Now that I’ve talked about where 2019 has brought me, I wanted to take a moment to talk about where I plan to head in the next year (and in the next few years).
Note that I’ve always been a great planner, but not the best when it comes to following that plan, so I’ll ask for forgiveness now knowing that things will definitely change.
Over the last couple months, I’ve been working on a handful of skills that are still very much works in progress. For example, I have finally started to get the hang of a belly flutter (I have my teacher’s choreography to thank for this – 12 seconds of flutters hi oh my god), but it’s still not where I want it to be, so I plan to work on getting this to look a little nicer.
Zils are, of course, an ongoing challenge for me. My troupe will be performing a zil choreography with a wide variety of patterns in April, so, again, a skill I have to work on improving. At the moment, I can do a gallop (3s) pretty well, but our choreography includes 3-1-3-1-3s, 3-5-5s, 3-3-7s… All things I need to work on internalizing.
As a belly dancer, one thing I’ve always struggled with is shimmies, so I want to work on improving those as well. 4/4 shimmies, in particular, are hard to do without turning them into more of a vibration, so I want to work on keeping timing with these better.
I do have a handful of pole skills I’d love to master in the next year – a true grip handspring, a bird of paradise, and a jade split, to name a few. These have a lot of prerequisites I’m not entirely comfortable with yet, so these may stay a work in progress until future years.
My studio is also starting contortion classes in the next couple weeks, so I hope to give that a go. I have a habit of not stretching nearly enough, so a class to focus specifically on flexibility would be helpful for me.
On the silks, I am perpetually working on cleaning up my hip keys and aerial inversions, so these will stay works in progress for 2020.
I am working on choreographing my first ensemble aerial silks piece at the moment, for a show coming up at the end of February. This has proven to be challenging so far. I would like to complete this choreography in a way that leaves me feeling like I did my best (rather than half-assing it toward the end) and continue to work on more group choreographies.
I am currently working on putting together a circus troupe to begin performing (ideally) monthly shows so we can move toward a more professional level together and work on building up peoples’ awareness of circus within our community (the number of people I’ve talked to who have no idea we even have a circus studio here is astounding). I’ll definitely talk about this more as it becomes more of a real thing. I’m absolutely certain there will be growing pains and hard lessons learned.
I am also working on finishing my group fitness instructor certification through ACE. Once I have finished that, I would love to start teaching classes and get people moving. I’m hoping to start with yoga, conditioning, or some introductory-level dance classes. If this feels comfortable for me, I would also like to consider releasing classes online at some point, though this is another goal that will probably be saved for future years.
Finally, I am about to begin the certification process for the level one curriculum at the Suhaila Salimpour school. It’s something I’ve wanted to pursue for quite some time, so I’m looking forward to the intense training experience I’m about to embark on (expect a follow-up post with my experience!).
In the interest of continuing to develop as a performer, I plan to continue performing regularly. I don’t have a set number of times I hope to perform, but my estimate is about 40 shows and likely 80 pieces. I would like to sign up for a pole dance or aerial competition, but I’m guessing my finances will push those toward future years.
Likewise, I eventually want to pursue the 8 Elements course with Studio Datura, but the initiation phase is already sold out for 2020 (and I’m broke), so this is another goal for the future.
Social Media Goals
I want to work on building my presence online. It’s kind of a sad reality that artists either have to be incredibly lucky with who they know or work their pretty little butts off to build a following on the internet in order to find even a modest level of success, but I’m willing to play the game.
I won’t set any specific goals for the number of followers or views or anything because I think it will make me focus on all the wrong things, but I would like to set a goal for consistency. I don’t yet have a plan for what that consistency will look like. It may well be one post per month on here. I tend to prefer to create only when I feel like I have something to say, so I think this goal is more of an exercise in teaching myself how to recognize the things I can offer. (This makes sense to nobody but me. I’m okay with that.)
I haven’t done the best job of taking care of myself on a lot of levels for the vast majority of my life – particularly while I’ve been in grad school. I get a lot of exercise, but I eat like a five-year-old and ignore my feelings and it shows.
This is another goal that I don’t yet have a tangible vision for, but I want to start taking better care of myself, particularly on an emotional level. It’s easy enough to change my diet or get more sleep, but learning to let things go when they’re no longer serving me and remembering to take time for myself to relax, to feel things, and to evolve are incredibly challenging.
I definitely want to push myself toward more failures and rejections. For a while, I was doing a really great job of trying new things knowing I would be awful at them, but I have returned to a certain comfort zone where I’ll drop a skill if I fail at it a handful of times.
To achieve this, I want to try to learn a few new things I know I’ll suck at (unicycling! poi!) and revisit things I’ve tried to learn and quit (handstands! juggling!). My goal isn’t to get good at these things; it is to continue to work on them despite being incredibly bad at them and not get frustrated with myself for not being a pro off the bat.
Finally, I want to work on my consistency in showing up and learning to recognize when it’s time for a break. I will be honest: I have gotten kind of lazy over the last few months. I will show up for a class, but I do not always push myself. Sometimes that means spending the last 15 minutes of class sitting on the sidelines and watching people who have actual energy. Part of this is probably my crappy diet, but part of this is just the habit of giving up. I want to fix that, show up consistently and give my all without quitting. On the flip side, this could be due to exhaustion and mental fatigue, but I honestly couldn’t tell you because I have no idea how to check in to see if I need a break – that’s scary. I want to understand myself more over the next year and take time to listen to me.
As a side note, I totally launched an official Patreon page and you should definitely check it out simply for the fact that my banner is a lovely shot of my butt. You’re welcome.
And if you pledge, I may one day be able to afford to hire a photographer for a better banner, so there’s that.