1. Aubre has control: I am referring to muscle control. Aubre Hill can use her muscles like a piano player uses keys (may not be an ideal metaphor). If she wants she can use one muscle, two or five. She can layer in a way the truly isolates and separates that way the muscles work. The other great thing is that she teaching this method (I still need a lot of practice).
2. She is a Master: I don’t mean that just to complement, I mean it because she displays the traits that a Master in the field would have. She is a very talented dancer, but above all she very well-informed about the style of dance. Aubre is well versed in the music, culture and performance aspects of this belly dance, which takes her above actually being a talented dancer. She is also an educated teacher, which I admire. Throughout the workshop, I was constantly surprised by the information she would share. Up until this point I always knew I have more to learn, but now I have an understand of just how much more.
3. Music knowledge: Aubre has a strong understanding of musicality.The dance is about the music. She stresses they idea that it is important to use the body as an instrument. This understanding of music helps with choreography as much as it helps with technique. I find this to be one of the aspects of the dance that is most overlooked. My favorite lesson was on layering. Aubre mentioned that layering is not about being impressive (though it can be), it is about expressing multiple parts of the music using different parts of the body. A dancer may be able to layer five different moves, but if they are not following the music, than they are not dancing. Enlightening!
Overall, I found the workshop series to be extremely informative. I highly suggest that you take her workshops/classes if given the chance. Now I know I have so much more I can improve. The only problem is finding the time to do it.
Special thanks to Kelli Li for setting this up and of course Aubre for all of her hard work.
Have you ever studied with Aubre or another Master of dance? Any suggestions? Please Comment!
After last month and working on the drum solo, I have decide to focus on more fluid motions. One of the weakest points in fluidity is that dancers (me included) lack the arm strength to carry off the movements. So … this months I am going to strengthen my arms. Below are some ways to strength your arm movements.
1. Do your drills with high arms. Our arms have their own weight so you do not always need to add extra weight to work them out. The more you practice your arm movements (especially those above your head) the stronger your arms get. Don’t be lazy when doing drills. Keep your arms out to the side or above your head. After a minute or two you will fill it.
2. Use weights when practicing dances. When you practice a combination try using a small set of wrist weights. You don’t have to spend a lot of money. They are easily made! Practice with weights will strengthen your arms and (as an added bonus) make you more conscious of what your arms are doing. This will reduce the “tired crab arms” that dancers so often get when they are not thinking about them.
3. Speed drills with arm movements. Speed drills are some of the best ways to perfect a movement. The concept is to start the movement at a very comfortable speed (like 4 count snake arms) and then double the counts (8 count snake arms). Double the counts again and again until it is ridiculously slow, then speed it back up. Keep speeding the movement up until it is crazy fast. Its best to do the movement at least eight times at each speed. If you do this with arm movements (snake arms, veil movements) you will have a workout for your arms.
Example Counts for a move in a speed drill: 4, 8,16,32,16,8,4,2,1(crazy fast)
4. Cross-training. I like to do some yoga or push-ups to increase my arm strength. Also other styles of dance like ballet or pole dancing are wonderful for helping to strengthening your arms. Do not limit yourself to belly dancing. Lifting weights always helps as well.
Good luck and have fun.
Do you have any favorite exercises for strengthening your arms? Any suggestions? Please comment!
I grew up doing with the dance competition circuit. In high school I evolved to the colorguard, band and drum corps competition circuit. Now that I am all grown up, I can see again that performances come in waves. This time of the year always seems to be performance season in the Belly Dance community (though other times of the year get pretty hectic as well). Here are some ideas to help keep a dancer sane for this busy time of the year when ever it is.
1. Stay Organized:
When things feel as though they are piling up, its important to keep organized. Try and be organized in as many aspects of your shows as possible. Its good to keep your costumes, makeup and accessories in order. It is worth investing in a quality bag or suitcase to take to a performance. Also invest in a bag (or a few) for your makeup and accessories. You can organize by style, color or anything else that makes it easier during that frantic pre-show moment. A few hours at home doing cleaning and arranging your things will relieve loads of stress at a show.
2.Do not over schedule – I love performing and hate to turn down a good show, but it is important to prioritize during a busy week or month. You do not need to do everything! Pick the best shows for you and make sure you have enough time to prepare. Be conscious of the choices you make and that you pick the best opportunities. It is better to be amazing for one or two shows, than to be overworked and stressed for four or five.
3. Show up early and plan to leave late – Always be early for a show (easier said than done)! If you are asked to arrive at 5:00 PM, than be there at 4:30. It is more professional and will help you prepare for that last minute mishap. Plan to leave a show late. You will rarely get out early. Planning for a show to go late will help with scheduling your life and your performances.
4. Take a Bath – Take care of yourself after you perform. A good soak in a bath will do wonders to relieve the stress and soreness from a show. If a bath is not your thing, please take some time to relax after the show. Even 10 min of dedicated “me time” will help me to let the adrenaline from the performance release (mainly from my muscles) and help the get me prepared for the next show (it also helps me sleep).
5. Take Care of your Body – Take note of injuries or aches and take care of yourself. In the craziness of performance, we can stop listening to our bodies. Small problems can lead to big injuries, so listen to yourself and take care. Don’t forget to take care of your feet. As dancers they are used more than any other part of the body, yet we forget them. This is a post on reducing foot pain. Just like with taking a bath, a little goes a long way.
Good luck during your crazy performance times.
Do you have any suggestions for the busy times of the year?