Weekend of Workshops

I have had a seriously busy past 2 weeks! Lots of photography and design assignments and then I met somebody <happy face> and have started dating again (what a scary world when you’ve been out of the loop for nearly 2 years!) But I’ve also managed to attend 2 workshops in a weekend! A Spanish workshop, given by Mandy from Hipnotise and a Tribal Fusion workshop given by Marissa from SOMA over the weekend of the 13th/14th of June.

The lovely SOMA ladies

I was only planning on doing the Spanish workshop on the Saturday because it was hosted by our studio, Maya, and I could really only afford one workshop. As a studio we had decided we wanted to learn Spanish and then organized this workshop so I had said yes to attending this workshop long before I heard about the SOMA workshop. Luckily, a friend of mine (actually ex boyfriend… but we won’t get into this story!) paid for the SOMA workshop for me! So I happily attended the Sunday workshop as well!

Saturday, 13th June 2010 – Spanish workshop with Mandy

Mandy from Hypnotise (I got this pic off FB... I hope she doesn't mind..)

Once upon a time, I had seen the dance we would learn performed by my very first teacher, Pam. She unfortunately left the studio because she moved to the UK – so sad to have lost such a great performer, she was such a diva! (in the best way possible!) Since everybody in the studio had seen the dance, we thought we knew what we were in for – hahahahaha! What a lie! Some of the moves came a bit more naturally to the older (not in age…) dancers because we had been doing Fusion for so long, and a lot of our moves are Spanish inspired, but the other moves and little accents were incredibly difficult to do! I felt so inexperienced during the workshop because it really showed me that there are totally different avenues of dance out there that I totally suck at! The dance was about 4 minutes long, maybe longer and the workshop was 3 hours long! A very long time to be dancing, especially when I’m used to dancing for an hour and a half once a week! This would’ve been the second time in 5 days I’d had a dance class/lesson and I could feel it. (I need to make a note to work on my stamina!) I think the most difficult thing about the workshop was the accents that are so important in creating that “Spanish” atmosphere and so important in making it feel authentic. Things like tilting your head, holding your dress and keeping your arms strong but still feminine. It’s quite a lot to take in all at one workshop! Mandy was definitely qualified for it, she moved effortlessly through the dance and taught us really well, going over some basic Spanish steps and then making little combos, doing it with the music, etc. I’m really glad the studio did it and I only hope that we actually put it to work!

My facebook update from the Spanish workshop!

Sunday, 14th June 2010 – Tribal Fusion workshop with Marissa

Marissa from SOMA

Even though my style of dance is tribal fusion, I was really looking forward to learning from Marissa because she is like the tribal fusion QUEEN of Cape Town! She’s a gorgeous dancer and always leaves her audience in awe when she dances – something that I don’t think can be captured on video, so I’ve never actually bothered trying. The workshop was scheduled to run for two and a half hours and we would be learning a (+-) 2 minute choreography. We started with sitting down and having Marissa explain where Tribal Fusion originated, how it was influenced and why it’s different from classic cabaret style belly dance. We then moved to a basic yoga warm up, not too much because she knew that my teacher didn’t really like yoga warm ups (She once attended a workshop which was mainly the warm up and very little dancing). I was especially happy that Marissa explained the history behind the dance form before beginning because it’s something I’ve had to research on my own and if I hadn’t done that I don’t think that my dancing would’ve evolved as it has – I believe that knowing the history behind it can change the way you dance and the way you think about it. Amazing that something so small can have such an impact on your dancing.   Marissa went on to explain that Tribal Fusion is a muscle-based form of dance, and not skeletal like cabaret style. (I’m not saying it’s definitely like that, but that Fusion is MORE muscle based and less skeletal unlike cabaret which is the opposite.) We did some drills, were taught some ‘basics’ of tribal fusion, and then did the choreography which I loved! I think that Marissa’s style of dance and teaching totally resonates with me and I find it easy to learn in her classes and I always love the choreography. She teaches and choreographs in such a way that it’s FUN to learn and do the movements. Tribal Fusion is often accused of being too hard and serious, just like cabaret is accused of being too soft and fun. But both can lend from the other in that respect and Marissa manages to find a balance between the two that I love. After learning the awesome choreography, we did it facing the mirror and then a few times without Marissa and without the mirror. While we danced without her, she was constantly making approving noises, like zagareeting and doing the “yelp” thing which is VERY motivating! I asked Marissa if I could record the dance and upload it to YouTube (with credit to SOMA, of course!) and she said it was alright, so I will post that as soon as I’ve danced it and uploaded it. 🙂 After the workshop I spoke to her and she said to me that the thing with choreography is that you should just have this one section that’s WOW and then crowds love it. The workshop was well worth it, and I think that I’ve taken a lot away from it! I’m glad I went!

On a completely different note, I’ve been getting a lot of spam on the comments of this blog, unfortunately! It looks like this:

This is what the dreaded spam looks like!

Luckily, WordPress catches it and marks it as spam, but I always have to check  because in the past I’ve had many comments marked as spam that weren’t spam.

That was my weekend of workshops… I know the post is a bit (very) late, but I’ll try to keep it up and keep posting. My lovely boyfriend is away this weekend at a BMX competition (he’s really good, but hold thumbs!) so I hope to post once more this week.

If you ever want to contact me with questions or suggestions or complaints please feel free to do so by either leaving a comment below or you can contact me on:

my email: alexandrabellydance@gmail.com

My Facebook: Alexandra Chavva Graham – Facebook

My Twitter: MuseTerpsichore – Alexandra Graham – Twitter

I’d really love to hear from all of you!!


One comment

  1. Great post Alex! I have missed them! 🙂

    I TOTALLY agree with you on the capturing Soma on video thing- when i posted my article on the workshop I wanted to add a video but found that all of their YouTube ones dont quite capture how amazing they are live! The workshop was a lot of fun and I also loved all the zagareeting (have to learn how to do that!) and “yelping” 😉 And I CANT wait to see your YouTube video- you looked so fab in class- would love to see what you look like after some practise on video!

    I wish I attended the spanish fusion cause thats something I am interested in- but then again there is so much I want to learn- so that would be pretty much anything! I am really happy we are having more workshops our side now, makes it all so much easier.

    See you soon I am sure!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s