Blog Archives

Challenging Myself to Learn a Difficult Drum Solo


This week I have been using what I have learned from drum solos this month and applying it. My goal is to pick a very difficult drum solo and learn it. I will then use elements of that drum solo to choreograph my own piece. Learn by imitation!

The drum solo I am working on right now is the Kami Liddle drum solo that she performed at Tribal Fest. I wanted something with a tribal twist.

Wish me luck.


The Flutter of the Belly

This is a move that I have been working on for ages and every time I don’t feel that I am making  much progress. Here is some information to help.

The key with the belly flutter is to get relaxed and practice. It is a contraction of the muscles that control breathing and not actually the abdominal muscles. Usually these muscles are referred to as the diaphragm. Strictly speaking the diaphragm is actually a set of involuntary muscles (meaning you can not control them) and the muscles you are using are called the intercostal muscles. These muscles, just like any other group of muscles, needs to be stretched and exercised to be effectively used.

This is a simple E how article on how to do the basic belly flutter. Below that are two videos. The first is a short explanation on flutters and the second goes in a bit more depth.

E How: How to Perform a Belly Dance Flutter

If you are practicing the belly flutter I suggest you start laying down or sitting. Doing this will help you relax you abdominal muscles since you do not need to focus on posture or layering. Also laying down forces your intercostal muscles to work more effectively which can help in isolating and practicing this move. The most important thing about this step is to practice, which I plan on doing as much as possible.

Note: How to stretch you breathing muscles

I learn this one in Drum Corps years back. Stand up straight with you hands clasped over your head. Take a deep breath in and hold it. Take two to three more little sips of air. At this point you should feel full to the brim with air. Now hold the air in and slowly do a side bend stretch. You can do this to each side and if you have enough air, you will be able to stretch the muscles that are used for breathing. I find this is good to do beforehand after practicing the belly flutter. (Warning some times taking in that much air can make you dizzy. Its normal. Just resume breathing regularly and it should pass.)

Good luck.

Week 3: Choreography Challenge

I hope everyone has been working hard on the challenge for week two. On to week 3:

Beginner Track:

Week Three: 1. Work with repetition and body placement to adjust the 1-2 min of dance movement.  2.Add entrance and ending. 3. Write them down.

This week you will need to listen to your music and see if you can find sections that would work well with repetition. These are usually the refrains or melodies of your song. Do not be afraid to use repletion in your choreography. Audience usually find it comforting to the eye for a dancer to repeat a dance sequence when there is a repetitive part in the music. Not every minute of the dance needs to be brand new. This is also a time to think about body placement. Are you facing the audience the whole time? What would happen if you spin or turn on an angle. Experiment!

You will also want to work on your entrance and exit. For a new performer is it best to choreograph an entrance and not start on stage. It takes a great deal of confidence to walk onto a quiet stage (with everyone watching) and get into a starting position. If that seems like too much pressure, please choreograph an entrance. Usually an entrance can be a simple traveling move that will take you to your starting position (center of the stage). You can also use this move for your exit or choose a different one. It is also possible to choose to end on stage.  This should be that last thing you really need to put your dance together, so write it down and start practicing.

Note: Some dance performances expect bow music. This will usually be a short 15-30 sec replaying of your song after it finishes for a bow. In my experience this is not usually needed so please ask if it is required.


Advanced Track:

This week we have two challenges. You can choose one or both to try and complete.

1. No Music Challenge: This is one of my personal favorites. I find that often when I can’t figure out how to choreograph to a piece of music it helps to turn the music off. I know this seems counter-intuitive, but you will be surprised at the dancing you can create without the restraints of music. This challenge is to create a 1-2 min dance (keep it short) with out any music. Go for it.

2. Fun Prop Challenge: I love props and belly dancing has not shortage of them. This challenge is step outside your comfort zone and try a new a different prop. It may not be traditional, but it should be fun. No veils, canes, and swords! Please try and use something new like a chair or umbrella. I am interested to see what you come up with. Good luck.

Note: Some of these prop ideas may not be the best for balancing so please be careful.


Are you trying the challenge? I would love to hear how it is going.