlightened women asking “Don’t you only dance for men?” or “What does your husband think?”, not to mention the negative body image issues that are associated with our costuming. This lack of education and exposure is harming the dance form, not helping.

The rebranding of our studio was therefore not a move away from spreading the knowledge and joys of Oriental Dance, but an action to strengthen it. Our studio ethos and mission statement had and will always be that of a tribe of women who collectively share the same standards and values and who embody the power and passion to motivate each other to be the best they can be. We strive to always represent Belly Dance in all its associated forms with the reverence and respect it deserves.

Our new Mission Statement:

MiTribe Mission Statement
MiTribe Oriental Dance Collective Mission Statement

And we kicked the re-branding off with a wonderful event to celebrate everything about being a Woman…….but more about that in the next post.

Have a Blessed day!

Jacqui

The Dancer in Me | My journey through dance

This blog takes you on my journey through dance, the dancer in me and how it has shaped my life.

Tribalation 2015

This a photo from my 2nd Tribalation improvised solo. Tribalation is an annual fusion style belly dance showcase in South Africa. I was very proud of myself for being there a 2nd time and this time with some of my students. Its been a rough road to building up the courage to dance at an event that showcases some of the best Tribal Fusion dancers in the country. Especially if you have never had any formal training, totally self-taught and full of self-doubt. But I digress, let me go back to the beginning…….

The Beginning….

Dance is in my blood, I have been dancing since I was about 5 years old. My dance journey started with Classical ballet in the Cecchetti Method which I completed my Advanced certificate in, then on the Modern Dance, a bit of contemporary and cabaret and finally Belly Dance. I was even lucky enough to take over a Ballet School to teach the DASA method for about 5 years. Even though I was always told that I was a born dancer, choreographer and was very good at it (by teachers, adjudicators, other dancers, etc) I have never really believed it. I basically spent most of my youth and early adulthood believing that I was not good at anything, that even included my marriage and being a mother.

When life hands you lemons, Dance

But as time passed and I grew up, went through so many challenges that broke me, that made me doubt myself even more, dance was always a constant. No matter where I was I always seemed to gravitate back to dance in some form or other. I found Belly Dance (as like most people) quite by chance almost 15 years ago. I did about a year of classes with my then sister-in-law and fell in love with it. It was my savior when everything around me was falling apart….when I was falling apart during a very traumatic divorce and custody battle…..in a way you could say that it rescued me, it kept me sane.

You are never too old

At the time, around 2005-ish, there was not really much belly dance here in South Africa but I luckily had a job that allowed copious amounts of internet access…..so a closet Belly Dance stalker was born. I started following the careers of Rachel Brice, Sadie, Ansuya, Petit Jamilla, just to name a few and absorbed the beauty of Belly Dance like a sponge. Lol…I still have print outs of belly dance handbooks and notes that I found on the internet, (hey, YouTube was not so good then….heehee). Have you ever tried to teach yourself Belly Dance from a written handbook…..not easy I tell you. After leaving town and having to stop the classes that I did at the time, I found out about BDASA (Belly Dance Association of South Africa) and Shalimar Harrison, right there and then I purchased by first belly dance DVD’s. And the rest you can say is history. I spent the next couple of years learning everything I could by myself.

After moving to Rustenburg in early 2010, a teacher in a nearby town heard via a mutual friend that I belly danced, and as she put it ‘brilliant’, she approached me to take over her group of students that she did monthly workshops with, these ladies were keen to do weekly classes which she couldn’t provide. After much soul searching and once again, that inevitable self doubt I said Yes. Thanks to the faith of a then total stranger, and now close Belly dance Sister, Mira, Rusty Belly Dance was formed.

Opening my Studio

We are a very small belly dance studio in Rustenburg, in the North West province. I teach the Middle Eastern basics to all my beginners students but we do a bit of AmCab, ATS and of course, Tribal Fusion. We have been going for 5 years now, with some faithful students from the 1st classes that are still with us, but we gain a few passionate ladies every year that enjoy  and learn to love Belly Dance like I do.

Through these wonderful woman I have learnt to love myself again, to see that I am strong, that I am good enough. And even though I have had only a little formal training in Belly Dance (in the greater scheme of things) I have been willing to learn from others over time and pass that knowledge on to the ladies in my classes. We have fun, we laugh, we cry, we share each others successes, challenges and heartaches and by doing so grow each and every day.

If I can leave one final thought. I will be eternally grateful for the role that DANCE and for the dancer in me has played in making me who I am today. Far stronger, courageous and happier than I ever thought I could be. I even met the love of my life, my soul mate through Dance. If that’s not good then I don’t know what is!!

Happy Shimmying,

Jacqui

xxx