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photo: Kevin Fox

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Thursday
May152014

How To Hold Your Audience's Attention

There's something that too often happens in choreographed works. I saw it in dozens of the entries I recently reviewed. I see it in otherwise beautiful dance works. I even see it in works outside of dance.

The issue I'm talking about is this: a dance piece that has a good beginning, a good ending, a good idea, good technique... but in the middle, it rambles on to nowhere, making the audience lose interest.

I'm able to recognize the issue because I used to see it over and over in my own work. It drove me mad for years. I didn't know how to deal with it. Sometimes, while choreographing, the problem would resolve itself. But more often it would leave me feeling helpless, and it would take away all the fun of creating a dance.

How do you make an audience watch your piece all the way to the end? How do you know that all the hard work you put in will be watched and understood? How do you know you're making the right choices while choreographing? And how can you free yourself so choreographing is not a dreadful chore but a joyful process?

There's an infinite number of answers to these questions. Come to my workshop and together we'll explore a few answers. And I'll give you some tools to come up with your own. 

About me: I've been dancing for 23 years and making dances for nearly that long. My goal as a choreographer is to move people (and to keep them watching all the way to the end!) My goal as a teacher is to share what I've learned and what I've come up with in ways that will make your mind smile and your spirit glow. 

I'm super excited to be teaching at the Theatrical Bellydance Conference:

CHOREOGRAPHING: A VISUAL APPROACH
SATURDAY, JUNE 14, 2014
2:45 PM – 4:15 PM

Here are two of my recent choreographies:

 

Thursday
Mar132014

Two Films and Three Books on Childbirth that Made All the Difference 

I absolutely love my Ob-Gyn. Can't remember when I started seeing her or who recommended her. I do remember early on asking her about the movie poster she has in her office. It's a huge picture of a baby's face peeking through, her bright blue eye looking straight at you. 

I asked her if she appeared in that film.

"Yes," she said. "Unfortunately they edited out most of what I said."

"Who cares?" I told her. "What matters is the credit."

"Actually, it was very important information that needs to be spread."

The movie was "The Business of Being Born," and I didn't think much about it until last year, when I went to see her because I'd become pregnant. 

"You have to think where you want the baby to be born," she said.

I thought women just walked into a hospital at the signs of labor.

"And you need to choose a doctor or midwife."

I panicked a little. "Can't it be you?"

She said she doesn't do it anymore. She said I might consider having the baby at home.

Wait, what? That sounded so unsafe. The neighbors would throw me out.

"It's not like in the movies. It's not like you'll be screaming for hours," she said. "People even leave cookies and cards at the door when they know someone is having a home birth."

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jan222014

"Sophia" by Blanca and Ondine Dance

Right after the 2011 Theatrical Bellydance Conference, both of my parents died.

For over a year I had a hard time finding any joy in life or in dance. I won't go into details; I'll just say I was ready to move to another planet.

But then something happened, and my life immediately made sense again. I tear up just thinking of how blessed I am and how much joy this tiny baby has brought, not only to us, her parents, but to every person who's heard about her.

The making of this piece was the happiest creative process I've been through. Make sure you watch the video full-screen and enjoy!

SOPHIA by Blanca and Ondine Dance
Choreography: Blanca, Ayshe, and Elisheva.
Dancers: 6-month pregnant Blanca, Ayshe, Elisheva, Erica Joan, Karen Wahl.
Costuming: Ayshe and Alanah Couture Fan Veils.
Music: "Charents II" by Epiphany Project
Performed at DNA theater, NYC, June 7, 2013

Friday
Oct252013

Birth Story

New York City, Friday, September 13th. I was 39 weeks pregnant and having dinner with my brother at Le Pain Quotidien. I still had to go and finish cleaning my old apartment. At exactly 9:00pm as I was saying goodbye—ouch—I felt a strong contraction.

My brother joked, "What, you're having the baby now?"

I said I just needed to rest and ran out. 

Thankfully, the apartment was right next door. I texted my midwife and doula to tell them I was feeling contractions. 

The doula  called me back, "Do you think you can sleep through the night?"

 

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jul222013

Come to our show this Friday!

One of my absolute favorite things in life is to witness a dancer's evolution. You have witnessed it too if you've been following my 92Y STUDENTS. (Yes, give me ALL the credit—I'm totally kidding.)

If you've been following them—from the first semester they showed up to class, when they looked skeptically at each other at my mention of "you'll be dancing at the student show," through the annual group pieces they've performed at the venerable Kaufmann Concert Hall, to last year's first solo show—then you'll love to catch them THIS FRIDAY, JULY 26, WHEN THEY'LL DANCE TO THE LIVE MUSIC OF SCOTT WILSON AND EFENDI. And guess what? We have a special guest artist: LYDIA. You'll love her dance!

It will also be my last performance for a while. As many of you know, MY BABY WILL SOON TAKE CENTER STAGE in my life <3

So come celebrate the summer, the gift of life, and the love of music and dance. I'd really love to see you before my new journey begins.

Blanca presents: 92Y Bellydancers with Scott Wilson & Efendi at Jebon!

Friday, July 26, 2013
7:00pm until 9:00pm
at Jebon - 15 St. Marks Place, New York, New York 10003 Reservations: (212) 388-1313
Cover: $10. Min: $10
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DANCERS: Blanca and baby bump, Alison, Dara, Janay, Rie, Toshawna, and Zoe. Special guest: Lydia.

MUSIC BY Scott Wilson and Efendi—Michael Hess, Casey Bond and friends.