Jul 30

3D Flowers Tutorial

The poppies costume is finished and went to its rightful owner and I am having a difficult time letting it go :) So under the disguise of a tutorial I spent several hours staring at the pics.
Hope you find it useful! If you are using this technique to create your costume or accessories, please let me know, would love see how it turned out! Here we go...

Jul 30

Poppies Costume

Jul 30, 2012 20:32////

I'm behind on updating the blog, so I am preparing a tutorial to compensate for the procrastination :)
I have been working on this custom order for the past month and half. A dancer who takes private classes with me brought this gorgeous chiffon with satin poppies. Unfortunately she bought only 2 yards of it! So after some calculations I decided to make a half circle skirt out of two quarter circles. You could see on the pic below how close I came after cutting the first one, it was about 5mm... The fabric was very tricky to handle, so instead of cutting along the belt line I marked it with basting stitches, then serged it along the stitches. There is another light pink chiffon skirt under the poppies and the red insert is professionally pleated (hard to see). The unhemmed skirts hung for for about 2.5 weeks to allow them to stretch on the bias.

In the meanwhile I made the bra and the accessories. Then finally came the day when I could hem the skirt.

Once hemmed I proceeded to decorate the whole costume with rhinestones. I used 3 kinds of rhinestones (way over 1000 stones) and sew on Swarovski crystals, so it turned out to be smashingly blingtastic! Yesterday Ayelet picked it up. I can't wait to get my hands on the professional photos from her performance and from the photo shoot she has scheduled! In the meanwhile it feels so weird and lonely without the costume on the dress form. So I spend a couple of hours staring at the photos of the finished costume and preparing the tutorial on 3D flowers. Stay tuned, it's coming soon!

Jun 6

Butterflies in the Stomach: a Fundraiser for Little Lital Aizenberg

Jun 6, 2012 16:33////

Got back from Ukraine! Detailed reports are coming up but first I wanted to write about a very special event that my friend Tania and I worked on last month.

It all started when my friend Tania posted a cry for help on a local belly dance forum. Her friends, Elina and Mark Aizenberg, have asked for help in raising donations for medical equipment needed for their daughter Lital, who is suffering from CP. I offered Tania to organize a fund raiser and the idea was whole heartedly embraced by the whole community.

Initially we had 30 people signing up to perform and we intended to hold a hafla type of event at the Bellydance Center in Jerusalem, a spacious studio graciously offered by my friend, teacher and colleague Sagit Elmaliach. However as the ball got rolling we realized that we might need a bigger space. Eventually Tania, who has been studying in Havat Hanoar HaTzioni, a youth village that has a performing arts program, secured their fully equipped theater and we found ourselves managing a stage production with over 30 participants!

14 Oriental dance artists confirmed their participation and Mark also contacted a ballroom dance ensemble of 16 girls and boys to add to the show’s variety.
Tania and I were overwhelmed by the positive response all around us and the generous help that was offered to us. From artists to the stage manager, the photographer, the stage decoration, everyone volunteered and contributed to the show’s success! We managed to raise over $3800 and I would like to thank each and everyone personally for their hard work and dedication to the cause!

First of all I would like to thank my friend and colleague Tania Karpliuk who has put countless hours into this project. It was a privilege to work next to you; I learned a lot and feel blessed that I got to know you better.

Another person I would like to thank is Janet Nissim, a fellow dancer who kept taking upon herself more and more tasks, first as a promoter, then as an artist driver, then stage manager, then an MC… We couldn’t have done it without you!

Special thanks go to our stage decoration team Oranit Kaggan and Ruthi Jadi who showed up 4.5 hours before the show and made sure we have beautiful butterflies flying over us. Oranit brought all the materials and Ruthi helped her hang everything up, while two of the dancers Galit Shmuel and Meital Hakimian have been cutting out the numerous butterflies that Oranit prepped in advance.

Another special thanks goes to Galia Cohen Peres, a professional photographer who has been capturing magical moments of our community for so many years. Behind the lens you find a loving, giving woman! We were so honored to have you part of our team!

Thanks to Asaf Avraham, a gifted darbuka player who entertained the audience before and after the show.

Of course I would like to thank all the artists who came from all over the country and donated their art for the cause. Yulia Volodarsky from Ashdod, Olga Pugovka from Haifa, Shai Beo, Gili Lev Ari, Hadas Gamzo and Racheli Peri from the center, Meital Hakimian, Yael Edri, Maryummi Kol Tov, Galit Shmuel and Maayan Ben David from Jerusalem and the area and of course K.A. Dance ensemble directed by Ana Kokish. Without you we wouldn’t have a show!!!

Lastly I wanted to thank Mark and Elina Aizenberg, Lital’s parents, who have been an integral part of the production team all along. From printing the flyers and posters, to finding sponsors, bringing equipment, communicating between us and the ballroom dancers, finding a videographer, and much more. We admire your strength and your spirit and we wish you and your amazing family joy, health and prosperity!

Thanks everyone, it was a once in a lifetime experience and we felt privileged to be able to help!

May 6

Teaching and performing in Ukraine again!

Back in the U.S.S.R. Ukraine :)

Coming back to Ukraine in a month! Will be teaching a Turkish Roman workshop in Kiev, the my birth city and the next day performing at Aleksei Ryaboshapka crazy "East Ukraine" party in Donetsk! Preparing a new Roman set, crazy and fun to fit the occasion :) See you there!

Apr 18

Upcoming Workshops

This May in Jerusalem at the Bellydance Center Turkish style choreography with zills and a drum solo!

Apr 11

Sofsof I decided to take the plunge and...

I am now accepting custom costume orders. It's something I've wanted to do for a while now. Today Galit came to pick up her sets. I hemmed all of them and then we did a mini photo shoot. My photography skills suck big time, and this is something I'm definitely going to work on until I could afford to hire a pro :) But it was super fun to do because Galit despite her irl shyness turned out to be friends with the camera. She posed with ease, was very patient, let me play with her hair and was very sweet all around.

Regarding the name. Sofsof is my nickname among some friends, plus it means "finally" in Hebrew. The abbreviation came later on when I was playing with the collage, at first as a joke, but I decided to keep it despite its tackiness. After all I'm making costumes for belly dancers, we love this kind of stuff, don't we? Say yes LOL

Anyway, I have already started working on stage costumes. I drafted a few designs a few weeks ago and been accumulating really cool fabrics, so let the stash bust begin!

Apr 7

IV Oriental Cup of Ukraine – Donetsk – Day II – Ethno-Party - Part II

Sorry for the delay folks! Between the vacation in Thailand and the new group in Tel Aviv I got a bunch of posts accumulated. First thing first – continuing my Oriental Cup of Ukraine 2012 experiences.

The dinner was followed by performances of some of the festival’s participants. Amira studio from Chernovtsi went on first. They have started their performance with a traditional greeting – the bread and salt ceremony. Bread and salt is a traditional Slavic welcome ceremony, usually done in full national costume. The guests are greeted with a huge loaf of bread with salt mounted on top of it. The bread is presented on top of rushnik - a beautiful embroidered towel. The loaf of bread, the sausages and the traditional pertsivka ( chilli pepper spirit similar to vodka) were all home-made and we got a taste of them later on!
Bread and Salt Ceremony
Traditional Ukrainian women costumes consist of several pieces. A white blouse tucked in a black or navy skirt that has a light (usually white) petticoat underneath. All the garments are heavily embroidered by hand! The costumes that Irina and her girls were wearing were of amazing craftsmanship, as they were embroidered with beads. Some of the items, like Irina’s petticoat were even hand-woven! It’s not possible to buy this kind of costumes; they are usually made in the villages and passed to young girls on the day of their marriage.

Chernovtsi girls setting us on fire!

The performance was a dynamic medley of several Ukrainian dances. I’m posting the video of the same performance that opened the gala concert. Personally I enjoyed the club version more because of the direct connection the girls had with us. They literally lit the whole restaurant on fire!
Watch the complete Amira studio performance ( starting at:1:10 ) here.

Followed by Amira studio was Elena Veretennikova’s flamboyant version of a traditional Russian dance. Elena Veretennikova is the head of Eishta studio from Perm, Russia, and she is known for very dynamic, innovative group choreos. It was hard to hold our laughs throughout Eishta’s performance. From the oversized kokoshnik (traditional Russian head piece) to Eishta’s humoristic attitude and the general pizzazz! This ensemble certainly knows how to give a show!

Perm's Eishta Rule!

The party went on with everyone on the dance floor dancing their hearts out! I came back to my apartment completely enthralled by the performances and the good vibes!

Aleksei's RA studio having fun!

Happy among friends!
Stay tuned for posts about competition and the gala concert!

Mar 13

New class series in Tel Aviv!

Mar 13, 2012 16:05////

Squeeee! The flyer is done (getting faster in photoshop!), mails sent, fb event created, have several sign ups already from previous advertisements. Getting excited!

Feb 21

IV Oriental Cup of Ukraine – Donetsk – Day II – Party - Part I

The party was held at a restaurant with traditional Ukrainian food and décor styled after a Ukrainian khutor (farmstead). As I entered through the massive doors I was greeted by our host Solokha. Solokha is a very colorful and slightly naughty character from one of the most famous stories of Nikolai Gogol “Christmas Eve”, a witty witch, in a “bint el balad” kind of way LOL Solokha offered me a Brüderschaft shot of vodka and only then let me through. Throughout the evening she entertained us with her jokes and hilarious games with the audience. She also turned out to be an amazing saxophone player, playing among other songs 7:40 and Hava Nagila!
Partying with Solokha and her magic saxophone!

After Solokha’s welcome Aleksei showed me to our table with an astounding amount of scrumptious appetizers. I am omitting the pictures of the table only because you will find enough food imagery through this post. Trust me, there were many kinds of salo there, delicate seledka (herring), all sorts of pickles ( yummy pickled tomatoes, that always make me wonder why they are common only in East Europe and didn’t break into Western cuisines???), kholodets (jelled meat, mmmm) and much more!

ETA: Hell no, I decided to go for a tease and show you the appetizers.
Yummy appetizers!

Of course I made sure to taste from every dish, but then I was also careful not to get too full since I ordered something very special! One of my favorite foods of all times: borsch!!!

Allow me to present you with the borsch guide graciously shot by Zhanna Denisova! Thank you Zhanna, for following my whims!
So first you order borsch of course. Then you spot a tiny plate with cute little bombs on it. These darlings are called tovkach, they are basically another kind of salo LOL, lard mixed with tons of garlic, fresh herbs and salt. You put one into your mouth and savor the explosion of flavors! Then you grab a piece of rye bread and spread tovkach over it. Not thinly please! You are in Ukraine, treat yourself the same way you’d treat your guests! You take a bite and at the same time spoon the borsch… Ahhhhhhh… You are in heaven now! Your taste buds thank you and you thank Aleksei for making this dream come true. Lastly, don’t forget to check out other people’s plates and plan in advance your next gastronomical conquest!

And now I’m ready! Or at least I thought I was ready for anything, but, boy, was I wrong!

To be continued…

Feb 19

IV Oriental Cup of Ukraine – Donetsk – Day II – Workshops

The next day I got up early to brush up my workshop notes. Even though I am a native Russian speaker I’ve never taught in Russian before (only Hebrew and English) and I wanted to make sure I don’t waste time during the workshops trying to recall terms and expressions.
My apartment was located in the city center, a short drive from the workshops venue. I enjoyed the ride across Kalmius. The river was completely frozen, and it was fun to watch occasional people crossing it by foot.
The workshops were held at the Youth Arts Palace, a huge building with lots of dance studios, dressing rooms and a big theater, where the competition and the gala concert were held later on.

I caught a glimpse of Elena Ramazanova’s high energy lezginka drum solo, and then taught my first workshop - Sombati variations with sagat. Then Gulden Fatkula from Kazakhstan taught the most beautiful choreography to Warda’s Tab Wana Mali. And then me again teaching Turkish Roman fundamentals to an upbeat song. After I finished I caught a taxi back home to prepare for yet another party that deserves a post of its own!