on Mon, 03 Dec, 2018
Self care, which is a way of ensuring one’s overall mental and physical health, has gotten an increasing amount of coverage in the media over the past few years. However, what basic self-care and self-help guides frequently forget to indicate is how our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health are tightly linked and dependent on one another. This is why people who only pursue a diet without adjusting their exercise habits or exercise while subsisting solely on packaged foods often remain unfulfilled at heart.
The good thing is that some small adjustments in each part of your life can have great effects, particularly when you are focused on bringing your entire body in sync with itself. With that in mind, here are some ways you can improve your overall spiritual wellness by making adjustments to your physical and mental health habits.
on Mon, 26 Nov, 2018
The caregiver-senior relationship is a unique one, and it can be stressful at times for both parties. Caregivers may have a difficult time finding the time to indulge in self-care, and seniors may be stressed over the fact that they can’t be as independent as they once were. Stress causes unnecessary side effects, so why not take part in beneficial activities the two of you can do together? Yoga and meditation might be what you are looking for.
on Sat, 29 Sep, 2018
Taking care of your health involves more than just eating right and exercising. Sure, those are two habits you should definitely have, but your overall health is from head to toe, inside and out. This means that mental health, looking and feeling your best, and staying emotionally grounded is just as important. These strategies for overall health are designed with all of those needs in mind, and they’re easy to incorporate into your everyday life
on Wed, 15 Aug, 2018
Article by guest blogger, Sheila Olson
Self-care has become kind of a trendy buzzword. What is supposed to be the simple, proactive prevention of stress and illness has become a multi-billion dollar industry fueled by sheet masks and fizzy bath bombs. The truth is, you can’t buy self-care, and you definitely don’t have to spend a lot of money to see the benefits. Simple daily practices can contribute to improved physical, emotional, and mental health when sustained over time. These simple habits are excellent self-care practices that positively contribute to your mental health.
on Tue, 26 Jun, 2018
Thirty percent of middle-aged women in the U.S. are considered incontinent. In Canada, Korea and Taiwan, the number of women with incontinence ranges from 50%-55%.
Back in 2016, a paper was published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science Journal showing the results of a study done on women with incontinence. Due to age and a decrease in strength in urethral muscles from pregnancy and delivery, many women are affected by incontinence. According to the study, the traditional ways to treat incontinence can be surgery, medication, and behavior therapy. Some of the muscle training and strengthening involving dumbbells or weight machines hinder older women with decreased physical ability and mobility. Also, these methods of physical therapy often are not interesting enough to keep continued participation.
Then something interesting happened. They studied the effects of belly dance on pelvic and urinary tract muscles and found it mitigated and prevented urinary incontinence. How is this possible?
on Fri, 06 Apr, 2018
Article by guest blogger, Sheila Olson
No one expects to stay healthy by frequently skipping meals or filling up on fast food and sipping sugary sodas day after day. And we should have the same attitude about exercise, mindfulness practices, sound sleep and other essential elements of self-care. Indeed, taking the time needed for self-care isn’t an indulgence. Rather, it’s a necessity to maintaining your health, especially if you are dealing with concerns such as anxiety, depression, chronic pain, or substance abuse. Here are a few areas to consider when evaluating your self-care routine.
on Sat, 10 Feb, 2018
I came across this SNL video that explains exactly how one feels when getting up on a stage and wondering if maybe it was all a big mistake.
on Sun, 10 Sep, 2017
What does Bollywood, ballet, breakdance and acroyoga have in common? In this case it is some pretty awesome music videos that incorporate incredible dancing. As a belly dancer, I love belly dance. But I also enjoy all forms of dance done artistically and skillfully. I want to see incredible dancing with beautiful choreography. I want to be wowed by color and costuming so that I feel like I am looking at a moving painting. All these videos touch these aspects that bring me to say wow. I wanted to share my awe with you in these recent fun finds.
on Wed, 17 May, 2017
As a fusion belly dancer, I love to combine multicultural dance moves into my dances when appropriate to fit the music. Below are a few fun videos any dancer can appreciate for the skill, choreography and stage presence. Some of these videos incorporate techniques similar to what belly dancers use. Some are so different, it is the contrast from what I do that makes me appreciate it.
on Thu, 13 Apr, 2017
I enjoy humor and dance and so it would be natural I would enjoy a combination of the two. Every once in a while, a funny dance video pops up in someone’s Facebook feed and I save it for later. I got a kick out of these. I hope you also will get a kick out of these videos as much as I did.
on Sun, 26 Mar, 2017
Tribal and Tribal Fusion Belly Dance Bras and Belts for Performances
People sometimes ask me what the difference is between Tribal and Tribal Fusion. There are different dance moves, styling and music that might differentiate the two divisions of belly dance. The easiest and quickest difference to spot is visually in the costumes. Tribal will have more tassels, cowrie shells, little mirrors, ethnic jewelry and ethnic fabric patterns. Tribal fusion will probably have more grommets, studs, spikes, and chains. Both will probably have coins and metal and there is some overlap in the materials used. One of the things that I really like about tribal and tribal fusion costumes is the upcycled materials and the relative thriftiness of cost in making a tribal fusion costume as opposed to a cabaret costume.
Over the years I have made many belly dance costumes. In this post I am featuring the bras and belts I have made for tribal and tribal fusion performances. Some of these I wore in Portland when I was a student at Gypsy Caravan Studio and Euphoria Studio, some when I lived in Hokkaido, Japan and some I still wear in Eugene when I have performed at Medge (the Middle Eastern Dance Guild of Eugene), Fusion Friendly Events, No Shame Eugene or other belly dance performances.
1. First Bra—Eastern European/Roma
My mother knew I was experimenting with belly dance fashion and sewing costumes. She found a dress at the thrift store with pretty trim and bought it for me. I removed all the trim and sewed it onto a black bra. It looked unfinished for a long time. Then I added the pearls and it looked done. I like to wear this bra with the pearl belt I made to match
on Mon, 27 Feb, 2017
Part of dancing with a sword that makes it impressive is balancing it well enough that it doesn’t drop off your head. It also is far more impressive if that sword doesn’t fall on your foot while you are performing. I’ve balanced my sword on the top of my head, on my chin, chest and hip depending on what moves I am doing. Below are some basic tips before you even start dancing to keep the sword from sliding around.
If you are purchasing in person it is something you can check but if you are ordering from the internet it is important you read the details carefully and you know what you are getting. I’ve written about my belly dance woes in a previous post: 5 Important Details You Need to Know for Selecting a Belly Dance Sword.
on Mon, 13 Feb, 2017
First, I want to clarify, we don’t actually want to dance with sharp objects. It’s like running with scissors—an accident waiting to happen. We want our props as dull as possible which is why belly dancer don’t dance with battle ready swords. But we also want the illusion they are lethal and sharp to create a sense of power and danger as we dance. Dancing with a sword is so beautiful because of the contrast of grace and lithe beauty with a dangerous object.
Below are three very simple tricks you can do that will make your sword look lethal. None of these are actual techniques or belly dance moves; they are little steps to do before you even start dancing!
on Mon, 23 Jan, 2017
As convenient as an excuse as it might sound to say, “It was an accident, officer, I swear. I was performing and I tripped and my hands were sweaty. My sword slipped right out of my hands and cleaved my ex’s head right off,” that probably isn’t going to work. Here are some tips on sword safety to prevent yourself from stabbing yourself in the leg while practicing (Been there, done that.), accidentally impaling furniture (Really, it was only the couch. And the television.), and people in restaurants and performances (Fortunately for that one guy at Mississippi Pizza in Portland, it was my dull sword.).
Don’t use a battle ready sword when dancing. You can still get pretty, shiny, sharp enough swords online.
on Mon, 19 Dec, 2016
I am a tribal fusion dancer, however, I sometimes dance “Tribaret” a combination of tribal and cabaret that I learned from my former teacher, Severina from when I took lessons at Gypsy Caravan studio. Cabaret costumes are expensive but very glamourous. I have bought second hand belly dance costumes from other dancers. When I do this, I end up modifying them to fit my body. These costumes are beautiful, but they are still expensive even second hand and a lot of work to modify. It is almost as much work starting from scratch. I also have found that it is possible to make a cabaret bra by starting with a bra that is already pretty, using strings of pearls, rhinestones and sequins and adding appliques. Below are some of the bras that I made. I would stay that I probably spent less than $20 on most of these and sometimes another $20 on the belts. However, if I was getting paid for the amount of labor that went into creating them, they would be worth a million dollars! Or maybe a thousand anyway.
I made this bra when I first came to Eugene. It is a pretty bra I got on sale, probably at Kohls or Target. I added some beads, lace and velvet trim. It gives it a Victorian or maybe even a burlesque look to it. All that turquoise needed to be balanced with a belt that was equally bright and impressive. I purchased a strip of stretchy sequins from the Mill End Store in Eugene. Then I sewed similar matching lace and beads onto the belt and matching necklace. It was pretty but still not fancy enough for me. Over the course of three years I sewed black beads to the belt. Every time I performed with this belt I had sewed a few more on. Because the thread was white, I covered the ends that showed against the black beads by coloring it with a Sharpie. That mean I was always getting Sharpie on my fingers. One day when my sister, who is an avid crafter and beader, saw me doing this, she told me they sell black beading thread!
on Mon, 05 Dec, 2016
5 Things You Need to Know for Selecting A Belly Dance Veil
The most important thing about selecting a veil is to try out different veils to see what you like. If you take class with other dancers, you can ask friends will let you try their veils. Sometimes in a class setting you can switch veils to feel the weight and flow of others. I was lucky I had a teacher that allowed students to select from her box of veils to try them out in class. Severina insisted you had to switch them around. I found what worked for me that way. Below are some things I have learned about dancing with a veil.
on Mon, 14 Nov, 2016
I own two swords. My first sword was free; I noticed it in a lost and found bin and coveted it for months. When I asked the manager of the dance studio if I could have it, she said if no one claimed it within a certain amount of time I could. I probably waited for another month. No one claimed it, so I got it. I loved this sword, I reupholstered the sheath. I used my mom’s Brasso to make it shiny. But then there were problems with it and I didn’t know what to do to make “my precious” better.
Below are some things I learned in the process of fixing up one sword and purchasing another.
1. Don’t use a battle ready sword.
This is the most important detail, so I am listing it first. Basically this means you shouldn’t buy a sword that is sharp. Even the “dull” swords you buy online are going to have a point. Don’t I know it from stabbing my couch accidentally while practicing! And my leg. And that time I dropped it on my foot. Accidents happen. Don’t buy something meant to cut watermelon because you might end up cutting others or your dog while practicing, or someone’s child when performing in a crowded restaurant.
on Mon, 17 Oct, 2016
Recently I performed a Harry Potter Themed Belly Dance Performance. You can learn more about the performance and see more details in my post: How You Can make a Lord Voldemort Mask that Looks Better than A Store Bought Mask here.
In this post I would like to show the death eater masks I made for the same performance.
First I started with a photo reference. It was good that I did because I couldn’t tell in the movies that there were designs on the masks. It was always too dark in the scenes with death eaters. I didn’t realize much of the time their mouths were partially covered in a very creepy way and it looked like there were eyelids and face underneath the mask but it was actually part of the mask. They are strange and beautiful and scary at the same time. In my performance at Medge’s Summer Alternative show, my two death eaters touched their wands to their dark marks and summoned me to the stage.
These are the steps I did to make the masks:
on Mon, 03 Oct, 2016
Two things you should know about me as you read this post: I am crafty and I like Harry Potter. Okay, I don’t like Harry Potter, I love Harry Potter. Recently I had two Harry Potter Themed Belly Dance Performance. The first one was at No Shame Eugene. I danced to some fun music, including “Dark Lord Funk” which you can find a post and link to a video the artist made here:
During my second performance, I had more time to work on my costume and make it more Harry Potter themed. I remembered to put the scar on my forehead, wore big black glasses, had death eaters on stage, dark marks and the whole shebang. I also revealed “my little friend” in a Professor Quirrell-like moment.
One of the things that made me decide to make my own Lord Voldemort mask was that the ones sold online didn’t look like him and it was for the whole head and upper body. I just wanted a head growing out of the back of my head. In hindsight I wish I had used a full mask instead of one that was flat. Though it was time consuming, it also was less expensive. Most of these store bought masks cost around $50. In any case, I think my mask looked way better than the ones I looked at online.
Below are the steps I used to make my a Dark Lord’s mask.
on Mon, 19 Sep, 2016
During the year I work as a school teacher, which means that my pile of sewing grows from a mole hill to the size of a mountain. A lot of what I sew becomes belly dance costumes or clothes that doubles for both my normal life and my belly dance life. Below are ten projects I worked on this summer.
Do I really need another pair of bloomers? The answer is “Yes!” In order to save myself some time, I combined a pair of pajama pants and curtains from Value Villages’ Memorial Day sale. Their clothes and household items are half off on holidays. I have gotten a lot of use out of these pants this summer—for belly dance and elegantly bumming around the house.
on Mon, 05 Sep, 2016
I’m a Star Trek fan. How about you? In honor Star Trek’s 50th anniversary, Trek Theatre of Eugene is putting on Star Trek Episodes in the park. I will be joining them again as the Orion Slave Dancer as entertainment during intermission. To celebrate fifty Trek-tastic years, I have included 10 funny Star Trek memes.
on Tue, 23 Aug, 2016
For the last couple of years I have performed belly dance as the Orion Slave Dancer for Trek Theatre’s productions here in Eugene, Oregon. This year is Star Trek’s 50th anniversary. I am going to be dancing again during the intermission of their show. In honor of the anniversary, I thought I would do an alien make up tutorial. Stage makeup is different to put on compared to regular make up, whether it is green or flesh tone. During a normal belly dance performance, you need make up so you aren’t washed out in the bright lights. Of course, I need the green makeup because I’m an alien.
Below is my step by step transformation using stage makeup to turn myself into an alien.
on Thu, 02 Jun, 2016
As a tribal fusion belly dancer, I have a lot more freedom in of music, movement and costume because I have a broader selection to choose from. As a result, I sometimes select unusual music.
Often times when I perform, I choose music that has a good beat, that inspires me and often times, themes that makes me laugh. Sometimes I match my music and the nuances of my belly dance style to the costume, sometimes I do the reverse and match the costume and style to the music. In this post, I share three songs that have recently inspired me. I have practiced these in my classes at Willamalane Community Center in Springfield and my students have performed to these in Eugene at performances.
I share these videos in the hope that you, too, will be inspired and will laugh.
on Tue, 29 Sep, 2015
People often ask me what steampunk is. I have steampunk belly dance performances. I create steampunk jewelry and costumes. I write steampunk stories and novels. It is something that transcends my hobbies and carries itself into my day to day clothes as well.
on Mon, 29 Jun, 2015
You have heard of Shakespeare in the Park, but what about Star Trek in the park? There is a local theatre group in Eugene who puts on Star Trek episodes in the park and sometimes small theatres to share the joy of science fiction. After these productions or between shows, Sarina can be found enjoying local cuisine at nearby establishments such as Papa’s Soul Food Kitchen and Barbeque where they serve human and aliens alike. Sometimes she gets some strange looks from people, is asked if she is playing the witch from Wicked and hears no end to the jokes about how it isn’t easy being green. One might wonder WHY she would want to take hours to put on that green make up—and nearly as long to take it off—for a belly dance performance. Here is why:
on Mon, 27 Apr, 2015
Whether you go to see a belly dance performance in Eugene, Oregon or a performance in New York City or somewhere in the Middle East, there are certain sounds and cues you will commonly see. When belly dancers interact with each other during a performance, they use non-verbal cues to encourage each other, signal they are about to transition to a different move and get each other’s attention. To someone who has practiced Middle Eastern dance and belly dance, this is nothing new. But for a novice or outsider, it looks like this is a secret language. Below are some of the signals used by dancers.
on Mon, 06 Apr, 2015
How is it possible that a tribal belly dancer in Eugene, Oregon can join in a performance with a dancer up in Portland and down in San Fransisco and dance so well together that it looks choreographed? There are secrets in the belly dance community that someone from outside the belly dance world might not know. Some of those secrets aren’t really that secret once involved in the world of belly dance and the biggest method of secret commuincation between performers include the non-verbal language of belly dance
on Mon, 16 Mar, 2015
Fusion Friendly Events is a collective of experimental, avant-garde performers who fuse belly dance with other styles such as flamenco, breakdance, modern dance, jazz, burlesque, theatrical and poi. They currently host 4 events a year, usually at Cozmic Pizza in Eugene, Oregon.
on Mon, 09 Mar, 2015
Groups like Fusion Friendly Events or the Middle Eastern Dance Guild of Eugene have guidelines for performers who are auditioning to participate in their shows. These are great guidelines for belly dance try-outs, but also for performances in general. If someone is new to performing, these are some great things to take into consideration. The list below is what Fusion Friendly sends to performers interested in participating in our events. Although a lot of it is catered to the fusion venue, many suggestions are relevant to any performance or audition.
on Mon, 02 Mar, 2015
Why do people confuse Belly Dance, Burlesque, Stripping and Exotic Dances and what do they have in common? If you are a belly dancer and someone calls you a Hoochie Coochie dancer, is it an insult? See a list of explanations and descriptions of each dance below. Some of the answers might surprise you!
on Mon, 23 Feb, 2015
Many belly dance moves have roots in the Middle East and Africa, but breakdance and hip hop do as well. Many moves look very similar. What one culture calls twerking, another calls the Suhaila technique. The biggest difference is the posture which gives the muscle isolation technique used in both a completely different look.
on Mon, 16 Feb, 2015
Aren’t all belly dance art forms performed in America a “fusion” of styles and regions? Yes and no. there are differences between ATS (American Tribal Style), Cabaret and tribal fusion. Read on to understand the complexity of the ancient art of belly dance in modern times.
on Mon, 02 Feb, 2015
People often use the terms Middle Eastern dance, folk dance and belly dance interchangebly but there actually are differences between them. Learn a quick and easy to understand explanation here.
on Mon, 19 Jan, 2015
Belly dance is thought to have originated in the Middle East, though contemporary belly dance uses music, costuming and moves from many folkloric traditions. There are several ideas about belly dance’s origins and functions. Whether familiar with belly dance because you saw it at a show in Eugene and are about curious what it is, or you are a seasoned dancer wanting to know more, this post briefly describes the origins of the dance.
on Fri, 09 Jan, 2015
Most of you know me as a belly dance teacher and performer. In addition to my day job teaching, my evening job teaching dance and my in between job as a local fashion designer, I am also a published author. Recently my two worlds of belly dance and writing collided when I sold a story about a male belly dancer to an online magazine. Although I have written another story with a belly dancer in it, this is the first one that sold.
Below is an excerpt from the beginning of the story. To read the story in its entirety, please visit the link below.
on Mon, 05 Jan, 2015
Belly dance is as diverse an art form in Eugene as it is in the rest of the world. There are cabaret styles, tribal styles and fusion belly dance. Fusion belly dance is characterized as Middle Eastern Dance combined with another forms of dance, such as salsa, bhangra, hip hop or burlesque. Although there are cabaret dancers who combine two styles such as Egyptian and Indian bhangra styling, and it would be accurate to call this form of dance fusion, often fusion refers to tribal fusion.
When the belly dance style “tribal fusion” is said . . .
on Sun, 04 Jan, 2015
In the last post I gave examples of cabaret and fusion dancers who are men. Though male belly dancers are rarer in this country than female belly dancers, belly dance is an art form practiced more commonly in other countries. One detail about belly dance is that it isn’t called belly dance in other countries. It is called Middle Eastern Dance or folkloric dance or African dance. The moves from many cultures make up belly dance. Back in the 1800’s when Middle Eastern dance came to America, it was labeled as a “dance of the belly” and became a sexy form of entertainment by women for men.
Check out some of these folkloric dances from around the world and see which moves you recognize as being “belly dance.” Some of them aren't belly dance but can definately be combined into fusion belly dance.
on Sat, 03 Jan, 2015
Contrary to popular belief, there are male belly dancers. Ten years ago when I was studying in Portland, I met a man named Skylar who danced tribal fusion. Here in Eugene we have Alfredo who dances classical cabaret. A few years ago Jim Boz came to town and performed at a MEDGE show.
There is something incredibly attractive about a man who can dance. Perhaps that is why having a male belly dancer in a crowd of women outweighs the response to any female performer I have seen. Sometimes it is embarrassing how women scream as though these men are Chip’n Dale dancers. Then again, sometimes the general public treat female belly dancers as though they are strippers, too, so maybe we are equal on that account.
on Sat, 27 Dec, 2014
As a tribal fusion belly dance teacher in Eugene and Springfield, I am often asked how to prepare for a dance class. Whether you've never taken a belly dance dance class before or it's been awhile, students often ask what they should wear and what they should bring to class. Below is a list of common items you might want to bring with you to a class:
Improve fitness and core strength while working out to great world music and learning the basics of belly dancing. Class emphasizes posture and stretching to avoid injury, muscle isolation for improving strength and repetition for a balanced workout. Sarina teaches classes at Willamalane in Springfield and the Reach Center in Eugene.
Sarina performs her alternative tribal fusion belly dance style at many venues in Eugene and sometimes Portland, Oregon. Whether she is steampunk belly dancing to neo-Victorian music, using her flamenco/burseque fusion fans with a 1920's flair, Andalusian skirt twirling, clowning it up at Cirque du Eugene, or fusing break dance and belly dance to a Star Trek remixed music, she brings creativity and fun to the dance.