Tori Types Thoughts
Tori's very average blog
This achievement is only possible thanks to an incredible collection of SHEroes. Thank you to Professor Christina Teague-Mann for continuously encouraging me to dig deeper while insisting upon the importance of specificity. I'm in awe of your time management skills!
I am so appreciative of the Dance Department at Jacksonville University for continued guidance and inspiration, with a special nod to Professor Claribel Torres-Lugo for being the “closer” for the IRB process.
Thank you to my thesis committee, Kelli Brown, Miranda Drake, and Myra Krien for sharing your intellect, artistry, and tenacity during this process. I asked you three to be a part of it because of your unique talents, incredible artistry, and also because I have devastating love for each of you. You all pulled me through difficult moments by just being your INCREDIBLE selves. Thank you!
To all the participants of my research, everyone involved in Starbelly Presents: The House of Secrets, and the Starbelly Dancers: Bailey, Cassandra, Alyssa, Chad and especially Cecilia: thank you for sharing your hearts, minds, and talent. I truly believe that together we manifested the energy the world so desperately needs during these important times. You all are special and essential individuals. Cecilia you changed my entire life!
Through thick, thin, confusing, and enlightening – I want to especially acknowledge the Jacksonville University MFA Choreography Cohort of 2022. We facking rock. It was incredible to see some of you in 3D - It was surreal!!!
Thank you to my beloved family and friends who held space for me, checked in on me, and sent snacks. I have endless gratitude to my in-laws, Janet and Gary Benoit, and of course the guy I married. He goes by Andy. I love him lots.
It's true and I cannot deny it - I love to talk. I feel like I open my mouth and my voice is directly connected to some incessant energy that WILL NOT QUIT. When I get excited - I talk - when I get nervous - I talk - when I get angry - I talk - when I get inspired - you're sure as shit that I'm going to be talking to you. The only time I don't talk is when I sleep... that I'm aware of!
I chalk it up to a mixture of immaturity, vanity, and creative process.
Why am I (over) sharing this? I wanted to take a few moments to describe my excitement about the up and coming House of Secrets Show and to share some behind the scenes information that may be interesting before the Big Event! I also have some words to say about my time in Hawaii curated by Myra Krien. Basically, this is a post where I talk, and sometimes talk about talking. I hope you enjoyed the context... on with the blog!
But first - a testimonial!
Testimonial for Hawaii Adventures
Photo Credit to Peter Holt
The sun has set on a beautiful two weeks! @myramosaic has created an amazing experience on the Big Island that is transformative and inspiring! Through artistry, Myra's mentoring, and the power of friendship I think all of us involved in this retreat and show unlocked potential. I've written many testimonials for Myra and I'm going to keep on doing it until you sign up for one of the incredible events that she masterfully curates - how often in life do we get to say YES to our dancing spirits so beayoutifully? Special thank yous to @nouveau_gypsy for being such a gracious host and lovely guide on Kona, to my dance fam from @starbellydanceschool for peer pressuring me to attend, and the lovely Mosaic Dancers and local dancers for playing with me and dealing with my Minotaur raging.
I could go into a long, lengthy description about the exact happenings on this trip, but to be honest, many of them are close to my heart and I think that my extended ramblings would diminish the feeling of magic and mystery that the many images and posts from the participants on social media have evoked. Sometimes, things are meant only for those who are present - however, I believe that the world will benefit from the manifestations of this Hawaiian journey. Mahalo!
House of Secrets - Story Time
The description for the House of Secrets Event (click here to see it on Facebook Events AND to buy your TICKET) is only a taste of what this show holds. Throughout the creative process, the Starbelly Dancers delved DEEP into our hearts and bodies. We made some discoveries and acknowledged many of the wounds that have been left by the world (including the hurt from the pandemic). Usually we enjoy showcasing joy, humor, beauty, and wonder... but the show that called to us this year is one of naming, healing, and manifesting our kindest future.
It has been an honor to work on this show in tandem with Cecilia and use the Starbelly Dancers as my guinea pigs for my choreographic research for my graduate program in the last set. Cecilia was so gracious in letting me be a BIG part of the process for this show (Cecilia produces many shows every year, but this is the Biggest and the most Bad-Ass... and the most experimental! Not many Artistic Directors would share space like this!) and the Starbelly Dancers were also so generous with their time and energy during the creative process.
I'm going to describe my impressions and some behind the scenes information from each set to tantalize you and inform you about what we are dancing about and for... hopefully this will add to your enjoyment of the entire show!
Act 1: Ariadne
For this set we are performing a retelling of the legend of the Minotaur in the Labyrinth... but from the perspective of the often neglected princess, Ariadne:
The story starts with Ariadne, princess of Crete, dancing about the labyrinth where her brother, The Minotaur, is imprisoned. The Minotaur is a terrifying monster that requires blood sacrifices to appease him. A hero named Theseus comes to slay the Minotaur for glory and Ariadne falls in love with him. Ariadne provides Theseus a spool of thread and a sword and waits outside the labyrinth for Theseus to slay the monster... thus betraying bother her family and her kingdom. Theseus slays the Minotaur and takes Ariadne to a remote island where he abandons her to die. As Ariadne dances one last time, she catches the attention of the God of Fertility and Wine, Dionysus. They marry and at the end of Ariadne's mortal life, she becomes the Goddess of the Labyrinth, guiding those who have lost their way an bringing secrets to the light.
The show's choreography used several different processes. This set was a democratic process, with the devising and curation responsibilities shared between all of the Starbelly Dancers.
When Myra Krien asked the Starbelly Dancers to contribute a dance set to an up and coming show themed around God and Goddess archetypes, I thought: Easy.
I was wrong!
Cecilia and I spoke for HOURS (at least 5), and that doesn't include the ruminations of the rest of the group in Boise, about which Goddess we wanted to evoke and eventually came to the conclusion to explore the story of Theseus and the Minotaur. I will be frank: I thought this was a terrible idea at first. This story has no goddess, or at least not a simple one. I sent Cecilia a list of 20 much easier Goddesses but she was attracted to this story because it fit well with the other acts of this show. Eventually, I had to concede: this story was too good.
There are many more details but this post is already too long. I'll try and keep the rest of them short but I HAVE to add that the incredible Matthew Vorhies wrote original music for this set! He participated in our creative explorations in Starbelly Studio and made music for us based off of our rehearsals. How amazing is that!?
We also had the chance to premier this set during the Namaka: Eyes of Kahai show in Hawaii - the reviews are positive and I KNOW you're going to enjoy it. Plus, I get to channel my rage in my role as the Minotaur, with dance movement inspired by the art of Butoh! Okay, now I have to move on to...
Act 2: Thunder Mountain
Cecilia is the lead in creating the narrative and devising the movement for this second part of the show.
Way back when the idea of "House of Secrets" was a baby, Cecilia was reminded of a place that holds special meaning to her named the Thunder Mountain Monument. It is in no-where's land Nevada outside of Winnemucca and it is truly a bizarre place created by a man with feverish passions. I'm not even going to try and say the story of the monument because it is convoluted and involves cult themes and incest - think True Detective Season 2, but no car chase scene.
Click the image to check out what Wikipedia has to say about this place.
Thunder Mountain Monument is interesting... but I am more interested in Cecilia, who I love and adore and admire, and I am thrilled that she decided to make this show a personal exploration of parts of her life. Long story short: Cecilia continues to return to Thunder Mountain Monument throughout her life's journey and it has become symbolic to her. Cecilia has created a work that is incredibly raw and vulnerable.
Included in this presentation is imagery in the form of videos and photos edited by Chad Rinn, who will be creating the video for all of the show. I don't want to give any more away so I'll shut my yap.
Fun musician facts: Music for this set was provided by the incredible Sean Daly of Portland, OR and Erik Messal of Albuquerque, NM. They remastered and wrote original music just for us... Erik also joined the devising process and was fundamental to my choreography which will be featured in...
Act 3: Mind's Body
The final set of the show is the culmination of my graduate research for my MFA (Masters in Fine Arts), so I was the lead choreographer. As you may know, I am getting a graduate degree in choreography to help me take my next step as a dance artist and scholar. My research has been tied to the somatic practice of ideokinesis. Ideokinesis is a practice that uses guided imagery to correct the postural alignment of the body through stillness... think of it as a Pilates/mediation hybrid! I used this practice to help create movement for the entire show, but I collected certain themes to culminate this final set which has turned into an attempt to pass trauma through the body in order to heal it. I was interested that this theme arose out of my research, but not surprised - we have had a traumatizing two years, my friends.
Through exploration, noticing, mindfulness, and the power of friendship I created dances that emerged from the theme of "healing from trauma." Because my set is the only one that isn't a narrative, I'm going to list the dances:
Body Secrets features all of the Starbelly Dancers - in this piece we share the secrets we hold in our body but through dance. I don't expect anyone to discover a secret, but it is a fascinating practice of vulnerability and also a tantalizing way to begin this set dedicated to the body/mind connection. The music for this piece is a cover of belly dance classic Hadouni Hadouni and was contributed by the amazing band Safar from Spokane for Starbelly's use.
The 4fs features Alyssa Kimm as Fight, Bayla Night as Flight, Cassandra Joan as Freeze, and Cecilia Rinn as Fawn as we explore and share our interpretations of these Trauma Responses. I was so impressed with the research done by the performers for their solo sections and how each performer deeply immersed themselves in this dance. The music for this piece was created by Erik - his contribution to our creative intensive was the inspiration and I INSISTED that he make a song for this piece.
Naming the Feeling is a duet featuring the beautiful Chad and Cecilia Rinn. I always joke that they do a "love" duet and as a way to break them of this tendency I curated a "loving one" haha. As we created this work, I have asked Chad to embody a feeling he would like to release, and for Cecilia to embody someone on a journey to face their inner demons/big emotions. The music for this is another classic Lama Bada contributed by Safar - a beautiful cover that sets the tone for this dance.
Inner Child is a quasi duet/solo featuring Cassandra Joan and me. This one is self explanatory and perhaps the thing that I am most proud of for this entire set. In the devising process, Cassandra and I had that magical moment where we were vibrating on the same creative frequency - a feeling that I will treasure forever. I felt like I could feel her feelings as I jumped into her skin... this may not sound pleasant but Cassandra will read this and nod, knowingly. Erik was both an inspiration and the musical contributor for this piece.
Practice of Gratitude is the grand finale of my set and the entire show and I wanted it to be warm and expressive. It features all of the Starbelly Dancers doing a live improvisational exploration of gratitude carefully set up by yours truly. My goal is for everyone in the room, the state, the country, the world to be affected by the positive energy we manifest in this final dance. The music for this set will be performed live by the incredible Matthew Vorhies - who we strong armed into doing EVEN MORE for this show.
I hope these explanations are helpful and interesting! You'll certainly want to be getting your tickets ASAP for this incredible event. Don't delay!
As a fun last-minute addition to my schedule I'm headed to the BIG ISLAND! I'm also teaching a workshop with Immersive Arts Collective.... oh and the Big Bad-Ass Belly Dance Show! Check out the THINGS!
Our Annual Belly Dance Show & Latin Social Dance Party RETURNS!!!!
The legendary goddess herself Myra Krien is BACK to the Orchid Isle!!!!
Come enjoy a theatrical dance production celebrating the divine feminine- our show takes you through a variety of goddess myths from different cultures highlighting all the many aspects that the feminine essence can embody.
Myra Krien is a talented choreographer and performer who has mentored countless dancers to refine their craft! She has made a vocation of empowering other women to create a practice of nurturing their creativity & celebrating their femininity. 13 dancers will be traveling to experience putting on this production for you- We hope you’ll enjoy seeing the women & men on this journey shine.
We also know you’ll be inspired to dance yourselves so we’ll also be having a Dance party where you can social dance to Big Island’s favorite Latin Dance DJ Eyal Fitoussi! He’ll be playing a Latin mix of Salsa, Zouk, Bachata & Kizomba. So don’t forget to bring your dancing shoes!
Doors Open at 7:00PM
Grab a cocktail & find your seats
Show starts at 7:30PM
Dance Party begins at 9:00PM
Venue : The Kona Elks Lodge at Hualalai Center (Old Hualalai Theater on Hualalai Road)
Get tickets online at www.namaka.rsvpify.com
Starbelly School of Dance Presents: House of Secrets
You do not want to miss the 12th Annual Big Bad-Ass Belly Dance Show!!!
The Starbelly Dancers invite you on a journey through the secret corridors of the human spirit. House of Secrets brings together mythology, narrative, and innovative artistry to shine light upon the monsters that haunt us in the darkness… all through belly dance!
House of Secrets features the Treasure Valley’s premier belly dance artists, The Starbelly Dancers, led by directors Cecilia and Chad Rinn, featuring Bayla Night and Cassandra Joan – and of course “Starbelly West” with Alyssa Kimm (Portland, OR) and Creative Director Tori King (Los Angeles, CA). Original and World Premier Music has been created by Matthew Vorhies (Boise, ID), Erik Messal (Albuquerque, NM), Sean Daly (Portland, OR), and Safar (Spokane, WA).
House of Secrets will be performed at the one and only Visual Arts Collective on:
Friday, April 8th from 9 pm-11 pm (doors open at 8 pm)
Saturday, April 9th from 9 pm-11 pm (doors open at 8 pm)
Tickets will be $15 in advance and $20 at the door – plan to get there early to enjoy the current art installation and enjoy the adult beverages. This show is 21+.
Both shows will feature a silent auction to raise money for the Scholarship and Financial Aid programs run by Starbelly School of Dance. For more information, please visit starbellschoolofdance.com or contact Cecilia at 208.891.6609.
Make it a point to enter the House of Secrets. Who knows what you will discover?
What's the refund policy?
Tickets must be refunded before doors open for the date of the show.
Are there ID or minimum age requirements to enter the event?
21+ VALID ID REQUIRED
Honestly, moving to LA highly disrupted my personal practices in almost everything – dance classes, workflow, I had to change therapists – that sort of stuff. I’ve gained some weight, lost a bit of flexibility (thanks reemerging ballet injuries), and in turn I’ve lost a bit of confidence.
I love it.
Instead of clinging to the past or desperately trying to control my life, I am well with knowing that the process of growing and evolving is uncomfortable. For me, this phase is about discovering what doesn’t serve me anymore and recalibrating the balance of my activities. I am also noticing my strengths and passions along the way. Control is an illusion – I’m taking this momentary humility and seeing where it leads me.
I don’t know where I read this thought, perhaps it was in an adroit meme, but your passions are things that you are already doing and perhaps take for granted. Those things in your life that you just do that have no question – they are things you’ve equated to eating and sleeping, you need to do them as a part of your life. Because these activities are just your essential being, you don’t see them for the strengths that they are. They seem small, and meaningless and I can guarantee you that you’ve blown someone off when they complimented that skill. Think back. Notice when you’ve brushed off a compliment for something that you just do.
Going through a softening phase is sort of a way for me to look at myself through new eyes. Everything around me has changed, but what remains constant? My daily passions:
I love my family and friends.
I talk A LOT.
To me these things aren’t profound. It’s not like I’m creating amazing speeches every day or reading the latest and greatest modern classic. Every day I read some comics or make headway into a book I like, I tell some jokes to my friends, and if there is music, I am moving along to it. It’s just me.
Tough times are an opportunity to see what matters, who you hold dear, and how you have placed yourself in the community. Of course, I want to get back into shape, practice my drums weekly as I was doing in the before-times (I suck now), get back into my whirlwind of many jobs/hobbies/activities, and start making an impact on my new community… but for now I am holding myself close. I’m telling my inner child that I see her, and her dance moves are rad.
Why the hell would I post on time?
Every year I have the same resolution: drink more water.
I've been thinking a lot about water lately - symbolically, emotionally, memories, etc. Water is incredible and when I have the mind to be present, absolutely beautiful. I tie water into belly dance - I feel the sloshing of the water of my body mostly in my belly, in my guts. When I am aligned in my dance - my spirit, body, mind - I feel weightless, like I'm submerged in a pool but I can breathe.
La Croix, will you sponsor me, yet?!
In addition to some one-off gigs and private events, I have some fun community events coming down the pipeline in both Boise and LA!
In this workshop, Tori is sharing two new combos that can be done completely naked (that means without any props, of course)! This workshop is in person and online - in person space is limited to only 7 spots so hurry up and smash the enroll button if you're interested in studio saidi fun times. Variations of the combos with cane and zills will be demonstrated, but the only requirement for this workshop is your presence and of course the dum tek, tek dum, tek! For clarification, this workshop will take place the evening before the Starbelly Extravaganza on Feb 18 from 6-7pm MST.
February 19 - Starbelly Extravaganza Fundraiser in Boise, ID Click here to learn more
See more on Facebook by Clicking Here or on the Image
April 8 and 9 - Starbelly Presents: The House of Secrets in Garden City, ID
Click here to learn more and donate to the Go Fund Me
Our artist extraordinaire is working on the image for this show, but it's gonna be good! I'm going to do a full post next month about the show, so watch out for it!
As always, thank you for the support!
Looking back, 2021 was a doozy for me: for US. For those of us who are letting the sun shine on our face in 2022, I hope that this year is filled with belly laughs, goals getting smashed, and wonderful surprises that set your spirit free.
Happy New Year! Drink water with me!
A quickie thought as I head out to my first LA belly dance gig for New Years 2022. There are many first and last dualities in this one:
First dance troupe gig in LA
First gig with this particular troupe (the Sahlala dancers)
Last gig of 2021
First New Years gig since 2019
Last time I try to use a straightener to curl my hair (I suck at hair)
This move to LA has been filled with dualities, but I'm at the point where I want to create more dimension in my dance world. I hope to manifest more memories, more friends and more dance throughout 2022 and my deepest hope is that humanity will come together a be a bit more loving, understanding, and generous.
EDIT: This is the picture I snapped at midnight - just a typical midnight at my house! Happy New Year!
Something that has emerged for me from this year of change is highly thoughtful spending. I was never wasteful with my finances before and I always try and support small businesses and artisans, but recently realized that I was spending more than money on things - I have been spending my time, effort, and energy. Just like saving money, I must also save my vitality. If something in my life doesn't serve me and my community, then I have no space for it.
While I have decided to take a break in having a day-job with a non profit organization, I do want to continue to make an impact on people and communities. I encourage everyone with resources to share them this holiday season... we need one another. If you have a cause you believe in, I guarantee there is a group of people who deserve a donation of time and/or finances from you, if you can.
A mindful life involves mindful choices - it is hard to have that level of brain function on in every decision, but when I flex my mindful muscles I am never disappointed. I have removed many things that simply do not serve me - I have spent so much less vitality this year than I ever had... though I hear the toll of student loans down the line for sure!
These thoughts have no "point" per say, they are a stream of thoughts floating on the river of my mind. I want to manifest prosperity in my life but also in yours, and for everyone we hold dear. This involves attention, care, and intent - things that I am lucky to practice every time I hit the dance floor or do a mediation.
fun things but next year
In February 2022 I'm teaming up with the fine folks from Immersive Arts Collective, LA to teach some free workshops in dance! More details to come closer to the date.
Now that Thanksgiving is over we can welcome Christmas with open arms. I made this last year to thank a Starbelly student for letting me borrow her Santa hat in my dire hour of need... I also wanted to show off my decorations. It is weird seeing my old house now!
During the end of September and the beginning of October I had the chance to dance at some WONDERFUL events with friends. As I get to know my new town and make new friends (AND GET GRAD SCHOOL STUFF DONE) my "gigs" are going to inevitably slow down. I am thrilled to capstone my "Idaho time" this year by traveling for two incredible events (described below).
Creativity, connection, cognizance - that is how I would describe my experience performing at @treefortfest. Everyone who we worked with was filled to the brim with vibrance and talent, thank you Sam and @thecolossalcollective for letting us start the dance party for Bitesy and Barry during their tumultuous dance of love! We are beyond grateful to the incredibly talented Daniel Ojeda for creating space for belly dancing bugs and being a fantastic friend to the arts. #Artfort was amazing and I was astounded by the level of fun alongside the safety accomodations. Of course, no event is complete without accordionist extraordinaire @matthewvorhies!
As always, thank you to @ceciliarinn for creating space for the satellite Starbellies to join in on all of the fun. While Cecilia and @chadrinncomics had to sit this one out, I think we did you proud with our buggy prowess. Also, thank you to the rest of the Starbelly family for always giving me time and energy, when I have creativity vomit all over you, when I am loopy from vestibular migraines, and when I hug you a little too long. I love you guys - @aly_shimmyshimmy_a @kiss.my.stardust @cassandrajoandance with special nod to accessories Phil and Tony who were very patient with me.
Back to LA. See you later, Idaho!
SANTA FE to Celebrate Myra
I am so flattered to be included in the celebration of/for @myramosaic and her 25 Years of Studio Ownership. Pomegranate Studios has touched so many individuals and I have been honored to have a small role in the story. The event itself featuring #BeatboxGuitar, #MosaicDanceCompany, and my girl crush @kaeshichai with the mesmerizing art of @acorso_dot_com was beautifully curated - the level of talent was astounding! It was fun to work the house with my new aesthetic muse @nicoledehavencalhoun and do rock and roll/hair/sink stuff with @list_pete and @rob_mastrianni - you are all so freaking cool.
âI had so much fun deepening my relationship with all of the stunning dancers and I cannot describe the gift that is performing to live music.The crowd was GREAT and, man oh man, Myra was channeling Terpsichore! The only sad spot on my whole experience was the lack of my dear friends in dance and life @ceciliarinn and @chadrinncomics. I will say, I finally got the fencing duel of my dreams with Myra's dashing and heroic partner, Roblair... Roblair thoroughly kicked my ass but I'll get him someday! I have so many amazing stories and fond memories of the past few days - if there is only one lesson I could impart from this trip it would be to reinforce the power that lies within human connection and creativity. Thanks for letting me bug you all and another congratulations to Myra!
Before I get to the dance part of this blog, I will say that I attended my first NFL game with my husband's parents and his aunt during the Rams season opener. The crowd was electric and the stadium was STUPENDOUS - the 5 billion dollars they spent on it were on full display and MAN was the game fun. The most fun part was seeing my husband walking around the field before the game - it was amazing to witness this catharsis. I am SO proud, and so were his parents!
Testimonial for Legends of Belly Dance
I have actually had the opportunity to freaking dance a bit with actual PEOPLE in this city - I took every freaking workshop during the Legends of LA event put up by Dance Garden LA this year. I knew that these two days were going to be jam packed and exhausting but I could NOT pass up an opportunity to fan girl over the teaching artists AND learn a bunch AND make a bunch of friends.
To put it in a nutshell, the Legends of LA event was a hugely successful multi-modal display of incredible skill. Lauren, who co-owns DGLA with her business partner Heather, was 8.5 month pregnant during the weekend. Her expertise with administration, her patience with confused attendees (namely ME), her friendly demeanor, and her professionalism were definitely on display during the event. I didn't get to meet Heather in person, but I'm sure this dynamic duo will proceed to administer some incredible dance events during my tenure in LA - I am completely impressed.
The workshops themselves were for the most part excellent. And I mean excellent. If you know me, if something is average I will call it that - there is nothing wrong with average, and I'm not afraid to air this opinion. I truly mean it when I call most of the workshops EXCELLENT. Putting aside how generous the instructors were and how I have been fans of them for, um, ever, the quality of instruction and caliber of information was mind blowing. With many of the instructors, every comment was filled with information backed with years of effort and experience. I'm sure I'll look back onto a few of the workshops down the road and continue to find new revelations and nuggets from the day. I am grateful that I had the time and resources to take every single one. I even got to help in Sahra Kent's workshop by showing some sumbati moves with her coaching (yay practicing the splitz every day)! My narcissism aside, I came away inspired to continue on my journey as a student of this incredible art form - it is SO COOL that there are so many shining stars relatively near where I live that I can learn lessons from.
I cannot let this review slide without mentioning the BRILLIANT hafla that featured the workshop instructors and a few at-large LA dance troupes. Lauren told me that this year was particularly stellar - parts of my jaw are still dragging on the floor from a few of the performances.
Finally, I MUST remark on how friendly the fellow participants were to me - a total dork who talked almost the ENTIRE time. Thank you new friends for being so nice to me! I hope to get to know people more and become a part of the lovely community in LA that I got a peak of during the weekend.
I'm excited to continue to learn more, make new friends, and discover new professional and learning opportunities. How did I get this amazing life?
The Starbelly Arabic Folkloric Celebration in one minute or less!
The ever so talented Cecilia and Chad Rinn put together this awesome gratitude clip about the Starbelly Arabic Folkloric Celebration! At least watch the first 5 seconds where I am obviously pleased with my cane bangin' skills, haha!
âFor more information about how that went, check out my previous blog post!
Tori King is a belly dance artist, culture enthusiast and general weirdo. Is this a good biography? Do you like me yet? :-)