Digging Deeper into the Dance
by Anthea Kawakib Poole
(Zaghareet! Magazine, November/December 2014)
Are You Short-Changing
Typical dance class fodder is:
movement combinations, movement drills, or complete choreography.
Does this take you far enough into the dance? What do you think?
I think theyíre all FABULOUS methods of learning the art of belly
dance, but if youíre subsisting off of what you get in class, your
dance may be starving! Your inner dancer need more than classroom
methodology to thrive, develop, and grow.
So how can you supplement
your dance diet?
Dig in - deeper into the
- For physicality:
strengthen your lower body (legs, ankles, feet) to help you
move more gracefully. And when dancing, try to really explore
the movement - donít skimp on it. Thatís what I see VERY often
in class as people become comfortable with moves. They start
skimming through them. So instead of skimming through moves
without focus, FOCUS on the movement and FEEL it. It will make
such a difference!
- For performance:
when dancing your combinations or choreography, remind
yourself to keep your head and eyes up (unless you MEAN to
look away), but change your focal point - donít simply stare
at yourself in the mirror all the time - thatís creepy! Remind
yourself to breathe deeply, and most importantly: FEEL what
you want to FEEL onstage.
These few ideas show how much you
can affect your dancing by bringing your attention to it; not just
by staring at yourself in the mirror all the time, but by thinking
about your dance; understanding what you have to do to lift
yourself up. Time spent exercising; time spent dancing; but also,
time spent thinking - THATíS what will make the difference in your
- For stage persona:
dig into ďthe storyĒ of your dance - what is it about? Letís
say youíre doing a Drum Solo - describe to yourself the
feeling of the movements (this is called ďdynamicsĒ). Explain
to yourself (as if you were telling someone else) what the
purpose of the drum solo is - what are you trying to show the
audience in this type of dance? When you understand the deeper
background of your dance, you can use that knowledge to make
it more interesting. Thereís nothing more boring than a dancer
who looks the same no matter what type of number she does.
Itís not supposed to be that way! VEIL dances look and feel
different than SWORD dances; CANE dances look and feel
different than DRUM solos, etc. Do you see what I mean?