Episode 3: Timing Patterns

Monday, December 31, 2007

Download Epsiode 3

Well, I said I wanted to get Episode 3 out before the end of the year, and I just made it!

Episode 3 is now available to view online or download:
Our Media (full version, downloadable)
Google Video (full version, downloadable at a lower picture quality)
YouTube (introduction only)

As always, you can Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. Note: it takes up to 24 hours for the video to appear in the iTunes music store, but if you subscribe, it's available immediately.

In this episode, we'll explore timing patterns, which are the rhythms we create with our bodies as we dance. We'll take a look at five different patterns, how they may make your audience feel, and which musical rhythms they complement.

This episode includes:
- simple exercises to get the patterns into your body
- theme & variation exercises to explore different ways to use timing patterns
- do-it-yourself exercises to spark your creativity
- four combinations that use timing patterns
- two ways to adapt timing patterns to zils

The DVD will be available soon; I'll post again when it's ready.

Note: this is a big file (almost 800MB), so you'll have best luck downloading it from a high-speed connection. If you can't view the file, make sure you downloaded the whole thing successfully.

Update: 1/12/2008: If you've had trouble downloading this episode, try watching it in VLC. If it still fails, download the low-resolution version. The video quality isn't as good, but the smaller file size might help!

Update: 4/9/2009: The Podcast DVDs have a new home on Amazon:

You can also order directly from the manufacturer, CreateSpace.

Episode 3 Coming Soon

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Hi everybody,

First, thanks for all your feedback on Episode 2. Since most people contacted me via email this time (rather than in the blog comments or iTunes reviews), I thought I'd share a few quotes:

"These podcasts provide an element that I've never had before, even when I had regular instruction."

"I had so many 'ah-ha moments' watching it."

"And interestingly, I suddenly understood why I strongly dislike the bag of tricks style bellydance. I knew clearly before that I didn't like it and felt its too convoluted and unemotional, but I also now understand that it makes me feel unsafe and agitated."

"Thank you. This is wonderful and very helpful! Can't wait until the next episode."

Thanks, everybody!

In other news, Episode 3 will be ready soon. I seem to be missing some footage, so I'm hoping that they just didn't import properly and are still on the tapes (i.e., that I didn't forget to press Record). I might have to reshoot portions of it, but I'm more than half-way through editing the rest, so it shouldn't take too long, particularly with a long weekend coming up.

Episode 3 will cover timing patterns, and includes quite a few exercises (both "follow-me" and "DIY"), several combinations, and some zil work!

Keep an eye on this blog, or subscribe in iTunes to get it automatically.

Taktaba now available on DVD!

Friday, December 07, 2007

I'm happy to announce that Taktaba is now available to purchase on DVD.

The podcast is, and will remain, free to view online or download, and you're perfectly welcome to burn your own DVDs of the program and even share them (as long as you honor the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License - i.e., you can give them away, but you can't sell them, you have to attribute it to me, and you have to include the program in its entirety).

However, if you can't or doen't want to burn it yourself, you can now pay me to do it for you for $10 per episode plus $2 shipping in the US. (Contact me for international rates.)

Essentially, you're still getting the content for free, but paying me for my trouble to author, burn, and label the disk, to take it to the post office, as well as for the cost of the disk and packaging.

You can order online on my web site.

Episode 2 will return shortly

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

UPDATE (11:30am, 11/23/07): The corrected version is now available in all formats. Enjoy!

For convenience, those links are here

The audio is out of synch for a portion of Episode 2, so I've removed it while I fix the error. It takes about 4 hours to render and 20 minutes or more to upload, so the corrected version won't be available until later tonight.

Sorry for the snafu, everybody!

UPDATE (2pm EST, 11/22/07): The corrected version is now available through the Our Media link below, and should also appear on iTunes subscriptions. (NOTE: according to Apple's podcasting FAQ, the iTunes Store only updates once a day, so the Taktaba page on iTunes doesn't show Episode 2 yet. However, if you subscribe to the podcast in iTunes, it will already be available for download.)

Episode 2: Long-Term Repetition (Finally!)

Download Episode 2

First, I'd like to thank you all for your patience and support. Episode 2 was a long time (and a lot of work) in coming, and I hope you'll think it was worth the wait.

This episode deals with long-term repetition. That's repetition over the course of a song or an entire routine. We'll discuss:
- maximizing intellectual satisfaction by balancing length & complexity (with graphs!)
- maximizing emotional satisfaction by balancing frequency & drama (also with graphs!)
- using theme and variation to keep repeated elements fresh and interesting
- using the structure of your music to guide your repetition

In the process I'll be sharing:
- low-, medium-, and high-complexity combinations
- several ideas for medium- and high-drama movements
- combinations that demonstrate Theme & variation
- my "cheater's drop", a less intimidating alternative to the Turkish Drop
- a DIY exercise on working with your musical structure

This episode also includes performance clips by me, as well as by Badriya al Badi'a of Boston.


This episode runs just over an hour, which is too long to fit on You Tube (due to their 10-minute limit), so I'm only posting the introduction there. All versions are formatted to be iPod-friendly.
- Our Media (full version, downloadable)
- Google Video (full version, viewable online and downloadable)
- YouTube (introduction only)

I've created an RSS feed on Feedburner, and you can now subscribe in iTunes.


The music featured in this episode is from Belly Dancing for Fortune and Fame:
- Sala, Sala (the Taktaba theme song)
- Shisheler
- Drum Solo
- Mastika
- El Samer
Special thanks to Stella Grey for donating the use of this CD.

Update: 1/12/2008: If you've had trouble downloading this episode, try watching it in VLC. If it still fails, download the low-resolution version. The video quality isn't as good, but the smaller file size might help!

Update: 4/9/2008: The podcast DVDs have found a new home on Amazon:

You can also order directly from the manufacturer, CreateSpace.

Taktaba Workshop + Episode 2 coming soon

Monday, April 23, 2007

Hi everyone,

It's my pleasure to announce the very first Taktaba workshop! The workshop will kick off the Shimmies for a Cure benefit hafla:
April 28, 2007
Somerville City Club
20 Innerbelt Rd
Somerville, MA 02143

My workshop begins at 12:30pm, will be followed by three more fabulous workshops, and then a dinner show. I hope that many of my Boston-area viewers will be able to come!


This one-hour workshop is an overview of the Taktaba analytical approach to dance composition, and is based on an exploration of the 4 elements of abstract movement: Space, Shape, Time, and Energy. We'll examine these elements in detail, focusing on their many variations and the audience responses these variations produce.

The workshop will include:
- Analytical vs. Intuitive composition
- An explanation of the four elements
- An introduction to element variations
- Moving exercises for some variations
- An improvisational exericise
- The limitations of this method
- How to use this method in improvisation

Workshop notes will be provided, including an outline of the topics covered, and information on further resources.

In other news, Episode 2 is in final editing, and I hope to have that up soon. Thank you for your patience while I tweak the transitions, captions, and voice-over.

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