Classical Balinese dance


8th December 2012

performance at Desa Seni Friday evening

performance at Desa Seni Friday evening



After the yoga retreat (awesome show last night, by the way!) I took a taxi to Ubud, a lovely little town that reminds me a little bit of Brighton, full of shops selling Asian jewellery and ornaments or selling yoga clothing. Vegetarian, Vegan café’s everywhere… I had a bit of cabin fever in the yoga resort, so was happy to explore the outside world a little bit. Got myself a scooter and just drove around all day.



Beautiful classical Balinese dancing in Ubud

Beautiful classical Balinese dancing in Ubud

Tonight in the evening, I went to see a performance with some classical Balinese dancing and music. Blown away! Not only by the intricate rhythms played by talented musicians and the movements of the clearly very skilled dancers, but mainly by how extraordinary the dance itself was. I have never seen anything like this, it was so different. I found it hard to relate to in a way, as I didn’t have anything to compare it with but was fascinated by the intricate movements, and was thinking: these dancers could be excellent pop and lockers! It seems to be the same technique as popping anyway. But to create a rhythm just by the use of the eyes. Now that’s really something.

There were about 18 musicians and 8 dancers in total. And 15 people in the audience. All paying $10 to get in. Not forgetting about the people at the door, I was wondering: these people really make next to nothing. It made me appreciate the performance even more, since these performers seem to want to do nothing else but their passion for dance and music.


On Space Harmony, Indian dance, Silvestre technique and Sacret Geometry

Colleena Shakti… What an incredibly inspiring woman! I love listening to her stories about dancing for the Maharaja’s in India andabout her Guru’s in Kathak and Odissi dance. Her passion for the Indian dance is infectious. Her first encounter with this dance style reminds me with my first encounter with Silvestre technique. That moment of: ‘What is this, and why does it have this effect on me?’ And the feeling of just wanting to go to India to explore this deeper is the feeling I have with Brazil. I don’t necessarily have that same feeling for Indian dance, however much I love the dancing and the aesthetic.

Rosangela Silvestre, founder of the Silvestre Technique

Rosangela Silvestre, founder of the Silvestre Technique


I was trying to figure out why, and was thinking that part of it might be to do with the ancient tradition of dancing for these Indian Gods and Goddesses. It’s not something that I can relate to. I wonder if it’s something that comes with time. With Silvestre, the feeling is very different, it feels like a personal experience that makes me tap into some stronger energy. That makes me connect with the Earth, Water, Air, Fire. It’s more tangible for me, but even before it was explained what the gestures meant, I experienced it, on an intuitive level rather than a conscious level. And it felt like something I needed to explore.



Spatial Projection can create an energy out in the kinesphere. The gaze can create sacret geometry this way, to show a praying to the gods.

Spatial Projection can create an energy out in the kinesphere. The gaze can create sacret geometry this way, to show a praying to the gods.

I’ve also been thinking a lot about Sacret Geometry. A topic that came up in Choreology at Laban. Laban studied quite a bit on the subject, a research that I will do once I get back from Brazil, to work towards my paper on Space Harmony. I’ve always been interested in the connection between Maths and Art, and Maths and Life. So the idea of Maths and Spirituality really interests me too. I started to think about this when I took my first Silvestre class. Somehow the geometry of the movements evokes something, it’s something about the shape that they make that links it to something more, some outer body experience. It’s the same idea that a certain tone/frequency in music (thinking of scales: A major as opposed to A minor) evokes a feeling of uplifting or of sadness/nostalgia.



Laban's 12 locations formed by the 3 planes. Scales are orders of locations located in this Icosahedron. Movement scales are created by following the order of locations.

Laban’s 12 locations formed by the 3 planes. Scales are orders of locations located in this Icosahedron. Movement scales are created by following the order of locations.


That’s why it’s so interesting that Laban created movement scales (an order of locations in space) that have certain properties, that in my opinion can create a feeling because of the order in which the locations are placed. No wonder he researched Egyptian culture amongst others, to understand more about Sacret Geometry.

In Colleena’s Pranam (movement ‘prayer’, meditation) that we do every morning there are certain spatial moments where Space Harmony takes place and which are directly linked to something sacred. When she prays towards the Gods, her arms go up and she sends a spatial projection out with her gaze, creating a virtual line out in the general space. Or using mudras to ‘lock’ energy, a body design is created to create energy. Direct links with geometry and spirituality. I LOVE ALL THAT STUFF!!!

Spatial Tension can be a way of creating a ball of energy. In this case, the geometry of the mudras create this spatial tention.

Spatial Tension can be a way of creating a ball of energy. In this case, the geometry of the mudras create this spatial tention.

Desa Seni Yoga Retreat

1st December 2012

Asia… where have you been all my life?

That question has been going through my mind all day. My first day in Bali has already been an unforgettable experience. Everything around me inspires me, the scents, the colours, the culture, the incredibly friendly people,… I keep randomly shouting out ‘this place is sooooo awesome!’

I think what I love the most is that everywhere you look, you see how the Hindu religion is everywhere amongst the people. Little offerings are put on the floor everywhere you go. I love how much meaning the Balinese have in every action they do. Whether you’re religious or not, you can’t help but be amazed.

desa seni resortArriving in the yoga retreat has just been amazing. This place really is paradise. It’s perfect. Awesome roommates too, they put all us Brits together, and it’s nice to see some familiar faces.  This place is so inspiring. Salt water swimming pool, organic veggie food with home grown vegetable and rice, detox juices, morning yoga, open air dance studio,… Desa Seni definitely is paradise. God, I am such a hippy… who would have known?

We have an opening ceremony today to cleanse everyone from negativity etc, before the retreat with Colleena Shakti starts tomorrow.

The ceremony that is happening today is called an ‘upacara penglukatan’ in the Balinese language and an ‘upacara pembersihan’ in the Indonesian language, both meaning cleansing ceremony.

The cleansing involves the use of holy water which comes from the Tirta Empul Temple in Tampaksiring, Bali, a natural spring considered to be a holy source of water for the Balinese Hindu; as well as rice, a very strong symbol of luck, fertility and prosperity.

The holy water is sprinkled on each person to cleanse the spiritual aura and remove negativity. The rice is placed on the temples in order to achieve balance and in the centre of the forehead representing the third eye and as a blessing and gift from the Gods.

cleansing ceremony

cleansing ceremony

The ‘canang sara’ or offering is a gift to the Gods to ensure good health, happiness and prosperity. The offering trays are filled with symbolic items such as flowers, rice and often a small sweet or coin. The Balinese also make daily offering to the Gods using these ‘canang’; morning offerings are to the heavenly Gods and evening offerings are to the earthly Gods.

The ‘dupa’ or incense is used to help transmit our prayers, thoughts and wishes to the Gods. The movement of the smoke from the incense symbolizes our prayers traveling to the Gods.

The ceremony is a traditional Balinese Hindu ceremony used on auspicious days of the year, according to the Balinese Calender before significant events.

Colleena Shakti

Colleena Shakti

the dance studio

open air dance studio

Somewhere between London and Bali…

29th November 2012

Here I am again, talking about setting up that blog. I am currently flying to Bali and I have just reread what should have been my first ever blog entry. Somehow it never made it on the internet. But I must say: it is so much fun reading old thoughts. Only a few months ago I was thinking this trip was going to be impossible to fund. Now, having found some lovely tenants to rent my flat while I am away, I can relax and look forward to enjoy the experiences ahead of me.

After reading my previous blog, I am reliving the experience of Croatia and Budapest, only a few months ago, but seeming to be a lifetime away. Thinking of the few days of relaxing in the beautiful island of Hvar with some great company, I can’t wait for Bali and Thailand.

Tribal Cafe

Tribal Cafe, 29th November 2012

As we speak, (7.44pm, Thursday evening 29th November 2012), Charlotte is about to announce the first performer at Tribal Café in The Blue Man in Brighton. And here I think again: I got a serious situation of the F.O.M.O. coming up again (refer to last blog for explanation) This will be my first ever event that I am organising where I am actually not there. I feel sad to have to miss out on the dancing and on seeing my dancer friends, but on the other hand I feel it’s good to let go and see where Charlotte takes it. It’s inspiring to see that 8 years ago, Tribal Fusion and ATS was non-existent in Brighton, while now I have a loyal team taking over while I am away. I want to say a special thank you to Charlotte who has been my right hand lady for quite a few years now and that I feel very lucky to have her look after the school when I am away. Sending some good luck wishes for the show as well!

Special thank you as well to Elise who will be taking over my level 1 fusion belly dance classes while I am away, a new addition to the team. Your positive attitude is infectious and I know you will do a great job.

So 5 hours in on my journey from London to Doha and so far I have made about 5 lists on how to improve my life, my dance practise, my job and so on for when I get back home. I love making lists. It’s so satisfactory. Often nothing comes from it, but still, it’s the aspiring to improve your life that feels that you’re already doing it, somehow it becomes real because you are thinking about it. It doesn’t actually matter that nothing comes from it. I can always just make another list that time.

It’s funny how whenever I am on the road, I feel I am making big changes and get a great amount of work done. My creativity seems unstoppable when I am travelling. If I could only apply that stuff when I am at home. Too many distractions! And I am an easy one to distract for sure… SQUIRREL!!

But it’s ok, I have got my lists. I am sticking to them this time! Starting number one: regular blog entries. Blog entries that are different from ‘today I went to the beach’ but real thoughts.  For myself and for whoever wishes to read it.  I will take pretty pictures too! I promise…

On a train between Zagreb and Budapest…

Hvar, Croatia

Hvar, Croatia – August 2012

1st September 2012

On the train between Zagreb and Budapest and finally decided to start writing that blog I’ve been thinking about for the past year. I have no idea if people would have an interest in reading about my random thoughts during travelling, but I just have the sudden urge to document my experiences. I think the inspiration came from my brother, who’s a traveller at heart and reading his anecdotes while cycling through Asia was truly inspiring.

Last weekend was Split Tribal Fest. I’ve always loved Croatia ever since I went there the first time in 2009, so I knew it was going to be great, but it was more than great. Dancing on the stage set up in an old Roman ruin isn’t all that bad, I must say J… And this performance was extra special to me, as it was dedicated to someone that means a lot to me. Funny thing I noticed: when you dedicate your performance to someone, it seems like all of the sudden you finally get out of your head. At least, that’s how it felt for me: I put it out there, and for once I wasn’t necessarily thinking about the audience and about my technique and about everything else that sometimes gets in the way. You just put it out there and it’s gone. Like the way you would dance in your living room, when nobody’s watching; or after a few cocktails (or is that just me?)… It felt really great to not have that pressure, like it was something bigger than me or that moment in time. It felt genuine. It makes me think about living room dancing, and how I could tap into that feeling of letting go more easily. Finding that genuine reason to be performing, and then letting it go. No excuses, no regrets.

It was great hanging out with my roommates on this trip! Thanks to Sunci for letting me be a tag along this year J After some great conversations with Colleena Shakti, I just can’t wait to go to Bali. I shall be doing an intensive with this wonderful lady during the first week of December. In the beautiful resort of Desa Seni ( I am still figuring out how to fund this trip, but up until now I have always found a way. I am sure there will be some costumes I can sell. Maybe ‘the tribal bible’ will go for a few hundred pounds on Ebay. Some things are hard to let go of, but the idea of having new experiences is way too exciting to hold onto the material stuff. It feels good to shed. Somehow still got to find a way to fund my January trip to Brazil as well… I do not want to miss out studying with Rosangela Silvestre. It’s funny how things work out. Every place I go, I am blown away by the hospitality of old and new friends. I wouldn’t be able to do this without their help by letting me stay in their space.

Edina and me, Hvar, Croatia - August 2012

And talking about hospitality, on Saturday night in Split, Edina, one of my Brighton   students that was on holiday in Croatia, made a surprise visit at the performance.     Kindly, her and her husband invited me to Hvar, a beautiful Croatian island. I love      how things just unfold while you travel. The most amazing few days in the hills in  Hvar, spent with some great people. And all I had to do was say yes to their  invitation. Awesome.

So now I am on my way to Budapest, for what will most likely be yet another amazing festival organised by the lovely Judith Virag. I am thinking of Brighton Pride Weekend, which I will miss this weekend. And I realise that I got some serious illness called The FOMO: Fear Of Missing Out. J Too bad I will have to miss my favourite weekend in Brighton, but I guess the substitute is pretty damn awesome too! Can’t wait to meet the Budapest tribal community. For the rest of the journey, I shall be dreaming of Bali and Brazil… and after chatting to Sunci, my travel buddy on this train, I think I shall be dreaming of India also… Maybe next year…