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This morning I took a great yoga class. In the beginning of class the teacher spoke a bit about Patañjali, who compiled the yoga sutras around 400 CE. She specifically talked about sutra 2.1. This sutra states that the practice of yoga consists of three components. When she was telling us about them, I immediately thought they applied to bellydance as well.

1. tapas or austerity/discipline, dedication and studentship.

2. svadhyaya or self-study. Our teacher explained that this means being willing to see all the facets that make up you – all of your weakness, but also all of your assets for growth.

3.Ishvara pranidhana or surrender to pure awareness or a greater energy. It means being aware of a greater energy that is contributing to us and that we are contributing to. Conspiring to our awakening, as our teacher put it.

She said we awaken through these three paths, we become fully alive and engaged.

Inspiring right?

If you want to read more about it go here.

Xoxo

TBB

p.s. #FBF/#TBT post to come!!!!!

 

 “I grew up in a very diverse atmosphere but was always taught to honor my roots, this is what I bring to dance and what is evidenced in the shows I produce.”

 

On the 15th of last month, I was lucky enough to be included in Kay Kizi’ah’s event: Katrina’s School’s Out Hafla Summer Edition. It was the first time I ever really got to spend time with Kay, who is very prominent in the NYC bellydance scene. She is a talented, passionate dancer and such a warm and sweet person.

In addition to dancing, Kay has been working at a high school for eight years as a special education teacher working with emotionally disturbed children. She has also been an adjunct at the College of New Rochelle for six years, teaching courses in the Psychology Department.

In fact, her event, which included 17 performers, was also offered as a part of a summer college course called “Dance as a form of Cultural Expression”. This course is 6 credits, matriculated, and was the first Middle Eastern dance course offered at The College of New Rochelle. The course, taught by Kay, was offered last year and became SO popular that despite budget cuts, it was offered again this year and recieved double enrollment!

Kay has her students approach the study of Middle Eastern dance from theoretical, cultural, spiritual, historical and practical angles. They study the history of the dance, learn basic movements, interview dancers, write poetry, and view clips of the great stars like Fifi Abdo and Nagwa Fouad. Attending shows, like the Summer Hafla, is an important part of the course. Students get to see dancers of different ages, genders, sizes, and races express themselves and dance in a way that is true to them and their own style.

I was so impressed with the organization of the show, the line up of dancers, and with how amazing and chill Kay is, so I approached her about an interview, and lucky for me – she said yes! 

So…here goes!

TBB: How and why did you get started in bellydance?

KK: I was a middle school teacher, and one of my colleagues wore a low key hip scarf to work. I liked how she walked with it on and I asked her what it was. She invited me to class, and as usual, I was hesitant, but it sounded like fun. I passed on it the 1st Friday night and the next one I said, ” Ok, I’m going.”

TBB: What is your favorite bellydance style?

KK: Definitely Egyptian!  To me it’s about the music. There are so many instruments and hidden layers, so many dynamics and I really feel at home when I hear it.  I used to say “I like that song” for instance: Alf Leyla, Princess of Cairo (Princess of Cairo on iTunes), Bitwannes Beek (Bitwannes Beek on iTunes) and people would say “That’s Egyptian.”

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