Tori Types Thoughts
Tori's very average blog
October is always an exciting time of year for me. I feel more connected to my spiritual self and less tethered to this mortal plane. How this month has shaken out is a further manifestation of this pattern: I have either been looking ahead, looking behind, or tied to the present moment in magical and/or unexpected ways.
I'm typing this post from a coffee spot in Salt Lake City, Utah, which I last visited during the most challenging year of my life. I didn't expect to be here this week, but life demanded that I return to this city. Fall is a beautiful time of year, and in this mountainous town, surrounded by the explosion of colorful leaves, I am struck with the beauty of my life's journey since my difficult days. I believe that time isn't linear, and often when I feel that "everything is going to be alright," I suspect a version of me from the past/future/parallel present sends me good vibes. I hope past Tori feels all the love shining onto her, just like I feel the love she's shining onto me. Future Tori gets some love too!
Blah blah blah, I've had a great month, ramping up for Hallowe'en - one of my favorite days! In honor of my lack of time, let's look into the past and future for the rest of this post!
Santa Fe Excellence!
The first 10 days of October, Cecilia and I went to Santa Fe to build the foundation of The Radiant Tarot with Myra Krien and to celebrate her 60th birthday by dancing with the incredible (and I mean great) band, Sherefe.
When I say we packed this week full of hard work, I mean it. We spend hours reviewing Myra's repertoire, pulling costumes, and discussing intention and dancing. During this time, Myra maintained her usual class schedule, and I had the opportunity to absorb more of the beautiful totality of Myra's talent. Myra's skill speaks for itself in performance, production, costume creation, and teaching/mentorship - but how can all these things exist in one little lady?! With an assist from her fabulous right-hand person, Yeva, I believe that Myra can actually do anything she wants. Here are some highlights from social media!
Something else that was fun this week was taking part in a promotional photoshoot with Lili Alba, who is a model and a belly dancer, in addition to an ace photographer! The photoshoot took place at the beautiful studio of Alexandra Eldridge, the artist behind the Radiant Tarot (and my new obsession - she is gorgeous inside and out). It was a magical moment.â
Another thank you to the Idaho Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the arts for easing our way into this week! â
If you would like to learn more about The Radiant Tarot and assist in the creation of this international event, please click on the link below!
Once we wrapped up our goals surrounding The Radiant Tarot, it was time to meet and dance with Sherefe. I could write a LONG essay about every individual person in that band - this is the definition of a supergroup. In addition to the general musical GENIOUS, they are all individually wonderful, friendly, talented, and funny. I'm an obsessed fan! This is a clip of me dinking around during our dress rehearsal (which was SO MUCH FUN)!
Looking Forward to Events
I've been a bit sloppy about sharing my dance adventures on this website, but I am more active on Instagram! For the most up-to-date information, please join me on Insta. On a fun note, I'm trying out this Tik Tok thing... I feel ancient! Here are some links!
With all of that said, I'd love to see you at some of my up and coming public performances!
Join the Starbelly Dancers at 10:30 AM on Friday, November 25th, during the St. Alphonsus Festival of Trees!
From the Saint Al's Website...
For 38 years, the Saint Alphonsus Festival of Trees has kicked off the holiday season in the Treasure Valley. The holiday season is a time for coming together to celebrate and revel in tradition. It is also a time for thinking of others and giving of ourselves. We are excited to bring back the magic of the Festival of Trees in 2022. Mark your calendars for November 22 (Gala), November 23-27 (General Exhibition), and November 28 (Fashion Show.) Let's celebrate!
100% of net proceeds from the 2022 Festival of Trees will fund priority capital projects at Saint Alphonsus with a focus on our new Neuro Surgical Trauma Intensive Care Unit, the FIRST and ONLY critical care unit in Idaho that has board-certified and fellowship-trained neurocritical care physicians. Patients in our region will receive the most advanced life-saving care in our community.
Event Alert - Our Glorious Return to the Sapphire ROom!
The Starbelly Dancers are returning to the Sapphire Room just in time to celebrate the holidays! Join us for The Art of Belly Dance: Bring on the Cheer! We cannot wait to beguile you with beauteous belly dancing and surprises from a few of our friends in the community. Havenât been to a belly dance show before? Get ready to be inspired by Middle Eastern culture, entertained by nationally acclaimed performers, and to cheer aloud in one of the most gorgeous venues in the Treasure Valley (with a full bar and delicious seasonal menu). December 1st could be another Thursday for you, or it could be the beginning of a new holiday tradition. We canât wait to dance with you!
The Starbelly Dancers are nationally recognized belly dance artists from Boise, Idaho under the artistic direction of Cecilia Rinn. Specializing in traditional, modern, fusion and theatrical raks sharki, or belly dance, they are available to entertain at family-friendly celebrations, festivals, and main stage events across the nation. Collectively, the Starbelly Dancers have been granted awards by organizations such as The Alexa Rose Foundation, Boise City Department of Arts and History, The Idaho Arts Commission, and the National Endowment for the Arts and have been seen at events such as Boise Music Week, Treefort Music Festival, and even on Telemundo. Catch the Starbelly Dancers in a city near you during the 2023 international touring production, The Radiant Tarot. Find out more about this dance company by visiting ceciliabellydance.com.
Join us for dinner and drinks ! The Sapphire Room features a full food and bar menu with table-side service.
With the purchase of a ticket, Sapphire guests are eligible for The Riverside Hotel's "Sapphire Getaway" for $169 + tax. Includes a standard hotel room (double occupancy) and breakfast for two the following morning. To reserve, please call 208-331-4931. Sapphire Getaway rate subject to availability.
The Sapphire Room is all-ages and family friendly. Every person that enters must have a ticket. No babes in arms.
FREE and convenient parking.
Please note that general seats may have a partially obstructed view.
Many tables are at bar height. Guests requiring lower seating will be most comfortable at tables 11 - 49. Guests requiring ADA accessible seating will be most comfortable at the following tables: 35, 36, 37, 38, 45, 46, 47, 48 and 49. For questions about accessible seating, please call 208-343-1871 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
100% refunds are available until 24 hours before the event. Refunds cannot be processed after the event occurs for any reason.
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!
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.
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.
The title of this looong blog is inspired by the the amazing Malala Yousafzai.
“One child, one teacher, one pen, and one book can change the world” -Malala Yousafzai
I have some announcements, thoughts, admissions, and hopes!
I am entwined with a story - a story about a little boy with a HUGE dream. This child became my husband. I'm being vague so SEO won't associate him with all of the sappy love I'm about to pour out, but if you know me you know that my husband has fought against all odds to attain his dreams in the NFL. Ever since he was 2 years old, he knew he wanted to be a part of football: since that time he's published books, worked in the media, and made some incredible friends along the way. During the pandemic, he went from being a beloved "football outsider" to an "insider" and began his journey working directly for teams. On Monday the 21st he got a call that he would be working with some of his greatest allies...and some of the most fabulous football minds out there.
After the experience that was 2020, I witnessed both incredible feats of human resilience and instances where man has come up short. Working for Big Brothers Big Sisters and on the Advisory Board for Jesse Tree, a non profit that prevents homelessness in the Treasure Valley, I had a front row seat to a lot of stuff. I have heard horror stories from my coworkers working directly with children and families during this time. I just can't believe that so many vibrant children, filled with potential, want to die.
A recent news briefing from the Kaiser Family Foundation shared these conclusions (click here for the source on this one)
There is talk about classifying the pandemic as an Adverse Childhood Experience or ACEs (click for some reading). With my work at Big Brothers Big Sisters, I know that the predominant way to reverse the ill effects of ACEs within youths are strong and healthy mentoring relationships (more reading for the click happy). After delving into several trainings like QPR and Mental Health First Aid, and from my lived experience as someone with ACEs who had to figure out things as I went along, I decided that the most important thing I could do to help and heal my community was to take Myra Krien's Pomegranate SEEDs teacher training.
Honestly, SEEDs perfectly combines so many incredible tools. I've included a link for your information that details all of the incredible qualities of this program for young people.
Myra has lovingly created an experience with the Pomegranate SEEDs training. For long time readers of my blog, you've seen me gush about the generous and talented human being that is Myra Krein. Needless to say, I had high expectations for the training and the 5-day event totally left my imagination in the dust. The training itself is a flash of what the young people who partake in the SEEDs program will experience, but I invite you to understand that it is not a mere intensive. This sort of work is personal and requires an extraordinary amount of skill and tact to manifest results in the SEEDs program... let alone in a week with adults who will potentially teach it. The fact that Myra customizes the experience of the teacher training to those in the room and guided us through charged and powerful topics is a testament to the depths of her knowledge and compassion. I laughed, I cried (embarrassingly quickly I might add), I made new friends and gained skills that will help me in my career and as a person who wants to make a positive impact for young people in my community. I will say anything to make you believe that this program works - it is a cure we so desperately need. I am so grateful that it exists.
Here are some highlights - aka pictures of me with my friends.
Considering my pending move, my plans to assist Starbelly with bringing SEEDs back into the Treasure Valley are a bit loosie goosy (Cecilia used to administer it until circumstances prevented her from continuing). I will offer my expertise and heart to Cecilia, Cassandra and Bayla, but my personal foray into the program itself is to be determined... However, I know that I will as quickly as possible implement all of the incredible tools I have gathered over the training. I can hardly freaking wait.
In order to keep contact with all of you, I decided to start and try and maintain an Instagram. I have a LOT of content but what I really want to do is keep a line open to my friends all over as well as become better friends with people in my new city. Right now my handle is @toritori.bobori (banana fanna fo fori). I'm not trying to needlessly gain followers, but if you're on this blog or seeing this message - odds are I want to stay in touch with you somehow. Add me or something? I'll add you back? WHAT ARE THE RULES OF ENGAGEMENT?
PS: This section was also going to be a long section but this blog post is already unreal. Enjoy the book, class.
I mentioned it before but I'll mention it again, please keep your calendar wide open for the up and coming Starbelly Folkloric Celebration!
More info coming soon, but check out the facebook event by [[clicking here]]!
Anime and manga are highly important in my life – as a young person I did not find many reprieves from the trial and tribulations of my youth until the fateful day I tuned into Toonami on Cartoon Network and was introduced to Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball Z. Thursday nights became my oasis from bullying and the strict schedule maintained by a young, pre-professional ballet dancer. Usagi (pictued), Goku, and all their friends set my imagination ablaze and firmed my love of this genre for all of eternity. I still look to anime and manga in my daily life as one of the only hobbies I can maintain juggling my life as a dance artist, a graduate student, and a non-profit professional. Isekai is my guilty pleasure and I have become a tea connoisseur thanks to 50 Tea Recipes from the Duchess. This form of media and entertainment has only enriched my days and the days of my fellow weebs.
Through my lens as both a dance professional and my job in a non-profit that provides children with mentors, I have witnessed the impact that meaningful connections (or lack thereof) have on individuals of all ages. I believe that entertainment media is an incredible tool during hard times, not in the form of escape but in the form of inspiration. I have witnessed how manga, anime, webtoons, and print comics soothe people and bring them together at a meaningful level. Just the other day I observed a young person who calls herself painfully shy, become vibrant during a conversation about Demon Slayer – I also think that she was surprised that an “adult” shares her interests.
Queen of the Weebs - Guest Post from Cassandra
As the weather gets hotter and more consistently sunny, I am seeing more and more people eagerly emerging from their homes and spending as much time outside as they can.
While Idahoans are still adjusting to the post-COVID-vaccine landscape, and masks are becoming less integral to public safety in outdoor spaces, I'm seeing more people rocking their anime T-shirts or sporting merch from their favorite streamers/YouTubers/content creators as they carry on with their day-to-day endeavors.
It's this time of year that brings out some of my favorite types of people: my fellow weebs.
Like many subcultures, the anime/manga-loving community has developed its own slang words to describe its members. "Weeb" is loosely defined as someone who is interested in Japan and Japan-produced content, such as anime, manga, music, etc. While these individuals, like myself, are not die-hards who are determined to completely assimilate into Japanese culture and eat, sleep and breathe Japanese content (individuals that have this mindset within the community are commonly known by the derogatory term "weeaboo"), our prevailing interests in anime/manga/etc. can often make it difficult for us to find common interests with the everyday citizen. It is due to this lack of common interests that many weebs are considered social outcasts, which can often--especially in youths--lead to stunted social skills.
It is due to this exclusion in many social settings that many weebs hide their love for anime/manga/etc. and only make sly, subtle references to their hobbies in social settings as though fishing to see if anyone else in their social group will latch onto the bait. Tori King and I became fast friends when we realized we had a lot more than dance in common--we both are weebs!
Back to the point, what does summer have to do with weebs? Anime conventions, my friend! And what is one of the best things about anime conventions you may ask? Cosplay!
Cosplay is its own type of performance art in which individuals dress up as a character from any form of media, most popularly anime, manga, or videogames. That's not to say you won't also spot cosplayers representing popular characters from books--there's an entire world of book-related cosplay as well!
Cosplayers go all-out as summer anime conventions abound throughout the United States, paying homage to their beloved characters in animes, movies, and even video games with amazing technical skill and creative ingenuity. All body types, all genders, all ages are represented in this simplistic hobby of embodying a single character that means so much to so many avid fans of a series. This is a hugely important and meaningful aspect of weeb culture for many reasons, but to draw on the point I made earlier, it's the best place for weebs to be able to network and socialize with other people that have the same interests and hobbies! Yay for the development of social skills!
While I myself have never cosplayed anime characters (only original characters I've made for festivals) I marvel at the sheer dedication and skill so many cosplayers practice and perfect in their representation of a single (or multiple) character. I find myself inspired to also embody some of my favorite animated characters in ways I haven't seen before--through fusion belly dance!
There have been some absolutely iconic anime/manga characters in my life that I feel would be thrilling to breathe some fusion belly dance into, especially with a partner in crime like fellow weeb Tori King.
As many fans of the community know, K-pop (Korean Pop) and J-pop (Japanese Pop) are immensely popular dance and choreography styles in animes, mangas, and even live-action dramas.
Even people who have no interest in anime or manga have had some level of exposure to K-pop dance thanks to viral hits like GANGNAM STYLE by artists like PSY.
As any TikTok-er can tell you, there are a million different trends of any style of dance, some of which can truly lend to emoting comedy, tragedy, or joy in dance.
Incorporating elements of K-pop into any style of dance sounds thrilling, but belly dance especially sounds fun because there is already some overlap with tricky muscle isolation, articulation, facial emoting, and overall grace & fluidity!
While it's easy for me to make a very long list of my favorite anime/manga characters I feel deserve some live-action time in the limelight, more than anything I would love to choose a pair of characters that line up with Tori and I's own personalities and even movement styles. While we definitely have a million ideas, and we're not at all restricted on the amount of anime-related duets we can release, it can be difficult to nail downtime to workshop and choreograph something that only a very specific community would appreciate.
In between working on Starbelly projects, Tori and I are determined to create an otaku duet together for the laughs, the weeb pride, and the thrill of being able to highlight some of our favorite characters on a stage in true DBZ fusion style as professional performing artists!
My fellow weebs, I ask you now: do you have any characters in mind that you think we'd rock?
You can catch the Starbelly Student Salon until May 30th on demand, which features a choreography with the Starbelly Dancers. Also, Myra Kreins annual show, Invaders of the Heart, is entitled Epoch. The Starbelly Dancers will have a short set in this incredible show, which I highly encourage you to watch! I'll be watching as a fan of Mosaic and my Starbelly fam! Click the links below to get the deets on these wonderful shows.
THANK YOU FROM MY BUGGY HEART!
THESE BUGS WILL NEVER DIE -- BUG SHOW ON DEMAND!
On March 13th Starbelly brought you into the wonderful world of BUGS. The reviews are in and, by popular request, we are thrilled to announce that we are placing the show On Demand. All proceeds of this show will continue to go to the Starbelly Financial Aid Fund!
Here are some of the rave reviews:
"[Starbelly is] forging ahead to new horizons." Tamalyn Dallal, Oriental Dance teacher, writer and film maker
"I have never seen anything so creatively brilliant by any artist in any genre...My heart is still thumping!" Gloria Skurzynski, Award Winning Author of 64 published books for young readers and young adults.
Not convinced? We think our final review from cultural anthropologist, Erik Messel
"The Bug Show is by far the most creative performance of its kind that I have experienced. As is true for all StarBelly performances, the costumes are gorgeous, the choreography is masterful, and the dancers are magnificent. This show, however, is something altogether different. Framed by a pleasantly haunting voice-over of some renowned naturalist, the audience is seduced into a psychedelic rite of passage through the pages of a 19th century entomological tome. Each piece begins with a hand-drawn fact sheet on a particular bug, complete with the Latin name and tagged with, “but did you know that…” That’s right, the show is also educational! The choreography and costume is true to each species, which really sets the performances apart. This dedication to the subject deeply impacts the dance. The movements associated with the dance styles morph as they take on the characteristics of each creature producing this fantastical space between the natural and the cultural. The video production and editing for the show makes that space transcendent. The use of green screen, layered shots, hand-drawn backgrounds and filters captures a wild and alien world of bugs. Set to an eclectic collection of traditional and experimental songs, the experience is truly otherworldly. It is like eating a handful of shrooms and randomly opening to a page in an entomologist’s field notes. I felt deeply engaged in each moment and at the same time, excited to flip the page to see what far-out, magical creature comes next. Mesmerizing is how I would describe the experience. If you haven’t seen it, see it, because you won’t have seen anything like it."
Erik Messal, Med, Educational Consultant & Curriculum Supervisor
View the Bug Show On Demand Today!
It's here it's here and it's totally buggy! Sometimes offhanded comments like, "What if we were a girl band?" or "Wouldn't it be cool to just be bugs for a minute?" manifest into art! The Bug Show will be spectacular, virtual, and feature friends from all over the globe. We have commissioned music, we are creating costumes, we are collaborating with world renown dance artists, and we are having an insanely insectually good time. That is a word. Click on the link below for the full updates, as we launch them... and see you on March 13th!
Thank you for attending my workshopfundraiser!
I cannot reiterate enough how flattered and loved I feel from you guys joining me to talk about makeup. It is very personal to me and I certainly hope I shared some helpful tips and tricks! I am not some fancy pants teacher from timbuktu - if you have follow up questions or would like any extra help, remember that I am your ~friend~ and only a dm/text away. Much love to you all who stayed for the TWO HOUR EXPERIENCE. who am I kidding, I knew it wouldn't be only one hour. Love love love.
The workshop recording is available - please email me at torikingdancing-at-gmail.com for the link.
HALP: Can you write me a testimonial?
What is SEEDs Teacher Training? Click here to find out more! I feel that now, more than ever, that the world needs to heal through the arts and getting this credential will allow me to be a part of this movement!
A Beautiful Valentines Day Show
This promo text was ruthlessly copy/pasted by yours truly. Click on the image to go to the facebook event. We have some lovely number planned and I hope to see you there, love bugs!
Join us for one of our most popular performances of the year, our Valentine's show! This year is very special because we will be dancing in front of exquisite paintings by the incredible Antony Corso! We are also so excited to feature special guests Cecilia Rinn's Starbelly Dancers of Boise, ID and Teresa Tomb's Rakadu Dance Theatre of Mecca Dance Studio from Lexington, KY!
Enjoy a virtual evening of bellydance, poetry and art! Don't have a date? Let US be your Valentines this year! Ticket sales support our studio and our Pomegranate SEEDs® (Self-Esteem, Empowerment, and Education through Dance) Youth Mentorship Program.
Spread the love, empower the arts, and enjoy a beautiful performance!
Tickets on sale now! Purchase tickets and get your Zoom link here:
Pomegranate Studios Presents
Valentine's Day: A Show of Love
Saturday, February 13th
Tickets: $15 each
Fall in love... with the dance
Thoughts about January 6th
I'm not someone for new years resolutions - I don't believe that a number change signifies a grand cosmic shift or the start of be destroying my bad habits. Achieving goals, creating change, and evolving into your greatest self are efforts that take time - is a year enough? Is a year too much? I try to be in the moment and do my best - but I won't lie that I was excited to at least symbolically bury the trials and tribulations of 2020 and take a fresh breath. It didn't last long.
I can't be poetic about how deeply distraught I am because of the storming of the capital on January 6th. There are many levels to the "wrongness" of the events, starting from the struggle of American society to take care of it's people. All it's people. I think about this so I have a chance to empathize - I will never understand what train of thought occurred to the mob of rioters to allow them to perform a disturbing act of insurrection in the name of patriotism. Smarter people have said smarter things at this point, but I just want to share my emotions:
The image of the confederate flag in the house of congress will haunt me until my dying day.
So here I am, about to make a resolution. This year may be the start of it, but I see the goal of this lasting until I die. I WILL do my part to take care of people - to create some breathing room for people to deescalate radical actions, to open up hard discussions, to heal from violence and trauma, and to learn how to work together. This is vague, but I am vague. This is small, but I am small. This is difficult, but I am difficult.
So why am I putting this into my blog about my dance thoughts and adventures? Well it's simple.
I'm going to do all this through dance.
More to come.
Workshop - Comin' Atcha!
There is no "one size fits all" way to apply your performance makeup. Are you dancing indoors or outdoors? What sort of lighting will you have? What is your skin type and undertone? How far away is the audience? What do you even LIKE?
In this hour long, virtual workshop, Tori will offer her advice on performance makeup specifically for video performance (because that's what we're doing now) and close proximity, in-person performance (because that WILL come back someday).
The biggest value of this workshop is that you will be able to ask your questions to Tori in real-time and talk in depth about your needs as a performer. This ain't your 2000s YouTube tutorial: bring questions, bring your make-up for Tori to look at if you want, and bring your enthusiasm because this is sure to be a fun workshop!
Payment and Meeting Details:
This sliding scale workshop is a fundraiser for Starbelly's annual production of "The Big Bad-Ass Belly Dance Show." All proceeds for this workshop will directly go towards the production of this dance event. This workshop is the first offering in our fundraising series for this show!
Sliding Scale Payment Options:
$15 USD - $30 USD - $45 USD
Please use the following methods to pay Starbelly School of Dance:
• Venmo- “Cecilia Rinn @Starbelly (preferred)
• PayPal payments: email@example.com
• Facebook @Cecilia Rinn
• Credit & Debit Cards online at https://bit.ly/3bIRzWt or over the phone 208-891-6609
Once you have paid you will receive a confirmation email. The workshop link will go out 15 minutes before the event and will be over zoom. Please be sure to check your spam or junk file just in case your invitation lands there!
If you cannot attend live, this workshop will be recorded for your convenience. If you have a makeup question you'd like to submit in advance, please email Tori at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please DM the Starbelly Dancers with all other inquiries. The event will occur at 1pm MST and last until 2:00PM MST on Saturday, January 23rd 2021.
New Video in my Gallery
There should be a few more coming your way soon - perhaps even my Mozart Medusa choreography en pointe? Haha, for now enjoy this piece from The Art of Belly Dance. My hiking fusion piece will be up soon and I have also posted the incredibly special group piece with music by Matthew Voorhees.
Grateful for SO MANY things - a totally unpoetic list in no order
I am also grateful for you. Thank you for joining me as we traverse this journey. I promised a better blog and while I am sorrowful at this disappointment, I am still so grateful for this mode of communication and that you are listening to me. Thank you thank you thank you.
A special thank you!
Thank you to the Idaho Commission on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts for providing funding to me and other artists in Idaho through the CARES Act. Thanks to your help, the Treasure Valley will continue to create beautiful and inspiring art. I am beyond grateful for this funding during these important and uncertain times!
Tori King is a belly dance artist, culture enthusiast and general weirdo. Is this a good biography? Do you like me yet? :-)