The State of (My) Bellydance

It seems like since I moved I’ve been updating my blog approximately every 1-2 years. I enjoy writing, so I think I’m going to try to write more frequent but shorter posts.

At the moment I’m mostly solo. My dance partner and I are kind of on hiatus due to life in general, and that’s OK. But as I try to plan new solos I find that I have a hard time deciding on what I want to do, and then do little to nothing as a result. A couple weeks ago I danced at the Taj Palace performance salon (courtesy Farfesha and NMBD), and it was good because I was had a deadline and a theme (Mardi Gras). I seem to work best with limits. If I can choose to do anything in the world without parameters I get a bad case of indecision. I still had some choreo indecision problems, but I decided to embrace improvisation.

Taj Palace Performance Salon

Photo Courtesy Johanna James

It was about a year ago at this time that I was sitting in front of an application form thinking I might try to join a student troupe. I started to fill it out, and then didn’t. My gut kept reminding me how I hate being too busy so I finally decided it was not a good time for me. Back in Fargo when I was part of Bad Weather Burlesque, and for a while simultaneously Vixen Variety Shows, and teaching dance (and working my regular civilian job 40hrs a week), I was SO BUSY all the time. I was tired. I missed my hubs.

I’ve decided I’m going to focus on self-improvement and finding my personal style. I’m still going to classes at Sirena, and I am also cross-training with Star Barre and Pound classes. This does leave me very busy, but I’m enjoying it all.

I’m also progressing with my plans as an advisory board member with New Mexico Bellydance. I love it. My current project is mini-photoshoots for members. I’ve realized that finding a photographer is a lot like finding a building contractor. It’s so hard to get anyone to call you back! I’m very pleased that is coming to fruition, and that NMBD is doing a lot of cool things.

My other goals this year involves costumes. I really enjoy sewing and have so many things on the docket. I want to complete what I have started and use up the fabric I have already bought. That’s a lot. I also need to clean out my closet of what no longer fits or suits me.

So many goals for the year! If I get half of them done I’ll be thrilled. I’m going to be gentle with myself though.

Yaa Halla Y’all 2021

Ranee Alexandria and I took third place in the duet/trio category! Unfortunately, there were only trophies for first and second. But I’m still claiming it! I have witnesses! Here’s our performance, in case you missed it.

What is Glitter?

This is an academic study of one of my favorite subjects!

Glitter is everywhere. But what is this sparkly siren that catches our eye, covers our bodies, then infects our households? In this video I will go in-depth with my explanation of the four main types of cosmetic glitter, where they come from, and the pros and cons of each.

Subjects mentioned in this video:

Lush Cosmetics Mica Blog Post

The Responsible Mica Initiative

Brands mentioned in this post:

Today Glitter

Fenty Beauty

Lush Cosmetics

Certifeye UK

What I am wearing:

Slayfire Cosmetics

KVD Vegan Beauty (my color is no longer available)

Fenty Beauty (my color is no longer available)

Color Street (my color is no longer available)

Loose Glitter for Eyes

Hey lovelies! I made my first tutorial video.

I’ve been at home for almost a year now. The precious few people who I actually come into contact with are just not interested in talking about glitter for any length of time. They certainly haven’t wanted to watch my forty-five minute slideshow about the history of glitter and its applications (hit me up after the pandemic if you want to see it). So I made a video. If anyone actually watches it I may make more. Feel free to ask questions in the comments!

Products used: EcoStardust Bioglitter in Clover, Fine size NYX silicone glitter applicator elf glitter adhesive elf concealer brush

Product Links:

What to Expect When You Are Expecting an Impressions Vanity SlayStation®+ 2.0

Greetings! Wow, I should blog more often than every year and a half! I’ll work on that.

Impressions Vanity

Completed Vanity

I’ve wanted to get a proper vanity for some time now. I have a LOT of makeup and I spend a lot of time on it (particularly in the before times). Up until recently I had been sitting on the floor of our bathroom putting makeup on in a hand mirror. I looked around for different options and I finally came to the conclusion that I wanted an Impressions Vanity.

Since they were having a Labor Day Sale I just went for it and got the SlayStation®+ 2.0 bundle, which includes the glass top 3-drawer tabletop, two 5-drawer towers, and the mirror of your choice. It is made of particle board. I got the black finish to match our existing furniture.

When ordering I checked the shipping info. It said that the larger orders are shipped via LTL freight and would come on a pallet. They do not pay for lift gate service, so we would have to get it off the truck ourselves. I called customer service to confirm this. I work in LTL as my job, so I was prepared for the necessary labor, AKA, my hubs. He is wonderful, by the way. He assembled one of the towers by himself while I was at work. When the product finally shipped it was sent via UPS parcel rather than LTL. So, the big brown van. That was fine, and the driver helped Paul get the packages to the door. The product came in four (very heavy) boxes. One box for the two towers, one for the table top, one for the mirror, and one for additional chair I ordered. There were lots of dings in the boxes, but the furniture was packaged extremely well and never came close  to actually being damaged. However, all of that packaging created its own issues.

No real damage, thank goodness!

One of the surprising issues is that the sheets of styrofoam shed onto the furniture pieces. It took extra time to vacuum off all the little pieces. It was a mess. I am not complaining, just warning that if you order one plan to have or borrow a vacuum with a hose and attachments. Really, this did save the product from damage so it’s worth the extra time.

Styrofoam stuck to furniture

So much styrofoam!

The whole project is very much like an IKEA situation. Everything is completely disassembled, even the drawer rails. To put together a single drawer there are technically eight pieces, not including the screws. The instructions were pretty clear for the most part. It wasn’t difficult to assemble, just time consuming. I would estimate over the two days it took about eight hours or so, and that is with two people working on it. The only snag we ran into is when we accidentally had one of the rails off kilter and forced it in to the tower. It ended up ripping out half of the ball bearings. But the metal in the rail was soft enough to manipulate and get the bearings back in place.

Lots of pieces

Lots of pieces

The mirror comes as two pieces (plus bulbs): the mirror itself and a stand. There are mounting holes on the back of the table top, which works great. But, because I am nearsighted and I wear glasses most of the time, I elected to put the mirror back on the stand so I can move it closer toward me when necessary. With all twelve globe lights in place it is BLINDINGLY BRIGHT. However, my hubs cleverly noticed there is a small dimmer switch next to the power switch, so problem solved.

I’m enjoy using the glass top as a display for some of my glam things. I don’t have all three drawers filled, but I’m working on it.

Some glam stuff

Some glam stuff.

I really like my SlayStation® a lot. However, I do have one issue with it. There does not appear to be any way to secure the vanity top to the towers. There are two bolt holes in the bottom of the table top, but there are no holes to connect them in the towers. Presumably those are meant to connect the top to a base that is just legs. This became a problem when I would reach down to open the bottom drawer. I would rest my hand on the top of the table and it would slide a little as I leaned down. The finish is sleek so it slides easily. We’ve rectified the situation by adding rubber grips we got at the hardware store. It helped a lot. I also put felt sliders on the mirror to move it back and forth on the table.

I would recommend the SlayStation® if you are prepared to deal with all of the issues as above. I am not paid to write this review. I’m not an influencer. Just a bellydancer who wants to give her peeps a heads up. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments.

SlayStation® Vanity Collection

Raqs Alba 2019: A Belly Dance Extravaganza

Hello lovelies! I just had to share this video from Raqs Alba, which is Sirena World Dance Studio’s student and troupe showcase. This choreography is by Adriana Sandoval, and I think it looks pretty amazing. Not just because I’m in it. 😀 But seriously, we had such a great time learning it and performing! ❤

Why I Support Shimmy Mob

CW: stalking, emotional abuse

I was first introduced to Shimmy Mob by Natasha from The Lovely Dozen Bellydance in Grand Forks, ND, back in 2013. I loved the idea of dancing for a cause. In 2014 and 2015 I took over Team Leader duties. Since we moved to Albuquerque I have missed being a part of that, and I am very happy to be the team leader for 2019.

I have been pretty lucky in my life – great family, loving husband, good friends – but I know that a lot of other people have not. My wish is for everyone in the world to share my good fortune. To be safe, secure, and supported.

There were a few years when I was not so lucky. I started dating a boy I met in church when I was fifteen. It probably should have lasted for about 3 months, but it dragged on for five years. I believed that if two people loved each other enough and were willing to work hard they could make it work. What I was failing to realize was that I was the only one doing any work.

It’s very embarrassing for a strong person to admit that they were foolish, and that’s why I have not talked about this with very many people. I won’t go into too much detail, but some highlights of those five years include:

  • Him being so habitually late for dates my friends dubbed it “pulling a Mikey.” We’re talking 1-2 hours.
  • Telling me it was my fault I was upset because I should have known he would be late.
  • Telling me that I made him feel guilty when he wanted to spend time away from me, even though I told him repeatedly that if he wanted to spend time with his friends to just tell me and I would find some other way to occupy my time (I also have friends!).
  • Tricking me into asking my parents to help with his phone bill so he could call me (much of this relationship was long distance). He called me for approximately 5 minutes twice a week, always after 11pm, but had phone bills over $70. Hmmm…
  • Compulsively lied about things that were totally unnecessary.
  • Told me his mother didn’t like me because she though I was “holding him back.”
  • Told two of his college teachers that he had been missing class because his girlfriend (me!) had been in a car accident and was in a coma, or dead, depending on which teacher he was talking to. One of these classes was beginning typing, and he was using the class for an easy A. He barely passed with a D, out of pity.
  • Told me he would stop doing drugs if I asked. I asked. He was later arrested on drugs charges and spent time in prison. I dutifully visited.
  • Cheated at least twice (that I know of). Brought his second girlfriend to meet our mutual friend and seemed to think that it wouldn’t get back to me.
  • “It’s not fair that you withhold sex just because you’re mad at me!”
  • “Dumped” me three times as a means of control.

That third “dumping” is the critical one, because that was my rock bottom moment. He dumped me over the phone at 2am. At this point I was supposed to beg him to take me back as per the usual script, but I was over it. I was just angry. I went to see him that weekend, as we had planned to see each other anyway. I demanded he dump me to my face. He hid. When I finally tracked him down he made a big drama out of it. I said “fine, bye.” He got angry that I was done. He then looked at me like he was changing tack. He started talking about “remember when” and wouldn’t stop until he made me cry. Then he smiled. Clearly pleased that he thought he could still manipulate my feelings. He then asked me to get my parents to pay his phone bill (I did not). What a dirtbag.

After that I saw him a couple times “as friends,” trying to do the civil thing everyone tells you is right. But it’s not. I was barely tolerating him. Now that I was over him he suddenly paid more attention to me. I ignored him and started dating other people. People who are decent human beings. I relented during the next fall break and agreed to meet him for dinner for the sake of “civility.” He said he always thought we’d get back together. I was enraged. He tried to make me feel guilty for moving on with my life. It had the opposite effect.

I stopped returning his calls. I met a super guy who I am still happily married to today. I continued to move on with my life. Awesome! I felt so stupid because I realized I could have just walked away at any time. Right?

Wrong. I shouldn’t even be writing this blog post. This should be a distant memory that I rarely even revisit. I should never even think about it. But.

Sometime around 1995 he started calling me at work. He tried unsuccessfully to trick the receptionist into giving him my home number. He would call twice, then stop for a while. He knew that the third call would mean I could file an official complaint. Stable people don’t do this. A few years passed, I relaxed. Then he started calling me at work again! I hung up on him, he called back and demanded I listen to him. I made him swear that if I did he would never contact me in any way again. He agreed. But he’s a liar. By coincidence that was my last week on the job. He tried to call me at home just a couple weeks later. This was 1999.

The final dumping was in 1993. I have never been kind or polite, never given a glimmer of hope. I told him to leave me alone. We were never friends. But he sent me a friend request on Facebook. In 2015. And when I blocked him he waited a few months. Then he added me to his circles on G+. Blocked again. My feelings should be clear, right?

He has contributed to my last two Shimmy Mob campaigns in 2015 and 2019.

He has moved into a house a couple blocks from my parents. He has stopped by to offer them homemade preserves.

As a performer I live my life in public, so I can’t avoid this sort of thing 100%. This makes me feel creeped out and unsafe. Even though I moved to the other side of the country. No matter what I do I can’t get away. I do not want anyone else to feel unsafe. It is very stressful to know that a creeper is watching you. How many stories have we read about some entitled dude murdering a woman who has rejected him?

That is my story, but unfortunately it is not over. Please read up on the signs of emotional abuse here, and look for local resources to help you leave abusive relationships. You don’t have to experience all the signs for it to be valid.

If you see a friend who is being abused, please say something to them. I wish someone had for me. I wish I had known what to do when I was young, for the sake of another good friend who was also going through relationship abuse at that same time. Here’s a script:

“Hey friend. I know that you care about his person a lot, but you always seem sad and stressed out about them. They are hurting you and it makes me sad too. I would like to help you when you are ready.”

I do not like talking about this part of my life, but if it can help someone else it will be worth it.

Mystery in Morocco

morocco cast

Mystery in Morocco full cast

Hey peeps! I’ve been pretty bad about updating my blog lately, so I’m going to make more of an effort from here on out. We just got done with Ranee Lovato’s fabulous original production Mystery in Morocco. It was amazing fun and a wonderful showcase of local talent (there is SO MUCH TALENT around here!). I’m always astonished, and very grateful to be here. It has only been a couple days so not all of the video is available but here is one of the pieces I worked on with Sara’s choreo class. I also worked with Dani’s group on a tray balancing piece, that video should be coming soon. Enjoy!

Hello ABQ!


ABQ HS STEAM Fundraiser featuring students from Isalang Studio

It’s been a while! We’re getting settled down in New Mexico. I’m actually a student for the first time in years (apart from workshops), and it has been wonderful. There’s such a great community down here, and so many things to do! I can’t even decide which events to go and what I have to miss! I started out with one of Mahin‘s workshops when we first arrived, and then signed up for classes with Sirena Studio. They rock, and I’m learning a lot. I’m also taking classes at Isalang Studios – so fun and challenging!

I’ve started performing at haflas too. If you’re in the area I’m performing at events on March 24 AND 25. It’s nice to sit back and let someone else do the organizing for a change. 😀

At the Taaj on March 24

At Anasazi Fields Winery on March 25

I continue to collect makeup so my next blog will probably be on this topic. Until then my lovelies…

Later, Tater!

Shimmy Mob 2015

Fortuitous Photo!

Some of you may know, and some of you may not know, that my husband and I will be moving to New Mexico this summer. Saturday, April 2, 2016 will be the last class I teach at the Spirit Room in Fargo. It makes me very sad to be leaving my students and friends, especially since there are very limited options in our area.

To my students who may be seeking a new teacher, my advice is this: If you can’t make Danika‘s class, or if ATS® just isn’t your bag look for these qualities in your next instructor.

Your teacher should:

  • be able to tell you what style of belly dance he/she teaches (Raks Sharki, AmCab, ATS®, etc – “belly dance” isn’t a style, per se)
  • display a good sense of ethics
  • recognize that this is a cultural art form and be respectful of that
  • be mindful of posture and movement, making sure to keep you safe and free of injury
  • be patient and encouraging, never belittling
  • encourage you to go to workshops and try out other classes
  • encourage you to be part of a larger community
  • continue her/his education too through workshops and higher level classes

If you are a belly dancer in the Red River Valley and you are on Facebook, go to the Red River Raks group and say “hi.” There may be a bunch of lone dancers who want to meet up and form a troupe. (Dancers only, sorry!)

I’m not gone yet, I still have my last show with Bad Weather Burlesque on April 28, the hafla and Shimmy Mob on May 14, the Daughters of Atlas stage show in Grand Forks on May 21, and Mistryl Shimmy Guard at CoreCon the weekend of June 9-12. Hope to see you there!

My sincerest hope is that all my dance sisters and brothers will keep the community alive and love and support each other. All my best to you!

EDIT: I am deeply saddened to have to update this post due to the Danika’s untimely death.

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