Every week I spend a half an hour with the kids, specifically girls that attend the summer program at Carver Community Center. The reason I am writing about this is because it is a very important part of what I do and one of the many reasons why I teach. The ages I have range from 4-12 which is great because I get to work with all different age groups and they can learn from each other in a controlled and positive atmosphere. So what do we do in class? First, it is all about having fun, creating a positive image and self-esteem while getting the kids moving and learning about a dance form along with another culture. Today we worked on flexibility and stretching and talked about the importance of both and why we do it. These girls are really smart and in fact, a few weeks ago one of the girls came to me before class and told me she forgot to do her homework. How cute! We also worked on working together as a group and how important it is and what happens if one dancer does not do the same thing that the other dancers are doing. I have been teaching the girls the debke’ which is a circle dance holding hands. I asked the girls why we dance in a group togehter and what does it help each one of us focus on. I had answers such as moving, a few I don’t knows…one girl spoke up and said, ” it’s about working together” and she is right I had her repeat it so everyone could hear it again. I lead the girls around in a circle repeating the steps and showing them as they followed me. As we continued around the circle, I changed the tempo as we started stepping more quickly. A few of the girls feet got tangled up and well you could imagine what happened….the circle stopped as some girls fell down and the circle became disarrayed. I then asked the girls what happened and why we talked about what we do affects those around us and those next to us. After leading the girls through simple belly dance moves such as hip thrust and the washing machine we ended the class having races walking on tip toe and playing red light green light belly dance style. The girls have fun and I do as well. Plus, getting the chance to teach them this wonderful artform!
When I first started dancing, I had only been dancing for maybe about a year and I got the chance to take a workshop in Cincinnati with a topwell known dancer; Suzanna Del Vecchio. This was a really great experience for me and I came away learning so much from her and the workshop I attended. She is such a graceful dancer and full of knowledge. I was very excited that I got to meet her in person and I had a chance to chit chat with her for a brief minute. I will never forgot the experiance and she is one that I do reccomend if you ever get a chance to go to one of her workshops; it is a must! I can remember we were moving in groups across the floor doing pelvic rolls down and I was doing them in reverse and she came up to me and said “we are not there yet” I really appreciated her telling me, but at the same time I also was somewhat embarrassed. We went through various drills and movement in the beginning and at the end she taught us choreography to Khayarouni by Woroud and can be found on the Belly Dance Superstars Cd, Volume 2. To this day, I still know a little bit of that choreography. In her workshop is where I learned the D-step. Suzanna has been dancing for over 25 years and she actually holds a retreat in Colorado that is a huge event. Suzzana teaches body alignment and technique through movement.
Here is a video of Suzzana Dehttp:Vecchio; please click on the link below! Enjoy!
The past two weeks I have been scouring trying to come up with something brilliant
with my blog and well I have not had much luck. Maybe it is writers block or
sheer exhaustion or both! From the beginning. this dance form has taken hold of
me and has not let go! I am a Belly Dancer it does not matter how you look at
it the outcome is always the same. I feel you either love Belly Dance or hate
it; there really is not an in-between with this art. My days begin with Belly
Dance and they end with Belly Dance. Each and every hour of the day I am either
thinking about the dance form, preparing or dancing and teaching and performing
and writing about the dance and educating not only the community but my
students as well. I spend hours and days coming up with class curriculum,
creating choreographies, getting my website and blog updated, working on videos
and editing for the website and continually working on myself as a dancer
training and preparing to be the best I can. It in itself is a full time job
and there are many days when I think if I could just have one more hour….so
why do I do it? I could be considered insane to some. But it is because i truly
love what I do and I am a Belly Dancer. I found this quote a few days ago:
It takes ten years, usually, to make a dancer. It takes ten years of handling the instrument, handling the
material with which you are dealing, for you to know it completely. *Martha
According to this quote I am not there yet since I have only been dancing for about 8-9 years nothing comes easy and without alot of hard work and dedication. Your body is your instrument and we have to remember this. So remember this quote when you become discouraged or think why can’t I get this!
Copy Right June, 2011
This past week one of my students asked a very important question when it comes to facial expressions. Facial expressions helps bring the emotion that you are trying to conceive with the movements more alive and it is the finishing touch to your dancing. When performing or even practicing you should always be aware of the expressions you are making with your face. What is most important is to try and relax and realize it is not neccessary to always smile. When dancing and performing it must be full bodied;meaning emotion comes from every aspect and adding emotion with the face is the key to communicating to the audience the story that you are telling because when we dance we are telling a story.
“Face expression draws attention to the dancer
One of the best tools of the trade is learning to facially adapt to the dance. Audience eyes are drawn to those dance performers who learn how to master the emotion and expression within the set choreography. The mood of the dance is what audiences interact with through interpretation, reciprocal emotion and psychological illusion. It is the actual connecting factor between the dancer and the audience, and one of most importance. ” from Dancehelp.com; article, “Just Face it”.
Tips on Facial Expressions:
- Always be aware of the expression on your face when practicing
- keep relaxed and really letting yourself go (this takes time)
- let the music guide you
- always keep your head and chin up
- try not to have the deer in the headlight look ( yes, I have had this happen to me)
- practice in the mirror
With all this in mind, I am working on hopefully some very cool exercises that we can have some fun with during class on expression of the face! Just remember with all of this it takes time, patience and alot of practice!
The picture above I think really represents the emotion that a dancer portray’s when dancing. This picture was taken by WG Images. Copy Right June, 2011
This past week I had a wonderful opportunity to talk with Leyla Najma on my thoughts and experiences as a dancer and teacher and what
belly dance has done for me as well as my thoughts on image of not only me but women in general. So, this past week has been a reflection on the interview and I just wanted to share with you some of my thoughts.
I first want to talk about self-image of women and society. Why do we get so caught up in someone else’s view on what we as women should or should not look like? We are surrounded by it; it is in magazines,movies, newspapers, TVs, in our schools and even in our workplace. So how do we cope with it and how do we realize that what we are seeing is not real. Just this past week, I had a customer who I was working with on skin care and make-up application she looked at the huge picture of a model that had perfect skin, perfect make-up and said; “I want to look like her”! We both laughed, realizing that each of us knew that underneath all that make-up and the touch ups of camera’s and other
effects the model was not perfect and when it is all said and done the models are just like you and I.
It should not matter what someone else thinks about you, but about how you feel about yourself, that is what is the most important. What matters is what is on the inside and not on the outside; because when you feel good on the inside it shines through on the outside. We need to grasp ahold of our uniqueness and realize that nothing or no one else matters but how we feel and how we think. Forget about what
society says and follow your own path and your own beat. You are beautiful and there is no one else out there like you
Since I started belly dance it has changed my perspective on my own self-image and women in general. This dance has given me confidence, strength, and self-acceptance of my image and grabbing hold of the beauty that has been hiding deep down inside
me. When I look at my students and other women I see each one of them as hidden gems each one of you are unique and
beautiful! We are strong and we need to stand together and forget what society says what we should be or not be. Let yourself sparkle and shine, be yourself, enjoy each and every moment! Dance inthe wind!
Visit: bellydancevillage.com and listen to the interview I had with Leyla Najma. “Egyptian Cabaret comes to Chillicothe”