Inspiring art: Tempest

While she is perhaps most well-known as a belly-dancer, I love the art of Tempest, especially her pictures of animals. There is a beautiful sense of deep earthy spirituality behind her work that I respond to very strongly. I adore work with depth – it makes my spirit sing.

A print of this image “Strength” has a prominent position in my studio, because I love it so much:

Tempest also has a fabulously intelligent dance blog, Tempest’s Teapot, which provides food for thought for more than dancers.

And if you like steampunk, do check out her new project SteamWomen, which celebrates the female artists and makers in the steampunk scene.


I can haz tassels!

Here’s what I got up to on the weekend:


Ziva of Zilzal Tribal Bellydance ran a tassel making workshop – for the tassel belts loved by tribal bellydancers. I never realised there were so many ways of making, decorating and using tassels on belts. I now have lots more ideas I want to try! (And not just because it would be a fun way to stash-bust.)

My beauties are made in a fairly simple way – 50+ wraps of three lots of yarn around a DVD case… nice and boofy πŸ™‚

Now I just need to figure out what kind of belt I attach them too…

New music

It’s been a long time since I bought myself new music, but I was finally in the right head space to make the most of my Christmas iTunes vouchers…

As a dancer, music is of vital importance to me: it is the lifeblood of my dance.

So it is important to me that I find music that I am inspired to move within, but that also stretches and challenges me…

As a result, I often end up buying what I can best describe as ‘world electronica’ (e.g. Beats Antique, Knossos, Stellamara, Solace, Niyaz, and now Irfan…)

Here’s one of the pieces I bought myself:

Simurgh” by Irfan

And, yes, I did buy the whole album πŸ˜‰

And, yes, I am thoroughly enjoying it πŸ™‚

And, yes, it mostly definitely is a stretch and a challenge for my dance!


Random bits of inspiration – DANCE

"When you dance, you break Away from the world, and move into a world surrounded only by light and music." ~Lai Rupe Utah's Best Choreographer Lai Rupe's Choreography

Flamenco dance is the national dance and essence of Spain. As one of the most influential cultural dance forms, it is a dance combined with gypsy culture as well as Andalusia's folk culture in Spain. Its inner strength is reflected by its graceful dance steps and movements, with provocative dance form, strong rhythm.

" a kick of the foot and a wave of the hand a way to say her lover had been finally bound "


β€œBe willing to be a beginner every single morning.” ― Meister Eckhart

Stop acting so small. You are the UNIVERSE in ecstatic motion.  - Rumi

... move to the joyous rhythms life offers, maybe learn to create some of those rhythms &... show others the way... Dance & Play...

'The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.'  ~e. e. cummings  Rachel Brice :: Kazoo Productions

Ginger Rogers: "I did everything Fred Astaire did, but backwards, and in high heels.".

Dance to the music of Africa! Travel to Africa with Gondwana DMCs - your network of boutique Destination Management Companies across the globe -

Letting go of all inhibitions is the first step towards starting a wonderful relationship with dance and being to able to respect your body and taking it to limits!

Indian Dancer

β€œDance is active meditation. When we dance, we go beyond thought, beyond mind and beyond our own individuality to become one in the divine ecstasy of the union with the cosmic spirit. This is the essence of the trance dance experience.” ~Goa Gil

Let's dance!

We danced tonight…

… in my freshly cleared Oasis.

It was lovely:

lovely to fill the space with joy and movement and companionship and laughter

lovely to be with my dancing sisters again after too many weeks

The space worked well, I think (though if we end with lots more of us it could get rather cozy, especially on a warm summer’s evening).

And it felt really good to share my space – something newish for me.

I’ve always tended to be a closed-in, bottled-up, quiet sort, but something in me is unfolding (and my dancing sisters sure help with that – yes, I will work on opening and releasing my shoulders!)

It is good.

Life is good.

Dance is good.



From work room to studio

Over the years, I’ve attempted to de-clutter my work room and create space forΒ  my dance.

This gained urgency at the end of last year, when the Supper Club, my dance group, lost our practice venue and everywhere else was twice the price.

With our first dance night of 2015 coming up fast (this Thursday!) sorting it out became extremely urgent. (Fortunately, I work well to deadlines…)

My work room has evolved from this (in 2011)

2011 Work room 5

through this (in 2013)

2013 Work room in progress

and this (2014)

2014-07 work room2

to this, as of noon today: Welcome to The Oasis!

2015-01 the Oasis

(Disclaimer: this photograph may have been taken from the most flattering angle and may not show clear views of the fabric and yarn storage or of the [very] dwarf date palm)

I now have enough room for 4 or 5 people to belly dance in my studio (Yay! I can call it a studio now! This makes me unreasonably excited!)

I now also have only the supplies and other bits that inspire me to create. That has taken a lot of work; hand-in-hand with transforming my inner creative landscape. I am now much clearer about what I do and don’t enjoy, and what sorts of creating call out to me. I’m looking forward to heeding that call and having some fun!

In the meantime, anyone want some beads?!

And roll on Thursday night πŸ™‚

Discovering MY dance

Nov 2011 Solo Beauty Beats

All my life I have danced:

I have early memories of hitting the dress up box and getting my mum to put music on the record player so I could spin round and round…

Later I put the records on myself, and spent my afternoons dancing through ‘Cats’ and other favourites.

Then came the dance classes – scraping my way through to Grade 4 in jazz ballet, before I could go no further due to lack of bendiness and ballet training…

I never entirely stopped dancing – there were still the afternoons and evenings with the records, then CDs…

Then in my late twenties, I finally went to the belly dance classes I’d craved for some years.

It was in many ways like coming home – women of all shapes, sizes and ages enjoying themselves. My height and my non-bendiness weren’t barriers to dancing πŸ™‚


… this was the nineties and belly dance in New Zealand meant cabaret – sequins and chiffon and wide smiles. Not my style. And my student budget couldn’t stretch to more classes.

I wasn’t home yet.

So, I kept dancing in my lounge on and off, then off more than on. Kids came along (and complicated my budget and schedule!)

… and then I discovered the internet!

While I was away, belly dance had exploded into tribal and fusion forms (gods bless America!)

There were people like me out there!

Since then, I have become ‘somewhat’ obsessed with belly dance – workshops, books, DVDs, classes, costumes, performing, teaching, learning…

I have made friends and drilled techniques and danced and learnt and learnt and learnt (there’s still plenty more to learn).

I have, at last, come home πŸ™‚

Recently, I set out on a new stage in my journey:

I want to start dancing myself – my voice.

Not someone else’s vision or collection of techniques.

My inner critic pricks holes in me while I practise: “you can’t call it belly dance, if you’re only doing snake arms. Throw in more technique…” and other such helpful comments… I ignore it and dance on.

I throw caution to the wind and pick random CDs – some Middle Eastern, many not – and try to let go and let the music carry my body to that place beyond technique… to expression.

This is very much a work in progress, but I am amazed at how much my ‘ten minutes’ have freed me already.

I am excited to see what comes next…

… watch this space πŸ˜‰