New Class Session Starts Sept. 6!

Are you ready?

Are you ready?

Fall session is upon us in ONE MONTH! Are you ready to shimmy? I think we will be doing some veil work this time around so bring ’em if you got ’em! I will have spares for students who do not have veils.

Remember: Saturday, Sept. 6, 10am-11am; The Spirit Room, 111 Broadway, Fargo, ND.

If you miss the first class you can easily catch up in week 2 or 3. Contact me if you have any questions at all. Hope to see you all soon!

World Bellydance Day

Wow, did we have a blast last weekend! First we had a little hafla on Friday night (OK, I was late but I still caught some good stuff).

Improv drumming with Gaia, Lauren Boldt, Natasha, Kelly and Amanda

Improv drumming with Gaia, Lauren Boldt, Natasha, Kelly and Amanda

On Saturday morning we did body conditioning for bellydancers with Lauren Boldt – it was hard, but fun!

Then Shimmy Mob at the Grand Cities Mall!

Then after lunch back to work as we practiced drumming and dancing during the “Insane in the Membrane” workshop. I pooped out after a while because I was not feeling well. But the rest of the class were real troopers.

Drumming and Dancing!

Drumming and Dancing!

And finally in the evening we performed at the UND Burtness Theatre – so many super talented ladies!

Kismet!

Kismet!

And after we all went out to eat I collapsed because my head cold finally got to me. But, as quick as the weekend went it was a great time! Special thanks to Lauren Boldt, who is a fabulous dancer and teacher, and just a delightful person; Natasha and the Lovely Dozen for hosting and doing most of the heavy lifting (especially Natasha for her Shimmy Mob organizational help!); my Kismet ladies who get me through each week; and everyone who participated in the show and contributed to CVIC. Love you all!

Antler Headpiece How-To

At Dr. Sketchy in my reindeer costume. Photo courtesy Sabrina Hornung

At Dr. Sketchy in my reindeer costume. Photo courtesy Sabrina Hornung

I had an itch to make an antler headdress for the holidays, but I had no idea where to start. So, I just looked around my craft room and this is what I came up with.

Materials:

  • carpenter’s fabric (can be purchase at a hardware store by the foot)
  • wire
  • felt
  • thread
  • sewing needle
  • decorative fabric to cover
  • mostly-matching horns (found shed antlers on Etsy.com for $26 for 4 pieces)
  • Decorations of your choosing
  • tin snips (about $17) or other heavy-duty cutting implement

You do not require very large quantities of any of the above.

I started out measuring my head around where I wanted this crown to sit. I wanted the finished product to be 22 inches around and 2 inches wide. I ended up cutting a piece of carpenter’s fabric 4 inches x 23 1/2 inches. I wanted some extra play because I knew I would probably be lining it and that adds some bulk. To make it extra sturdy I folded the piece long-ways so it was double-thickness, so the 4 inches became 2 inches. I then pulled it into a circle, overlapping 1/2 inch on each side and I basically whip-stitched that closed with wire. Do not go by my measurements – measure your own head!

Cutting with the tin snips

Cutting with the tin snips

Fold it with the straight edge

Fold it with the straight edge

wire it all together

wire it all together

When working with carpenter’s fabric make sure to WEAR GLOVES. It is all wire so it is very pokey. I used tin snips to cut it (do not attempt with ordinary scissors). Because I am a craft freak I just happened to have 2 different sizes of tin snips in my craft room. I used a metal straight-edge to help me fold the sections evenly.

Next I made a piece to go over the top of my head for extra stability. I only wanted a 1 inch width on that so I made a 2 inch x 10 inch piece out of carpenter’s fabric, folded in half like I did the larger piece. I overlapped the very ends of that top section with the round section I just made, making sure it was evenly placed, and whip-stitched it with more wire.

Because the carpenter’s fabric is very textured I covered the base with felt. I wish that I had folded over the top, so I recommend you do that. I just wasn’t thinking on that. Sew the felt on with a thread and needle. It’s really easy to go through the carpenter’s fabric since it is just a wire mesh.

cover it with felt

cover it with felt

Next I added the horns. I had already drilled tiny holes in the base from a previously less-successful attempt to make a horn headdress. I placed the horns at the points where I had added the top band for extra stability. I wrapped the wire through the holes in the horns, but then just ended up wrapping it around the outside also for even more stability. I thought originally that I could poke the wire through the felt, but that did not work so well so I ended up cutting out sections of felt where the horns were placed.

wire on the horns

wire the horns

For the fabric cover I used stretch velvet. I would recommend this over a non-stretch fabric because it is very forgiving. I cut a single strip long enough to cover all the way around and also wide enough to fold and stitch in the back. Basically 23 inches x 4 inches. I went over the top of the horn section so I needed a little more play in the fabric. But I stretched it a little tight when whip stitching together around the inside of the base. It was a little awkward at the horn sections so I folded the fabric around the bottom and tacked it at the top to conceal the wire. I covered the top support in a similar manner, and blind stitched where the top met the sides. The illustration may do a better job of explaining this.

cover with fabric

cover with fabric

This leaves a diamond shape of exposed wire. I stitched in felt on both sides to cover.

At this point you are pretty much done. I am a big advocate for sewing on your decorations whenever possible so you can reuse them if you change your mind later. I had some square jewelry components, originally meant for a bracelet that I decided to use. I didn’t feel they were big enough though so I cut out 3 diamond shapes out of buckram, covered them with a contrasting burnt gold fabric and sewed the jewelry onto them. I happened to have some left over gold beaded fringe so I added a couple pieces to the side decorations. And there you have it!

I do the decorative stuff in my comfy chair in the living room

I do the decorative stuff in my comfy chair in the living room

Apart from the cost of the horns and the tin snips this is a $10 or less project. If I were to do this again (and I will!) I would make the main band 1.5 inches instead of 2. It is a tiny bit more wide than I would like. Also, I would make sure to wrap the felt all the way around the top and bottom of the main headband. Other than that I’m pretty happy with it. Please feel free to ask questions or comment below.

Makeup Review: Stila Magnificent Metals Foil Finish Eye Shadow

Stila Magnificent Metals Foil Finish Eye Shadow

Stila Magnificent Metals Foil Finish Eye Shadow

As a belly dancer I have a ridiculous amount of makeup. My “goddess” size Caboodle is full to the brim, and I don’t even keep my everyday makeup in there. So I have decided that I shouldn’t let this resource go to waste. I am going to share with you reviews of some of the stuff I buy so that you can decide for yourself if you want to give it a whirl. Just in time for your big New Year’s Eve party!

DISCLAIMER: I do not receive kickbacks or free samples from any cosmetic manufacturer or distributor. I buy these products with my own money. I am not subject to pressures to write positive reviews.

When Stila Magnificent Metals Foil Finish Eye Shadow came out I just had to try it. It looks so gorgeous in the jar, the colors are very attractive. I chose Comex Gold of the 12 colors available as I figured it would be more versatile for the stage. If I am limiting myself I will get either silver or gold to coordinate with costuming. And I am limiting myself, because the product costs $32! The kit comes in a small box that includes the color (which is a bit of a coarse creme shadow), a liquid primer, and a little metal pan to mix the two together in. The idea is you put a drop of the primer into the pan, dip your finger in the pot of color and then mix them together to create a slightly thinner cream. This is really, really messy. Stila did come out with a silicon fiber brush especially designed for this product, but it costs $18. I feel that if you are paying $32 for a jar of shadow that they should include an applicator. Your finger probably is the best applicator anyway. I tried this with a regular brush and it just does not work as well – there is not enough control. Although the application is messy the product does rinse off of the pan and your fingers pretty easily.

Since this is a creme shadow, and you really have no way to set it and maintain the intense color, it will crease slightly. I have tried this both with and without the primer and I have found that while using the primer makes the product go on smoother, it does crease less when you just put it on straight (with a regular eyeshadow primer base). Also, the coarse texture of the shadow makes the creasing easy to touch up as necessary. You won’t see any flaws in the application.

What it looks like for real

What it looks like for real

You can see above what it really looks like. It is freakin’ gorgeous. I actually really love this stuff. This is only one color, but you can get multiple colors and combine them. It is so sparkly and shiny! I would like to try another but I am not sure I want to make the investment. I would only be able to wear this to gigs. I couldn’t pull it off for every day. There are more subtle colors available, but for $32 I would stick with a regular shadow if you want subtle.

So, in conclusion:

Pros:

  • Gorgeous color
  • Easy to correct creasing (for a creme shadow)

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Messy

I hope this review has been helpful to some of you when making decisions about your makeup purchases. Feel free to comment below.

Fall 2013 Class Session Begins Sept. 7!

Fall 2013 Starts Sept. 7

Fall 2013 Starts Sept. 7

Is the summer almost over already?! I can hardly believe it. So tie on your hip scarf and let’s get our shimmy on! First class starts Sept. 7, 10am-11am at the Spirit Room in the Lotus Studio.  There will be a couple of weeks when I have obligations so I will give students due notice if a particular week is postponed.

One weekend for sure we won’t have class is Oct. 19, when I will be attending the Lovely Dozen’s workshop in Grand Forks, featuring Mahin, of Bellydance Quickies fame. I’m really excited about this opportunity, and I recommend all area dancers consider making the trip up North.

Check out my Class FAQ if you have questions, or email me, or message me on Facebook. Hope to see you all soon!

Fall Classes Start Sept. 8!

Fall 2012 starts Sept. 8!

Wow, the summer sure has flown by! I can hardly believe class starts up in just a few weeks. I’ve got my music all picked out and choreo is ready to go. Are you ready? If you have any questions at all please contact me or check out my FAQ. Also check out the calendar on this blog for upcoming events.

Even though we haven’t had class it sure has been a busy summer! Bad Weather Burlesque has been causing a heat wave downtown with Cruisin’ Broadway and Uni-T events. Come see our new friends Super Happy Fun Time Burlesque on August 24th, and our performance with more new friends, Black Hearts Burlesque at JT Cigarro on August 30. And if you can’t get enough, come see us at the Uni-T Ball on Sept. 1, and for our last Cruisin’ Broadway of the season on Sept. 6. I told you we were busy!

In more bellydance news, we had a fantastic hafla with our friends from The Lovely Dozen just last weekend. And they are busy too! Performing at the Grand Forks Art and Wine Walk on Saturday August 18, hosting workshops and haflas with Gaia Sophia, and teaching some of us a move or two. Check out their web site and Facebook for more info.

I’m especially excited that I’ve had a chance to meet some wonderful dancers through Red River Raks on Facebook. If you are looking for classes or workshops in the region; if you are a musician looking for a dancer, or vice versa; if you have an event and need someone to perform; or if you are just interested in finding out about local performances please join us!

See you all soon!

PS – I have been negligent with my credits. I have been using PS brushes from Obsidian Dawn for most of my posters. If you do graphics check out their stuff!

Cheap, Fast and Easy Recital Wear

My last recital as a student, 2008. Starting left: Me, Gail, Annette, Stephanie, Lori and Laura (my teacher).

I can hardly believe it! Our first recital is only a week away. We have talked a little in class about what to wear, but I know some people leave it down to the wire. I know I do! Today’s entry is about how to put a costume together when you are running out of time and money.

If you don’t sew at all your best bet is to assemble something from clothes you may already have around the house, or hit up thrift stores or discount stores. If you can’t find anything suitable there, you can try clothing stores for juniors, like Forever 21, Vanity or Wet Seal. I have no affiliation with any of these stores, but I find that while I would not usually wear any of these clothes for everyday I do find some glam elements that are suitable for dance wear. You will be looking for something form-fitting, stretchy and comfortable to move around it. You will also want to make sure that you have enough bust support, or that you can alter a top or dress or wear a bra underneath if necessary. That means spaghetti strap may be out, depending on your personal requirements. Bikini tops can also be a good choice because they are already decorated and many have cups built in.

Here are a few examples from my own collection that meet the requirements for comfortable dance wear:

Altered T-shirt

This black choli is just a form-fitting T-shirt cut off above the midriff. That was a discount store buy.

Altered top

This shimmery purple and silver top was a clearance rack find at a department store. Once again, cut off above the midriff.

Floral tank top

You don’t have to show off your belly if you don’t want to. This floral tank was $3 at a local thrift shop.

Gold dress with coin scarf

This sparkly gold dress was one of my best ever thrift store finds. I just put a coin belt on it. Voila! Dance costume! It does have slits up both sides for leg movement.

Short party dress with interesting hemline

Dress altered into halter top and overskirt.

Here is an altered piece made from a party dress. I picked this dress up at a thrift store for about $12. It has a sort of modern sparkly pattern on it. You could just put this over a pair of yoga pants and call it good. Really, I think that would be pretty cute. I altered this one to a top and overskirt. Once again, put on a pair of yoga pants, harem pants or another skirt underneath and you got yourself a costume. It took me about a half hour to alter this. One important thing to remember when altering stretchy fabrics, make sure to use a zigzag, tricot or other stretch-friendly stitch so you don’t pop your stitches when you pull it on. If you chop out the middle of the dress remember you can use that extra fabric to make a headband, choker, arm warmers or arm bands that perfectly match the rest of the costume.

An inexpensive ensemble

Here’s a super cheap assembled costume: chopped T-shirt, silky pajama pants and a discount store scarf. The necklace was on clearance. All together this was probably about $25.

If you find something that seems appropriate but kind of boring, dress it up with jewelry. Start in your own jewelry box. I would be willing to bet that at some point you bought some really gorgeous necklace only to realize it was too ostentatious for every day. Well, today is the day to pull that sucker out and show it off. Do not go for modest or tasteful. Go big! Thrift stores and clearance racks are full of jewelry that people aren’t wearing because they are afraid it is too loud. It is not too loud for this occasion. Look for bracelets, rings and earrings too. I would avoid anklets though. They can get hooked on your skirt or pants and may cause you to trip.

Costuming is all well and good, but don’t neglect your makeup and hair. This is a special occasion – you are showing off your skills to your family and friends. Even just a headband or hair flower will really dress things up. There are lots and lots of makeup and hair tutorials on YouTube. Feel free to experiment.

Before the big day though make sure to do a full dress rehearsal, including hair, makeup and jewelry. You need to make sure that your costume will hold up to the stress of your movement, and that your accessories won’t get caught in your costume. If you are dancing with a veil make sure that it does not get hooked on your hairstyle or adornments. If you are dancing with a lot of arm jewelry make sure to practice with it on so you are accustomed to the weight. Consider what you may need to secure with fashion tape, like arm bands, gauntlets or gloves.

What happens if you have a “wardrobe malfunction” during the recital? Keep dancing. This is something that requires a bit of a cool head and grace, and I’m confident you can handle it. Keep dancing and try to disentangle yourself and then move on. And keep on smiling! If you are OK your audience is OK, and they are rooting for you to do a good job. I’ve had a couple malfunctions myself:

  • My veil got caught on a metal piece on my costume. I just kept spinning around until I got it dislodged. Nobody noticed.
  • I wore a skirt that was very heavy velvet, and when I did a spin the skirt lifted up, nearly exposing my underwear! There were a lot of spins in that song, so I kept my arms down for the rest of them. Lesson in favor of dress rehearsal!
  • I saw a dancer once wearing a hair garden and her flowers starting falling out during her set. As she was dancing she just pulled the loose ones out and let them fall on the stage. She just kept on dancing and smiling – what a pro!

For additional tips check out the resource links on the right side of this page, or just start surfing the web. If you have any additional advice or questions please feel free to include them in the comments. I can’t wait until next week!

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