Archive for November, 2010

This weekend was a big one in the diary for bellydance lovers. With the Raqs Sharqi event happening in London and Anasma’s weekend workshops in Fullham, I was torn in two directions, although, having encountered Anasma at the International Bellydance Conference in 2009, with a couple of theatrical performances that brought me to tears (literally!) and the audience to their feet, I had to have me a piece of that action! I was more than over-excited when I learnt from the HipSinc email list that Anasma was coming to London for workshops that I signed up way before I’d even heard about the Raqs Sharqi event…

AnasmaAnasma, if you haven’t encountered her before, has created her own fusion of bellydance and hip hop. Now hip hop itsn’t something that I naturally relate to. I once did a couple of courses in Street Dance (in fact, I went as far as getting both my bronze and silver medals in it, and this was in my mid to late twenties, WAY past my hip hop sell by date…). To me, the idea makes my knees hurt, as the thought of walking the floor on my knees still haunts me to this day. HOWEVER, just watching Anasma dance suddenly makes everyone of all knee bending abilities want to try just one more time… just in case…

I attended Anasma’s two 2 hour workshops on the Saturday – introducing us to hip hop bellydance isolations, locks, ticks, etc and then putting it all together in a choreography. There’s a lot of stretching, understandably, which really appeals to the yoga bunny side of my exercise preference. I like the idea of stretching properly in order to create space to do the moves. We played around with all manner of waves, starting off in the arms and moving into and around the body – in the ribs, down the spine, into the legs, around, back up and out of the other arm! Anasma really challenges the popular ways in which you do these moves, which made it really interesting and fun (and challenging – there is NO WAY I can do that!!). Starting the waves at the finger tips, locking in the shoulders, body rolling down, then back up and throwing it up and out of the head! Oh, and we attempted the moon walk, some side slides and all manner of crazy travelling feet. I think I did a moon walk, for about a split second! Try doing that whilst layering on some body moves though… We also did some interesting muscle tension exercises where we were just using the flex of our muscles to create warrior poses – small movements but creating a new body awareness of the muscles – something I definitely need to work on.

Anasma, dancing on a box!Exhausted, we broke for lunch, a quick nibble, then straight back into putting it together into a choreography. This pulled together everything, some more traditional moves, mixed together with some waves and locks, layering movement and working on some great new takes on isolations, carrying out movements such as the camel starting from different body parts, such as the knee, the hip, the ribs and the head! Gradually as we worked and drilled our way through the choreography, people started dropping out to the edge of the dance studio – it was hard work! Determined to stay in the game until the end, I pushed through until my knees were aching and the balls of my feet were trying to tell me to sit the heck down. Anyway, I managed to get all the way through and actually just about nailed the 1 minute 30 seconds of choreography that was taught!! (I know, all that effort for just 1 minute 30…). That made me realise how easy my choreographies are and I need to challenge myself more when putting them together.

Saqarah dancer with veilIn the evening, me and the gals went along to the bellydance show at Saqarah. Presented with a feast of bellydancer delights, it was a fab way to relax after a hard day in the office 😉 There were a bevvy of different dancers, from Charlotte Desorgher, from HipSinc, who performed a very authentic and cheeky baladi piece, to Arena with a fiery and sexy latin twist (and a FAB animal print outfit… I WANT!!), and it was good to see a tribal fusion piece by Alexis Southall. But of course, the highlight of the evening came with two captivating and lengthy (yay) pieces by Anasma. Both really emotions, full of theatrics, impossibly liquid movement, plenty of facial expressions and passion. AWESOME. Overall a fab night, which fuelled our eager spirit even more and pushed us on into a club somewhere behind London Bridge for some more of our own style dancing till late!

So, fully inspired by Anasma’s fab moves and infectious playfull spirit, I, of course, have immediately purchased her Belly Dance Hip Hop Liquid Fusion DVD, and have been watching it tonight (not following just yet, just mentally preparing myself ;)). I’m saving up for the Theatrical Bellydance festival that Anasma will be hosting in New York next July, and I also need to work out how I can slip some hip hop moves, subtely, in to my portfolio of choreographies. Watch out people, the robot belly dance is about to hit the stage!!! Tick tick tick….


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