Last year (2014) my goals for the new year were to increase my dancing and to do more artwork, this post is about my dancing, I’ll write another day about my art and photography.
Last year (2014) my goals for the new year were to increase my dancing and to do more artwork, this post is about my dancing, I’ll write another day about my art and photography.
Back in September, I decided that I wanted to perform in the Christmas Showcase at my dance studio, DanceMakers in Fort Worth. I started taking some private lessons with Ryan there sometime in August. We were working on the smooth ballroom dances, Fox Trot and Waltz. We thought about doing a Fox Trot at the Showcase, it would give me about 3 months to work on the routine. Then Ryan decided, because of my doing ballet, that maybe we should do an International Rumba dance instead. I’ve never done International Rumba, I have done some American Rumba, but I can’t really say that I was very good at it.
So International Rumba it is…. we thought of songs… came up with Besame Mucho by Andrea Bocelli… then after a couple of weeks Ryan changed the song to Satisfy My Soul by Paul Carrack. I love this song!
My first big challenge is to learn the dance… and for the most part, I have it, but the opening steps and pose are a bit hard for me to grasp. I mentioned that maybe we should change it, but, no…. so I’ll just do the best I can with it.
The next challenge was a costume. I searched the internet and found two dresses that I loved… The white as my favorite and then the pink. Ryan liked the simpleness of the white one. I googled for days looking to see where I could buy these or something similar, but couldn’t find it anywhere.
The closest I came to them was this on eBay, but I wasn’t crazy about the silver sequin bands. It was made in China and if I ordered it, it wouldn’t arrive until the week of the showcase and it was also about $500. I couldn’t see spending $500 for something that I wasn’t 100% sure about.. and also the shipping time was just too close to the showcase.
So I decided to make my own design and dress. I do sew costumes, so I knew I should be able to handle this project. I had some turquoise lycra left over from another project I was working on so I draped it on my dress form to see if I had enough fabric and to see if I liked it. I liked the look… although everything I do seems to be turquoise. I wanted white, but I already have this fabric, so I might as well use it.
I then started draping some old white spandex on my dress form to start making the pattern. I pinned it and marked it to get ready to cut it and then to make the real pattern from it.
(I ended up not using the turquoise lycra because when I went to the WearHouse Fabric store in Dallas on Harry Hines to buy some fabric for a flamenco skirt and tango dress, I saw a really pretty stretch velvet fabric in a pink-coral color with some sparkle to it, next door in the spandex store. It was on sale, so I bought that for my dress.)
After pinning the test fabric on the dress form, I marked the fabric where the seams would be with a marking pen while it was still on the dress form and then removed it to lay it out and make the pattern.
After cutting out the fabric, I sewed it together, put it back on the dress form, made a few adjustments and more sewing. Then I tried it on… Even though the dress form is made to my exact measurements, there were a few more adjustments to make. So, back to the sewing machine to adjust it. Then I tried it on again. It was ok, I wasn’t really crazy about the design and the long dress. It looked nice on the dress form, but not really overly flattering on me, it was just a bit boring. I thought that I would like to ruche the waist area and the backside of it. I’ve never done ruching so I needed to do some research on that.
Meanwhile, I ordered some Swarovski rhinestones from a website called artbead.com, they had a great sale on them and they had all of the sizes I needed in the color I wanted. I decided to go a little bit lighter with the stones. I have a Swarovski sample card and the light rose color seemed to go best with it. Now that I see the stones on the fabic, next time I’ll order a color deeper rather than lighter than the fabric, I think it would have looked nicer and added a little more color to it. I’m happy enough, though with the soft rose stones.
While I tried the dress on, I started playing around with the style and I decided to make it a shorter dress. It would be easier to dance in and I think it was actually prettier.
So I pinned the whole thing while it was on me the way I thought it would be best, then put it back on the dress form, I repinned it and started cutting.
I ended up with this and liked it so much better.
I tried it on, it fit perfect, then next, I needed to make some dance shorts for it. Rather than leotard style, I decided to go with boy shorts. I had to add bra cups because with the style of the back you can’t wear a bra. I had to make sure that the elastics would hold everything in place when I danced, so that took a little bit of research and figuring it out for me.
Then I made the long pointed fingerless gloves and finally added the embellishments. Before I wear it I will have to put some matching foundation makeup on the elastics to match my skin so the elastic is less obvious when I wear it.
I got a bit stuck on what to do for embellishments. I ended up going back to Dallas to see if there was any sort of trim or appliqués that might go with it. I did find some appliqués and the final result is this. So I put them on the dress and the gloves, then I added the Swarovski rhinestones on the dress and appliqués and finished it off with some rhinestone banding by slit over the shorts.
I’m really happy with the way this turned out, it’s so comfortable, moves well and fits perfectly.
Thanks for reading this!
UPDATE ON THE RUMBA DRESS….
Yesterday I wore the dress during my lesson/rehearsal to see how it worked with my choreography… Under the studio lights, the color was a bit brighter than it was in my house…but such a pretty color!
The right side is perfect while facing the audience but I need to put a little more interest on the left side. Today I’ll add one more ruched tuck on the bottom and I’ll add rhinestones to the skirt rather than only on the bodice. I was concerned about rhinestones coming off during the dance because it’s a little more difficult to glue them to velvet than fabrics with no nap, but only 3 came off so I was happy with that. I’ll replace them today. The elastic bands need some tightening up and I also want to sparkle the shoulder elastic band up and then I need to put makeup on them to match my skin … other than that, the dress was perfect!
Here is the final embellished dress
My routine is coming along and after my rehearsal yesterday I’m a bit more confident about the dance and looking forward to the showcase. One more week of lessons and I’m ready to go!
I have to find a rhinestone necklace, I would like one that drapes down the back… I have rhinestone earrings that will be good with this. This week, I’ll check the bridal stores to see if they have something….. And hair.. I have no idea what to do with my hair… so I have an appointment with my favorite hairdresser ever, Ramiro Gonzalez in Dallas on the day before the showcase. He works with doing ballroom hair so he will be perfect to help me figure this out.
Here I am getting ready for, and then in the performance… it was my first time dancing International Rumba, so it was a little bit of a challenge, but I loved it and the costume worked perfectly.
Click Here for more costumes and designs at my new website (which is still under construction)
In January of this year, I went back to my flamenco classes. I took the Fall session off because I has other things to do on Monday nights, but I did miss it, and I really wanted to be in the performance in May. So here I am, back in flamenco. I started flamenco dancing in 2011, here in Fort Worth, we only have one school where we can study the dance here. I started the lessons because I wanted to do the Paso Doble in ballroom and I thought it would help me. I never really did paso Doble and I stopped ballroom for a couple of years, but flamenco has helped me all around by strengthening my body and learning how to move it, much the same as ballet has done, but in a different way. I finally did perform a beginner Paso Doble routine this past December (I posted something about it on my blog), and I did get to do some flamenco fan work in the performance, which I loved! I made that costume and I do hope that one day I am able to wear that skirt again, I’m thinking about adding a flounce to it to make it more flamenco-like but could also be used for Paso Doble.
Dallas has so many more options for learning flamenco, and I did go there for about 6 months. I studied with Conté de Loyo, but the travel back and forth to Dallas at night was a bit much. So now, here I am back to studying it in Fort Worth. I make my own costumes and practice skirts. Back in September (or was it August?) I bought some fabric for a new flamenco skirt, but never made it since I wasn’t dancing it. I documented making the pattern and sewing it when I started up again in January. Here are some photos from the beginning of drafting the pattern and cutting it out, through to putting it all together. We are working on choreography for a performance and I will wear the skirt, but I need to add two more rows of flounces to it.
We are trying to figure out our costumes, the instructor wants something very specific, which, of course, makes it difficult to find. We need to find a chulapa blouse for our skirts, the same that the Madrileñas wear in the San Isidro Festival in May in Madrid. We need them by mid-May, but can’t seem to find them anywhere in The U.S. My friend and fellow flamenco dancer has friends in Madrid that may be able to get them for us!
So…. weeks later now… we finished our costumes (although it came right down to the wire, we were still sewing only an hour before the Mayfest Performance… our Chulapa-like blouses came from China (they are actually Lolita blouses) and we modified them with eyelet and bows.
Here is the Mayfest performance…. we got all of the steps and for the real performance (on stage with lights!!) we will clean it up so it really looks good!
Thanks for reading! Laura Lynne
Well, I haven’t written in awhile, my life has been full. My photography is a bit slow right now, but I’ve filled my time with dance. I need to get back to the zoo to see how my babies (Belle and Bowie, the baby elephants) are doing. It’s been awhile since I’ve been there and I’m sure they’ve grown! Maybe I’ll be able to get there next week, but if not next week, then definitely the following week.
In flamenco, we are learning and rehearsing a new choreography routine for a performance in May. I spend about maybe 5-6 hours a week between class, rehearsals and practicing…. I just love the music and the choreography. We aren’t exactly sure yet what we’re doing with costumes, but it looks as if we will all wear our own skirts and hopefully someone will make us tops, if not then I’ll have to make my own. I’m very happy wearing my own skirt since I recently made it. I took photos of the whole process I made a pattern and designed it myself. I photographed it as I was doing it and one of these days I’ll put the photos on my blog, or maybe I’ll attach them to the end of this.
I’m really excited about our performance, I’m partnering with my friend and my favorite partner, Regan. We’ve been in this together since the beginning when we started in 2011.
As I’m writing this I’m watching the news, there are severe weather warnings all over my area with some possible tornadoes a little northeast of us.
Here is a short video of one of my practice sessions this past week for our May flamenco performance (yes, we need to clean it up!)… It shows how much fun we have doing it. It’s obviously just in the very beginning stages…. we are marking it and figuring it out in the video… hopefully the next time I post a video it will be much cleaner.
Thanks for reading and until the next time…
Last week I wrote a post about my insecurities with my dancing. I thought it was private… I thought I was just venting more or less to myself and I had the visibility checked as “private”… well, I guess not. When I write a post, it puts it to LinkedIn, Google… and wherever else… so the post went public even though I changed it back to private after publishing it. Once it’s out there, it’s out there.
So it really was nothing for me to be upset about, I’m fine with people knowing that everything is not perfect and that I do have questions about things every so often.
Anyway, the day after I wrote that post, I went to another dance party at another studio. It was more of varying levels than the dance party that I wrote about. It was fun and I also had a slight revelation there. At the end of the studio’s dance party, they always have something called a #waltzwaterfall (yes, just figuring out hashtags). I normally love that because I get to dance the waltz with some really good dancers… and sometimes not. My first time around the waterfall was with a good dancer, then next, a new dancer, but he tried… we all have to start somewhere. Then the next round, there was a woman ahead of me and she was supposed to waltz with the next man in line… she looked at him, then me and said “you dance with him” and she moved onto the next person…. I had a puzzled look on my face and he said “I’m not a good dancer and she didn’t want to dance with me”.
That was just so rude! Wasn’t that woman a beginner once too? The waterfall rotation is really no more than just a quick spin around the floor and then you switch partners…. she couldn’t just “put up with” dancing with him just one time around? So I danced with him… and he could not dance. He didn’t know the steps… but he was trying. So I back-led him and we danced the waltz…. I didn’t put him back in the rotation, I just spent the rest of the waterfall helping him learn just a little basic step to get around the room. I missed out on some real nice waltzes, but what I gained was so much more! It put everything into perspective from the night before. I was no longer feeling as if I wasn’t getting anywhere with my dance, I just don’t dance the way they dance at that other studio. It felt good to help someone along the way, and also to make him realize that it’s ok to be a beginner and for me, to be ok with what I am.
I wish that my previous post never got out there to the public, it was nothing to be ashamed of, but I just wish it wasn’t there, so here this one will clarify it. It was just one night of huge insecurities. I never have insecurities like that about my dancing… I rarely ever come out of dancing feeling as if I’m not getting anywhere, I love it, I am not perfect, I am learning and it makes me happy, but every so often, as with everything else, you just have a bad day…it happens… and that’s what happened the night before. Since that night, I have had many more dance lessons (ballet, flamenco, ballroom) and some social dancing… it’s all back to normal again.
My new ballroom lessons are just amazing…. I am learning so much! My ballet is progressing as is my flamenco. So that was just one bad night…. but many, many good ones keeps me going and my love for dance just keeps growing. The better I get (and I am getting better), the more I love it and the more important it becomes in my life. It’s not only the dance, but I have met so many great people through dance. Dance is a part of me and always will be.
Again, thanks for reading, and this one is meant to be public.
So far I’ve only been writing and posting photos of those adorable little baby elephants, but there are other things that I do in my life. I’ve always wanted to be a dancer, since I was very young, but I was too inhibited and I thought of myself as too awkward to dance. I tried ballet and it just was not pretty at all, I tried jazz… same thing. I did take tap lessons at a young age and really loved that but never continued it. When I was 19 I took some belly dancing lessons for awhile, it was fun and I did know how to do the belly roll and move my hips, so I felt a little better about that. I only did it for about a year and never went back to dancing. I always had visions of dancing like Vera Ellen in White Christmas, Ginger Rogers or any of the old dance musicals. Even Cinderella did that beautiful waltz with Prince Charming…. Yes, that how I wanted to dance, but I knew better and I knew I could never be a pretty dancer.
My daughter was a beautiful dancer… She danced ballet for many years, she studied in NYC and I loved bring a ballet mom and being involved in the world of ballet. I never considered doing it myself, if I couldn’t do it when I was young then I sure couldn’t do it as an adult. My daughter, Rachel, had an injury, something happened to her ankle tendon, and when she was 18, she had to stop dancing. She auditioned as a ballet major at Texas Christian University, and as it turned out, that was the last day she danced ballet. She was accepted as a Ballet Major at TCU, but ended up having to switch majors. She excelled at English and History and graduated Suma Cum Laude .
We lived in NJ and after Rachel graduated we moved to Fort Worth. There was a dance studio close to my new hone and I would drive by and watch the ballroom dancers in the window. I thought about it for almost 2 years, and then in March of 2010, I decided to check into lessons. I went to the Fort Worth Dance Center, and the woman behind that I was talking to asked me where I was from… New Jersey… And so was she! What better reason was there than to pick that studio to start learning ballroom. My husband joined me for a few lessons, but he hated it…. I, on the other hand, fell in love with it! There was no stopping me! My first instructor was Chris New and he helped me develop confidence and a love for dance.
I did a small competition and Showcase, I just loved it! I wasn’t very good at it,I was very technical minded and it took me a long time to get it. I stayed with. That studio until the following April, it was just too much money for me to be able to keep dancing there. I took a year of private lessons in another studio, but I wasn’t under contract with and dance studio anymore. I soldo felt as if
I really wasn’t progressing, and it was costing me a lot of money. I left there and decided to start flamenco and ballet lessons.,, I thought they would give me the foundation I needed to progress with ballroom. I took about a year and a half off..l did salsa lessons, swing lessons and ballet and flamenco. Then in the fall of 2012, I started some group and privates with Kane of My Salsa in Hurst. I found that I had a much better frame and was following better…. I am sure it had to do either learning ballet.
I was always hesitant to call myself a dancer…. My impression of a dancers was that in order to be a real dancer you have to be perfect. I was (and still am) very hard in myself. During that year and a half off of ballroom, while I concentrated on ballet and flamenco, I started noticing that people would ask me if I was a dancer. They said I had a dancer’s body and I moved like a dancer. I was so flattered but couldn’t see it… I still couldn’t do pirouettes, pique turns or any center work…. I had no turnout, couldn’t maintain my center, but, my body and my movements were all changing, yes even though I was older! I couldn’t call myself a dancer because I didn’t earn it yet. Then one day I realized, I don’t have to be perfect, I don’t have to be able to do all of the moves, I just have to do the very best I can and keep striving to get better. I dance almost every day, I am improving with all of my dances. I still dance ballet and flamenco, I also take salsa lessons and ballroom lessons. I am learning the Paso Doble, which is giving me a strength that is trickling down into all of my other dances. I am finding that everything is starting to come together and now I can actually say that I am a dancer!