It’s time for another weekly challenge! Get over the Monday blahs and let’s get to it!
Doing the things you hate
Oh, we all have them. Those drills, those choreos, that warm-up… We’d much rather be sitting on the couch, eating cookies than doing that again, right?
I have a confession to make. I hate yoga!! Oh, are they going to take the belly dancer card away from me?! Okay, let me rephrase that. I love that yoga is awesome, and that my body loves the way yoga makes it feel. If I didn’t do yoga, I wouldn’t be able to walk without pain in my hip (old injury…nothing to do with belly dance btw). It’s good for you, and I feel great afterwards. I just hate doing it. Why? Because it’s not dancing. And it’s kinda boring…(I find it very difficult to sit still and be quiet unless I’m reading a book.) Silly, I know.
But we all have those, don’t we? Things we must do in dance in order for us to grow, or to stretch, or learn a new skill, or be in a troupe. Things that make us go, “Why are we doing this again?” But these are the very things we must work on. If you hate snake arm drills, it’s likely because your snake arms need some work, right?! I’m about as flexible as a stick of wood, so yoga is more like torture for me, but I still do it! I do it because I know I need it.
So sit down and think about the things about dance that you hate doing the most. And I mean the things that make you want to give up dance and go do something else fun, like pulling off your toenails. Now let’s brainstorm some ideas on how to make it more interesting to you. For me, I like to watch videos or listen to some new music while I do yoga, even if the music doesn’t fit the “yoga vibe.” Can you think of something? If it’s doing a certain choreography you hate, can you put it to another song? (Yeah, I know, choreos are done to a specific song, but some can fit into others in terms of beat and length, if not matching the music exactly). This way, you’ll challenge yourself to remember the choreo without the crutch of the music, and you get to listen to a different song! Hate drilling? Find a way to make it more fun…watch Weird Al videos or tell a story to your kids while you drill (just don’t let your drills suffer!). Just find something fun to do!
Your challenge is to do the thing you hate, for at least one song (or equivalent, so 3-5 minutes, or in the case of yoga, one session) a day for a week. The challenge here is primarily to find a way to do it without wanting to run screaming into the hills. This may be the hardest challenge we all face this year…but keep in mind that we hate these things because we need them. We know we need them, we just don’t want to knuckle down and do it. This is your chance!
Happy dancing (or be a happy yogini!)
(Thanks to Ideowl for the awesome yoga pose)
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!!)