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I’m Back Baby!

I’m Back Baby!

Alright, it’s been a long time coming but I’ve finally got my blog back up and running and I am set. So for those of you who followed my blog last year and year prior, I went on a bit of a hiatus and wasn’t able to post anything for most of the year. Part of it was issues with the blog hosting site and part of it was just because life got in the way. I was busy trying to build up my writing career and I had projects and deadlines that just sucked up all of my time. But when it comes down to really, it wasn’t time, it wasn’t technical issues, it wasn’t work, it wasn’t any of these excuses that I’d like to believe;  it was me.

For those of you that don’t know, in 2014 when I launched my freelance writing career, my father fell ill and he passed away unexpectedly within two months. For the two months that he was hospitalized I was back and forth from Phoenix to Las Vegas to help take care of my dad and keep my mom going. It was a really rough time for myself and my family and after his death it was a flurry as we had to clean out his house and put it up on the market as quickly as possible. In less than 6 months, I had lost my dad and my childhood home, and my sense of balance in this world. This was on top of me starting a writing career and trying to figure out where my next paycheck came from.

These events affected me in many ways and I struggled to continue to dance and perform. I tried a few different classes and went to a few different teachers and I even tried to perform with a troupe to get more motivation. But in the end I just didn’t feel like dancing.  My heart was so heavy with everything going on that my body couldn’t find the will to move.

And so because I wasn’t dancing, I wasn’t writing about it. I stepped away from the dance community and wasn’t attending events or workshops or even just keeping up the news. I withdrew from dance to give myself a break to cope with everything that has gone on. It’s taken me awhile to be honest with myself about it, how I let my passion for dance slip and how much I changed over the last year. I don’t know if I will ever feel as passionate about dance as I did before, but it’s something that I want to try again. I want to fall back in love with the art form and maybe learn a few new things along the way.

So this blog is my starting point again, it’s my chance to remember why I love to move my body, why dancing is a part of my soul. But I’m not just a dancer, I’m also a geek and I love to help others. So while I get back into the dancing spirit I’m also reconnecting with my inner nerd and branching out more in the geek community. Last year, I joined Very Awesome Girls Into Nerdy Activities as a way to geek out on my favorite things with other women and help the community. This group welcomed me in with no hesitation and has helped me slowly come out of my shell. Grief and depression is hard to deal with and it’s so easy to just curl up inside and let the world pass on with out you. It’s easy to not take chances because I feared getting hurt again.  This year, I’m stepping out and allowing life to happen again.

Yesterday I practiced dancing for the first time in moths and spent a good 20 minutes waking up my body and reminding it how to move. My shimmies are terrible and I couldn’t control my flailing arms as I tried to do basic hip slides and circles. I felt silly, I felt out of touch, but I continued on. My legs turned to jello and joints cracked and popped. I was waking up my body from the long slumber it was in. I can’t say that jumping back into dance is going to be easy, and I will probably get frustrated and angry and wonder why I’m even doing this. But damn it, I’m going to try.

Also, here’s a picture of me trying to impersonate a raptor. It didn’t end well.

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Dancer Spotlight – Nikki Nerida

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Last week, I was fortunate enough to attend an art showcase hosted by the RAW Natural Artists Collective. The show featured photography, art, fashion, music and one specific belly dancer – Nikki Nerida. I’ve seen Nikki perform in the past as a few different events ( See Hafla Con article and the Poison Ivy dance) but this was the first time I got to see her perform with fire and swords. After the show I was able to get in a few questions with her and find out more about the eclectic performer and her love of snakes.

-How long have you been belly dancing and what got you into it?
I have been belly dancing for the past four years, as for what’s inspired me to do so has been much longer! A mix between the attending the Arizona Renaissance Faire (every year since I could remember), the group Beats Antique, the group Wine and Alchemy and being a dancer since I was six years old are all huge influences into how I found my niche in belly dancing.
-How would you describe your style of dance?
I would describe my style as Gothic Fusion Solo Improv Prop Performance. Quite a lot to mention, but it truly communicates my exact vibe.

-Who are some of your dance influences?

My biggest dance inspirations are Breanna Drinkwater (my younger sister), Zoe Jakes, Rachel Brice, Mira Betz, Deb Rubin, and most recently: Caeli La, Eve-olution, and Ka Amorastreya.

-What do you “geek out” for?
Things that happen in serendipitous synchronicity. The love and support of the people around me. Expressing my art via hand made costumes, essential oil blends, and dancing. Reading anything written by Ram Dass. Oh, and also the shows Game of Thrones, Battlestar Galactica, and the Sci Fi show Face Off.
-How do you feel about the current belly dance community here in the Valley?
 
I love the dance community in Phoenix! There is a special trust and acceptance of one another that happens instantly upon meeting.  The support and guidance given to and from each other is what really triggers our ability to succeed, I’m so blessed to have grown in such a flourishing community!
-What is your favorite prop to use?
Choosing a favorite prop is a difficult task, each prop I connect with and use has such a distinct, unique personality. I love their flavors all equally! The first prop I ever danced with was a flow wand and the prop I flow with most is the fire staff. Recent props I’ve been working with are a fire orbital, swords, and a martial arts staff with a a large arrowhead tip at one end! There is an infinite abundance of fun flowing items to dance with!
Image by Luna Dorada

– I know you perform with snakes sometimes, can you tell me a little bit about your snake friends and how they became a part of your performances?

Non-venomous snakes raised in captivity are some of the most docile and gentle loving creatures on the planet. However, if they feel stressed or threatened they will snap or bight, so a cool demeanor is very important.  That being said, I became a partial parent to a normal ball python while he was just a hatch-ling. He is by far the easiest pet I’ve ever cared for! His name is Pharaoh, and I love him so dearly! I practiced dancing with him one day while we were hanging out and he seemed very comfortable and non-threatened by my movements or speed, so I decided to give it a try for performances! I have also been inspired by things such as Britney Spears (yes, way back when she was on her ultimate game) and my friend’s Kat and Nathan. Kat danced with Nathan’s red tail boa at their engagement announcement party. It was truly inspiring!!

– What are some of the misconceptions that people have with the type of snakes you use in your performances?

Only that the snake could be harmful to them. The phobia of snakes is a chosen one. Making a good connection with anything or anyone is all about how you approach. Knowledge and research is very important when it comes to interacting with a type of “dangerous” species. There is one distinct characteristic separating the types of hundreds of snake species there are and it’s whether or not they have venom. I personally trust the non venomous kind more, and then like looking at types of dogs, you can research personality types of different snakes! Normal ball pythons and corn snakes are seen in most movies, shows and reality t.v. Series because they are the least likely to attack a human.

-Are there any upcoming events or shows you will be participating in?

Indeed there is! December 12, 2014 I will be performing at a show in Flagstaff, AZ. The headliners are Yheti, Toadface, Honest, Intikon and Monte Christo. It’s 21+ and $10. March 19-22 at Serenity Gathering (Southern California) for multiple sets during the weekend! I am also awaiting conformation for Tucson’s own, Gem and Jam music festival in February! 
For more information on Nikki Nerida and her work with RAW Natural Born Artists check out their website. Thank you to Nikki and Breanna Drinkwater for helping me out and as always Live Long and Shimmy On!

The Menagerie – A Night of Creatures and Dance

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It was a dark cool night as I stepped into the Alwun House. I had never been there before and was greeted by an enormous black spider. I was nervous to say the least, for tonight I was entering into the world of the magical, mysterious, and dangerous Menagerie. OK, to say that it was dangerous was a little much, after all it’s only dancing, right?

The Mengarie, held on Friday October 24th was a smorgasbord of mythical creatures ascending the stage. Hosted by Vjara Productions and featuring dancers from troupes such as Dirigible Doumbek, and Osiris, it was a fun display of dancing monsters. The theme of the night was a Victorian display hosted by a globe trotting gentleman who hunts to find mythical creatures everywhere he goes. Event Director, Laura Wirth, said “It started out as a Halloween show, which I’ve wanted to do for…at least five years. But I’m also a huge fan of mythology and legends and supernatural creatures. Somehow the two blended together and became this show. There was also a lot of inspiration from Mommy Fortuna’s Midnight Carnival from “The Last Unicorn”.  Part sideshow, part curio, this event certainly delivered on the mythological.

Hosted by Adrian Lock ( Brian Sweis), who wove a tale of trekking the globe to find these creatures, the show started out with a bang. Katja Amar, kicked things off with her rendition of an Irish Banshee. Unfortunately my poor photographer was having technical difficulties with his camera and by the time he got them fixed, her dance was over, (Sorry Katja!) Fortunately her performance was stunning, as she drew the audience in with her tribal style.

The Raven and her Victim

The second act was Mia Donna and Alexa performing a puppet dance called “The Raven.” Mia Donna was plucked from the audience by the Host and had a bit of fun before realizing she was under the Raven’s command. I have to say, I am not a fan of Isis wings simply because they are a prop that distract from the technique of the dancer. Alexa was an exception: She used the wings in way to focus the attention on the isolated parts of her body AND used them to hide the other dancer effectively as she “transformed.” Simply put, she used the Isis wings beautifully.

The Victim has been transformed

After the Raven, came my favorite act of the night. Diosa came out draped in a snake as the Naga, a two faced creature who was mysterious and creepy. Just look at the first of the two faces:

The Naga and Her snake

She started out with her back turned to the audience and then switched in the middle. Coupled with her music and the slythering of her snake, the Naga was absolutely mezmorizing. I am still weirded out by snakes, but I am getting more comfortable seeing them in shows. The snake was the least of my concern as the two white faces created a haunting dance.

To break things up a bit, the next act up was the Heathen. Played by La Goosie, the Heathen was a fun and vulgar creature that made me smile. I didn’t get a lot of good pictures of her, she was all over the stage, and midway through, became nearly topless. The Heathen was out of control, but what do you expect from such a beast?

The Heathen, doing its thing.

As the Heathen was escorted off the stage, a more sinister group came on. The Vampire Coven, as performed by Dirigible Doubmek, were a seductive, choreographed group that almost claimed another victim. As they performed, a young man from the audience became overpowered with their allure and they beckoned him on stage. It was a fun way to end their masterfully done routine.

The Vampire Coven

The Vampires and their unsuspecting Victim

After the Vampires came the Fae with her Faery ring. Another stunning performance, this time by Lavender Moon, was well crafted and dare I say, magical. Lavender came out with an illumnated hula hoop and rocked it out. Just look at some of the stunning pictures we were able to capture.

The Fae readies her Faery Ring

Ooooooooh, so pretty.

Her grace and agility with the hoop was intoxicating to watch and just the whimiscal breath of air the audience needed. During her performance, two Devilish characters made their way through the crowd and as the Fae exited, they took center stage. Performed by Diosa, Katara, and Niffer, a beautiful Angel warded off the demons just before they could strike.

Unfortunately for the Angel, the Two Demons were too much and over powered the Angel right before the intermission.

Angel vs Demons, who will win?

After a quick stretch and a drink refresher we were thrown back into the realm of the mystical with the Hydra performance. Osiris Dance played with fire, and left the audience captivated. While one spun veils in the back, the front dancer used these long fire holders ( fire fingers!) to illuminate her movements. When she would move her hand in front of her face, the Hydra masked looked eerie.

The Hydra in full flame

After the stage cooled down, one of the best performances of the night was up. Adrian C. Miramontes did a pop and lock as the centuries old Mummy. His dance was hilarious and fun, and a nice reprive. His costume was on point and I was surprised at how agile he was wrapped up in all of those bandages. At any rate his performance me made smile and was just plain fun to watch.

The Mummy busts a move

After the Mummy came the seductive Siren with fan veils. Samantha, from The Inner Dancer, fluttered and twirled, using the fan veils to lure the audience in.

The Siren with her deadly veils

After the Siren was the Mystic, a gentle young soul with a dark secret. During her performance, the Mystic “transformed” into a wild beast. Performed by Lady Purple ( who also performed as the Heathen) the performance wove a sad tale of a young girl forced to transform into a terrible beast.

The Mystic and her Seeing Eye

It was a beautiful dance and her costume change was done very well. Of course once she changed, the wolf didn’t seem to want to get off the stage, so the stage hand had to come lead her off. After that came the deadliest act of the night. The Reaper.

A dark, brooding character, the Reaper, played by Katara Fox, took the stage and almost took a life. Near the end of her routine, the Reaper came out into the audience to claim a soul but was barely stopped by the host in the nick of time. Her performance sent chills through the audience and her minimal attire was simply stunning.

Death comes for all…

The show left on a high note however, as two zombies and friends came  out and performed to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” Some of the mythical creatures came out and danced with the Zombies as soon the stage was overrun with them. The host tried to wrangle them back to their cages but was quickly outnumbered and overpowered. As the cast performed their curtain call, the host lay dead at their feet. A fitting way to end the show.

Zombies & Friends

The Host gets eaten alive.

The Menagerie was a fun filled night full of mystery and wonder. I couldn’t help but get into the Halloween spirit while I was there and the venue was perfect. The Alwun House was decked out with giant spiders and creepy cobwebs, a perfect setting for these mythical creatures. Laura Wirth, one of the Event Directors said ” This was the first time we have put up a second show in one year, but it may not be the last. Plans are already in motion for the next venture, which will once again be a themed spectacle of theatrical performance art.”

The check out all of the pictures from the show, Like us on Facebook and check out the Menagerie Album. If you are one of the performers and would like the original photos, please email me geek.shimmy@gmail.com

Have a safe and Happy Halloween to you all!

Musing on Music – Electroswing and Big Horns

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I’m going to put this out there now, I have no formal training in music. Also, I might be slightly tone deaf. I used to sing a lot as a kid and I tried to learn how to play guitar but I could never quite get the hang of it. I thinks its because of my stubby fingers. But even with my ineptness at playing an instrument, I am still enormously in love with all types of music. I just want you all to know up front that when it comes to talking about the techniques of making music, I am not an expert.

That being said and out of the way, lets take a look at the genre of music called Electro Swing. This is one of my favorite genres of music because it usually keeps the consistent beat of house music but adds the texture of big brass bands and swing over it. Most of the songs will start with a sampling from an old swing or jazz song and then  integrate the rhythm and melody. I love this because when dancing to it, it builds up your movements until you hit a peak and then usually it will break it down in an intense section. I have always loved techno music because of the build up and when it breaks I just can’t help but get up and dance.  Speaking of getting up and dancing check out this:

This song is by Parov Stelar, one of the biggest names in Electro Swing. The dancer is TSC (Take Some Crime) Forsythe. I have to say, I’ve danced to this song before at Hafla’s but I will never be as cool as this guy. To check out some of Parov’s other songs check out his albums on Amazon Music.  This is one of his older videos but see more of Forsythe’s mad skills check out his Youtube channel here.

Up next we have another favorite of mine, Caravan Palace.

I love the energy that is in all of their songs. My favorite song is called “Dragons” and it is simply hip shaking. The video I have below doesn’t do it justice but its the best I could find on Youtube. To get the full studio recording check out the Amazon Featured Item on the sidebar. You can preview the whole album and really see what they are all about.

There are so many great Electro Swing groups out there, just trying highlight a few here is difficult for me. Goldfish is a mix of Electro Swing, and funk. For something more low-key check out RJD2, you may have heard their song “Ghostwriter” on TV commercials or in movies. Its been sampled a lot because of the mellow beat.

Most Tribal girls will already know the next group I’m going to mention but I feel the need to clarify on it. Beats Antique is a wonderful group that sounds similar to Electro Swing but they are not of that genre. The only way I can describe their music is “chunky.” They have these great horns that carry the melody and heavy bass and drums for the rhythm. Just listen to this:

So they may not be Electro Swing but they are a fantastic group definitely worth a listen. This is where I am going to kind of veer off from the Electro part of Electro Swing and dig into some big brass music. I love brass bands, especially ones with a unique sound. This may be due to the Swing revival that happened during the 1990’s. I was just starting to get into music as a kid and bands like Cherry Poppin Daddies and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy were coming onto the scene. I thought the re-imagination of swing and jazz was great and no one did it better than Squirrel Nut Zippers.

This song is so absolutely fun to dance to. Their songs are so unique and all of them have such fun energy. Their cover of “Under the Sea” from Disney’s The Little Mermaid is so adorable. I even played it at my wedding reception because its just so darn entertaining.

The last band I have on here is another big brass band that is definitely captivating. Their name is Fanfare Ciocarlia and they are a Romanian group of men that play various horns and drums. Their style is various and hard to pin down but all I gotta say is its bold, chunky, European gypsy folk music. I had the pleasure to see them in concert at the Musical Instrument Museum last year and it was one of the best shows I’ve ever been to. Imagine close to twenty middle aged men with large horns and drums on a small stage just pouring their hearts into every song. It was fantastic. I’ll leave you with one of my favorites, their cover of the “007 James Bond” theme song. Enjoy.

If you have any suggestions for other Electro Swing or Big Brass music please leave them in the comments below. Now go out there and swing it up!

Hafla-Con 2014!

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For all of the videos of the performances from this event please click here. All of the photos taken at the event are featured on our facebook page here.

Last night I had the wonderful opportunity to check out Hafla-Con hosted by Dirigible Doumbek at Plaza Studio in Tempe. The show theme is all things geeky and encouraged performers and audience to dress as their favorite characters from various geekdoms. This was the first event I’ve covered as a blogger so I was really nervous that things would go awry. Aside from my camera battery dying mid way through the second part, things went without a hitch. Thankfully there was another videographer there that I could coordinate with. You rock Guido! Lesson learned here, bring a spare battery.

When I got there and set up everything I was delighted to see some vendors selling some adorkable items. Check out these crocheted goodies from The Cutesy Faery:

I want the Cthulhu Hello Kitty!

I couldn’t get over how cute these items were. The Pac Man ghost hats were a hit, and one was even given out as a prize for the costume contest. They also had some tasty snack bags by Vincent’s Van Dough including some Fruity Oaty bars and spicy Sriracha Chex mix.

Speaking of delicious things, Delectable Diva was also there selling the most adorably evil cupcakes. I say evil because you can’t just have one.

For the First Time in Forever....nom nom nom

She had an assortment of Disney princess cupcakes but my favorite is still the “Frozen” Anna black forest cupcake with cherry filling and chocolate ganache. I would insert another Frozen pun here but I’m too busy daydreaming over the deliciousness.  Delectable Diva provided the prize for the raffle, a custom made Harley Quinn cake. I was so sad that I didn’t win but maybe its for the best. When it comes to cake, I don’t like to share.

Another great vendor at the event was Magic Mehndi by Annwyn. She is a regular friendly face at Plaza Studio and her henna work is simply stunning. She recently competed in the Big Henna Contest on Pinterest and made it to round 6. You can see some of her designs on the table but it doesn’t really do justice to the complex patterns she creates.

Once I got  my camera set up and downed some cupcakes it was just about time for the show to start. They had some pre-show entertainment. Matt and Jared (pictured below) performed a couple of medleys of recognizable geeky songs.

Below is one of their mash-ups that had songs from Lord of the Rings, to Harry Potter, and the Hobbit. They had so many different tunes the fun part was just trying to recognize them all.

After their first set we were treated to Emma Frost singing “Diamonds are Forever.” It was a fun  rendition and I loved her costume that came complete with a huge diamond ring.

After her performance the show was in full swing and there was a wide variety of performances. Here are just a few of my favorites from the first half of the show:

Mario and Luigi were fantastic. I’ve been playing a lot of Mario Kart 8 as Luigi lately and sometimes I forget that Mario is not a blood lusting maniacal driver out to kill his only brother. That’s the last time you red shell me Mario! *Ahem.

Check out this Hunger Games inspired performance by Mandy Small. I am stunned that she could dance with that huge bow wrapped around her body. Simply stunning.

I took archery lessons a few months ago and I could never be that graceful with a bow. There were several great performances with props that night and it thrills me to see dancers branching out. During intermission they had a fun costume contest. There was this incredible Pumpkin Head guy walking around that I though for sure would win the contest but when it came time, he had disappeared.

*If any of you have any photos of the Pumpkin Head guy from that night please send to me! His costume was so incredible but I never got to take his photo. Boo.

The second half of the show was a little bit more adult themed and the dancers got a little more wild. I think my favorite was Hilary as Dumbledore. The light up wand was a nice touch.

Her transformation into Fawkes was brilliant and hands down one of the best of the night. The other performance that I absolutely loved was of Poison Ivy and her pet snake.

Ok,even though I am highly afraid of snakes and the thought of touching one just freaks me out, it was still very cool to see her dance with it wrapped around her neck. At one point the snakes face reared up and was right next to her face, but I couldn’t really get a clear shot of it. Plus the whole time all I could think was that the snake was trying to kill her. Maybe that’s why she took it off after a minute into the dance.

*Editors note: Nikki told me later that her ball python is extremely docile and nothing to fear. He wouldn’t bite even if he was scared. Good to know I can trust ball pythons, now I just have to build up the courage to touch one. Thanks Nikki!

The night wrapped up with a fantastic Star Wars performance by Katja Amar. Since her dance was the most risque of the night I didn’t film it and only took pictures of the first half, but lets just say Darth Vader pasties were involved.

The Dark Side is strong with this one.

After the last performance they did curtain call with all of the dancers. It was such a blast seeing all of the different types of geekery and styles of dancing. As the first event I’ve ever covered as a blogger, I have to say it was a treat. Thanks to Kimberly Hewitt and Plaza Studio for letting me take part in this gregarious event.

To check out all of the videos from tonight go to my youtube channel and select the playlist “Hafla-Con 2014”

For more great pics of the event you can go to the Geek shimmy Facebook page and like the page to keep up to date on all things geeky and belly here in the Valley. Until the next post, live long and shimmy on!

July Souq – Steampunk Accessories on Etsy

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Welcome to my monthly Souq! For those of you unfamiliar with the term “souq” it is an Arabic word for a marketplace. Souq generally refers to a large open air market with rows of vendors selling everything under the sun. Its seems only fitting  for me to use this term when showcasing some of the great stuff I’ve found online. Each month I will feature some geeky wares and textiles. This month features all items through Esty shops. I can spend hours on that site scrolling through the amazing products people make and sell. *Wipes away drool*

This month I am featuring steampunk accessories. I have to put this out here right now: I am a steampunk snob. When I search through items that are labelled steampunk but are clearly not, I get huffy and it takes every ounce of my will power not to send an angry letter. For those of you who are not sure what steampunk is, the comprehensive definition can be found here.

I’ll save my mad rantings on the atrocities of mislabeled steampunk for later. For now, check out this:

Oh so pretty! This vendor on Etsy has some amazing metal work jewelry. You can check out some of her other works here.

Another juggernaut shop you’ll find on Etsy is Magic Tribal Hair which produces some amazing steampunk hair clips like the ones below:

I just love the shape of the barrettes and makes me wish my hair wasn’t so thick. This shop also produces  tribal dreads and braids as well as head bands.  I’m not really into the dread look for a belly dance costume, but I know a lot of tribal dancers use them. Personally I’d rather stylize my hair and add a wicked headband but I can appreciate the artistry that goes into the dreads this shop makes.

Black Studio is another Etsy shop that has some wonderful headbands. I love the one featured above with the bronze bird skull attached. It reminds me of “Masque of the Red Death” but mechanized. Can’t you just imagine being some corset clad vixen wearing this to a  masked party? Is that just me? Oh well, a girl can dream. This shop also has some adorable geeky items:

I know I said this was a steampunk post but these Pokemon cuff links are so squee-able! You can find other geeky wares on their shops main page. They also have some flower resign pendants that are so whimsical it feels like stepping into a spring field.

But enough of my gushing, up next are some fun examples of bracelets and earrings:

Both of these items can be found at  Victorian Curiosities. Their steampunk bracelets are not as diverse as their necklaces and earrings, but they also have some gorgeous art nouveau pieces. The thing I love the most about this shop is their use of brass and silver with hints of jewels. Their rings are also a gorgeous find:

All of these accessories are great to add to a unique steampunk belly dance costume. But what would a steampunk costume be without some sexy leather?

Suckahtash shop has some incredible utility belts that just make me want don a cape and corset and fight crime. There are a lot of steampunk belts floating around on Etsy but this shop has managed to create fanny packs that are edgy and and down right bad ass. While you are drooling over their belts check out their messenger bags as well. The cuts and designs are so unique and she is working on some new items to add to the shop.

Well that wraps up July’s Souq. And just in time since its the last day in the month. If you have any suggestions for future Souq themes leave them in the comments below. Now, where did I put that corset and cape?

Breaking Stereotypes in Belly Dance

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I came across this video today featuring the troupe, Belly Dance Evolution. This is one of the biggest, most popular troupes on the west side and it really makes me proud to see that they are tackling the stereotypes that are associated with belly dance. When I first got into belly dancing I was taught that the movements were rooted in common movements by women of the middle east. My teacher had studied in Egypt and Uzbekistan and her foundation was in folkloric dance. I was taught that belly dance is inherently feminine, used to help with birthing, and showcase the movements and emotions of every day life for women. I never cam across the stereotype of it being sexualized until I moved to Phoenix and learned Cabaret and American Tribal. Even now though I still see it as a very earthy dance, a way to connect to your body and feel the music in every muscle. When I tell people (non-dancers) that I belly dance I get one of two reactions; they have no clue what I am talking about or they look at me as if I told them I was a prostitute. The stereotype of sexualization in belly dance can’t be ignored but hopefully with larger troupes like this trying to break the mold, we can educate people on the value that this art form brings.

http://english.share.voanews.eu/flashembed.aspx?t=vid&id=1955328&w=640&h=363&skin=embeded

This troupe also recently did a show that was Alice in Wonderland themed and it is just so fantastic to watch. Here’s some highlights from the show but also check out their Youtube channel to see all of their amazing work.