I found my hips!

by Violet 27. March 2010 19:48

They were in Mel's studio the whole time! I'll get to that in just a moment.


Thursday's class went well. No, scratch that. Thursday class was awesome! The evening started with me explaining my idea to Melody, the music, the costume, and even the thoughts on staging I had. My evil idea was well received by her. This made me very, very happy. She even appreciated the short list of music I had been considering, but agreed the final idea was much better.


After we had that out of the way, we talked about my performance from the beginning of the month and decided to focus on some issues for it. The first item to focus on was my hips. My hips didn't move much during the performance. I have a problem with the shimmy and hip movements in general since I started.


The majority of the problem was mechanical in nature. One of the challenges of belly dancing for me, and being a trans woman, especially one who started bringing her hormones into line later in life, is that some my physical characteristics are kind of set in stone and not the same as a cisgender woman's. Take the pelvis for example. The fact that the illium, the wings of the pelvis, is wider and more cradle like for example. That difference presents difficulties for me in the shimmy department. Hip isolations were right out.


So here I am, in Mel's studio, trying to shimmy, and Mel is walking around me, placing her hands on my waist and hips, feeling for how the muscles are moving. Before you ask, yes, those muscles lay differently too. It was this that Mel used to figure out a possible solution.


Rather than relaxing my lower abdomen and letting my legs do the work, we shifted focus to the muscles in the lower back and just above the cheeks. Right away, there was a difference. Larger hip movements were already visible. The amount of effort was a lot less and all of a sudden, hip isolations began to happen. They're not perfect yet, but they're there! I'm also getting a greater range of motion on the left side than on the right, but I think that should level out soon enough.


The down side, however, is that theses muscles have been cranky due to all the use they've been getting lately. I can live with that.


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The Idea Monster has struck!

by Violet 14. March 2010 17:44

And now I'm left putting the pieces back together. But it's not all bad, the idea has a lot of meat on it bones. And this for a song that wasn't even on the short list. I even think it will work within the framework of Melody's idea. That evil, evil idea.

Are you familiar with Beats Antique? If not, you should be. On their second release, there is this little song called Roustabout. Here's an embed to a YouTube video of the song and someone having a little too much fun with After Effects. ;)

Ever since I first heard this song, it struck me as the Haunted Carnival Theme Song. The beginning of the song is all eerie and ghostly sounding, then we hear the mechanical sounds of the boardwalk clicking and ticking away, and the winner's bell ringing. The costume is something completely opposite of the "Post Apocalyptic Steampunk Strip Tease Minus the Strip Tease Because It's a Family Show". Instead of being prim and proper, this one is torn and tattered. I'm still working through ideas for possible props, with the main one being a huckster's cane.

This gives you the base framework of what I'm thinking here, but I'm not going to give much more away for two reasons. First, giving away too much spoils the fun. Second, I still need to run all of this Melody on Thursday. So it could change pretty radically until then.


Reflections on Saturday and homework for the road ahead...

by Violet 12. March 2010 08:24

Last Saturday, the 6th of March, I competed in the Emerald Rain Bellydance Competition, doing my bellydance-burlesque fusion piece, "My Post Apocalyptic Steampunk Strip Tease Minus the Strip Tease Because It's a Family Show." (When Melody read that, the room broke up into laughter. Score!) I didn't place, and from what I understand, I was edged out of 4th place by a mere 10 points. Three of the five judges gave me excellent feedback and apparently, one thought I had publicly performed once before. One judge even said she wanted to see the piece after working on it some more.

Over all, I am feeling much better about Saturday. Direct link to the video.

So now, looking towards the future, I have some homework: I need to pick one song and only one song to develop another routine for. This is torture, I say! Making me pick one song! It's torture because I have so many ideas at the moment.

So I figure we can parade a few out and see what people think.

First up, my first concept was for the Coin Operated Girl to Beats Antique's "Dope Crunk". (Finding a good YouTube video with decent audio of this song was definitely a trick!)

I toyed with the idea of "Under the Radar" by Abney Park, but I think I'd rather put together a troupe performance to this song, rather than a solo piece. I think it would work much better in such an environment.

However, the idea of doing a bellydance-burlesque fusion piece to "Until the Day You Die" is still a strong way to go, if you ask me. Of course, I'd have to learn the Charleston so I could integrate it into the routine, but I fail to see a downside to that.

On the drive home from class, I just had to go through my bellydance playlist and see what else popped out at me. The CD Single version of Loreena McKennitt's "The Mummer's Dance" struck a chord with me. This is close to that version, but not quite. Speaking of mixes, Rob D's "Clubbed to Death (Kurayamino Mix)" is another I'm toying with.

So my dilemma is what do I choose? I have a week to pick one.

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