Tattoo wisdom from Ravelry

by Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Auntie BubboPants over on is a hoot to read. But this month I particularly loved her response to a woman who wants to get a tattoo, but her hubby isn't keen on it. I kept saying "YEAH!" throughout. I thought it was really well written and worth sharing.

I wouldn't normally cut and paste and entire thing into my blog, but you have to be a member to read stuff on Ravelry, so I shared it in its entirety here. (If you are a knitter/crocheter, you should be a member!!)

I am going to be 31 soon and, despite my rabid fear of needles, I would really really REALLY like to get a tattoo. I feel like I need to do something kind of wild and crazy before I become an old fart. I’ve always been the steady one, the dependable one. I’ve been married for nearly 11 years for crying out loud. I have a child and a home and a decent car which I don’t love but gets me where I need to go. I’ve never really done anything too terribly crazy in the last 11 years or so.
Here’s the real problem. My husband thinks that tattoos are bad. Very bad. Trashy even.
How do I convince him to let me experience this one bit of wildness and get tatted up before I officially enter Old Fartsville?

Wants a Tattoo

Dear WaT,
What is a tattoo but a permanent alteration of the pigment in a specific area of the skin. Tattoos, like hair or shoes, entirely impartial and neutral. They are inherently neither trashy or classy. Trashy is an adjective that describes a lifestyle or set of lifestyle choices. A tattoo might represent a trashy lifestyle choice, but it doesn’t have to.

Deeming something to be trashy or lowbrow is an incredibly loaded sort of opinion. Not only does it stratify people and there choices based on sometimes capricious criteria, but it needlessly puts one person above another is a false and rather hurtful way.

Continued after the cut...

There is evidence that humans have been engaging in tattooing for more than 10,000 years. Ten thousand years, hundreds of thousands of people, some millions of tattoos, could they all have been ‘trashy’? Tattooing crosses language and cultural barriers, it can be found in civilizations all around the world. Reasons for getting a tattoo can vary from differentiating ranks within a society to sharing a personal history on one’s own body to a permanent symbolic representation of beliefs or values.

A tattoo is inherently neutral, it cannot be ‘trashy’, it is possible that it could represent something ‘trashy’, but who gets to decide what is considered ‘trashy’? Is your husband specially trained in a sort of universal art of categorizing people? Why would something as neutral and yet diverse as tattooing get to be part of the equation?

A tattoo is neither trashy nor classy. The person wearing the tattoo might fall into one category or another based on someone’s opinions, but the tattoo is blameless. If your husband knows and loves you, then it would seem reasonable that he does not see you as a trashy person. Ask him why he thinks that a bit of color on your skin would change you in such a fundamental way? Why would you be different after the addition of some pigments? You would not be different. This is true,

As with anything, this is your body and your decision to make. I would recommend that whatever you choose for a tattoo, make it something personal, something that reflects who you are at this time and in this space. Make is something you will cherish even as you age and your skin starts to droop and sag.

Often there is the argument made that one should not get a tattoo because it is permanent and you will grow old and your tattoo will become stretched and misshapen. People say, “no one wants to see a saggy tattoo on someone!” to that I respond, “really? no one? not one single person would look upon a tattoo on an elderly arm and ask about it? would want to hear the story of the tattoo and wonder about its significance?” I just do not buy into that argument. And besides, when you’re 90 your skin is going to be old and saggy whether or not you have a tattoo there. Anyone who makes it to 90 and still cares about the opinions of the whippersnappers, probably has other issues.

Theater skills in dance

by Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Over on Shira's Tribe there is a spin-off discussion on what theater skills we think bellydancers could benefit from knowing. As an amateur actor all my life, and a theater major at the University of Washington, and community theater participant for many years, I definitely retain many of my skills (and expectations) that were nurtured in the theater. I try to pass those on to my students throughout their class and performance experiences, but sometimes I feel like we need a whole class dedicated to theater skills, and a big stage production to show them how it all fits together! There is a lot to be learned there for our dance world...

As for what dancers need to know that theater people know...can I say EVERYTHING?! The short list I shared with the tribe (with a few additions) follows.

Professional behavior such as:
  • being on time* and prepared for rehearsals and performances

  • having all your costuming and props and make-up without having to be reminded and chased after by someone else

  • strong entrances and exits

  • staying in character

  • considering your body line and presentation at all times

  • projection (in this case, emotional/energetic)

  • finding your light/use of stage

  • being in the moment and not just doing things by wrote

  • not wearing your costume outside a show

  • graciously accepting compliments

  • taking notes from your director with gratitude and applying them immediately

  • using critique as a method of improvement, rather than internalizing it emotionally

  • how to audition, and the role of auditioning in your career (hint: it's not just to get the roles you want, it's to learn how to get the roles you want someday)

  • continue honing your craft

  • there is more than one method to improve your skills, and it's your job to seek them out

  • stronger performers will get roles of greater exposure or responsibility

  • dilligence and dedication pay off, but...

  • not all plays or roles (performance groups) are for all people and...

  • the best (actor) isn't always the one who gets the biggest role--there is a lot that goes into those decisions, and YES even your personality and looks can play into that

  • not getting the role you want is not an excuse to give up and throw in the towel, get pissed at the director, or otherwise curse and cry--there will be other opportunities, and if you truly love this enough to want to do it professionally and want this role of responsibility someday, you keep plugging away at it. This is what we call "growing a thick skin".

* "ON TIME IS LATE". We NEVER showed up to rehearsals or performances right at "call time". You showed up as much as a half hour early, because you wanted to gather your props and costumes where they were needed, settle in, talk to your fellow performers, discuss changes with the director, BEFORE you had to be getting into make-up or costume.

As I thought about this list, I realized why I think these are all such issues in the bellydance world.

The things we have listed in the theater world are primarily factors which hinge on the performers working as a team. Striking a set together so it's easier on all of the performers to come back and make magic again tomorrow. Taking care of your costumes and not making the costume mistress more work that night. Being on time. Not upstaging one another. Listening carefully to the director, and applying what they tell you for the benefit of everyone's performance. Even in a "one man show", there are so many cogs in the machine, and we need to oil it together to keep it running. If we don't support them in their roles, they can't support us in ours, and we all fall.

On the other hand, though there are many many troupes in the dance world, it is still primarily soloists**. And many teachers and performers are always parroting the "it's all about self-expression", which is definitely true, but I think often it is being said in a way that is translating to "it's all about YOU (me)". This self-absorption ties into so many other things, such as our ongoing beef with performances which are mere masturbatory displays with no consideration of the space, venue, audience, even music. We focus so much on trying to help students tap into their inner diva to be able to express something from deep within themselves, that we are getting just that--self-absorbed divas. Maybe we aren't spending enough time giving them a clear context in which that dance must be considered--a world filled with other people, in your audience and on and around your stage. We aren't giving them clear enough consequences when they don't meet the standards which must be demanded in order for the greater "machine" of a shared stage to run smoothly. They need to be reminded it is NOT all about them, and that their actions create consequences for the dance world around them, on both small and large scales...

**I am not trying to say that these problems do not exist in troupes or troupe members! I just meant that there is a focus in the dance world on the individual that is driven by its primarily solo-nature.

An article on ATS/fusion.

by Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Dear readers, I am curious what your thoughts are on this summation of ATS, ITS, and fusion.

Dread Falls from Acrylic Yarn

by Monday, March 15, 2010
Like the author, I too am not a fan of falls that look like hanks of yarn. That's why I always liked the Colinette .5, because from a distance, it looked more like dreads. But how about making some falls from some other acrylic homespun, to the length, thickness, and variation you like? Here is a great tutorial on just that!

Internet debates and attitude...

by Friday, March 12, 2010
I think the difference between me and a lot of the people I meet in internet discussion group debates is that I almost never enter a discussion deciding that I have all the answers I need. I go in thinking that even if everyone else disagrees with me, and even if I am not convinced to change my position in any way, I have an opportunity to learn by talking through my thoughts and hearing theirs. I am grateful to all those who would stand up and, thoughtfully and tactfully, speak an opposing opinion to mine. In the case of people who engage in fair debate, it takes courage, conviction, and a deep seated passion for the topic to jump into the "fray".

I am not easily rattled when people start to get flustered or even personal, because it is a weakness in THEIR character that they can't find constructive words to express their viewpoint. Absolutely I am known to slip, give in to my frustration, and speak flippantly when I would be better served by stepping away and breathing. I am human, and I am not the most enlightened of beings. But I know that the minute I try to shut someone else down entirely, no matter how rude or ignorant they are coming across I am missing
1) the opportunity to teach them what I have learned
2) learn their viewpoint and how they came to it and maybe either be swayed, just see it from another side, or learn how better to educate others in a similar future encounter

For those would feel too shy or intimidated to engage in online discussions, and are lurkers of the highest order, I issue you a challenge. Pick one discussion a month and put in your two cents. Even if you think it has already been said before, the way you say it, and the way you see it from your unique perspective, may be just the thing one single other human being (or more likely MANY) who reads it needed to hear it.

Your challenge begins now. Go onto tribe, or Bhuz, or, or Facebook, and share something from your heart or mind. Be open to what response you may get, and think about what you can learn from it. See if it doesn't take you in some new directions.

More live music + improv!

by Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Saltana Band at Navya Lounge
Sunday, March 21, 2010

All Ages
$7 cover, Children Free
Navya Lounge
1333 5th Avenue, Seattle, WA 98101
Located inside the Rainier Center behind the Rock Bottom Brewery at 5th and Union

We had such fun last time, we're doing it again! Improvisational dance and music collide as inFusion Tribal and Saltana Band join forces for another night of entertainment at Navya Lounge. Saltana Band has even been working on some tribal infused music, inspired by inFusion's last appearance at the event. As before, the dancers will have no idea what music will be played, and the musicians won't know what the dancers might concoct--it's all a grand adventure in pure improv. Join us and see how it unfolds!


On this blog I share my personal posts about cooking and knitting, travel and other musings; while I will blog about dance-specific topics over on the Deep Roots Dance blog:

I hope you will enjoy both my sites. Thanks for visiting!
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