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  1. #11
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    For level changes, why do we automatically think about going down? I have to remind myself that level changes can be going up on the balls of our feet and then down. If I go downwards, I work on not squatting but going down till my heels are ready to come off the floor and then up. My knees do not like it when I go all the way down.

  2. #12
    Senior Member goddessyasaman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ariadne View Post
    Yes to ballet but I DO NOT recommend using marital arts to learn balance for BD. I had martial arts training when I was younger, I was quite serious about it in fact, and I presented a whole new set of problems for my teacher when she tried to teach me movements and posture. Yes martial arts teaches balance but it is a whole different set of movements and your center is very "grounded". Bellydance is all about being light on your feet. Martial arts teaches to never put yourself in a position where you can be knocked off balance. Bellydance is all about shifting balance and "toe work". The entire class would be following a movement or step change and my feet would "stick" to the floor because that was what they were trained to do. I had to shift to deliberately and consciously dancing in "cat stance" just to keep up. Now I'm back to doing gooey grounded movements and I'm running into trouble again. I'm fine while doing them but my transition...

    No martial arts training for balancing in BD it is the completely wrong posture/movement.



    Ok, now about knees. I have similar trouble too and squats aggravate it rather then making it better. What I find works for me is first a good warm up and second strengthening the leg muscles through practicing floor work and the afore mentioned plies. Good luck!

    Well it worked great for me but I have been doing martial arts since I was 4 and I never stopped, but I have studied many styles of martial arts so maybe thats why it was different for me, it has helped me be balanced well before I started Belly dance training really but like I said I had a teacher that went into all kinds of balance training I even trained on how to make my body lighter even to this day most people can not hear me before I am up on them, so I think it matters what kind of training you get. I understand what you are saying yet this way of training does not apply to all forms of martial arts..."You can be as light as a feather yet no one will move you "
    Last edited by goddessyasaman; 06-14-2011 at 01:18 AM.

  3. #13
    Member Taslin's Avatar
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    Aziyade, i seriously wish i lived in your area and that you could be my regular teacher. I grately appreciate your response and once again i had to wip out my notebook for the dvd references and suggestions. A heartfelt thanks! Just so i now exaclty what you are talking about can you go into more detail on the "modern style parallel plies", i want to make sure i know what move you mean and im not sure i do.

    I have taken a ballet for belly dancers workshop, and did get a few of the suggestions mentioned here, but i didnt want to hog the workshop w/ my particular needs so i didnt get the detailed responses-like i did here. Once again Aziyade thanks, it is strength, balance, core -issues, and my ankle strength that i need to work on. Yes this is alot to work on, but now i have identified the many things holding me back.

    My knees arent hurting me if and when i have the correct posture, its the wobbly-balance issues that can aggravate them. So i think my knees will okay IF i can improve in all these area.

    I have not done squats-they do kill my knees. I cant do them properly. It isnt worth the danger to try, when i know that the injury i will cause will not help anything, so i was kind of dis-heartened when that was Rachel's suggestion.

    Plus, as mention by level changes i did not just mean "going" down, i need to be able to come up as addressed here..I took a private w/ one of my instructors who was a pre-pro ballerina. She had me walking in relevet <sp? on my toes-just walking in the correct posture on my toes and she gave me some ballet exercises but i wasnt sure how theyd apply to level changes, i have a better idea now. She let me know that i need to strengthen my ankles, they are not injured, just not at all strong, and she was suprised when i went up on my toes that i didnt have more range.

    Ive got a long way to go, but i think its doable :0)
    Last edited by Taslin; 06-14-2011 at 01:30 AM.

  4. #14
    Member MissVega's Avatar
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    I have no knee issues or pain, but I also have pretty strong legs. All I can recommend is horse back riding as I have been doing that since I was a child. My only guess is that was what provided me with the strength and balance needed in dance.

    Riding lessons maybe

  5. #15
    V.I.P. Aziyade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Taslin View Post
    Aziyade, i seriously wish i lived in your area and that you could be my regular teacher. I grately appreciate your response and once again i had to wip out my notebook for the dvd references and suggestions. A heartfelt thanks!
    Aw! You're very welcome!!

    Just so i now exaclty what you are talking about can you go into more detail on the "modern style parallel plies", i want to make sure i know what move you mean and im not sure i do.
    This is basically it:

    Modern Dance Warm-Ups: Parallel Plié | eHow.com

    But you can also take these all the way to a fully bent knee. Grand Plie in parallel. Keep the upper body straight and perpendicular to the floor. Don't let the upper body lean forward and don't let the hips tip back.


    Although now that I think about it, you could benefit from also doing these in a very easy wide 2nd position of the feet -- which she does on the dvd I mentioned. Don't get crazy with the turnout. You don't need it.

    Another great ballet exercise is to take any plie EXTREMELY slowly -- like so slow that you think you're going to be totally bored. Like take 16 counts to go down and 16 to come back up. It's an AMAZINGLY exhausting exercise and great for those muscles.


    My knees arent hurting me if and when i have the correct posture, its the wobbly-balance issues that can aggravate them. So i think my knees will okay IF i can improve in all these area.
    Have you ever heard of a "wobble board" ? I've only ever used them for rehab after an injury, but I think they're starting to be used in fitness classes. You might google around and see how other people are using them for balance exercises.

    One of the easiest (and goofiest) ways to develop balance is to do it -- balance on one foot. Balance on a small surface. Walk on a low wall. Balance on the ball of one foot. This is more fun to do if you have kids to play with, but that kind of activity really does help you develop the strength and body awareness to help with balance.

    Another ballet exercise is to hold onto the back of a chair (for safety, not for a bicep workout!) pick up your left foot, and slowly rise to the ball of the right foot and come down. "Eleve" or sometimes people call it releve, if it's preceded by a knee bend. (be sure to switch feet!) Speed is not important. Focusing on the muscles working is. This is a great exercise for your ankles.

    Ive got a long way to go, but i think its doable :0)
    Of course it is! It all just takes time. And just when you build up THAT strength, you'll find you need to focus on some other muscle for a DIFFERENT kind of strength for other movements! lol. Dance keeps us always "on our toes" metaphorically, and it keeps us healthy! Gotta love it!

  6. #16
    Member mahsati_janan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aziyade View Post
    Aw! You're very welcome!!
    Another great ballet exercise is to take any plie EXTREMELY slowly -- like so slow that you think you're going to be totally bored. Like take 16 counts to go down and 16 to come back up. It's an AMAZINGLY exhausting exercise and great for those muscles.
    This is how I teach strength and positioning for level changes, as well. In a basic parallel position, we lower as far as is comfortable and then raise all the way up as far as it comfortable while maintaining upright posture in the chest and torso. I also have students do this with one foot slightly forward or back to help with the strength and balance to do level changes with the feet in other positions.

    When you first start, it can be really helpful to have something to stabilize yourself with, so a wall, chair, railing, etc. can help with the upright posture. Once you feel like you have it, you can try it with your shoulders lightly touching a wall and see if you can go all the way down and back up without your shoulders losing contact. This really helps in finding those last areas of wobble for some students. Remember though - don't *lean* on the wall. It should just be a light, non-weight bearing touch.

    Another thing that has helped some of my students is to think of it as one smooth movement: from up, to down, back to up. If they concentrate on it as a flow rather than as final positions, it helps them to remember not to ever relax the muscles completely during the movement. If you don't stay engaged, you will have to give yourself a little extra push to start from the down position which can cause wobbles.

  7. #17
    V.I.P. Ariadne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by goddessyasaman View Post
    Well it worked great for me but I have been doing martial arts since I was 4 and I never stopped
    Ah, but then you dance fusion BD don't you.


    Quote Originally Posted by Shanazel View Post
    What good information on marttial arts, Ariadne! Thank you for insight into what the heck is going on with one of my students who is a devotee of karate.
    Glad I could help. I hope it hasn't been too frustrating for them.

  8. #18
    Senior Member goddessyasaman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ariadne View Post
    Ah, but then you dance fusion BD don't you.


    Glad I could help. I hope it hasn't been too frustrating for them.

    only because I want to I started as just a Turkish dancer, then into Egyptian and so on so it does not matter
    anytime I feel like it I can change to another style which I love to do, it makes it so fun
    Last edited by goddessyasaman; 06-14-2011 at 05:59 PM.

  9. #19
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    I would think doing the balance poses (actual dance movements) over and over again would be the best practice, supplemented by plies and some yoga (or pilates?) poses such as the tree pose. Some common standing balance poses are:

    Yoga Poses - A Sequence of Standing Balance Yoga Poses

    What I'm finding I'm having trouble with is not getting dizzy when spinning my veil(s). I've never been so dizzy in my life, to the point of getting nauseous. I'm wondering if I need to go see an opthalmologist and see what I can do (if anything) vision-wise to improve that. I've noticed a definite change over the past few years in the amt. of time I'm able to spin without getting completely dizzy and awkward...despite my best efforts to pick a spot on the wall and focus during each rotation.

  10. #20
    V.I.P. Kashmir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aziyade View Post
    Squats, to me, are darn useless for my dance. I've asked three personal trainers about how to do these properly, and they've all agreed that I AM doing the movement correctly, but it has NEVER helped me with the kind of strength you're talking about.

    What DID help me was plies. I know it seems like the same movement, but it's not. Doing modern dance style plies in parallel position helped me develop the kind of strength you're talking about -- but if you don't use it, you lose it, so to speak, so you kind of have to keep doing them or lose the strength benefits.
    Actually when I did the safe part of my dance training we were advised to avoid squats - as deep squats can damage knees! Rather build up the quads - shallow plies - especially using a barre would help.

    So does sitting on the floor with one leg out and press the knees into the floor so the heels lift and relax. You can engage teh different heads by pressing against one side of the foot or the other.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aziyade View Post
    Personal trainer. If you show them the movements you want to do, and ask for exercises to help build strength for those movements, they can set you up with a pretty specific routine.
    Yes, yes - but make sure the PT has decent training and experience. I met some the other day at a workshop with very skimpy training
    Last edited by Kashmir; 06-14-2011 at 11:46 PM.

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