Do you REALLY want to bellydance? -- Part 1

There is no wrong answer. There are plenty of people that take a bellydance class for the fitness aspect of it. It's also just plain ol' clean fun. Dance classes have a great social scene to them. Maybe your reasons are very private and personal and you never plan on dancing in public. Or perhaps you just want to pick up a few moves because you are going to your friends Lebanese wedding.

What if, however, you do want to perform it one day? What if you are one of the people that REALLY wants to learn it?  Are you willing to learn it REALLY well? Those are two very different things mind you. If you want to learn it and learn it well, it's going to take more than a couple of classes a week and/or a couple of DVD's!

Are you ready to do what it takes? ---Oh wait a minute -- what does it take? What am I getting myself into, you may ask. Let's go over some of that shall we? In the next few weeks I will cover some tips to help you on your budding bellydance path. If you already perform, these tips may help refresh your practice. Either way enjoy!

You've gone to your first class or class session and you're hooked (I was too!). You are a bit sore but in a good way. You're thinking I have muscles there?!?

You can't stop practicing your glute contractions or your shimmy. You sneak a few glute squeezes in the car while you're driving, you practice you posture while your doing the dishes. You some roll out some arm waves in the shower as you reach for the shampoo--- yep, you're hooked baby.

If you even loosely fit that description you have already started to do the right things. You are slowly and naturally beginning to "PRACTICE" outside of class. Practicing on your own outside of class is crucial. That is where most your growth happens.  If you had dance class everyday, or even 4 or 5 times a week you would most likely progress very quickly. However, our class and personal schedules don't afford us that luxury, so we MUST practice on our own.

Every bit helps but it's even more helpful to set up an intentional continuing practice. Much like yoga, yes? We can always move deeper into our technique,  emotion and understanding of this dance. We can do this with regular practice. I encourage you to keep a dance journal. You can use this dance journal for class notes, choreography, logging practice sessions. Write anything that comes up while your dancing or practicing. Things come up, physical or emotional, jot it all down, get it out, process it. Bringing awareness to your dance now will serve you as you progress and let yourself emote and express yourself in your movement. This expression is a key component in your becoming a "whole" dancer.

So have your journal handy, have some music (middle eastern rhythms --ask me if you want some), and pick some moves. Perhaps a few different drills from your weekly class, your choice, maybe some traveling steps, a couple of hip drills, an upper body move. Start out with 15 minutes a day, or even 4-5 times a week. Next week move onto another move(s). If you have questions as to the timing, or accuracy of your movement talk to your teacher. He/she will be happy to help you. I think you will be surprised how a little goes a long way. 

Eventually you will be practicing longer and feel solid on the strong dance foundation you are building

Another easy and fun tip to advance your practice is to watch LOTS of bellydance. Thanks to youtube.com we have a limitless library of bellydance performances. Watch a variety. As great as  youtube is also catch some "live" performances when you can.

See if your taste leans toward one style or another. What do you like about one and not like about the other? Watch the difference between the beginner dancers and the more experienced dancers. What details do you notice? Are you entertained by them? Do some dancers make you uncomfortable? Bored? In other words, yes watch them to enjoy but study them as well. You might be surprised at how as you progress and change in your dance, so does your taste for dancers or dance styles. It's a fun exercise.

So there are your first two tips on beginning to "really" learn the dance:

1)Practice with intention

2) Watch and study bellydance performances

More tips to come next week -- until then keep dancing!

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