As Above, So Below (or, You Are What You Eat)

This isn’t about homeopathy or food. I apologize if I have just disappointed you. 

I’ve been thinking about process recently. It got me to remembering a time I performed in a friend’s show. It was her choreography, and it was modern pop, not belly dance. There was one fast little turn with a jump at the beginning that ended in a pose. Man, I could not get that turn. And the show was getting closer and closer. So finally I buckled down and made myself learn it. Hop. Spin. Pose. I ended it sharp, looking right up at the people. 

So the show arrived and we did the dance and I did the little turn. Flawlessly. 

Boom!

Aaand realized that was the only moment in the whole dance when I looked at the people. Because that was the only part where I practiced looking at the people. 

Hmmm…

This was the moment that I began to understand. What we do in practice is what we do on stage. 

Many of us prefer to dance socially rather than performing, but even so—if we are going to dance with anyone, at all, including ourselves, or at a party, it’s not much fun if we look at the floor the whole time, or have our faces scrunched up in concentration. 

It’s supposed to be fun. 

I tell my classes, “Pretend you’re having fun!” because so often we are working too hard and forget. 

One of my favorite dance articles is Dr. Nagwa Adra’s Belly Dance: An Urban Folk Genre (it is really brilliant). In the culture, dance is a fun thing to do. It’s playful. 

This is a Noticing thing. Scrunching ourselves up and concentrating too hard is a habit. I have seen whole groups do their recitals looking at the floor.  Watched so many dancers frown all through their dance. I can relate, because I spent much of my life looking at the floor. And frowning and concentrating when I dance. 

I had to train myself instead to be happy and open my body. I still fold in sometimes when I get nervous (yes, I do get nervous. I am secretly a serious, bookish, introvert <gasp!>). 

So back to those tinyhabits algorithms: After I ____ (in this case, notice that I am frowning while I dance), I ____ open myself up in joy. I open up, slow down, and place my focus on enjoyment in the moment. And I celebrate!

And I can tell you, I have gotten a lot better at this—by practicing all by myself in my room. 

The more we become familiar with where we want to be, the more quickly we can notice when we’re not there, the more quickly we can interrupt that pattern. 

Yes, it is different when in a real place with real people, but, like that snappy little turn so many years ago, practice (making a habit of a behavior) really does help tip the balance when we have to do this In Real Life. 

What dance habits would you like to change? What will you replace them with? 

I invite you to put just one little change in place this week. See what happens ; ) And let me know how it goes!

And here’s some music. It’s only 15 mins but it’s pretty nice. Algeria: Targui music

Love, 
Alia

Be Your Own Boss! (Bobby Style II starts Tues, Jan 11)

In the Week 5 Bobby Style class, we had a conversation about needing to know what the lyrics mean when you dance to a song. Specifically we were dancing to Farid al Atrach’s Ma alli wie oltello.

I know what I feel from the song, but I don’t remember what the lyrics mean. So I looked them up! And here they are.

BUT

Before you look at the lyrics, listen to the song. What does it say to you and where does it say this?

Here is a link to the song: https://youtu.be/T7hTMsYfU88

DON’T watch Samia. Just listen. Feel what you feel. Take notes.

TRUST YOURSELF to do this.

THEN the translation: http://www.shira.net/music/lyrics/me-alli-we-oltelu.htm

THEN watch Samia. What do you see in her dance? In her interactions with Farid? How does this complement or collide with YOUR impressions?

Remember, Samia is not the boss of you. She is playing a part in a movie. She is showing the energy of that specific character. You play your own parts in your own movie with every dance. This is about personal style.

For me, all the passion and yearning that I feel when I listen to the the song is also in the lyrics. In the class, we explored several different energetic states of being as we played multiple times with the same song–kittenish, sultry, etc. They are all in there. One way of using the lyrics is to ascribe these different energies to different sections or verses of the song. Or just let your body feel them as you feel them–TRUST.

BE YOUR OWN BOSS, Ma’alema!

Love,
Alia

PS Bobby Style II begins this week!

What folks say about Bobby Style

“A wonderful Aha moment for me was experiencing you teaching to complex profound music with simple steps. This approach seems so obvious to me now, but it didn’t occur to me before and it changes everything, in a good way! And I love your taste in music. And I love the Bobby format. Also, just dancing creativity in relaxation instead of “creative striving” is just what I need!” DN

Our next session will start Tuesday, January 11.

Bobby Style II–with Zils On!

We will use zils only in the first part of the class, with our across the floor combos (10-15 mins). We will continue to highlight classic steps–and add zils to them.

Participant zils will be muted during the class. Only instructor zils will be audible.

NOTE: this is NOT a class to learn zils. For that, see Ziltastic.

This IS a class to use zils the way Bobby taught them.

Zils are completely OPTIONAL. No zils or air zils are perfectly fine.

Lern more here:

I hope you can join us!

Love,
Alia

Black Friday 2021

Thank You! Black Friday 2021
Thank You! Black Friday 2021

Wonderland is here! Special bonuses and Trust the Chef pricing ; ) https://aliathabit.com/wonderland


35% off all our Teachable classes through Dec 31:
ALIA-LOVES-ME-BF21
Check out our Teachable Ultimate Improv Bundle!
https://alia.teachable.com/


ART on sale!
If you’ve enjoyed my cheerful drawings, maybe you’d like to see one more often ; )
Save 20-60% through Nov 30 with code CYBER5 at Redbubble.com
https://www.redbubble.com/people/aliathabit/


Thank you for being part of my life!
Love,
Alia

You’re Invited to a Party!

Please join me for the BellyDance Bundle’s FREE live party!

When: tomorrow, Sunday, Oct 25 from 10:30 Eastern Daylight time (see in your timezone) until around 7:00pm EDT (see in your timezone).

Where: Streamed on the BellyDance Bundle Party page

How: Drop in and out throughout the day. It’s a super casual party and we’re just having fun and learning together!

What: Here’s a list of activities (subject to change)

10:30 – 11:00 – Intro, Challenge Participant Showcase & Prizes!

11:00 – 11:30 – Workout with Siobhan

11:30 – 12:00 – Class with Sahira

12:00 – 12:30 – Q & A on Beledi with Sabriye

12:30 – 1:00 – Prizes & Challenge Participant Showcase

1:00 – 1:30 – Melissa & Shining Golden Era Watch Party

1:30 – 2:00 – Q & A with Rosa Noreen

2:00 – 2:30 – Prizes, Challenge Participant Showcase

2:30 – 3:00 – Breathwork Exercise, Demo, and Q&A with Ranya Rene

3:00 – 3:30 – Sa’idi class with Aziza

3:30 – 4:00 – Q & A with the Bellydance Business Academy’s Terri & Sara

4:00 – 4:30 – Prizes & Challenge Participant Showcase

4:30 – 5:00 – Music & Movement with Alia Thabit–come have a belly dance vacation!

5:00 – 5:30 – Meet Aaliyah Jenny’s Cats. A Q&A on perfectionism and not taking yourself too seriously.

5:30 – 6:00 – TBD

6:00 – 7:00 – Contributor Performance Showcase, Final Prizes & Bundle Q & A

Why: For FUN!

I invite you to join me tomorrow on the BellyDance Bundle’s live party page! Love and hugs,

Alia

Taqsim and Improvisation–are they the same thing?

Um, yes. Technically, they are, as taqsim means instrumental improvisation. So they do go hand in hand. Of course, it is much easier to improvise to rhythmic music–most of our dance music has a 4/4 rhythm, and a fairly consistent pattern of verses and choruses. The classic orchestral music has more complex structures, but even there, there’s a lot of predictability, and the rhythm is always there to support us.

Not so much with taqsim.

Last week we talked about the central concept of expressing the music. Today let’s take a (very) quick look at the subtle concept of waiting for the music. In a taqsim, there are pauses (in Arabic, qafla; the plural is qaflat). Since we are expressing the music, and there is no music in the pause, what do we do? We wait. We let our movement fade away as the sound of the instrument fades, and we pick it up as the sound of the instrument returns.

Think about calligraphic lines. They vary from thick to thin, as the intensity of each note, and hence, our movement, varies from thick to thin. So the movement thins out as the sound fades. We don’t suddenly brake, we coast, gently and effortlessly. Maybe to a stop, if the pause is long, or maybe into our next movement if it is short. We don’t print, we write in script.

I’ve contributed Taqsim Tuesdays to the BellyDance Bundle this year — Here is my podcast on Taqsim, and my Instagram Challenge UnDrill Taqsim video for your enjoyment (I’m Day 6).

Love,
Alia

PS Dancing well on Taqsim also means improvising well. Effortless Improv is made for this.

Someone asked me some questions today about Effortless Improv, which begins in just a few day on Oct 11. Usually when one person asks, a few other folks would like to know, so here you go.
Is it on Facebook?
No. It is a mybb.com forum I’ve been running for several years. No facebook at all. 

Can I do this at my own pace?
At one’s own pace can mean you stretch it out to 6 months or so, or that you post at a convenient time for you. You could do it either way, but it’s not a course where you get all the info at once and sort through it on your own. The course itself is designed as a high-contact, guided process. 
It is asynchronous, but with maximum accountability, so that the process of growth and change can happen in a compressed amount of time. While there are live weekly zoom meetings, they are recorded, and folks post at their own convenience. 

The forum is updated weekly with each week’s assignment, and there are daily responses. The idea is to come to the forum each day and post what one did, plus read and comment upon the posts of their group members. Folks are put in small groups to make that more intimate and manageable. 

All the accountability part is optional–one can just do the assignments on their own, and only come in when there are questions and whatnot, but the groups are generally seen as a strength of the process. 

And one can certainly stockpile the information and dip into it as one wishes–the forum/assignments remain open to participants after the 6 weeks time closes. 

Registration for Effortless is open now–it closes on Monday, October 12.

I look forward to dancing with you!

The Secret to Dancing on Taqsim

But wait!

First some Belly Dance Bundle news!

  • There’s ONE MORE DAY to sign up for The awesome Zil Giveaway Multiple sets of zils, and an online class, all worth over $300!
  • Get your new FREE Guide: How to Get the Most from Online Classes (sooo relevant for these times!)
  • Join this year’s #21DaysOfBellyDance Challenge starts soon! Every day for 21 days, The Bellydance Bundle will be posting one dance drill or exercise and one task for you to complete–and many chances to win MORE prizes!

The Bundle is for sale from October 21st – 28th, and more will be happening as we get closer.

Now on to TAQSIM!

The secret to dancing on taqsim is in this core concept of representing the music.

Embedded within this are other core concepts like making it look as if the music is coming out of our body, that the movement of our body is creating the sounds. So we become this visual representation of the music, and to do that as improvisation, because classically taqsim is improvised in the moment.

Now we have recorded music, so it’s entirely possible to choreograph a taqsim, but that is not really in line with the central precepts of the music and the dance. And these are at the top: the feeling in the moment; improvisation–doing it differently every time; and bringing joy. Taqsim is about all of these. So we train ourselves in intuitive movement–we want the music to come in through our ears and out through our bodies. It is asymmetric, open, and glorious!

I draw these images by letting the pen move, to make a squiggle–then I decorate and fill it in. It’s a way of cross training improvisation.

Another central quality of Oriental music and dance is this quality of compression and expansion, that taffy-pulling quality that the music has with its sliding bent notes–and we represent that with our bodies. So, a note or phrase might have a lot of compressed energy, and we can represent that by moving slowly with a lot of muscular compression and intention. Another part might be light and quick. Again, we can express those qualities with movement that will be light and quick.

We can also work contrary to the music, in a complimentary way. So maybe the music is light and quick. We may move very slowly and heavily through that passage (music is not the boss of you!) Where the music might be slow and heavy, we might choose to move lightly and quickly, because we’re responding to something in the music that gives us that cue, or because we have created some conceptual framework of our own that provides a context for that contrast.

We represent the music by training our bodies to respond intuitively in the moment.

And we do that, not through drilling, a move, or combination.

We develop that skill by–responding intuitively to music in the moment, particularly music that we don’t even know.

Because it’s a skill and skills are things that we practice and get better at.

We’re used to thinking of our technical skills as more perfectly creating shapes with our bodies, but a central skill of oriental dance is allowing the body to follow the music. Part of the development of that skill is in the dancing, in letting the music come in and letting the body follow it, and seeing what comes out.

It’s not always going to be a pretty picture.

Because we’re learning. Expect mistakes and expect messes when you’re truly learning. Learning takes effort, and feels frustrating. Relish that sense of frustration–it is a sign of success!

Part of developing this skill is listening to the music without trying to dance it at the same time. Listen to many taqasim, let them come into you and let these small, tiny sparks of intuition into the body. Let yourself absorb the music, to feel the timbres of emotion with which the musician has imbued the music.

Let your mind float down the channels and pathways of the music–without the extra added piece of moving, of representing. Just listening, letting your body absorb that music and become familiar with it.

Then let yourself be moved by the music, to the music, with the music. Close your eyes. Focus on how it feels inside, what your body feels as it follows the music.

This is where so much of the art comes into oriental dance, because this learning curve, of following and responding intuitively to the music, never flattens. There is always a delicious, beautiful challenge.

When we work this way, we become less concerned with appearance. I know, if we’re performers, we have to be concerned with our appearance, but bear with me here.

As artists, we become more interested in the inside of the dance.

The inside of the dance includes how it feels in the body. Moving in a way where we take the time to feel and appreciate the contraction and expansion of the muscles, the tendons, as they slide along the bones. The physical sensation of moving in this way, and connecting to the music in this way, is deeply, deeply rich and pleasurable and beneficial to the body and the mind. We can let ourselves become enmeshed in the quality of our movement, the quality and the feeling and the richness. We can embrace all those emotional timbres; we can demonstrate them with the quality of the movement–is it compressed, is it slow, is it fast, is it expansive?

The energy in Oriental dance is always returning inward, inward, inward, inward. The focus of the dance is largely inward. Taqsim in particular is an interoceptive, introspective kind of dance. Even as we bring joy to ourselves through our movement and our connection to the music, witnessing this brings joy to our guests when we perform.

This dance brings joy.

It brings joy and it brings inner peace, and it brings this beautiful sense of connection to ourselves to the music, for kitchen dancers, party dancers, performers, their guests. This, right now, in our challenging world is one of the most important things we can do. All of the disasters compete for our attention. Instead, we must consciously orient to joy, to pleasure, to the good. And it is in this that our dance excels.

Leila Farid once said that the dancer brings their guests to the music like a bridge. We bring that joy to our guests. And we do it expressing with our bodies the joy ad oneness that we feel from responding to the music. Responding.

We don’t just translate the music into the language of the body, we interpret it. The music, like the poetry of its lyrics, is not meant to be “literally” translated, every beat and note articulated. It is meant to be poetry, with all the metaphor, surprise and nuance of poetry.

The goal of the music, of the playing of the music, of all of this stuff, these ideas of tarab, is that everyone is connected in this oneness of musical ecstasy…

That’s our goal.

That’s our goal as dancers.

Not to be admired or show off.

Our goal is this gift that we bring, of joy, of musical ecstasy, of peace, of oneness.

We bring joy.

THE root skill of dancing on Taqsim is the ability to improvise with ease.

Effortless Improvisation is designed for this.
It runs 6 weeks, from October 11-Nov 21.
Registration opens today.
AliaThabit.com/Effortless

I look forward to dancing with you.

Love
Alia

Whatchu Lookin’ At?

“In 1987, Francine Shapiro was walking in the park when she realized that eye movements appeared to decrease the negative emotion associated with her own distressing memories…”

Thus was born Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, aka EMDR. The way it works (in a very tiny nutshell), involves holding challenging memories in the mind’s eye, while stimulating the brain bilaterally (crossing the midline of the body), by moving the eyes, tapping on the body, or using electronic stimulators held in the hands that buzz back and forth between the hands. 

Imagine my surprise, back in 2011, to realize that EMDR was, at its heart, belly dance gaze. Look with the eyes to one side. Look to the other side. Drop the gaze. Look up through the lashes. 

Duh. 

Belly dance twinkling! 

In fact, everything about belly dance crosses the midline—from the way we use our hands to, like, every single classic move. Circles? Check. Infinities? Check. Shimmies? Check. And so forth. Some things are on one side, but we change sides on the regular, so there you go. 

This was when I first started to realize just how secretly special belly dance is. Since then I have been continually amazed at how the cultural dance (improv, agency, interoception, etc) is this paragon of healing and nervous system regulation. I now fold in more and more Somatic Experiencing® (SE) stuff and highlight these properties of the dance now in all my classes. 

So anyway, let’s talk about the gaze. 

Here is a tiny video I made about that flirtatious belly dance gaze. I call it “Twinkling on Crack.” It’s pretty short, but you’ll get the idea even more quickly. 

Twinkling is all about personality and playfulness. Just casting the eyes (not the head), from side to side, dropping the gaze and looking up, is fun. It makes you smile and feel cute, no matter your gender. And when you consider how much time we spend staring at ever-shrinking screens (hey smartphones, I’m lookin’ at you), anything that loosens up the eyes is good stuff. 

Letting the gaze rove around a space, lingering on whatever it enjoys, is settling to the body all by itself. Circling the eyes at the far edges of their orbit, changing the gaze back and forth between near and far, all these things are healthful for the eyes and the body (my most recent eye exam, my far vision had improved, while my near vision was the same, plus my astigmatism had also improved). 

In addition, gaze direction is a huge subject area. In dance (and life), gaze direction gives our movement strong focus, and small changes of the angle of the head completely change our affect. 

Note: moving the eyes can be uncomfortable, especially if they don’t move around much in regular life. So that kind of makes it even more important to do. But also, take it gently. Just do it for short periods, like 10 seconds at a time. Here is a video of yoga eye exercises and relaxation to help you feel better when your eyes get tired. 

So this week, in your practice, I invite you to use your gaze in directed and flirtatious ways. Really look in the direction you are going when you travel. In daily life, play with the gaze—focus your eyes far and pointed, and far and wide, near and pointed, and near and wide. Roll them around in their sockets—slowly—in both directions. Bonus points for eye-infinities ; ). 

And when you dance? TWINKLE!

Here’s some music for that—a little YT playlist…

Love, 

Alia

Here are some other ways to use your gaze–and to feel better!


DreamBeat–Fun Drum Solo Improvisation
​Five Weeks, July 28 – Aug 25. Tuesdays at 4-5 PM ET.
A five-week adventure into drum solo interpretation and intuitive movement. Drum solo structure, technique, and exploration of various rhythms. We will use Middle Eastern drum solos as well as fusion and surprises! Registration is now open.

Tuning In–Medicine for Modern Times
Five Weeks, August 7 – September 4. Fridays, 4-4:30 PM ET
This half-hour class comes from a Somatic Experiencing® (SE) perspective. It’s is a half-hour chillout session focused on nervous system regulation. It is designed to ease anxiety and restore wellbeing. We use gentle movement, breath, and body-based strategies to bring calm in the here and now. These strategies can be used any time to help the body feel more relaxed and grounded.

I look forward to dancing with you!
All my love,
Alia

PS remember, we have a coronavirus summer special on all Teachable courses.​
Coupon code: SUMMERCORONACARE
Click the course you want. Click “Enroll in Course,”
Add coupon on the next screen.

Three ways to regain confidence (easily)

What I’m doing is boring…

Despite all of our improv practice, we may still have those panicky moments of feeling trapped and frozen, unable to think of what to do next.  This can feel overwhelming–but we can easily escape its grip.

The focus on what to do is part of the problem. Everybody freezes up about what should I do or, what I’m doing is stupid or whatever. We’ve been trained that it’s all about the moves, so we need a constant variety to entertain our jaded guests. 

But where our dance shines is interaction

It’s is funny when dancing at home by ourselves to think about interacting, but we are interacting—with ourselves, with the music, the camera, with our imaginary guests, or our succession of stuffed animals, or our dance persona, or our body, and the sensations that we notice, or the images that come in our head from the music, or maybe the music asks for a certain quality in the movement…

 So there are all of these things we can interact with instead of some snide little voice in the head telling us, That’s not good enough (which is always what that voice is telling us, and by the way, it is lying). 

But when that little voice gets in there, it has a lot of power. 

So how do we get out of its power? 

STOP IT. 

Look around. Come back into the space. Ground yourself in the music. Ground yourself in the space. Ground yourself in the (possibly imaginary) guests. Just observe the present moment. And something else will come.

So we’re freaking out, we don’t know what to do—so we can just pay attention to what the body is doing (instead of that little voice). 

I mean, we’re home, right? Who cares. So we can say, “I’m just gonna pay attention to what my body is actually doing right now. I’m stuck here with this hip drop, so I’m just gonna observe that hip drop.” And that little shift of attention changes everything. 

Okay I’m doing this. Maybe I’ll make it a little smaller. Because that’s different. Maybe, move it in a little circle, because that’s different. Maybe now I just like the idea of a circle and I’ll just move into the circle. Because that’s different.

So that’s one avenue, to shift in to the body.

Another avenue is to shift out to the people (who may be the chairs and so forth), and say, “Hey, I’ve been doing this hip drop for 20 minutes, how about that, right? Pretty cool. Bet you can’t do that.” 

Because the people want you to interact. The whole point is you, not what you’re doing. It’s that you’re there, it’s who you are and that you’re there, and that you’re present, and that’s what’s exciting that someone is there, interacting with them. Belly dance has no fourth wall

Another avenue is to shift on to the music—just letting it in, enjoying it, letting it create a path for us. Take a moment to just stop and smell the roses—er, hear the music. Just rest and listen. 

So when we start to freak out, we can notice it, and say, Okay, let’s just step back from that for a minute. And focus our attention on something else. The body. The room. The music. 

Freaking out is a pattern. 

That stuff in the head is a pattern. The shaming voice, the physical response to that—it’s an addictive pattern, often very old. 

And anything that breaks that pattern—breaks the pattern. The more often we recognize it—Oh shit, this is that pattern again—the sooner we notice we’re re-enacting that pattern, the faster we can step away from it. 

This can apply in many areas of life. Once you see it, notice it, observe it, you have the opportunity to change. 

Here’s some music for that. Musique blues du sahara algerien

Love, 

Alia

PS Tuning In starts tomorrow! The grounding strategies are another great way to feel more confident when improvising

Tuning In–Medicine for Modern Times

In these challenging times it is hard to feel grounded or confident–pandemics, fascism, racism–fear, grief, and rage are everywhere. How do we ground ourselves with love?

Tuning In comes from a Somatic Experiencing® (SE) and Dancemeditation perspective. It’s a half-hour Zoom chillout session for soothing and nourishing the body, mind, and spirit. It is designed to ease anxiety and restore wellbeing.

Will it cure the world’s ills? No.
Will it help us withstand them? Yes.

We’ll use gentle movement, breath, and body-based strategies to bring calm in the here and now. These strategies can be used any time to help the body feel more relaxed and grounded.

All are Welcome
Five Weeks, June 19 – July 31.  Fridays, 4PM ET (no session July 3 or 24)
See this in your time zone Sessions are recorded (instructor only). Recordings are available for one week
Register here. Registration closes on Friday at 3:30 pm.  https://aliathabit.com/shop/#trust/

Dance to the Rescue!

dance to the rescue

When I was caring for my Mom, one of the hardest things for me to do was also one of the most self-nurturing–dancing. I managed it for a while, but as the care ground on, and my exhaustion reached dangerous levels, I could not make myself dance, no matter how much I knew it would help. 

Part of it was lethargy. But part of it was spaciness. 

dance to the rescue

I didn’t have the energy to choose music. I couldn’t do it on my own.

I needed rescue. 


So today, here are some really great music choices, to rescue you, to make your musical life easier. 

And there is more.

The more you give yourself permission to let your body thrash around to the music, however it wants to, the more you let go of pretty, perfect movement, the more relief this will give.

If you feel anxious that your energy is too angry/freaked out/overwrought for this, move in very slow motion, channeling all the crazy crackling energy; the movement can help that energy dissipate safely. 

So here are some YouTube playlists.

Most of this is western music as it has a lower bar for many of us. 

I’ve included the full links, since embedded playlist links sometimes don’t work. Please copy and paste the links if they give you trouble.

Even listening to music helps the body feel better, so if you don’t feel up to dance, just put on music and listen.

Funky upbeat party music
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLEaWvqXcz8GdQ18v2FlZbe_F93-04sOUW

Taqsim playlist
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLEaWvqXcz8GfDPn6RYIkkMC1mAmnheKQr

Rhythm-Heavy Belly Dance/Debke music
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLEaWvqXcz8GeqUadJH_AtjtHJlOk33ubk

Wild Dramatic Classical Music 
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLEaWvqXcz8Gcmfiv7rn4WiIceWHiZ0Avb

Sun Ra The Nubians of Plutonia (trust me)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLMV7BHrogw&list=PLGX_iebp2Prk18FG7qp_rw2gTBmNWAKSB

BUDDY GUY & JUNIOR WELLS -Drinkin’ Tnt ‘N’ Smokin’ Dynamite
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jdbcKTkQk7E

Sam Cooke 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gZB4jcPmFGo&list=PL7IYX2pTFu7a5XHFMplBz3h4QM4Una0uH

Talking Heads-Stop Making Sense
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-gUsGYtozko&list=PLVSlPiUUcHnDAesZb1ES7nyb07eVLdMzM

And if you have the energy to dance, there are lots of classes available right now. I highly recommend
Dunya’s new live online offerings by donation

And a whole list of things in this Facebook group DANCE AWAY – List & Find {LIVE} Online Belly Dance Classes .

And my own FUN Classes!

With lots and lots of love, 

Alia

How to Fight Fear: CoVid-19

Fight Fear

With the coronavirus CoVid-19 spreading rapidly, folks have been gripped by a new level of fear. 

The postman told me today no one opens the door for him any more. They gesture for him to leave the box outside. Presumably, they bring it inside and slosh it good with alcohol before they open it. “Everyone is terrified,” he said.

It’s hard not to be afraid. Many of us are out of work, our businesses closed by state order. Our friends or family are ill or high-risk, or far away. We frantically wash our hands, cringe from contact, and make masks at home.

Enough is enough.

I am all for safety. Kissing strangers on the subway is a nice idea, but not right now, thank you. Social Safety is paramount at this time. Keeping ourselves safe keeps thousands of other people safe, and that is a Good Thing.

But I am against being ruled by fear.

Fear makes everything harder. It freezes us in place. It cripples our minds and bodies. It bathes our cells in toxic stress hormones.

It’s time to stop.

But how?

This pandemic is what’s known as an “Inescapable Attack.” This means we are pretty much trapped and there is nothing we can do. I mean, yes, Social Safety, but the big picture is, well, rather big–and the constant barrage of apocalyptic news doesn’t help. So what can we do?

Fight!

Um, that’s it?

Yup.

Now, hear me out. I know, this sounds impossible. Plus the kids are home all day now, and the spouse/housemates, and it’s CHAOS AROUND HERE!!!! <cue hyperventilation>

Chill. I have faith in you. We can do this. And here are two ways to help.

ACT and DISTRACT

Both are part of fighting fear. Whatever keeps us out of the fear vortex is valid.

ACT

There are many many ways to act, some of which are not so obvious.

Focused Intention (essentially, prayer).

When I am afraid and there is nothing I can do, I visualize radiant beings (your deities of choice), holding the object of my concerns (myself, others, the world), in nourishment and protection. And whenever the fear arises, I go to that visualization. I focus all my energy on this outcome of safety and productive resolution. I highly recommend this practice. More about that is here. And this can be brought into the dance practice. so the whole dance becomes directed energy healing the world from fear and suffering. White Tara is my deity. She would be yours as well if you so wish it. Om Tare Tut Tare Ture Svaha. May all beings be free from suffering.

Make Art.

I’ve been dancing my 20 minutes most days, and that makes a world of difference. But even more fun lately, I’ve been making art! Every day, I draw a picture on my phone (I have a Note 3), and they are ridiculously cute. You can see most of the designs here (and the one above is one of these pictures).

I have also chosen to Act by offering dance classes focused on joyful relaxation and small group grounding sessions (coming soon–email me if interested), to fight fear. I have loaded my classes with somatic strategies to settle and ground the nervous system, so dancers come away feeling refreshed and relaxed. It works! The feeling lasts, and the strategies can be used at any time to help the body feel calmer and safer.

I know a lot of us are broke, though many still have jobs or unemployment, so I am offering these for April on a donation basis.

Which brings me to

DISTRACT

If our major defense mechanisms are Fight and Flight, Distraction is the best kind of flight. Listen to music. Read a book (on your phone from the library). Daydream. Watch a virtual tour or a movie–there are SO MANY distractions available right now! Everyone and their granny is offering things to do from home, most of them free. I’ll be listing these (as well as more Act strategies), on the page AliaThabit.com/Fight-Fear. But here is
12 Virtual Museum Tours
And here is some music.
And here is a dance for you, from me.

We will get through this. Together.

With love,
Alia