Saturday, April 11, 2015

SaturDance // A Birthday Present From Me To You :)

setarra satur dance

What's the 411? It's my birthday! Your girl is turning 28 and I can't think of a better way to celebrate this day with you than to finally share the video of my dance that I re-staged on the students in the School of Dance at George Mason University

If you can recall, I had shared photos of our rehearsal process last November but never got around to sharing the video of the actual dance because welll... In the words of Erykah Badu, "I'm an artist and I'm sensitive about my shit." 

Dance is such a personal part of who I am and it's been a rocky journey trying to find my way back to it after I injured myself and had knee surgery 3 years ago. But I think this opportunity to get back in a dance studio and choreograph was just the push I needed to finally come to the conclusion that I DO still want dance to have a place in my life. 

This mid-life crisis/epiphany is the main reason why I've been so focused on getting my body back into shape and why I recently started teaching dance classes again. This is about me coming to a place where dance feels fun again, with no pressure or thought to anyone's else expectations of me. Just me, myself, the movement and music.

With that said, below (and above) are photos of some of my most favorite people in the world who came out to support me at the Fall Dance Concert last year. I was/am so grateful for their presence and for the School of Dance for giving me this opportunity to re-stage my piece. 

setarra satur dance
^^ Tarek & Charles
setarra satur dance
^^ Fam Bam - My sister, Gigi, is hiding in the back somewhere haha.
setarra satur dance
^^ My Gotti crew grabbing some food post-concert at Amphora!
setarra satur dance
^^ The Prettiest Roses From Charles <3
setarra satur dance
^^ A thank you card my dancers gave me on the last day of the 3 day concert series. Seriously love those girls.

My dance is entitled, "Migration to Apsara." In case you're wondering, Apsara is the goddess of dance in the Cambodian culture. Before I began training in western techniques as a kid (i.e ballet, modern and jazz), my first exposure to dance was through my Mom, who took me to learn traditional Cambodian court dances every Sunday in preparation for the annual Cambodian New Year's performances. This dance pays homage to my multicultural roots; a fusion of various dance styles inspired by traditional Cambodian dance movement and gestures. 

I dedicate this dance to my mom and dad. I am so thankful to have them as my parents especially on this day, my birthday. Without their support in my passionate pursuit of dance, I wouldn't be where and who I am today. So without further ado, I present to you: Migration to Apsara.

**Make sure to click on that HD tab for the best quality. Enjoy!**



P.S. I'll be celebrating my birthday today at the Cherry Blossom Beer & Wine Festival in D.C. Make sure to follow along via Instagram (for photos) or Snapchat (for unedited real time video) - username for both accounts: @setarrra :)

Linking Up with Random Wednesday and Treat Yo Self.



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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

I'll Give You The Red Light Special

Amsterdam
*** Officially 6 more posts to go until I'm done recapping our Euro-trip! Woot woot! Boom shaka laka! ***

Following our experience at the Heineken Brewery, Charles and I went to meet up with our friend, Ali. We had met Ali for the first time at Clem and Jason's wedding in France. While mingling around during the wedding reception, we got to talking with Ali and learned that he lived in Amsterdam. And then when he learned that we were planning to travel to Amsterdam a couple days later, he offered to show us around if he was available. It was an offer to good to refuse. 

Amsterdam canal

After catching up over drinks, Ali took us across the way to grab dinner in the Red Light District at a resto-bar that had an awesome vintage interior and swank looking bar. Unfortunately, my photos for the rest of this post aren't all as sharp as I would like because I was trying to snap quick pics so as to not take away from being present in the moment. But the truth is, I kind of like them a little blurry. Adds character, don't you think? Anywho, back to our yummy dinner at Mara-Hari.

amsterdam red light district
amsterdam red light district
^^ Ali
amsterdam red light district
amsterdam red light district
amsterdam red light district
 ^^ Ugh, loooooooove!

Post grub, we followed Ali to the De Wallen area of the Rosseburt a.k.a. Red Light District. I'm sure the reputation of the Red Light District precedes itself world wide but in case you have no idea what this area of Amsterdam is all about, here's my take on it in one sentence: Where women can openly and, most importantly, legally solicit their sensual and sexual services; the red light signifying that a women is ready to do business whenever you are.

amsterdam red light district
amsterdam red light district

^^ While winding through various corridors in search of the red lights, Ali found and showed us the plaque as seen in the photo above. A bronze mold of a hand caressing a female breast in the cobblestones created and installed in 1993. We would've never thought to look down while walking around so I'm really  glad Ali went out his way to show us this artistic installation. Definitely something to be on the lookout for if you ever visit the Red Light District. #scavengerhunt

amsterdam red light district
amsterdam red light district

As we found ourselves immersed in red light, Ali reminded me that taking photos of the ladies of the night was prohibited. I had no intention of violating this rule but I did want to take a photo with the red lights all aglow around me as a souvenir. So I gave Charles my camera and asked him to snap a pic of me walking down the alley, making sure the ladies weren't seen which resulted in the photo below. He did a good job right?

amsterdam red light district

My thoughts on the Red Light District? I'm really glad we decided to wait until our 3rd day in Amsterdam to visit this area. I wouldn't suggest visiting the RLD first thing when you arrive because I think it might not give the best first impression of Amsterdam since there is soooo much more to this city than its infamous district. The fact that Amsterdam is such a tolerant and liberal city is one of the main reasons why I loved visiting but overall, I don't think the Red Light District was my cup of tea. I'm pretty sure Charles has me covered if I'm ever in need of some sexual servicing haha ;)

Having had our fill of window browsing, Ali asked if we would be interested in going to one of his favorite bars in the Dam and giving some absinthe a try. Considering the fact that Charles and I had never sipped on this highly alcoholic beverage before, it was an experience we couldn't pass up. So with one quick, Yes!", Ali led the way while we followed along in excitement.

amsterdam red light district
amsterdam red light district

^^ Did you know that prior to having written road signs installed, the streets in Amsterdam used to be identified by the unique engravings located on the sides buildings adjacent to each street opening? If you look closely, some of the buildings still have the original engravings like the one above. Ali was full of such cool facts!

amsterdam red light district
^^ Absinthe! This little contraption dripped water into our glasses to help dilute our drinks so we could sip it down more easily.
amsterdam red light district
amsterdam red light district
^^ Cubes of sugar being melted to also help with the dilution.
amsterdam red light district
amsterdam red light district

I have to admit, it took me almost an hour to completely sip down my small glass because it was just that strong but woooo! Charles and I did it. We had our first taste of absinthe!

I am so thankful for Ali and his hospitality towards me and Charles during our stay in Amsterdam, especially considering the fact that we had only met briefly a few days before. He played a huge part in the reason in why Charles and I left Amsterdam completely in love with the city. Thank you Ali! Until next time!

Linking Up with Travel Tuesday & Random Wednesday.



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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Sometimes Being Bad Is Good... Hellooooo April!


This happens every semester as "finals season" approaches... I have a habit of going MIA on the blog which is exactly what I did last week and a great example of what might happen again during these next 5 weeks until Spring semester of grad school is officially over on May 8th. 

I think that in this case, being a bad blogger translates as a good thing because it means I'm focused and present in real life, a life which right now doesn't provide alot of time to sit down and write a post when I'm working 9-5, going to school in the evenings, getting my fitness on, reading 300 pages of text and writing papers every week as well as meeting with my group every Saturday to work on our finance class's final project. 

Did I mention that I also started teaching dance classes on Sundays? Oh yes. As if I didn't already have a full schedule, I decided to put more food on my plate. A little backwards but totally worth it because dance makes me happy and my Sunday afternoons have turned into an outlet I so look forward to!

But I digress... Life and blogging...
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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Taking Stock



Taking a little break from all these travel & food posts with a quick real time update. :)
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