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  1. #11
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    Dear Marietta,
    I also do not refer to dance practice as "drills" mainly because I do not like the sound of the word as a dance tool. I would drill myself for a spelling bee or an excersize class or a cheer leading choreography, but not for belly dance.
    Regards,
    A'isha
    Thanks for your reply. "Drills" do sound more like army exercises! lol. So maybe I have been doing them already but they just weren't called that. When I first started dancing my teacher would go over certain moves, eg. she would demonstrate hip drops and we would copy for a bit, then move on to Egyptian walks, then camels. She would demonstrate the move without music and then put the music on for us and we would have a go. We didn't have a specific target, like 50 hip drops. I suppose "drills" just sounds more intense to me.



    I will agree it should not be dis-connected from the music as the movements are it's visual expression. For brand new beginners I recommend, playing a variety of music and repeat moves as the music calls for it. Don't 'drill' over the music, but move within it. As it changes the moves should change. Over time the beginner dancer will understand the timing and rhythm changes and can anticipate accordingly. Of course, emotional connection to music will create depth beyond the moves themselves. So idefintley agree with the previous comments

    For intermediate students, i would recommend trying variations of certain moves, i.e. soft and flowing vs percussive and dramatic. Don't forget to use arms as an expression within the dance! Sometimes just listening to a wide variety of music without movement will also 'drill' the auditory senses. Zill drills fall into this category as well.
    Yasmine

    I think that was basically what we used to do, repeat moves as the music changed. If the music was slower we would do some camels and then if it went faster with more of a beat, we'd move onto shimmies.

  2. #12
    Moderator Farasha Hanem's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aisha Azar View Post
    Dear Angela,
    This sounds rather as if Rachel has somehow disconnected movement from the music and does not care about that aspect of the dance, so I hope it is not true. The dance is in the end, all about the music. When I talk to my students about practicing at hone, I tell them to try to imagine what movements look like the music sounds and then try to use movements that seem to go with the music. A soft continuous flute with no fluttery sounds in it probably means the movement should be soft and smooth. A plunky sounding continuous oud probably means you will use a shimmy. Fast music with a very well defined beat probably means you will cover space with a walk and accent the beat. I think it is incredibly important NOT to leave the feeling and sound of the music out of your drills.

    Dear Marietta,
    I also do not refer to dance practice as "drills" mainly because I do not like the sound of the word as a dance tool. I would drill myself for a spelling bee or an excersize class or a cheer leading choreography, but not for belly dance.
    Regards,
    A'isha
    I'm not absolutely sure, A'isha, but I think what Rachel Brice refers to as "drills" are the yoga warm-ups and stretches, and various exercises she does in order to prepare the body for dancing, not the dancing itself. I have two of her DVD's, and her yoga drills are helping me tremendously.

    I exercise in addition to bellydance practice; I'm working on increasing my flexibility, endurance, and strength, 'cause, well, let's face it, I'm not getting any younger. However, you are right---the music is the whole heart and soul of the dance. Different instruments and different beats do seem to beckon certain movements in response. I still dance like a hiccupping caterpillar, but what I love to do is listen to a certain piece of music over and over on my mp3 player while multitasking on something else, so I know the piece by heart, each instrument, each nuance, so when I practice, I try different moves to certain portions of the music that I think might fit. It's hit-and-miss for me at best, but I'm still having a lot of fun.

  3. #13
    Senior Member AngelaJP's Avatar
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    When I woke up today, I did a few repetitive movements only and then listened and danced to the new BD music I have here. Music really makes practice more beautiful. It was great at first but I could not help laughing later as I hurriedly thought about the next steps to make to conform to the new beats. It really made me sweat dancing while thinking so hard, hahaha! It will take some getting used to but I'll get there. I think I'll be addicted to this kind of home practice, hahaha! I agree that it is incredible when the dancer has a full connection to the music, such soul. From now on, I'll listen to the music again and again so I can familiarize myself with it and picture steps that will go along with it too. Wish I had an MP3 player.

    Thank you, goddesses, as usual, for your valuable inputs and advice!

  4. #14
    Moderator Farasha Hanem's Avatar
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    Big Grin

    You're welcome, but speaking for myself, I'm no goddess, just a living, breathing woman, just like yourself, with a mind, soul, and spirit.

    By the way, I wish I could sell you an mp3 player; i sell them for a living, ya know.

  5. #15
    Junior Member Nabila Nazem's Avatar
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    Hi All, with my "two cents":

    Everyone's got their own way of learning and their own terminology. Myself, I really like drills, whatever you want to call them. Although some folks may not care for the term, I find great freedom within the discipline of repeating one movement (or series of movements) over and over. There is no better way to really get inside a movement and all its variations and develop muscle memory and deep internal awareness that makes something automatic and very fluid (or crisp, or sharp, etc). I don't find this drudgery, or un-"dance-like" at all; focusing on one or two things exclusively can be meditative and calming. One wants the dance to come from within when you later turn your attention outward in this presentational art form.

    It's true that being "at one" with the music is the ultimate goal, and one way (now, it's just an exercise, so don't jump all over me) that I find helpful once something is really in my body is to practice in silence, making the body the music itself ... ya know, the "be the music" approach. Later, I try to do the same exercise with various pieces of music interpreting them various ways with the same step or movement.

  6. #16
    Senior Member AngelaJP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Farasha Hanem View Post
    You're welcome, but speaking for myself, I'm no goddess, just a living, breathing woman, just like yourself, with a mind, soul, and spirit.

    By the way, I wish I could sell you an mp3 player; i sell them for a living, ya know.
    Oh Farasha, goddess is just my figure of speech. You're all so much like goddesses, anyway Oh well, you're an mp3 queen! What kind of basic mp3 would you suggest I use for belly dancing and of course for running or cycling also. A few months ago, I got my boyfriend an mp3 player and we both didn't know how to use it. He wanted me to load songs there but I didn't even know where to get mp3 songs online So I just sang for him, hahaha!

  7. #17
    Senior Member Pirika Repun's Avatar
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    Angela

    You can download songs from your CD to MP3 which I usually do, and also you can download from internet. I got some FREE Arabic songs from internet, but it's very limited. You can buy and downloaded MP3 or ipod songs from Amazon, itune, Rhapsody and all other web sites. Just chose music for MP3 and buy it. Just connect your devices to PC or MAC to download. There is always website to help you how to use MP3 or other things, so just search it, and you'll find it. Until then, just go to YouTube and play Oriental Dancers' performance, so you can listen music! You don't need watch them all the time, just listning the music. LOL.

  8. #18
    Senior Member AngelaJP's Avatar
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    Hey Pirika, thank you so much!

    Which sites did you get your free Arabic songs buy the very good ones? I'll save them to my pc and put them in a cd later. That's really cool advice about listening to You Tube tunes, hahaha!

    =============================================

    Got your email. You're such a gem! Thanks, girl!
    Last edited by AngelaJP; 08-27-2008 at 04:19 PM. Reason: Updated info!

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nabila Nazem View Post
    Hi All, with my "two cents":

    Everyone's got their own way of learning and their own terminology. Myself, I really like drills, whatever you want to call them. Although some folks may not care for the term, I find great freedom within the discipline of repeating one movement (or series of movements) over and over. There is no better way to really get inside a movement and all its variations and develop muscle memory and deep internal awareness that makes something automatic and very fluid (or crisp, or sharp, etc). I don't find this drudgery, or un-"dance-like" at all; focusing on one or two things exclusively can be meditative and calming. One wants the dance to come from within when you later turn your attention outward in this presentational art form.

    It's true that being "at one" with the music is the ultimate goal, and one way (now, it's just an exercise, so don't jump all over me) that I find helpful once something is really in my body is to practice in silence, making the body the music itself ... ya know, the "be the music" approach. Later, I try to do the same exercise with various pieces of music interpreting them various ways with the same step or movement.
    I THINK(if I am understanding correctly!) I agree w/ you... while "drills" may not practice "dancing to the music", I think they are a great way to get the movement into your body.. so you do not have to think about your "vocabulary" while you are stringing your sentences together...
    also reminds me of doing scales on the piano.... you would NEVER actually perform a "scale" but all music teachers make you do 'em... over... & over... & OVER again... to build up dexterity/muscle memory/speed
    /combos/blah,blah,blah!
    I think a great way to experiment/learn new movements... after all, no matter HOW much you understand/can interpret the music, HOW will you DO new movements if your body does not have the skills?
    *like I do this one exercise in my conditioning class... just a descent to the floor, then getting back up again... I tell my students... do not even TRY floor work in a performance, until you can do this down/up exercise 10 times in a row... perfectly! (even though you will only do it 1x per performance!!!.. it think it is essential to be able to perform such moves effortlessly... without strain!)

  10. #20
    V.I.P. jenc's Avatar
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    Agreed How else do you learn a shoulder shimmy - or any other shimmy except by practising over and over with or without music. Shoulder shimmies are particularly labour intensive in relation to the amount of time they take to learn against the number of times and the duration when actually dancing. Layering also needs much practice. For me, anything that requires me to use my feet at same time, eg 3 setep turns.
    I am a beginner dancer. Laater on I will have the choice of whether to take the RB approach and continue to drill hard, or whether to go for the more lyrical dance based practice.
    Actually - that last bit is not true, I have already chosen Egyptian. Just meant to say that drilling is important when you start for all dancers. I have done some RB type drilling just to get the right sets of muscles working. I find that pushing movements further than I want to go when dancing allows me to be more fluid when I do dance.

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