Dance is like Meditating — It is Food for Your Soul
Hello, fellow Trotters and welcome to the May long weekend — something I have been dreaming about forever…. well all week anyway. It’s actually sunny for once in my part of the world so that dramatically improves the “weekend vibes” around here.
This past week I have been super busy with dance practice. That’s right, I’m a dancer — see you learned something new (I don’t just eat everything in sight)! With work and several dance practices, I don’t think you want to know how many cups of coffee I’ve drunk. Okay leaving the coffee… and back to dance. I’ve danced most of my life and have done all different types — jazz, ballet, hip-hop, Bollywood contemporary & East Indian Classical dance — Bharatanatyam. While I have loved learning all of them, my favourite by far is Bollywood. There are so many variations and often we can combine them with some of the other styles like hip hop or jazz! For me it’s very fitting that my favourite life quote is:
“Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we’re here we should dance!” Author Unknown
There are so many reasons why I dance. The obvious being physical fitness — while going to the gym can be repetitive & dull to me, I find dancing fun and engaging. I also find through dance, I can achieve mental clarity — a type of meditation if you will (not that I’m generally wandering around in a fog or anything). It is just one hour every week that I can concentrate on myself and the movement rather than be stressed over work or family drama. It is also a way I can express myself (I can’t paint or write poetry to save my life). While the instructors teach the same choreography to everyone in class, each of us makes the move our own and together we perform as a unified team. Dance encourages both individuality as well as teamwork. It’s also an incredible way to meet people! Being fairly new to Calgary, I have met several people and established many long term friendship — it’s like having another family!
Soul Feet Dance Productions (SFDP) where I dance, was founded in 2012 and is currently directed by the founder Shellyza Murji. Shellyza has been dancing for over twenty years (so she’s a great source of knowledge on the subject). She has a master’s degree in social work and currently works for Alberta Health Services. On top of her long list of achievements, she was recently asked to participate in the Ted Talks Calgary series as her dance story is inspiring for all of us. Despite being so accomplished, Shellyza remains a down to earth person. Someone who is easy to talk too and has become a really good friend of mine. She’s humble and truly wants to share her joy for dance with her students and the world.
I have been dancing with Soul Feet Dance Productions (SFDP) for the past two years and I have loved every minute of it! The instructors challenge us and motivate us to set the bar higher with new and fast choreography. Each instructor specializes in a different area of dance so we can have a more holistic experience. Classes run from September to May with an annual show at the end of May. In fact, we just had our annual show yesterday, and I am happy to report it was a SUCCESS! The audience loved it — this could be heard through all the cheering & clapping as well as the positive feedback given at the end of the performance. For myself, I love hearing the audience engaging while the performance is occurring, it gives me more energy to dance harder.
I hate to boast but my Soul Sisters and I did AMAZING yesterday. We really pulled together in the last few practices and came out stunning everyone, including ourselves! The Soul Sister’s class is an adult class — most of us have completed university and are working in other fields, but dance as a hobby. No previous skill level is required and we have ended up being a close-knit group of girls — I’m even a bridesmaid for one of them this year! Besides adult classes, SFDP has classes for young children, teenagers and has a junior performing team (JPT) as well — so many different classes to suit your dancing desires!
This year’s annual showcase had a theme — weddings! It was characterized by bright colours (in the costumes & decorations) as well as fast fun music typically played at East Indian Weddings. The instructors also took it one step further and told a story through the script — boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love, enter calamity here, the couple is reunited and live happily ever after! Sounds a little cheesy I know, but it was an incredible show to be a part of and the audience really enjoyed it. The perfect way to kick off the summer in my opinion. Especially since I have some eight weddings to attend this year alone!
If you are a dancer or performer you will understand the excitement surrounding getting ready on show day. The hair, the makeup, the costumes all the chatter and butterflies in your stomach waiting for your turn on stage. I remember when I was five years old and performing for the first time — I was SOOOO excited to wear my tutu and have my hair curled in pigtails wearing makeup for the first time — I thought I was a big kid now! I think it was at this time I fell in love with dance and all the backstage chaos.
These last few years the soul sisters were lucky enough to have a makeup artist do their hair and makeup! Glamour Studios YYC made each of us look like models — run by Anila Lazarko and her assistant/ sister Neelam Makhani they did hair and make up for us six students as well as the seven instructors in just a short four hours — GASP!
Glamour Studios YYC does not just do performing events, they do bridal hair and makeup as well as the East Indian art — henna tattoos. If you have these girls do your makeup at your next event, you’ll see no filters needed for those selfies we all love to take! Besides being incredible artists, these girls are fun with great ideas and a general zest for life. You can find Anila at the annual Lilac festival on June 4, 2017 (read more about the Lilac Festival on another blog post).
I hope this blog post has inspired you to follow your passion be it dancing or painting or knitting! If you are looking into joining dance next year in Calgary I highly recommend SFDP and for any brides out there, have Glamour Studios YYC take care of your hair and makeup needs — you will not be disappointed! I would rate my dance experience in Calgary ♥♥♥♥♥ out of 5 hearts! Until we dance into our next blog post… dream, explore, adventure!
Trotting Traveller ♥