Saturday, July 10, 2010

Golden Opportunity Recap - Originally posted 12 Dec. 2008

I apologize if I am writing in chaotic order... it's kind of late for me to be having coherent thoughts. lol

So, last Thursday, Kat and I headed out for San Fran for the Golden Opportunity. We ended up trekking to the Golden Country straight from the airplane so that we would have minimal travel time on Friday morning. That way, we would not be too stiff nor too exhausted before the first workshop. ;) Good thing too because we somewhat got lost on the way to the venue. It was kind of hard to tell whether we were staying on the road or veering... yeah...

We finally get to the venue and it is simply gorgeous... and very peaceful. I kept being teary-eyed by all the beauty. I was certain that I was going to bawl during savasana. Our room was super cute. And the chocolates at check-in were a nice touch. Oh and we were in the Chocolat room. Here's the link to the Bed & Breakfast where we stayed at: Our hosts were super nice and amazing cooks. We had scones every morning. *sigh*

As part of our package deal, we had a small group dinner with Rachel and Ariellah. We went to this restaurant at a golf, I think (it was dark and we veered a lot so I'm not sure anymore). The food was good. But mostly it was a lot of fun. Rachel fell in love with the singer there. When they heard that there was a bunch of belly dancers there, they wanted us to dance and we did. We did some tribal improv. I managed to get Kat to dance with me in a corner and then we were called to go do our thing on the dance floor by Rachel... and we did... kudos Kat! We got great compliments on our dancing together... it did show that we dance together... I'm so proud!!!!

Onto the workshops...

Rachel's workshops were great, of course. We did mostly drills on the first day and then combos and choreography on the following two days. We also did some yoga for cool down. We worked on posture quite a bit. Oh and I have it on good authority (i.e., from RB herself) that she will be teaching that choreography in the first part of next year. It's a fun one so you're in for a treat!

Ariellah thoroughly kicked my butt... and my arms... and my abs/core... did I say arms already? lol She definitely convinced me that I need to strengthen my core. I actually went and got some books and DVDs on pilates last night to start incorporating that into my practice. After the first day, I thought that I had gotten more from Rachel than from Ariellah but I really appreciated the progression overall for the weekend that Ariellah made us do. So the first day was arms and everything above the navel (including belly rolls). The second day was arms and everything below the navel (i.e., hips). And the third day was about stylizing and expression. So it was a great wrap up of the previous two days. There were lots of interesting tidbits throughout. I can't wait to take another workshop with her! That should be in February, actually. And maybe in June again!

I went there to bring my dance to the next level. And I feel like it helped me do just that. I postponed writing this blog mainly because I typically write blogs at work and I've been swamped for the past few days, but it's actually timely that I waited until last night. See, I did my gig at Greeks Islands and, although I have to perform cabaret stuff, I noticed that my moves had a fluidity that I had not had before. At one point during the workshops, Rachel said something like it's good if, sometimes, you get to a point where your body is doing whatever it wants and you are an observer. Well, that happened tonight. Now that I think about it, if your body can do stuff and you're "observing it", it actually allows you to be able to purposefully put emotions on it...

I took a workshop with Mardi Love just two weeks before the Golden Opportunity. There was lots of good stuff in the workshop and some of it was a challenge for me. I liked that Mardi had said that you needed for your body parts to be at your beck and call so she had some exercises/drills that she made us do to achieve that. I found it challenging so I worked on it outside of the workshop. Well, when we did the choreography with Ariellah, she did this combo and sped it up and I didn't know if I was going to be able to keep up... but it involved some of what I had worked from the Mardi Love drill... So when Ariellah would call "Right shoulder, left shoulder, chest lift, chest drop, right hip, left hip, pelvis drop, pelvis tuck" (and then we reversed it), my body parts were answering her call. That was funny because they were moving faster than I could think. That's actually what happened tonight too. It's pretty funny, actually. A bit disconcerting but funny anyway. lol

After the workshop, we stayed an extra day to visit San Fran a little. We ended up narrowing our sightseeing to just shopping, actually; in Union Square and Chinatown. Chinatown was funny: "I make you a deal. Just for you." kept saying the people at the stores. Riiiiiiiight... no one else but me will get those rebates, right? None of the other million of tourists will get a rebate? lol We had the greatest meal there. Oh my! The food was so amazing!!!

Oh and we went to Britex Fabrics, which is a 4-story fabrics store. At first I was annoyed by the ladies trying to help but then I got the gist of it... and, man, they know their stuff! Whoahee! I felt like I was in an episode of Project Runway because the whole place reminded me of when the designers go to Mood for fabric shopping. I mentioned that to the lady who was helping me and she teased me that at least they give us longer than 20 minutes to shop. lol Poor Kat ended up being caught in a twilight zone, though, where one of the ladies was telling her about her past lives in Egypt and about pharaohs and conspiracy theories... and then when she went to pay, she thanked the lady who asked her for her ID (to verify against her credit card) and the lady viewed it as an invitation to tell Kat all about her recent identity theft... Other than that, the store was great! It was a bit overwhelming because there was so much stuff! Lemme tell y'all that it ain't Joann's!!!! I was looking at fabric remnants (which were pretty big remnants, btw) and seeing one gorgeous one, looking at its price, and carefully putting it back down (the price was 150$!!!!).

Overall, it was a GREAT trip!!!!

Oh and they are planning on doing it again next year. I will definitely consider going again... but then again I may decide to do some other crazy belly dance adventure instead. Ah, if only money was limitless!!!!

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