Bellydance Bootcamp – January 2018

Kalikah Jade Teaching Clas

JANUARY 27 – BELLYDANCE BOOTCAMP with KALIKAH JADE

BOOKINGS OPEN NOW

20171013_KJ_FB_event_missfine

Bellydance Bootcamp is here!

Want to build strength and flexibility to enhance your dance and boost your technique at the same time?
Work your body to improve your dance, no matter which style you prefer! There will be stretching, strengthening exercises and of course technique drills to test your limits and work you out at the same time.

We will be covering core strengthening, hips, butt and legs and upper arm conditioning + drilling hipwork, shimmies & upper body movement. The flexibility aspect will focus on bellydance specific exercises to help lengthen the spine, open the hips and stretch the hamstrings.

Open level (modifications will be tailored for your level of flexibility/strength) bring lots of water, a towel, yoga mat and wear pants or shorts (no flowy skirts).

LOCATION: Miss Fine’s House of Fusion, Osborne (private address, will be provided upon payment)

PRICING: $30

TIME: 10.30am – 11.30am (1hr workshop)

BYO yoga mat for opening warmup and cooldown.

BOOK HERE: 

Bellydance Bootcamp workshop – $30

Buy Now Button

Kalikah is currently available for private lesson bookings of up to 2 students at one time at her home studio in Largs Bay. Please email to enquire about rates and content.

Some testimonials from past students:

“You are an extremely lovely and approachable person. I admire your passion for expression and I have so much respect for the way you share your passion so honestly. I appreciate being given the opportunity to dance with you and learn from you. Keep doing what you’re doing, Kalikah.You’re amazing.”

“I really enjoyed your presentation and your warm and welcoming personality. I am older and often think that I won’t go to workshops because of age, but felt very included – it was fabulous. When’s the next one??”

“I honestly really enjoyed every aspect of the workshop. It was extremely difficult for me as I am very new to dancing but I really pushed myself and got a lot out of it. I’ve been shimmying every day since. You’re a very inspirational teacher.”

Kalikah is available to host workshops interstate for events and festivals. Please contact for a full list of available topics, rates & availability.

Advertisements

A step back in time…

Addiction Fusion Solo

Five years ago, I blindfolded myself & wore blind cataract contacts and danced on stage at my first interstate guest performance ever. I had just moved to Queensland and I was feeling especially lost and lonely without my now-fiancee and family there to support me.

I put all of my sadness, stress and loneliness into this piece, and when I finished, I absolutely broke down backstage and cried my heart out.

This is the first and only time I’ve so succinctly felt strong emotion like that during performance, and the high after it was all over was that much more intense.

This piece is a reminder for me personally to never stop experimenting, and to follow my own path.It’s easy to get caught up in what’s ‘cool’ or ‘en vogue’ in bellydance, particularly in fusion, and in our quest to emulate those masters we lose our own unique voice. It’s also very easy to compare yourself to those same masters who seem to have superhuman abilities that the regular performer can only imagine, whose training, body type, personal circumstances, and approach may be vastly different to your own and therefore uniquely theirs alone.Don’t compare yourself to anyone other than you. Even then, the ‘you’ from five years ago is very different to the you of now – and while its good to look back, don’t dwell on the past but look to your future and how your journey has brought you to this moment!
Enjoy! xKJ

The Ultimate Gift Guide for the discerning Bellydancer

 

It’s back for 2016 – my Bellydance Gift Guide from last year was so popular I’ve decided to do another one! The list is a bit different in that we have a special ‘Extravagant Options’ section where if you REALLY want to know deep inside the dancer’s soul, this is what she wants if money was no object! Don’t forget to comment below if there’s something I’ve missed or that you’d like to see added!

So without further ado, I bring you 15 gift ideas for Bellydancers:

For the Oriental Princess

– Silk Veil –

Every bellydancer needs a veil, whether as a performance prop, backdrop or to be used as a cover up before and after shows. Investing in a beautiful silk veil will be worth the years of wear you’ll get from it and there are so many pretty options to go with any dancers costume collection.

678764236_hsnyx-l__59512-1295538082-1000-1200
Silk Veil in Isis + Seafoam, $99 Buy it here

– Bellydance Oasis Magazine Subscription –

These days so much of our media consumption comes in the form of digital that sometimes it’s nice to have that tactile experience and satisfaction that comes from flicking through a glossy magazine. Even better when it’s about our favourite topic: Bellydance! Subscribing to a bellydance magazine not only means you’ll get a surprise in the post a few times a year (it’s the gift that keeps giving!) but you’re also supporting the wider community who work hard to collate & produce high quality content time and time again. Plus, it is a great conversation starter with guests at the coffee table!

cover
Bellydance Oasis Subscription (3 issues, AU) $39 Buy it here

– Footless Jewelled Sandals –

These were one of the most popular gift ideas so they make it back onto this years list. Just pop them on and off you go with stunning adornment that won’t affect your dancing, and finish off your costume beautifully.

il_570xn-995658862_dkne
Swarovski footless sandals, $118 Buy it here

For the Tribal Goddess

– Handmade Adornment –

Everybody loves collecting a piece of unique adornment, so why not gift a dance sister or friend with a beautiful handmade work of art that can be worn on or off stage.

13669062_1554523574857529_5826763059444641258_n
Acushla Designs Pendant, $68 Buy it here

– Fabulous Faux Assuit –

This year Melodia Designs unveiled her Faux Assuit collection, and it absolutely SLAYED. The real deal is incredibly difficult to come by, and she’s created some core designs that work as costumes all on their own or as statement street wear pieces. Seriously, it’s to die for.

14723451_1811199049165159_3688473933339688960_n
Faux Assuit Collection ‘Domina’ Gown, $249 Buy it here

– Fusion Beats –

There’s one thing us dancers cannot go without and that’s music! Give the gift of dance to your favourite belly babe by signing her up to Spotify – that’s completely free, otherwise you can upgrade to the premium version for only $11.99 per month. She’ll never be stuck for music inspo again!

untitled
Spotify Premium, $11.99 (monthly) Buy it here

For the Workshop Addict

– Glitter Drink Bottle –

One thing you’ll learn if your significant other is a bellydancer, is that YOU CAN NEVER HAVE TOO MUCH GLITTER! This fun drink bottle will ensure that every single practice, no matter how sweaty, still has some sparkle!

f138662_gift-cl_alternate
I Shine Water Bottle – $8.99 Buy it here

– Drill Belt –

Give the gift of bling with a gorgeous drill belt that can be worn on and off stage! Lovingly hand crafted by fusion bellydancer Lilly Sim, by purchasing her wares  you’re supporting the dance community AND looking great!

il_570xN.1085681957_r8x1.jpg
Custom Drill Belt (4 pictured above) from $140ea  Buy it here

For the Costumier

– Costume Storage –

If you’re anything like me, costume storage is always a challenge. Help a sister out and grab her a storage rack that she can hang her veils, skirts and other accessories on so they don’t get wrecked!

42316688-1-f
Scandi Garment Rack, $49 Buy it here

– Sewing Machine –

A dancer’s best friend, especially right before a big show, is her sewing machine. You’ll save time and money with your own hardware and who knows, you might even be the next costume go-to designer!

Brother GS3710 Sewing Machine
Brother GS3710 Sewing Machine, $349 Buy it here

Extravagant Options. . .

– Bespoke Costume –

For the ultimate in gift giving, nothing is more indulgent than having one of the top industry designers custom creating your very own bellydance costume. Though this process may take weeks or even months to complete, having your own unique piece professionally created just for you is an incredible investment as the pieces are built to last time and time again.

il_570xn-201533062
Bespoke Custom order Bellydance costume, $1,793 Buy it here

– Strike a Pose –

Every bellydancer loves to dress up and be photographed. Whether its an opportunity to get glammed up or a long overdue update for her marketing material, treating your dancer other half to a professional photoshoot is a great gift option. You can even take some of the photographed images to be printed onto canvas to turn your beloved into a beautiful piece of artwork in the home or studio!

 

Kalikah Jade
Photography by Gee Greenslade, $POA Enquire Here

– Textile Treasures –

Every dancer covets a piece of genuine antique Assuit. Named after the Egyptian region where the craft comes from, many of these pieces date back to the 1920’s when Orientalism & Art Deco peaked amongst fashionistas across Europe and America. Assuit fabric is made from tiny pieces of metal hammered into tulle, and is very delicate – but as you can see below is exceptionally stunning.

il_570xn-916517639_twip
Ivory Antique Assuit Shawl, $1,888 Buy it here

– Antique Adornment –

Treat the dancer in your life with a genuine article of adornment that can be worn with costume or kept as an heirloom piece. Genuine antiques are getting harder to find and thus are becoming more and more expensive but they are made to last a lifetime and will be cherished by their owner!

nk2015w9
Silver Rajasthani Cuffs, $1,110 Buy it here

– Extravagant Experience –

Fulfill every bellydancer’s fantasy with the opportunity of a lifetime – a trip to Egypt! Here she can get swept up in the history and culture of Ancient Egypt but also take lessons with some of the top dancers and also see a real live show in a river cruise on the Nile.

avalon-pyramids-of-giza
Egypt Holiday Tour, $POA Plan it here

Phew! If you’ve reached the bottom, well done! I have plenty more gift ideas but now it’s your turn – what kind of gifts would you give to your dancer significant other or bellydance sister/teacher/student?

Sparkle Spotlight: An Introduction to my Favourites

I have something to confess.

I have an addiction.

A costuming/sparkles/shiny objects sort of addiction. The kind that if I were one of those impulse buyers (thankfully I’m not!) I would probably have the equivalent of a Kardashian nightclub appearance fee in credit card debt.

I come across lots of lovely things as a bellydancer, and I think that instead of keeping my addiction a secret I would like to shamelessly share whatever gets my gears going at any particular time.

I’m hoping to make this a semi regular series, with some themed posts now and then. You may have read my blog about my recommendations on gifts for bellydancers which was one of my most shared posts of all time! Bellydancers love presents and also love collectively gasping over gorgeous, covetable items – so I’m sharing the love so that the online space is that much more of a prettier place!

So without further ado, my Sparkle Spotlight Favourites:

3. I am loving this pendant ($68) from Acushla Designs:

13669062_1554523574857529_5826763059444641258_n

It looks amazing teamed with the assuit as pictured and would be a gorgeous addition to any outfit on or off stage!

 

2. This headdress ($950) by Shape Shifters Tribe.

il_570xN.931978377_3slk.jpg

It has taken all my self control to not. push. add. to. cart…..

 

1. The entire collection of Faux Assuit by Melodia Designs

MD-WP-Slides-4-743x340.png

I’m throwing cash at the screen but nothing’s happening…….

Seriously it’s to die for.

 

So there you go folks – my top 3 favourite things right now! What are you totally obsessing over at the moment??

Cultural Appropriation & Bellydance – A Post Modern Perspective

In recent years there have been many vocal opinions about cultural appropriation and bellydancing. I would say one of the most extreme would be the piece written here which likens bellydance to blackface. As a fusion dancer of mixed nationality I would offer a different view. I’d like to note that this piece is not intended as a rebuttal (which would include far more in depth research & referencing) but as an example of a different point of view.

First, a little bit about me before I begin my piece.

I am a second generation Australian woman of mixed nationality. My grandparents were European immigrants who settled in Australia in the 1950’s and this is where my parents were born. I don’t know any of my family in Europe, I have no idea what my ‘true’ nationality is or where my surname comes from. My grandparents come from Polish, Greek, Ukrainian and Russian backgrounds, however when I google my surname it is actually an Iranian name which dates back to Mesopotamia – so I suppose you could say I could be distantly Iranian. But I’ll never find out and as such the point of me highlighting this is that I do not identify with any culture in particular. Aside from a Roman Catholic upbringing, I don’t have family traditions or anything that distinctly ties me to a particular culture.

I also have a degree in Visual Arts, and spent a little bit of time studying Post Modernism at university. So my particular view of cultural appropriation comes from a Post Modernist perspective which informs the way I interpret & appreciate the dance that I do. At the time I was studying this particular topic, there was quite the controversy in the art world with respected photographer Bill Henson being accused of taking a series of ‘pornographic’ images of a nude 13-year-old girl (Trigger warning: This article shows an uncensored image from the exhibition (plus an extremely compelling argument) in question and is very very NSFW).  In the weeks following the scandal, we examined the exhibition from a post modernist approach, where we debated in class about censorship & intent. In this school of thought, the piece was in an artistic sense capturing the beauty of a young girl transitioning into womanhood in a non-sexual way. However his work was denounced as sexualising a minor which therefore made it pornographic and thus illegal to display. By declaring the piece a sexualisation, those vocal individuals were informed by their own personal experiences which did not necessarily take on the viewpoint of the artist or the artists’ target audience. But even though the artist didn’t intend on presenting the work as a sexually obscene piece, it’s controversial nature meant that it would challenge viewers who may not have been exposed to his previous work or any other similar work.

So what does this have to do with bellydance and cultural appropriation? I say plenty. Like many thousands of people out there, men and women alike, I think bellydance is a beautiful celebration of femininity. Fusion bellydance in particular is also a celebration of diversity, art and experimentation. You can study for years and years with the Egyptian Masters and have the ultimate badass Belady and be an amazing dancer, without the cultural heritage to give you ‘permission’ to present this to an audience. Your intent may be to entertain, to teach, it may be just a personal desire. Your audience may enjoy your Badass Belady – clapping, yelling, smiling faces – and you may get verbal compliments or approving looks. Those individuals in the audience are informed by either their cultural background, the context of the dance (ie – this is a bellydance concert so I am watching a type of style of belly dance), or whether they are expecting to be entertained. You cannot control the reaction of the audience or how they perceive your performance or catalogue your style in their minds. If someone other than yourself calls you a fusion bellydancer when you see yourself as a classically trained dancer who dabbles in experimentation every now and then, you cannot control that & therefore you are, to that person. The same thing applies to cultural appropriation. If someone looks at your dance and labels it appropriation, they are doing so (hopefully) informed from a cultural perspective. They cannot see what you are trying to portray,  or it’s not appreciated in the context it has been presented in.

I say it’s like looking at the Mona Lisa and saying she is smiling serenely – others say she looks mysterious, like she has a secret. It’s still the same picture, you’re just looking at it differently than the other person based on how you are informed as an individual.

I don’t buy into the idea of ‘ownership’ of a culture – especially in terms of bellydance. In this global world linked inextricably though the Internet, and social media in particular, it is virtually impossible not to be influenced by different cultures, especially in places such as the US and Australia which have such a diverse melting pot of cultures living in every single city, not individual countries or towns. I think that the bellydance=racism argument is fundamentally flawed in that you cannot control the intent of an individual in displaying any kind of art, performance or otherwise, which has taken on cultural aspects. It’s like saying you can’t listen to hiphop or be a rapper unless you’re African American. Or that you’re racist for being a black person and doing Flamenco. Art and personal expression just doesn’t work that way and while you can have the view that, “Hey, that person is stealing MY culture by presenting it offensively,” you also need to ask yourself, why?

Is it offensive because of how it’s presented? Is the dancer ignorant of the meaning of the song? Is it being presented to an inappropriate audience? If so, why? Perhaps you aren’t the target audience? I think these are all valid questions to ask yourself before denouncing something as ‘cultural appropriation’ – in this world, I just don’t think it exists in bellydancing in the purest sense.

Bellydance is an ancient system of movement which has no official historical root, it belongs to no-one and everyone. As all things do, it has evolved to embrace our globalisation, with the advent of the post-modern Tribal Fusion. That name speaks for itself really. There is no stopping the creativity of expression. Bellydance is for all of us and elements of the dance can be found across all different dance styles anyway- for example, some hip movements found in Polynesian dance distinctly mirror those from Bellydance, and footwork found in Samba is also found in Bellydance. It’s not strictly limited to a certain peninsular in a far off land – there may be a distinct dialect developed as a result of the art being fostered in a certain environment but it’s fundamentally the same across all cultures.

I can see how Bellydance can be seen as cultural appropriation in the strict sense- adopting elements of a culture by members of a different culture. In my experience it’s less of adopting an element and passing yourself off as a different culture, as it’s the continuation and preservation of an art form which has developed in a specific way in specific regions. I think that a lot of responsibility falls to teachers to ensure they are educating their students who choose to perform & present bellydance, that if they intend on presenting the dance in an ‘authentic’ fashion, be it Greek, Turkish, Egyptian or any other ‘classical’ vein, that they do so in a way that respects the spirit in which it is presented. Presenting Bellydance in Tribal Fusion is an entirely different matter, where a number of elements from different cultures come together to create something completely new. To me this is a positive thing and shows the world that Bellydance has moved on from the same Orientalist tropes which have been rehashed time and time again and is now coming into it’s own expression to reflect this new modern age.

No, I don’t think of bellydance as cultural appropriation. What I do see is that it’s used in an argument to bully and belittle a dancer when it’s not enough to comment on her looks/technique/styling/musicality. There is a difference between poor performance choices or ignorance and outright racism or cultural insensitivity. Let’s not forget that Bellydance as we know it has become commodified by many cultures, not just in the West – a form of entertainment to be consumed by the masses, whether we like it or not, which in my opinion makes the cultural appropriation argument moot. Before you decide whether a culture is appropriated, look around to see the world we live in where we have so much to learn from each other and enjoy, and apply this logic to the dancer you see. Don’t use the argument to bully, use it to educate and inform and make us all better dancers and global citizens.

 

What’s in a name? Using a Stage Name in Performance

What’s in a name?

A name is a label – it’s what differentiates Jenny from Sue, it’s your personality, your quirks, your reputation. It changes depending on who is using it and if they’re mad at you (parents/siblings/partners especially). It most likely links you to your heritage, your birth country, your ancestral home, or that of your spouse.

When you are a performer, it’s also a brand.

When you start your journey as a stage performer, whether you’re an actor, model, musician, dancer or public speaker, most often you sign up and spend the first years of your education just as ‘you’. But as you begin to learn and evolve, perhaps you find yourself becoming someone else or adopting a different persona when you’re out in front of a crowd. Maybe thinking of your ‘other’ self as being the performer helps to ease your stage fright or assist in giving your best character performance or maybe that character IS the performance. Maybe at this point you decide you are no longer Sue but Suzanne the Magnificent, or Suellen Strange, or Sneaky Sue, depending on your character.

Luna Queen by Kalikah Jade, Adelaide Bellydancer
Luna Queen by Kalikah Jade, Adelaide Bellydancer

Deciding on whether to commit to a professional stage name is a big decision, like most brands, once it’s out there and you are advertising yourself, it’s really really difficult to change once you’ve built an audience and/or community – Christina Aguilera went to Xtina then back again, Snoop Dogg turned into Snoop Lion then Snoopzilla and who knows what the next name will be. As an audience it’s confusing and it’s really tough to keep tabs on your performer buddies if they keep switching names!

If you decide that a stage name is the way to go my advice is:

  1. Google it a few times, to be certain that the name isn’t already used or doesn’t have unfortunate connotations or associations
  2. Pick something to suit your performance style that is easy to say and spell
  3. Practice using it privately or with a trusted group of friends to see if you feel comfortable being referred to by that name
  4. Be absolutely sure that you want to stick with it

When I first started out as a soloist, I used my first given name. That’s who I was, who my teachers and classmates referred to me as and what I was most comfortable with. But there came a defining moment, where with the advent of social media and more public accountability I made the decision that for professional & privacy reasons I wanted to give myself a stage name. This also helped in compartmentalizing my social/dance life, everyone who knew me from then on knew Kalikah, and close friends, family and work colleagues knew only my given names.

Siren Fusion Solo
Siren Fusion Solo, Cirque de Serpentine, Brisbane, 2013

The challenge with having a stage name is that it’s really really hard to change people’s mind as a performer once they know your ‘real’ name, or if they knew you prior to taking up your new identity. Personally I really identify with Kalikah and I have become my own brand so calling me anything else while I am at a show or in training (unless I’ve given explicit permission) is deeply jarring, both on a personal level but also at a performance level. It really ruins the air of mystery I try to maintain, especially at shows. I’ll never forget the time I was just finishing up a big stage show for the Adelaide Fringe, and I was heading out into the lobby to meet my family who had come along to watch. My mother got so excited to see me and screeched out my given name amongst the crowd and absolutely everyone heard it! In that instant it kind of ruined that character I’d built up during the show. Having said that, one lesson I’ve learned is that your parents will never, ever call you by your stage name ever. Even if you remind them!

A stage name evokes a sense of mystique, it gives the audience a sense that the person you see is not just your average citizen who goes to work like the rest of us, no she is ‘of the stage’ and therefore unique and exotic. I see my job as a performer to be like a game of imagination, the anonymity of an exotic name better allows the audience to believe even for a minute that they’ve been whisked from their everyday lives into a glimpse of the world I create through  my art.

I think if I was to give any advice it would be to make it crystal clear to your troupe, teachers and colleagues that from now on you’d like to be referred to at all times by your stage name, at practice, at shows, online, to help get into your new persona.

As I touched on earlier, using a stage name is also a fantastic way of keeping your private life private. At the time I was coming up with my stage name I was also applying for my first graduate jobs which required me to have an online presence, so I definitely didn’t want any future employers looking me up and seeing my dance footage out of context. I was also acutely aware of the possibility of unwanted attention, so for my own personal safety and responsibility I thought it would be a good idea.

So for me using a stage name has had a huge number of benefits –

  • I’ve been able to seperate my dance persona and my private persona
  • my stage name reflects the kind of imagery I’d like to think I evoke as a bellydance performer
  • I’ve been able to build a strong brand and presence around my stage name, allowing me to be comfortable in being Kalikah at any dance functions or performances, seamlessly able to get into or maintain my stage persona
  • my privacy is protected

Everyone has their preferences for their identity, and for me having a stage name has worked for me for over 8 years. I no longer think of that name as just a label, it’s me & everything I stand for as a bellydancer and as a performer!

What do you think? Do you have a stage name? Do you choose not to have a stage name? What have been your greatest benefits from either using one or refraining from using a stage name?

 

10 Reasons Why Learning Bellydance Will Improve Your Life

1. You’ll find a new appreciation for your curves (and those of your fellow dancers) when you learn hip, chest and arm shapes.

2. Your social calendar will be perpetually filled with hafla invitations, rehearsals, gala shows, workshop invitations and after class catch-ups.

3. You will learn to listen to music in a new way and all of a sudden you can hear new rhythms in all of your favourite songs that would be *perfect* for a drum solo!

4. You can plan your international (or local) travel around your favourite master teacher, book in a dance holiday AND meet a tonne of new friends from all over the world!

5. You have friends in every continent, and if you’re an ATS® dancer, you’ll have a group of sisters to dance with regardless of language – such is the power of the language of dance!

6. You’ll develop an unhealthy obsession with textiles, jewellery, world music & youtube.

7. You will improve your muscle tone, flexibility and strength in a gentle, low impact way and improve your joint mobility.

8. You’ll be less likely to yo-yo diet so that you can still fit into all of your costumes without complicated (and expensive) alterations!

9. Objects such as canes, candle trays, swords and light floaty fabric now have a whole new realm of uses and possibilities.

10. You’re all set with your ‘party trick’ – the three quarter shimmy!

15 Gift ideas for the Belly Dancer in Your Life

The festive season is quickly approaching, and gifting that special something for the bellydancer in your life can be a minefield of confusion (and glitter). So to help ease off the stress of buying for your belly babe, or to gift to your fellow dance sisters, I’ve compiled my top gifts for bellydancers! (this may or may not be a hint to my significant other…*coughnudgecough*)

These aren’t necessarily ‘bellydance’ gifts, but more practical items that would come in handy or enhance the  dancing practice, performance, and experience!

For the Gig-a-holic Dancer

– The Gig Bag –

For the travelling performing dancer, the gig bag is essential. This gorgeous bag has a safe place to store makeup, costumes and some snacks for when you’re on the go, in style of course! This also doubles as a great bag to take to the gym or to a workshop weekend intensive!

Stella Sport Leopard Team Bag $79.95
Stella Sport Leopard Team Bag $79.95  

 

– The Portable Speaker –

When you’re backstage prepping for a show, a portable speaker is an awesome option especially if you have a last minute group rehearsal. It’s also a great one to pop into your bag when you’re travelling to shows to have an impromptu dance practice at your accommodation, or to start a party post show!

103722-L-LO
Bose Bluetooth Speaker $399 

 

– Travel Size Brush Set –

Every dancer needs her go-to makeup brushset,  this beautiful collection from 3CE has both striking design (so if it gets mixed up backstage it’s easily identified) and a sleek, no fuss storage that is perfect to throw into your gig bag!

closeup_a043165272b9600e525e773941ad970eb67dd3b7_1420564604_3CE_MiniBrushKitPink
3CE Travel Brush Kit $142 Buy it here

 

For the Tribal Goddess

– Finger Cymbals-

Finger cymbals are a must have musical instrument for every Tribal bellydancer! These gorgeous Sagats by Zenptah are 100% Australian made, and are similar to zills but are made of thicker, higher quality metal and have a slightly different production process. They have the perfect balance of satisfying weight and beautiful sound. Sold in lots of 4 (2 pairs), you can buy one for you and one for your fellow tribe sister!

zagats1-300x261
Zenptah Sagats, $100 (2 pairs) Buy it here

– Jewelled Adornments –

Every bellydancer loves a bit of sparkle! Get her a gorgeous bindi for her to adorn herself – Check out the gorgeous range from Aussie artists 3D Bindi (pictured below) and Bespoke Bindis & Other Accouturements. Both lovely ladies take custom orders and their work is exquisite!

12115653_890999414309351_5502992037046470005_n
Bindis handmade by 3D Bindi (POA). Buy it here

– The Gift of Dance –

Now you can bring some of the world’s top dancers into your own lounge room with Datura Online! Give the gift of dance to your belly babe with a prepaid subscription of 30 days ($25), 90 days ($35) or a whole year ($260)!

datura.jpg
Datura Online Memberships $25-$260 Buy it here

For the Costume Addict

– Beautiful Storage –

One thing you’ll learn if your significant other is a bellydancer, is that YOU CAN NEVER HAVE TOO MUCH JEWELLERY! Here’s a practical way to store your precious items which doubles as a gorgeous feature for your home!

36640522_070_b.jpg
Plum & Bow Jewellery Organizer Mirror $49 

– Body Bling –

Give the gift of bling with a gorgeous body chain that can be worn on and off stage! Lovingly hand crafted by internationally renowned fusion bellydancer Olivia Kissel, by purchasing her wares  you’re supporting the global dance community AND looking great!

il_570xN.573119986_ene7
The Serpent Body Drape by Olivia Kissel $484 Buy it here

– Footless Sandals –

Adorn your tootsies and complete every outfit with a pair of footless sandals! There’s a huge range of colours and styles online, and they’ll add that extra twinkle to your footwork!

il_570xN.801368770_840o.jpg
Lotus Barefoot Sandals, $80 

For the Workshop Addict

– Yoga Mat –

Great for home or class practice, yoga mats are an essential tool for better comfort and stability when conditioning for bellydance via stretching and strengthening. The Gaiam website even has a tutorial on which mat to select based on what you’re using it for, and the mats come in a variety of gorgeous prints to make you stand out at your next workshop!

05-60527_A.jpg
Gaiam premium Marrakesh Yoga Mat $30 Buy it here

– Look the Part –

For the ultimate in practice wear (and also great additions to your costume wardrobe) Melodia Designs pioneered many looks that are now considered synonymous with bellydance activewear. The quality of her garments has been tried and tested by hobbyists and professionals alike, with classic silhouettes and breathable fabrics.

minnie flare_300x450
Melodia Designs Minnie Classic Flare $79.00 Buy it here

– Take Notes –

Keep all of your bellydance workshop and class notes in an aptly decorated notebook! This gorgeous illustration is one of many available designs on RedBubble, you could even upload your own image for a completely custom look!

sn,x1313-bg,f8f8f8.u12.jpg
Scheherazade Spiral Notebook $15 Buy it here

For the Studio

– Add Character –

Transport your dance space into an exotic haven with the addition of beautiful Moroccan style candle holders and lanterns. Light them up for beautiful patterns and shapes to shadow your walls or keep them as ornaments to add character!

27cm+Temple+Lid+Candle+Holder
Road to Home Temple Lid Candle Holder $57 Buy it here

– Evoke the Senses –

Burning scented candles or using mood diffusers work wonders in creating a lush space. We strongly associate smell with emotions, and nothing is better than coming into your favourite space greeted by a familiar smell. This also helps in de-stressing and helping you get in the right mood for dance!

glasshouse-fragrances-diffuser-persia-jasmine-wood-vanilla_2_1.1447742039
Glasshouse Fragrances Persia Diffuser $43 Buy it here

– Inspire Yourself –

Beautiful art in your most sacred space is a constant source of creative inspiration, and makes your studio feel less like a workout area and more like an inviting home! Whether you are inspired by landscapes, colours, shapes or dance art, there will be something beautiful that will work for you! I like this piece because it reminds me of our roots in folkloric dance and the many branches that have flourished as we pass on the dance via our teachers to the next generation.

 

Sounds-Like-Home-Mangowood-Tree-of-Life-Reverse-Carved-Artwork-07541W
Mangowood Tree of Life Wall Carving $379 Buy it here

Phew! If you’ve reached the bottom, well done! I have plenty more gift ideas but now it’s your turn – what kind of gifts would you give to your dancer significant other or bellydance sister/teacher/student?

Belly-Burnout: What happens when you lose your mojo?

As a student of bellydance for nearly 10 years, I’ve had many moments of wanting to give up my dance, for a myriad of reasons. The past couple of years, I’ve felt my inspiration waning, despite attending retreats, intensives and teaching. There seems to be something missing from my dance at the moment which has caused me to mentally and energetically pull back and examine where my journey is headed. For the better part of ten years my mind has been occupied with Bellydance – going over choreographies and performance ideas in my head, thinking of music to dance to, finding costuming inspiration, thinking about upcoming shows/haflas/intensives/trips/gigs and keeping tabs on what everyone else is up to on social media.

So when I started feeling dread at the thought of preparing of a show, or the thought of attending a weekend of workshops exhausted me before I had even signed up, I realized that it was time to take a step back. Call it Belly-Burnout, if you will. For a long time this feeling churned inside and I felt guilty that this was happening to me, that somehow it made me a failure or a fake or someone who *gasp* isn’t as dedicated to dance as everyone else. That because I had come so far that it was too late to just stop, that I had to keep going for the sake of students and the expectations of the community, to be seen to participate and not become irrelevant or forgotten. So I pushed through, but I found that I was spending more time and energy trying to force ideas and worrying if I would be able to come up with something that I feel like that’s when my mojo disappeared.

Now, the creative process is a very interesting creature – for most of my professional career I have been employed in creative roles and for me when the ‘aha!’ moment happens, all things come into place, and I find myself re-energized and invigorated ready to explore an idea. The thing is though, the road between development of an idea and the ‘aha!’ can take anywhere from a moment to years, which for me (and I’m sure for many others) is the most difficult stage to get through. But once that moment happens, that’s where magic starts!

I haven’t had an ‘aha!’ moment in quite some time. However instead of stressing about it, I’ve thought about what else is going on in my life and where I need to direct my energy so that I can nurture myself back to a point where I am ready to feel creative in dance again. Though I still drill a bit at home, I have taken up other forms of exercise to give my body a break from what it is used to, build up my strength and stamina, and discover a different way of movement. I have started sketching again after many many years of not making the time having been so preoccupied with dance (and also full time work).

I want to love bellydance again. It’s all I think about during the day, which really indicates either a deep love or obsession. I want to be better, I want to improve and I want to continue my dance journey. But first I need to take some time out to realign and readjust so that I can be truly present and enjoy every moment. There is no shame in feeling the burnout or wanting to give up, it’s natural and normal. A teacher once told me in class that, “Bellydance is like falling in love with someone: You discover them, and they are all you think about. You can’t keep your hands off each other and every moment is exciting and thrilling. A few years later you’ve developed a deeper relationship, you might not be so hands on but you know one another inside and out. Maybe you even think maybe you’ve fallen out of love. But then one day, something happens and they remind you how amazing they are and you couldn’t imagine life without them.”

This is how I feel about dance. I think about the journey that has taken me all over Australia, the people I’ve met, how as I’ve grown as a person my dance has grown too. Losing your dance mojo doesn’t mean the end. It just means a little bit of time needs to be taken to rediscover that hunger, that desire. It might not happen right away, but I have faith that it will. And that’s OK with me.

Behind the glitter: My top stage makeup essentials!

Kalikah Jade - Smokey Eye

Every professional performer needs their stage toolkit, I’ve noticed over the years I have a few essential go-to makeup products I cannot live without that have been tried and tested to work for me in all conditions. Extreme heat, oily skin, unflattering lighting, low light, outdoor, indoor, festivals, you name it – take a peek into my top products I use religiously every time I venture out in costume!

Untitled-6

  1. Revlon colourstay liquid foundation, $34.95

    I love this foundation – I wear it daily for work, and also use it for stage. It’s light to medium coverage which can be applied as liberally as you need without feeling caked on or oily.

  1. MAC Khol Power eyeliner, $32.00

    You can’t go past a great classic Khol eyeliner. This guy won’t budge, once applied it will take an oil based product to remove. Easy to apply and smudge for an instant dramatic smokey tribal look.

  1. MAC Mineralize Skinfinish powder, $49.00

    I use this when I need maximum coverage over my foundation. It ensures a smooth, flawless base that will last right until you take it off.

  1. MAC Lipstick in Russian Red, $36.00

    This red lipstick will get you through in a pinch, the colour is rich and glides on with a beautiful creamy consistency that will also condition your lips. This will take several attempts to remove, for me it’s survived music festivals and moshpits as well as performances with just one application!

  1. MAC Lip Pencil in Ruby Woo, $30.00

    The perfect pair to the red lipstick to get the right shape, to avoid pesky bleeding. A creamy, highly pigmented finish ensures maximum coverage.

  1. The Body Shop liquid eyeliner, $19.95

    I like the applicator of these ones, sometimes I find other brands a bit hard which then affects the consistency in application. Only in extremely humid conditions have I experienced a bit of running, and only because I had something layered over it that ran first!

  1. MAC eyeshadow in Carbon, $33.00

    Every girl needs to own this. The black smokey eye is your best friend once you have this eyeshadow. Again it’s not going to budge unless you remove with an oil based makeup remover, it’s that good.

  1. Maybelline Colossal Volum’ Express Waterproof Mascara, $19.95

    I like these cheap and cheerful mascaras, they pump up the volume for long lashes. I also like to layer several different types (lengthening, voluming, waterproof) but the Volum’ Express is the one I use mostly.

  1. Eyelure eyelashes in #143, $12.99

    These lashes are long enough to give your eyes some drama but not too long that you can’t see! The Eyelure range has a huge variety of lengths and thicknesses, and once you know which number is your favourite it’s super easy to refill next time!

These products have been absolute staples in my makeup bag for more than 5 years – don’t be fooled by price point either, the MAC products above will last you years, a fabulous investment that can be worn on and off stage. Being oil based they don’t sweat off and the pigmentation is fantastic!

Do you have any favourite products? Comment below!