Friday, 5 August 2011

Guest Blog and Video - Wendy Allen Review!

As some of you may know, Sakura have been away on a dancing weekend in Bournemouth, so we didn't have a Video of the Week last Friday. However, our fabulous friend Jo stepped into the breach for us and wrote a fantastic guest blog. As she was awaiting photo permission we haven't been able to publish until this week - but it was worth waiting for! You not only get a video, but also a write up of the recent Wendy Allen workshops in Devon. Take it away, Jo! x

Sarah and Cayte are away doing training with the fabulous Steffi of RedTent Tribal so I have hijacked their blog to tell you about my wonderful weekend in Devon attending workshops with Wendy Allen. Wendy is the assistant director of Fatchance Bellydance She manages the troupe when Carolena is out of town, teaches classes and directs a student troupe 'SpinOff Tribal' as well as performing with the troupe.

Here she is performing with Kristine, Sandi and Kae. 

I love this video because of the intimacy of the performance, It is a treat to have the close up shots, to see the serenity of the dancers and because I can drool at the gorgeous costuming. It is also a chance to see Wendy performing solo and her sassy personality really shines through. Oh and the spins.....I first saw Wendy dance on Tribal Basics Vol 7 and it was her spins and turns which made her stand out (and the gorgeous black velvet skirt).

The workshops were hosted by Keeley Beeston of Kalash  and Jacqui Spiers of Tribal Fire 

Originally planned as one day of workshops, demand was such that they sold out within hours so Wendy kindly arranged to arrive early and teach an extra set on the Friday. I was so excited to get in at the last minute, I'm sure my work colleagues were sick of hearing about it.

I headed off on Thursday lunchtime, planning to spend some time in Glastonbury on the way down. However one look at the sky over the A38 changed my mind and I carried on down to Tiverton and Kelley's farm near Bampton. I was the first to arrive and after a bit of fun flinging sheep poo away from my chosen spot I finally got the tent up and settled down to enjoy the view. 

Loneliness had just kicked in when a loud zaghareet pierced the silence and up the hill came Jane, Nicki, Steve and Pete. They were on the way to the pub so I tagged along. By the time I got back the camp was looking livelier with Christine and Maxine from Akula Tribal and Mark and Angela in the Zuzamobile.

Friday dawned with proof that rain before seven isn't always fine by eleven. Who cared when we had six hours of ATS to look forward to (squeal). The first workshop was entitled The FatChance Flair and really focused on the aspects of posture and the quality of movement that separates FCBD from other groups. For me it was an eye opener on my own technique and Wendy's feedback pinpointed what was missing in certain moves. It also really gave me confidence with things I thought I was doing incorrectly because I was comparing my range of movement to other peoples.

The second workshop was Hands and Arms - Connect the Dots. The focus was on transitions between moves and how the arms weave a shape to create smooth and clear cues and transitions. Wendy said this workshop came into being especially for dancers who were self taught from DVDs as the intuitive flow between moves develops by dancing with others. I could really identify with this as I've experienced the panic of being stuck in a move with no idea how to get into the next one.

The last workshop of the day was Work that Shimmy; lots of fun drills to improve the definition of our shimmies. This was a really fun workshop and it was great to see the smiles and interaction of the group.

Wendy was a great teacher, entertaining, fun, with really clear explanations which really clicked for me. Her individual feedback was really focused and I'm sure I'm not the only one to have a eureka moment.
For me the workshops were over but there was still the Saturday night feast to enjoy. I was glad to have the Saturday to chill out and enjoy good company getting a tan in Kelley's orchard.

Kelley, Jacqui and the Kalash ladies had done a spectacular job of turning the barn into a shimmering, exotic paradise. Everyone paused to admire the decor which really set the scene for the treats in store. Mark from TribeZuza had created a tented treasure trove and I tried hard to resist the temptation of the goodies on display. The vegetarian buffet was divine and then it was time for the dancing.

A surprise treat was Sam Emanuel who performed first, just stunning. Jacqui and Kelley danced to a great version of Stairway to Heaven- beautiful and Kalash danced to the James Bond theme - brilliant. 

Wendy treated us to a solo with backbends and floorwork to die for, then she danced duets with Kelley and Jacqui. With so many fabulous dancers present I was in ATS heaven as Moirai, Akula and others took to the floor.

A huge thank you to Wendy, Kalash, Jacqui and Kelley for a wonderful weekend . Also to Wendy, Jacqui, Kelley and Maxine for photos as I was a totally numpty and forgot my camera.

How fantastic was that? Thank you so much Jo - you can drop by and guest for us anytime! xxx

We'll be back next Friday with the usual Video of the Week - you may even see us sooner if inspiration strikes!
Until then, happy dancing!

Thanks to Wendy Allen, Jacqui Spiers, Kelley Beeston and Maxine Brennan for use of images in this post

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jo,

    What a great review of a memorable 3 days in Tiverton. It was lovely to meet you properly and get a chance to hang out together! Hope we get a chance to do it again soon!..

    Much love,
    Christine (Akula) xx