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Belly Dance Photo Shoot

by Alessandra on 04/02/18

It's always fun to play dress-up and spend an afternoon modeling belly dance costumes, so this month I'm sharing some of my favorite pics from my latest belly dance photo shoot. Photos were taken by the talented Eric Green.

Meet Lunaria's "Oh My Goldness" Dancers

by Alessandra on 03/02/18

Oh My Goldness! Coming up on April 14th, the belly dance cabaret company that I dance with, Lunaria Dance Theatre, will be producing and performing its second annual full-length cabaret show. 

Premiering once again at Hale's Palladium, this year's theme is Oh My Goldness, and boy, do we have some fun numbers in store! 

Prepare to be transported to a night spun from golden dreams, where glitter and glitz abound around every corner. Classic pinups will sizzle in the golden glow of the beach. Cleopatra and her consorts will captivate with their skill at balancing candelabras and candle trays. Dark denizens will dazzle and dominate. Sexy showgirls will drip liquid gold, while bawdy burlesque will leave nothing behind but golden delight. This show is sure to be nothing but 24-cabaret gold!

Intrigued? Then let's take a moment to meet the Lunaria company dancers! This month's post is an chance to learn a bit more about each dancer, as well as what numbers they are looking forward to the most!

For each dancer, I asked the following questions:
1.  What is the one thing that has been most challenging for you in getting ready for Oh My Goldness?
2.  What piece in Oh My Goldness are you looking forward to the most?
3. What's a little known dance fact about yourself? 

Challenge: For this production I was given the opportunity to manage costuming. To get the look we wanted for a few of the dances, the costumes had to be constructed from scratch. I'm really enjoying designing and creating costumes, but with my limited experience in sewing, I'm discovering very quickly that I really have a lot to learn! (Comment from Alessandra: She's lying! She's great at it!)
Piece: I'm really excited about our Hey Big Spender piece. I think the 60's themed costuming, and big, fun wigs will be really entertaining. The choreography features such a contrasting spectrum of energy, from very still and intense, to wild and over the top. I think the audience will get a kick out of it.
Fact: I have a lifelong love for theater and have always wanted to get involved in the creative work that goes on behind the scenes. So while on break from our Last Lunaria production; Moon Over Manhattan, I began volunteering at Red Curtain Foundation, which is a small and fantastic community theater in Marysville. I started with set painting and assisting in the costuming department, and recently was given the opportunity to head costuming for their production of Body Awareness, which ran in January. 

Challenge: The most challenging thing has been pacing myself given the other things that I have going on. I just performed in Kat Welsh's Horrific 3, which required many months to get ready for; on top of having a 15-month old and two small businesses.
Piece: I'm most looking forward to seeing how my solo performance ends up looking. It is still a bit on the drawing board. Regarding group, pieces, probably Country Girl, as it takes me into new costuming and character territory.
Fact: I'm very excited for when my son turns two, because then I can take the mom-kid duet ballet classes with him at PNB!

Challenge: The most challenging part of getting ready for Oh My Goldness has been becoming the character for each piece. This is an exciting challenge for me that I'm working on at each rehearsal. 
Piece: I am really looking forward to performing the Chair piece. I've never performed with a chair and I love the music!!
Fact: I started learning classical ballet at age seven and have loved every style of dance since then!! 

Challenge: This year has brought about a lot of change for the ladies on our team...a baby, moving, family death, relationship changes, and work crisis! Life can throw unexpected things our way that make it difficult maintain consistent rehearsing and artistic vision for the show. I'm so proud of all us for the dedication, time, and commitment we have invested.
Piece: I LOVE our Gold finale piece! It's fun, retro, and high energy. And oh, those gold costumes!!!
Fact: My new dance passion is learning how to dance with a partner. It's such a challenge learning to connect and follow a leader when you're used to directing your own movements to the music.

Challenge: Creating the choreography for our finale piece, Gold, has been the biggest challenge for me! I did a lot of research and rewrote parts of it several times before coming up with the finale version. Having a full-time job with a horrid commute, on top of producing, marketing, directing, and choreographing, adds a whole other challenge! I'm pretty thrilled about the dance and can't wait to share it on April 14th!
Piece: I'm really looking forward to Heatwave from the movie There's No Business Like Show Business, sung by Marilyn Monroe! It was a tough piece for me to choreograph, as the music is challenging and I had to get really creative in how to incorporate the parasols with seven dancers on a small stage! 
Fact: I was a belly dance instructor for over eight years, teaching three classes a week and running a student dance troupe before throwing in the towel to make more time for Lunaria Dance Theatre. I was also a die-hard traditionalist, preferring authentic Egyptian style belly dance over anything involving fusion. I guess I let that one go too; well kind of. I still perform often as a belly dance soloist at private parties and with the live bands in the area. 

Challenge: Probably the biggest challenge for me in getting ready has been finding a balance to practice all our different material. We have a variety of dances, and it's easy to get stuck working on one or two "zones" and forget to spread the preparation around. Luckily, I'm feeling pretty caught up now.
Piece: There are a lot of fun, varied pieces in Oh My Goldness, so choosing one is tough! But I might be most excited to see how Blood in the Cut turns out. I'm not in this piece, but I'm loving watching how it develops. It's going to be hot! I'm also really excited for our show-opening piece, Country Girl, and the Gold finale piece. Both really different, and I think the audience will love them!
Fact: For my first year or so of bellydance classes, I never practiced outside of class (and, shockingly, didn't really get much better). But finally my teacher announced that we would be having a student recital, and the fear of public humiliation forced me to practice. Without that first recital I might not be here today!

And finally I asked myself...
Challenge: To echo what so many in the group have said already, the biggest challenge for me as been the time-commitment of trying to practice and perfect eight different numbers. Like most dancers in the company, I have a full-time job, as well as other family and community commitments, so it can be a real challenge to find the time to rehearse so many different pieces.
Piece: I'm really excited for Blood in the Cut. This is a piece by the singer K.Flay, who is an artist that I really love. The piece is going to be dark, sexy, and edgy. I also have to say that I'm pretty excited for my solo. I have a special surprise "trick" incorporated, plus the music selection for my solo is a very familiar piece that really touches the heartstrings for many people. So I'm hoping it's a crowd pleaser!
Fact: I love the performing arts and my life is really structured around that passion. For my day job, I'm the Controller for Seattle Theatre Group, which the non-profit that operates the Paramount, Moore, and Neptune theatres in Seattle; and produces 600+ shows a year. I'm also a board member for Velocity Dance and Sixth Day Dance. And in my free time, I love to continue with the creative theme: modeling, playing the violin, crafting, and of course, more dancing!

Ready to see our upcoming cabaret? Tickets can be purchased here. Get yours today before we sellout!

5th Annual Beauty Awards

by Alessandra on 02/01/18

Once a year I like to create a post to share my current favorite beauty finds, because you know, when you're on stage, you want to shine like the star you are. And some high-powered beauty products always help make that happen. 

Okay, let's see what's currently in constant rotation in my hair-care and beauty routines! 

Note: I am not paid or compensated in any way to write about the products I pick. I haven't even received free samples of any of these items. I just include 'em cuz I love 'em.

Overtone Deep Treatment for Colored Hair
Now that my hair is purple, it's a cycle of constant maintenance to keep the color as bright as possible. Since I don't want to run to the salon every two weeks, I touch-up my color myself at home with Overtone. Overtone makes hair products designed to freshen-up your fun hair color quickly and easily at home. I love their deep treatment product, but wouldn't recommend the conditioner, which I felt left a straw-like residue in my hair. They have an array of colors to choose from and online consultants can quickly help you pick the right one. Tips: You'll want to wear gloves when you apply this product. 

dpHUE Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse
Staying in the same vein of hair color conservation, I think we all know that shampoo strips hair of color. Thus, if you have color treated hair, the less you shampoo the better. However, if you're like me and workout and dance everyday, there's really only so many days you can realistically skip washing. That's why I love this next product, dpHue's Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse. You can rinse the dirt, sweat and grime out, but it's not a true shampoo, so doesn't hurt color at all. Combine it with conditioner and you're golden. 

Benefit Cosmetics Goof Proof Brow Pencil
Filling in your eyebrows is an absolute must for performances. You need them well-defined to frame your face and your expressions. Enter my favorite tool for achieving that - Benefit's Goof Proof Brow Pencil. One end has a spoolie brush and the other a perfectly proportioned angled pencil that distributes just the right amount of color. Easy to use and layer to the desired level of darkness, while still looking natural. Love this product! 

Kiss Ready to Wear Nails
I used to be a big fan of the shellac manicure. But lately, I've certainly changed my tune. I'm now all about Kiss Ready to Wear Nails. These are acrylic nails that you glue on yourself at home. They are cheap to purchase, quick and easy to apply, last longer than shellac, and look amazing. In short, by using these I'm saving both time and money. And I always get a ton of compliments on my nails when wearing them. You can buy these online or at Target, Walmart, Bartells, or another local drugstore. Tip: I recommend also purchasing the Kiss Maximum Speed Nail Glue rather than the glue that comes in the package. I also recommend throwing the glue into your purse in case a nail pops off and you need to quickly glue it back on while away from home. 

Milk Makeup Holographic Makeup Stick 
Highlight is another one of my makeup musts for stage. I love the way a bit of well-placed highlighter creates an ethereal glow when it catches the stage lights. My go to highlight product is Milk Makeup's Holographic Makeup Stick in Supernova. A couple swipes on the cheekbones, and voila!, that radiant lite-from-within goddess-glow is all yours. 

Want more beauty? Read the 4th Annual Beauty Award post here

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