When was the last time…

5 questions for seasoned dancers:

When was the last time..

1 You danced freely? Without concern of others, technique, or feelings?

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2 You danced for no one but God, as your audience & how does that affect your movements?

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3 You danced without thinking about anything, (unrelated thoughts, what move is next, how you are executing a move, or what the audience is thinking), but only about how you feel, how the dance feels, how the music feels, & how your body feels?

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4 You danced without using all your muscles except the ones needed for each present movement?

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5 You danced with the sole purpose of creating great & lovely energy for your audience, whether of one or five hundred?

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*all photos in this post can be found on my Pinterest board, ArtoftheDance.

The Best way for Westerners to get used to different Eastern Rhythms

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Listen…

Just listen to the music,

Often…

I like to play various rhythms, such as Beledi, Chiftitelli, Masmoudi, Sayyadii, & Karsilama repeatedly. That’s before I even think about dancing. I get the songs in my soul & simultaneously visualize movements to them. Next I start improvising to the music.

If you only stick to one type of rhythm, such as Beledi, you may be at a lost on how to dance to diverse sounds & timing patterns are played.

Purchase Arabic dance albums with various artists on the tracks, in addition to a single artist’s album. This will give you a wide variety of rhythmic tunes to practice to.

How do you perfect your ears to eastern rhythms?

 

*picture from Pinterest

How to Effectively Mix Dance Styles

We’ve all seen how famous dancers throughout the years visit other countries, come back to their own and blend foreign styles with their traditional ones. Samia Gamal added Latin dance to her Belly dance routines, Denishawn complemented their modern pieces with Indian & Oriental dances, and I like to mix Popping with my Oriental dance…

But how do you blend different styles with it looking like it gels together?

I discovered three main keys to mixing up different dance styles so that it doesn’t look like a dance fit on the floor.
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Match the pace~
Different styles of dance are signified by their specific timing of their movements. If you work with two styles, you will need to slow one down or speed one up and match to other. This makes a nice blend with put side by side.
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Look for coherency~
Try to match songs and dances that intermingle well. Although I don’t see Whacking and Ballet being easily done together in the same routine & tune, I wont be surprise if someone pulls it off. Instead, look for styles that can easily pivot off of one another like Hula & Belly or Tinkling & Indian Classical.

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Listen to song changes~
There are key places in the music of the rhythm that change, especially in middle eastern songs. At this transition would be a good time to switch the dance styles. It will look intentional & cohesive.
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Have you blending any dance styles lately, and if so which ones?

The Ancient Dance…the first Triple Threat

I believe ancient dances to be more feminine, more flexible, & more spiritually connected than today’s modern dances.

Let me explain:

More Feminine..

All the modern dances created in the past 2000 years ( see my list of dance types ), have elements of masculinity and abnormal gravity defying movements, which again is a masculine trait. Women don’t naturally move in the ways of modern dance, which is why they must be trained in that particular dance.

Hip Hop is aggressively masculine, Jazz is the birth of spunky, &Ballet uses a number of damaging alignments to the body in the appearance of gracefulness. They are all unique and have there place, but they are also a few illustrations of the non-natural femininity in dance.

In ancient times, before and up to the arrival & death of Christ, the way women moved naturally were easily incorporated into their dances, which made learning & doing them easy & simple. Imitation was the teaching method, while the way of observance, the dances remained alive in the culture of those generations.

More Flexible..

It appear we have evidence that all ancient dance incorporated two or more of the following elements:

~the dance itself (lovely body movements)

~props (instruments or other)

~songs sung by singers

Today, many dancers solo dance to or from the music, in which is a great feat, BUT most ancient dancers sung,  & played an instrument when they danced. In addition, their dances were beautiful and use various levels of rhythmic space.

Remember when Miriam danced? She sung & played the tambourine simultaneously. And what about the dancers who praised David & Saul? They chanted as they danced with tabrets &various instruments of music. These women recorded in our history books of Exodus (15:20-21) & I Samuel (18:6-7), were the first triple threats!!

More Spiritually Connected..

Ancient dancers of all races, ethnicities, & nations danced. And when they danced it was often in connection of worship to their deity. For the Israelites, is was/and still is for the Great I AM / the Lord Almighty, the Greeks acted out legends for their gods, the Canaanites danced around their idols & different forces of nature, while the Baal priests wildly & violently danced around their erected alters.

All dancing was consciously connected to worship of a spirit. Although there is only One Spirit, which is the Most High & beside Him there is no other, these diverse people recognized dance as a sacred act of worship to a spirit that they felt were governing their lives. I do not advocate demonic dancing’ dancing to any god except Our Creator, Jehovah. I solely support honoring the dance to the true Lord. Yet, I point out these other ancient dancers to reveal their awareness of the power in dance & their understanding that it should be offered up as a sweet sacrifice to the Lord.

We do not have this vast awareness today. The spirit realm has not lost its knowledge of its power. It perceives each dancer whether their dance belongs to the Holy One or given to the other one ( the enemy ), (see Acts 19:15),even though the average dancer is unaware of it. Many don’t realize they are dancing for some deity that influences their movement, whether it is for the Lord or some idol. If we restore this awareness, but can change our commitment to move for & only for God.

Will you return to the triple threat dancing for God? Or will you continue to allow our precious customs to lie dormant in dusty books unread?

How can you Enhance your Dance to Christ

A more excellent way to bring a spirit of excellence into your dance before our Lord is to view your dance, not as a performance, but in 3 distinct interconnected mindsets. They are as follows:

1. King
2. Gift
3. Request

When you set foot on any stage, whether the audience be of one or many, you must always start your movement realizing that you are about to dance before a King. Not just any King of a restricted jurisdiction on earth, but a heavenly King, which have given all kings on earth their limited time and space, both good and bad. Once you change your perspective to that you are dancing for the King, you will desire to only bring Him your best.Remember the offerings of Abel and his brother Cain? Only Abel’s was accepted because he had a pure heart before God and brought Him only the best fruits and produce. Follow after the spirit of Abel and give God your best dance.

When you dance, remember your movements are a gift from Him and you are presenting the gift back to Him. This gift certainly is not in the same form as when He gave it, but refined, invested, multiplied, and sharpened. The Lord is highly pleased when you take something and make more out of it. This is seen in the parable Jesus gave about 3 men he gave different amounts of ‘talents’ to.

When your dance is complete, and He has accepted it, request of Him and expect Him to grant it. Yes, request! The Holy Spirit gave me these distinct mindsets and said “my dancers have a right to request something in my Name and I will grant it”. If this sounds incredulous to you, the Spirit brought to my attention that the Bible is replete with His people bring a gift to Him and requesting a deep desire: look at Saul before his kingship, look at the special woman who ministered to Elijah, look at Hezekiah concerning the opposition. Yes, you dear children of His, you do have a right, for he has given you that  right to request and it shall be granted. It could be a noble request ( salvation or deliverance of some persons ) or your unspoken desire ( perhaps a child or right decision to make over a life changing issue ), but do not hesitate nor forget to ask.

May you be blessed in the spirit of excellence as you grasp this new mindset of your dance to our King.

Can’t get to the studio?

Having a hard time getting to the dance studio?

Whatever the reason:

~time

~money

~distance

These tips can keep you perfecting your dance skills like a pro:

How I should Choreograph vs how I actually do it

Ready to hear my secret? I am really ashamed to admit this…

But-

The way I choreograph….. It’s not standard for my field.
It’s not even normal for a sane person!

How I choreograph…..is~~~

Usually at the last minute.

And I mean last, last, last minute, like I have two or three days to perform it, last minute. And I usually know a month in advance when I have a showing or recording.

I know, it’s pathetic. I cannot give you a reasonable explanation as to why I do it. It’s not that I work best under pressure, because I don’t think I do. It’s not that I don’t have time, because anyone can find time to do what they need or want.

It’s because…..I cannot do it any other way.

Ok, before you give me a lecture about it. Consider my point of view: I have A LOT of ideas coming to me ALL THE TIME. And I change the movements often, as well as the music. Then I get excited over another dance project and set that one aside. Sometimes, I don’t even put the work together, until I step on stage….

….and Freestyle!

I need help. I can admit that. And I am working on doing better.

I make dance notations, I listen repetitively to the chosen songs to memorize its rhythms and timing, and I even have a technique to prefect each movement.

Have I mastered this? Not a day.

Will I change? I hope so soon.

Do you have pity on me? Show me with some change in the hat..

Until then, I will improve……….I will get better……….I will mature in the art of making dances.