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  1. #1
    Junior Member Laya's Avatar
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    Default Hopeless at layering

    Hiya everyone, I've joined this site in the hope that someone can give me tips on layers, with everything else I've just practised until it came, like the shimmy, but I just can't seem to seperate my top and bottom half, it's a bit like that thing you learned as a kid where you rub your head and pat your belly, but a 100 times harder.

    I've tried going really slow and taking it little by little, but it doesn't happen.. is there something wrong with me? or is this a common problem?

    Thanks, L.O

  2. #2
    Member mahsati_janan's Avatar
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    You don't mention how long you have been dancing, but layering is an intermediate to advanced skill depending on what is being layered.

    It really is just lots and lots of practice at different speeds. Which moves are you trying to layer specifically? Maybe we can give some tips/hints to help with your practice.

    Here is a quick breakdown of the basic types of layering that I teach:

    Concepts - Basic
    o Body Segmentation
     Doing multiple movements with different body segments
     Example: Hip Slides + Arm Paths

    o Multiple Movements
     Doing multiple movements with the same body part
     Example: Hip Slides + Hip Shimmy

    o Level Changes
     Add interest by raising and lowering
     Example: Hip Slides + Level Change to lower body

    o Shimmies
     basic 4/4 shimmies and how to layer with them
     Example: Hip Slides + Hip Shimmy

    o Travel
     Moving around the stage
     Example: Hip Slides + Glide Walk

    Your teacher may view or teach it differently, but this may give you somewhere to start. I also teach more advanced layering concepts, but you will probably want to start at the basics if you are a newer dancer.
    Last edited by mahsati_janan; 11-07-2011 at 09:02 PM.

  3. #3
    Junior Member Laya's Avatar
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    Hello mahsati, I was just thinking that my post lacked a lot of info, sorry.

    I'm new to bellydancing, 4 weeks or so. Haven't taken any classes, as there are none in my area I've been learning from Sadie and Kaya's dvd's.. which are great, but there wasn't a great deal, if any, on layering. I feel she just expects you to throw it all together.

    I have Sadies's complete Bellydance and Lock, Pops and Shimmies, with both girls teaching and they are fab at it, but funnily enough the one thing the skim over, is where I am stuck!

    Your instructions are perfect, thank you so much for taking the time to post them for me. I'm quite a determined person (and I get addicted to things quite easily lol) so I know i'll get it, but I don't want it to put me off, because I am kinda thinking if I'm struggling with this, how the heck am I going to manage everything else. It's quite intimidating.

    My husband noticed my progress in the last 4 weeks, and when I was getting a bit discouraged, he pointed out that if I've came this far in 4 weeks, imagine a year.. that was a nice thought lol

    Thanks again so glad i stumbled over this site! xxx

  4. #4
    Member mahsati_janan's Avatar
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    This is a really difficult dance to learn well from videos for most people. Do you mind sharing where you are located? We may be able to recommend someone local to you who teaches group classes or could help assess you through private lessons. Dvds are a good tool, but they can never take the place of an actual teacher who can see you and offer corrections. This is especially important when you are working on any movement that has the potential to cause you injury and to make sure that you are not training bad habits into your dance. Just be careful and take it slow.

    Step 1 any time you are having trouble with a new movement or skill in this dance is to check your posture. Your knees should be soft to slightly bent (not locked or pressed back). Your pelvis should be in neutral (which feels like a slight tuck to most people at first). Your chest should be lifted and open with your shoulders rolled comfortably back and down. New students often lose this posture as they are practicing or drilling and then have even more difficulty performing the movements. Good luck!

    Edited to add:
    Here is an older layering discussion from this site: http://www.bellydanceforums.net/danc...-layering.html
    Last edited by mahsati_janan; 11-07-2011 at 09:40 PM. Reason: Add links

  5. #5
    V.I.P. Kashmir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Laya View Post
    I'm new to bellydancing, 4 weeks or so. Haven't taken any classes, as there are none in my area I've been learning from Sadie and Kaya's dvd's.. which are great, but there wasn't a great deal, if any, on layering. I feel she just expects you to throw it all together.
    Whew - take it easy. In 4 weeks you will be struggling to correctly do one movement (you need to be able to do each perfectly before adding them together). In 8 weeks with new beginners I cover only hip rocks, slides, horizontal circles, twists, horizontal eights, drops and lifts plus the beginning of a shoulder shimmy, rib isolations, some travelling steps and combos and improvisation.

    Next 8 weeks we start putting it together in a simple dance with really basic layers - paddle turn with a hip twist, walk with a double hip bump (not a shimmy - just a bump)

    Use your mirror - go back to basics. Once you can do both moves perfectly - and keep doing them perfectly for a whole track - start slowly putting them together. From time to time go back to doing single move drills.

  6. #6
    Junior Member Laya's Avatar
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    I'm in Falkirk, Scotland, and to my knowledge the closest classes are in Glasgow and Edinburgh.. just too far too travel, I could barley manage a class close by with having 3 little ones.. but would most def make the time

    lol Kashmir, you just echoed my husband. He said I was rushing through it too, and asked me to cover the basics first. Well I feel better now, it's not me, I have just been rushing through it, so I'm going to slow down, but also work on the Basic Body Segmentation.

    Thank you both xxx

  7. #7
    Super Moderator gisela's Avatar
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    Great advice so far! I agree to take it easy. Part of the "secret" to layering is as Kashmir says, to know each individual move prefectly and develop muscle memory. For me it took a long time to layer a shimmy over anything (two years or so). I recently began teaching and took over an intermediate class. Several of them have danced at least two years and still they are really struggling with layers. We are taking baby steps Hang in there.

  8. #8
    V.I.P. Yame's Avatar
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    If you can't separate your top half from your bottom half, you shouldn't be worried about layering right now.

    Take it one step at a time. First you need to learn the basic moves isolations and practice enough to be proficient with them. By "proficient" I mean you can do them well and in an isolated fashion, your quality of movement is nice, you don't have to think about it too much to do them, you can do them at varying speeds, etc.

    Once you feel comfortable with that you can start focusing on the arms, work on different arm frames, move the arms around in planned paths from one frame to the other while doing those moves, which should help you not only with doing things with your arms aside from keeping them still, but also help you with general coordination and being able to put one thing on "auto pilot" while you focus on something else, which is a necessary skill in order to be able to begin layering.

    At this stage, also start paying attention to weight shifts. Play around with doing the same moves (especially shimmies) with weight evenly distributed on both legs, and then one leg and then the other. Pay attention to where your weight is at each stage of the move. Try picking your foot up when your weight is on the other foot, to mimic walking. This will help with layering shimmies and layering moves with traveling later on.

    Also at this stage, start working on basic traveling steps. Don't try to layer anything with them, just work on the steps by themselves.

    After that, once you are comfortable with all the above steps, you can start working on layering shimmies (considering you've been working on unlayered shimmies all this time) with lower body moves and upper body moves, arms, etc, as well as start layering shimmies and other isolations with traveling steps.

    At 4 weeks of self-directed study, assuming you have an average aptitude for this dance, no physical issues hindering you, and no prior dance background, you are most likely nowhere near being proficient enough with the precursors to layering to be able to layer. Be patient with yourself and your body and allow it to develop in stages.

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