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  1. #1
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    Default Will this ever change?

    Hi all. I need your opinions on this. I feel like I'm an 'ugly dancer'. When I say 'ugly', I'm not referring to looks. I feel my dancing is just...ugly. I have no 'flow' in my dancing. No grace. My steps are technically 'sound' (that's what my teacher says) but I don't look nice when I do them.

    I'm feeling really discouraged right now .I'm learning since the last 2.5 years now. Sometimes I see beginners who dance much more gracefully ..is my body not meant for this?!?

  2. #2
    Moderator Darshiva's Avatar
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    Your body IS meant for this. Flow and grace come naturally to some people. Others, like me, need practice. It helps for flow to be a taught component of a class. I teach skype classes, privates and workshops and this is a topic very close to my heart. I've got nice new workshop on flow that I will be rolling out in the new year. If you're interested, pm me or use my email (in my signature) and we can discuss it further.
    Bellydance in Kyabram!
    Skype classes a specialty.
    Email kyabrambellydance@gmail.com for more information.

  3. #3
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    First of all, quit comparing your progress to that of other people. Everyone improves at a different speed.

    Second, you know that saying about dancing like no one is watching? You are someone so dance without one eye on the mirror. Nothing stiffens up a dancer like self-consciousness... unless it is unremitting self criticism. Your grasp of the vocabulary is sound- your teacher said so. Now, dance because the music moves you, for joy, for sorrow, to tease the bluebirds in the tree outside your window, but not simply to advance to the next level, real or imagined. You can't feel or look graceful if you are taking notes on every step and gesture.
    "Well, now that we have seen each other," said the unicorn " if you'll believe in me, I'll believe in you."

  4. #4
    Moderator Zorba's Avatar
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    It took me MANY years to learn the beauty and grace I so craved. And I'm STILL learning it - every dancer is. Don't knock yourself, Shanazel and Darshiva are spot on in their comments. It sucks when you feel like the ugly duckling like I did for so long - but it can be overcome. I watched LOTS of beginners "soar past" me in a short period of time - and they still do, albeit taking longer now!

    The very famous Marth Graham letter expresses it best:

    There is a vitality,
    a life force,
    a quickening
    that is translated through you into action,
    and because there is only one of you in all time,
    this expression is unique.

    And If you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost.
    The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine
    how good it is
    nor how valuable it is
    nor how it compares with other expressions.

    It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly
    to keep the channel open.
    You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work.
    You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate YOU.

    Keep the channel open...
    No artist is pleased...

    There is no satisfaction whatever at anytime
    There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction
    a blessed unrest that keeps us marching
    and makes "us" MORE alive than the others.

    Martha Graham
    ( - a letter to Agnes De Mille-)
    Last edited by Zorba; 12-07-2015 at 01:03 AM.

  5. #5
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    Shanazel, Zorba and Darshiva - I can't thank you all enough for your answers. Seriously. I wrote this last night when I was feeling so defeated and your answers were the first thing I read this morning

    Shanazel, I will always keep that in mind. I am going to try dancing without a mirror and enjoy this beautiful Dance.
    Darshiva - Omg! Yesss I am very interested in this workshop! Thank you!
    Zorba - so glad to know that there are people who have had this same experience. If you overcame it, I shall too, one day with patience and dedication And thank you SO much for this amazing letter. Really. :')

  6. #6
    Member Roshanna's Avatar
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    2.5 years is not long - give yourself a break
    I didn't start to get 'flow' in my dancing until much later than that (and I struggled a lot with stiffness and upper body flexibility).

    Try spending some of your practise time on breathing and visualisation/body awareness exercises, without mirrors (better still, in low lighting), and not worrying about how you look. Even though this sometimes feels less 'worthy' than drilling technique, I've found it makes a lot of difference to the overall flow and structure of my dance.

    I really like this book as a source of visualisations - http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dance-Imager...+dance+imagery although it's more aimed at ballet/contemporary dancers, a lot of the ideas can also be very helpful for us.

  7. #7
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    Thank you Roshanna. I never considered Visualization to be a helpful tool (for dance). I am surely going to dance with mirrors for sometime now. Thanks for telling me about this book as well I'm going to buy this

  8. #8
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    I used to practice by watching my shadow on the wall.
    "Well, now that we have seen each other," said the unicorn " if you'll believe in me, I'll believe in you."

  9. #9
    Senior Member Duvet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shanazel View Post
    I used to practice by watching my shadow on the wall.
    Same here. It helped me stop looking at 'myself' and being hypercritical, and let me concentrate on the shapes and movements themselves.

  10. #10
    Moderator Zorba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roshanna View Post
    2.5 years is not long - give yourself a break
    Good point - it took me longer than that to even learn basic things like shoulder shimmies - and about 10 years to get a regular "standing" shimmy to work halfway reliably.

    If a clumsy-klutzy male like me can "do it", ANYONE can!!!

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