“I’m replying to your Awkward post here as the answer box is too limited! For your Mum I’d suggest stretching and a good warm up beforehand, maybe she needs to build up more strength to be able to hold the posture Find out where and what exactly feels uncomfortable and incorporate some targeted stretches in the warm up, bearing in mind any past injuries or weakness. As we know it’s all about practise and sticking at it until one day it just happens!”—
Thank you very much for your advice! I was working with her yesterday and as you said, I think a lot of it is coming from strength. As for a warmup and stretching, I didn’t think about that actually, because, surprisingly, our new teacher doesn’t really warm us up as much. So maybe I’ll have to talk to my mom about that, and find some time before hand to stretch and such by ourselves! Thank you so much for the great insight! :D
You’re so welcome! I hope it helps! Warming up is sooo important!!! -x-
So this past weekend I packed in as much belly dance as possible!
It all started on Saturday with the Fantasia Festival in West London. It was heaven. There were rooms upon rooms of costumes, accessories, dvds and music for sale. Competitions were going on where you could walk in and watch the fabulous soloists. And best of all there was a myriad of workshops available in every style thinkable from Indian fusion to hula to Balkan Gypsy to Vampire belly dance!?
I took a workshop in Vintage Oriental style, which involved much channelling of Samia Gamal and Tahia Carioca, and some fabulous poses:
With the different kinds of running shimmies, slinky inverted mayas and arabesques it really did feel like tapping into another era.
Afterwards I treated myself to a hip scarf or two and two instructional dvds which should keep me busy over the holiday period:
Then on Sunday I went to Conditioning Class in Suhaila Salimpour format, which is like belly dance boot camp! The theme of the day was 3/4 timing. Which meant lots of right,left,right, left,right,left for the hips and up down up, down up down for the ribs. And today everything aches!
So ladies what are your belly dance plans for the rest of 2011?
Last weekend I performed at my first hafla. What is a hafla I hear you say? A hafla is a belly dance party. And why was I performing at a belly dance party? Let me start from the beginning.
Once upon a time In January this year I began taking belly dance classes. What this means is that I’ve gotten in touch with my abs, oblique’s and even my glutes too. And I looove it!
Once bitten by the belly dance bug, any notions I had of silky harems and drooling sultans quickly disappeared to be replaced by a million* questions: What is tribal fusion? Coin belt or hip scarf? How do I shimmy? How do I layer my shimmies? How long until I can do anything that vaguely resembles this? Should I learn to play zills (finger cymbals)? Dance with the veil? Assaya (stick dancing)? All three? And where can I get an amazingcostume?
Raqs Sharqi ( the Arabic name for Oriental dance) is a world unto itself that encompasses everything from pure dance beauty to intense athleticism. (With a myriad of rhythms,stylistic variations, aesthetic interpretations, and moods in between.)You try contracting your lower abs, upper abs and upper back for a body wave, now travel!
I believe belly dance can be widely/loosely categorised into two main categories: traditional oriental style, originating in the Middle East and Modern Fusion, developed the world over which takes inspiration from everything from Bollywood to Ballet to the Biblical. These inspirations only serve to make the art form stronger and multi-faceted. And belly dance, although typified by feminine grace and energy (and all things sparkly and jangly) is not reserved for women only! There is a long tradition of men belly dancing, which is fabulous, and still continues today.
I have no qualms with crediting Shakira originally for this obsession. The video for Whenever,Wherever in 2001 planted the seed which finally came to fruition (10 years later!!) on taking classes this year. And it was worth the wait because I got a Fabulous teacher. In class each move is broken down technically, so you learn that an undulation is executed by contracting your upper back, then upper abs, then lower abs, then releasing. At first I pondered, what does my upper back have to do with belly dance? But on seeing my teacher demonstrate a perfect undulation I was like, if that’s what it takes, hello upper back!
Twelve months of classes and practise sessions later ( and youtubing drum solos, stalking ebay for costumes and not a few sit-ups) my belly dance idols now include Sharon Kihara, Sadie, Rachel Brice, Meher Malik, Samia, Didem, Ansuya, Sonia, Jillina….
It all climaxed in a hafla thrown by my teacher in November. A hafla is a fabulous belly dance party/festival where dancers perform for each other and audience members, either to live or taped music. I performed in two student dances and loved every second of it. The atmosphere was beautiful, the audience really enjoyed themselves and each dancer was awe-inspiring. The hafla marked a first milestone in my belly dance journey and I can’t wait for the next step!**