Back to School

It is the time of year where children are getting ready for another school year if they haven’t already started. This summer flew by so quickly, but we had great weather for the most part. I for one enjoy the cooler evenings and the smell of fall with the leaves changing colors. Time to get back to routines and planning.

My music search has been fruitful, and I have found a song to use for my Beginner’s class. Now to start creating combos to make up the choreography. Registration for Beginners opens on Friday, August 31 at Classes run on Mondays from Sep 17 – Nov 9 7:30-8:30 pm at the Glencairn Recreation Centre. Check out my class page for more details.

Tuesday, August 28 is the last summer class for Fundamentals. Please register online. Last chance to purchase a 10-class pass for $80. Fees will be going up in the fall as we move to a brand-new studio.

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Music with Lyrics

Last month I wrote about the criteria I use to select music for class choreography. One aspect I forgot to mention was lyrics. I generally prefer instrumental songs but sometimes I come across a piece that really appeals to me with lyrics. This happened during my recent music search for my beginner’s class. I had acquired the song, Al Ragel by Ramy Sabry, after taking a workshop in the spring. The instructor used it for some drills and I really enjoyed it. The Arabic pop song fit all the criteria I seek for my beginners’ class – short (2:51), Middle Eastern, has a repeating pattern, and isn’t too fast. Pop songs generally have lyrics, and this one was no exception. Unfortunately for me, they were in Arabic.

If you plan to perform or use a song with lyrics for choreography in class, make sure you know what they are singing about. As I don’t speak Arabic, Google was my first stop. I looked at several options that were available, but about three quarters of the way down the page was an article from The National which caught my eye. Titled ‘Patriarchal pop: the latest sexist trend in Arabic pop music’, the author opens the article with a walk through some of Al Ragel’s lyrics and then on to other similar works that all seem to follow a similar misogynistic pattern. I encourage you to read the article as it very interesting and eye opening. Based on the lyrics, Al Ragel is not the sort of song I want to promote so I will not be creating a choreography to it. So the search continues…


Fundamentals – Please register online for Tuesday’s class. We will continue working with travelling foot patterns and chest isolations.

Beginners – The Fall 2018 Leisure Guide is now available online. Beginner classes run from Sep 17 – Nov 19 7:30-8:30 pm at the Glencairn Recreation Centre (See page 67 for class details). Registration opens Aug 31 at

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On the Hunt for Music

Summer is the time of year when I’m on the hunt for new music. It’s the time when I go through the entirety of my music collection looking for just the right piece that inspires me to create choreography. I also spend hours on iTunes and other online music sites looking for inspiration. I need at least two songs, one for Br’Issah and the other for my Beginner’s class. The criteria I use to select these two songs are very different from each other.

For the beginners the song must be short, around three minutes, be Middle Eastern, have a regular pattern that repeats, and isn’t too fast. This allows me to create a simple choreography using combinations taught in class.

Finding music for Br’Issah is way more challenging as the criteria isn’t as definite. The main criteria is that the song should be around five minutes long. After that I basically find at least a couple songs that tickle my fancy and can stand to listen to hundreds of times. I look for music that moves me, has some variety or layers, and is generally instrumental. I then present them to my two troupe members with a description of my choreography concept for each song. They then let me know which song/concept they prefer, and I start the choreography process. But sometimes neither song/concept appeals in which case I go back to the drawing board to find new songs and repeat the process until we all agree on something that moves us all.

And there you have a quick overview of my choreography music selection process.

There are no classes this week. Fundamentals resumes on Tue, Jul 24, 2018. I need at least four students signed up so please register online to avoid the disappointment of cancelled classes.

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