New Baladi Video is up!

I had the honour of being asked to dance in the Nova Scotia-based online show Belly Dance Brew in July 2021 (thanks Vanessa!!) and here is the performance!

The baby bump is making an appearance also at 17 weeks!

Click here to be directed!

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Pregnant! Now what???

Since getting pregnant, I have gotten lost trying to navigate this crazy world! I decided to compile a list of services that I am using so far along my journey to help you in finding your way.

Here are a list of resources, & support to help you if you are either on this journey OR if you are thinking about it! I am constantly adding to this list so keep checking back!

Midwifery

It was important for us from the beginning to find a midwife team that would be able to care for our needs & ultimately provide the best care for the baby. We settled on Strathcona Midwifery Collective in East Vancouver based on a few referrals & recommendations.

Fitness

I am still sourcing out a good athletic prenatal program (let me know if you got one in Vancouver!) but here are a few things I am currently doing:

Katie Crew Maternity Program – I have been doing the gym program 3 days a week in addition to whatever else I have going on. The program also gives you a home program as well and its $99 for lifetime access!

Zack Fitness Personal Training – I have been training with Zack since 2019 and see him 1:1 one day per week. He offers online classes as well every morning and is guaranteed to make you move!

Pilates Process Vancouver – Great classes and 1:1 attention!

Mama Method Pilates – I am currently working through the Prenatal Basics program and find it a great way to keep myself inspired & aligned.

Physiotherapy, Accupuncture & Chiro

I see the amazing doctors at Chiro Culture in East Van – they are VERY experienced with pregnancy & post-natal clients and even treat your babies & dogs!

The Cheerful Pelvis – a MUST for women in all ages of life!

The Village Acupuncture – a soothing clinic that helps rebalance, calm & nurture. Women owned & run.

Clothing

At time of writing I am still squeezing into my clothes but I have bought a few things! This will change for sure as the weeks roll by – feel free to message me with your fave spots to get clothing!

Blanqi – often feature great sales!

Skin Care

I went back to Paula’s Choice & followed their pregnancy recommendations for skin care! Here are their list of must-haves!

Please feel free to email me to tell me about YOUR fave place, service or resource you used while pregnant!

Big News!!

Big news!! Well if you are on my mailing list you know that I dropped a bomb on everyone last week – I am 14 weeks pregnant with my first (and only!) child!

Big News!  Baby Winter coming winter 2021!
Me & my momma!

Its been a REALLY crazy experience so far as I never wished to walk the motherhood road. I was pretty happy with my life until I met my now-husband and suddenly I started wishing to have this experience with him. Its a big change for both of us and I think we are both kinda like “Whaaaat?” although he is definitely taking it more in stride than I am. This is big news for both of us for sure!

Being someone very health conscious, I always thought IF I got pregnant that I would be able to still eat the way I wanted, workout & train as normal and basically live life the same except with a cute baby bump.

Well sadly this hasn’t been the case! Early on I experienced nausea and food aversions which has meant I haven’t touched a salad or greens now in nearly 4 months, can’t stand the smell or taste of coffee or most scented teas (bye chai 🙁 ), and all I want to eat is carbs and treats like banana bread and chips. Its been a COMPLETE 180 and to be honest quite a hard thing to wrap my head around.

I am nearly 15 weeks and still experiencing these symptoms except it has expanded to anything scented (makes me ill). I am pretty much off the bread train now but my diet has been the worst its been pretty much since I was an unhealthy vegetarian teen.

I have been able to maintain most of my fitness for the majority mind you exercising in masks has been difficult so I have lost alot of my cardio. There are days when I drag myself to the gym and it helps me feel better, some days I just focus on form and don’t break a sweat. I am still teaching pilates so I try to incorporate some pilates into my week when I can. Other days, I am resting.

Being pregnant has required me to start to surrender and give up what I am used to. Its a hard thing for me to process as I am definitely very much in control of my life ha ha so I don’t like giving up easily. I have been told many times that this is just the beginning – I am going to get schooled hard I think.

As for my teaching & dance life, everything is still on as planned for this year. I will finish my fall session end of November as normal and will break until March. I have 2 bookings in October – Raqs Quebec & Kelowna so will still be teaching these. I hope to run a few workshops here in Vancouver for Dance to the Beat of the Drum with my sidekick Tim Gerwing and possibly a tarab workshop.

I will be teaching pilates until the bitter end and hope to see some 1:1 privates post-partum. I am working out of a home studio in East Van (please see my CLASSES page for details) so if you would like reformer training, I gotchu!

If you are wanting privates for pilates or dance please book with me soon as my schedule is already filling up ö.

Any advice for this wary first time mom? Please comment below!

How to Set Goals

We have all heard about the importance of setting goals for ourselves – ESPECIALLY around New Years. Goals are a way to direct our paths to achieving things that we want – such as improving our health, getting out of debt, focusing on an accomplishment or finishing something. Where goals can go wrong, however, is that we can easily get sidetracked once we realize that perhaps we have bitten off more than we can chew. The first 2 weeks of working towards a goal is the golden period because we feel inspired, driven & motivated to achieve. Then once real life kicks in, it becomes harder to sty focused.

How do we keep on track with achieving our goals & succeeding?

The S.M.A.R.T principle works because it sets us up for success from the beginning. Spending some time really planning out how to achieve our goals is super important because you are giving yourself a bird eye view of your goal & all the other things you have going on in your life.

Say your goal is to save $10k in a year. At first it might seem doable – you might eat out less, pick up an extra shift or gig a week but suddenly without a plan this goal can seem unattainable.

Using the S.M.A.R.T principle – you can then structure the minute steps you need to take in order to get there.

You will need to break down how much you need to save per month in order to save $10k a year. You will need to put away $833/month or $208.25/week. Suddenly this does not seem as overwhelming.

Look at the S – what steps can you take monthly to put this money aside? Eat out only 1 meal a week? Make a plan to sell unused items in your home? Look for odd jobs?

M – do a weekly check in to see where you are at – how close are you to saving your weekly minimum?

A – If you are not meeting this weekly target, what actions can you put into place in order to achieve?

R – Make sure that this goal is realistic- consider all the things you have going on in your life & reassess to make your goal fit in. This goal should be attainable at all costs – its important to aim high but remember you want to set yourself up for success!

T – Set your timeframe accordingly. Give yourself a date (December 31) and work backwards.

For dance, this is how I structured creating choreographies, courses and classes. Each of these take up SO MUCH time and I used to leave everything to the last minute which left me feeling rushed, unprepared, not connected to the content and stressed. It took the joy out of what I was creating. Now I use the S.M.A.R.T principle to structure my time which actually gives me back time as I know I have focused time to work, and then once I have accomplished what I laid out, I can continue on with my life until I come back to work again.

Life is so busy for all of us, and we have big dreams we want to fulfil. By setting yourself up from the start in a structured and SMART (ha ha yes I went there!) way, you will be able to achieve all that you want. These microtasks take some time to figure out & plan, but this is time investing in YOURSELF which is always important.

Make yourself a priority!

What Does SUCCESS Look Like to YOU?

The Iceberg Theory

What does SUCCESS look like for you?⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

⠀⠀⠀🎯Creating content, choreographies, workshops, class programs, prepping for a show is a hustle for sure. It’s easy to look at someone’s work or success & think that either they have it easy or that it is easy. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

🙅🏻‍♀️What we don’t see is the magnitude of sweat labour it took to get to the finished product. It’s easy to forget the layers of foundation work it took to get there.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

⠀⠀🗣I find this with clients. When they balk at your price or ask for a discount it can be really disappointing & rude. As I reflected a few weeks ago on my Instragram, I’ve really started to lose patience with this! But quite often it’s because they don’t understand the level of work it takes to even just show up at their door let alone how you got to the place where you would even be considered to be hired as a professional in the first place. This is the opportunity (if they are willing to listen) to give a quick run down of why your prices are what they are & why, because of these reasons, you should be hired.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

💰 We spend thousands on honing our crafts. Between classes & workshops alone that is serious bank. Not to mention costumes, jewelry, make up etc. This is without the non-monetary value stuff – what about missing your cousins wedding, dancing on a broken toe (me! lol), spending hours on research & analysis…it all adds up quick. Don’t forget you can still do all this work and still not get to where you want to go. It’s tough. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

☝🏻Remember what we see at the top is a tiny fraction of what is unseen below. Where do you think the real successes are found? I would wager that these real success are the ones that are unseen – without this foundation you would never see the peak!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

What are some other things we sacrifice in order to find our personal success? Comment below 👇🏻

ARCANUM SHOW – ASHLEY RHIANNE AS THE HERMIT TAROT ARCANA

ARCANUM – THE HERMIT

In October 2020 I got a message on Instagram from a dancer I had never met who was from India. She asked me to me in her fundraising show with the go live date January 17, 2021 and the show concept was all around the 22 Major Arcanum of the tarot.

I was intrigued. I don’t know alot about the tarot and I was unsure of if I could could commit to the show but seeing as it was pre-recorded, I decided it was a good fit PLUS it gave me a reason to start working on new material & get a good video out of it in the process. So I agreed.

This show featured dancers from all over the world with a strong focus on dancers in India – none of which I had ever heard of before. We had a team meeting end of November and I felt immediately that the organizer Shruti (Samai Oriental Dance Company) had done not only her research on the dancers, but that she pulled together a show of likeminded individuals who were fiercely committed to their art.

Shruti drew The Hermit card for me – a card I knew nothing about. When she sent me the description I was absolutely shocked – it was the card that EXACTLY described where I was at currently in my life.

The Hermit card is a compelling card. Just as beacons of light often guide ships to the shore, this sage is ushering in a period of personal growth and exploration. The Hermit represents wisdom earned by seeking the highest truth.

Often, looking for answers within requires time alone with few distractions. It requires introspection and concentrating less on the senses. The Hermit implies it’s time to forget about old emotional attachments, however significant they may have been at the time. The Hermit holds his own lantern: he is lighting his own path. This is a reminder that clear and honest answers must be held to the following questions so that we can light our own path to the future.

I have made some significant changes in my life during Covid. I have let go of certain groups, friendships & associations because when removed I saw that these were not the right people for me. It has been a terribly painful growing & acceptance period and not one that has come easily. I slowly stepped into my own inner wisdom & courageously stand in my own truth. Having the space of Covid has allowed me to open my eyes, grieve, let go & accept.

Sometimes we simply just outgrow ourselves & our surroundings. Sometimes we just realize we deserve better. Sometimes we just need to accept & walk away. Drawing this card hit everything home for me.

I created my Hermit piece coming from a place of strength, inner wisdom & trust. I had a very hard time connecting to it originally and did not find suitable music that spoke to my vision. I ended up reusing a piece of music that I danced to in 2016 after my grandmother died where I essentially grieved her loss. This time round, I felt empowered and strong using this song.

I brainstormed with an old high school friend who shot & edited the piece and we filmed it over the holiday period together working tirelessly to get it done by the submission date. The end result turned out magically and was a great contribution to the show. I am very proud of our work and it truly stands out from the collection of work I have done previously.

The link is here for my performance: Click Here

I invite you to go and catch the Arcanum show in its entirety – it is a stunning 1.5 hour escape from reality!

The link is here: Click Here

Until next time, in movement,

Ashley Rhianne xo

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Finding Your Creative Process

Finding Your Creative Process

Generating ideas for a choreography or performance is hard in the best of times.

This can be even harder when you are asked to dance in a themed show or given a concept to work with. It might be something that you don’t necessarily jive with or you feel restricted by the direction.

It can be all-consuming, stressful or even painful creatively to get started.

Rehearsals can feel wasted or even that you don’t have the drive to start.

I’ve been in this boat MANY times & tbh sometimes my best work comes out of being commissioned. I tend to fight against it a lot but it typically forces me out of my box & to put on a different hat. But even creating choreo for myself can be tough & hard to navigate.

I’ve created a way over the years to help me get on board & reduce the stress around creating performance. It helps me hone into the end result but essentially storyboarding the entire thing from concept to creation.

So you have been asked to dance in a show. Now what?! Lets start from beginning… looking at the overall Theme of your performance.

#1: Choose Your Theme

This part might have been given to you already so now where are you going to go right? Well this is the part where you can take that idea & turn it into your creation.

Say you have been asked to play a certain character in a show. You have the rough sketch or expectation of the character, but you can turn that into something personal that you embody.

Focus on what feelings & emotions do you want to portray. Find your theme by exploring the overall tone & message of your piece. Determine what feelings & emotions you want to showcase both in yourself & your audience…what do you want you audience to feel?

#2: Represent

This is now your chance to take these emotions & feelings and start to embody them. What & how do you want to represent your theme? Start by brainstorming what you want to represent by setting the tone & the message. Write these out so that you have a clear understanding on where to work from & to make connections. You can also cross reference or delete in this step once you start compiling ideas.

#3: Inspiration

What is your inspiration? Where do you seek inspiration from typically? Are you inspired by watching other dancers, reading poetry, watching a film, nature? When starting to create your overall theme, go to where you get inspired keeping in line with your idea for your piece. Keep writing, create wordclouds, doodle. Allow yourself to connect with words and use them to keep setting the theme.

#4: Communicate

This is where you want to start to further enforce your message. What message do you want to send to the viewer? To the performance? Do you want to take the audience on a journey with you? Do you want them to experience visceral emotion? Do you want them to interact with you or silently observe? Do you want this piece to be purely authentic in its style or abstract? Do you want clear symbolism or leave it up to the audience to decide what it was about?

Having a clear direction about this message means that you will be able work from here equally clearly as you can start to draft the experiences from this place.

#5: Dive In

Get to work! Now that you have determined the overall theme & tone of your piece, it is time to dive in and start working.

Stay tuned for the next installment!

Ashley Rhianne xo

Why Dancers Should Cross-Train

My personal philosophy of why dancers should cross-train


As someone who has danced all her life, movement has always held a huge part of interest, investment & therapy. It’s been the place where I always could meet people and make friends, channel my energy & also learn and grow. Here I also learned discipline and the feeling of hard physical work. I was never into sports (still to this day!) but dance was this equivalent.


I went to my first step aerobics class at 11 years old and loved the athletic flow of the class. The combos and sequences were like dance and just made sense to my body. I added fitness to my life from then onwards. The further I went into dance and fitness I started to make the connection of how these two activities were very complimentary to each other. I gained a good understanding of how to shift my weight, where my body was in space (proprioception) and basically how my body worked. This awareness has allowed me to train with higher level performance trainers and keep pushing myself.


Incorporating Pilates into my life has taught me a deeper connection of recruiting muscles + dancing/teaching more anatomically correct.


Cross training also allows our brains to get smarter (really!) by forging new neural pathways that through repetition become engrained in muscle memory. And because our body is very smart & wants to always conserve energy, cross training constantly challenges our body to keep learning and growing. This body growth contributes to our dance in so many ways. Not to mention the strength and stamina we get from training & also the perky bum (ALWAYS a bonus).


As we age through dance, we want to keep our bodies as active as possible so that we can continue to do the things we love to do now. Cross training also decreases the chances of repetitive injuries & aids in recovery.


My Weekly Routine:

I aim for 5 days of exercise a week. I attend 2 HIIT classes a week (usually Tuesdays & Thursdays) at 6am – even though its hard to wake up I am always SO GLAD to have my workout done. I then aim to hit the gym 2 other days in the week to lift weights, get a bit of varied cardio in. I teach a pilates class Wednesdays online and in studio Mondays. I try to get into the studio early so I can get a reformer workout in.

I also teach dance so I get in some practice time and set up my class through training.

On top of this, I aim to walk 10k steps a day and take stairs whenever I can. During the pandemic I was working from home and sitting at my table working so I was only taking between 1500-2k steps a day!! Research has shown time & time again that low impact, steady state exercise like walking is an excellent stress reliever, helps strengthen & tone your legs and boosts mood. I have really enjoyed committing to these walks and it helps break up my work day or is a great way to wind down for sleep.

We only have this body now – treat it like a temple

Follow me on Youtube and get access to my dance cross training videos! Click here.

I am PERFECT & I am ENOUGH Campaign

I am PERFECT & I am ENOUGH! In the world of social media, it’s easy to caught up in the carefully curated and crafted images and text we see. As a performer / I’m guilty of it too. But the rabbit hole happens more often then not and I get swallowed in by the things I’m not doing, the looks I don’t have and the adventures I’m not on. Life always seems better and more exciting online lol but I’m starting to realize maybe it isn’t? We all have struggles, problems, issues. And that’s ok. And it’s ok to be vulnerable and honest about it because if we don’t talk about it, what we resist persists.

As a woman, I feel the weight of media expectations and beauty norms all the time. This is something that I have struggled with as long as I remember. I did not feel good in my body until these last few years (and even then I can still find things to complain about!) and I see my little cousins who are teenagers struggling with self-acceptance in a time where they should be enjoying life and being free. This conditioning happens at a very young age – I won’t even go into the gender norms here as I may be here all day! But trust me – I wear a weight on my shoulders alot of the time around self-acceptance and even though I am working on it, it is hard to remove my own personal history not to mention the history of my ancestors before me. Epigenetics is a thing and we can carry trauma, thoughts, feelings and emotions from our lineage.

So when Joharah of BellyUP Bellydance Studio asked me to take part in this “I am PERFECT & I am ENOUGH” campaign, I agreed because I need this reminder everyday, and so does my people.

We are perfect and we are enough.

Say it to yourself, write it on your hand, put it on your fridge, sing it in the car. Let’s rise up and remember that what we see online is not the whole picture or story

“I am Perfect & I am Enough”!