Hey, everybody! We’re SO excited! Last week on Monday, Krisenna and Nathara had the chance to sit down with Melissa, a reporter at the Casa Grande Dispatch to discuss the Amethyst Dance Festival happening on March 25th in Casa Grande, bringing national and international dance stars right here to our own hometown! Melissa was amazing, asking really great questions and was the same reporter who interviewed us a few years ago focusing on our beloved Lois Sanders of the Desert Dancers, grand matriarch of belly dance in Casa Grande!
Well, shoot. This was never even on our radar of something that could even happen to us someday…..
There is an EXTREMELY popular and talented artist here is Casa Grande, Arizona, named Leah Kiser. She is somewhat known for her paintings of dinosaurs doing everyday things… and she is MOST known for her images of a T-Rex Ballerina complete in pink tutu. Whenever we have an event in Casa Grande, there is a row of viewers enjoying her artwork in front of her booth.
This year, at the Street Fair, somehow we ran across this beautiful image of T-Rex belly dancing – complete in American Cabaret style bedlah! Speaking to the artist, she said that she had seen us, RaMagik, at events and HAD to do a belly dancer! How amazing is that? Check it out ===>
Hey there! If you’ve been waiting to take belly dance classes in Casa Grande, now’s the time to do it! Aine is currently teaching Belly Dance Basics through the Casa Grande Parks and Recreation Department on Tuesdays from 7pm – 8pm! The next class session starts on February 28th, 2017 and ends April 4th, 2017! Please visit the Casa Grande Parks and Recreation Website to sign up!
Hey, hey! In case you missed our other announcement, we are SUPER happy and honored to be teaching at Herbalicious of Arizona in historic downtown Casa Grande! We actually have two classes going.
The first is an All-Levels, Drop-in friendly weekly belly dance class. This one is 6:30pm to 7:30pm and is open to anybody who wants to join – tribal, cabaret, or whatever style you love! Nathara, who has extensive cabaret experience with a dash of tribal fusion, and Krisenna, who has extensive tribal fusion experience with a dash of cabaret, are co teaching this class. If it’s out there, one of these ladies will know about it! Through the end of May, classes are only $5 each. In June, they will be going up to $10 per class or a month pass for $30.
In addition! We have had inquiries about classes from people who are less mobile – so we’re starting a Therapeutic/Chair Belly Dance class on Monday mornings at 10:30am. The idea behind the class is to keep you moving, build up strength, improve stamina, encourage flexibility, and bring more and more beauty into the world. Belly dance has a strong focus on isolating different parts of the bodies – as such, it is entirely possible to do an entire routine while sitting down and still maintain the quality. Gentle, easy, no-impact, as you can manage pacing. Nathara is the teacher for this one. She has extensive experience in physical therapy, though has no official certifications. Her mother was a yoga teacher when she was younger and later became a quadrilateral amputee and ran support groups for people with movement issues, such as paralysis and amputations. In addition, due to bad ergonomics, Nathara has extensive physical therapy, stretching, and anatomical knowledge gleaned from years of PT and her own research. Again, she has no official certifications and is not a fitness professional. Classes begin May 16th and are $5 until the end of May, at which point the price goes up to $10 per drop in and $30 for a month pass.
And that’s not all! While Krisenna and Nathara were at the clinic this week, they started perusing the calendar and line up – and there is a LOT of cool stuff happening at Herbalicious – Nathara and Krisenna are excited to start new classes! Check out the calendar here!
Classes are still continuing through Casa Grande Parks and Recreation with Aine and look forward to seeing a performance skills class with Shaliney and Nathara! We’ll keep you updated!
So, April has been a very busy month! As I mentioned, we performed at the Maricopa County Fair on April 17th and had an AMAZING time! And our special surprises… Olabisi is BACK! She had to take a year off to figure out how to manage her insane lifestyle, but she’s done it, she’s missed us, and we put her right back to work! She had about 2-3 weeks to get ready before our performance. And she did AMAZING! We also had the gorgeous Kara from Phoenix guest dancing a solo and, as always, you had to have been there. Wait… no… we got video!!!
This is a playlist of the performances. They are not in order (yet) and 1 performance is missing due to a copyright issue on YouTube, so I’ll amend this later to add it. We had a WONDERFUL time!
We also had the immense pleasure of doing a surprise show for one of our favorite fans! When we dance at the Grande Fest back in October 2015, he was the ONLY person who would dance with us! His wife remembered for all these months and hired us to surprise him – and, of course, he danced again! Happy birthday, Jim!
And THEN!!!!! We closed out the season’s First Friday Downtown Street Scene with a special guest from Tucson, Aziza Belly Dance. AND! In addition to that, Nathara (that’s me) was our featured dancer. It was a great show! We had a FANTASTIC time! They best? SOOO many people got up for our dance party! It was a hot summer night for sure! And, lucky for us, there were a BUNCH of photographers there shooting away! Check out some of these images! Of course, you should head over to the Pictures page if you want to see more of them! Thank you to Scott Smith, Jennie Barscht, and Tammy Rowlinson for the photos!
No rest for the wicked, though – this doesn’t mean we get a break! We still have our monthly gigs to do, birthday parties and… creating new dances, taking lots of workshops, and getting it done!
Please note: Aine’s class has moved from 6:30pm to 7pm instead. Krisenna’s adult class is no longer available. Nathara and Krisenna are now co-teaching a Beginning Belly Dance class at Herbalicious of Arizona that is drop in friendly, and Nathara will be starting a Therapeutic/Chair Belly Dance class on the 16th of May! We’re busy bees!
As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us!
Will be back soon!
Hallo everybody! It’s your friendly neighborhood Nathara here to let you in on a little secret….
Actually, that’s not true. We aren’t going to reveal our “secret” until our performance at the Maricopa County Fair on April 17th at 7pm on the Main Stage. That’s right – we’ve been invited to dance on the Main Stage this year! We are SOOO excited – and we are working VERY hard to show you some brand new stuff!
No worries, if you can’t make it to the fair, that’s okay – come on down to the First Friday Street Scene in Casa Grande on May 6th and we’ll be performing at 7pm in the Alley. In addition to performing some of our new choreographies, we’re going to have a surprise guest dancer AND a surprise announcement! We are SUPER excited to let you in on this!!! So come down and see is – our shows are always different and new.
That doesn’t mean that we won’t be at the First Friday Street Scene this month, because we are! We’ll have an informational booth set up so you can meet us and learn we’re all about. We’ll also be supporting our dear friends, the Desert Dancers of Arizona! They go on at 7pm. so you want to make sure you don’t miss it!
But wait! There’s more!
I am happy to tell you that, starting April 28th, there will be a drop-in beginning belly dance class downtown at Herbalicious! Thank you so much, Emily, for being willing to share your space with us. Class is at 6pm and, for the month of May (including April 28th), classes will be only $5 each. So, if you’re curious, come on down and check it out! Wear comfortable clothes, as if you were going to yoga, and bring your beautiful selves down! More information on our Calendar!
And if you’re interested in performers for your event, we can do that! Just check out our Booking Us page!
If you’ve met me, then you know I’m a big girl. But what you might not realize is that just a couple years ago, I thought my dancing had been ended by a back injury.
It didn’t happen all at once – it happened gradually over time, getting more and more sore and more and more debilitating. Finally, I woke up and I couldn’t spring out of bed – I was in a LOT of pain. I took a temporary hiatus from dance, figuring that resting my back would fix it right up. Then, one day, I was on a photo shoot and couldn’t walk more than 10 feet without having to sit down and rest my back from pain that coursed through it and into my thighs and knees. That’s when it because really real.
I spent months and months and months going to doctor after doctor and physical therapist after physical therapist. They did all the tests on me and they all came back inconclusive – how on Earth could I be so disabled by something the doctors had no idea about? Was I ever going to be able to walk again? Hike? Dance?
I was referred to a pain management specialist and, while I was waiting, a friend bought me a gym membership so I could continue my own physical therapy in a place where I could get help if I needed it.
I feel the need to point out at this point that I am a mere 35 years old – there is no reason for there to be something wrong with my back – at least, none that I (nor my doctors) knew of.
While waiting for the specialist, I decided I had to go back to dance. Not dancing was slowly killing my soul and I needed to reconnect. Belly dance is an especially wonderful dance in that the social aspect is so pervasive. Unlike other dance classes where you show up and hang out in your personal bubble, never talking to anyone else, in belly dance, we are all sisters – young, old, thin, fat, introvert, extrovert, pro, amateur, whatever. If you dance, we’re sisters, just like that. Not only did I need to reconnect and be in my body the way I only can be when I was dancing, but I also missed my sisters. So, I decided that if I danced for 5 seconds and then laid down for 10 minutes during class, that’s what I would do.
I made it all the way through class that first night without having to rest at all. I was shocked, my mentor was shocked, the other ladies were shocked. It was AMAZING. I continued going to class every week and slowly my pain started easing up, as did the accompanying depression. I was feeling more like myself again and everyone was just so supportive.
In the meantime, I saw the specialist and after a 5 minute examination, she recommend that I have my nerves cauterized. That even SOUNDS really horrible!
I did some research on the internet and learned that some people experience relief for 6 months to a year before having to have the procedure done again – but others only get a few days, and some even experience worse pain instead. So I told the specialist that I was going to wait on the cauterization and see where dance would take me. I consulted my regular doctor and she agreed and measuring my range of motion showed I had improved dramatically.
My back still has issues, but I think I know what the problem is – a weakened psoas muscle. But, I keep it strengthened by going to dance class. I can tell when I miss class because I become achey and sore right away. But as long as I don’t do anything foolish like carry furniture, my back is totally fine. I even went hiking with my brother back in October.
So, yay for me! But WHY was belly dance able to help me recover?
Great question! So, the type of movement belly dance teaches is intramuscular and isotropic exercises. This means that the muscles are exercised by pushing against each other, rather than a weight. This also gives it the added benefit of being a low-impact (rather, no impact) exercise, which means it doesn’t jar and hurt your joints, so if you have a bad knee, hip, etc. it’s a good way to rehabilitate because you won’t be jumping up and down or running or anything like that which strains the joints.
It also strengthens your core muscles. In Western civilization, we are trained to use our torso muscles as a corset – the muscles stay tensed continuously to keep our backs and middles rigid and upright (or not, if you slouch), but it actually makes your core much stronger than it would be otherwise – and you get to experience the bliss of using your dormant muscles in the ways they were meant to move.
That doesn’t mean that belly dance is a non-cardio exercise, though – while the slow undulating movements are excellent for strengthening your entire body, the accent movements (or “hits”) provide a cardio workout as well, without impacting your joints. The thing I found especially helpful in this is that I could increase my cardio as slowly as I wanted to by just doing what I felt com have a slouching issue!). We are taught that moving our torso sinuously is sinful and provocative, and so discouraged. But moving these muscles in a sinuous and nuanced way is actually what they’re supposed to do and I didn’t have to worry about what would happen if I was 6 blocks from my house and plain old couldn’t walk anymore.
So, now I am living almost a normal life with normal activities and experiencing almost no pain at all. I still have to be careful not to push my back too hard, too fast (I was learning break dancing the other day and it just murdered my back because the posture is all different), but otherwise, I am footloose and fancy free. And I have my sisters back. And while I am still quite overweight, my doctors say I am extremely fit – just with some extra fluff on top.
A lot of people think they have to get in shape before taking a dance class, but belly dance works within your capabilities and allows you to push yourself gently into bigger and stronger movements. Dance first, then, when you’re stronger and fitter, THEN go back to the gym.
Keep in mind, this is just my anecdotal experience combined with 18 years of dancing and connecting with hundreds if not thousands of other dancers. Your mileage may very, but seriously consider it.
Good night for now, lovelies!
Whooo, boy! We sure have been quiet lately, haven’t we? We’re so sorry for the silence – we have been CRAZY busy getting ready for the season. But I have some good news: We have some new media up for you to enjoy!
We’re excited to announce that our beautiful Olabisi has accepted a new job in the field of her greatest passion, teaching children. So she is currently on an experimental “hiatus” while adjusting to her new lifestyle. She’s still with us, she is just taking a break. Wish her luck and send her lots of energy and excitement! Well, not too much excitement. LOL
Krisenna and Shaliney have been extremely busy with workshops with some AMAZING dancers – so hopefully they will be willing to share that experience with you all… and if not, we’ll definitely have some surprises for you in our future choreographies!
Krisenna has also been traveling all around the US – including Cuba! – taking workshops, intensives, and seeing shows. I don’t know how she does it! She must still be 20 years old or something.
We’re pleased to say that Amira has quickly proven herself as an essential member of the troupe – she’s an amazing dancer with some fantastic hidden talents! Keep an eye on her in those videos!
We also have a new calendar up on the site that we would love for you to check out so you don’t miss a single show – remember, no two shows are the same!
Speaking of classes, Aińe is back in the saddle again! She’s conducting her Belly Dance Basics classes through the Parks and Recreations department. Classes are currently on winter break, but they’ll be back in January! The first session starts on January 12th at 6:30 (Tuesday) and the second starts on March 8th at the same time in the same location. Check out that calendar to get the specifics!
ANNNND! Nathara is beginning a Belly Dance: Intermediate class starting on January 12th! Check out the description and the details on the calendar to find out more!
Krisenna’s classes are continuing through Thrive Cultural Academy and her feedback remains absolutely wonderful. The class is now called “Cultural Dance” as Krisenna has expanded her curriculum passed pure “belly dance.” And her adults class will continue as is. Need more information? Head to that calendar!
If you have any questions or concerns, as always, you can contact us. We love to hear from you, so feel free to reach out! Here are some images for you as a little teaser!
As I’m sure you’ve guessed, we’ve been crazy busy over these summer months. While belly dance performances “cool down” over summer here in the blazing hot desert of Casa Grande, RaMagik has been busy with belly dance classes, new choreographies, costumes, resources, and reaching out to various communities. All “behind the scenes” kind of stuff that will be revealed in the Fall.
This next 6 week session, from July 28th – September 1st is going to be Nathara’s last session of teaching Belly Dance Basics. That’s because Aińe is ready to come back! If you’ve been missing Aińe or just want to try another teacher, sign up for classes now through Parks and Rec! Nathara MAY be teaching an advanced/choreography class after a brief break wherein we figure out the interest level. So, stay tuned for more news about that! Also, check out Krisenna, too! If you take Nathara/Sam’s class, you’ll receive $35 off Krisenna’s monthly fee!
But the really BIG news we have to share with you is that we have added a SIXTH member! We are SOOO happy to welcome Amira to our troupe! She joined over a month ago, so this announcement is a little late, but in the meantime, we’ve been rustling up pictures and a biography! Check out Amira’s dance history. We are SUPER happy to have her join us and she is already contributing in big ways! Keep an eye out for her in fall!
ShimmyMob is a Flash Mob style event that raises funds for local women’s shelters all around the globe! On World Belly Dance Day, May 9th, dancers from all over the globe performed the same choreography selected from 100s by the ShimmyMob event organizers. This is no small feat – Team Leaders from each city had to coordinate access to the training videos, connect with local women’s shelters, contact all the volunteer belly dancers, and coordinate practices, rehearsals, costuming, and fundraising. We were SO lucky to have Cathy Knudsen (Kashi) as our event coordinator in Gilbert! She did an AMAZING job!
The shelter that we raised funds for was the Sojourner Center in Phoenix, who does an AMAZING job taking care of domestic violence victims and their families and have a huge variety of programs to help people of all situations and needs. We raised over $350 this year, not including the registration fees that each of our dancers paid to participate as well.
Shaliney, Nathara, and friend Seshat performed with the ShimmyMob group! We performed 3 different choreographies 2 times each over a two hour period at the Tempe Marketplace. Shaliney also performed her own solo between group choreographies! Afterwards, Nathara and Shaliney, along with other ShimmyMob members, appeared in pictures and video in the Arizona Republic. What follows are is a TON of media! Check it out!
Here’s a video from the Arizona Republic with an interview of Kashi (our Team Leader) and featuring Nathara dancing.
The “Official” Choreography for ShimmyMob – Shaliney and Nathara both danced this one:
Here’s a bonus choreography that Nathara was in:
Here’s the other bonus choreography that we did:
Here’s a video of Shaliney’s solo. We had some minor technical difficulties, so Shaliney improvised for music!