Belly dance headdresses – and other things….

The week to come is a busy busy one….

Amongst the motherly duties and volunteering that I do I have a new class promote via posters and fliers.  I hope it doesn’t rain this week as I really do not fancy walking around posting the fliers through doors in cold wintry rain.  Monday evening?  Not sure yet – might complete a choker, write a choreography (or at least start one) or have an evening off as I’ve got a full and busy week ahead.

On Tuesday evening I have troupe dance training/practice to go to as usual, and then on Wednesday we are all attending a baladi workshop with a fabulous dancer from the US who is here for a few days, Ranya Renee (very excited about this!)  Baladi is a traditional style of belly dance, a very beautiful earthy and folky style and the workshop with Ranya will be both hard work and a great treat.

On Thursday I’ll be sewing/promoting and I may well get to finish these two flower and feather headdresses:


I love making these kind of headdresses, and I have deliberately made these ones quite simply so that the pricing isn’t over the top.  As I have some of the base fabrics left I think I shall make another version of each but this time with more jewellery and bling attached so that customers can choose between a simple version or a mega-version.  Once they are completed they’ll be listed in my Etsy shop and then I really need to get on and complete the purple one that’s sitting on a head in my living room….

Friday?  It’s Bollywood night at my daughter’s school and although Bollywood dance isn’t really what I do I AM the only mum prepared to get up in front of everyone and perform as well as try and get some adults up to join in with a *copy me* version of the same dance.  I’m going to be doing a belly dance/bollywood fusion number that I performed in a troupe some years ago; the music is fun, and I can make the choreography a little simpler so that people can follow along more easily (note to self, I really must upload the track to my MP4 player….)

Once the Bollywood event is over I shall drop the children off at their dads for the weekend and next morning get to have that most coveted of things….a lie in!

At various points through-out this week I will be practising/reminding myself of a choreography that I shall be performing at a belly dance event (known as a Hafla) I’m going to on Saturday evening.  Now that I’ve decided what I’m going to do I’m feeling quite happy; I couldn’t decide on what to do until I realised that I have a choreo that hasn’t been seen outside of my Sunday class so I’m going to use it on Saturday.  As I have a small stall at the event I’ll need to make sure I’ve got everything packed into my wheelie bag by mid afternoon so that I can do a last double check of my costume and make sure I’ve got everything else I need.

It’s just as well I’m writing this down – I was thinking that by this time next week I’d have had a lie-in, taught a class and would have the children home, but in fact I shall be at the Hipnotic belly dance event I co-run every two months……wow, busy week it is!

As I feel as though I have been slacking on the making front I’d better point you in the direction of the 1st Unique Gifts Blog – by the time I’ve had a look at what everyone else has been up to I shall feel exhausted all over again but it’s great to go and see what people have been doing and making – all very inspirational!


Shiny Up-Date

The school summer holidays are well and truly up us now, so for me that means limited time to create, practice dance and choreograph in readiness for next term.

No matter.  I shall be doing what I can in the next month and we’ll see what comes of it.  And now, as a small child has fallen asleep (never good at 5pm in the afternoon) I’m off to dig out the last couple of my tribal belly dance bras and see if I can get some pictures for Etsy.

Plus, if you’re interested in coming to classes I’ve updated the Blackwillow Belly Dance website with dates for the coming school year.


Post Hipnotic Come Down

Running a regular belly dance event is a stressful thing.  With the recession in the UK ever tightening its grip I am always pleased to see people arrive and take their seats, join in with the workshops and enjoy the performers who travel for miles just to display their vision of the art-form that is belly dance.

Kitty Khol, Emma Pyke, Blackwillow

Working together myself, Emma and Kitty strive to offer a belly dance event that offers more bang for your buck – we have a great venue, offer a workshop for people to join in with, show a DVD on the screens so that between performances there’s always something to look at when you’re chatting with friends and getting a drink from the bar and as always strive to showcase dancers both local and from further afield (no mean feat for a Sunday night) as well as vendors who will help you to achieve a full belly dance wardrobe.

Tonight (as ever) we were able to offer the most wonderful performances from accomplished performers including myself (I was pleased with my full-floor layback), Kitty, Kamara, Sundara, Carrie, Razia, a penultimate performance from host troupe Covert Bling and all the way from the Brazil, Elis (and please go watch her on her YouTube channel…….amazing!)  (Apologies to those I cannot add links to, Julie and Cassie, Judi and Barbara please get some clips up of yourselves!)

Even though I may need to use a hair-brush as a pretend microphone the well oiled machine that is the Covert Bling team always ensures that night runs like clockwork.

Our photographer of the night, Kathryn of Capture This Moment, will have gotten some amazing pictures that soon you will be able to see on our Facebook page, so get along there and check them out.

And now it’s only another two months until the next Hipnotic event….if you’re in the UK and only a moment from the M4 then get yourself along on September 25th…….even if you’re not a belly dancer…. x

Slowly but surely….

…I’m moving everything from one site to another.  I really want to get everything shifted and the site closed down as soon as I can, particularly as I read about other people’s vain attempts to get their sites closed with this particular web-host (I’m not going to mention names until things get ugly…) as I’ve done the sums and it costs me too much for what I can achieve with it.  So let’s get shot of it.

…I’m honing my search engine optimization skills.  An art if ever there was one.  This is something that I have put off for quite some time, but I really need to get my act together and make sure that I tweak and tweak and tweak until I get the results I want.

…I’m working on a choreography for myself.  This is always a tricky one as I often feel as though I am lacking time for this area.  See above…..

…I am making notes for lessons plans for September belly dance classes.  I have some great ideas for the ladies who attend my classes (including the learning disability class) and I love teaching so it’s all worth making sure that after the summer break everyone gets to do something that challenges them.

…finishing a custom order and getting ready to start another and also try and make some new items to put up on my Etsy shop, Blackwillow Boho.

One of the keys to selling on Etsy would seem to be having lots in your shop.  But that is only one of the keys.  But I have to say that I’ve had more sales and views of my items through Etsy than I have through the existing costuming website so all’s well, I just have to build on it.  It’s hard hard work though, particularly when you’re starting out there.  Don’t let anyone tell you that selling online is a doddle….

In all honesty I’m unsure where this surge in creativity has come from but I’m not knocking it.  Sustaining it is the difficulty, but then who ever said life was easy.

It should also be added that I do spend time with my children.  I seem to be at the back and call of my daughter and her current obsession with Webkinz and Bin Weevils websites, as well as collecting snails and generally playing with and attending groups with my young son.

I’m hoping to have a night out with friends this week, so maybe that’s the start of a mini social-life too!  Eek!  Can I do it all?  Watch this space…….

Being Overt….

Ahh, that got you didn’t it!  No, this isn’t a post about being overt in the sense you thought it might be, it’s about a belly dance I gig I did with my troupe mates tonight.

I dance with a belly dance troupe called Covert Bling and as Covert Bling we perform improvised tribal belly dance, but tonight we were Overt Bling!  Sparkly costumes, full on cabaret style with props and everything.  Not all of us could be there, so it was down to myself, Helen, Kat and Emma to wow the crowd who were attending a charity night with an Arabian theme.

If you don’t partake in belly dance yourself then you won’t know that it’s common to end up getting changed in a toilet cubicle, mirrors are a blessing, and often things are pretty dire.  Much less glamorous that you might imagine.

We did end up in a toilet cubicle but for the most part we were all dressed on arrival instead of having to get changed there.  It was fun.  Whilst we waited for the opportune moment to be introduced and do our stuff (people were finishing off their meals and there’s nothing worse than getting left overs caught on your veil so the organisers were very thoughtful and were clearing tables before introducing us) we chatted and caught up on gossip, advised whether hair and jewellery accessories were required (when you’re using a veil things can get tricky) and generally acted like the good friends we are, checking fastenings, whether there was lipstick on teeth etc.

The crowd seemed to enjoy their unexpected entertainment and we all thoroughly enjoyed the chance to get up and strut our stuff.

What was even nicer was when some women stopped us on the way out and complimented us on our dancing.  Obviously we pounced on the opportunity to plug that three of us teach and that we run a bi-monthly event. It would be silly not to.

And on the way out, after being thanked again by the organisers, someone said, “Gosh, it’ll take you ages to get your make-up off now won’t it?”  Nope.  Wet wipes.  Told you it was glamorous.

My next personal gig is with a branch of the WI.  I’ll keep you posted!


Ch ch ch ch changes……

So.  Very soon I shall close down my Blackwillowtribal website.  Why?  Everything will be shifting over to Etsy for all of those unique items you all so love and want to buy.  I love Etsy.  Not only can you buy from me but you can see who I love and buy from them too – it’s like being in the BEST shopping arcade without having to leave your own home…..

So what else is happening?  Well, the Blackwillow Belly Dance site will have new information added, and YOU can get involved.  Tell me what you want to see, or read and learn about and I’ll do the hard work for you.

All of my other blog posts will be moved across to this one.  Why?  Because I have a pre-schooler at home with me until January next year.  That’s January 2012.  I need to concentrate on him AND my daughter who just turned seven.  They both need me.  I’m a single mum now with less time on my hands to do what’s good for me outside of my children.  But do you know what?  I need this…..  I need belly dance.  I need to keep promoting and running the Hipnotic event in Reading cos I LOVE it.  And I need to keep making things because this has always been a part of my life and until now I haven’t been able to fully understand how close this is to my heart – to my reason for being.  I love to create things and I JUST CAN’T KEEP IT ALL!

But I need to have everything in one place.    To have everything in a place where I can access and talk to you, explain to you, share with you everything that’s going on.

So I’m stream-lining and sorting it all out.

Make sure to subscribe to THIS blog to keep up to date with everything – it’s all going to be here very shortly……..