Another Monday, another challenge! Let’s get right to it!
Ever see a belly dance performance where the dancer’s technique is exquisite, but she never moves from the spot she glued herself to on stage? Have you been dancing at a restaurant and wanted to get from the table of bored teenagers (desperately trying to be cool by avoiding eye contact with the dancer and smoking their hookah) to the loud one waving dollar bills at you?
You need to travel! And walking isn’t (always) going to cut it.
Beginner: Ask your teacher to show you a few easy traveling moves, like grapevine, step-touch, or a basic camel (the oriental belly dance kind, not the ATS® camel). For now, stay away from turns (which can be difficult to travel with at this level and get over-used in some cases anyway). Practice those every day this week until they feel pretty good. If you already know one of these, great! Try alternating a static movement (like a maya) with the traveling movement until you can switch between them seamlessly.
Intermediate: Make up your own combos! Pick two traveling moves and two other moves and make a short combo with them! Have fun, make sure you fill up your 8 counts (meaning don’t travel for 2 counts, do something for 1 count, another something for 2 counts, etc….that’s too frantic), and write them down. Make up a new combo every day, but don’t stress yourself out by trying to come up with 14 different traveling moves. Reuse them. Make new combos and explore transitioning between all sorts of different movements.
Advanced: Improv time! If you dance at a restaurant, you definitely want to work on how you go from table to table (or stage to table, whatever your situation may be). Don’t walk! (Or if you do, make it pretty!) Practice your improvisation but make sure you add in your traveling moves. See how many you can come up with, but don’t cram them all into one session! Make it a point to focus on one or two different traveling moves per song. Only use those for that song, then switch it up for the next song. The next time you dance at the restaurant (or do any other sort of improv gig), make sure that you use these traveling moves you’ve been working on in order to get from table to table. Added challenge: if traveling is no big deal to you, layer it. Add ummis or mayas over a grapevine, belly rolls (not just undulations) over your camels, or a shimmy over your step-touch. Go crazy!