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What's Next?

A mere 16 months ago, I envisioned myself as a mom teaching, writing, and pretty much doing exactly what I was doing back then—with the addition of a little girl coming along for the ride.

Well, that didn't happen! I am now a very happy full-time mother. It's just what feels right for me at this moment.

But... I'm still a teacher. Not only do I encourage Sophie to dance every day in the living room; I've become obsessed with the way she's learning, well, everything—from stretching her limbs and grasping an object with her little hands, to speaking and putting on her socks, to everything that will come next.

For me, this has been a welcome break from dance, but also a difficult one. A welcome one, because I've noticed in my life that whenever I take a break from dance, I come back renewed and inspired and, most amazingly, I come back a better dancer. It's also, of course, difficult because dance has been my life for decades and because I have a need to concretize what I co-create.

So what to do?

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How To Hold Your Audience's Attention

There's something that too often happens in choreographed works. I saw it in dozens of the entries I recently reviewed. I see it in otherwise beautiful dance works. I even see it in works outside of dance.

The issue I'm talking about is this: a dance piece that has a good beginning, a good ending, a good idea, good technique... but in the middle, it rambles on to nowhere, making the audience lose interest.

I'm able to recognize the issue because I used to see it over and over in my own work. It drove me mad for years. I didn't know how to deal with it. Sometimes, while choreographing, the problem would resolve itself. But more often it would leave me feeling helpless, and it would take away all the fun of creating a dance.

How do you make an audience watch your piece all the way to the end? How do you know that all the hard work you put in will be watched and understood? How do you know you're making the right choices while choreographing? And how can you free yourself so choreographing is not a dreadful chore but a joyful process?

There's an infinite number of answers to these questions. Come to my workshop and together we'll explore a few answers. And I'll give you some tools to come up with your own. 

About me: I've been dancing for 23 years and making dances for nearly that long. My goal as a choreographer is to move people (and to keep them watching all the way to the end!) My goal as a teacher is to share what I've learned and what I've come up with in ways that will make your mind smile and your spirit glow. 

I'm super excited to be teaching at the Theatrical Bellydance Conference:

2:45 PM – 4:15 PM

Here are two of my recent choreographies:



Two Films and Three Books on Childbirth that Made All the Difference 

I absolutely love my Ob-Gyn. Can't remember when I started seeing her or who recommended her. I do remember early on asking her about the movie poster she has in her office. It's a huge picture of a baby's face peeking through, her bright blue eye looking straight at you. 

I asked her if she appeared in that film.

"Yes," she said. "Unfortunately they edited out most of what I said."

"Who cares?" I told her. "What matters is the credit."

"Actually, it was very important information that needs to be spread."

The movie was "The Business of Being Born," and I didn't think much about it until last year, when I went to see her because I'd become pregnant. 

"You have to think where you want the baby to be born," she said.

I thought women just walked into a hospital at the signs of labor.

"And you need to choose a doctor or midwife."

I panicked a little. "Can't it be you?"

She said she doesn't do it anymore. She said I might consider having the baby at home.

Wait, what? That sounded so unsafe. The neighbors would throw me out.

"It's not like in the movies. It's not like you'll be screaming for hours," she said. "People even leave cookies and cards at the door when they know someone is having a home birth."

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"Sophia" by Blanca and Ondine Dance

Right after the 2011 Theatrical Bellydance Conference, both of my parents died.

For over a year I had a hard time finding any joy in life or in dance. I won't go into details; I'll just say I was ready to move to another planet.

But then something happened, and my life immediately made sense again. I tear up just thinking of how blessed I am and how much joy this tiny baby has brought, not only to us, her parents, but to every person who's heard about her.

The making of this piece was the happiest creative process I've been through. Make sure you watch the video full-screen and enjoy!

SOPHIA by Blanca and Ondine Dance
Choreography: Blanca, Ayshe, and Elisheva.
Dancers: 6-month pregnant Blanca, Ayshe, Elisheva, Erica Joan, Karen Wahl.
Costuming: Ayshe and Alanah Couture Fan Veils.
Music: "Charents II" by Epiphany Project
Performed at DNA theater, NYC, June 7, 2013


Birth Story

New York City, Friday, September 13th. I was 39 weeks pregnant and having dinner with my brother at Le Pain Quotidien. I still had to go and finish cleaning my old apartment. At exactly 9:00pm as I was saying goodbye—ouch—I felt a strong contraction.

My brother joked, "What, you're having the baby now?"

I said I just needed to rest and ran out. 

Thankfully, the apartment was right next door. I texted my midwife and doula to tell them I was feeling contractions. 

The doula  called me back, "Do you think you can sleep through the night?"


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