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  1. #1
    V.I.P. Ariadne's Avatar
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    Default Advice on Practicing?

    Hi.

    I haven't been on here for a few months because I couldn't dance and it was getting too difficult to read about people who could but I'm ready to at least try and start again so here I am. I could use a little help though. My health has been really bad since a year ago last fall so my previous regime is no longer an option. Classes aren't an option either as I simply can no longer keep up (trying puts me into intense pain) and I cannot afford to pay for private classes. My teacher would probably teach me privates for the cost of a regular class if I asked her but knowing what she would be doing for so little means I am not going to ask. That leaves me with home study but I have no idea how to set up a study program that is at my currant physical level (if I don't do something I will never get any better though).

    To give you an idea of what I used to do before my health took a dive I would practice 5-6 days a week for 1-2 hours.
    • 20 minute warmup
    • 10 minutes of walking shimmies and turns
    • 10 minutes of chest isolations
    • 5 minutes of snake arms
    • 10 minutes of kneeling omies, undulations, and strengthening my thigh muscles.
    Then I would practice 2 or more choreographies and work on a new one followed by a 5-10 minute cool down.

    I am assuming that with my fibromyalgia that I would be better off cutting it down to 3 days a week but if I can come up with a sufficiently gentle program I would prefer my 5-6 days instead.

    I need; a much shorter and gentler warmup (I can't even make it through 5 minutes of my previous one), a rotating program that alternates targeting different areas of my body, and integrated zill practice. The zillls are not negotiable . I had just started to learn when everything crashed and I am determined to be able to dance with them at any time.

    The instruction DVD's I own are:
    • Bellydance With Zills, Elsa Leandros
    • Zill Speak (CD), Artemis
    • Beautiful Technique from Step One, Autumn Ward
    • Totally Turkish, Ruby
    • Flawless Floorwork, Ruby
    • Absolute Beginner Bellydance, Delilah
    • Bellydance Workshop 1, Delilah
    • Instant Belly Dancer (2 DVD set), Neon
    • The Belly Dance Rhythms, Neon
    • Belly Dance Party, Neon
    • Luscious, The Belly Dance Workout
    • Belly Dance Show Basics, Tanna Valentine
    • Belly Dance Prenatal Fitness, Naia (haven't needed it yet)
    • Bellydance Magical Motion, Atea


    I can get my hands on more if necessary but they would be loans only. If you can't tell from that list my style of interest is American Classic and Turkish and I prefer the alternating lead hand style of zills, I am just completely lost as to how to structure a toned down practice.

    Any suggestions as to how I go about this?

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    V.I.P. Greek Bonfire's Avatar
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    Speaking from experience, tone down the warmup to ten minutes, but go with all beginner videos until you start to feel them getting easier. Then move on to intermediate and advanced. I always did stretch warmups first and last, and I also started doing yoga again to get back flexibility. Don't push yourself, just go with how you feel. It will come back and it will return faster than you thought. Good luck!

  3. #3
    V.I.P. jenc's Avatar
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    You might find that the bellydance and pregnancy one is useful

  4. #4
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    Ariadne, I am so glad to have you back and very, very sorry about the challenge you are facing. My aunt lives with the same problem and I know how hard it is for her.

    My suggestion is to start with a very gentle warm up that moves every section of your body from head to toes without putting strain on your joints or muscles. Take your time, don't worry about minutes. Just do two or three movements for each body part, then go on to the next without watching the clock. Concentrate on making movements deliberate and thorough.

    Next perhaps a slow undulating improvisational dance, once again incorporating all parts of your body and getting your blood flowing without doing anything too strenuous.

    Next I'd suggest maybe three minutes each drilling typical movements like lifts, slides, circles, walks, etc., followed by practicing choreographies for whatever period you feel best works for you on any given day, then cool down.

    Don't look at me about zils! I do think that a stretching or yoga class that is specifically developed for people with arthritis or other issues may help. Water exercise is always especially gentle on one's body while still getting results.

    Good luck, honey. I'm sure glad you're back.
    "Well, now that we have seen each other," said the unicorn " if you'll believe in me, I'll believe in you."

  5. #5
    V.I.P. Ariadne's Avatar
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    Thank you so much Shanazel, that was exactly what I needed to know! I think if I'm careful I can probably pull that much off. I forgot to mention I really want to learn to improvise and I bought Gia's "Create a Combo" card set but haven't been able to use them yet. Maybe I can use them in the improve session to get me started?

    I'm glad I'm back too.
    Thank you.

  6. #6
    V.I.P. jenc's Avatar
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    I would like to add that overtraining gives me difficulties. I am 62 and sometimes in class when we do repetitive drills I can feel that after so many, my muscles just won't continue to produce acceptable results. I need frequent stops for a few seconds. If I am practising on my own, I always so short bursts of any drill, sometimes alternating 2 or 3. Also doing 4 or 8 chest circles, then the same of another one or 2 moves helps to avoid that problem where you can drill repeatedly, but find it difficult to one move in the middle of your routine correctly

  7. #7
    V.I.P. Ariadne's Avatar
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    So short reps alternated with other moves works better for you in drilling?

  8. #8
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    There is a yoga dvd called Yoga Inside Out The Healing Way (I think that is the exact title.... if not, it is really close). It helped me. Don't rush through stretching. Stretch well every day. Have your doc make sure you don't have any nutritional deficiencies (esp. vit. D, potassium and magnesium). Start off with what you can do now. If it is 5 minutes, start there. Do that for a week or two, then add 5 minutes each week. If at any point it feels too much, cut it back to the previous week until you can handle it. If you push yourself too hard, it will only set you back. Also, look into seeing a massage thereapist who will help you learn self massage. Fibromyalgia has you in a state of hypersensitivity. You can help desensitize yourself with a therapist's help. Ask while you have them on the phone if they are willing to work with you and teach you self-help. Ask about their training and whether they know acupressure or deep therapy. If they do deep therapy, ask if they have experience with fibro.... it can be done, but you have to start slowly and proceed carefully.

  9. #9
    Member Rassi's Avatar
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    so short reps alternated with other moves works better for you in drilling?

    I'm an older dancer and yes, this works best for me as well. I try to alternate the snappier movements with the stretchier movements when I practice. Best of luck to you!

  10. #10
    V.I.P. jenc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ariadne View Post
    So short reps alternated with other moves works better for you in drilling?
    Absolutely. I also find it useful to drill aLternates or other short combos that exercise the brain as well as muscle eg chest circle, omi, or chest figure 8 and vertical figure 8. Even better if you can work out a short combo that changes direction as well. Exercises the brain and practises clean transitions as well as just repetitions.

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