Hello subscribers, readers, Mom, Dad and anybody else who has stumbled across my blog,
I have been thinking a lot recently about the things that I want to work on in belly dance. There are so many aspects and facets that make up what we know as “bellydance”. If you see a dancer in a restaurant, you may not believe that she has had to study her craft intensively and that belly dancing is in fact NOT easy. So I have compiled a list of things I wish to learn over my dance career, I don’t want a time limit on any of it, but as soon as possible suits me just fine! I strive to be a better dancer every day, and I am willing to work really hard to get there!
Just the other day I was chatting to another dancer about wanting to learn zills, and she said to me “Why do you need to learn zills? You just clang along to the music!” I could only stare at her in disbelief and reply with “Not really, no…”
Zills are fundamental in learning true ATS (I think!) and although we don’t do true ATS at the studio, we do learn ATS moves and use the music. I just want to add the zills! I’m thinking about getting a DVD to help me along, since I don’t think we will go too intensively into learning zills when we DO learn them.
Ever since I saw “The Bellydance Superstars – Live in Paris at the Folies Bergere” I’ve wanted to learn more about drums. I saw Rachel Brice playing the doumbek (I think) and I realized that maybe she can’t play to Issam’s standards, but at least she’s learnt a bit and is giving it a fair shot! It inspired me to want to learn. Learning, however, is a different story!
I think this goes hand in hand with zills as well as drums. I would love to learn more about music associated with belly dance. Although I mainly do tribal fusion, it doesn’t mean that I don’t do cabaret occasionally or that I don’t want to learn. I feel like I understand the music, I just can’t explain it to anybody else, and that’s because of a lack of real knowledge from my side.
Master of the Sword
I am a proud owner of a new sword, a sultan sword! (I feel like I should give it a name… ideas?) I got it from Habiba’s Bellydance Supplies in Blouberg. I had an option of a sultan sword, Egyptian or Moroccan. I chose the Sultan sword because to me it looks like a real sword and not an ornament. Also, it goes a lot better with my tribal image. I really want to learn to master the sword in a different way. I can balance it on all the regular balancing spots, but I honestly find sword dancing to be a bit “meh” sometimes. I want to change that. I’d love to do something different with it!
Believe it or not, at one point a couple of months ago, I could do backbends. Quite well too! But I figured “Oh, I can do it now” and didn’t keep up regular practice. I think the fact that we don’t do it in class (My dance teacher doesn’t want to flare up an old injury) kind of makes me lazy. It’s a crappy excuse, I know, but when we’re not doing it in class, I’m not always vigilant in my practices at home. I have the Rachel Brice – Serpentine DVD where she goes into an entire yoga session designed to strengthen your back and prepare your body for backbends. She also explains it beautifully. I am going to try my hardest to work on that regularly!
Damn you, floorwork! I love floorwork (if done tastefully) because it can be a great demonstration of strength and muscle control. However, I have seen INCREDIBLY distasteful floorwork done by a local dancer. My oldest sister came to watch that show and she now calls the dancer the “fanny flasher” because this dancer sat with her legs open, towards the audience. *Shivers* But I would love to do some floorwork in a routine, or at least have the option to do it if I so choose. Options are always good!
I am proud to say that I AM getting better at this. Just very slowly. At the end of my classes, I put on a popular modern song and tell everybody to just dance and let go and have fun with the music. They are welcome to use moves we did in the class, or they can improvise. I like to use Western pop music because it’s easier for us as Westerners to understand the music and dance to it. Well, during these little sessions I go up to dancers in the class and I might shimmy towards them cheekily or “duel” with them. It’s really great fun and I’m getting better at it – now I just have to translate that onto a stage!!
I do a VERY bad Turkish drop at the end:
This is a mixture of backbends and floorwork. Again, I used to be able to do it, but the minute I started thinking about it, I had no idea how to execute a Turkish drop. I have also since read horror stories about broken feet from doing it incorrectly. So I’m even more scared to try it. HOWEVER, I am very willing to learn how to do it properly, so that I don’t injure myself. I know that there is a way to do it, I just need to discover it.
Muscle control (belly rolls, etc.)
I can do a belly roll. But it’s too fluid for my liking!! I’d really like to be able to break it up and do it like Rachel Brice does it. More controlled and broken up instead of fluid and kind of out of control (I just go with it!).
So that is my loooong post about the things I want to change/work on. Again, I don’t have a time limit for myself. I don’t want to say “master the sword in a year!” and then I rush to do it. These are just goals I’d like to complete sometime over my dance career, which will be long, so I have plenty of time!