New costume sneak peaks

new tribal costume

flared belly dance pants

gothic belly dance

gothic rose

witch belly dance

Katie Ness sunflowerteetth

gothic lace

So here is some costume sneak peaks! Coming up to 2 new performances in Wolverhampton & Bucharest Romania in November plus spending time this year going through an incredible transformation of self discovery and accepting life changing challenges I have decided (almost at the last minute) to put a brand new costume together. I felt inspired by a stronger, more primal side to me that had been caged for a very long time (so not to upset society) but although a late bloomer in life, I have really come into my own, I feel good in my skin and at 29 years old I feel less awkward about myself and less tolerant to negative remarks & behaviour of others. For quite a while I didn’t feel able to really explore who I really was due to constantly being judged and told who I should be and what I should be doing with my life (the words should & shouldn’t NEED to be banned from all languages) to the point where I’d end up doubting myself & my ideas I had for my own lifestyle and then I’d go along with the so called advice others gave me. It didn’t work and it never will because ultimately I was leading a life these people prescribed for me based on their own logic, which is stupid because logic & truth are singular. I’d rather be the poppy in a field of daffodils and relish in my individuality rather than try to paint myself yellow to fit in with what others expect of me based on their own views of how one should live a life.

And so this new costume with strange music is a dedication to a part of me that has been hidden, which I have now set free. I have been re-reading the amazing book ‘Women who run with the Wolves.’ by Clarissa Pinkola for further research & inspirational words and paying homage to some dreams I had involving a white Wolf who appears to watch over me in a desert, forest and even a little gift shop owned by a strange lady who reads the Tarot. The costume & song choice has a very gypsy witch vibe to it, it makes me think of Halloween and of a coven of Witches dancing with Wolves under the moonlight. A little different from past performances and I am sure people who know me will be shocked but hopefully enjoy this new side to me, I can’t wait to show you guys the finished piece. I am excited and a little nervous but it is good to do things that scare you just a little, it reminds you that you are alive and that you have a pulse.

Birthday weekend

Apologies for taking a while to write up this Blog Post I have been working on my new tribal belly dance costume and completing my Equality & Diversity course and getting ready for my week up North.
My Birthday weekend was quiet but sweet, I actually decided to work on my Birth Day as I took off a Saturday for the YogaFest Totnes a couple of weeks ago and will be taking more holiday to go up North and to Romania in November, so now I am trying to save a big chunk of my holiday allowance because Jon & I are planning to go to Kathmandu, Nepal in March next year for about two weeks. This adventure to Nepal will essentially be similar to Morocco in that it will be full on with quite a bit of trekking but we won’t be in a tour group this time and we are even buying each other backpacks for Christmas because the ones we used for Morocco were borrowed from a friend and Jon’s brother. There is scope to visit my mum’s house in Bulgaria, early September for a week as a relaxing holiday akin to what we did in Croatia however it is all talk at the moment and we are not even in 2015 just yet but it’s good to plan ahead & look forward to things but things are not set in stone.
bee house
So my birthday was a quiet one, at work colleagues presented me with a lovely bee house as a gift, I have wanted one for ages as I am an activist who tries to do things to help the world in my own small way. I am mad on recycling, I donate to causes I care about, I give bags of clothes to homeless shelters & charity shops & I have also been involved in protests, it’s important to try and give back and share things with others to make the world a happier place. I want to learn more about helping the animal kingdom too so it starts with my own garden by putting up a Bee house, a butterfly shelter and planting Bee & Butterfly friendly plants next Spring.
travel yoga mat
When I came home from work, Jon had balloons stuck to the porch door and all my presents were waiting for me in the living room. He had bought me a Travel Yoga Mat (which will be going with me to Nepal), two foam yoga blocks which help with balance, a Yoga strap, four salt rock candle holders, a tribal belt to embellish, a beautiful book about Mermaids & an essential oil diffuser that looks like a Doughnut! I have plans to one day own my own therapeutic/arts studio room so all the things Jon has given me will be a big help for that.
salt rock candle holders

essential oil diffuser

Jon’s parents gave me a lovely wicker travel toiletries bag with patchouli & sandalwood moisturizer & shower gels (which again is really helpful for future travel adventures), his sister bought me a necklace, one friend sent me an introductory book about Islam (as she knows of a current idea brewing) and another friend sent me scented flower petals for bathing.
Mandara travel bag

On Saturday evening Jon & I had a wonderful meal at a Nepalese restaurant called ‘the Himalayan Spice‘ and then watched some episodes of Black Books before bed, I love this comedy series, Dylan Moran even has my kidneys laughing! On Sunday we had birthday Lunch with Jon’s parents and devoured a Thornton’s chocolate cake before watching Cloud Atlas at home (again) whilst snuggled in our duvet with a cup of tea.
All in All it was a lovely birthday but it is not over yet! I will be celebrating it all over again with my own family & close friend in Lancashire in two weeks time which will include a family meal out, a day in the Lake District & potentially getting my first tattoo amongst other joyful things to look forward to.

Infusion Emporium

So you all know I am going up to the North of England (mainly the Lancashire region) for a week to see family at the end of October, you also know I am spending the weekend in Wolverhampton. What you didn’t know was the reason why.

I had to keep it a little secret until now, which was so hard as I learned about the news sometime in May I think and I wasn’t allowed to mention it to anyone or on social network sites, this was rather difficult as I love discussing happy news! So it is now official, it’s been shown on their site and facebook page, I am one of the performers at Infusion Emporium’s Glitterball Shakedown! This week up North is going to be fantastic. Not only will I be visiting family, Mum’s new puppy and seeing a best friend but I have been booked in to have a ‘Soul Reading’ in the lake district and I may just get my first tattoo aswell. And then to finish off my week I’ll be attending 2 Rachel Brice workshops & performing on Sunday 2nd November!

I am really excited about this as this will be my first Belly Dance festival I’ll be performing at and I get to meet Rachel who I have loved since I was 19, this is a dream come true for me, it really is! I have also chosen the song I will be dancing to and hopefully a brand new costume is on the cards. Since it’ll be around Halloween, my costume & performance will be celebrating the darker, more feral side to me and will honor my ancestry as a Romany Gypsy witch. Hopefully it will be an eerie but enchanting performance and the audience will love it. Those who know me and know of my usual song and dance choices will be a bit surprised as it is a totally wild & haunting side to me that I have kept tamed and in a cage for too long, think Morticia Addams meets Jean Gray’s Phoenix meets powerful witch dancing for Wolves!
Here is my poster designed by the lovely Alexis Southall & her partner with my Artist statement:
Katie Ness at Infusion Emporium

‘Katie Ness is a UK based community Artist and professional Tribal Fusion Dancer. Her Art is rooted in the belief that there is a place of wonder, strange beauty, and magic within each of us. At present she is studying a Dance Therapy Diploma, training in Hatha Yoga Teaching & Dance Leadership and will then go on to study Yoga Philosophy in the new year.

Being of actual Romany Gypsy ethnicity Katie creates performances in honour of her ancestors who were ‘Gypsy Witches’, fortune tellers & tea leaf readers. Katie is also inspired by dark fairytales, folkloric stories, tales of ancient gods & goddesses and dreams.

Her name ‘Katie’ is derived from the name ‘Hecate’ which is the name of an ancient Greek Goddess of Witch Craft.

When talking about dance Katie explains ‘I am naturally quite an introverted person, I enjoy quiet places where I can just drink my tea and read a good book but when I dance I become this wild force of sensuality, I love that I have two sides to my personality!”
In her free time Katie writes for her lifestyle blog and reads the Tarot.’

This weekend has been my Birthday so apologies for not publishing a Blog Post until now. I am having a really nice time relaxing, eating out, lots of presents and Beluga whale picture and today there is Cake! I will elaborate on my birthday weekend in another Post!

Morocco: Sahara Desert

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After Midelt we arrived at Merzouga in the late afternoon. We spent an hour freshening up and sitting all together with Mint tea in the hotel that our backpacks were to be stored in for the night and then preceded to pack smaller overnight bags with essentials & a sleeping bag. Not long after we were designated our camels whilst awaiting our guides to lead us through the stunning dunes and to our camp where we were to spend the night.
I have ridden camels before whilst living in Cyprus so I am used to the awkward holding on tight as the camel stands up or descends back to the floor but never ridden across desert dunes! It really gives your thighs and solar plexus a good work out because you kind of have to move with the camel. Going down hill of a huge dune was both exhilarating & a little scary because the sand is so fine and the camel with your weight is a reasonable amount it is bound to be a clumsy and slippy experience! No one fell off though, hurray! Going to the Sahara during this time of year (Early March) is a good time to go if you have sensitive skin and find hot climates difficult. Early March is a cooler climate, still warm but you can comfortably handle the heat, I’d still wear sun lotion though to protect your skin from UV rays because lets be practical here, you would be riding a camel in the Sahara Desert!

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Jon has always wanted to see the Sahara, ever since he was a little boy and marveled at the vast, majestic and never ending sands on a David Attenburough documentary he assumed he would never visit such a far away place that seemed isolated from civilization yet full of wonderful animals & plants that thrived there. I am really glad he was able to visit this place for his 30th Birthday, it must have been a special moment and those memories will stay with him for the rest of his life. For me it was about spending time with the Bedouins. I love meeting Nomads, Gypsies, wandering sages, wise vagabonds and tribal communities as I relate to them in someway, maybe it’s the wild woman in my heart and the Romany blood that pumps ferociously through my veins that connects me to these people and their way of life? To be honest I was slightly annoyed I had to wear my jeans in the desert, I mean how can a sensuous Gypsy girl connect with the magic of the Sahara in my dungaree jeans? I wanted to wear my Indian skirts and play with my silk veils but that wasn’t practical, oh well, maybe next time?

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Our guides stopped our camels at this huge dune, which we climbed so that we could see our camp from above as the sun was setting and the stars were brightening. That climb nearly killed me, my mouth was parched and every time I took a step, the sand gave way under my feet so it felt like it took forever to eventually get to the top. Getting down to the camp was hilarious watching our group descend by rolling, sitting, gliding, being pulled down or shuffling through the sand and was a wonderfully happy memory. When we all finally made it to the camp it wasn’t long before a refreshing mint tea was being served with a gigantic Tagine feast! I felt so honored & blessed I was experiencing all of this! After our meal the Bedouins took us to a campfire where we sat and listened to them sing with their drums, we were all blanketed by the stars and sand that stretched for miles and surrounded by laughter & creativity. I fell in love with that moment. This is what is to be a HUMAN BEING, this is what it feels like to really appreciate life! Who cares about material possessions and the superficial consumerist culture? I certainly don’t and never have, especially whilst having this incredible experience, means more to me than money and owning a flashy car.

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We woke up early the next day as we had to be back at the hotel before the midday sun which is too hot to be walking around in, no one wants heat stroke or sun burn! Jon decided not to ride back on a camel, instead he opted to walk so that he could take some landscape photography of the Saharan Dunes and also take some snaps of us all on our camels. This gave me the opportunity to chat to other members of the group who I perhaps didn’t know very well. In front of me were Mike & Jeanie and Ken & Joann. Two retired couples from America who are so adventurous & witty I loved spending time with them all. We talked about family & careers. Jeanie asked me what my dreams were, I said “I have many, to travel more, meet a dolphin, maybe run my own workshops but I’ll probably utilize my skills to sort of be Jon’s creative assistant for his photography business.” Jeanie replied “I disagree Katie, you are a strong and interesting young woman, you’ll forge your own path, I can tell, believe me.” These were words I needed to hear, they arrived in my life right at the time when I was on the verge of making big decisions for when I go back to the UK. I am really thankful to Jeanie for being one of the individuals who gave me courage to be pro-active and strive for my dreams. In fact everyone in our group left a positive impression on me, all of them were proactive and spirited and all of them were encouraging and supportive, wanting the best for each other to be happy and lead an enriching life. It is not every day you stumble upon one person who is naturally positive and energetic, let alone 16 of them! This was a wonderful group of people and I am really fortunate to have met them all.

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The Sahara is clearly a very magical place that is both feral and hauntingly peaceful. Midelt opened my heart but the desert cleared my mind and I felt a restlessness in my soul, like I knew the old me was disappearing and a new me was finally being set free and I was listening to a wild voice inside of me telling me “Go follow your dreams, go achieve your greatness, go and enjoy your life.” and I am doing just that.
I will go back there one day. In fact I am in discussion with my best friend to take her to Morocco for this retreat: Desert Dance Healing in a couple of years time and I can’t wait for that day.
Next Moroccan destination our group ventures to is Todra Gorge. Stay Tuned!

If you missed my other Moroccan Blog posts you can view them here:
Day one & two in Casablanca
Day three/Afternoon in Rabat
Day Four/Morning in Meknes
Day Four/Afternoon in Volubilis
Day Five: Fes
Day Six: Midelt

Yogafest Totnes & Dartmouth

Yogafest Totnes
I was awake at 6:45am on Saturday morning and was on the train by 8am to be in Totnes for my first class at 9am. Sitting on my seat looking out the train window and flipping through my OM Yoga Magazine I felt on top of the world because I was doing yet another thing that is making me happy.
Yoga festival in Totnes Devon
So…My first Yoga class was the Scaravelli session but it didn’t last long. I was in the zone, ready and lying down awaiting for the teacher to begin just like everyone else. Then out of know where a butterfly flew past me and onto the shoulders of a woman in the far right corner of the room. I have a maddening fear of Butterflies & Moths (and most flying insects) and my brain & body went into shut down mode, frozen on the spot, repulsed and I could hear my mind just saying “Erm…I’m gonna go now.” and I quietly snook out the room to hyperventilate on the stairs. A small crowd of people either ignored me or seemed not to care with cold remarks like “aww shame” and these are supposed to be wise & empathic Yogis! (N.B you guys need to do some self reflection on your idea of being a good Yogi/decent human being, perhaps work on your Ahimsa?) So I was alone & disheartened, with a whitened face and bordering on tears because I had missed my first class (I dislike failure), then a lady in white suddenly stepped in front of me and said “Are you OK? Do you need a glass of water? Come and sit with me in the cafe.” in her soft Scottish accent. Huzzar! There are genuine & kind individuals out there! Speaking with her for about an hour, she calmed me down and she told me about her amazing life. Natalie is actually a Yin & Vinyasa Yoga teacher & massage therapist, has travelled most of the world, lived in Thailand for 7 years and is now settling in Totnes, teaching Yoga & offering massage sessions and has a baby girl with her partner. Natalie is the embodiment of who I aspire to be. Someone caring and well travelled, someone with skills that help heal others and encourages positivity in daily life. That butterfly scared me out of the room for a reason, I was meant to meet Natalie, it was destiny.
Yin Yoga with Natalie

The Yin Yoga class was on my list of classes I wanted to sample as I am highly interested in Yin & Yang concepts within my own work and so finding out she was the teacher of Yin Yoga at this Yoga Festival it was a definite I was going to attend! Needless to say it was brilliant! Yin Yoga appears slower and passive in comparison to other forms but it’s in the passivity that action occurs and it’s about allowing your body to settle in postures for a longer period of time which can be a challenge as most of us find it difficult to be still these days, let alone trying to focus on being in the moment whilst in Pigeon pose for 3 minutes! To end the session Natalie gives everyone a gentle neck and shoulder massage whilst you are lying down in Savasana, how lovely is that?
Yin Yoga class

Yoga and Meditation

Totnes Devon

Cafe Yoga Fest Bogan house and Birdwood house
Soon after that I sampled Satyananda Yoga which was lovely but did not resonate with me personally. It felt a little too much like warm-up stretches to another sport and spent most of the session wondering when the traditional Yoga asanas (Down Dog, Tadasana & Virabhadra etc) were going to start? The only asana I recognised was Cat Pose and that ended the session. Maybe there is more to Satyananda than what I experienced and maybe I will come across a more in depth class in the future and absolutely love it but then to be fair it is hard to teach any subject within the space of an hour & I am aware there will be Yoga styles I just don’t connect with. I was going to sample some afternoon sessions too however Jon showed up & because we only usually get one day a week together, I felt like it was more important to enjoy the afternoon with him, I managed to attend 2 classes that morning and so I was content with that.
After Yogafest Totnes Jon & I spent a couple of hours in a quaint little town called Dartmouth and then before we ventured home enjoyed stone throwing competitions on Blackpool Sands.
All in all, a full day of fun & fresh air.
Totnes Devon birds of prey, Owl

Dartmouth old pub

Dartmouth Devon

Blackpool sands

Looking out to sea in Dartmouth

Katie on Blackpool sands, Devon
In September I had also passed my first Hatha Yoga Teaching module (One down, nine to go!) and I have also just completed a module from my Equality & Diversity short course (One down, two to go!). This month I am looking forward to my 29th Birthday, a week adventure up North visiting family & friends (including my first tattoo & a soul reading in the lake district!), a dance performance & workshops in Wolverhampton, potentially a new costume & doing some Child Protection Training! Wish me luck guys for this busy month that is on it’s way!