Monday! Time for this week’s challenge!
Belly dance is an art form. That means it taps into our creativity. Yes, belly dance is also a folk dance, which means it is traditional and creativity has less of a place (though there is still a place for creativity even in the traditional!)
And being creative is not something that you are just born with. Yes, many people are born with certain aptitudes for certain creative skills. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have to work on their creativity just like they need to work on their dance skills. And people who claim to not be very creative can increase their creativity; they don’t have to be “born with it.”
Even if you never want to perform professionally or in a troupe, being creative is a life skill. It helps in almost every job, helping you to think outside the box, or at least help you last through your shift without wanting to harm yourself or others.
So how do you increase your creativity? Easy, do something creative.
Many people think that creativity is like a well. Once you use it up, it’s gone, and you may have to wait awhile for it to fill up again. In some cases, this may be true, especially if you have strong demands on your creativity and do nothing to replenish it. For most people, though, creativity is like a muscle. Use it, and it only gets stronger, bigger, more useful. If you take care of it, it will never burn out or get torn or crap out on you. Build it carefully, and it supports you, muscles you through difficult times, and can be quite impressive.
How do you build creativity?
Just like building muscle. Dancers should cross train; they should take strength training classes, or do yoga, or do some other sport that can build leg and core strength or help with balance, speed, and fluidity. Cross training helps avoid injury due to repetitive movement, giving your body and muscles something else to do besides hundreds of mayas.
Your creativity needs cross training too! Even if you have no skill whatsoever in anything creative other than dance, try to do something else! Learn to draw, or play an instrument (I HIGHLY recommend dancers learn music…it will make you a better dancer!). Spend time coloring in your kid’s coloring book. Get dirty in some clay.
Your challenge this week to, in addition to your regular movement practice, spend some time building your creative muscles. Try not to choreograph anything this week, or do anything else creative with dance. Instead, spend that time drawing, or playing, or sculpting, or making jewelry! Replenish your creative well, or build your creative muscle, by doing things that are fun, even if you aren’t that great at it. Building skill in another art form is not the goal this week (this is a belly dance blog!) But building creativity is, and you can only do that by doing more creative things!
And hey, share with me what you’ve done this week! Post photos or videos to share with me and other dancers what you did this week to build those creative muscles!
Taking the challenge? Let everyone else know! Tweet it!
Geez, can you believe it’s June already!?
And it’s Monday, so that means it’s time for another weekly belly dancing challenge. Except…this week isn’t going to be about belly dance…
Occasionally, I will have challenges that go across all levels, and this week is one of them. Cross training is training in an activity that is NOT what you normally train in. So a soccer athlete might try skiing for a season. Cross training helps prevent repetitive strain injuries by using different sets of muscles than the original activity while still keeping the body moving and training. Many athletes will cross train in an activity that complements their original activity in order to build strength and/or flexibility that will help with both activities.
Beginners probably don’t (yet) have to worry about repetitive strain on their belly dancing muscles because they haven’t been working them as much (yet). However, cross training can be a benefit to all dancers, of all levels. So how can belly dancers cross train? Oh, there are lots of complimentary activities. Other dance forms, for starters. Ballet is a good one, not only because it works the muscles in different ways, but it is also becoming nearly mandatory for advanced dancers to learn. Hip hop might be a good choice for fusion dancers. Many, many, many dancers choose something that isn’t dance, like yoga or pilates, to increase their core strength and their flexibility. These are just suggestions; there are lots of different activities to choose from out there. But I will give this advice: make it something fun, and something you can stick to, or else it will do you no good.
Your challenge is to try cross training this week. Just don’t kill yourself by throwing everything into some new activity. Meet with a doctor or a fitness expert first, and see what they recommend, especially if you already have an injury. Lay off belly dancing (mostly) for this week and give something else a try. Then see how your body feels once you come back to belly dance. Of course, one week isn’t enough to really get the most benefit from cross training, but it’s a great place to start. Again, these challenges are a way to incorporate things into your dance that you might not normally try, not necessarily a suggestion on how you should train. Give it a try and see how you like it!
Happy dancing (er…or whatever it is you’ll be doing!!)