My life has been so challenging that I thought I wanted to write something soul searching. But I am not I am going to write about dancing and drawing.
Taking some time out from having a day time job means I have got back into my creative side. ( It also means I am also spending way too much time meeting other folk’s needs but that is a different blog !). I have started drawing again. On clearing out my work notebooks I realised I doodled way more than I thought! I have also realised that carrying a notebook everywhere whether it be a meeting a dance class or a random place like the pub can be considered a good thing! At work everyone sat with their laptops reading emails whilst I doodled and took notes. A key indicator why I got the redundancy to pursue employment elsewhere!
Anyway I am digressing or rambling on. This is what I have been doing; meandering with my pens and sketching, illustrating, doodling. I am not dismissing them but owning my little book of drawings and put them out there for world to see initially as fb posts and indeed as cards. I shall my doodles go where they need to and try not to turn them into some huge art project that yet again I will fail at doing. It is a habit of mine.
I am good at big ideas but sometimes they are so big they can’t happen. It is like I make them impossible to achieve. I have always done it with my art. I would consider myself a failed artist. I couldn’t keep the high standards and big projects I created and hold down a job and bring up kids so I stopped making art. I doodled everywhere instead. I have had to destroy nearly ten years of confidential work notebooks and there were pages and pages of doodled borders. So in 2017 I have committed myself to treating myself to doodling opportunity. I have a box with pens, paper and bits and bobs beside my favourite chair. I am also carrying my notebook but calling it a journal to shift into creative thoughts and ideas rather than facts and figures. I like notebooks so no hardship to keep buying beautiful ones!
Meanwhile I am celebrating the little drawings I have done. I am not planning to turn them into never to be painted paintings, not to be stitched embroideries or stuck down collages I like them as they are. I have shared them on the internet and I have this past week had some simple cards made to see if they will sell. I shall keep meandering about with my pens and see where it takes me.
Dance seems to be returning to my life too. It is bringing me joy again. In part I am sure it is because it is not “another thing to have to do” after my stressful job. But also having a break has been good and I am interested again. So I have created a new class in a new town. I have found a room, put up posters and started to teach again. It is quite challenging establishing a new class as no one appears to wants to be Shakira anymore! Of course there is also some relief to this as teaching that revolving door of Shakiras was as I remember exhausting!
This time around I am starting classes very clear about what I want to offer students as a teacher. My classes are focused on these principles:
- Getting individuals to find their inner dancer and explore being the best dancer they can be
- Experience joy of dance and dancing with others
- Getting the basics right and building up from great technique.
I think dance is like learning a language, if you cannot pronounce basic words then your complex sentences do not make sense! I know this is something that always makes me go looking and seeking always willing to develop my dance language.
I shall always have a love of traditional belly dance but I am so enjoying learning the new language of Gypsy Caravan Belly Dance. Dancing in a group is fun and I am enjoying exploring new moves and different combinations to create. I like the connection between self-development and dance development that Collective Soul programme offers and have met some great new dance friends. I am also enjoying being taught by great competent teachers; Wendy Hughes and Deirdre Mac Donald whenever and wherever!
So in my over enthusiasm there is a danger I will go way to big and want to do everything at once! Deep breath I have held back from this approach. I have a small group of lovely women with which to start a class with which is preferable to hordes of Shakiras! I have women with dance experience of all kinds and with some great creative ideas to bring to class. We also have live drumming to dance to and now we have some great vocabulary we are now building some dances to the drumming! Meanwhile I shall personally explore Gypsy Caravan Tribal Style and enjoy the journey it takes me on.
So I have started to seek dancers out there who want to learn to speak the same language that I know of belly dance. As I am passionate about teaching and getting students to really fine their inner dancer I kind of thought my passion and experience would sell itself but it’s not working like that! It seems perhaps the usual politics of the dance world has changed little since I have been away with the positives and negatives. I am refusing this time to be dragged into the negative world as there are so many great dancers and women out there all supporting each other.
My view has always been to promote fellow teachers classes and encourage students to go out and explore. One big positive dance community is what we should strive for including offering the diversity that belly dance has to offer. It has been lovely that some teachers that I have known for years have encouraged and supported me. Secure in what they have to offer they give me peer support and not perceive me as a threat!
So on the advice of one such peer I have created with help a new website! It brings together all of the above to share what I can offer about belly dancing and gives a glimpse into my other creative activity too. It started off as a “need to do” and has turned into a clear statement of intent!
In return I have created an event that all my supportive peers and other lovely dancers and drummers can come together and celebrate the joy of dance and drumming. It has been far too long since I have brought dance world friends together to share and celebrate what we all love!
Life is about getting on and grabbing the shimmy moment or indeed drawing a little doodle!
My website with all its’ doodles can be found at: