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?

Why is Dancing in the Church such a Controversy

I don’t understand this. Maybe because before I really could perfect how to walk, I starting dancing~in the church. I was soooo young, maybe 2 or 3, and yes my mother had to hold my body still to prevent me from really ‘getting down”. Looking back, I realize I was always dancing in the church. I danced in the church before I danced in the world. Back then, the world was defined as my world of music videos and school dance battles.

That is where I learned and secretly practiced my dances.

Perhaps I have this idea of dance being sacred. After all, many use it to ‘summon’ their god, seduce a lover, or pay tribute to some honorary figure. Dance, to me, was always to be revered and performed for something lofty. I perceived to to be a gift that I would present to my God, my King, my Lord. Yet, now, I am angered inside when I see dance being improperly used. It is being over used to market products, promote unworthy people, and entice many lovers. The most skilled are sought to reduce their art to a luring magnet to something so un-sacred, it upsets me greatly. I’m not upset that they are sought after, for dancing among many things is beautiful when done right, but because the dancers are willing to sell their art so cheaply.

The Church should be experts at the Word of God as a whole by now. With the information, modern technology, and spiritual support, we should be masters at discerning the Bible. If we were then we should know that dancing is a gift that praises and worships God. If I could have any say in the ‘Church’ I would fight to restore dance back in the church and out of the marketing world. It should not be considered controversial, but a pleasurable act that occurs in the victory of our Lord: Look at Miriam! Look at David! Look at Jephthah’s daughter! Look at the daughters of Shiloh! Even God is recorded as one who DANCES over us!! (Zephaniah 3:17)

Dancing was and is for celebration, for victory, for kings (see Saul, David, Herod – although that dance caused John’s demise because of the dancer’s evil mother, but it was really intended to please the king, not cause the death of a prophet).

Oh Church, please become aware that you are loosing one of the greatest tools we have, in the spiritual world and to the world. Fight to restore it by bringing back dancing and its purpose for His people. Lessen the power it has over marketing services, products, and ideas. Bring it back….to God.

Christian Dancer or Dancer for Christ?

As a dancer, I’ve been considering who I am lately. To be a Christian says a lot of things, and some things I’ve discovered that I do not agree with. I will review those thing in full and in depth in another post. But one of the question I asked myself and I ask you, is, did God create us and this wonderful plan of salvation, just to give us….Religion?

Christianity is lovely. It was really birthed from a branch of the Catholic Church ( did you know that? ). But many Christians differ on what the Bible really means. And many of its traditions have not come from the Word of God. That is why it doesn’t sit well with me 100%.

Reason with me. Examine God’s Word and see if what I say be true or false.

I question things. I question things a lot. And I have a few questions now.

I am to be a dancer of religion? The christian religion? Or am I to dance for the One whose teachings now have got men so opinionated over, that they create countless factions, denominations, and kinds, within one religion?

Who employs me, Christianity or God? I cannot dance for anything but the supreme One who called me. Christianity didn’t call me. Jesus did. And He said follow Him.

I want to Dance for Christ.

I want to Dance for my King.

I want to Dance for God.

Not religion, not Christianity, and not for traditions of men. I will follow my Lord & King and nothing else.

What about you?

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.

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.

To the non-professional Critics of Dancers

This post is for those that like to comment about other dancers, saying either:

A – that such and such dancer cannot not or should not be doing (fill in your type of dance here) due the their size or skill level because they are:

  1. Too fat
  2. Too thin
  3. Too whatever
  4. Don’t have enough body fat on (fill in a part of the anatomy)

Or

B – that so & so cannot dance as well as this dancer.

I have 3 answers to people who say things like this:

  1. If people took heed to their thoughtless comments, it would prevent some of the best talent we now have in the world
  2. They sure as earth…cannot do it themselves
  3. Wait, a non dancer critiquing a dancer?

In addition, comparing one dancer to another, even in the same style of dance,is foolish. It’s like one who compares a cherry to a walnut. They are different! They have different properties, are in different food groups, and taste different. They even digest differently! A walnut will NEVER be like a cherry and vice versa. They also have no desire to be like the other in any way, but both are edible foods that God Created for our pleasure to consume. He wanted to give us variety, choice, and difference. Thank you Lord!

So, why would one dancer want to be the same or equal in technique or skill or creativity as another?

Then, we would have the same duplicated type of dancer season after season. For illustration, I would not want every belly dancer on earth be specialized in only drum solos. Variety is what makes the dance so special! I want to see one skilled with zils ( finger cymbals), the other with the veil, and still another, with transitions and merging of other dance styles, etc. STOP comparing one dancer to another one that is skilled in ONE part of the dance or highlights only one element in that dance style.

In addition, everyone comes to the dance with different ranges of flexibilities, backgrounds, and interpretations. The art of dance is not a cookie cutter art. Perhaps if one can stop comparing, they can see the beauty and creativity of what a particular dancer has to offer and receive something from it. For all those that criticize dancers for not being equal to or better than another dancer, I have a one request of you: I’d like to see you do it better than the one you are comparing the dancer to. But if you cannot even dance on an amateur level, then you might want to keep quiet and let those that are working on and sharing their art, take the stage.