I just got back from an awe-inspiring weekend at TribalCon, a super-awesome bellydance conference. I went with my troupemate, Amy, which was all the more fun because we got do spend all our downtime doing our favorite things: eating and talking dance.
When we arrived Thursday night, we dived right in by attending a thought-provoking lecture with Donna Mejia. Donna comes to Tribal bellydance with an interesting perspective coming from academia and modern dance. As bellydance is experiencing a sudden explosion of interest and creative growth, it was wonderful to also have some weight given to why it is that we should honor the roots of the dance, how to do so, but also where there is room to be experimental. I also attended two of Donna's movement workshops, which unlocked exercises that will help me move more like a dancer.
My all-time favorite teachers, Olivia and Maria from Zafira Dance Company, presented two workshops, both of which were lessons in expression. I love them so much. Not only are they amazing dancers, but they are both outstanding teachers who, even in a large workshop, take the time to give personalized adjustments and thoughtful, encouraging feedback.
I was so happy to get to dance with my old teacher, Asharah, doing some shimmies. As usual, she (literally) kicked my butt with her glute-driven drills. I miss her lots and I credit her for cleaning up my technique early in my dance career.
John Compton of Hahbi 'Ru rocked my world. He was completely hilarious dishing about Bal Anat and Jamila Salimpour. And he is also a fantastic dancer. There is such ease in his dance. I had a blast learning a choreography featuring zills to Omar Faruk Tekbilek's version of Shashkin, and also working on some old-school tribal steps. I wish I could have been in California in the 70s when Tribal was first taking off, and apparently, the bellydancers were way crazier than they are now.
I also took a workshop with Zoe Jakes all about moving muscularly, and a Flamenco for ATS workshop with Myra Krien.
So, in short, the weekend was awesome. I learned so much and I have taken home a lot of "homework" to do in my dance practice!