This & That

A few days ago Kelly was getting wood from the wood pile and found these:

This is very interesting! What is it? Bath beads! You know, those geletin bubbles filled with scented bath oil. So…how in the world did they get into our wood pile, of all places?!? It’s the craziest thing. They were very deliberately placed there, safe & snug between two pieces of wood and then more wood carefully placed on top and around them. Definately not something a squirrel could do. So…if you are reading this post and laughing your head off at us trying to solve the mystery, let me just say thank you! Thanks for the joke, and thanks for the lovely bath I enjoyed that evening, and thanks for adding a little mystery & laughter into our lives.

I have been enjoying spending time with Emilie, my son’s significant other (my daughter “in-common-law” – there must be a better term than that!) Anyway, she has been making her first quilt and I have been helping/coaching her. Sort of like the blind leading the blind, but we managed.  For her first project, she chose to make a lap quilt for her mom for Christmas. The pattern is a Double IrishChain. I know that her mom is going to love it – and especially love the fact that Emilie made it  herself, because when you are making something like this, the recepient is in your thoughts & heart the entire time. I’d like to thank Emilie’s mom for sharing her with me! Em is a very creative young woman with a great sense of colour and pattern.








I think Michael was feeling left out. On the evening that Emilie and I were basting the quilt sandwich, Michael brought over his own sewing project: mending some of Zeus’s stuffed toys! 

Second to last for This & That: I went shopping and came up with this outfit. I love it! (even if you can’t tell by the expression on my face!)

And Last but not Least for This & That: Last week I became a lifetime Weight Watchers member!  Yay me!

10 years of hafla

Last night was hafla. I host a hafla to celebrate the end of each dance semester and to thank my students. It’s part of creating a bellydance community…so that students feel they are a part of something. I always enjoy hafla, and even though it’s a lot of work the students always pitch in and help out. And let me say how much I appreciate it! Last night the party was different than usual. None of the classes learned choreography this term, so we played “spin the ipod” and danced to whatever came up. It was funny. I got a drum solo (aaak!). Kim’s bra hook …unhooked. Someone’s 7-year old daughter got up and did an improvised ballet/jazz/belly dance. Amber set up her henna paints and created beautiful art on a variety of hands & arms. It was the smallest hafla ever, but maybe one of the most fun.

This dance year (September 2010 through April 2011) is the 10thdance year for Celebrations Bellydance. I know I’m not supposed to celebrate the birthday until the anniversary of the very first class, but my 10th birthday is at the end of my 10th year, right? That makes it the end of April 2011. Well, maybe it’s math “Nita style”. I don’t care. 10 years is a long time. I’ve actually been teaching longer than that – I taught during the two years that we lived away (in Manitoba & New Brunswick), and I taught for Lana’s dance troupe (Jewels of the Yukon), and I taught as her assistant even before that. So I figure, all things accounted for, that I have been teaching for about 14 years.

When we returned to the Yukon in 2001, I decided that I didn’t just want to teach a little class here or there – I wanted to be a dance school. You know, with a student handbook, with subjects & lesson plans, with goals & themes to teach around for each semester & each dance year. I wanted to introduce women to the magic of dance – to show them they could appreciate their bodies no matter what size – to facilitate their discovery of themselves as dancers. I wanted to teach progressive classes, beginner through advanced. I wanted to train a performance group to give public performances. I wanted to educate an audience and entertain them at the same time. I wanted to put Oriental dance on the same theatre stage as ballet and other “high performance art”. I obsessed over it. I wanted to create a bellydance community.

I found a studio space to rent – a little tiny space in a converted garage in Porter Creek. It would hold 8 students if we were all friendly. 6 students if we wanted to swing our arms & legs. I picked a date in early October, put an ad in the newspaper for Tuesday night beginner classes and held my breath. I needed 4 students to pay the rent and 6 to make it worth my while. Then the phone started ringing. The class filled up. I reserved a Thursday night space. It filled up, too. I had held my breath to get 6 students and I ended up with 16. Three of those original 16 are still dancing with me.

Thanks, everybody for another fabulous dance semester! Raq on!

how long does it take to learn to bellydance?

How long does it take to learn bellydance? That’s probably the first question every potential student asks me. It takes a year or a lifetime…the answer depends entirely on what you want to do with it. 

I have been dancing for over half my life and studying Egyptian bellydance intensively for years. I dance professionally but will always consider myself a student.

Generally, the first time you take a beginner level class, you should treat it as an introduction and not expect yourself to master anything – rather, allow yourself to enjoy the experience of being exposed to something brand new and fun. The second time you take the beginner level class, you’ll know what to expect and can then work on getting the movements past your head and into your body. Thus begins your life as a dancer. First the discovery and introduction, then the journey. Sort of like a marriage. ♥