Back to Weekly Challenges!
It’s December, and that means NaNoWriMo is finally over! I didn’t do so great this year, but that’s okay. Lack of inspiration + lack of time meant there was no way I could make it to 50,000 words. Oh, well, there’s always next year!
And now it’s time to get back to the challenges! A reminder is in order, for those who are just joining us for these challenges, and a poke for those who have been here awhile:
The weekly challenges are just that–a challenge. This should not replace your regular practice. You will NOT master these techniques or ideas in one week; it’s just not enough time.
What these challenges are FOR is to get you in the habit of practicing daily and to stretch your practice. Yeah, it feels good to do things we are good at, and we need to practice those things to keep them fresh. But we will never grow as dancers if we only practice what we are good at. Hence, the weekly challenge! Stretch your mind, stretch your skills!
Let’s get on with it!
Okay, here’s a hard truth: belly dance is hard. If it isn’t hard, you’re doing it wrong (and I NEVER say that). True, some people will have a more difficult time of it than others. Some moves may be easy to you, but next to impossible for someone else. But there will always be a move or a combo or something that you struggle with. We all have our “nemesis moves.” You know, those types of moves/techniques/ideas that we struggle so hard with for so long it’s a wonder we still keep dancing.
But persistence pays off in the long run.
The first time I tried layering, I thought I was just going to have to quit belly dance, because it was a skill I was NEVER going to get. I thought it was impossible, that only certain people with certain types of bodies could do it (you know, like those extreme contortionists who just naturally have super flexible joints). But, if you know me, once I get my mind set on learning something, it becomes a challenge, and I can’t say no to a challenge!
So what’s your challenge?
Get a journal (starting a belly dance journal is a good way to chart your progress!) and write down what you currently think of as your “nemesis moves.” It doesn’t even have to be a move; it could be “smile while on stage” or “learn to express sadness with arms” or anything. List everything and anything you are struggling with right now. Pick one.
Every day this week–and I mean every single day–practice your choice of nemesis move. Practice for at least one whole song. If things are going well, practice longer if you feel it necessary. But don’t frustrate yourself to the point of wanting to scream or run away. That’s not helpful.
After you finish, write down what improved today. If snake arms are your problem, did you manage to rotate the right elbow up high once? Twice? If you are practicing your performance, did you manage to smile at all? Maybe a little nervous smile near the end?
Don’t judge, just write down what happened. Do it again tomorrow. Hey, did you manage a small smile through the whole song, except at that one part that’s really hard? Great! Again, don’t judge, just write it down.
Now, again, this is only one week, so progress is not going to be stellar. But at the end of the week, look back on your journal. Did you improve a little? The amount doesn’t matter–remember, it’s only one week–but did it happen at all?
This type of persistence is NECESSARY for progressing with belly dance. And charting it may help you feel like you are actually getting somewhere, instead of feeling like you are beating your head against a brick wall (painful and useless). This might just be the kick in the Melodias you need to finally master that move!
Things to keep in mind for this week:
- This has to be done EVERY DAY.
- Don’t judge yourself. Be nice to yourself. This is hard work, and even the smallest step forward is still a step forward.
- Overnight success is generally not possible; this is why this challenge is about persistence.
- The secret: this challenge isn’t about mastering your nemesis move…it’s about being persistent in your practice and seeing that persistence pays off.
Taking the challenge? Let everyone else know! Tweet it!