Archive | May 2014

Weekly Challenge for 5-26-14

I’ve finally got myself sorted out after Tribal Fest, so it’s back to the Weekly Challenges! Did you miss me?

First of all, I hope everyone is having a memorable Memorial Day. Let us all take a moment to thank those who have died in service to our country, whether we agree with how or why or not. They gave their lives for something they believed in, and deserve respect for that. Thank you.


I’ve done zill challenges before, but I wanted to stress them again. This might just be me, but I’ve noticed that the use of zills has declined among dancers in general, but in cabaret dancers in particular. I see a lot of belly dance, and the only performers I’ve seen in months who use zills are the Tribal and Tribal fusion dancers! That’s awesome, because fusion dancers should always be aware of our roots in cabaret dance, and to be interested in those roots, and to keep up those skills.

But it’s so sad that no fewer than two zill workshops in my area alone in the past few months were canceled due to lack of interest. And that I almost never see cabaret dancers use zills anymore.

Yeah, they’re loud, they’re not fun to practice (especially if you live in apartments or have pets), and can be difficult to learn. But they are important to the art of belly dance – in ALL styles.

So here’s your challenge this week, and it’s simple.

No matter what style you do, no matter what level you are or how many years of experience you have or don’t have with zills…this week, practice every single day.

Find a teacher, a website, or a video, and get to learning those zills!

P.S. There are many items to help with zill practice these days. Wooden zills are a little quieter, or there are the Practizills. Many vendors also sell crochet zill covers to mute the sound, and I’ve even heard of some dancers using baby socks! There are no more excuses!

Tribal Fest Mania

You may have noticed that there was no Weekly Challenge this week. It’s because I’ve lost my mind due to Tribal Fest. I’ve been panicking over music, over practice, and getting all the details down (where I’m staying, how I’m getting there, etc.) I’m almost overwhelmed!

I’m looking forward to it, but I’m so, so busy!

That means, there won’t be a Weekly Challenge this week, and not next week, either. My flight comes back home late Monday, so I likely won’t have the time (or energy) to write a blog post.

In the mean time, please check out the Weekly Challenge tag and see if there are any you want to try out for this week and next! There are PLENTY to chose from, so pick a subject (hey, time to work on shimmies?) and make a search!

Thanks for your patience and understanding.

Also, stay tuned for updates from Tribal Fest on my Facebook page and Twitter. I will also, at some point, be writing a review (since this is my first time!)

Happy dancing! And see you at Tribal Fest 14!

Weekly Challenge for 5-5-14

Monday! For me, this means another day closer to Tribal Fest! Eek! I’m looking forward to it, but at the same time, I’m a little scared! I can’t wait to perform! But it also means that it’s time for another weekly belly dance challenge!

Layering with Traveling

Yikes, another layering challenge! But not to worry. Layering isn’t just doing the crazy hits with two different parts of the body. It’s also about dancing while moving.

What does that mean? It means just not standing still with the arms out to the sides and busting out some cool hits. Let’s do something more with that!

Beginner: Don’t worry about the fact that layering can be scary. If you can walk and do shoulder shimmies, you are layering. This week, work on doing just that! Take a upper body movement, like shoulder shimmies, and take a walk! The challenge will be to keep the walk looking nice (keep it on beat and don’t stomp) and keeping the shoulders going at the same time. Practice this every day this week for at least one song!

Intermediate: We’re going try hip movements and walking. Hip locks (hip bumps, hips on the up, whatever you happen to call them) are relatively easy to pair with walking (and I mean relatively easy…it won’t be easy easy, so don’t give up or get too frustrated!) Some teachers get their students walking with hip locks early, so if you already know this, great! Turn it into a three-quarter shimmy, but keep them sharp! Practice walking with hip locks for a whole song every day this week. If you got this, layer the locks over dance steps, like a grapevine or a salsa step.

Advanced: It’s great to see a dancer that can do layering bust it out when the song calls for it. But sometimes the locks get sloppy, or it’s boring to watch a dancer suddenly stand still and do a bunch of layering locks (if it’s done too much). We should be moving, at least some of the time. This week, practice dancing while you layer. Do arm movements when you shimmy or do a series of body locks. Do a grapevine with those ummis. Walk with your chest locks. Make a foot pattern while doing mayas or three-quarter shimmies. Do something weird while shimmying. Just make it interesting and keep the layers separate and precise. Don’t let the locks get sloppy just because you are walking! Practice every day this week, and let me know what you come up with!

Happy dancing!