Category: Dance

Little Meltdown

I felt a bit broken the other night. I was watching Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (like I do). They did a musical number that was a Soul Train. takeoff. You know the bit where the dancers make two lines and people. take turns showing off their best moves for the camera. Heather, the character played by the gorgeous Vella Lovell, took her turn. As I watched her, I started feeling sad that I can’t dance like that. I started feeling sorry for myself because MS has taken away my ability to do what I want to do with my body.

The truth is that although I have a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in dance, I was never a great dancer. So me thinking that I could dance like before MS Vella is ridiculous.

I was in bed with my husband when I had my crying meltdown. He reminded me that I can still dance. I can. I don’t use a wheelchair or a walking aid. He also brought up the fact that I’ve been a bit burned out on dancing for several years. He also suggested that any dancing that I want to do would be easier if I lost some weight. I do need to lose about 30 pounds, but let’s not get into that right now.

The day after the meltdown I felt some measure of shame. If it’s true that I chose to have this illness (when I was between lives), as a means of fostering spiritual growth, I have no business whining about it.

Also, there are so many people who have it worse than I do. I should be grateful for the strength that I do have. I’m not broken. I am perfect.

Laura McCain Reed
Non meltdown moment
Vella Lovell
Here’a Vella

Space and Time

Sometimes I write about how Multiple Sclerosis is treating me. I can’t say that I struggle with the condition, because for me, it is not that bad. I belong to an MS support group on Facebook and see so many people posting about the difficulties they go through because of the disease. I’m grateful that things are pretty good for me.

My worst symptom

The disconnect between my brain and my body makes walking somewhat difficult. For me, walking is not natural anymore. I think too much about the mechanics of walking just about every time I get up and take a few steps. I worry that people see me coming and think, “she sure has a weird walk.” It’s funny how your ego tricks you into believing everyone is watching and judging you.

My next worst symptom

The fatigue that comes with MS makes if challenging to be as physically fit as I would like to be. I can walk on the treadmill for 30 minutes at about 2.5 mph, but when I dismount I need another 30 to 45 minutes of recovery time before I feel comfortable walking from the gym to the car. I don’t use an assistive device for walking, but I would be better off using one after a treadmill workout.


I majored in Dance in undergrad and went on the earn a masters degree in Dance. I danced with a local modern company and with a belly dance troupe. I am still able to dance, but the muscle spasticity caused by MS is a problem. I can’t always rely on my body to do what I want it to do, for the amount of time I want to do it. I can perform a solo with little difficulty, but when I’m done, I have to shuffle off the stage, because the effort has caused the muscles of my lower legs to revolt. Dancing isn’t what it used to be.

Small collage with photo of dancer and mixed media leaf

Not complaining

It could be worse and I want to say that I’m not complaining. I think I am complaining. There are days when I wish I could be the person I used to be.

A life plan

My recent fascination with the stories of people who have had a near-death experiences led me to a book by Michael Newton, PH. D. called Journey of Souls. The work documents case studies of people Newton interviewd during hypnosis in which they recount a time when they say they existed in the spirit world after death. These subjects talk of having sessions with members of a soul group who counsel each other about what they will do in their next incarnation.

If what is said in the book is true, I have to believe. that after my last life, I chose to inhabit a body that would develop MS because I needed to learn something from the experience.

When I was a child, I remember telling my mother that when I was up Heaven I chose her and my father to be my parents. I believe more and more that this was indeed the case.

Sometimes I think that I’m supposed be be a writer, and MS is here to divert me away from dancing and toward writing. I have always had. trouble settling down to one area of interest. I’m a jack of many trades and master of none. I may not be a master of anything until my next life.

I’m event thinking about starting another blog devoted to spiritual stuff. Another example of my lack of focus.

A Clearer Path? Maybe from 12/25/15

It came to me like. flash. A flash? The flashy notion was that I can use this blog to document my creative journey. I want to be an artist. No, I shouldn’t say that. I will say that I am  an artist! I have something to express. Something to share with the world. I have the passion, now I need the skill. I need to learn how to use those tools I’ve purchased.

Okay, I know that in a previous post I said the blog was going to be all about jewelry. That was a good thought, but now I’m thinking bigger. The concept may get bigger still. It may shrink.  We shall see. The important part is that I keep posting.

I was going to talk about a few things in this post, but instead, I’ll keep it short.

I will give a preview of what’s to come. Not necessarily in this order.

  1.  Learning how to make wrapped wire loops.
  2. Digital to physical mixed media.
  3. My next dance solo.
  4. Working with my new DSLR camera.

We’ll see how things go.

Bird mixed media painting/photo print, Nikon DSLR, wire wrapped bracelet

Dancing Big

The prompt is disappointment.

It occurs to me that I’m often disappointed after performing a dance solo. Over the last few years, the disapointment has been because of my wonky legs. I now know the wonkiness is because of MS. I’ve recently been designing solos that don’t require me to move about in the space too much. That’s okay because belly dance doesn’t have to big. It can be subtle. In modern dance, they tell you to be big and engulf the space. One of my dance goals is to be able to do a little more traveling onstage, and do it without fear. The key is spasticity management. The MS link in this post features a video about spasticity. It sounds like there are all kinds of ways to manage it. I’m confident that (with trial and error) I’ll find the right solution. I want to be a better belly dancer, so doing reguar drills will be part of my exercise regimen. Can being disappointed motivte you to do better?

Woman with bell bottom pants illustration.




Got the job!

You may have read the post about my job interview a couple of weeks ago. I got the job! I’ll start the first ,week of August. Before hearing about this job, I applied for another one. I’m interviewing for that tomorrow. It’s possible that I could do both, and work sporadically (as I do now) at the job I currently have. It’s possible, but it might be a disaster. We’ll see what happens. I may not even get this other one.

In other news, I finally went to the foot doctor to get help with my wobbly ankles and gait difficulties. He said my problem is high arches, and he prescribed orthotics for me. I’m also going to physical therapy to correct my imbalances. I think it’s working. I’m just hoping to be a lot stronger in time for the Gen Con performance. The ATS move called Water Pot gives me the most trouble. In our choreography, it is rather fast. This move is  difficult if your feet don’t work right.

Here’s a video of the Water Pot by Belladonna Bellydance. Note, the first turn she does is in the wrong direction.

So I’m trying to practice our 17 or so minute set at home twice in a row to build up stamina in my legs. My calves get fatigued with too much walking or dancing.  I’m working hard to be the dancer I used to be.

As usual, I have a billion things I want to accomplish, and not enough time. As usual, I need to get up early but I don’t.

I guess all I can do is keep trying.

And I’m also trying to get into the making and selling jewelry business.

Images of my jewelry









I’ll have pieces for sale at the Different Drummer Belly Dancers exhibit booth.

And I’m really getting into selling on eBay. My husband had a couple of old Polaroid cameras. One sold yesterday and the other one sold while I was writing this post.

Polaroid OneStep AutoFocus

There you have it.


All the signs are pointing

I applied for a job that I am almost qualified for. I did not get an interview for said job. I’m okay with that.

The u(U)niverse has a plan for me.  I know I’m on the right path even though I have doubts sometime. You see, I felt positive about the job as soon as I applied, but my confidence started to fade as the weeks passed. It wasn’t that I thought the job was out of reach.  Instead, it was as if something shifted in the aether. I started to know that the job wasn’t meant for me. Something better is coming, and every moment of every day moving me closer to that something.

I have this dream of making something artful and selling it. Maybe I would do that for a living, maybe not. I’d have a wonderful studio like you see in the magazine, Where Women Create.

My troupe leader, Margaret,  is hosting a belly dance workshop in conjunction with the Bloomington Belly Dances event. The workshop (taught by Kandice Grossman) is called Ancestry in Progress (New School & Old School Belly Dance Using the Suhaila Salimpour Technique).  There will be vending, and Margaret said that I could vend!  I’ve decided to take a chance and see if anyone wants to buy some of my digital art. I found a pretty good deal on 8 x 10 prints on linen paper from Scrapbooks Please, so I worked up a couple of things and had them printed. i think they’re okay.

Sadie and my prints.
Sadie and my prints.

I’m going to try a few more things before the print sale ends. I’m starting small, but I feel like I can do this!  I’m moving toward my hopes and dreams.

And I got a blog post out of it too!

Expression through movement

I did a solo performance the other day and, my heart just wasn’t in it.  Granted, I was coming down with the flu at the time. Still, I’ve been struggling to understand what dance means to me these days.

When I dance with my troupe, I feel myself having fun. That makes me happy. That tells me  that I should be dancing, but lately, soloing isn’t giving me the same feeling that it used to. I figure I can either stop performing solos, or find a way to make them feel right again.

I gave my relationship to dance some thought and created this art journal page.


What’s my art?

I would love to lead the life of an artist. If I could do art for a living, I would get up in the mornings and do yoga for an hour or so. Then I’d go to my studio and work on my amazing mixed media collagy type works. Collagy is apparently not a word,
but it would be my word. Maybe my website would be called Collagy. I would sell my art from this website.

My mixed media art would have meaning. Every piece would emanate from my soul. People would be moved by my work. I would make a small difference in a lot of lives.

I would work hard at the business of being an artist. I’d try my best to get my name “out there.” I’d be at all of the big arts fairs, I’d be on social media. I don’t really know what an artist needs to do to be able to make a living, but I’d find out and do it.

That’s the fantasy.

In real life, I got two degrees in dance and never did anything with them. Sometimes I wonder what dance really means to me. I wonder what dance is really.

I’m working on some choreography for my belly dance troupe. I want it to be interesting, entertaining, and innovative. I’m a little bit stuck though.

What would that mixed-media collagy lady do? She seems pretty successful. Maybe I should talk to her.


I just don’t know about this dancing business

I have this on-again, off-again relationship with dance. Sometimes I love dancing. Sometimes I find dancing to be fun. Sometimes I think it’s the most ridiculous thing in the world to do. The act of standing in front of people and moving my body in certain ways just seems ridiculous. Did I mention that I have an undergraduate and graduate degree in dance? Ridiculous!

I do more belly dancing than modern dancing these days. My troupe, Different Drummer Belly Dancers does tribal fusion belly dance. I’ve found that dancing with the troupe actually feels fun to me.

I do dance as a solo act. I’ve been struggling with finding my own style. I want to be able to fuse modern dance with belly dance in way that is original and expressive, but I haven’t figured it out yet. I think I would have an easier time if my belly dancing skills were better. When it comes down to it, I’m more of a performance artist than a dancer.

Our big gig at the Fourth Street Arts Festival is coming up and I can’t decide if I want to solo or not. At the moment I don’t think that I have anything to express. I’m concerned that every solo I do is just a rehash of the same old moves. I don’t’ know that I have anything to give to an audience. I can’t even decide on a song. Should I improvise on the spot, or choreograph in advance?

I’m managing to make this stressful and not fun. I would love to create a performance art piece, but I don’t think I have time to come up with something clever enough to hold it’s own at this event.

This is what comes of being a dabbler. I do a lot of things relatively well, but I don’t a speciality.

I just don’t know.

My plan to get out of this dancing funk is to find a song and choreograph a solo specifically using moves that are not in my normal comfort zone. I’ll force my self to grow! That sounds like fun doesn’t it?