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A 20-something HipMix.net employee, afflicted with the grace of a drunken hippopotamus, tries out the world of belly dance. She attempts to tell her tale through a mixture of sarcasm and honesty.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Inspire Belly Dance: Julie Eason

Now, Julie is a business woman, marketing, PR & copywriter, so obviously before I started the story I was relating deeply to her plight. Of course, she also used to be a ballet dancer, and I've been known to tell a story or two about screaming bloody murder as my mom tried to put 5 year old me in a pair of pink tights. It's why as soon as I could, I moved to jazz (no tights required! Huzzah!).

But the statement of Julie's that made me cue the waterworks was about how puberty, something you know that's inevitable and pretty much out of our control, ruined her dream of becoming a prima ballerina.

"I became a teenager, sprouted hips and boobs, and was 'released' from my dance company," Julie said. "After dieting like crazy to lose my hips and a painful surgery to 'fix' my feet, I tried to continue dancing ballet. But my body just wasn't the right shape anymore."
~Julie Eason, From Ballet Refugee to Belly Dance Business Guru
That paragraph alone has three boo-hoo-hoo moments for me:
  1. She was released from her dance company. What horrible human beings. How can anyone do that to another person, let alone a teenager? As if we don't have enough problems as teen girls, let's add, "Oh by the way, your body is wrong. All wrong. You can no longer be a ballet dancer. Thanks for playing in this week's puberty-roulette."
  2. Try to 'fix' one's body. Ok, this is why I lovelovelove belly dance. There's no 'fixing' anything. Those hips you think are too big? Great. Actually, go out and get some more of that. Your stomach isn't flat enough? All the more to roll, honey. And yeah, it's supposed to shake like that. 
  3. That she kept trying! She loved dance so much, she would do anything to get back on the dance floor.
Well Julie, I am glad you are a belly dancer now. I really enjoyed your answers, and good luck in the contest!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Inspire Belly Dance: The Beginning

Helping Dilara run contests and promotions highlighting the awesome stories of belly dance is probably one of the most fulfilling parts of my job (other than rifling through boxes of new clothing and, you know, getting to hang out with belly dancers all day).

But this Inspire Belly Dance contest? It has been tears-city for this girl, right here.

First of all, I have this really bad habit of relating to every single sad or rough statement in the questionnaires the nominees must answer, making it difficult to make it through a Q&A without a box of tissues (thanks go to OfficeGoddessJen for always keeping the office stocked with tissues).

Second of all, I was tasked with writing these inspire pieces, and heaven knows I've never written anything without feeling it deeper than I do the bottom of a Ben and Jerry's Pint (ok, it's getting past my bedtime and the metaphors are stretched. Sorry)

Third of all, hormones.

So over the next couple of days, I'm going to make you feel my pain by highlighting each of the Inspire Belly Dance nominees and the section of their story that made me make elephant noises into my tear-tissues. Thank me later.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Things I Thought I Already Explained

For a while, my close friend and I have been discussing her entry into belly dance. As in, I want her to, and she's dragging her feet. Actually, I've been dragging a lot of friends kicking and screaming toward the art form, but that's because it'll be good for them. All they have to do, is listen to me!

So here's the reasons I want her to dance:
1. She loves yoga
2. She's grace-impaired, like myself
3. She has knee problems so she can't run
4. She's secure in her own body, she just wants to tone up a little
5. She's a total free spirit who plays by her own rules

Sound familiar?

I mean, clearly she's a dancer in the making!

I thought I had her on board with the belly dance train, and she recently mentioned a desire to lose a few pounds, but she's low on cash. I suggested maybe she try out some beginner DVD's  to get hooked, and then drop in on a class with Dilara (who, in case you didn't know, is a fantastic teacher).

All of a sudden she says, "I don't know. Can I really use belly dancing as a workout?"

Sigh. I'll let you picture my face.

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Diva In Us All

Last night, I had the pleasure of working as a cigarette girl for a 1940's Fashion Show, hosted by a local museum. I was asked to dress as closely to the period as possible, and they would provide me with gloves, a hat, and a cigarette box.

Now, if you don't know me in person, you won't know that I rarely change my hair. I'm a "if my hair can't be done in 5 minutes, I'm not doing it" person. I wear my hair pretty much the same way every day, but it's low maintenance hair so it works for me.

To prepare for the event, I started researching the 1940's online and discovered that, due to the war restrictions, clothing had to last from the 1930's, so fashion remained the same. Women used more and more elaborate hairstyles to make up for the fact that they were essentially wearing last seasons clothing.

Great! I thought to myself. But I found a really fantastic blogger who had pretty low maintenance hairstyle tips from the 1940's. So unfortunately my HipMix.net officemates had to put up with me wearing weird hairstyles for awhile.

On the day of the event, I found myself in a predicament. I don't have a curling iron, and my schedule did not allow for me curling my hair at the event. I would need to be mostly ready before I stepped foot in the venue. Since my hair is naturally curly, I thought to myself, maybe if I create my own ringlets, the effect will be the same. So after I stepped out of the shower, I parted my hair, combed it out with a wide tooth comb, and then hand created ringlets, squeezing out the excess water as I went. I did this all around my head, making larger ringlets at the back, and then I went back and put mousse all in my hair for hold and de-frizzing effects.

The effect worked! I had perfect little ringlets. Well, at least on one side of my head. The other side I towel dried first, thinking it would still work. It didn't, by the way. So don't do that. No towels!

At work, we've been preparing our Diva week, which was getting me pretty hyped up for the fashion show. I kept thinking to myself that all I wanted to do was get home and put makeup on! I don't think I've ever felt that way.

This is probably the first time that I really got what Dilara means when she talks about putting on her belly dance costume. There's something in the effort, the consideration, that makes you feel like a different person. I mean, I'm still me - just a different version. It was exhilarating to say the least. The compliments didn't hurt, either.

After the fashion show, I was feeling like more people needed to see all my effort. So I took the show on the road.

Next time? I'm researching period language and I'm only going to use period speech when in costume.

Before I leave you, here's an awesome makeup artist with great tutorials: http://www.kandeej.com/
And don't forget to enter our Diva contest! http://HipMix.net/share.php

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Still a Newbie After Everything

This week marks one year since I became inducted into the world of belly dance. I say inducted because even though it is categorized as a hobby, belly dance is more of a lifestyle, a club even.

After being in the world for what feels like forever, I am still reminded every now and again that for the time being I am only a visitor to the world of belly dance. I don't take regular lessons, I don't own a costume, and I still haven't set goals to my life in dance. While I'm passionate about the art form, I haven't been bitten by the bug, so to speak. Even so, I'm constantly inspired by the women and men of belly dance.

Today, my lesson came in the form of a new word: tribaret. Clearly I can discern what it means, but I guess it took me off guard that I'd never heard or considered such a term. Maybe because it seems repetitive - isn't tribal already derived from cabaret? The performance labeled as such is what appears to be a relatively traditional cabaret dance, only performed to a modern song (Amy Winehouse, in this case).

Here's the video:

What do you guys think?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Arguing with Idiots

I know I shouldn't argue with idiots. They simply aren't worth the effort. My time can be better spent some place else. While I work with and love belly dance, sometimes it's hard to translate for someone who doesn't get it. Someone who can't get past the bare belly. Someone who has to say, "Oh I took pole dancing once." You know this someone.

Unfortunately, this weekend those idiots will be family members.

That sounds harsh. I LOVE my family members, but sometimes it's hard to make a logical argument to blood. No matter what you say, they are still picturing you as that kid who threw sand and loved to sing random Disney songs in Wal-Mart. Not that any of that is from personal experience...

Anyways, I could really use some pointers. How do you argue with someone who really doesn't "get" belly dance, especially someone who shares your last name?

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Skinny Curse

Wow! It's been awhile since I've last posted. It would be an understatement to say that life has been crazy at the HipMix.net office, what with Dilara being in a national magazine, our new shopping experience, as well as several to-be-mentioned-later initiatives (that I'm super excited about!!).

I recently received a comment (or ok, let's be real, saw that someone had commented on one of the random times I check my blog to see if I've become super popular) and it was someone who felt a little offended about my rant on skinny women being models and how they generally freak me out.

I'm kidding, of course. Skinny people don't really freak me out.

I guess when I view a skinny person, I transpose my personal experiences with weight loss on them. We tend to view the world through a lens created by our own history, and therefore see things with a bias. I've struggled with body image my whole life, and thus have to find fuller figured women to look up to in order to combat my own personal issues with weight.

In the search to provide people with "healthy" role models, we often overlook those women who struggle with their weight in a different way - struggle to GAIN as opposed to lose.

It's an interesting idea, and hopefully one Dilara will tackle for me soon (PLEASE?).

In any case, she closed with a remark that's stuck with me since I read it: that belly dancers are not supportive of skinny dancers. Wowzers - anyone see that trend?