Sunday, November 6, 2011
Friday, October 7, 2011
|My 1992 book.|
Now I’m finishing the second phase of my research: the background of the border patrol and its place in Texas history. I’ve thumbed through books about the history of cattle in Texas, cattle rustling (Uncle Boyd’s field), law enforcement in general, and so on. I even skimmed the official history of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association. I’ve read about the legendary Texas Rangers, whose duties and responsibilities often overlap with those of other law enforcement agencies, including the border patrol. In that vein, I’ve read Joaquin Jackson’s fascinating memoirs, One Ranger and One Ranger Returns.
Friday, September 2, 2011
Miss K has put out the call for anyone who wants to participate to sign up for a 6-week crash course in "Amani Rap." They can then perform it at the Superstars show.
“OK, let’s say someone looks really bad and doesn’t realize it, would you tell them? Would you still let that person be in the performance?”
She laughed. “If you want sharp and precise, you go to New York City. This is San Antonio.” She went on to explain that it's part of the choreographer’s job to camouflage and blend in the weaker dancers. She's going to restage the dance for that, as well as to highlight individual dancers’ strengths.
Thursday, August 25, 2011
These might be good photos for a caption contest.
|The flying beads prove|
I was in motion.
And this is NOT my best belly dance costume. It is only my second string outfit. I'm going to have someone take a photo of me in my best costume and I'll post that. But then, to make the look complete, I'll need to put on full war paint, fix my hair, and all that. So much trouble. But I've been gushing about that costume for so long that it's time I coughed up a photo of me actually wearing it. I wore it for the TV spot, but did not get any photos at the time.
|Not sure where this pose came from. |
"Cuff me, Officer!"
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
I discovered the YouTube video of her dancing the very same gypsy fusion choreography she taught us in Austin. It started out as an improvisation, amazingly enough, and she changed it a bit for the choreography she taught at the workshop. I’ll attach the video for your viewing pleasure. If you don’t want to watch the whole thing, skip about halfway through to see some beautiful flamenco turns and skirt work.
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Thursday, August 4, 2011
I sweated and struggled and pushed myself. And I achieved my goal. I plan to keep dancing. But now I find myself looking around wondering where to go next. I’m experiencing that let-down feeling that often happens after a goal is accomplished. Now what?
In the first few days after the recital I relaxed and celebrated, in my own way. I ate a lot of bad stuff. I baked a batch of chocolate chip cookies and ate most of them (one of those refrigerated, break-off-little-squares-and-bake-them deals – not the whole batch you make with semi-sweet chocolate morsels.) I dined on Mexican food: enchiladas, a chile relleno, greasy bean-and-cheese nachos. I’ve had pizza, even steak. I’ve gobbled down potato chips and banana pudding with vanilla wafers. And I’ve eaten those treats late at night, which for me means after 9 p.m.
I took a lot of naps.
I did some good junk reading.
Not that any of those things are bad, but I did very little that was practical or useful, like grocery shopping or making beds or doing laundry. (We’re in a drought. I was saving water.)
But now it's time to go back to normalcy. It’s time to think about my next goal.
What will that be?
Yesterday I found myself inside one of those gigantic Super HEBs. Usually I avoid such places, but it was near the PetSmart where I had just returned something. I went in to buy a half gallon of milk and on the way wandered into the school supplies aisle. Spiral notebooks of all colors filled the shelves. And get this--they were on sale for 20 cents each. I love spiral notebooks. Maybe it’s the allure of the blank page, the possibilities lying dormant there, the invitation to fill those pages up. I bought ten of them. I think it’s a sign my subconscious is sending me.
I've been writing this blog for over six months. It’s established a discipline and a writing routine. It’s been great practice. But I want to do something more substantial, maybe even (dare I say it?) meaningful. The hard part is choosing a topic. It’s not that I can’t think of something to write about. The problem is there are too many things I’m interested in, and it's so hard to narrow it down to just one. The temptation is to have two or three writing projects going at once. But I have a feeling that won’t work well. So, step one: I'm going to jump into those spiral notebooks and brainstorm.
Last year was the year to dance. Maybe this will be the year to write.
Monday, July 25, 2011
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
We had a major rehearsal last Friday at a bigger studio with a floor the size of the stage where the performance will take place. It was interesting to see some of the other dances. I haven't seen any except those that practice right before my classes. Quite a variety. Someone said that one of the dances is done to the music of "Dueling Banjos." I checked and didn't see that one on the program. Maybe she was pulling my leg.
But there were equally intriguing routines and music. One of my favorites is "No Music Zils," which is an entire dance done without music except finger cymbals. The sound of 15 or 20 dancers clapping zils in unison is something to hear. There's also a number called "Retro Routine," which illustrates the belly dance style of the 70's. That was the decade when belly dance really caught on in the U.S. and when Miss K started dancing it. I didn't realize that belly dance has changed that much, but I suppose everything evolves. "Retro Routine" starts with a section of dancing with veils, including a move Miss K calls the "reverse toga." (I love the terminology.) There's also a floor work section in which the dancers, yes, "get down" (sorry) and do gymnastic feats like back bends with belly rolls, all while kneeling, sitting, or lying on the floor.
Then there were some solos, performed with varying degrees of grace and skill. One was a wonderful ballet-belly dance fusion and another good one was a fusion of yoga and belly dance.
Karen tries to mix it up to keep audience members from getting bored. After all, most of them are there to see one friend or relative perform. The show runs on Friday, Saturday, AND Sunday, and each night has a completely different program. That's a lot of choreography. Of course, Miss K doesn't create all new dances every year; most of them have been in many previous recitals.
I'm getting excited about it. Only 10 days to go, then on with the show! But first, I gotta find something to eat before I faint.
Friday, July 15, 2011
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Anyway, I found an article online about stage makeup for belly dancers, specifically, how to achieve the “Arabic eye.” I’ve attached the link to it below. It includes a youtube video with step-by-step instructions. The girl in the video (that really is her eye in the photo) goes through the steps with brisk efficiency, and it still takes her ten minutes to do just one eye. I figure it would take a novice like me about three times that long.
|the "Arabic eye"|
Friday, July 8, 2011
|Give Belly Dance a Chance performance flyer with Miss K|
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
|Purple sage is blooming in our yard.|
Because of the drought, the population of frogs in our pond is way down from last year. I hear them singing at night but don't see them during the day anymore. Maybe they're wisely hanging out in the shade or just staying underwater. We have toads, too. One of them likes to sneak into the dog's water bowl at night and sit there soaking. It becomes his own private little jacuzzi. When I flip on the patio light, he hunkers down in the water, as if that makes him invisible. My old dog Muffin can't see very well, so she goes right up to the bowl and starts trying to lap up water. The toad scrambles up the side of the bowl and hangs there while Muffin stares at it, surprised. Then he hops away to safety under a nearby cabinet, but he takes his time getting there.
Toads don't have a very good defense system. Even in broad daylight, they seem to rely on hoping you won't notice them if they stay very, very still. Plenty of time for a critter to walk up and have a snack. Except they don't taste good. If something grabs them, their skin oozes a foul tasting substance. Dogs seem to remember that and leave them alone.
Another possible reason for the decline in the frog and toad population is that we have snakes in the yard. I encountered one the other day. Cooper was barking and lunging at something under a bush, and I peeked under to see what it was. I saw a large bodied snake, coiled up and hissing, and looking for all the world like a cobra, with the flattened out neck and all. My first thought was, "Oh, my God, somebody's pet cobra got loose!"
|Cooper, age 13, is still a relentless predator. She will|
attack anything with four legs, or even no legs, like a snake.
Yes, a cobra would make a strange pet, but people do things like that. I hustled the dogs into the house. Then I ran to get the camera so I could get a picture of it and look it up on the internet. Before heading back outside, I pulled on a pair of cowboy boots, just in case the snake decided to strike. It made a fetching combination with my knee-length nightie.
But by the time I got back outside the snake had high-tailed it. I couldn't find him. I did some research on the internet anyway and decided it must have been a king snake. Turns out a lot of harmless snakes do the cobra impression.
The next day my neighbor Susan mentioned that she and her husband had found three hog-nosed snakes in their yard in recent days. "They coil up and hiss and look like cobras," she said. She also mentioned that her husband had "relocated" them, that is, he ushered them off their property with a broom. Maybe one of those evicted snakes made his way over here. Animals have a way of finding water.
I don't wish the snake any harm. Even poisonous snakes have a place in the ecosystem. I just hope he isn't dining on my frogs and toads.