September 27, 2009

What I Did on Summer Vacation

Whew, long...long time in posting. Life's been busy and very tumultuous. So, here's the short list on what I did this summer.
  1. Rushed from the end of Mirage season into workshops, performances and teaching.
  2. Decided spur of the moment to get some professional pics taken, and then decided to make a new costume in less than 10 days.
  3. Realized that my belly dancing rut had more to do with life in general and decided it may be time to make some changes, big changes.
  4. Decided I wanted to take a sabbatical from Mirage in the fall, and re-group.
  5. Discovered the Artist's Way and realized it may just be what I needed to restart my creative juices.
  6. Found an Artist's Way group starting the book in September...and joined them.
  7. Was invited to join Bahaia and Stacey Lizette in a twice a year student recital, that we named "The Hip Circle Hafla" in which performances would be limited to our students.
  8. Joined forces with Jamie Lynn to create a one-day costume workshop to teach people how to make and alter cabaret-style costumes.
  9. Announced to Mirage that I would be taking a sabbatical...interesting and enlightening conversations ensued, then...
  10. Decided to quit the troupe after 8.5 years as a member.

I felt like I ended a long-term relationship when I wasn't quite ready to make that change. I cried, I felt alone...and then I felt inspired and invigorated. When I started this blog I intended to have stories beyond just reviews of the show. How ironic, that now it is really about me finding out who I am as a dancer outside of Mirage.

Mirage was the place I got my 'hips' wet, performed my first solos, directed my first choreographies, was given the opportunity to teach, and above all else, the honor of meeting and dancing with so many wonderful women. Now, I get to learn if I am more than just a member of the troupe. How fitting this blog title now seems!

Fall Classes are Beginning!

Come discover the art of belly dancing with Najla with beginner or intermediate classes. Najla has been performing Middle Eastern dance for over 12 years, teaching since 2001 and performs regularly in Austin. Both the Beginner and Intermediate level classes include a 30 minute drill/warm-up, a 15 minute stretch and 45 minutes of technique, combinations or choreography (depending upon the topic).

Classes are held in central Austin at Tarrytown Dance, which is conveniently located at Windsor and Exposition. (2414 Exposition Blvd., Suite B-110 Austin, Texas 7703)

Class rates are $15 drop-in, or $12 a class if purchasing more than one class at time. Fall series begins September 27, 2009!
  • Beginner Classes: A perfect way to start your shimmies, or brush up on fundamental techniques. This fall in additional to working on basic belly dance moves, we’ll be exploring Middle Eastern rhythms and working with zils (finger cymbals). No previous experience required. Sundays, 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
  • Intermediate Classes: Continue to explore this dance form and learn improvisational skills and solo techniques. This fall we’ll be exploring taqsims (instrumental solos), solo improvisation and veil work. Sundays, 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

The Art of Costuming

Ever wonder how to make or alter those fabulous and sparkly cabaret costumes? Or, do you wonder how to get bras and belts to fit and flatter your figure just perfectly? Well, come join myself and the wonderful Jaime Lynn of San Marcos for an afternoon workshop on October 10, 2009.

This interactive, hands-on workshop focuses on the design, construction and history of belly dance costuming. Join us and create your own Bedlah-style bra and belt set, and learn what style looks best on you. The workshop will cover the following topics:

  • Introduction to the History of Belly dance
  • Costuming and Styles
  • Aspects of Basic Design
  • 3 hours of guided construction (you will need to supply your own materials and bra base
  • One-on-One Technical Help
  • Trouble Shooting" (bring in your "trouble projects "for a little guidance!)

Taught by:

Austin' s own "Najla" who has been designing and making her own costumes for 12 years. Her attention to detail and style makes her a creative costumer. And in dance circles, she's even known as the 'bra whisperer'!

Jamie Lynn Shelton-With her MFA in Art and Design, she has been designing and creating artworks for over 20 years. From Fine Jewelry to stained glass to custom iron works, she now creates and makes her own belly dance costumes.

Workshop will be held at Tarrytown Dance from 1pm-5pm.2414 Exposition Blvd , Suite B-110 Austin, Texas 78703Price is $45 in advance or $55 at the door. We will happily accept checks or cash. Please email Najla( or Jamie (zahiraishtari@ for more details and payment info. Additional information on what to bring will be provided to those who sign up. Space is limited so we can spend qualitytime with everyone, so sign up early!