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  1. #1
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    Default Is there any hope for an inflexible older beginner?

    I'm a really new newbie, only four classes into my belly dance class and I'm getting very frustrated. After reading through this forum to see if others are having the same problem, I think I discovered what the problem is; I'm incredibly inflexible AND unable to isolate my ribcage from my hips.

    If I do a shoulder shimmy, almost regardless of how slow it is, I can't keep my hips still. Same thing with rib cage slides (I don't know if that's the proper term). I tried doing them sitting down and although I know it's possible to do those moves without moving my hips, but the minute I stand up there they go. I look like I'm doing the twist. At least it's still a dance, just not the one I'm trying to do. I read on one thread about teaching beginners that this isn't uncommon in older students and it rather sounded like a daunting problem to overcome.

    And then there is doing more than one thing at a time, like arms and hips and moving. For some reason, my mind is set on the idea that this is going to be impossible.

    Although I'm taking class primarily for fun and fitness, I really DO want to be able to belly dance but I'm beginning to think I might not have the coordination to do this. I'd sure love to hear that there is some hope for me, and perhaps some tips on what I can do to improve flexibility and an ability to separate movement of hips, torso and shoulders.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Marya's Avatar
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    Heavens, you are hard on yourself. I have seen teenagers with the same problems and yoga adepts that did everything backwards. 4 lessons is barely enough to start getting acquainted with all your body parts, let alone start isolating.

    give it a year then decide.

    Marya

  3. #3
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    There is plenty of hope for an inflexible older beginner, its just a matter of doing it one step at a time. You have a start with four lessons but don't get discouraged because you might not be doing it as quickly as you think you should. After several years of lessons, there are several moves I have trouble with certain moves but I keep working on them.<grins> Do what you can and just keep working on it.

  4. #4
    V.I.P. Greek Bonfire's Avatar
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    Yes, there is hope! Only four weeks? See where you are at in four months! There is something about anything good can't be rushed. Just practice a lot but it does take time.

  5. #5
    Member AndreaSTL's Avatar
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    Cut yourself some slack, sister! There's no way to learn everything in 4-6 hours. If you did that we would all have to hate you! Seriously though, you are being way too harsh. Would you expect to dance with the Joffrey after the same amount of ballet lessons? Would you expect to paint the Sistine Chapel after four art classes? Hell no! A good dancer can make it look effortless, but it really isn't. Learning this dance is truly a journey. Some parts will be very easy for you and some you will struggle with. The most important thing is that you enjoy the process, even if it isn't a cake walk. Each time you practice you will gain flexibility, strength, and stamina. You'll get there!

  6. #6
    AFK Moderator ~Diana~'s Avatar
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    What do you consider as older beginner? We have ladies in beginners classes who are over 50. Does not matter what age, everyone has the same problems because your body is not used to using those muscles, has not achieved flexibility, etc. Yes, being over 30,40, 50 probably will take longer to achieve flexibility but that is because most people lose flexibility naturally. A teenager is less flexible than a child or baby. However it is not impossible to create more flexibility with lots of practice and dedication.

    I didn't even achieve any sort of flexibility until well after a year and so of taking classes weekly and practicing at lot on my own. Everyone is different but we would never expect anyone (no matter age) who only has taken 4 classes to be as flexible as someone who has been doing this dance for years. Shesh even now after dancing for over 4 years I'm still having problem areas.

    Don't create a standard in your mind by comparing yourself to professional dancers, your teacher, other students, etc. They all will develop at different rates and times. Doing so will only turn you off the dance and create thoughts in your mind that you already stated you have.
    Last edited by ~Diana~; 02-23-2011 at 11:59 AM.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    1. Beginning dancer. Knows nothing.
    2. Intermediate dancer. Knows everything. Too good to dance with beginners.
    3. Hotshot dancer. Too good to dance with anyone.
    4. Advanced dancer. Dances everything. Especially with beginners
    .
    ~ Attributed to Dick Crum, a folk dance teacher ~

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the input and encouragement, it really means a lot These classes have pointed out exactly HOW uncoordinated and stiff I am, and I'm that student in class who just doesn't seem to get any of the moves. It's a three month class and my intentions are to complete it because it's so darned fun and the teacher is very supportive, but I'm hoping at some point in time I'll start moving a bit more gracefully.

  8. #8
    Moderator Darshiva's Avatar
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    When you're doing the moves while you're standing, imagine yourself doing them perfectly. There are studies that show that imagining yourself doing something is as good as physically doing it when it comes to practice, so when your body gets tired or refuses to co-operate, imagine it doing the right thing.

    The other thing is to continue to practice the upper body moves when you're sitting down. It is extremely difficult for most people to get the upper body moving in isolation to the lower body and immobilising the lover body while you're practicing your upper body moves helps to train your body to get the moves right.

    Keep at it, you're probably doing a lot better than you think you are.

  9. #9
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    I was really inflexable too and I, by chance, started taking yoga around the same time I started belly dance and found they complement each other real well. I had bad posture too and the combination of the two classes has helped so much and I feel great. At a few months I was frustrated too, I take a REAL long time to catch on to things (hard headed!) but I knew there was something about it I loved and it took about a year and a half before I could feel and see real results. Try some yoga if you can. And keep at it for the fun and the music for your own enjoyment. Keep going! Your probably actually doing great!

  10. #10
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    I'm actually feeling much better, thanks to everyone! I realized I didn't answer a question; I'm almost 48 and have never been very physically adept. I will definitely continue practicing my upper body movements while seated. Moving the hips in isolation doesn't seem nearly as challenging, at least as far as slides go.

    Well, it's off to class. Thanks again to everyone

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