Tag Archives: belly dance

Summer of dance

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13692988_10153561590635672_4965015085609723190_oTribal Unity

We began our summer, dancing at The Three Horseshoe Inn, Llangeitho. We were warmly welcomed and we thoroughly enjoyed our first dance outing.

13528430_10154418410354739_3392390366723899125_oAt the beginning of July, we were welcomed into the Wee Crafty Folk family at their Steampunk Extraordinaire, at the Blaenavon Ironworks. We danced in the sun 13559002_10153651712746700_6105772231861420128_othe rain and the wind 13592700_1758587191066436_4345694993005621029_n on a tiny stage 13582071_862262727212696_7293021555466940758_o and some bumpy ground. We made new friends 13528627_255460211502108_8729822987007473526_o13438956_10154326978680850_5101103827962123973_n13580516_748663858569317_4559449785190045217_o13528436_679809571849_581917443817173174_oand welcomed our newest Tribal Unity Wales performer! (She came to support us and Ashley had kindly offered to take photos so we persuaded her that it was a good day to dance:-))

Last weekend was the Lampeter Food Festival and the rain kept away again! 13693039_1363739183641733_703608656464810052_oWe danced two half hour sets in the entertainment tent plus audience participation and we loved every minute. 13701245_10153561592555672_7997562574212675563_o13765668_10153561595495672_2563386093820760471_o13731820_10153561600885672_335389288742989006_o13692978_10153561600715672_3681990756507417176_o13708338_1363739186975066_5349987637826492300_o13719506_10153561594605672_2555305949072770709_o13737576_10153561597910672_7474765846159049178_o

This Saturday is the Cardigan Bellydance Festival and we’re dancing at a birthday party on Sunday.

Classes are officially finished so my toe will have a week to rest (did I tell you I broke my toe? It’s been a painful month as well as a wonderful one!) and then I’ve two lessons to teach before the music festival on 13th August at the Brynog Arms in Felinfach. Tribal Unity Wales will be performing there between 3pm and 6pm and that will conclude our summer of dance…if the sun shines on a Sunday, of course, there will be impromptu dancing and picnicing in Cribyn!

For more information about Tribal Unity Wales, go to the Tribal Unity website. http://www.tribalunity.co.uk

You can message Deana for lessons in Essex via the website. You can message me here.

Enjoy the rest of summer and dance!

http://www.wendysteele.com has a Tribal Unity Wales page and you can view our performances via the Youtube page of Halo Quin https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAubabZ0MNYMtzHpCFqjM1A

 

One year on….missing you

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Approaching the end of the pagan year, it’s time to look back at both achievements and disappointments. Where have I been? Who came with me? Could I have handled that better? What did I learn? How have I grown from these experiences?

In November 2014 I launched a new book, the first of a new series, The Standing Stone books.

Standing Stone Home For Christmas Cover drop shadowMy eldest son came to visit at the Midwinter Solstice. DSC_1200

I danced my feet off with my fabulous ladies of Tribal Unity Wales…we even danced for the eclipse! 17005_1637467316511758_8560746038090504212_n11705339_1637467806511709_6336127877735496573_n11875606_10153165243553867_114847764_o11012386_10153650985507802_1147847422645631772_nOur little house finally has a roof!11150930_1600818576843299_7145038719453612890_n

I worked hard clearing to the end of Bramble Avenue, along our riverbank DSC_000811947900_1654664588125364_5441217376693406600_o(1)Tribal Unity came from Essex to visit and we danced on our outdoor stage

On the beach with my home girls

On the beach with my home girls

I introduced juicing into my diet and changed the balance of vegetables on my plate DSC_1436and published another book!DSC_1413

But my strongest feeling about this year is missing those I love. I’ve missed my children, a constant pain in my heart that though appeased a little by phone calls is only alleviated once I hold them in my arms. I’ve missed my friends, women who have loved and supported me through the best and worst of times. But most of all, I’ve missed my mum and dad. While mum was alive, my promise to dad to look after her kept him alive for me but now they are both gone, I grieve for them both. All year I’ve carried the pain of their loss, silently held within me, only let out in great gulping sobs and screams when I’m alone or the odd persistent tear I cannot restrain.

As the wheel of the year turns, moving us on towards winter, I must let go. My ritual on the riverbank tomorrow night will help me move forward, helping me leave the negative behind while I spend the winter months with my thoughts, working through emotions and emerging anew in the spring.

Samhein blessings xx

A life less sensible

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Sensible has two definitions in the dictionary:

1. done or chosen in accordance with wisdom or prudence; likely to be of benefit.
2. (of an object) practical and functional rather than decorative.
My mother was a practical, prudent woman but whether by nature or because of living through WWII and the following eight years of rationing, I will never know. Either way, her parenting was of a very strict, sensible nature and I learned how to manage money from her. Living a ‘sensible’ life, however, did not sit well with me.
My first marriage was to a ‘sensible’ young man, training to be an accountant with his own car and with aspirations to own his own home….I was beaten on my honeymoon.
My second marriage was to a less ‘sensible’ man, who made me laugh and was kind and generous. We were friends first and it was the arrival of our first child that pushed us to do the ‘sensible’ thing and buy a home together. We got on well but, like many friends, we had different ideas about many things. His new job in the City boosted his aspirations to make money and though I tried to be the executive wife (I even bought the blazer!) after twelve years together, this relationship ended.
Now I was torn….I needed to be ‘sensible’ as three young lives depended on me being their rock and supporting them and yet, having been married the first time at nineteen years old, I longed for the pressure to be lifted. Meeting my present partner gave me times of bliss, laughter and naughtiness which helped me maintain my ‘sensible’ parent status, seeing the children through school.
Turning fifty was a landmark moment, a time a lot of women dread but for me, with a new, exciting adventure in Wales to look forward to and my children through school and University, for the first time in my life, I felt carefree. Antonyms of sensible include foolish and stupid but for me, carefree means not automatically taking the prudent option but sometimes just ‘going for it’!
This last weekend I partied in a yurt in a field on Friday night, dancing of course, before performing at the Cardigan Bellydance Festival on the Saturday.
On Sunday, I taught morning and afternoon workshops. On Monday, I barrowed logs, made up two boxes of kindling, cooked, baked, washed and cleared up after the weekend. None of this was ‘sensible’ but I loved every second! Today, Tuesday, I’m spending the day writing as my body gave me a nudge to say it needed a rest.
Organising a building site requires me to be sensible with resources and time and organising the household, the same but for the rest of the time, I enjoy a less sensible life….paddling in the sea on Christmas day, getting my first tattoes Wales 2014 020

Eight pointed star, one of the symbols of Ishtar

Eight pointed star, one of the symbols of Ishtar

Dancing with my friends in the sunshine…..11053065_1610337169224773_4219450298485072431_ntaking time to dress and make up for a performance….10556448_727027910700917_1801320681454343591_n

welcoming the sun and moon in the sky….11012386_10153650985507802_1147847422645631772_n ….drawing pictures in the sand and writing the books I care passionately about….books for women….m_DSC01109 about strong, fabulous real women….Wales to 21st June 2014 013books to bring magic into your life every day, books about the beauty of Nature and the part women play as the goddesses of the world….Standing Stone Home For Christmas Cover drop shadow….as they deal with real life (including all the ‘sensible’ bits that make others lives run so smoothly) while embracing the women they really are….DSC_1413

Let go your inhibitions and join me, living a life less sensible.

You can find out more about ATS® Belly Dance at http://www.tribalunity.co.uk.

For links to all my books, please visit my author pages: http://www.amazon.com/Wendy-Steele/e/B007VZ1P06/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0http://www.amazon.co.uk/Wendy-Steele/e/B007VZ1P06/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1365459567&sr=1-2-ent

Love and light xx

My Lovely Blog – Blog Tour

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Thank you to the fabulous historical fiction author Judith Arnopp for tagging me to join in this blog tour. You can read about Judith and her novels here:

http://juditharnoppnovelist.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/my-lovely-blog-blog-hop.html

 

First memory

What do we truly remember as a first memory or what inspires us to recall a scene, a moment in time from the past? My earliest memories focus on my dad, the most loving, generous and kind man I have ever known. Dad loved the sunshine and the sea so the salty smell, wind in my face and seagulls overhead remind me of him.  My earliest memories are of happy seaside holidays at Cliftonville, near Margate in Kent. During the year I would save 1d from my 4d a week pocket money so I had spending money for our yearly one week holiday. My savings would buy me a Seaside Special comic and an icecream for the whole family, though in retrospect my Dad must have subbed this enterprise. Sat in the sand in my swimming costume with cardigan on top, I created fairy castles and pirate ships, surrounded by moats and bridges so when the sea came in, they stood proud of the tide for a time until washed away, they were reduced sand, a new medium for the following day’s play.

When the tide went out, Dad would take me by the hand to the rock pools. In his beach sandals, he tiptoed across the rocks before pulling back the sea weed and depositing a small crab in my little yellow bucket. The children on the beach loved him. Like the Pied Piper he would lead them across the sand. He showed me how to pick up the crabs gently and encouraged all the children to return the crabs to the pools once parents and siblings had been shown the wonders in their buckets.

Sat in a deckchair in his shorts, white vest and Panama hat, smiling in the sunshine….my first memory.

 

Books

My brother left for University when I was twelve years old. I was a lonely child. Mum didn’t believe in play school so I began school not knowing anyone and I lacked the social skills to make friends. By the time I started senior school, I had learned to hide in a book, preferring the fictional lives I read about to the isolated existence in which I lived. Books transported me around the world and to other worlds I was free to imagine. I wrote stories of my own, creating little books that I attempted to tape together. An inspiring English teacher encouraged my creative writing, set me on a path to discovery within a reference library and prompted me to challenge the careers teacher with my desire to be a researcher for the BBC, rather than a secretary. Her lack of support propelled me into office work but now, research for my own books is a joy and I love nothing more than reading a book and adding to my knowledge.

My children were surrounded by books from the moment they were born. Bath, stories and bed was the norm and they were encouraged to write themselves.

I rarely leave the house without a book….who knows where you may be held up and have the opportunity to read.

 

Libraries or bookshops

On Saturday mornings, from age 12 to 14, I spent my time in the library. It was a long walk, through the twittens (alleyways) up to the town but I didn’t mind because once I was there, I had the world at my finger tips. Libraries are opportunities, free reading for everyone and should always be fought for. Recently, phone box libraries have appeared, recycling a space and giving it a new, important place in our community.

Wales to August 25 2014 001I love bookshops and frequent them with birthday or Christmas tokens. Finances have never allowed for me to purchase new books regularly, reiterating my love of libraries. I love second hand bookshops even more but just before we left Essex, our favourite one in Maldon closed down due to competition from the internet. My partner and I spent happy hours in that shop over the years, discovering dusty treasures from the shelves and curling up in a tatty armchair to peruse them.

Learning

I’m not a fan of pumping information into young children, requiring them to take tests and meet standards. I’ve always believed that if you instill a sense of wonder into small children, you give them the desire to learn and they will do so for the rest of their lives. Giving children opportunities and introducing them to new topics, ideas and cultures helps them decide their own likes and preferences and leads them to the subjects they wish to study further.

My infant and junior schools did all of the above and though senior school was not so good (newly formed comprehensive school from old grammar and secondary modern), I emerged with both O and A levels. I ventured into the world of work, desperately to leave home and start my own life and, over the years, regretted not attending university but in the past twenty years, I have pursued areas of learning that have always intrigued me….history, archaelogy and magic.

My passions

Apart from writing, I love dance and I love cats. Labelled a fairy elephant as a child, I was dissuaded from dance and learned piano from the age of four. I was forty before I walked into a bellydance class and asked if I could join in. Since then, I’ve passed on my love with my company Phoenix Bellydance, teaching Egyptian dance to over 300 women and girls and in the past five years, have danced and trained with Tribal Unity in ATS® Belly Dance and have been teaching as Tribal Unity Wales this past year. ATS® Belly Dance is a blend of styles of Egyptian belly dance, Flamenco, Kathak (classical Indian dance) and African Tribal. Moves and cues are danced by a leader and dancers follow, creating an improvised dance which is inspirational, uplifting and a full body work out.

I’ve never passed a cat in a street without saying hello. Not allowed pets as a child, I’ve taken in rescued cats for many years and now live with Tiggy and Jibby, the latter living in an old barn when we moved here in November 2013. Two seems too few cats to have around but while the large building work has been taking place here, nervous new kittens would not have felt at home here but now we have a roof, it won’t be long before we give more cats a home.

Wales to 20th Nov 2014 078Jibby helping with my writing.

I hope you’ve enjoyed your stop of the Lovely Blog Tour and will continue to follow it. I’m passing the baton to two authors who I met via social media and who support Indie authors in many ways. Look out for Kim Scott aka Lydia North and Clare Plaisted on your travels.

http://www.kimscottbooks.com/apps/blog/

 

http://myjourneyintowriting.blogspot.co.nz

https://claireplaisted.wordpress.com
http://plaistedpublishingauthorinterviews.blogspot.co.nz/

Dance…today and every day

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I learned ballroom dancing by standing on my Dad’s feet when I was tiny. Ballet lessons, however, were out of the question as I was labelled a ‘fairy elephant’ and I learned piano instead. I shuffled my feet and waved my arms at the disco in the 80s but it wasn’t until I was forty that I ‘found’ dance and embraced it.

On Saturday night, my Tribal Unity Wales students and I joined the dancing at a hafla in Cardigan. (A hafla is a belly dance party, rather than a performance.) American Tribal Style® (ATS®)Belly Dance is the style I teach, created by Carolena Nerricio in the late 80s and since moving to Wales, I’ve started two classes and am about to start a third. Unlike Egyptian Belly Dance, every dance is improvised, dancers following the cues of the leader.

The atmosphere built as costumes were finalised and make up perfected before we began. As the first group danced, Rose Barter’s Belly Fit class for over 50s, I looked around at the other dancers, their friends and family. Everyone was smiling, clapping in time, supporting the dancers and enjoying the music and I wished we could capture the feeling in the Small World Theatre….then everyone would dance.

DSC_1261Our two group dances, one in groups and chorus and the other in formation, were interspersed in the programme with stick dances, a veil dance, a drum solo and other duets and solos. There were no egos. Each dancer was there to share the love of the dance.

Tribal Unity were invited to dance to the live drums and my partner joined them on the tabla. Hayley and I danced a fun, crazily fast duet…how can I describe how much fun that was?

My life changed when I started belly dance. In my early twenties I used weight training, swimming, aerobics and stretching to keep fit and sculpt my body. Thirty years on, dance gives me that and so much more.

I began with Egyptian Belly Dance, attending work shops all over the country to learn new skills and develop my dance until I became a tribal babe just over four years ago. Now I have the privilege to teach American Tribal Style® Belly Dance to others, sharing the love of the dance and the bliss of being part of a tribal family.

Don’t wait. You don’t need an excuse. Dance…today and every day.

To find out more about Tribal Unity http://www.tribalunity.co.uk

To find out more about American Tribal Style® Belly Dance http://www.fcbd.com

 

 

Are you a hoarder?

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When I packed up our ‘spare’ possessions in January 2012 and put them into storage, pre-empting a quick house sale and a speedy move to Wales, I tried to have a clear out.

m_mum's phone photos 338After we re-decorated our house and put it on the market in March 2012, dressed as a show house, I had another cull.

DSC00894As the days and weeks tick by towards the much awaited new thatched roof, I attempt to live and work in a couple of rooms, with my possessions in boxes, scattered between three barns and upstairs, but the need to sort boxes and attempt some organisation has become critical.

But what to throw away or recycle? I came across a bag of shimmy belts. As I no longer dance Egyptian bellydance, my need for these belts is zero and yet, as I tip the bag onto the bed, the coins jingling and tinkling, memories come flooding back to me. There’s my first, heavy, gorgeous, purple and silver belt and memories of my first class, the joy of shimmying my hips and twirling my veil and the breathless exhileration of dancing.  My teaching belt, lightweight and less noisy, emerges from the bag and I remember the hundreds of women and girls who attended my workshops, who I opened the door of belly dance for and invited them to follow a dancing path. Then there’s a stunning black and gold belt, a birthday gift from Mike’s Mum and I know why I still have these belts. When I first started Phoenix Bellydance, she came with a friend to my first taster workshop and they enjoyed it so much, they signed up for the beginners course…and never left.

…And that’s why we and the children have Memory Boxes. Into these boxes go cards, notes, pictures and possessions, ready to evoke memories from the past. Our Christmas Box is also a Memory Box as, each year, when the children came back from school with a cotton wool covered snowman, glitter stars and pictures, they went onto the tree and then into the box. The following year as the box was reopened, old memories emerged and were reshared before the tree was adorned with family memories once more.

I’m not a hoarder…I’m a treasurer of memories.