Weekly Challenge 4-28-14

Wow, what a weekend! But now it’s Monday, and it’s time for another weekly belly dance challenge!

Checking in

I’ve done a challenge before about proprioception, which is a sense of where our bodies are in space. This challenge is going to be kind of the opposite of that one!

I’ve said before that I don’t really practice much with a mirror, mainly because I do not have one that’s very useful for dance. But also because I’d rather feel what the movements are like in my body, since I (usually) will not have a mirror in front of me when I perform.

However, it can be challenging for beginners, or more advanced students when learning a new move or layer, to learn without one. In fact, I don’t really recommend students learn without one (if I’m struggling with something or if I’m doing basic drills, I pull out my mirror, even if it’s not all that great). Why?

Because in order for us to get new movements down, we have to make sure they are actually the movements the teacher is showing us. We must check in with ourselves in the mirror to make sure what we are doing is what the teacher is doing. Our teachers should work to help us correct, but our teachers can’t be with us 100% of the time. They have other students, or they aren’t there in your personal practice time. We must learn to self-correct in order to get the movements into our bodies.

This can be tough. But it’s super important. I’m a natural mimic, which makes it easy for me to pick up new movements (thank goodness), but not everyone can do that. And that’s okay. We’re going to work on that this week.

So what’s the challenge?

In class this week (and hey, if you are an advanced dancer, you should be taking some sort of regular class, whether it’s online to keep up your skills, or a new dance form to cross train or whatever), make doubly sure that what you are doing matches what the teacher is actually doing.

Be honest with yourself, but gentle. If your movement looks nothing like the teacher’s, don’t hate yourself for it. You’re still learning. Instead, try to figure out what it is you are doing (or not doing) that is preventing your movement from looking like your teacher’s. Check in with all her body parts and all of your own. Are your feet moving the same way? Where are her hands? Which hip is doing the work? Are her knees bent or straight? If you can’t tell, ask! Teachers love getting questions, so ask away! Be pro-active in your dance practice and self-correct. Use that mirror to not only watch what your teacher is doing, but what YOU are doing.

Do this every day this week, whenever you are in class. In your own practice, you can do the same! Pick a video and do the same thing, or if you can remember what the movement should look like, try that!

Happy dancing!

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About Kamrah

Kamrah is a belly dancer in Chicago, IL. They started belly dance as an exercise routine but it turned into a passion for dance that has not lessened, even after more than a decade. They have a powerful presence on the stage, and is particularly known for their amazing shimmies. Kamrah is also known as a very versatile belly dancer, and audiences have come to expect the unexpected from them. Performances can be anything from traditional Egyptian, to tribal fusion, to fantasy cosplay (costume play) pieces.

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