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  1. #11
    Member Sherezade's Avatar
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    I do practice omething at home, but not every day, I must say. I try to remember the movemnts I learnt. However, I don't like practicing too much on my own because I'm afraid of some injury or that I'm not making it right. Then there's no one to correct me. I also find difficult to walk and move the hips. Especially when walking back.

  2. #12
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    I find it SO hard to go from a movement to another, it always feels like something in between is missing and that is when I get the "hippo feeling".
    I don't like practicing too much on my own because I'm afraid of some injury or that I'm not making it right. Then there's no one to correct me.
    What is missing is your ability to do a smooth transition. That comes with practice and training. If you only practice when someone is around to protect and correct you then your progress is going to be all but nonexistent.

    Concentrate on what you enjoy about your dance experience and quit wasting energy on doubt and fear; joy in movement and music loosens heart, soul, and body. Crank up the tunes and dance instead of huddling in front of the computer worrying about feeling like a hippo. This is supposed to be fun, right?
    "Well, now that we have seen each other," said the unicorn " if you'll believe in me, I'll believe in you."

  3. #13
    Senior Member LadyLoba's Avatar
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    I think sometimes we just have some moves that we don't do as well as we wish we did..but there will be others that become signature moves. I get the "hippo" feeling when I do a reverse undulation. I can do one...I just think I look like a big bag of wet socks when I do. But the twist shimmy (some people call it the washing machine shimmy)....that is my move...I can do that one...layer it with a bunch of other moves I know...combine it smoothly.

    One thing that has helped me when I just didn't think I was getting something that I thought I really should know was to watch as many different dancers do the move as possible and try out as many variations and ways of picking it up until I caught on to at least one. . You may have to ask someone else who is more advanced than you...like someone in an advanced class, or a professional you know, or check out an instuctional youtube clip or a DVD to get a different method on one or two moves, or ask your teacher if there's a different way to explain something.

    I have had several times where I thought I was just not going to do something...but with a little research and a lot more practice...I eventually got it.

  4. #14
    Member LilithNoor's Avatar
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    To help with the hippo feeling, when you're practising at home, make time to do both drills and free dance. One practises skill, the other rehearses confidence and comfort in your own skin.

    When you free dance, that's the time you can forget about being a hippo and let go of your inhibitions. It doesn;t matter if your shimmy is erratic, your posture droops occasionally or you tripped on the rug while trying to do an arabesque. No one is watching or judging you, and the confidence you gain while having a boogie round the living room will remain with you when you're in class and actively learning

  5. #15
    Senior Member Sirčne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sherezade View Post
    I However, I don't like practicing too much on my own because I'm afraid of some injury or that I'm not making it right. Then there's no one to correct me.
    As a fellow beginner, I understand your concerns. However, I think doing your best to make self-corrections in the mirror is better than not practicing too much outside of class. Your teacher can always make corrections if the movement is slightly off when you return to class. In the meantime, strengthening the muscles and building stamina is key.

    And I don't know... I think the Hippos have it over the Ostriches when it comes to dancing


  6. #16
    V.I.P. Kashmir's Avatar
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    Don't worry - it is just start of the journey. Part of the problem will be you finding it isn't as easy as you thought. That is normal.

    Another part will be how the brain learns new skills. For most people you start with conscious control - lift the hip while holding the torso upright and pull in a little to get the alignment. That front part of the brain is not graceful! Try walking while thinking about lifting your leg and bending the hip, knee and ankle and transferring weight etc. If you can manage it at all it'll look awful. The combination of muscle firings needs to get pushed way, way back. You do this by practicing slowly and perfectly. Doesn't have to be long. But do it regularly.

    Next you need to combine stuff. As with any fusion get the bits working on their own first. Take tiny steps (literally and figuratively). A slow walk with hip lift. A walk with arms. A hip push followed by a circle. Create little 8 beat combos and just dance one of those for a whole song. After a while you will work out how to have your weight in the right place.

    Basically, it is just practice over time. You have already spotted one possible problem - practicing stuff wrong. Less likely if you use a mirror and do it slowly. The other trap is to only practice in your comfort zone - that is what you can already do. Finish with that as a reward after tackling the hard stuff.

    Have fun!

  7. #17
    Member Elfie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sherezade View Post
    I do practice omething at home, but not every day, I must say. I try to remember the movemnts I learnt. However, I don't like practicing too much on my own because I'm afraid of some injury or that I'm not making it right. Then there's no one to correct me. I also find difficult to walk and move the hips. Especially when walking back.
    Drilling at home is essential. I study on my own, for now, and have for the entire 2 and 1/2 years I've been belly dancing. I've never had the benefit of an instructor. So yes, I do know the hippo feeling... and very well! But even without a classroom and teacher, I drilled every day. Still do drills three times a week. Granted, not many people have that kind of free time, but work it in. You need to drill at home. It's like playing the guitar or piano or saxophone. You absolutely must practice! You are learning, and cannot expect your body to just suddenly get it. You have to teach your body.

    Injury comes with every sport or activity. Even playing music. When I was learning the guitar, I cut the tips of my fingers so many times on the strings... my fingertips blistered for months until calluses formed. Learning belly dance, I've strained muscles, misaligned my vertebrae in my neck, twisted my ankles. Each injury taught me something about what I was trying to do. To respect it, for one... and to not do it that way ever, ever again, LOL!

    Being cautious is great, but being afraid is not. Avoiding injury is impossible. Yes, be as careful as you can... drill the moves slowly... very slowly... until you feel confident with them. But not practicing because you're afraid to get hurt will impede your progress greatly. Learn to listen to your body. It will tell you "I can't do this in this way!" and you must be receptive. You will feel when you are doing something in a way that will hurt you. If you are going slow, you'll feel it before injury occurs. Then you can correct and find that right way to execute the movement.

    One thing about it is that every person's body is different from the next. No two people are exactly the same and they cannot execute the same move in the exact same way. So close that you cannot tell one from the next? Sure. But exacting replication? No. Because your hip may catch if you rotate it as largely as your teacher, or as far out. Because your rib cage is smaller, your chest drops are not as dramatic. Because you simply cannot relax your neck muscles completely, your head rolls are not as quick or as big.

    Work with your body. Get to know it and its language. Take things slowly until you feel you can up the ante. But practice. You need to. It is very important.

  8. #18
    Member Sherezade's Avatar
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    Thanks, Elfie. Good advice.

  9. #19
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    Default hippo feeling

    Hi Sherezade. Hang in there, I used to call it my zombie, frankenstein (the Mel Brooks Young Frankenstein movie)or godzilla feeling - it gets better sometimes it's just overthinking. Guess what it happens in learning new thing that requires a certain amount of agility... like i'll be able to play this violin as soon as the mitten hands turn back into real hands again you can do it! Creaks

  10. #20
    V.I.P. Greek Bonfire's Avatar
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    I still can feel like this! And yes, much practice and drilling helps you feel more comfortable with your moves.

    I had a teacher once who said that if it feels funny you are doing it right. I'm not sure why she said that but many times when I felt funny I would look in the mirror and see that I was, in fact, doing it right. I think that may also be from not letting go, that if you do feel good, you are still holding a lot in, and when you let go, you feel awkward, partly because you have to be taught to give more of yourself.

    My current dance coach has been teaching me a lot about this. In fact, my better performances came when I sort of felt like I wasn't doing it right but I was letting it rip, so to speak. When I saw the video recording, I was surprised it was so good, when I really did feel like that hippo.

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