“How do you find the time to do it?” – Guest Author Lisa Jean

As a bellydancing mom of three who dances and teaches, i get asked this all the time.  At first glance, I don’t know how to answer it.  I just do what needs to be done.  But when I look at the bigger picture, I can see how crazy it looks.

But I’m getting a little ahead of myself!  Let me give you a little background.  My name is Lisa Jean.  I’m a dancer, dance teacher, and barre fitness instructor based in Wamego, KS (a.k.a. small town in the middle of nowhere).  I’ve been dancing since I was little, bellydancing for almost 20 years, and teaching for around 10.  I’m also a stay at home mom of three kiddos.  Rowan is 10, Kelvin is 6 and Leah just turned 3.  So yeah, I’m a little busy!

Honestly, balancing everything isn’t something I consciously planned at first.  I just sort of shuffled things around until I got it to work.  And of course, everything changed with the addition of each kid.  After being a dancing mom for 10 years, though, I can give you some tips for what’s worked for me.

  1. Lists.  This is probably the biggest one for me!  Between all the things I need to remember to do for my business, the kid related things (doctor appointments, school things, pokemon names, etc), and just life in general, there is absolutely no way I can keep it all straight in my head anymore.  I use  google calendar that’s shared with my husband, a physical planner, and a daily to-do list to keep it all mapped out.

      The daily to-do list is by far the most helpful.  Let me share how I do it!  Each night I make a list of all the things I want to do the next day, then divide that into three categories.  The first   category is the things that NEED to be done.  I try to put no more than 4 things in this list, cause let’s be honest, between drop-off, pick-up, potty-training and everything else, I don’t typically have time for much else!        

The second category is the things I’d LIKE to get done.  This is typically things that need to be done soon, but not necessarily tomorrow.  If they don’t get done, no sweat.


The third category is the things that probably AREN’T going to get done.  Just those things that you’d like to get done at some point, but don’t really have a due date. 


My goal for the day is to just get those few things done on the first part of the list.  If I can those done, I feel accomplished!  I had to train myself to be okay with not getting the rest done.  It took awhile, but now I can go to sleep guilt free if I only get those first 3-4 things done.  Life with kids has a lot of unpredictability to it, so I can’t really schedule large chunks of down time to do things.  I have to look for the windows.  Boys are at school and Leah’s playing contentedly?  Quick!  Work on something on the list that doesn’t need prolonged focus.  Nap time?  Knock out something that needs a little more focus.  I’ve also just gotten really well practiced at working in small bursts.


2)  Rely on your support network.  I’m still working on this one!  I tend to be of the mindset that I can do ALL THE THINGS and asking for help is a sign of weakness.  Actually, asking for help is a sign of strength.  My husband takes care of bedtime solo two nights a week and keeps the troupes busy for a chunk of time each weekend so I can get some focused work done.  My parents are always happy to keep the little one while the bigs are at school so I can get some serious work done once in awhile.  There’s no way I could get as much done as I do and still stay sane without help.


3)  Schedule in creative practice time.  This one I just recently started doing.  Businessy stuff and drilling and lesson planning I can do at home with the kids under foot.  But just noodling around and exploring movement is something I can’t really do while wearing the “mom hat”.  So here’s my current solution!  I teach my in person classes on Monday nights.  However…when my classes aren’t in session, I still go in to the studio and take that time to dance just for me.  I choreograph.  I play.  I explore.  It’s been lovely!  I’d love to have more regular time to do this, but I know that next year my youngest will go to half day preschool so that will open up some regular time that I can dedicate to my personal dancing.


4)  Keep the big picture in mind.  Your littles won’t stay little forever.  They won’t always need you.  Dance will always be there for you, even if it goes a bit on the back burner once in awhile.  Enjoy your mommy years as much as you can because they’re fleeting and irreplaceable.
I know this list doesn’t contain any magic secrets that will miraculously create loads of free time to get your poop in a group, but hopefully it give you a little insight to creating more balance in your dance/mom life!


If you’d like to follow along in my adventures, be sure to follow me on instagram at lisajeanbellydance or visit my website www.lisajeanbellydance.com


Want to contribute to the blog? Contact Ashley Rhianne here!

2022 Schedule is up! Click here to be taken to the schedule.

2021 BellyDance Bundle!!

The Bellydance Bundle 2021!
Ashley Rhianne – Pilates for Dancers

2021 Bellydance Bundle!

I am beyond thrilled to announce this – I have been accepted as a Bellydance Bundle Contributor for 2021!!

It has been one of my GOALS for the last few years to join this group of dancers & teachers & it finally happened!

What is the Bellydance Bundle??

It is an AMAZING Collection of dancer collaborations to keep you training & working at your own pace to grow as a dancer. There are dancers from all over the world & backgrounds that are included in the bundle so you have a variety of teachers & disciplines to keep growing.

This year I will be presenting 2 workshops on Pilates for Dancers that will be included in the bundle.

4.5 years ago I stepped into my pilates training to not only learn how to help others through movement but also how to help my body & dance. It has been an integral part of relearning oriental dance & movement patterns – not to mention core conditioning, strength and muscle integration. During the start of the pandemic I started to teach virtual mat pilates classes to dancers, personal trainers & other fitness professionals & I got such positive feedback! Today my virtual class is made up of mostly dancers who are looking to keep their bodies strong & develop muscular awareness.

“Pilates has helped my dance ability! My muscle & joints are stronger, which supports my body more. For bellydance, I can articulate moves better & I have a larger range of motion” – Sheri

2021 Bellydance Bundle Details

We kick off a strong month + of Bellydance starting today (September 15) with a fantastic new resource to see the progress you’re making in your practice in real time.

Track Your Dance, See Your Progress.

This new guide takes you through some different ways that you might be able to track your practice, has you set some goals, and then has a 30 day fillable tracker that you can use while you’re practicing!

Check it out here: The Bellydance Bundle Link

Can’t wait to see your progress in real time!

Who doesn’t need a new pair of zills, or five? The Bellydance Bundle is giving five lucky winners, five pairs of zills from Turquoise International & Saroyan to celebrate their fifth year! Check it out here!

Contest starts September 20 – October 2!! There will be loads of other giveaways (including from yours truly) so make sure to watch your email!

Bellydance Bundle Sale

In October, there is a crazy sale happening for the bundle which starts October 20 – 27 (7 days only!!) where you can save a Bundle on the Bundle! Mark your calendars to grab this deal!

Thank you all so much for this support! It is crazy amazing!

When you wanna give up

I recently taught a private class & had a student get very frustrated with herself to the point she wanted to quit. She’s a lovely dancer with training but hadn’t danced much at all during the past year (just restarted my virtual class this past spring). I offered her a spot in my semi-private group and was so happy she took the spot! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

But she got really hard on herself to the point that she got in her own way of learning – and wanted to give up.⠀⠀⠀

Sound familiar?⠀This took me back to ALL the classes I went to where I couldn’t figure out whatthehellwasgoingon – I was turning left when everyone else was turning right. I remember my first festival festival in Cairo where I hid in the back feeling like I didn’t know how to dance & that I wanted to quit.⠀

But I pushed on. These feelings are actually good feelings to have when we experience them. If you can go to a dance class & know everything & do it well WELL why are you going to class? It’s time to move up & on. ⠀⠀

Through challenge we grow – think about the lessons life hands us- we develop & become resilient through adversity. Dance is no different/ we challenge our brains through building new neural pathways that makes us smarter (yes yes!) & we learn new motor patterns which adds to our toolbox. We become richer through learning & feel accomplished when we finally nail that move/that combo/that choreo. 

The biggest struggle is ourselves & our brain. We get in our own way & compare ourselves to others. We forget that we are in the initial stage of learning (WHICH IS HUGE). You didn’t learn to walk in a day. You didn’t learn to dance in a day. So be patient with the process ♥️⠀⠀⠀

Can you relate to this feeling? How do you talk yourself out of it? Message me and tell me!

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Things you should be discussing with your students

Are you discussing these ethics with your students? 

While it can be an awkward  discussion, as teachers it is important for us to share this information so that we set our students up with information & common practices that they may not be aware of. Here are a few things you should be discussing with your students:

  1. Giving credit for choreography, music, & photography 
  2. How to navigate performance & gig situations 
  3. Asking permission to perform a choreo 
  4. Embracing everyone in the class regardless of skill, ethnicity, orientation or  gender identity 
  5. Being supportive of your classmates & others while attending events 
  6. Reproducing video or music without permission 
  7. Seeking out dancers of origin or MENAHT
  8. Being mindful of cultural appropriation and respecting the origins of the dance

As teachers, our responsibilities don’t end at the class door. Making sure we practice what we preach is so important as our students will look to us for guidance & direction. 

What other ethical topics do you include when talking with your students. Shoot me a message & tell me!

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That 70’s Bellydance Show – Retro Raqs


A TRIBUTE TO THE 70s


Bringing you Egyptian, Turkish and Lebanese dance from this often forgotten about era!Ashley Rhianne will be performing in the Retro-Raqs Online Gala Production – That 70’s Bellydance Show October 23, 2021!

That 70’s Bellydance Show Coming October 2021!
Gala Show Featuring Ashley Rhianne

This weekend will be an all-star studded weekend featuring Shahrzad (Egypt/USA), Esmeralda (Brazil), Azad Khan (Turkey/Germany) and is hosted by Katie Sahar & Amara Sayid.

Early bird registration starts August 15.

www.retro-raqs.com for more details!

Raks Quebec October 2021

It has been 2 years in the making of Raks Quebec and thanks to Covid 19 we had to delay it by a year! However this year we are doing it – ONLINE!

Ashley Rhianne will be the headliner at this event alongside amazing notable teachers, performers & judges. Join us for 3 days of dance, competitions and performances!

Please CLICK HERE to be directed to the website for more details & to register!

Support local Canadian talent and help us unite from coat to coast!

Being a Beginner Takes Courage

Being a Beginner Takes Courage
Do you remember your first dance class?
What brought you to this class? What internal drive caused you look up the class time table, to pack your bag, to step foot into the studio?

How did you feel to suddenly realize you know nothing about what you were about to do, to suddenly be a beginner?

Being a beginner is scary. Being a beginner takes COURAGE.

As a confession, I haven’t handled this experience well as a more advanced dancer. It is humbling to step back and put yourself back in the vulnerable position of knowing nothing.
It is something that I am working on by working on Instagram challenges, taking  online classes and pulling out material to train.  But this practice will be ongoing for my whole dance life.

As a soon-to-be-mother, recognizing that I am going into a Brand New Role of totally unknown territory is incredibly scary. I will be starting at the base – every child is so different and I have no reference of what to do compared to others.  It is a very scary position to be in.  Being a beginner takes courage.

BUT.  Every class you take, every book you read, every day that passes we become less & less of a beginner.  We start to grow through the adversity, through the struggle, through the sleepless nights.  We gain experience. We learn coping mechanisms.  We cry, we fall, we stand up again.  We show up time and time again to evolve from day 1.

Accepting we know nothing will allow us to grow into something.

For those of you (like me!) that hold ourselves back from doing that thing we want to do but we are too scared – JUST DO IT. Just try it.  Every single person that inspires us was once a novice.

Here is a listen for you if you are in this boat!

Being a Beginner
Artists for JoyListen on Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/ca/podcast/being-a-beginner/id1509742324?i=1000486676552Message me and let me know if you have felt this feeling & how you dealt with it. I would love to hear & learn from your experience!

I have also released my first prenatal pilates video on YT!  Please click here to see it & share to someone who you know that is pregnant!  If you haven’t subscribed to my channel, please subscribe & help me get to 1k subscribers so that I can monetize my channel <3

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!

If you haven’t subscribed to my Youtube Channel – please subscribe! Stay up to date with dance & pilates content with me 🙂

Do you love baladi? Message me & tell me what you love about it!

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!

Sassy Saidi Master Series – July 2021

Sassy Saidi!

I am pleased to offer a 4 week saidi workshop master series pulling apart and working with saidi history, technique, & music.

A big component of this course is theory and is guided by powerpoint presentation & discussion but we will be working on a choreography throughout this session.

Classes will be offered on Zoom.This 4 week session starts Tuesday July 6 – August 3
(NO class July 13) 730-830pm PST for $60CDN.

Drop-in cost $20.

Payment via etransfer or Paypal (send as friends and family only).

The link will be sent out after payment and will be used for the duration of the course.

A recording will be sent out to those who miss class or want to take it.

To register, please contact Ashley Rhianne .