What I did on my winter vacation!

Winter Sparkle was my second experience leaving the province for belly dancing purposes. I'm sitting here in the Toronto airport and I'm going to try to express everything before I lose the feeling.

It was an incredible experience, I had a crazy amount of fun, and I really tried to push my body and my mind to go to some new places. I have a lot more to say about it, but the truth is that I'd struggle a bit to find the words to describe the place I am with dancing now. But I'll try a little.


I chose West Jet, and the flight got in early! Elaine, my Winter Sparkle roommate and I talked up a storm and I was confident by the time we got off the plane that we'd be fast friends. She dances with Serendipity, which for lack of a better explanation, is not the OhMaya student troupe. We don't control them artistically or technically-- their style and artistic direction is their own to determine, as is membership. But they are comprised of OhMaya students; we just try to be there to answer questions and facilitate opportunities to learn.

So that was tangent number one.

When I arrived in Toronto, Kayla (my bff in high school and early college) was waiting for me. We had my first public transportation from the airport adventure (I have been known to cab it).

Oh my god I need to stop for a second. There is a kitten on a leash in the airport and it's rolling around purring. That is the cutest thing of life.

Kayla and I went to Body Blitz, a spa that is primarily focused on water therapies. Then we did some wandering and went to Salad King for my first experience with legitimate Thai food. Delicious, and I'm a fiend now.

That evening I had told Audra I'd be at the Dark Side Studio for her Turquoise class. Naturally, I got lost and ended up at 255 College St. instead of 355. Lame and entirely my fault. I did pick up an adorable pashmina in chinatown though, so not all was lost.


Friday morning I relaxed. I wandered to Starbucks and got a smoothie and eventually met up with Kayla for lunch in the underground.

From there I popped onto the subway and then the bus to head out to Eglington/Rochefort to meet up with Monika and Helena to drive out to Ingersoll. I totally wandered up to a person I thought might be Helena when I got there (I was right!), which I'm sure if she hadn't been so sweet and easygoing, would probably have been creepy. But she said she was, and then offered me a mandarin. She's wonderful :) I spent at leas half the drive out to Ingersoll laughing at Monika, who is absolutely hilarious. It was super kind of her to offer us a ride out, too.

When we got to Elm Hurst Inn Elaine was definitely relieved to see me, since we arrived a little late thanks to traffic. I got there fifteen minutes before dinner (which was amazing). A couple of glasses of red wine and all the traveling that day had me ready for sleep, so after some brief chat, Elaine and I both slept.


The next morning we headed out for breakfast and then over to the carriage house for the first morning of workshops. We drilled lots of technique and I worked on my deficient glute squeezes (they are a work in progress).

I could say a lot about the workshops themselves but it's hard to articulate how helpful that environment is for me. Instead I'll just say I was pleasantly sore at lunch time. In the afternoon we worked on putting together sixteen count pieces. Even in OhMaya, although we all choreograph, we do it alone, so working to create with others is different, but in a good way.

I had a manicure after the afternoon session, and from there I went pretty much straight to dinner, which was even more fun than the previous night. There was even a tattoo-flashing session. I loved the ladies so much.

After dinner (which included slightly more wine than the previous night) we headed over to the carriage house for a mini-hafla. It was just a chance to show a little bit of our individual styles to the other students. It was really, really cool. I liked watching one dancer after another doing completely different things but all getting so much out of the weekend and each other. It was really fun to dance myself, and some people said some really beautiful things about it.

We all fell into bed after dancing, and I think I passed out in thirty seconds flat.


Sunday was more of a creative day, and so it was slightly less straining for my body and slightly more so for my mind. But I have really been enjoying learning about dance theory, which is something you're basically not exposed to at all coming up through a traditional studio, and which is something I really need to see change. I'm really looking forward to going through the little suggested reading list in my notes because I haven't had a lot of luck with dance theory related literature so far.

The last song we danced to before lunch was a really beautiful experience. I had to run off for a little tears break :)

Being at a retreat where you can pick the instructor's brain anytime the mood strikes you is amazing and I get so much more than two days worth of knowledge out of that type of experience. And like a lot of the stuff in this entry, there's a lot I could say about how great a person and instructor Audra is, but I don't think the words would describe it at all. I can't wait until Winter Sparkle '10 :D


  1. I so entirely going to Winter Sparkle '10! I wanted so badly to go this year, but being a broke-ass student is somewhat a restraint. Hrm.

  2. Eeee you have to go to Winter Sparkle 10! You would love it.

    I was a broke ass student last year so believe me when I tell you how much I understand.


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