Hello ABQ!

Isalang

ABQ HS STEAM Fundraiser featuring students from Isalang Studio

It’s been a while! We’re getting settled down in New Mexico. I’m actually a student for the first time in years (apart from workshops), and it has been wonderful. There’s such a great community down here, and so many things to do! I can’t even decide which events to go and what I have to miss! I started out with one of Mahin‘s workshops when we first arrived, and then signed up for classes with Sirena Studio. They rock, and I’m learning a lot. I’m also taking classes at Isalang Studios – so fun and challenging!

I’ve started performing at haflas too. If you’re in the area I’m performing at events on March 24 AND 25. It’s nice to sit back and let someone else do the organizing for a change. 😀

At the Taaj on March 24

At Anasazi Fields Winery on March 25

I continue to collect makeup so my next blog will probably be on this topic. Until then my lovelies…

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Later, Tater!

Shimmy Mob 2015

Fortuitous Photo!

Some of you may know, and some of you may not know, that my husband and I will be moving to New Mexico this summer. Saturday, April 2, 2016 will be the last class I teach at the Spirit Room in Fargo. It makes me very sad to be leaving my students and friends, especially since there are very limited options in our area.

To my students who may be seeking a new teacher, my advice is this: If you can’t make Danika‘s class, or if ATS® just isn’t your bag look for these qualities in your next instructor.

Your teacher should:

  • be able to tell you what style of belly dance he/she teaches (Raks Sharki, AmCab, ATS®, etc – “belly dance” isn’t a style, per se)
  • display a good sense of ethics
  • recognize that this is a cultural art form and be respectful of that
  • be mindful of posture and movement, making sure to keep you safe and free of injury
  • be patient and encouraging, never belittling
  • encourage you to go to workshops and try out other classes
  • encourage you to be part of a larger community
  • continue her/his education too through workshops and higher level classes

If you are a belly dancer in the Red River Valley and you are on Facebook, go to the Red River Raks group and say “hi.” There may be a bunch of lone dancers who want to meet up and form a troupe. (Dancers only, sorry!)

I’m not gone yet, I still have my last show with Bad Weather Burlesque on April 28, the hafla and Shimmy Mob on May 14, the Daughters of Atlas stage show in Grand Forks on May 21, and Mistryl Shimmy Guard at CoreCon the weekend of June 9-12. Hope to see you there!

My sincerest hope is that all my dance sisters and brothers will keep the community alive and love and support each other. All my best to you!

EDIT: I am deeply saddened to have to update this post due to the Danika’s untimely death.

Costume Report – Harley Quinn

Harley Quinn Raks al Assaya

Harley Quinn Raks al Assaya

As a belly dancer, a nerd, and a crafter/seamstress, my interests tend to intersect a lot. In this post I will show you the costume I made for Bad Weather Burlesque’s FAN-tastic show in December. It was FAN-tastic indeed! If you’d like to see how I made my prop mallet you can see it on my craft-cosplay blog here.

Harley has had a number of different costumes since she debuted on the Batman: The Animated Series in 1993. I’ve noticed that as the years have gone by she has lost a lot of her clothing, but that’s another discussion all together. I’m currently hooked on Harley Quinn’s Little Black Book. I was looking for something a bit in between classic Harley Quinn and her modern costume, with a belly dance twist.

Classic Harley

Harley with less clothing

Here’s the complete costume:

Ignore the craft room mess please.

Ignore the craft room mess please.

From the top, I did my hair in high pigtails like she does in the current comic, but my hair is all red and I wasn’t going to bother with a wig or dye my hair so there you have it.

I made the collar pattern just measuring a circle that would fit comfortably around my neck and adding several triangles.

Collar pattern

Collar pattern

Finished collar

Finished collar

I cut a base out of white felt and the fabric on top is a scrap I had leftover from another project. I used heavy duty Heat n’ Bond to hold them together. I just cut out the center circle, and securely pinned the back, but you could add a snap or Velcro® or what have you.

For the shrug I just traced out a shrug I already had and like a lot but was the wrong color. It’s only 4 pieces to stitch together, no problem. I used the black and red striped fabric because I already had it. If you have a favorite shrug you love try making your own pattern. It’s easier than you think.

The bra was made using the basic bra covering technique that I’ve blogged about before. I made appliqués by creating a square with a felt base and covered with my bra and pants fabric and bonded with Heat n’ Bond just like the collar. From there I traced out square patterns with a pen and beaded and beaded and beaded. I cut out the empty space, since Harley typically has a three-diamond pattern on her costume. I then used beads and sequins in between the beaded diamonds and over the edges to secure the applique. I’m not going to go over the technique here, because that would be a whole other post, and Davina can explain it better than I. I made a smaller appliqué for the bra and a larger one for the pants.

Applique detail

Applique detail

Bra with applique

Bra with applique

The hip scarf is super simple – triangle with long rectangles to tie it on. It is lined with black fabric and covered in a sparkly black sheer fabric, which I chose because it was just lying around my craft room. I was pretty sure there was a free pattern somewhere online for this, but for the life of me I cannot find it. I may do another post on that. In the meantime, Simplicity™ has one. Special thanks to my friend Brenda, who just happened to have a whole bag of really nice tassels and was kind enough to let me have some.

Hip scarf

Hip scarf

The pants were a little extra challenge to figure out, but easy in the end. I don’t believe in reinventing the wheel. I picked up McCalls pattern M7198 for yoga pants and embellished the bottom part of the legs. I looked at some flare pants I already had and noticed that there is about a 30° angle on the flares from the hem. This is so the flares don’t become longer than the center part of the hem and drag on the ground. If you angle up everything will settle at the same hem line. So I measured out some triangles starting from my knee to the hem, and then measured out how much flare I wanted. I left the outer seam open from the knee to the hem so you can see a little leg when I kick. That is totally optional of course. This fabric was a spandex blend and therefore won’t fray, so I didn’t actually have to finish the edges. It was pretty easy in the end, and I’ll probably reuse this pattern a lot.

Altered Yoga pants pattern

Altered Yoga pants pattern

Unembellished pants

Pants with flair

My shoes are just black ballet flats. I never dance without shoes, especially in a club. There is just too much risk of injury.

So that’s it! I hope this may be helpful to your own costume plans. Let me know in the comments if you love Harley Quinn. 🙂

Bellydance Class Update

Class Starts Feb. 6!

Class Starts Feb. 6!

Hello lovelies! New class session starts Feb. 6. Please note, there is a chance this could be my last class in Fargo, as my husband and I might be moving to New Mexico this summer. Nothing set in stone yet but it might be your last chance to take a class from me. I hope you can make it!

Class schedule update!

Dec. 2015

To answer some scheduling questions, we will NOT have class Dec. 26, but we will have class Jan. 2 because you should be adequately recovered from your partying by then. 😉

Saidi Workshop

Pure Raks Saidi Workshop 2015

Pure Raks Saidi Workshop 2015

We had such a great time this weekend learning about Saidi from Jasmin Jahal. Thanks everyone who joined us on Friday and Saturday!

New Session Fall 2015

Sept. 2015

Sept. 2015

Greetings, Lovelies! September is here and our next class session is starting on the 12th. I have moved to a 7 week format to allow for more opportunities for people to start a new session, and so we can wrap up by May as summers are always busy. See my FAQ tab above for more info.

Also Jasmin Jahal is coming back to teach us a bit about Saidi style dance! Kismet is really excited to be able to present this workshop. Please see the WORKSHOP tab above for more info. The early bird gets the discount, so don’t delay, whether it is just the Friday intro or both days. It is worth your time to check it out.

On Oct 3-4 I will be traveling to Minneapolis to participate in Karim Nagi’s workshops presented by Jawaahir. Check it out!

Hope to see you all soon!

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