Cairo, here we come!

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10 hours to Istanbul, 2 hour layover, 2 hour flight to Cairo!!!!

Yes, I was just in Egypt for the first time this past March, but I couldn’t stay away!

Attending a festival was the perfect way to dip my toe in… a very curated experience filled with lots of dancing and plenty of sightseeing.

This time I’ll be staying with a friend who moved to Cairo in June, connecting with Nibal, our wonderful guide, am taking private lessons with a number of dancers. The first night we arrive, our friend’s mother in law will be making a meal for us!

For now, we are at Logan, early tapping our toes and waiting to board. Wheeeeee!!!

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Eager to board!!

Keeping Your Body Happy in Cool Weather

Autumn has arrived in Maine! After a few days of 50s and rainy, we’re getting a little reprieve, but we’re clearly on track for the change in seasons.

For dancers, the way cold weather affects our bodies can come as a rude surprise. Here are a few ways to minimize the potential negatives.

  • Winter photo shoot with Leigh Kelly

    Winter photo shoot with Leigh Kelly of Image Catcher

    Warm outdoor clothing: In nice weather, we often come and go from class in our practice clothes. When the weather cools, it’s important to wear warmer outdoor clothing, and change into–and out of–your practice wear *at the studio.* We usually sweat in class, and if you go outside into cold weather in your practice clothes, that dampness cools you down in an unpleasant way.

  • Layers in the studio: Be sure to wear layers during class–and put them back on when you stop moving! Close-fitting is best since they’ll keep the body heat right on you while allowing your teacher to still see your movements clearly. I’ll often wear a sports bra, tank top, waffle-knit shirt and sometimes a zip-up slim sweatshirt or fleece. Hips, legs, ankles and feet need layers, too! Leg warmers are your friend.
  • Warm up your body: Arrive at class 10 minutes earlier than you normally would and go through your typical warm-up routine before class begins! That way, your body will be more ready to move–and, if your teacher leads a warm-up as I hope they do, you’ll get two! Happy body, happy dancer.
  • Keep moving: If the pace of class slows or takes a break for corrections, lecture, etc., don’t just stand there–keep moving! Practice your shimmies, stretch out your muscles, practice your snake arms. Stop-and-go pacing is not great for the body as it causes you to cool down and then jump back into it essentially without warning. So don’t let the dead stops happen. You don’t have to do jumping jacks all class long… just keep moving in one way or another. Bonus–you will probably notice improvement in your technique, too!
  • Be mindful of your injuries or weak spots: If you have a prior injury like a pulled muscle, or spots in your body that just tend to get grumpy, take special care to keep those areas warm. Wear an extra layer on that body part. Spend some extra time getting that area moving.
  • Cozy socks in the studio

    Cozy socks in the studio

    Don’t stretch cold: Be sure that your body is warm before you work on your flexibility. Your muscles will thank you!

  • Keep breathing: The cold tends to make us all tense up. And when muscles are unconsciously tense, our technique suffers and we’re more prone to injury. Use your breath to help you relax and move. Consciously breathe through your warm-ups to get in the habit for class.
  • Drink water: No matter what the season, your body needs to stay hydrated to work at its best. I like to add a piece of star anise to my water bottle each day. It keeps the water lightly and naturally flavored but not sweet. Yum!

Take good care of your body and winter won’t be such an obstacle. Everything takes a little longer in the winter… bundling up, warming up, sweeping off your car or your sidewalk. Know this going into the season and things will be easier!

Into a New Year…

2013.. quite the year! It held a lot of good, as well as some significant challenges.

Yaa Halla Y'All 2013 Dallas, TX

Yaa Halla Y’All 2013
Dallas, TX

The Bad:

– A ruptured appendix. Who gets appendicitis in their 30s? And who walks around for a week (well, hobbles… but teaches a belly dance class!) with a ruptured appendix inside of them?

– Losing the lease on our dance studio and having to close for four months.

The Good:

– Teaching at the Asheville Belly Dance Intensive, MECDA’s Cairo Caravan, as well as workshops in Las Vegas, San Francisco, New Hampshire and Maine.

– Performing in the pro shows at MECDA’s Cairo Caravan, Yaa Halla Y’All in Dallas (one month after said ruptured appendix), and the Las Vegas Belly Dance Intensive.

– Establishing the Grace Academy, an overall mission uniting my various topics and strengths as a teacher.

Rosa's belly dance class

Rosa’s belly dance class

– Bringing my belly dance students to an out-of-state performance.

– Continuing to develop and participate in a wonderful community in my home city.

– Surviving a ruptured appendix and avoiding surgery!

– Finding a new location for Bright Star World Dance, the studio that I co-founded, and adding a new member to our management team, as well as some wonderful new teachers.

 

Rosa Noreen by Jon Reece

Rosa Noreen by Jon Reece

The good most certainly outweighed the bad–but I am most ready for a new year, and some exciting things to come.

Excitement for 2014

– Teaching at the Third Dancer’s Intensive in Atlanta, GA–and collaborating with a musician to bring a new dimension to “Delicious Pauses”.

– Opening the new Bright Star World Dance studio location.

– Establishing a Performance Salon for all levels of belly dancers.

– Hosting a workshop weekend with Amani Jabril of Atlanta.

– Starting a Ballet Basics for Adults class at the new Bright Star location, as well as continuing to teach my local belly dance classes.

Filming an online class!

Filming an online class!

Goals for 2014

– Share the Grace Academy with more people worldwide.

– Release online classes on RaqsTV.com in “Visionary Variations,” “Delicious Pauses” drum solo work, and more.

– Release my next DVD, “Exquisite Lines”.

– Teach more private lessons! I really love helping people one-on-one with exactly what they need.

– Continue to grow our local community and establish Bright Star World Dance as a resource for dancers.