Weekly Challenge for 5/21/12
Happy Monday dancers! You know what that means…another belly dancing challenge for the week!
A reminder that the challenges are meant to be tried EVERY DAY. How can you challenge yourself if you don’t try this out at least once daily! Of course, many things you will not master in one week, and that’s not the point. The point of the challenges is to get you out of your comfort zone and get used to expanding your abilities. So…onwards with this week’s challenge!
Those of you who followed my previous blog will be familiar with this, but that’s okay. You need to do it again!
Beginner: Zills are intimidating. But beginner level is the perfect time to start with them. There are lots of zill videos on YouTube and elsewhere online. Pick the easiest pattern, which will be “3s” and try it out. Get used to playing them, but don’t just stand around and play them. If dancing and zilling is too scary, try just walking and zilling. Everyone knows how to walk, so this shouldn’t be a problem! Just make sure to walk on beat and get used to playing the 3 pattern with your fingers. You’ll strengthen your hands and fingers as well as get used to playing them while moving. Make sure to warm up your hands and forearms before playing and stretch them afterwards in order to build your muscles up.
Intermediate: Here’s where it gets challenging! You need to DANCE while zilling, so pick a good, long song (might I suggest 10 minute heavyweight Gana Al Hawa from the On Fire! CD) and dance while zilling. It doesn’t have to be all the fancy patterns you might know, just the basics: 3s, galloping (also known as 3-3-7), and beledi. If these are the only patterns you know, that’s good, because these are the zill workhorses and will usually be appropriate for any performance. Just make sure your dancing doesn’t suffer while you are concentrating on the zill patterns. Pick easy steps, ones you know really well, and dance to those while practicing your zills.
Advanced: Zilling skills might just be a requirement at this level! If you haven’t learned to zill by now, you really should learn (yes, even fusion dancers might need to know a little something about zills…you never know!) Practice zilling with the beat of the music, no matter what beat that might be. You may need to branch out and learn the lesser known/used patterns like masmoudi, saiidi, ayuub, and chiftitelli (this is not an exhaustive list, by any means). These patterns will not always be used in whatever piece you are dancing to, so make sure they fit the music before attempting in performance. When practicing, make sure you DANCE while zilling, even if it’s easy steps at first. But make sure you can do any movement in your repertoire with all of these rhythms.
Good luck…and happy zilling!