Tag Archives: dancing

Belly dance vs. Hip-hop: Inviting Failure

For some reason, Greg-the-cat doesn't like jinglies.Hip-hop started again on Monday! The thing that struck me (again and again) for the entire sweaty hour was how great it was to fail again.

As some folks may remember, I started both hip-hop and belly dance back at the beginning of January. Hip-hop stopped in May with the end of the school year, but belly dance kept a comin’. I took about 2-3 hours of belly dance a week this summer, but since we’re working up to a recital in December, we’ve been repeating the same couple of songs over and over again. That’s kind of becoming a problem.

This month of belly dance has been a tough one for me. This is about the seventh time that I’ve sat through the “this is belly dance posture,” and “this is a hip hit” spiels, and all the people I’ve been dancing with have moved up to the next level of class. I’m not good enough to move up into the intermediate class, but I’m unchallenged with the choreography of this song–which is a short song I’ve done before–and because of how many complete newbies we have, we can’t really focus on perfecting technique.

I just don’t work well that way. Dance class as it was in March – June was best, where I was still slightly overwhelmed by everything, always two steps behind and forced to focus. I always want to be learning something new while I’m getting better at the old. (That’s some PEAK Learning 28-3 bidness right there. Here, have some J.R. Anderson.) I dance because I like to dance, not because I want to perform on stage.

Having hip-hop on Monday night made that all clearer. I walked in (already tired after two hours of belly dance), and as soon as we started dancing, I started screwing up. Tangling up footwork, forgetting moves, and generally being a beginner. Failing.

It made me count my little successes, like that fact that I’m pretty good as chest isolation moves now, even while I’m trip-trip-tripping over my own feet. It’ll keep me from getting complacent. I can always push because there’s always a harder challenge.

I miss failing at belly dance. It’s not at all that I’m great at it–because really, I’m kinda a lousy dancer–it’s that I’m “good enough”. But if I just like to dance, does it matter that I’m not learning new stuff?

Weekly linkage

This week’s internet cruising:

  • How to keep someone with you forever – "You create a sick system." I wanted to cry when I read this.
  • Looking Back — Discord&Rhyme – "To be successful at bootstrapping, you have to cut every feature except those you think are absolutely necessary. Then you cut some that you thought that you absolutely had to have. You compromise your design because you need to get the product to market. You ignore automated testing and documentation because your code is too unstable to be held back by rigorous processes."
  • Launching beta, or “How to decide when and where to cut corners”
  • 200+ Seamless Patterns Perfect for Website Backgrounds – Pretty! They're a bit busy, but I think they could be used tastefully.
  • Statement by Apple on App Store Review Guidelines – Courtesy of Greg. Apple seems to be getting off their high horse with regards to development tools. I'm not sure yet if this means I'll be springing for Plants vs. Zombies on the iPhone.
  • These Dance Moves Are Irresistible – ScienceNOW – Courtesy of Michael. "The most important factor to the women was how much the man moved his head, neck, and torso, the researchers will report online tomorrow in Biology Letters." This is a really cool-sounding study. Thinking about the types of dancing I like to watch and see done well–hip-hop, even bellydance–I like fancy foot-work, but tight (pop and lock) torso and head movements do draw my eye more. Flailing arms are just hilarious.
  • Action Not Words: The Difference Between Talkers and Doers – Wonderfully (and miserably) timely for me. The last few weeks for me have been very slothful (as evidenced by the lack of posts here), with correspondence and projects piling up while I squander my time. I've taken to returning to my 3 Most Important Things per day. If I get nothing else done in a day, I will get whatever those three things are done. I know from experience that having the 3 MITs builds momentum so that I'll rarely only ever get those three things done.
  • We’re Not Paid To Write Code – This is a really well-written article on how we're paid to deliver a product, not sling code. This is a hard-won lesson for every comp sci major worth their weight I've ever met in their first 2 years out of college, myself included. I'm still not great at balancing quality vs. out-the-doorness on personal projects, but I've learned a lot more about what's acceptable business-wise.

Weekly linkage

This week’s internet cruising:

  • A Beginner’s Guide to Website Feedback – If I can wrap up and launch this damn character sheet app, stuff in this post will be handy for when it betas, especially the surveying. I suspect the LARPing audience will be sufficiently… opinionated to speak on it.
  • Six Useful CSS3 Tools – Some of these are pretty slick, if you're moving into CSS3 development.
  • Sharpening the blade, part MCMXVII: Nine Amazing Hours. – This is incredibly cool, and I plan to use it for a bit and see if it helps me focus.
  • Amazing Examples of Paper Art – I almost hate to link to this, in case Greg gets ideas for elaborate projects.
  • Python Business Rules Engine – Lott raises a good point about handling complex business rules, in that it's (often) cleaner and simpler to go ahead and incorporate complex business rules into the app itself rather than writing a parser to allow external entry. In my case, I have such a small user base on the side that would have been entering these rules that it's just as fine for me to do a small code release for any games added with these validation rules in them.
  • YouTube – Turkish male belly dancer "diva" – Major glitter warning, here. Major. This may be the first male bellydancer I've ever seen who wasn't mocking dancing, and he's very good. I don't like the music or the dissolve and swirling transitions, though. Or the glitter. That's a lot of glitter.
  • Amazon S3 and CloudFront with WordPress and DreamHost | .larre – This is quite a cool plugin. Not the quickest to set up with CloudFront, minifying, and combining, but worth the effort, even just for the hell of it.
  • Girl quits her job on dry erase board, emails entire office – This is apparently fake, but a cute read anyway. I’d advise against airing dirty laundry like that, though.

Three fun things on dance-day

In reverse order of occurrence:

Assmar makes me do funny things

Like ride down the highway in 40-degree weather with the windows down and the heat blasting at the floorboards. The cool air lowers my body temperature (bad cooldown after hip-hop) and the hot air keeps my lungs from seizing up in the cold. Seems weird to me.
Continue reading Three fun things on dance-day