Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What a great day!

This week i had a wonderful day planned visiting my girlfriend for a lunch on her birthday.  I had been looking forward to it for weeks.

Happy birthday Rit.

Pooch had different ideas for my day.  She was looking for someone to play with, unfortunately it was on the Kennedy Highway. So Mark picked her up from becoming road kill and brought her home for me to look after on my non-work day. I took on the role with relish!

We didn’t know her name or her home, so while Mark made up signs and contacted the radio station, I gave her lots of love and attention. She came with me to visit my girlfriend for her birthday lunch.

When no one called that night, I thought she might be ours.  But her family called the next day and she was reunited that afternoon.  Here are some photos to remember our lovely couple of days together.

"Throw the ball - go on?"

One last hug (after dance class) before we give her back

Mark and I will be getting our own pooch over the school holidays, when we have the time to build a fence and spend time getting her settled in.  So we consider Lilly to be our little road test and we loved sharing our life with her!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Sawasdee ka

Sawasdee ka!
Mark and I are having a lovely time here in Thailand.  Our holiday ends soon, but in the meantime, we are enjoying spending time with my brother in law and his new wife.  They had a beautiful Buddhist wedding with five monks and a very elaborate traditional Thai ceremony.  Ta was elegantly serene and beautiful and Chris was quite the dashing groom!  Mark and I felt very privileged to be representing his family from Australia.

While I am away from classes, we have also been enjoying a holiday here.  Most of our time has been up at Chiang Mai in the north, where it is a slow pace and the people are friendly and wonderful.  The highlight of our northern trip was an amazing opportunity we had to spend time with elephants at Baan Chang Elephant Park.  Below is a photo of us with Samboon, the big male of the flock.  He was such a gentle giant and loves a scrub in the bath.

I have been thinking about dancing and wondering how you are all going.  I am also a little worried about how much food I have been eating on this trip, as the Thai cuisine is too good!  Sit ups will definitely be on the agenda when I get back…

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Breathe in ...

Finally the rain has arrived!
The air has cooled and a gorgeous fog has settled in the valley giving an energised feel to everything (including me and my salad greens).
The scrub turkey is no longer scratching around like a maniac, he gently pushes the leaves, as there is plenty to eat now.  The ground is soft beneath my feet and completely wet.  The brown grass seems to already have green leaves here and there.  The air seems easier to breathe.  Colour has returned where before everything was washed out and pale, now even the dirt seems more brown.  The discarded leaves are beautiful shades of red, orange, yellow and green.

So our dance will shift into a different gear, time to respond to the wet season weather.  If the sun comes out and drags the moisture from the ground, we will draw ourselves in and concentrate on slow moves.  If another storm sweeps through, we will use this energy to drill and turn the wheel with improvisation.

To all the beautiful tropical dancers enjoying the rain – breathe it in and celebrate another wet season!

Saturday, September 17, 2011


What an amazing few days it has been.  With the close of the term, it has been my last dance class of term, my last day at the school I have been teaching and the first day of my holidays which means I now get to catch-up with my awesome family.  Each moment has been special in its own way.

One of my dance students, Amanda greeted me with a beautiful personally hand made bees wax candle and flower from her garden as a gift of thanks for our classes.  On her card was written, ‘when you light this candle think of me’.  It was too beautiful to light right away so I put it in my lounge room where I can see and smell it every day and still think of you!

Amanda's beautiful 'Amberlight" candle sitting in pride of place at home.

After my contract with Year sixes, my last day at Redlynch College was yesterday.  The Deputy Principal recognised my efforts at both the staff meeting and the all school parade and acknowledged that ‘I would be missed’. I was quite humbled by this gesture.  Then a whole bunch of the kids stuck around at the end of the day before I booted them out.  How special that students would want to be with me on the first minutes of their well earned holidays… Amongst the many treats of my contract, I was given a card from Amber and a drawing from Melissa, both beautiful people with big hearts.
Melissa's manga picture

 Amber's thank you card

So now I am with my family enjoying just hanging out together.  On my first afternoon with them, I have been able to see everyone.  Mum and Dad picked me up from the airport, my brother and his family popped over to say hello, I dropped in to see my sister and her family and then dropped in to see Grandma at hospital.  What an awesome family, that they all made the time to catchup.

So you can see how I feel so grateful for all the generosity around me at the moment.  None of these people were expecting anything in return other than my gratitude, which comes naturally.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Kuranda Tribal Bellydance joins Tribal Zest at Festival Cairns

Sienna converted her personal car and trailer into a beautiful bedouin tent as we danced our way through the streets of Cairns to celebrate Festival Cairns' 50th birthday on 21st August 2011.  The theme for the 50th birthday celebration was 'time machine' and we were dressed to be gypsy hippies.
Amanda and Lisa on the Tribal Zest float at Festival Cairns
(Photo-Carolyn Tonks)

The tribe from Tribal Zest were all decked out and ready to dance.  So onto the tarmac barefeet and all we danced for the full parade through the streets of Cairns.  To join in the fun, Amanda and I from Kuranda added to the circle.

The crowd were really enjoying the festival parade, clapping, smiling, some people were so overwhelmed that they would run out from the crowd to give the dancers a kiss on the cheek.  
Tribal Zest dance their way down the Esplanade of Cairns
(photo-Mark Newton)

The noise was incredible, so we added to our music with tabla drumming and zilling, to show how talented we all are.

The next day, imagine my surprise when our very own Amanda shows up in the Cairns Post.  I am not surprised, her energy was shining through as she danced and smiled her way through Cairns.

Amanda Miller dancing with Tribal Zest at the Cairns Festival (photo-Cairns Post)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Junior bellies dance class in Kuranda - let's give it a go!

The soccer Mums and Dads of Kuranda have requested a junior bellies dance class to run concurrently with the soccer practice on Wednesday nights.  So we are going to give it a run this week.   Moves will be kept simple with a focus on musicality, rhythm and co-ordination.  Thanks to my fellow bellydance sisters who have given me ideas and insights into teaching young girls.  I am looking forward to searching for some new music to suit this group and looking forward to really analysing and breaking down the tribal moves to adapt them to an age group of 6-8 year olds.  Thank goodness i have a teaching background!  Wish me luck!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

A day of drumming with Yeow

Wow - what a great drummer and teacher - a rare combination!
Yeow from Bellyslap in Melbourne [] gave us four fantastic hours of teaching at the Temple.  Starting with the basic sounds of the tabla, some warm ups and the rhythms of tabla drumming including: falahi, ayoub, maksoum, baladi, saidi, heavy saidi, nawari and chiftitelli.  By the end, my hands were tingling and my poor neglected drum never sounded better!
Thanks for an awesome day of drumming!  It is so great to extend our belly dance repertoire from dancers to percussionist musicians also.  I look forward to sharing what we have learnt with our Kuranda tribe and extending our repertoire to be experienced in dance and percussion in the form of zills and tabla drums.

Yeow at the temple
(pictured back:Lisa, Leila, Carmen, Jasmin, Patti, Storm, 
middle: Jo, Yeow, Babushka, 
Front: Sienna, Nina, Jo and Sharna)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Congratulations girls - beginners course complete

Tuesday night was our last night for the six week beginner course.  We all had a lovely night oooh-and-aaah-ing at each other’s beautiful belts, skirts, flowers, feathers and jewellery.  I am so sorry that I forgot to take a photo to share, because everyone really looked so beautiful in their dance finery and I would have liked to share this with you all.
The dance class was also all about pulling everything together and celebrating what we have learnt over our beginner class term.  We drew on the six weeks of moves and practiced them as drills, then put them together into formations.  Even with our little group of four, we had a go at a few formations.
Well done girls for finishing the beginner course.  We have a week break then resume on 2nd August for a new beginner group combined with our beyond beginner girls.  I look forward to some new women joining in our circle and welcoming back familiar faces to make our circle even bigger and better.  All welcome!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Beginner course almost complete!

Well our beginners are becoming quite fluent in their basic moves as they get close to the last class of their beginner course.  Our keen dancers have even asked for a copy of the dance move names so they can practice!  How cool are these strong dancers!

Magnolia and Shana were even treated to an all levels class in Cairns with the Tribal Zest girls. It was very cool to show off the new Kuranda girls, and reconnect with the Zest girls.

So this Tuesday for our last class, we are going to have a class of basic moves, improvisations and formations and all round fun music.  Don't forget to wear a skirt and hip scarf because i would love to get a photo for our blog!  Am looking forward to dancing with you again soon.

Friday, July 1, 2011

The kids corner was all action at Kuranda library

The floor of the kid’s corner of the Kuranda library was covered with jewels and coins, as the Kuranda kids got busy making beautiful belly dance belts on Thursday. 
As the colourful creations came to fruition, we tied them onto our waist and got our hips moving.  In no time at all we were all looking like we had been dancing together for years.  There were smiles all round as the girls put together their moves and grooved along to the Madagascar song, ”I like to move it”. 
Using every bit of floor space in the kids section at Kuranda library.
 'Ta-da' Our new bellydancers of Kuranda!
Post note:  There were a few Mums keen to see belly dance classes continue for young girls in Kuranda.  If you are interested, please email Lisa at  If there is enough interest, I will arrange a venue and reply with details.

Mareeba library overflows with colour and dance

School holidays were full of colour and fun at Mareeba library as Girls, Boys, Mums and Nannas all learnt to belly dance.
There were so many participants at Mareeba that we went alfresco and Kellie and the library staff setup outside (thanks heaps).  With the sun shining and a lovely cool breeze blowing, we got our hips bumping and our shiny new belly dance belts jingling.
Smiling faces as we all get dancing
Our Mareeba Bellydancers.
I also want to thank the girls who came up individually and thanked me after the session.  Your words were very heartwarming.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Atherton kids learn bellydancing at their library

Regular library-goers were in for a special treat on Monday 27th June 2011 as bellydancing came to the library. After a brief crash course everyone was moving their feet, bumping their hips and swinging their arms. Once we cranked up the music, we all started to 'move it' and kids and parents were bellydancing like they had been doing it for years. It may have been drizzly and gloomy outside but we were all working up a colourful, jingly sweat! To finish off the morning Miss Kellie and the wonderful staff at Atherton library brought out gems, coins and other jewels and we all made bellydance belts. Each an original masterpiece.
Atherton girls create their own tribal circle at the library.
Lisa with Atherton library bellydancers.
Sorry, I didn't get the names of these beautiful girls, but if someone can tell me i will add the names to this site.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

A fun day for the kids at your local library

Tribal belly dance classes at Libraries for kids over the school holidays.

That's right, as part of the Tablelands Regional Council Public Library school holiday programme, I am running free bellydance classes at the following locations:

Atherton Library - Monday 27 June 2011 - 10:30-11:00
Mareeba Library - Thursday 30 June 2011 - 11:00-11:30
Kuranda Library - Thursday 30 June 2011 - 2:00-2:30

Parents and children of all ages welcome.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Winter solstice looms

This Tuesday 21st June 2011 night dance class marks the winter solstice.  A time to mark the shortest day of the year and celebrate the warmth of the sun as we look towards the longer days to come!

Let's warm ourself with a fire of our own.  Wear your favourite hot colours on the outside and we will get moving to heat ourselves up from the insides.
Any other ideas out there, send them through ...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Kuranda tribe begins to take shape

With the public holiday long weekend, I was completely out of routine and entirely forgot that I had a dance class on Tuesday night.  Can you believe my horror and embarrassment when I had a phone call from one of the girls (thank you whoever that was) to say they were waiting and wondering where I was, fifteen minutes into the class time!  I apologised, died of embarrassment, admonished myself for being so thoughtless, threw on some dance clothes put the sound system in the car and drove straight out to the hall (not exactly in that order).  Apologised profusely and tried to collect my thoughts.  It took four big breaths before I could even feel myself breathing again.  Oh my god, just recalling it now I feel so awful.  That was the first impression of their dance teacher for four new girls.  Anyway, I need to let that go, because we had an awesome class last night.

As I arrived to a bunch of smiling beautiful women, I thought, this looks like a Kuranda tribe to me.  As each woman took tentative steps, then moved their bodies into new isolations, it didn’t take long before we were all moving together, dancing!  We looked fabulous dancing as a group.

Seeing beginners try belly dance for the first time reminds me of when I first started.  I recall feeing so awkward, which surprised me as I had done years of dance previously.  But being the person I am, I went back to try and figure out how to belly dance.  A few weeks later I was getting parts of my body to respond to what I was trying to do and then over time I managed to make my body move gracefully and womanly.

I was so proud of the girls for coming along, picking up the moves and starting to feel the moves through the music already.  If you are reading this, please know that you all have great posture,  the footwork is correct with your bodies are moving the way they are supposed to.  I can see strong Kuranda dancers emerging already…      

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Successful open day in Kuranda sports centre

Kuranda sports and social club was enjoyed by over a hundred people. People coming and going as different events began. Everything from baseball to taichi, bellydance to karate. It was all happening at the centre. The kids were having a great time trying everything out!
Shortly I will load up a YouTube of a short snippet from my impromptu performance, as requested by the audience!
Stay tuned...
Postscript - as the music is recorded, i would be breaching the itunes rules to load up the movie.  Instead, here is a photo to give a bit of an idea of the day...

Friday, June 10, 2011

Kuranda Sports and Recreation Centre - Open day Sunday 12 June 2011

Just a quick reminder for the Kuranda Sports and Recreation Centre Open day tomorrow.

There will be a number of events going on including yoga, tai-chi, karate and of course our bellydancing indoors and bowling, soccer and other sporting events outdoors.

Bring along friends, family and neighbours to help support our local hall. Or if you already have a hot date, help spread the word.

View location from the following email address,

I will be hosting a basic tribal style belly dance class and demo from 2pm until about 3pm - so feel free to come on down and have some fun.

Enjoy your long weekend everyone!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Dance classes commence in Kuranda

Dance class began tonight with Amanda, Raya and Chloe.  The girls danced so well picking up new moves including ghawazee, shimmy, shoulder shimmy and egyptian. Their arms also got a workout with some wrist and arms moves, which all looked very elegant. 

Look forward to dancing with you all next week and don’t forget the spread the word, so we can get some more people to join our Kuranda Tribal Bellydance circle.

Open day at the Sports and Social Centre this Sunday the 12th June at around 2pm.  Come and join in and have some fun!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Tribal girls flashmob Cairns

I joined in with the Tribal Zest troupe and some Gypsy Rain girls and as we did a flashmob in Cairns on Sunday.  We all looked fantastic in out tribal wear covered beneath jackets and hoodies.  We knew we were onto a good thing when our practice run-through in the park got an applause!  Sienna and the zest girls had pulled together a great routine and some funky music and Shana had the boom box to take it to the masses.

So we made our way into the Earleville shopping centre and as the music started, we all zipped off our day wear and kicked off the shoes to break into some awesome moves.   The Leukemia foundation ladies at a fundraising table nearby had huge smiles on their faces as they enjoyed the impromptu occasion.   A large crowd gathered within seconds and the unsuspecting shoppers were really enjoying it. Nearly 2minutes into the routine and the security guard came over to turn the music off, to an audience “ooh” in unison. But I guess that is the risk of doing a flash mob.  No sooner had it begun, then we all dispersed again.

Our intension was to follow up with a flashmob in Cairns Central, but two security guards and a policeman made it pretty clear that they weren’t interested.  Shame, I reckon the shoppers would have loved it.

We gathered a little later under the fig tree in the Cairns City Place and ran through our little routine, with some improvisation at the end.  Crowds gathering once again with cheers and claps all round.  At one stage it looked like one of the public was going to join our little circle, they were enjoying it so much.

We treated ourselves with a light lunch and another routine later to cap off a day full of tribal fun and friendship. 
Tribal girls hanging out in Cairns

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Tripod of happiness

I have been working through the book ”The Artist’s Way” of the past few weeks and have been happy with the shift in priorities it is bringing to my life.  I have a wonderful friend and partner doing the course with me, Carol.  She is a highly successful business coach and wonderful long term friend of mine whose friendship, judgement and enthusiasm I value enormously. 

As part of my morning pages, I have been working towards implementing things into my daily life that I enjoy.  I have played around with a few ideas, but have settled on three key things that work for me.  I would like to share these with you:
Tripod of happiness
-       Sustain my body through the garden – connect with the earth and eat well
-       Sustain my creativity through art and music – creating new ideas
-       Sustain my strength through dance and exercise – practicing the foundations

What are your thoughts, do you have a 'tripod of happiness'.  Do we value happiness, or is it a throw away term, “that makes me happy”.  Do we settle for fine instead of happy, good instead of great.  In this age of constant improvement, is it possible to be truly happy, or are we momentarily happy, then need to try and improve or compare ourselves against others.

At the moment, I am feeling great about the amount of time I am devoting to my happiness.  I always want to do more, but am satisfied with what is achieved.  I am really enjoying working part time, as it gives me the space to think and enjoy the things I want to do, not just get done the things I need to do for work.  I am not so guilty about the jobs around the house not getting done, as there is a level of contentment about the things I am doing.

I am super excited about dance classes starting next week.  The recreation centre (my venue for classes) has an open day coming up (deferred to 12th June – not this weekend), Tribal Zest have a gig this weekend,  I pick up my business cards today and the TRC library want me to help with their holiday program with dance classes.  How cool is all this! 

Monday, May 23, 2011

Kuranda classes resume 7th June 2011

Well the teaching game is getting pretty busy (3 offers for work this morning).  But I haven’t lost sight of my goal to get a dance tribe established in Kuranda also.

Advertising is in the June paper and classes will resume on Tuesday 7th June at the Kuranda Recreation Centre from 6-7pm.  So it will mean an earlier start, but also an early finish and hopefully Tuesday night will work for my students.

I am hoping also that the Recreation Centre Open Day on 5th June will bring some new students and fresh interest. 

I spent a bit of time today getting my advertising sorted out so that I can print posters and pin them up around the neighbourhood.  I also created a new design for my business cards.  I’ll get them printed this week so that I am prepared for when open day and classes begin.

It is a relief that I can use Paulette’s teacher training resources, tried and true.  Don't have to reinvent the wheel. Very exciting to be getting classes started again.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Breitenbush - a vibrant retreat or intensive of a different kind?

You would not believe how amazing Breitenbush is?  The website gives a bit of a glimpse - - but the weekend that Paulette puts together adds a whole extra layer.

"Be vibrant" was the theme and the weekend schedule opened with the quote "Are you ready to dance? Sweat? Invent? Write? Laugh?  Here we go…"
I should have known it would not be about lazing around in hot tubs and relaxing!

Friday started slowly with checkin to our cozy warm cabins and filling our bellies with yummy Breitenbush food.  Then we started building our chocolate temple and introduced ourselves around.  Then the dancing began with what i can only describe as drills across the floor.

I was so pleased to wake a little early and have time to take in the beautiful surrounds and a quiet soak.
 Everyone seemed quiet on Saturday morning and drifted silently like ghosts towards breakfast.

Then a lovely half hour of yoga with Lynea to get our bodies ready for a big day of dancing.  Paulette then set us up with the tools to get started with journalling and capturing our creative talents.  Dulcinea then introduced us to modern dance style through the Gemini project.  Then Paulette and Carol put us through our paces with advanced combos.

After lunch, a spot of shopping for those dancers who just had to have another choli.  Then Carol warmed us up with some intermediate moves and Dulcinea got us journalling with our bodies, creating new moves.  She also brought a whole new meaning to squat muscles with descending and ascending for counts of 32!  Just in case we had any stamina left, Lynea picked up the pace with African moves.

A break for dinner to refuel with the fabulous Breitenbush vego food.  Then onto the salon where there was so much talent and so little time.  We had everything from dancing to writing, poem, singing, solos and troupe presentations.  Heres a few of my favourites included below.
 African tribal with Lynea and Kim        Singing    
Writing                                                  Gypsy heart

Tribal mums                                   and who could forget the laughter yoga

Sunday was very special day bringing together everything we had experienced over the weekend and taking it into our daily lives, as much as possible.  And finding time to soak my weary muscles.

The dancing closed with soul train, then hugs all round to set us on our way back home.
pictured: Sun, Hillary, Lisa

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Clatskanie CS1 and TT1 adventures

What a buzz, I can feel my muscles, they feel like they have really worked and I feel GREAT!
I am in Portland now spending time with Mark, but have lots to tell you, hold tight, its on its way.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

I'm finally here at Clatskanie with Paulette

Its been a long time coming, but i am finally here and doing my refresher collective soul then my teacher training with Paulette. After two failed attempts to get here, i am actually here.  Its like a dream come true.

Yesterday was day one, we started at the farm.  I was welcomed with a beautiful big Paulette hug (and her corgis). Then Paulette and i sat down with Jeff and Mark and chatted about our wonderful trip and their fantastic life.  It was like being in an Aladdin's cave of rich colours, beautiful pieces placed deliberately and mountains of information, to be  in her personal space.  As Stephanie and Kit joined us we launched into the introduction chat and the day began.  I was torn between listening and taking in the space around us.

With a belly full of apprehension and excitement, we then headed off to Blue Nutria, a fantastic old building with beautiful wooden floors and a big mirror.  Good thing we all dance with such pride and presence, or we would be dwarfed by the space.  Paulette eased us into the course gently, but rattled through the moves.

Lunch was at the Cultivator to take in a lovely sustaining salad of yummy real flavours, then we returned to the hall to finish our days work with zills and rhythms.

The day was finished with a wine tasting at Cultivator, the perfect finish to the most wonderful day.  Jeff looking very comfy, standing proudly behind the counter with bottles of wine to share. As we sat and enjoyed the ambience and great company i had to pinch myself to remember that i am actually here and this is real.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Snow and springs - thinking of family!

Of all the travel books and brochures we have, i am reminded of how much i value family and home.  Advice from home has sent me to:
 - firstly to some hidden away hot springs and
 - secondly the most magical snow experience.
Only family would know how treasured those memories will be.

Most recently we had the return of snow.  One day was sunny, the next snow - out of nowhere, which gave me the opportunity to follow up on my sisters advice to make a snow angel!  Shell said i would really enjoy just lying on my back and feeling snow fall on my face - how true.  It was like soft gentle kisses on my face.  I think snow is the most beautiful thing, it makes everything look just so beautiful.
We saw snow again at Yosemite a few days later, so spectacular against the rocks and trees - another million photos on the hard drive.  As the sun came out, the snow would fall off the branches in great clods and thud on the snow around us, then shower in small snow flakes like rain.

another reminder of family is that before we left, i was talking with my brother and her partner about where we were travelling.  Hiroko suggested while in the Eastern Sierras i should check out the natural thermal springs.  We did and what a treat they were!  We checked out a couple close to Lee Vining in the time that we had and they were just what i needed for my travel weary bones and snuffly nose.  Sitting in the sun and soaking up the warmth was just divine - check out the backdrop. The only thing better would be to be there on a full moon with snow!

I write this on day twenty-six of our six week holiday and am thinking of home and how everyone is going.  Funnily enough i don't seem to have a proper sense of time, i had a situation today where i didn't know what day of the week it was or the date - how lucky i am to be on holidays!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

What makes something great?

I have been fortunate to have experienced some amazing things over the past few days that have moved me and I am sure will leave a permanent print on my mind.
Mark and i spent a few days at the Grand Canyon and spent a day walking into the canyon to get a perspective on how immense it really is.

We stumbled across a small but significant place called Salt Creek Conservation Area and saw a long eared owl nesting in a tree, which felt very special to discover.

We also went to see the Cirque de Soleil Beatles show called "Love" in Vegas which filled my heart with joy and left me toe tapping for the evening.

So why do these things affect me and do they have anything in common that makes them great?
Is it the expectation that is exceeded?
Is it because it is a new experience?
Is it just because it means something to me only - perhaps others would not be so impressed?

Maybe because you can't put your finger on it, is what makes it special?
Maybe there isn't anything in common and i am just very fortunate...
But i think there is something, because each experience has filled my senses in a humbling and appreciative way.  And i think others around me felt something too which makes me think it is something really great, because it was not just me that has realised this.

Or perhaps i just wanted an excuse to write about what an amazing trip I am having…

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Groovy dance moves inspired by spring in the desert

Belly in the USA tour continues ... even though i am missing out on 'cues and tattoos' in Seattle, I am inspired by the wildlife at Joshua Tree National Park.

Here's the sphinx stretch performed by a chipmunk.

and this colourful fellow performed a nice variation on snake arms, very smooth transitions ...

The Joshua trees represent length and elegance, reaching for the sky...

Even when i am on holidays, i am still thinking about dance...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Dance class with Amy from Unmata, Sacramento, US

I walked up to the address and found Hot Pot studios and walked in the door to find an amazing array of tribal decorations covering the walls and the warmth of welcoming faces ... i was definitely in a tribal studio amongst friends.
After basic introductions, we got straight into it ( i guess i was supposed to warm up beforehand).  Amy led the tribe and we followed.  Music was fantastic, really full and solid.  I tried to follow, recognising some moves quickly (takseem, arabic with twist), not having a clue what the others were (camel - what was that!)
Then the tempo lifted and it was straight into turning the wheel and i then saw the whiteboard with moves written on that they had been following (oh shit, now i am really behind the eight ball - and what move is that?).  Amy gave me an out by allowing me to pass the lead - phew.  The moves were all a little familiar, but i was not confident of my setup and cues and didn't want to throw her tribe into any bad habits. After some practice, we moved onto fast moves.
Now that i had a vague idea of what was going on, i grabbed a front row in the staggered position and tried to keep up.  Fast moves were a little more familiar, however Amy picked up that i was counting the off beat with my egyptians (which are used regularly to move and hold position), so i kept landing on the wrong foot.
Amy was strong with an amazing presence and relentless with the dance content, we covered about 14 moves, stealing the lead, transitioning into a circle, transitioning out into staggered positions again.  I was so impressed with these girls i was wondering what their advanced class must look like.  Amy would throw a challenge out their and her class would gobble it up - so impressed!
My devoted husband was waiting for me outside, so i only stayed a little longer, but was pleased i did, because i got to see the fusion moves.  They were so hip and very cool - sort of a blend of hip hop and tribal.  i wish i could learn some of the names and take them back home as an authored Unmata move.  There was this groovy move with a right snake arm, left snake arm, over both arms, shoulder lift (with grin) and shoulder drop.  I couldn't stop laughing as we practiced, let alone hold a straight face.
As i reached my time to leave, Amy passed me an advertisement to the cues and tattoos event coming up this weekend in seattle (OMG!) and gave me a huge warm tribal sister hug and a big hello to Paulette. Then i tore myself away.  But not without a photo first.  This is Corinne, me, Amy and Colleen at Hot Pot Studios, home of Unmata dance company in Sacramento.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Dress-ups are a part of dance too!

Had a ball with my sister and her husband, son and their beautiful little daughter over the last week. Mia (pictured below) slept in my dance room, which i am sure gave her the most wonderful dreams.  It must have been wonderful waking up to all the gorgeous smiling faces of my dance sisters which cover the walls.  Each morning, after asking for Mummy she would call out for Sisa ...
I opened up my bellydance waldrobe on the last day so we could have some fun with dress-ups, she was a bit mesmerised by the swishy skirts and the jingly belts.  The rajasthan belts got a lot of attention.  The flowers were a big hit too.  Can't wait for her next visit, perhaps i can teach her a few moves next time...

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Does all this wet weather drown everything or help it to grow?

A small dance setback last week had me confused.  Only one person turned up to class.  Another called to say she was unable to attend. The weather was horrible, really pouring down with rain, to the extent that i had to call my husband for help across some flash flood water on the way home. 

I chewed over whether i was really going to get a dance class established in Kuranda.  Perhaps i just wasn't meant to be and i was deluding myself. 

So i wandered around the Kuranda markets and found a great spot to do some busking.  Then to reassure me, my venue contact got in touch to try and help.  Then another sign, i have my first follower to my blog (thanks Cayte).

So I have emailed my students and asked for their commitment and feedback. 
Perhaps i will be given a positive response, perhaps i might need to modify how i setup the class, perhaps this may be a time to refocus my own dance.  Either way, my students will let me know.

So, does all this rain help things to grow or drown everything, we will see ...

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Re-focus after Cyclone Yasi

Hi folks
I know cyclones are part of living in the tropics, yet feel that we are very lucky to not have taken the brunt of this amazing natural phenomenon.  You can't help but feel so tiny and insignificant when seeing atmospheric systems on this scale and power.
Like the wet season is a chance to breath in the moisture and wash away the previous year, somehow i feel like Cyclone Yasi has been a big cleanup also.  Blown away a few cob webs and cleared the mind a bit.

I feel inspired to start our class on "slow moves" to begin with.  It feels like the right place to begin.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A dancers dream

Paulette inspired me to commit my dream to words, so here goes...

My dream is to build a community of dancers here in Kuranda, who enjoy dancing in each others company.

This is why I dance.  I believe, we are a reflection of our community and as such we evoke creativity and inspiration from our surroundings.  Therfore, we dance as a reflection of our community values.

It is not a wildly ambitious dream, but one i feel passionately about.  

I wish that our community of dancers can work together to build a community space that is our own, complete with floor to ceiling mirrors and photos of each one of us as we dance and beautiful fabrics draped across the walls to remind us of the rich heritage of belly dance. 

I wish that all dancers will feel welcome in this space.  Regardless of whether your style is cabaret, contemporary or Irish dance, I hope that we can work together and respect each other as dancers and learn from each other to better understand and extend our own style.

That is my dream.

If this dream has inspired you, please feel free to add to my post.  Or you can check out Paulette's blog at, who inspired me to commit my dream, to the universe.

Tribal Belly Dance returns to Kuranda

It feels so good to be dancing again with a regular class in our little community!
I feel more motivated, inspired, refreshed and strong.  Our first class for the year was a free 'try before you buy' and we had a fabulous bunch of girls along.  Prin, Celia, Jacinta, Suva and Vanessa.  It was so wonderful to see each dancer make the transition from stepping through a movement, to building confidence and then really having some fun with it and finding their own rhythm. 
Some of the girls who phoned did not turn up, I hope everything is alright with them and they can come along next week when structured classes begin.
I just wanted to post a quick message of welcome and say how proud i am of the new dancers in Kuranda dance.