Belly Dance Artist

Belly Dance Artist

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Progression Three of 2013

This was an interesting piece... it's the first song I've decided to choreograph on a whim (usually all my songs sit in a "hey you should choreograph this" playlist for at least 4 months). Being the opinionated person I am on my own work I like the earlier versions better than the latter... which is also opposite, usually "in my mind" my pieces get better the more I do them. But that's just my ramble. Here they are.

Late July with the Usual Suspects Tour

Late Late July at Sadie and Kaya's Gala Show

August at JamBallah NW

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

August is apparently Collaboration Month

I ended up doing three different collaborations in August which were so much fun!

The very first one will have to wait for another blog post as it's not complete yet!

The second was with the talented Kate Altaira at JamBallah NW!

The third was with local Denver dancer Kristen! We learned the "Raqs Henna" choreography off of Datura Online and had a blast performing it together at a local show.

Collaboration One and Progression three to come! Stay tuned! xo. ~Joanna

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Talent Code: Primal Cues

I'm in the midst of reading "The Talent Code" by Daniel Coyle. I just finished the chapter on primal cues and my brain is having fun picking out why it is I have focused on body movement for the majority of my life.

When I was about 4 or 5 years old and my mother was about my age now, we were watching the Olympics one afternoon; specifically the women's gymnastics floor routines. She was telling me how she was in gymnastics in high school and wondered if she could still do a few things. Which she could and which made my mouth drop. I had the "I want to do that," moment. I did get a few weeks of gymnastics training at a gym thanks to my grandmother, but that was short lived for financial reasons. But that I think did it... seeing my mom do some crazy tumble in our back yard sealed the deal. It took the Olympics in what seemed like a Disney movie on TV and made it real and attainable.

I did take all the swimming lessons I could get my hands on, both in the winter and summer... but that fizzled out when there was nothing left but competetive swim, which I tried and hated with a passion.

I became a decently avid tree climber until my family moved and switched neighborhoods around the time I started Middle School wherein I played flute for 3 years or so. High School brought on an era where I did nothing but read and focus on school. For about a year or two I focused pretty heavily on running; conveniently around the time I met my husband, who lived conveniently 3 miles away. The running fizzled out by the time I started college.

Once in college I was handed a fitness class brochure in one of my health classes and for whatever reason I fixated on the belly dance class that happened to be right after my class ended. I became pretty focused on getting my body to move as gracefully as my teacher's.

I then ended up at a local show where I saw TribalTique perform and had the instant "I want to do that," reaction to their ITS performance.

8 years later, here I am... happy as a clown and belly dancing like a fiend.

So I got this email...

...and then this happened two weeks later at Red Rocks.

There's one more piece that Molly and I danced in but it hasn't surfaced online yet, here's a picture.
A Huge Thank you to Zoe/ Beats Antique and Ashley.

Another huge thank you to all of our friends who bought tickets and came to see us!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Progression Number Two For 2013 - The Tribal Fest Piece

 In the solo pieces I've created thus far I strove for 100% sincerity in emotion. At the begining of this piece the choreography came to me quite quickly and as I started rehearsing emotions came to me that didn't feel like my own and it threw me for a loop but I kept on (with a huge chunk of reassurance from my partner).

The first showing was at the fabulous Spring Florence Show, I love these girls so and it was such a wonderfully supportive environment.

The second showing was at the fantastic Elevation Belly Dance Festival in my home city.

Shortly after Elevation, I found out that a dear friend had cancer. A few days later it clicked in my head who this solo was for and why I was dancing emotions that weren't my own directly.

The third performance was at Tribal Fest 13.

I feel raw and broken open with the need to rest and be with my Colorado girls. Even as I start to plan for July and August's piece... which will have a different strength and attitude to it, by which I mean to say it will have much of those two things; muses willing.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Nuggets of wisdom for any dancer...

15 Truths About Being a Professional Dancer

written by Melanie Doskocil, original post found at her blog, Ballet Pages
1. Dance is hard. – No dancer ever became successful riding on their natural born talents only. Dancers are artists and athletes. The world of dance today is akin to an extreme sport. Natural ability and talent will only get us so far. Dancers must work hard and persevere. Dancers give years of their lives plus their sweat, tears and sometimes blood to have the honor and pleasure of performing on stage.

2. You won’t always get what you want. – We don’t always get the role we wanted, go on pointe when we want, get the job we want, hear the compliments we want, make the money we want, see companies run the way we want, etc, etc.  This teaches us humility and respect for the process, the art form and the masters we have chosen to teach us. The faster we accept this, the faster we can get on with being brilliant.  We’ll never be 100% sure it will work, but we can always be 100% sure doing nothing won’t work.
3. There’s a lot you don’t know. – There is always more a dancer can learn. Even our least favorite teachers, choreographers and directors can teach us something. The minute we think we know it all, we stop being a valuable asset.
4. There may not be a tomorrow. – A dancer never knows when their dance career will suddenly vanish: a company folds, career ending injury, car accident, death…Dance every day as if it is the final performance. Don’t save the joy of dance for the stage. Infuse even your routine classroom exercises with passion!
5. There’s a lot you can’t control. – You can’t control who hires you, who fires you, who likes your work, who doesn’t, the politics of being in a company. Don’t waste your talent and energy worrying about things you can’t control. Focus on honing your craft, being the best dancer you can be. Keep an open mind and a positive attitude.
6. Information is not true knowledge. – Knowledge comes from experience.  You can discuss a task a hundred times, go to 1000 classes, but unless we get out there and perform we will only have a philosophical understanding of dance. Find opportunities to get on stage.  You must experience performance firsthand to call yourself a professional dancer.

7. If you want to be successful, prove you are valuable. – The fastest way out of a job is to prove to your employer they don’t need you. Instead, be indispensable. Show up early, know your material, be prepared, keep your opinions to yourself unless they are solicited and above all be willing to work hard.
8. Someone else will always have more than you/be better than you.  – Whether it’s jobs or money or roles or trophies, it does not matter. Rather than get caught up in the drama about what others are doing around you, focus on the things you are good at, the things you need to work on and the things that make you happiest as a dancer.
9. You can’t change the past. – Everyone has a past. Everyone has made mistakes, and everyone has glorious moments they want to savor. “Would you keep a chive in your tooth just because you enjoyed last night’s potato?” Boston Common TV Series. Dance is an art form that forces us to concentrate on the present. To be a master at dance we have be in the moment; the minute the mind wanders, injuries happen. If they do, see #12.
10. The only person who can make you happy is you. – Dancing in and of itself cannot make us happy.  The root of our happiness comes from our relationship with ourselves, not from how much money we make, what part we were given, what company we dance for, or  how many competitions we won.  Sure these things can have effects on our mood, but in the long run it’s who we are on the inside that makes us happy.
11. There will always be people who don’t like you. – Dancers are on public display when they perform and especially in this internet world, critics abound. You can’t be everything to everyone.  No matter what you do, there will always be someone who thinks differently.  So concentrate on doing what you know in your heart is right.  What others think and say about you isn’t all that important.  What is important is how you feel about yourself.
12.Sometimes you will fail. – Sometimes, despite our best efforts, following the best advice, being in the right place at the right time, we still fail. Failure is a part of life. Failure can be the catalyst to some of our greatest growth and learning experiences. If we never failed, we would never value our successes. Be willing to fail. When it happens to you (because it will happen to you), embrace the lesson that comes with the failure.
13. Sometimes you will have to work for free. – Every professional dancer has at one time or another had to work without pay. If you are asked to work for free, be sure that you are really ok with it. There are many good reasons to work for free, and there are just as many reasons not to work for free. Ask yourself if the cause is worthy, if the experience is worth it, if it will bring you joy. Go into the situation fully aware of the financial agreement and don’t expect a hand out later.
14. Repetition is good. Doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result is insane. – If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting.  If you keep doing the bare minimum of required classes, don’t complain to your teacher when you don’t move up to the next level. If you only give the bare minimum in your company, be happy staying in the corps. If you want to grow beyond your comfort zone, you must push yourself beyond your self-imposed limitations.
Photo by Peter Perazio. Taken when Sylvie Guillem was promoted to Paris Opera Ballet étoile status and is inspired by Béjart’s choréography “la Luna”. It has appeared in a cut version on the cover of the popular general audience French magazine, ‘Le Nouvel Observateur.’

15. You will never feel 100% ready. – Nobody ever feels 100% ready when an opportunity arises.  Dancers have to be willing to take risks. From letting go of the ballet barre to balance, to moving around the world to dance with a new company, from trusting a new partner to trying a new form of dance, dancers must have a flexible mind and attitude as well as body. The greatest opportunities in life force us to grow beyond our comfort zones, which means you won’t feel totally comfortable or ready for it.

Original Link

Monday, April 8, 2013

2013's First Progression Project

Wow! The last three weeks were a whirlwind! I performed three weekends in a row at the loveliest venues!

Molly and I hosted sold out workshops and show featuring Mat Jacob in Denver! Here's my solo from that show at the Red Elephant Workshop.

I hopped a plane and went to Cues and Tattoos in Seattle, WA! This festival is one of my favourites, the gals who run it are amazing ladies that I just love to pieces.

And last but not least!
I was thrilled and honored to perform at a local show that I've attended for years hosted by the lovely Phoenix!

Monday, February 11, 2013


Dance Room
So! We have the mirrored closet doors in and the majority of the decorating has been done! We still have one mirror that we need to have professionally cut to complete the north wall that has mirrors on it and then I think we'll be officially done. Figuring out the details for getting this mirror cut have been postponed due to working on our basement. In the basement we had to replace parts of the drywall, rip out old tile and get new carpet laid down for it to become livable space. We are currently working on the baseboards and decorating... so hopefully soon we can focus on that mirror and I can finish hanging pictures... *crosses fingers*
Mirrored 8 foot closet doors, them puppies are HUGE!
Altar Corner with my trunk I love so much!
A Day in the Movement Life
Miss Cera Byer put out a little challenge to video-record a day in your movement life to win one of her fabulous dancer day planners! As I already had one, I waited till after the contest ended and then did one anyway, just to experiment with putting a video like this together as I've never done anything like it before. Here's my video I made below!

Datura Online Belly Dance Challenge
Last month Datura Online put out a challenge to all of their subscribers. The challenge was to learn one of three choreographies, video yourself then put it online to potentially win a prize! I did not win the prize, nonetheless I loved getting the opportunity to dance with my sword again. It's was recorded in my home dance studio too! Enjoy!
(You can see all of the other participants videos here!)

Coming Soon!
There are so many things coming up I don't know where to start!
Molly and I are bringing Mat Jacob out to Denver and all of the workshops have sold out! Whoohoo! If you're in the area there are still tickets available for the hafla on the website here. I'll be doing a solo too!
Get your ticket soon though as seats are very limited!

It is just around the corner, I'll be taking workshops and performing on Saturday at 7:59PM!
This festival is one of my absolute favourites to go to, I wouldn't miss it for the world.

I'll be performing in the Spring Show Spectacular on April 20th in Florence, CO as well. Come drop by if you're in the neighborhood! These shows are always a blast, come early to peruse the vending and get a good seat!

Preparations are happening for Tribal Fest and a myriad of other shows as well, keep up to date by visiting my website often and signing up for my email list under the contact tab on my website.

Be well everyone! xo!