Wednesday, 14 May 2014

More pictures from last winter's photoshoot with Teemu Rytky

While I wait for my flight to London for this year's London Burlesque Festival (I'm performing tomorrow, so excited! <3 ) here you go a few more pictures from the photoshoot I had with the Finnish photographer Teemu Rytky last winter. Enjoy! (hopefully! :-D)

Monday, 12 May 2014

Infusion Tallinn 2014

Wow, it has taken me ages to write this! In the begining I thought it would only take about a week, mostly in order to rest and get over the fairytale feeling that always accompanies Infusion Tallinn, but the reality-check upon my arrival was rather rough (let's say it felt more like reality hit me on my face with a hammer :-D) and weekly routine has consisted on working (dayjob) and sewing/costuming like there's tomorrow every single other waking hour (with a couple of very welcome and very necessary dance lessons in between). So here it finally goes, my report about this year's Infusion Tallinn! <3

Infusion Tallinn is probably the biggest Tribal Fusion event in northern Europe, and the lovely and gorgeous organizer Jaana (aka Yahna) brings some of the most talented international teachers to teach workshops and perform every year. But oh my, this year we got THREE teachers! And no other than world-famous tribal fusion superstar Kami Liddle, the absolutely exquisite Aleksis Southall, and one of my very own top of the pop favourite performers: italian creativity explosion Violet Scrap <3
Just as last year, a big bunch of us travelled together from Finland, and booked a room in our favourite little hostel just in between Tallinn's Old Town and the Müstika dance school: Euphoria Hostel. These people really know how to make you feel welcome, for the second year in a row we had a welcome message written for us at the entrance and the staff took care of all our questions and the mess of having to deal with 11 people almost at the same time :-D
(Oh, did I mention we kidnapped two of our very favourite Sweds into our room? Dear Gita and Pernilla, miss you so much!)

Euphoria Hostel <3

We cought up with our teacher Laura Luna (who had already arrived in Tallinn the previous Wednesday in order to take Aleksis' workshop about ITS), and after some sushi in Sushi Cat (<3!) Laura and me left for that weekend's first workshop, which was a 3-hour-long intermediate/advanced level workshop on complex foot patterns and layering with Kami. I must admit I was quite nervous! I have so far only studied bellydance for a bit over a year and a half, so I wasn't sure if I'd only be embarrassing myself and getting into everybody's way! :-D
We did a lot of relevé and spinning-work, which are two things I definitely struggle with, but Kami gave us so many tricks about how to position the body in order to keep it under control that I think I got just what I needed in order to start working on it by myself and hopefully improve soon! 
After the workshop, it was time to run back to the hostel and get ready for the evening's show. This year there was two different shows, one on Friday which was a Hafla held in Müstika (with an absolutely DELICIOUS vegan buffet) and a main even on Saturday, in which each one of the performances was inspired by a country/city/location in the world and was accordingly named "Around the World". I performed on Friday both with Kaira Tribe (aka Laura Luna's students) and YIlan Kabilesi (aka Alli Ruth's American Cabaret students). As usual when I bellydance, I got EXTREMELY nervous and I almost lost my balance during the first one of the performances (workshops on anxiety management anyone? :-D), but it was still a delightful evening. There was indeed very many enjoyable performances, but I think that if I'd had to chose one it would be the delicate and breathtaking modern dance fusion piece that my dear Estonian friends Maris and Krete performed. It was so full of emotions and just plain beautiful!

with the Kaira Tribe girls
(picture stolen from Tiitta)

We woke up already a bit tired from the previous day, but there was no rest for the wicked since we had three workshops (6,5h altogether!) ahead on this day! We first had a workshop on fluid movement with Kami (who again, made it all seem much easier!), then two hours of Jamila Salimpour-style crazy finger-cymbal drilling and layering with Aleksis (omg, I want more!) and a superinteresting workshop with Violet, in which she one and again tried (and succeeded) to make us get out of hour confort zones :-D
Oh! And I mustn't forget to mention that Jaana pampered us extra this year, because she gave us the chance of ordering some very yummy WARM food in between the workshops! How cool is that? :-D

if you know me, you probably know why I just HAD TO
buy this gorgeous poster :-D <3
(and the ticket for Saturday's show on the upper corner)

The rest of the girls who weren't performing in the evening had time to take it easy before the evening's show, and had a nice relaxing walk back to the hostel. We also found some curious things on the way!

you don't simply park your car anywhere in 
Tallinn! and an absolutely gorgeous turn-of-
the-century building completely engulfed by
a modern monster :-D

After a shower and getting ready, we had just enough time to have some sushi in our favourite sushi restaurant in Tallinn: Sushi Cat. Besides the advantage of it being on the same street as the hostel, it has absolutely delicious sushi (and drinks!) for prices that sound absolutely ridiculous to anybody used to Finnish prices. It's also fully decorated anime style, and the waitresses wear cute japanese schoolgirl uniforms and kitty ears! :-D
As we had to run to the venue right after that, we decided to have some "desert" in between the sets, rum&cacao! <3

food is love! Sushi Cat and some 
rum&cacaos at the venue (notice how
the woman sitting on front of us decided
to take a picture of us :-D)
(and pictures stolen from Tiitta, again)

The event was mindblowing! So much awesomeness that I would need a whole week of writing to describe it all, but I must at least say that it was a pleasure to realize how all the performers had made an effort to created something really different and special. And after it was over, I shamelessly turned my "fangirl mode" on and ran to have a couple of pictures taken with the performers! :-D

up: Chrissy and me with Kami! Isn't she gorgeous? <3
(picture stolen from Chrissy)
down: with Tanja, Laura, Aleksis and Violet (oh my, I have such
a girl-crush on this woman! :-D)
(picture stolen from Tanja)

And ready for more workshops! By Sunday we were all quite tired, but with teachers like these one finds the strength and inspiration to keep on working no matter what! :-D
We had two workshops on Sunday. The first was a workshop with Violet, about exploring and really trying to feel the conexion between music, feelings and dance, and it made me understand SO many things! Not only when it comes to tribal fusion / bellydance but also burlesque! Total "Ahaaaaa!" feeling, love you (also) for that! :-D
The second was again a 3-hour-long intermediate/advanced workshop with Kami about fluid upper body. If you've ever seen this woman dance, you will probably understand why I was so looking forward to this, she's elegance personified! The upper body is indeed an area that requires a lot of work in order to get it strong and elastic at the same time, and once again she provided us with the right tools in order to work towards achieving that goal <3

Sunday was picture-time! Above after Violet's workshop, 
and below after Kami's workshop

After all the hard work the whole weekend, we all deserved a treat! So we joined the Infusion Tallinn dinner, which happened to be in one of our super favourite restaurants in Tallinn: African Kitchen. We arrived first, so we were "devasted" about having to order one of their delicious cocktails while waiting for the others (life is hard! ;-D). After that, we moved onto my new favourite cafeteria in Tallinn, Pierre Chocolaterie, for some cake and hot chocolate. And guess what? They made my dreams come true, they had white chocolate cheesecake! EEEEKKKK! It even had some cherries and cherry jam in the base! Could have died right there :-D
After Pierre it was sadly enough time to say goodbye to our dear Estonians and the super talented teachers that kicked our bums during the weekend, but we decided to still grab a couple of drink at the Depeche Mode bar in Tallinn's Old Town. 

drinks and waiting for the food in African Kitchen, 
the piece of heaven called "white chocolate cheesecake" 
in Pierre, and drinks at the Depeche Mode bar
(pictures stolen from Tiitta, except the one with the white
chocolate which I stole from Tarja)

Some of us had decided to book our return tickets for Monday evening, in order to spend some quality time relaxing in Tallinn after the crazy weekend. The weather was gorgeous, and we had a perfect day. We first had some sewing-supplies shopping at Karnaluks, then strolled to the Old Town, had some tea and bombons in Pierre's terrace and lunch at Bollywood before heading to the boat, perfection! <3

I love this house in the old town, decorated with real 
egyptian inspired motives! <3
some crazy decoration items on a window,
and the most catchy title for a talk ever :-D

And still a couple of lines about my new favourite cafeteria in Tallinn, Pierre Chocolaterie. Their selection is absolutely delicious (eat ALL the cakes!), just as in Josephine Baker, but this one has a couple of mayor advantages compared to it! First, the decoration is exquisite, with real jugend and vintage pieces everywhere and arranged in a really cozy eclectic way, with most chairs/tables being different from each other (which is how I remembered Josephine Baker, but it has changed since). And second, the terrace is located in an absolutely gorgeous medieval building's inyard, with all the magic you can expect from such a place :-) <3

at the Pierre's terrace, and waiting for our food :-)