Everyone loves a good belly dance choreography… once, of course, it’s grown up into a well-mannered and polished routine. In its growing stages, choreography can be an unruly, demanding brat- a brat that sometimes makes us want to cry or tear our hair extensions out. It’s easy to get intimidated when you first begin. Suddenly it’s as if you can’t remember any of the moves or combinations you know. You think that everything you try looks stupid, or it’s just not good enough (anyone else besides me a perfectionist?). These kinds of thoughts aren’t helpful. In fact, they can shut down your creativity. So when we choreograph, we have to give ourselves space to experiment. We have to be willing to have some failures, and to acknowledge that this is part of the process. We have to trust ourselves.
Choreography… for some dancers it’s a very long four-letter word. Even for those who love choreography, the process of learning a new routine can be exhausting, confusing, and defeating. As if preparing for a performance wasn’t intimidating enough! Whether the idea of choreography makes you skip or shudder, it’s pretty much a given that you’ll have to learn one at some point in your studies (And if you plan to perform regularly with a class or troupe you may as well learn to love it!). That’s why you need a strategy for learning choreography. It can make the process go a lot easier and it can help you remember a routine when it most matters… on stage!
When in class one evening one of my students asks “But… I don’t understand. Belly dance is sexy, isn’t it? Why do we have to try so hard not to be sexy?” I began thinking about a puzzling issue, one that has shadowed our art ever since it was brought to the Western world. Where does sexy belong in belly dance? And what are we to do with it?
Isn’t it fun to learn tips and tricks that make life easier? This week I would like to share a few of my favorite “life hacks”- fun shortcuts using regular household items to solve everyday belly dancing dilemmas. We’ll learn quick makeup techniques, cheap ways to store costumes, and a few items that can make prop usage more simple. Get ready to say, “Aha!”
Although only introduced to Belly Dance in the last one hundred years, the veil is nonetheless an important tradition in American Cabaret. The image of a dancing girl with a veil dates back to the times of the ancient Romans, and is perhaps an inspiration for this art form. As you will soon learn, the veil tends to have a mind of its own. It is sometimes unfaithful to even the most experienced dancers. Here are a few tips to help make your first experiences with a veil enjoyable…
You’ve worked really hard to make sure every detail is perfect for this performance. The costuming and make-up, your song selection, the choreography… each took hours of careful planning, hard-earned sweat, and maybe even a few tears. Don’t let all your work go to waste, take the time to write a good stage introduction!
It’s spring, which means it’s hafla season. If you’re into performing you probably have at least one upcoming show in the next few weeks. And even if you’re not performing I bet you’ll be attending one soon. So I thought it would be a good time to review the P’s and Q’s of performance etiquette.
It all starts with music. It’s the foundation of your dance. You can have great technique and stage charisma, but if you’re not connecting to the music then you’re not connecting to the audience. The best performances are the ones that blend all elements together seamlessly- the music complements the choice of movements, the costuming, the venue, and the dancer’s expression. Here are six tips for selecting and interpreting your next musical piece:
You probably already know that balance is one’s ability to maintain an equilibrium either while standing still or moving. Balance is actually linked to strength. It’s the strength of very small muscle groups needed to hold us in place when we disrupt our natural support structure (either by taking a foot off the ground or moving different sections of our body out of alignment). So how do we use balance in belly dance, and why is it important to develop this skill…
Coordination is our ability to integrate our movements into sequence, into what we call dance. It is actually a synthesis of the other components of fitness such as strength and balance…