Monthly Archives: March 2015

Say goodbye to clunky arm transitions and hello to poised coordination

10425470_10152683930926857_8363210408524917612_nOur Silver award exam coaching workshop – good luck ladies!

Hey there!

Have you ever had one of those “hallelujah” moments where a teacher gives you a nugget of dance wisdom? Something clicks, the penny drops and you feel that you’ve been nudged a little further along.

It’s not a particular move or technique but a way doing something which informs your dance overall.

As a dance student I live for those moments.

Back when I was a teenager learning ballroom dancing (sporting 3 inch heels and enough rhinestones to bling up a house) my teacher dropped a concept into his teaching that struck such a chord with me that I still use it in my bellydancing and teaching today (with a few of my own modifications to make it fully pertinant to bellydance).

On that note I’d like to say thank you to my former teacher, Bruce Lait, for his many pearls of wisdom that’s formed my personal “dance tapestry”.

If you’re a fellow fan of “dance pearls of wisdom” then dig in to this week’s tutorial to get coaching from me on how to say goodbye to clunky arm transitions and hello to poised, coordinated arms.

I’d love to know, what dance pearls of wisdom have struck a chord with you? What gave you a “hallelujah” moment most recently and who was it from? Leave a comment and take the opportunity to say “thanks teach!”.

If you’re curious about learning to bellydance with us here in Reading, UK, take a look at our upcomng courses (we start in 2 weeks!). I’m uber proud to say that we have a stunning team of coaches to guide and coach you. If you’re a complete beginner we even have a course specially designed for you.

Thank you for reading,

Hugs and shimmies,

Helen xx

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Have you lost your bellydance mojo?

I was at a birthday party at a Turkish restaurant in Leamington Spa, the music came on, she walked onto the dance floor in a dazzling silver and crystal costume mesmerized me with her moves – I was smitten. I was in love.

Do you remember the time you were wooed and then smitten by bellydance?  You start to think about it more and more until you find yourself thinking about it in your team meeting at work or when your having a catch up with your friend. Things get serious and you’re flying high in the honeymoon period. This goddess can’t put a foot wrong! She’s exciting, she makes you feel fabulous, the more you get to know her the more you fall in love.

So with all this love floating around, why do we sometimes lose our bellydance mojo? and what can we do to get it back?

Think of it this way, getting  bitten by the be bellydance bug is akin to getting into a heady relationship and, like intense relationships, it has ups and downs, ebbs and flows. It turns out she’s not as perfect as you thought she was, sometimes you feel blissfully in love, other times you need a bit of space.

The thing is, it’s often not the sort of thing bellydance students want to talk to teachers about as they feel like they are letting them down (or being a “bad” student). But know this, any teacher worth their salt understands this phenomenon and will be understanding (they won’t burst into tears and feel personally wounded). It’s perfectly natural and normal to go through peaks and troughs as a bellydancer. I’ve seen this and also felt it myself as a student and as a teacher.

I’m in no way qualified to tell you, or any bellydance student, why you feel what you feel. That said, over the years I’ve noticed 4 common situations which sometimes affect our relationship to bellydance. Maybe some of these will resonate with you? Or maybe not. But if your friend or student seems to have momentarily lost the passion for bellydance then consider that they may be going through one of the the following:

1) Bellydance hangover. When we’re in love with bellydance we’re on a high and we want to keep feeding on it. You feel like you have more energy and drive than ever so it’s time to take on more classes, courses, multiple teachers, workshops, online tuition, performances (as many as possible), joining or forming a troupe, collaborating with friends, even going pro. It’s one big blinging party!

However, if you’re the type who’s inclined to get a hangover then you may have one on the way.

Why the hangover? Well, essentially we commit ourselves up to our earrings to far too many events and projects. When we’re high on inspiration and love for bellydance we make promises to other people (and ourselves) about dedicating time, emotion, love and creativity to all these commitments because we are high on inspiration and we can’t imagine that feeling ever changing.

But, as we know from experience, that high doesn’t last forever and at some point we mellow back down to our more usual levels. In this case, one big sparkling adventure then leads to bellydance burnout.

The first time this happens it can be confusing not to mention upsetting. It’s horrible when what once seemed like bliss can begin to feel like a chore (you promised to meet up to rehearse, you said you’d perform in that show etc.). Be forgiving on yourself and take it as a learning experience. This doesn’t mean that you’ll never get the love back again, you just need to be mindful in the future about how much you commit to.

2) You haven’t found the right teacher. If you’re not resonating with the ethos of your teacher and feel out of place in class then it might be time to hunt out a new school. It’s nobody’s fault, just a mismatch of what they are offering and what you’re after. Don’t give up, do some research and hunt out a class where you will feel at home (tip this could even be an online class).

3) Quit the diet. Like any relationship, you need to feed your bellydance bond to keep it healthy. Reigniting the spark – in bellydance terms – can mean giving yourself a new challenge or getting fresh inspiration.

Starving yourself of the abundance that bellydance has to offer could be the reason you’ve hit a slump. But don’t panic, if you feel you’ve plateaued then getting out of it can be as simple as finding new music to listen and practice to, buying a new hipscarf or costume. Or it might be as ambitious attending a workshop, intensive or festival. Find out what your classmates are up to to see if you can hook in on an adventure.

The truth is, you need to be proactive and see what else is going on.  Remember when you got the courage to come to class for the fist time? Now it’s time to be courageous again and discover something new.

4) You’re trying too hard putting pressure on yourself to progress faster than you are is a sure way to suck the joy out of just about anything.

Think back to when you first fell in love with bellydancing and how good it made you feel. It sounds so ridiculously simple to say this but the whole point of the endeavor is to feel good. Don’t just skip over that sentence: the whole point of the endeavor is to feel good.  This means that you should feel good while you’re on the bellydance journey, not save it all up for when you reach a certain goal or level.

Sometimes we think that once we’ve reached a level THEN we’ll start to feel great. So I’ll tell you now: you don’t have to wait to enjoy yourself, you may start right now.

Now, I’d love to hear from you on this one:

Have you experienced bellydance burn out? Did you have to try several teachers until you felt ‘at home’ in a class? Do you put too much pressure on yourself and kill the joy? What did you do to get YOUR mojo back?

I’d love for you to leave a comment below and tell us, it might be just what somebody needs to help them get their passion for bellydance back on track.

Thank you for reading 🙂

With love and shimmies,

Helen x

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