Category Archives: Belly Dancing

Today’s Class

The new choreography started today, and I love it already. Afterwards there was advanced class as usual, and it was really good! there was no mercy, Karen had us begging ten minutes in and she just giggled at us. She does that a bunch. She’s a little evil and out to get us, and to be honest I suspect she’s not human and is instead an alien sent here to first destroy the dancers due to some weakness in their physiology against shaking it but not breaking it. If she wasn’t as cute as she is, there could be some consequences!

… she ain’t reading this is she? Because if so, this blog is being written under duress and I don’t mean anything by it and please don’t make me do more shimmies!

In other news, I can now do the butterfly with my little practice poi and not hit myself in the head. Often.

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Cookie Vampires!

When you think of belly dancers, there are many words that come to mind. Gracefull and exotic and sensual and…

Errrr…

… incredibly scary. This is what happens when you bring fresh baked oatmeal cookies into a studio after a really butt busting choreography rehearsal. Sweet sexy thangs turn into sugar mauling beasts within moments, it was terrifying!

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There is a small amount of blame that can be put on me, unable to decide between the oatmeal cookies on the Quaker lid and Dorie Greenspan’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies I made both. One delicious cookie batch is enough to make a party, but two is too much. It causes this kind of behaviour.

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Don’t they look alluringly innocent on the plate? All that oatmeal covers up the effects they have on the half starved and sweaty.

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They’ll tell you about how full of fiber and fruit they are, how good dark chocolate is for you. They’ll snuggle up to you and pretend to be comforting little buttery friends.

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What they won’t tell you is how you’ll become a cookie vampire, sultry slaves to their peanut butter promises. Those far away gazes, those hands full of cookie crumbs…

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You have been warned.

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Daring Bakers Strudel

The May Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Linda of make life sweeter! and Courtney of Coco Cooks. They chose Apple Strudel from the recipe book Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague by Rick Rodgers.

This was one of the most satisfying recipes I’ve ever made! This was my first attempt at being a Daring Baker, and the only part that I’m stumbling on is this post. Mind you, I love running my mouth. This strudel deserves every praise anybody can give it, but it’s almost 2:00 a.m. and the hafla was amazing and I danced so much that I’m friggin tired!

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Please enjoy the pics, it’s all I can give y’all for right now.

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Pi is laying on me.

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She’s warm and furry and purring, and she’s sapping my will.

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Yum, there’s strudel for breakfast.

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Is it ok if we talk about it then? Y’all are very understanding.

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Super Cupcakes, Thanks To Smitten Kitchen

This Tuesday is our monthly hafla, and my first official performance with Hip Expressions! The dance we’re performing was choreographed by Kimberly, a sassy little tribal fusion dance to a song called My Superman. Now, the “stage” we use at St. Pete Nights is really their dance floor, and it’s a little on the tiny side when you’re trying to fit 11 dancers all together, so we all decided Wednesday would be a good day to head down there and run through the performance a few times to make sure we didn’t end up smacking each other in the head. To our credit, the only arm work related injury I know of was when Christie flicked me in the eye while demonstrating how not to flick your partner in the eye. *cough* Don’t worry, the costumes are black so the eye patch should go nicely.

If y’all were about to wiggle in front of a crowd in a belly baring top and tight pants, what would you do to prepare? Cupcakes, of course! After a bunch of researching recipes, I decided to trust in one of the best bloggers on the net, Smitten Kitchen. How can you fail following her lead?

Ain’t the new counters nice? Ignore the screwed up painting job, we ain’t had time to repaint the kitchen after the work. The dancers are all together in this pic, waiting to shimmy into a big bowl.

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Every show has a diva, and it’s no surprise who it is here! Since this was being made for the crew, I went with semi sweet chocolate instead of dark. It’s always a safer bet before you know everybody’s tastes. If this was being made for D and me, I’d use the darkest chocolate I could find but the cupcakes turned out perfect this way too.

 

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The decoration needs no explanation, even if an apology for my poor choice of icing consistency is required. Unfortunately frostings and icing are almost always my downfall (the chocolate frosting is Duncan Hines from the can *sob*), and forgetting to whip up the red icing in advance gave me 30 minutes to create frost and get dressed! They came out recognizable, which is more than I can say sometimes.

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Love these cupcakes! The cake is moist and tender, and a new fav in the house. The crew must have liked them too, after a long rehersal they dissapeared faster than my cat on bath day. Give this recipe a try, y’all will be addicted too!

 

Double Chocolate Layer Cake from Smitten Kitchen
Gourmet, March 1999

The recipe below is for 2 10-inch layers filled and coated in chocolate ganache. My adaptations were to split the layers to create a four-layer cake and use raspberry filling instead of chocolate. To do the same, use half the frosting and all of the raspberry filling, recipe at the end. (This recipe made a bunch of cupcakes, and one round layer of cake when I realized I’d made too many!)

For cake layers
3 ounces fine-quality semisweet chocolate such as Callebaut
1 1/2 cups hot brewed coffee
3 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
3/4 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 300 °F. and grease pans. Line bottoms with rounds of wax paper and grease paper.

Finely chop chocolate and in a bowl combine with hot coffee. Let mixture stand, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.

Into a large bowl sift together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another large bowl with an electric mixer beat eggs until thickened slightly and lemon colored (about 3 minutes with a standing mixer or 5 minutes with a hand-held mixer). Slowly add oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and melted chocolate mixture to eggs, beating until combined well. Add sugar mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined well.

Divide batter between pans and bake in middle of oven until a tester inserted in center comes out clean, 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes. (The cupcakes baked for 40 minutes)

Cool layers completely in pans on racks. Run a thin knife around edges of pans and invert layers onto racks. Carefully remove wax paper and cool layers completely. Cake layers may be made 1 day ahead and kept, wrapped well in plastic wrap, at room temperature.

A Fun Saturday!

Krystal calls me up on a lazy afternoon and asks me the question that every girl is asked at some time in her life. That age old inquiry that marks a milestone in every human’s path to enlightenment, “You wanna be a hula girl for a retirement condo party?” At first I wasn’t sure, but it wasn’t long before I fell to the seductive lure of riches beyond compare. Namely a grass skirt and all the bbq I could eat (and the pay didn’t hurt either)!  Before the two of us could say Aloha, the weekend was on us and our scrambled rehearsals were paying off.

 

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Krystle is the best to dance with! How those steps ever were figured out with all the giggling is a mystery.

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The two of us hula’d out butts off to the best of our ability! The comedy helped, we started off with a silly skit and came back with our grass skirts on to announced we’d be doing the native dances of Bradenton.

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The first set was hula, and the second we changed into some other costumes to do a little belly dance of a few different types. Krystle did an amazing job with her candle dance, and she did a very cute Egyptian dance too although the pics didn’t come out. The set was :

A hula duo (to a very cheesey hula song off a party cd we called Tropical Tetris Level 3 although that wasn’t it’s real name)

A hula solo (with Krystle drumming for me)

A hula solo (Krystle dancing to Aloha Mea)

A hula duo (to Little Brown Gal)

A hula with the audience where they got up and danced with us

— Intermission —

An Egyptian solo (Krystle danced to a song I don’t know the name of)

A veil dance (that was me dancing to Principles Of Lust by Enigma)

A candle dance (by Krystle)

A gypsy-ish skit/improv (Krystle drummed for me dancing, with some zills by me and a silly tambourine)

 

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This is her aunt, ain’t she cute? The audience was very nice to us, and played along even when we made them do the arm movements to Little Brown Gal with us.

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There was plenty of silliness in our belly dancing too, especially when Krystle drummed for me to dance to. Ask her about the whipped cream, she really loved that part. *snerk*

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It was a very fun evening! Aint’ writing much about it yet, because we’re trying to pull some pics off the digital video. That and I need to catch up on several posts that I’m behind on before the weekend!

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April Halfa!

Y’all ready for a hafla? Can’t heeeeear you <insert zhagareetshere>! It’s the middle of the month, and we all know what that means. It’s time to dance! Every second Tuesday of the month Hip Expressions hosts a hafla at St. Petersburg Nights, and it’s always a really fun time. Get ready for a bunch of pics, I couldn’t choose between dancers because they’re all really good!

Kimberly grabbed the mic and our attention and started off the party to much whistling, applause, and the always present shrill zhagareets (that I kinda suck at but am trying).

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The night really started off right when the first performer was Johanna ‘Xenobia’ showing off the new choreography she’s teaching, and some really impressive moves after that too!

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You know the woman’s stunning when she manages to even outshine a costume like that!

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Bey y’all didn’t know mermaids were real and shook their tails in St. Pete.

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Then Crystabellwas prancing out with her very first solo. She worked really hard all month on it, and the results really showed in her dance.

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She’ll really bend over backwards to make sure the audience has a good show.

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She showed everybody some gothic fusion, and was really working it from the tip of her feather to the pants she waited forever for!

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Evelyn Tosi did some really pretty lyrical jazz, and added new meaning to the word extensions. That woman has no bones, I’m sure of it!

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Some dancers show a little leg, she gives us the whole shabam!

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Amanda came next in a whirl of bright yellow and silver sparkles, like some exotic songbird out for a shimmy. She’s one of  Bethsheba’s students, and certainly did her teacher proud with her performance I’m sure.

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This is one of my fav pics ever, that expression on her adorable face could be bottled and sold for millions.

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Can an evening be called truly fun in Loud Zoo doesn’t show up? In the usual riot of colours and fabric swirls, they hit the stage like a hurricane in skirts. Admittedly that’s pretty appropriate for Florida.

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It’s nothing but fun when they dance, I love it every time. The intensity, the moves… the costumes!

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Will not make an I Dream Of Genie comment… will not make an I Dream Of Genie comment… will not make *gives in and sings the theme*

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Y’all didn’t think they’d be dancing to prerecorded music did ya? Here are the music makers, in this pic giggling as much as playing.

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One of the best, without a doubt performances of the night was Johanna’s wings choreography class featuring Kimberly, Chris, Leticia, Sheila and Aurora. The camera has been soundly beaten for not taking a single pic of Kimberly where you could see her face. To try to make it up to you, the camera offers you these incredibly stunning women with wings.

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Evelyn Tosi trumpted back on the floor, a bundle of energy! She was working hard, but fortunately didn’t end up too out of breath.

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She had enough to blow out her candles! Karen held on to the cake as this jazzy tornado made a wish on her 50th B-Day. Yes, really. Pick your jaws up, dancing keeps you looking like this.

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After the intermission, Omaris drew us all back to our seats to watch hypnotized by her moves. If you’re thinking Hip Expressions has the best looking crew ever, you’re right.

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Omaris. She makes it look so easy… then makes you sweat your rear end off in class. She also manages to look like *this* while doing it, which I assure you is nothing like what I end up looking like afterwards.

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The perfect ending to a perfect line up, Kimberly Connor (AsparaImports) enthralled us with a dance from India.

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After the show, people got out on the dance floor to shake it themselves! Krystle found herself a perky little dance partner, who explained to me after the dance how the light circles on the ground lived there. Disco lights in their natural habitat!

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If dancing ain’t enough for ya, there’s plenty of shopping to be done!

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It’s no surprise that we gather around Kimberly Connor’s display, where she sells clothing from India as Aspara Imports.

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Even Flat Stanleycouldn’t resist!

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A little relaxing with the hooka is a favourite treat at St. Petersburg Nights.

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Shauna (please forgive me if I’ve spelled your name wrong woman) gave me the biggest smile as D and me said our laters. It would’ve been nice to stay for the party, but it was an early morning and we had to scoot our butts back to the house. More beach pics and belly dancers on their way!

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B-Day Shimmies For Me Part 1

Ain’t it cute? Don’t you want it? Y’all can’t have it, because it’s my B-Day present so there! Yes, despite my outward appearance of a young and nubile teenager (*snort*) this weekend I turned 35 and it was fun! Saturday between classes, this bag was presented to me by Krystal and Crystabell. On top was two adorable Chinese finger puppets of a girl and a dragon, and inside was a pair of ruffly dance pants (the same ones Crystabell is wearing but these are black) that they had bought and Krystal had spent days hemming because I ain’t overly tall. Ain’t they sweet? That was a big surprise!

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So sweet and innocent you’d never know they could be up to somethi… yeah, that’s about as believeable as the teenager comment.

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As usual, the three of us headed out to the beach to drum and dance and eat grilled food from the grill shack. The treat we weren’t expecting was this Hoola Monster to show up! Abby came by and chatted us up a bit when she spied us near where she was hanging out. Not only is she downright brilliant to hang out with, she ended up coming back and bringing her… Nah, you’ll have to scroll down further to see what happened (and the movie clip I grabbed of it!)

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 There was dancing of course. Crystabell was practicing her upcoming solo on April 14th.

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Krystal was practicing her solo for next month!

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Ok, it ain’t all hard work. There’s plenty of laying around and nibbling food and carrying on about whatever occurs to us to be worth talking about.

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She brought her hoop! Krystal and Crystabell were drumming and Abby came back to do a little freestyle on the beach. It’s short, but if you scroll down you can revel in her moves and wish you’d been with us!

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Yeah, there was even a little of this. The sun and wind was really getting to us, which is why I look kinda snoozy in this pic. Krystal carefully posed me and took these, which had to be hard on her because getting a good pic of me while I ain’t making a weird expression or scratching my butt ain’t easy. Thanks chiclet!

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What happened when the rest of the shimmiers showed up? You’ll have to come back tommorow to find out, and trust me when I say you’ll wanna. There’s a saxy Russian and some great dancing (another movie clip, yay) from Johanna and even cake!