HI. I just wanted to tell y'all about my recent cruise experience in more detail! Hip Expressions is a group out of St. Petersburg, Fl and they put together a belly dance cruise Feb. 8-13. My group had 13 dancers go from Danville, VA and surrounding areas. Another group had 9 out of Ohio. There was another group, I think from Minnesota, too. Altogether 87 dancers and family members cruised out of Tampa FL. On both days at sea we had dance lessons and then on the last night of the cruise we had our own Hafla. The ship allowed us to perform in the Candlelight Lounge on Wed. night and we were going to have our Hafla on the Ledo Deck, but weather didn't permit, so we had it in one of the lounges. The cruise line, Carnival, was very accomodating to us and we got our cabins for a very reasonable price too. Hip Expressions charged $50 for 6 belly dance classes during the cruise. Each class was an hour long. On tuesday we had a morning stretch session (yoga), then a Polynesian/Tahitian Style class (Love it!!!), then a Snake-A-Liscious Class, which I skipped, but my instructor went and it was alot to do with snake arms, mirroring another dancer and some other slinky moves! We then had a Juicy Moves class which tricked me. I thought it was going to be just that, Juicy Moves, but it was traveling steps. It was very interesting and the instructor was so full of energy and so beautiful! (As were all the instructors) We then had a rehearsal for the group number which all of the performers would do at the end of our show. Karen had sent us a video so we could learn it and then practice it with the entire group. On Wed. we docked in Grand Cayman Island and spent the day there. Our group rehearsed our number in the hallway that evening and then we all performed on Wed. night. It was open to the entire ship and the captain did come down to see us! My group only ended up with 5 of us performing a fusion number to Shimmy, Shimmy Coco Pop. Several groups and individuals performed. It was sooo cool! If I was to ever have grandchildren (I won't, only a dog mommy) it would be a story to pass on! I performed on a cruise ship and wasn't even drunk! Hahaha! We then had a long day in Cosamal Mexico on Thur. and then a Belly Busters class on Friday which was awesome. It was the same energetic instructor from the traveling moves class and we did an hour of high intensity belly dance moves to help us burn off all the extra calories we packed on from the excellent food! The problem was the class was during a storm and the ship at one time was at a 40 degree angle and we were literally dancing up hill!! Belly dancers were being tossed to and fro and into each other, pitchers of water and cups were flying about, the speakers were thrown from the window sill and we just kept dancing..... I got a little too dizzy and had to sit, but everyone else kept dancing! We then had a rhythms class where we learned group numbers with our zils with drums, a mandolin, an aerabian flute (not sure of that name) and someother percussion instruments. We then had our hafla that night and played music and danced for about 2 hours in the lounge we took over!
It was an awesome experience and Hip Expressions is planning another cruise for next year already. I don't have the contact info available, but you can do a search for Hip Expressions and they do have a public web page and you can sign up for their newsletter. You can also see pics of the cruise.
I wanted to share this with you to see if any of you would like to go next year! If so, let me know and we can meet on ship and share our spark! Hips & shimmies, Melissa
PS I will have my own pics posted soon. I am blind, so have to rely on hubby to help me post!
Melissa in VA (EST)
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