Tag Archive | mlk day

Weekly Challenge for 1-20-14

I hope you are having a wonderful and meaningful Martin Luther King day. I previously did a challenge, for last year on this important day, and would like to put that one out there again as a way to do something good for your community.

As an alternate choice, we have a drill challenge this week!

Drills, drills, drills

One of the hardest things about belly dance for many beginners is that we don’t “get it” right away. Belly dance takes intense muscle control, which takes muscle strength and muscle memory. To get that, you have to, have to, have to drill. And drill. And drill some more.

It’s boring, and it’s hard, and it’s not so fun. I agree…I got into belly dance to have fun and get fit without having to slog to the gym or do boring and “stupid” exercises. Drilling isn’t my favorite either. But I make it a game sometimes, or I try some other way to make it more fun. So, this week, we’re going to try to make drilling fun!

Every day this week, try something new for your drilling. Pick a move you need to work on, something that needs improvement, not something you already do well (although, every dancer should know to drill the basics in order to keep up the skills), and drill, drill, drill!!

Then try some of these ideas to make them fun: (just make sure to remember that the drill is still what’s important here, not the game!)

    • Get a drill partner and drill together
    • Put on your favorite song–no matter what it is–and drill something to it
    • If you have a drill partner, have a contest. See who can shimmy longest, or can do the most of your chosen move in a minute (just make sure you don’t sacrifice technique for speed; keep each other honest about whether technique is getting sloppy)
    • Start layering, even if it’s just arms, over whatever movement you are drilling
    • If you are up for it, try a marathon drill session. Drill 100 of each of the movements you are working on (just be careful with yourself and your body, and don’t overwork it and risk injury…start with 25 or 50 if 100 is too hard)
    • Smile while you drill (yes! This will make it more fun!)
    • Film yourself drilling and see what your improvement is like over the week (or longer!)

This is just the start. Come up with other ideas and see what you can do to make drilling a little bit more fun! It doesn’t have to be a slog of boring moves. Inattention is just as bad as not drilling at all, so anything to keep you drilling, keep yourself interested, is going to help in the long haul. And remember…belly dance is tough, but the rewards are well worth it!

Happy drilling!

Taking the challenge? Let everyone else know!  Tweet it!

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Weekly Challenge for MLK Day

As you may have noticed, today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in the US.  Today is supposed to be not just a day off of work but a day of service.  I think that’s a great idea!  You can find more information here.  You can search by area to see what sort of activities there are for you to help out with.

But this is a belly dance blog, and so…we have this week’s challenge!

Making change happen

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s vision was one of equality for all.  However, as many of us know, that hasn’t happened yet.  And to get into a touchy subject…it really hasn’t happened for women in Arab countries at all.  “So what?” you are thinking (well, I hope not…), “How does this affect me and my dance?”  Well, considering that belly dance is a folk dance that originated in these countries, with these women, it affects ALL OF US.  Many dancers get dinged for not being culturally sensitive, or not knowing anything about the culture from which their dance comes from.  Tribal Fusion dancers get heat about this the most, because fusion is so, so different from its origins.  So it’s even more important for fusion dancers to know the origins of their “mother dance form.”

This week, let’s concentrate on changing that…and possibly changing the lot of women around the world.  Every day this week, learn a little bit about what life is like for women in Arabic countries.  It doesn’t have to turn into a huge research project to spend hours and hours on.  Just read a little bit about it, at least five minutes a day.  A news story one day, a Wikipedia entry the next.  Find out what these women are going through, and why that is.

How will this change something?  Well, it might not.  But educating ourselves about what other women are going through is the first step.  Most of us ignore the news because it’s unpleasant, or we just don’t want to take the time to follow a story.  We know, intellectually, that women are treated badly in other countries, but many of us either don’t care, don’t know why, or don’t want help or think we can’t.  We have our own lives to worry about: kids, work, practice, our own leisure… But taking 5 minutes, just 5 minutes, out of our schedules to learn about other people and other cultures just may make us more willing to reach out to people, to help those that we don’t know.  We can help others, in a way that is culturally sensitive, if we just take the time to learn about them!

Let’s all get to learning!