Sick of Sucking? – Part 2

before and after

If you didn’t already see last week’s post, take a look now, as this is a continuation of my three step method that will put you in control of your body, to make your movements feel authentically true to the dance. We started last week with Practice. Practice, practice, practice, there is no substitute. Remember that daily practice, even if only for 10 minutes, is more effective than 2 hours of practice once a week.

Build Scaffodling
If you started out in bellydance as an adult with no dance training the way I did, let me spare you years of aggravation. I’ll tell it to you straight: You must have some movement training other than bellydance. There’s no way around it. I recommend ballet; there is good reason it is the foundation of all western dance. It works. Ballet makes you aware of your body line and body mechanics. It makes you graceful. You don’t have to become a ballet devotee. Heck, I’ve done hundreds of hours of ballet classes and I don’t even like it, but I love what it does for me. Pilates goes great with ballet. If you do them together you will develop a great sensation of your limbs being connected to your center which is essential for grace and body awareness.

Obtain the best map
Have you tried driving at midnight in the pouring snow while looking at a map trying to find your gig? That was me, miserable, working in Toronto. Once I finally got a GPS – years later – I realized I should have had one all along.

So what do you do if your dance classes or videos leave you feeling like you’re trying to see in the dark? Dancers who want to quickly become highly skilled use a bellydance GPS; they seek out instruction that is clear, complete, and to the point. Your teacher might be the best dancer in the world, but if she’s mostly mute you can’t gain anything from her at your current skill level. Don’t abandon her though, come back to her classes when you have a good degree of body awareness and control.

I look forward to hearing how you have implemented these principles into your training.

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2 Responses to Sick of Sucking? – Part 2

  1. I find just taking Pilates classes extremely useful – actually, although I really enjoyed taking contemporary dance for a while (only stopped because I couldn’t fit it into my schedule any more), I have found Pilates the absolute best thing for body awareness that I’ve tried so far, because it is so focused on very precise movements of the right muscles. Maybe you get that in a ballet class that’s truly for adult complete beginners, too, but it’s hard, at least in my area, to find one for adults that doesn’t assume you’re already familiar with the basics, so with the little bit of ballet I’ve tried, I always felt that I was blundering through trying to keep up and get into roughly the same positions as everyone else without knowing if I was doing the right thing or using the proper technique.

  2. hannansultan says:

    I had the same exact experience with ballet and had to stink at it for quite some time before I enjoyed the classes, but it paid off. There are a lot of great websites with basic ballet instruction. I actually used a kids video on CathyRoe.com just to get the basic terminology down pat.

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