While on the road…the garden explodesMay 21, 2013
So, what happens to your garden when you go on the road a lot, like really a lot? Like, almost all winter and spring?
It keeps growing with out you! And what a incredible love fest to arrive back home to…
I have finally ended my winter and spring touring,
(the last being the Gypsy Caravan road trip to California for workshops and performances and intensives, at Tribal Fest, view performance footage here- http://vimeo.com/user10098217/review/66510275/cec0ecbba8),
and my garden is an earthly delight, overgrown, happy, bursting with roses and peonies and kale and more roses and weeds and clematis and more and more…. I do have a small paradise for a double lotted yard… done by my own hands over the many years…but having been gone so much it does keep a life of its own, which is just fine with me…
I wanted to share a little with you because it makes me so happy…so enjoy the stroll through my eden…
and coming up soon! Don’t forget to get registered starting June 2nd!
TRIBAL BLISS — DANCE AND VISION
Registration starts June 2nd…
Course Starts Sunday June 16th!
… a movement journey …With Paulette Rees-Denis and Lynea Gillen…
The next session of this incredibly fun and refreshing and liberating four week e-course, starting June 16th, 2013!
Hello and welcome to our E-course…Oh yeah! We are so excited to share this, finally able to take it out of our dance studio and pass it on through the internet to you.
This is a course for you if you want to dance, write, sparkle, move, stretch, shake it out, write again, shine, dig in, breathe, create, and move some more…
We want you to feel delicious in your body, to be vibrant and healthy and full of vitality. To have some time for yourself, to lavish yourself with empowerment, to experiment with your dance, to feel blissful in your body and to release your mind, soul, and body! By combining our backgrounds of Tribal Bellydance, African Dance, writing, yoga, healing, therapy, trance and meditation, we bring you this new course, first time online, to play with and enjoy over the next four weeks, and to continue on your journey, wherever that leads you.
Road of love…Mar 14, 2013
Road of love…
Unfold to me
Show me the dreams as I play
Unfold to me
Show me the stories on my way
With a pretty picturebook
Or a bag of thorns
I’ll take the road to love
Work the muscles to the bones
Type the fingers from the core
Paint the stage green
With you the path lies open
The nonstop journey rides
And the words lead the way
I’ll share the road to love
Unfold to me
One day at a time
Unfold to me
With a breath so fine
Wit a pretty picture book
Or a bag of thorns
I’ll live on the road of love.
Paulette Rees-Denis, March 2013
Continuation of the Mexican adventure!Feb 14, 2013
After a few more journeys in my dance world, I return to the memories of Mexico. I take myself back to our little respite from the rigorous workshops and show of the weekend, to the sweet villa outside of Vera Cruz…
The rain has been a constant on our corrugated roof of the little villa. I wake early again to start the coffee and spend precious quiet time with my journal, my only constant on my traveling adventures. And then to walk the people-less shores, crowded with piles or animated driftwood, and sadly, way too much trash and debris left over from recent hurricanes. Slightly cloudy, the sun still beams itself out for periodic warm hellos, not the icey weather I left behind in Portland. The swooping of small groups of pelicans delight me as I love to watch these powerful birds gracefully gliding over the top of the water, wishing I could join them, to see what they see.
I am thrilled with the exquisite breakfast that Walky grills up for us, chaoyte squash and cactus, simply thrown in a hot frying pan and sauteed, no oil. These are new taste sensations for me, and I am loving them. Add that great strong coffee, and some salt dipped radishes, and it can’t get much better. A little guy Clark music n the Ipad, a little reading of Seth Godin’s new book, some more journal writing, more laughter and miss-matched chatter, a bit of group yoga, and on we go to the Mandorgna lagoon for another adventure!
2 young handsome Mexican men, Angel and Heradi, ready a bright blue boat for us. We patiently wait and decide on a shot of tequila with salt and lime–it is 12:05 after all!
They are excited to show us their lagoon, which is an enormous body of water surrounded by a variety of mangrove trees and filled with crabs, oyster, fish, jellyfish, ganca birds, vultures, heron-like birds, and little islands of crushed shells.
Every now and then we see a small boat with fishermen throwing out their nets for the daily catch. Angel shows us shrimp cages and the little bobbing wooden blocks that hold crab cages. We walk on a tiny island of those crushed shells, layered over the roots of the mangroves. Angel collects some oyster as he tells Walky and Oso about his fishing life (in Spanish).
An hour later we return. It was a slow and delicious hour, cruising through the brown waters, able to sit and watch this little paradise of water and air creatures, acutely aware of how everyone and every creature survives in this little portion of the world.
We stroll through the colorful, quaint, with dogs roaming the streets, to gather up lunch supplies to take back to the villa–still warm just-baked corn tortillas, fresh white cheese, squash, onions, mangoes, and then we catch a taxi back. Walky happily fries up the squash, onions, with fresh oregano and garlic, like her grandmother always made. She is also making an oyster mushroom and epazote soup for our dinner, another traditional dish from grandma. We are eating like queens and a king.
Oso must leave to go back home and we stay for another day. A long walk on the beach and us three mermaid dive into the chilly waters. I find the sandy floor easy to walk on and the small waves are just enough to keep us bobbing and laughing like children, feeling ecstatic.
With an evening fire on the beach and a bottle of Malbec, we decide on a morning horseback ride. Oh my, it has been years, since I was on a horse, but I am willing.
Our ride was humorous, fun, and just short enough! My horse decided it would just take me swimming while on its back. A bit of “stop stop” by me, but Carol rode on down the beach. It was Walky’s first time on a horse, so fun and entertainment was had by all. And not to mention some sore thighs as well…
This relaxing stuff is quite addicting, and the slow pace of Mexican life at the villa is an adjustment from my city life, but I find the simpleness, quietness, and slowness a much needed reverie. Life is good.
Welcome to Vera Cruz, MexicoJan 29, 2013
Actually, it is three towns down from Verz Cruz, our little deserted private villa, with just us four, the rollicking four lab dogs of the house, and a few of the workers.
Home from the trip now, I am finally able to download all my photos from the Mexican adventure!
Enjoy the first batch!
Mexican adventures!Jan 26, 2013
The rain is slapping out a Beledi on the corrugated plastic roof of our villa. The Gulf is just over the slight ridge, making it out of sight, and quiet for such a magnificent body of water.
Waking up over and over again throughout the night to rainstorm, I finally got up to start brewing the Oxoacan coffee we ought last night. Such a simple delight, morning coffee-strong with just a bit off soy milk. The other still sleeping three start to mumble around inside, probably smelling the brew.
Tropical rain, lovely, but putting a halt to our plans of snorkeling off a small island an hour out from Vera Cruz. Which probably means a leisurely morning relaxing, writing, and reading. Darn…the possibility of visiting a nearby lagoon is still in the running of options though. I write and recall the previous days activities, with leisure and delight.
Yesterday, arriving at 5 am after a midnight bus trip from Mexico City, I have walked the deserted beach several times and lounged by the too cold to swim pool. I am so enjoying listening to the multitude of very talkative birds and had found four furry friends to give doggie hugs beauty beautiful family of white labs. Afternoon brings a journey into the town of Vera Cruz with Walky, her husband Oso, and Carol, my traveling adventurers. To the Aquarium we go. I enjoy the wondrous life of the waters, even though I dislike seeing any creature caged.
The dolphin show was laugh out loud entertaining-such magnificent creatures. And for a small fee I was offered a chance to swim with them but declined. The lion fish are regal in their stunning armor, inspiring emperors costumes through the years. The shark tank is full of stunning creatures as they swim in a continuous circle with an entourage of smaller fish. The medusa jellyfish and similar varieties are breathtaking in the sheer and vulnerable gelatinous looking bodies , pulsing grace the grace off a breath, their long flowing tendrils swaying as they circle and sometimes get caught in each other. We bellydance outside the glass, trying to mimic their fluidity!
We walk on the beach to find a place for supper before heading back through 3 little towns to our very quiet villa. With a bottle of wine we sit in the dark around the pool, soaking our tired feet in the cold water. The almost full moon slips into and out of the moving shadows with Venus hanging out incredibly close like I’ve never seen. Sleep is now necessary after the all night journey. And the rain starts.
Another new adventure that has arisen from my lovely life work of sharing my tribal bellydance-new friends and new places. I am grateful….
to be continued, and soon with photos!
long beach roadtrip- a delight!Jan 12, 2013
ah yes, a 3 day get-a-way! the man and I are prepping with chips and a micro brew in Portland, doing a little thrift shopping for honky-tonk wear for a photo shoot with my music man (photos to come soon!), and making the road trip plans…
to the Longbeach, Washington peninsula, one of my favorite beaches! And we got a suite deal (!) at the Inn at the Discovery Coast, which I highly recommend… ground floor overlooking the ocean and beach with a whirlpool, fireplace, and the corgis could stay too! No camping glamping on this trip…a bit of luxury and time with my little family before my global travels begin next week.
warming up with good libations, overlooking that gorgeous ocean, and relaxing with a great cocktail…
then to Jimella’s and Nanci’s Seafood Cafe for supper…of course we don’t eat fish or meat, so Jimella cooked us up some mighty fine eats, and gluten-free for me, with an amazing bottle of Townsend’s T3 to go with. Romantic, fun, delicious… a great first night.
some more thrifting the next day, and Longbeach has plenty of them…not tourist season at all, so we had lots of quiet looking and beach time, even in the rainy, wintery days of January…
Great to meet the locals, drive through town, picnic in the room, walk on the boardwalk, and slow down for a breath or two! 2nd night–another incredible meal at the Pickled Fish, and yes, special plates made up for us as mostly seafood menu there, I felt a bit like royalty, homemade pickled veggies, cheese platter with salad, and roasted veggies with chickpea cakes to die for…and it was another meal to be remembered. I would go back to both of these places again and again. And the magical beach of course…
Will be joining the Sister on the Fly there this summer for a glamping expedition, so looking forward to that whole season of camping and more fun…
The Adventures of Tattooed Tribal Country Gal Paulette
Celebrating Women’s Bodies
Orlando and Milwaukee, part 2, Fall/Winter 2012
Taking some time to reminisce about my early fall dancing roadtrip and put it on the page…these lovely women shared some stories and their gorgeous ink with me. Back when Karen and I went to Lacey’s studio in Orlando in September to teach and perform, I was surrounded by lovely tattoo artwork and amazing dancers. Some of which you read about in the last Tattoo Roadtrip post and here on this blog. Got a few more juicy bits to share…with special thanks to Paula Nelson, Kimberly Marie Felipe, and to Leize (one of my CS and Teacher Training Grads) in Milwaukee.
I love how tattooed folk will show off their ink, so proud and elegant, and share their stories of what the designs or journeys meant to them. Some get intimate with the details, some get spiritual, some get emotional, some just want to show it off! Alrighty then…
Talking with Kim and Paula after several hours of sweat and dance and laughter and fun, I got to snap a few pics of their skin and have them answer a couple of questions, to tell me about their ink story!
I got my first tattoo at 17-years old and over the past 18 years I have had ten tattoos placed on my body. Each one of my tattoos represents either an accomplishment or something meaningful that has changed me. My tattoos start with my first year away from home attending college, my daughter, my 80 pound weight loss, meeting my soulmate, my heritage, my scuba, my skydiving, my relocation from NY to FL, my growth from a girl to a woman. I truly love each one of them. I have been tattooed by three artists and absolutely appreciate each one for their amazing artistry.
I started dancing a year and a half ago. I attended a free workshop on Tribal Style dance and fell in love immediately with it. It has become a passion of mine. I love the music, dance style, history, costuming everything about it. It allows me to express myself in a whole new way. Now that I have become more confident with my dancing I have been exploring new tribal tattoos that I would like to have to show my dedication and love of this art. I intend to continue to dance and tattoo my body for many years to come. I am very proud of both!
You rock Kimberly! Thanks for sharing with us, all of your reflections and your journey.
Paula gets excited about the subject and gives me a good long explanation of her tribal journey with tattoos and dance.
I will be 58 in November and I got my first tattoo was at 37. My tattoos came before dance. From 1979 to 1999 I was in the Army and as an officer. As a female officer in a tactical specialty, I was under a great deal of scrutiny. My first tattoo, in 1992, which I got while I was still serving, is small, neat and compact on my hip. It is the astronomical symbol of Mercury with a red/yellow yin-yang inside. I had it done in memory of Freddie Mercury, being a Queen fan since 1975. I did my research and selected the artist who probably tattooed half the sailors and Marines at Great Lakes Naval Training Center north of Chicago.
I started learning dance on my own in at the end of 2004 but it all came together when I found classes in 2007.I found my tribal niche in 2009 and have been there ever since.
None of my ink is spur of the moment and I participate in the design and layout of it all. I put a lot of thought into the design and placement of all of it – sometimes to leave space for the next piece of the puzzle.
The Hamsa on my back is for protection, and was done by Kristel Oreto, now of Philadelphia, PA. The eye is representative of my first Rottweiler who passed shortly after it was placed and the meaning for me is she will always have my back.
Shri Ganesh is the Lord of New Beginnings, Obstacles and Learning. He has been in my heart for many years and when I finally decided to put tattoos where *I* could see them, I knew I wanted him on my upper arm.
The crone goddess is one I designed specifically for my arm. The nimbus was a way to combine my respect and perpetual student status for Florida Tribal Dance and my desire to have the goddess surrounded by flames. The Celtic ouroboros is a design I loved at first sight and was the first part the design. The mum is the birth flower of November and represents to me joy and hardiness, which flows into the goddess of fire offering to the cycle of life. I dance with fire and so it may be a complicated segue … but it works for me.
I have a pair of wings on my back framing a compass rose. My only regret is at the artist did such a poor job, but I have plans to get it redone by Alex in the future. It represents that I know where I am going and have the means to get there. It was my first large piece design.
All other significant work has been by Alex Sanchez of Inner Image Ink in Orlando. He and I have an amazing collaborative relationship in regards to design. He is also the epitome of a good sport Being able to bounce ideas off each other is very special and works well.
I dance because I can and it fulfills my need to for self-expression. I will forever be a student of dance because there is always that concept that I have not mastered. As a certified dyslexic (runs in my family) and an introvert, I need the mental and physical exercise of dance and tribe, and interaction with both to stay balanced on my path. For me as an artist, both dance and mixed media, there is a special kind of freedom in self-expression and for me Tribal dance and tattoos will remain intertwined.
Ahhh, beautiful stated Paula, thank you, may your journey continue with all of your passion…
From Florida, Karen flew home and I flew to Milwaukee for more workshops, Collective Soul and Teacher Training intensives, and to hang with my fabulous dance pals, Amanda and Leize.
After our dance training, I got to talk with Leize while sipping some wine,of course!
I was 30 when first inked and 37 when I attended my first tribal belly dance class at a local university, and I ‘m 44 now!
I’m not sure how my first tattoos relate to my dance other than getting to show off my biggest tats, which are typically covered by clothing. The relationship of dance to ink will definitely be present in future tattoos since dance is one of the biggest, most important things in my life. For now, my tats relate specifically to my childhood and family.
My first tat is homage to my brother who all our lives has called me Lizard. It was my design.
Second tat, also my design, is lizard-themed but represents my husband and me with the lizards’ tongues intertwining to form a Celtic knot – the knot a nod to my heritage.
The Friendship Faerie is my gift to me. According to Brian Froud, the artist of my tat, each child has a friendship faerie for protection. My friendship faerie seriously sucked, so I picked my own and he’s now always with me.
My Om and henna tat is a reminder to stay centered, calm and loving. It was designed by me and done during a particularly difficult time and has served it’s purpose. I want it covered now as a means of saying to myself, ‘That part of my life is over. Time to move on.’ I may even retain some of the original tat as a reminder of how much life and I have changed.
The giant bat-winged lizard is one of a set of 2. My husband, Kevin, and I have always wanted to get tattooed together, but we didn’t want matching tats. The ones we have are my design. The overall tattoo shapes are the same but his is a more realistic lizard whereas mine is a fantasy lizard . . . WITH BAT WINGS!!
I dance because I HAVE to. I don’t feel I have a choice in the matter. My brain needs me to. My body needs me to. My heart needs me to. My soul demands it!
Thank you Miss Leize. and by the way, while I was there, Leize, Amanda, and I filmed 2 Vlogs about our dance together and the meanings of tribal, called Talking Tribal! You can view part one, on Vimeo at
or view all of them here!
I always find it fascinating to hear the tales, and especially with dancers to see how the ink and the dance relate, or not. But we have this beautiful little, or huge, subculture of dancers who are tattooed. The blend together so nicely, and make the overall picture one of beauty, empowerment, art, fulfillment, and personal stories.
Thanks again to these amazing women, for their strength, desire, vision, and for stepping it up.
****Oh, Did I tell you that I am opening up an Etsy shop, PauletteReesDenis,
and have years of my photography up for sale? I am beyond excited as I have waited to have an outlet like this for years. These hand printed photos span the last few decades of my life in San Francisco and Portland, surrounded by musicians, dancers, and tattoo enthusiasts. Many of these images I will be posting are from my out-of-print and sold out photographic book, Skin Stories. I was, and still am, inspired by bodies, skin, and the ink to form layers, what I like to think of as layers of life. I have double exposed the film in the camera, yes a 35 mm SLR camera, to come up with chance with my vision of beauty!
This was before the Photoshop and easy computer photo access! And I had printed these in the wet darkroom, too, not just on the computer!
…I hope you enjoy seeing my journey…thanks for being here…
Paulette’s reads of the week!Oct 30, 2012
Sometimes I go round in circles trying to figure out which book I want to read next, or at the same time!
I might be in a total escapism fly away outahere mode, then I read my murder mysteries, and get transported out of day to day life.
Or I’m getting all woo woo and nudgy and want to do some self help stuff, breathing deep and trying to be quiet and soft. Out comes the meditation inner peace look at your life books.
Or I’m feeling really gung ho business wonder woman like, and get it on with my new super heroes of the moment. and maybe even organize my office.
or I just need a creative fix, and sit with the juiciest pages , some new wowza books, and some old standby love them all the time books and just gotta feel the pages between my fingers. Ah, love…
then of course there are the magazines of the moment. I used to be such a magazine slut, but this past year have paired down considerably, thankfully, because it is hard to pass mags on and they are heavy too, but gotta keep the books, or should I start passing those on too? ah well…
and we haven’t even talked about the bloggers
so, last week I passed on a few juicy books that I am loving and thought I would add a few more to the piles for you.
and yes, these are amazon affiliate links, which means if you buy them from my link, it helps support my blogs! no worries if you don’t, most important is to support the authors!
1. so for yumminess, costume ideas, old paintings and beauteous images, and some bellydancing history, how many of you have read
2. here’s a super fun one for you when you need to do some good stuff to and for your sweet self!
3. and one of my forever heroes, Seth Godin, another super prolific writer/author/blogger, instrumental for business approaches and knowledge, and so wise.
4. and now for my murder series of the moment, thanks to Amanda Richardson!
the vampire series by Jeaniene Frost! I’ve read the first two already, devoured… is more like it, no wonder I can’t sleep at night!
OK, my friends, now get reading! Tell me what you think….
Celebration of the woman’s body…part 1!Oct 28, 2012
Adventures of tribal country gal Paulette–October 2012
This is part one of the article I originally wrote for TattooRoadTrip.com, but unedited for my blog! Many thanks to Kristen Hullinger, Angela Wimmer, Cinzia DiCioccio and Miki Violetta, Lacey and Alex Sanchez, and Christina King, for sharing their art and their stories with me.
Part 2 with more gorgeous dancing women and their tattoos–Leize, Kimberly Marie Felipe, Paula Nelson coming up this week.
Celebration of the woman’s body!
What I love about tribal bellydance is how the style compliments and celebrates the woman’s body! As you can tell from all these photos this dance is for women of all ages and sizes. Some women come to the dance early, and many start dancing in their forties and fifties. That rocks my world. The dance has a magnetic force, a call for community and friendship, for beauty and grace and fun. We dance as maidens, mothers, and crones, with inquisitiveness, maturity, naivety, wisdom, joy, adornment, friendship, and so much more. In general it also celebrates life. And with the adornment aspect, of course, comes beautiful costumes, layers of jewelry, glittery makeup, and the tattoo art. And these gals know how to deck themselves out. Damn exciting….
These past gorgeous end-of-summer weeks I have journeyed around the states, from Flagstaff to Boston to Orlando to Milwaukee, to teach workshops, perform with members of my troupe (Gypsy Caravan Dance Co.), video some of my new online classes and interviews for my vlog, and visit with so many inspiring dancers, plus a tiny bit of sightseeing too. Usually on these dance tours, I don’t have much down time, but when I do have that time to hang out, see the town, and talk tattoos, it is extra worth it..
Kristen Hullinger, Anaya Tribal, Arizona
Although I wrote about most of my Flagstaff trip with you last issue of my roadtrip, I want to share Kristen with you! In my workshops, I met dancer Kristen Hullinger, who sported a huge back piece! I quizzed her quickly in between dance steps about her work and if she would want to talk with me for this edition of my article. After the workshop, she immediately stripped down to show me more of her tattoo work. Yowza! Awesome work on this dancer!
So of course, I had to know all the good stuff about her, when she started dancing, if her tattoos or her dance came first, and the significance of both.
I started Tribal belly dancing when I was 32. I had seen the dancers at the Renaissance Festivals and such but it wasn’t until I met a few wonderful women, known as Anaya Tribal. I had found out that they were also teachers, so I started taking classes and have not looked back since. With a lot of hard work and lots and lots of practice, I can now proudly say that I am one of the members of Anaya Tribal. These women are some of the most beautiful people I know.
I dance because I love it, the camaraderie, exercise, gracefulness, the ability to express creativeness in the physical form.
Since I’ve started my ink collection before I started dancing, the only way for me to bring out my artistic side at that time was in my tattoos. I would have to say that since you cannot see the creativeness of me on the inside, I express it on the outside for everyone to see and now I have embodied both of the things I love…Tattoos and Dancing!
Out of all of my tattoos, only 2 of them have any meaning. My back piece is for my 2 wonderful sons. I also have a yin yang on my wrists, half of it on one wrist and the other half on the other wrist. Good and evil is always around us, but I am the one that has to come between to level everything out. I also have a pussy cat’s face on my chest…doesn’t really mean anything, but it is a good joke at the bars –lol!
I have had 2 main artists over the last 10+ years
Gene Heidman – Club Tattoo Glendale, Arizona
Scott MacKenzie - www.badassink.com
Both of them are excellent artists outside of tattooing as well, with it ranging from canvas to computer graphics.
Folllowing Arizona, with a brief stint at home in Portland, my Italian dancer, Cinzia, and her man, Miki Violetto, (whose new tattoo book, Con Safos, Chicano Style Tattoo Art, is newly released!) came to visit ,and Cinzia to perform at a festival with our troupe Gypsy Caravan!
Gypsy Caravan Dance Company, Int at the JamBallah festival
Then we were both off and flying separately…I flew to Boston to teach, perform, and judge the USA 2012 World Champion Diva Crown Awards! A fast and crazily fun-filled weekend, as always, full of dance, laughter, new friends, and a bit of fantastic ink work.
Angela Wimmer, MA
Angela Wimmer came to my workshop and I immediately accosted her to ask about her ink. The amazing pro photographer and dancer, Zizi Zabaneh, agreed to photograph her for me after our show. Angela’s performance was beautiful and I really enjoyed our short time together.
Since I had to book out of Boston so quickly, I sent her some questions about her ink. She wrote back to me:
I don’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t dance; I think I came out of the womb dancing. I didn’t find belly dance though until belly dance after my daughter was born.
Tattoos I discovered as a teenager and fell in love with them. But I got my first tattoo before starting to belly dance.
I feel both my ink and my dance are a part of who I am, but they each show a different part of me. My ink expresses certain milestones in my life and spiritual path. My first tattoo on my shoulder represents my decision to live my life as how I want. To integrate art, dance, love, spirit into my daily life. It set me on the course I am on now.
My second tattoo is on my ankle, it is mostly hidden when I dance, but reflects my animal totem of a dragonfly being reborn, and the lotus flower that rises from the mud.
My left hip and my right hip reflect ties of love and commitment to my husband. Each express a different stage of our time together. My peacocks on my back where done when I achieved my first degree as a Wiccan priestess, and when I started dancing professionally.
Dance is even more part of me than my ink. I can’t imagine life without movement and the connection to spirit that encompasses me when I dance. It is my form of prayer. My peacocks are probably the most linked to my dance. During the time I achieved my 1st degree, I was also moving from student to professional and teacher. I chose the peacock as an image because of its connection to belly dance imagery. The two birds in my design represent both transformations from novice to teacher and priestess.
Lacey Sanchez, Florida Tribal Bellydance
When I was teaching last week in Orlando Florida, I was delightfully surprised by my hostess’s extensive ink work, and also that her husband and business partner, is a tattooist. Lacey and Alex Sanchez have a great collaboration besides their love of each other! Her dance studio, and his tattoo shop (Inner Image Ink) are joined, as are their business ventures. Lacey is an amazing woman, full of fire and fury and passion of dance, ink, and more dance! Her festival was well done, and I was honored to dance and teach many amazing women, and a man too!
I appreciate hearing how the ink and the dance relate to each dancer, and not only about the physical beauty and the adornment qualities of both, but the spiritual aspect that each brings to an individual’s life. Being tattooed is definitely a spiritual part of me–soul reminders and commitment to my creative journey. Each of us has our own reasons for committing to the permanent ink, yet there seems to be a collective unconscious reasoning that we can all relate to.
I dance because I have to, there really has never been another choice. It’s who I am. My mediums have changed over the years but bellydance has been with me the longest and I’ve been able to grow with it and alongside it so I know it will be there for me as I continue down my path.
Bellydance came before ink, but I grew up in tattoo parlors, both of my parents are tattooed. I started bellydancing at 15 so I was too young to get work yet:)
I don’t really think of my ink in terms of my dance except that they are both a part of who I am. My ink is all very personal to me and my expression as is my dance.
Again mostly personal, somethings where just because I love them like my fairy on my lower back and my butterfly on my right thigh, others spiritual like my goddess symbol with the eternal spiral on my left hip. My blue lotus design was for my Granny after she passed and a marker in my commitment to be who I am. My newest chest piece was a surprise even to myself, strictly an artistic choice:)
I am tattooed by just 2 artists. Mike Demasi a fantastic artist that has tattooed my entire family and was a HUGE inspiration to my husband, Alex, who is now my artist.
I find tattooing to be an incredible spiritual experience. It can serve as a rite of passage or a way to move to your next step. Moving past and through the pain is a wonderful meditative process and sometimes the places the mind can go when getting tattooed are amazing.
and celebrating a man’s body too–Alex’s belly!
Christina King, Blue Lotus Tribe, Illinois
I had the pleasure of dancing in the same show while in Milwaukee with Christina King, from Chicago, who has a lovely arm piece that I was admiring.
I asked Christina how the dance and the ink work together in her life. She says:
I had my first tattoo pre-bellydance, but all the others came after I started dancing.
Each of my tattoos has a different answer to this question, but the broad reason of “why tattoo” is because I’ve always been fascinated with ink, even as a child, and I see tattooing as a way to tell my story. I’ve always been fond of being adorned and different and tattoos were a way to achieve both, but with special meaning for myself.
Many of my tattoos hold special meaning for me in relation to the dance. I have a blue lotus on my shoulder, a symbol of my troupe, Blue Lotus Tribe. On my lower back is a depiction of jasmine flowers to symbolize my teacher and mentor, Jasmin Jahal. Other images have a definite near or middle-eastern character to them, although they don’t signify anything specifically dance related.
My tattoos are a part of my body and my body dances, but I don’t tailor my dance to the tattoos. I don’t dance because of the tattoos. I have some tattoos because I dance and probably as many as I do because of the open-mindedness of the dance community in regards to appearance and body modification.
The newest of the tattoos is the word “strength” scripted across my left wrist. This is probably the most meaningful one to me right now, as I have recently faced some challenges in life and still do. Seeing the word there is my anchor to have the strength to make the right decisions about my own life and to rise above what ails me.
Initially, I danced because a friend told me I should try it. Simple enough, right? I fell in love with the dance and my teachers and now I dance to create art with my body, to embody beautiful music, to become a character on a stage who can say and do things I might not be comfortable saying or doing in everyday life. I still dance because my friends dance and I want to dance with them. As a teacher, I dance to show other women that they are beautiful inside and out, no matter what anyone else may have told them before. I dance to tell my story and to encourage others to tell theirs. I dance because in the dance is where I’m most comfortable being the truest me that I can be.
So while I was on the road, I was thrilled to have my Tribal Bellydance Online Classes #1 and #2 go live! All of this fiery excitement—travelling, dancers, tattoos, business adventures. And I’m almost done with my Tribal Technique DVD#11! (In case you are wondering how you too, can join in the dance, go to my website, oh yea!) I have several more dancer’s and their artwork to share with you next month from the Orlando and Milwaukee trips. (Thanks, Leize, Paula, and Kimberly- you are up next!) So many gorgeous dancing women and their ink to explore and tell you about! But I must get packing again, as my fantastic man Jeff, and I are off to England for more music and dance and friends and good times. Till then…
Enjoy this glorious fall, and thanks for sharing the road with me!
FallOct 20, 2012
It has been such a delightful time for me, to have the time, to walk slowly, around my neighborhood, with my dogs! Almost daily this week… to allot myself the time and space to stroll with eyes wide open. Even though I try to walk my dogs daily, and I enjoy it immensely, I still walk fast to get back home to work. But this week, my work load was light, as that is what I was choosing it to be, and I took my time walking, even went an extra few blocks. With my camera. I am really working (!) at being present (and it does feel like work to enjoy myself sometimes), and enjoying every single moment, and not working too many hours, but instead really letting myself be in my time. Do you know what I mean?
Sometimes I need to be super disciplined and focused to get all my work done, with the to-do list extending for pages, and this is doing most of the things that I love in my work, which is my dance and my writing and my job and my life, but I can find it daunting and a heavy weight sometimes, and not give myself enough down time. Being your own boss can be amazing and brilliant and fun, but often, also difficult and challenging. I’m the hardest on myself, and so lightening up is the name of the game!
Spending time with my camera, so loving playing with the iphone apps, and looking around at the gorgeous fall colors, just breathing it all in, is so refreshing, and rejuvenating, and inspiring… enjoy!
thanks for being here, and enjoy your weekend… you, too, take time to walk around and see the beauty that surrounds you…