Week 5 – Random Acts of Bellydance

Week Five already! This week – in the middle of pre-holiday craziness – use your random acts of bellydance to slow down, take some time for you, and relax.

5-18-25-dec

 

1 : Practice snake arms while boiling the kettle.

Whether you do it for one day, or for the whole week, you may as well do something bellydance related while you wait for that hot cup of tea, coffee, milo, chocolate or whatever else you’re using that hot water for!

Practice them big, practice them small, practice them while visualising the movement winding its way out from your spine. Relax and flow.

2 : Sit back with YouTube and watch your favourite Golden Age dancer.

Here’s one of my (many) favourites, Tahia Carioca in ‘Shore of Love’. There are so many amazing dancers to watch. If you’re not sure where to start, check out ArabClassicFilms. You might want to set yourself a limit of 1 or 2 videos if you want to avoid falling into a YouTube hole of beautiful dancing!

3 : Take a moment to write a Gratitude List.

Amongst all the frantic preparations for celebrations, it can be easy to lose sight of what’s important. Remind yourself what is important to you, and what you have in your life that brings you comfort and joy. It doesn’t have to be long, or take a long time.

4 : Start a bellydance practice journal, or add a ‘Practice’ page to your regular diary or bullet journal.

Often it’s challenging to see how far you’ve come unless you can somehow track it. Follow your progress over the next few months and see how much you’ve improved!

practice-log

5 : Lose yourself in a 5 minute melodic taqsim.

Let everything go, connect to the music and dance.

-o-

Wishing everyone who celebrates, a Happy Summer Solstice / Merry Christmas / Happy Yule / Happy Beginning of Hannukah … I’m sure there are a lot of mid-summer/mid-winter celebrations i’m missing – let me know!

– Sam.

Improvisation Hints & Tips

Ghawazee Moon Bellydance Summer WorkshopsWhat a great start to our summer workshops! I was so impressed with the improvisation students. Improvisation can be a real panic-starter for some dancers, especially when we are feeling self-concious about ‘getting it wrong’ or ‘forgetting all the moves’. All of you who participated should feel really proud – you faced your fears and did it anyway!

Just in case you’ve lost your ‘Practice Hints and Tips’, here they are:

Listen with your body, not just your ears:

When you listen with your ears, your brain must interpret what it hears, consider movements that might match, make a decision about which movement to use, and send signals to the body to execute the movement. Whilst the brain can do this fairly quickly, we want to aim for a body that can feel the music and respond immediately, bypassing the brain, which can either give to too many choices, not enough choices, or has already made your usual choices without telling you about it.

Hear both the lyrical and the rhythmical in the music:

It’s ok to change from one to the other. Let your body decide what it wants to follow. Let go and be IN the music.

Less is More:

Don’t feel the need to add tricks or “extra” movements just because you can, or because you feel it is expected. Get in tune with the music, let it lead your movements. If simplicity is what the music is saying to you, complexity will look contrived. An audience will enjoy watching a dancer who is moving within the music more than a dancer moving over the top of the music.

Expand your repertoire of known movements:

  • Go to classes.
  • Watch performances with an eye to picking up new movements.
  • Practice variations of known movements – not just the ones you ‘like’.
  • Experiment connecting different movements, transition in and out of them.

Get out of your comfort zone:

  • Dance slowly – it will give your brain more time to suggest new moves.
  • Change your usual hand positions and posture – sometimes the background of movements can influence your choice of what comes next.
  • Dance new movements to music you know, or non-bellydance music, for a different interpretation of the music and the movement.

Give yourself some Structure:

  • Improvise around a floor pattern. You can experiment outside of the usual circles, triangles, zigzags … perhaps trace the path you take when you get out of bed until you eat breakfast?
  • Decide on a movement type, eg: vertical, sagittal, circles, etc. and only improvise with those movements.

Get connected:

  • Allow yourself to feel a full range of emotions when listening to music.
  • Get a CD of Arabic Rhythms. Listen and get to know them.
  • Be aware of how different movements make you feel.
  • Watch performances where dancers are emoting – what sorts of things do they do?
  • Be real – feel it. You have to believe it if you want the audience to come with you.

Just Do It!

  • Go to Halfas that have open floor sections and just dance.
  • Dance in your kitchen, in your lounge room,┬áin the supermarket.
  • Move like a dancer in your everyday life – make dance a part of your whole being so that when you come to improvise, dancing is as natural as breathing.