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  1. #1
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    Question Practising at Home

    Hi,

    I'm trying to sort out a practice routine for in between my belly dance classes (I take 2 classes a week) and was just wondering if anyone was prepared to share their ideas/routines with me?

    My aim is more to drill the stuff I already know rather than learning new stuff, my specific aim is to improve my shimmies. I would also like to improve my dance improvisation skills.

    At the moment the rough layout I have for my practice seems too long - I can only really spare an hour a couple of nights a week so I need to make sure I keep it concise, but I can help feeling I'm trying to squeeze a lot into one hour - yoga warm up, technique drills, shimmy drills, "free dancing" and cooling down - or does that sound about right?

    I would really appreciate any advice anyone has to offer as I really want to get the most out of practising.

    Happy dancing!

    xxx

  2. #2
    AFK Moderator ~Diana~'s Avatar
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    That sounds good to me. I don't really have a set plan as I'm very busy but I try to get drills in, practice various moves repetitively, as well as stretching to increased my flexibility.

    However at the same time, I also practice smaller things like chest lifts and drops, and arm and hand undulations while in the car. I practice my shimmies and hip circles while I wash dishes or in the shower. etc.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    1. Beginning dancer. Knows nothing.
    2. Intermediate dancer. Knows everything. Too good to dance with beginners.
    3. Hotshot dancer. Too good to dance with anyone.
    4. Advanced dancer. Dances everything. Especially with beginners
    .
    ~ Attributed to Dick Crum, a folk dance teacher ~

  3. #3
    V.I.P. Aziyade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bugsiebellydance View Post
    my specific aim is to improve my shimmies.
    I'll tell you what worked for me:

    Get a metronome and use it! LOL.

    Seriously, get one -- either download one or buy a tick-tock kind. You will use it for everything once you get used to practicing with it.

    Start it at a slow tempo. And I mean slooooooow. Start your shimmy SLOWLY. If you can hold that shimmy for one minute without a problem at that tempo, then make it just a hair faster. Keep "kicking it up a notch" until you get to the point where you can't hold the shimmy for one minute. THAT tempo and the tempo just before it, are the speeds you need to practice with.

    Also, current thinking in adult education says that you will progress faster if you practice in short intervals daily, rather than 1-2 hours twice a week. You might consider practicing 20-30 minutes EVERY day and see if that works for you.

    If your practice schedule is too long, break it up into daily tasks.
    Example --
    - Monday practice your shimmies for 5 minutes, and slow moves for 15 minutes.
    - Tuesday practice your shimmies for 5 minutes and sharp moves for 15 min.
    - Wednesday, for 20 minutes, take ONE or TWO movements you know and improvise a short dance using only those movements (a GREAT dvd for improv practice is Nadia Jamal's Improvisational Toolkit. This is a suggestion from that dvd.)
    - etc.

    If you break up your tasks into manageable chunks -- reserving specific skill drills for specific days of the week -- it might be easier for you to accomplish everything you want.

    You can also create a practice "choreography." Take all the moves you want to practice and put them together in short combinations to an easy upbeat song. Don't worry if it's not a performance choreography -- this is just a way for you to remember and practice everything you want to practice.

    Hope this helps

  4. #4
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    Personally I'm practicing every day at home for 1-2 hours (it depends on how much free time i have), but i don't have any specific plane for my practice.

    Usualy it goes like that: i turn on the music, try to feel it and do those movements that i feel like i want to do whle listening to this music ( it goes like warm up), then i'm starting to take experiments like putting shimmi and hip drop together =) after this kind of warming up I'm starting to practice those movements that i don't know, and only after that i repeat ALL the dances that i have ever learned

  5. #5
    V.I.P. adiemus's Avatar
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    I'm getting more systematic in my practice.
    I have a general cardio warm up to something with a good beat, a bit of skipping and a whole-body warmup, then a few stretches long and slow to get the kinks out.

    Then I choose a bit of music that has a medium tempo and do 'accent' movements - trying to get timing good and crisp movements. I include arm movements too so I get practice at coordinating the two bits of my body (they get a bit discombobulated at times!).

    If I don't have much time I might slow down then and do some smooth, curvey movements and some arms, and end with a stretch.

    If I have more time I'll loop some bits of music and try out different combinations in an improv session. I've found this is great if I have a bit of time, and I can have the same 60 - 120 seconds of music looped and try different movements, variations and layers over and again.

    And then I finish with an improv to something random on my collection from emusic! with a stretch to finish with as a cool-down.

    I've tried to integrate bits and pieces of movement practice throughout the day too - like arm patterns (trying to get my arms to go exactly WHERE I want WHEN I want!) when I'm walking through the house to open the curtains in the morning (don't do it in public, people look at you funny!), 3/4 shimmy up and down stairs and along the hallway, figure eights while you wash your hands or do the dishes...

    But while these make the movements more defined, they don't make the flow from one to another better which is why I've started the loop practice. Having a short piece of the music has helped me work out a whole bunch of different options without it having to 'mean' anything, or fit into a bigger picture. I think it's helping with 'musicality' and really FEELING the music instead of doing a choreography.

    Oh and I have a bunch of stretches/strengthening exercises that I do to support posture changes I need - and I do these a LOT through the day (pelvic tilts to reduce my lumbar lordosis and increase thoracic extension, pull the tummy in and do the pelvic floors!). You know, the funny thing is that by doing them a whole lot during the day, over time I've actually noticed a really big change in my posture, and it hasn't even been hard!

  6. #6
    Member Darbla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bugsiebellydance View Post
    my specific aim is to improve my shimmies.
    I don't where I read this so I can't give you a reference for it. But I read that one of the pros sits on the floor and does shimmies in that position for an hour each day. You can watch an hour long TV program while you do it. Just alternate your knees just like you would while standing.

  7. #7
    V.I.P. adiemus's Avatar
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    and while you clean your teeth, do the dishes, brush your hair, wait for the jug to boil, while you wait for the photocopier to copy, do shoulder shimmies when the lights are red in the car - amazing where you can practice as long as you don't mind looking a little odd!!

  8. #8
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    Oh yeah waiting for the bus too is a great time to practise shimmies - If you dont mind the funny looks from other people. In fact, in the winter it is great because while doing a shimmy it just looks like you are shivering to try and keep warm.....

    What I usually do for home practise is take one or two of my favourite moves learned that week in class and practise on those. Specific combinations rather than just one certain move. Sometimes it is combining the moves that is hardest. Well, for me anyway
    Last edited by Muneera Dance; 07-20-2009 at 07:44 PM.

  9. #9
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    Put Egyptian music on and dance and listen to it lots. get to know the phrases and the formulas of the music this will help you so much. yes you can drill and you should, BUT you can drill moves forever but if you can't apply them to the music-its no good

  10. #10
    Junior Member Machiavellia's Avatar
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    I try to get my personal drill practice in for half an hour or an hour three or four times a week.

    I usually start with sumo and ballet squats, then I do posture/shoulder/arm/hand isolations, then I drill actual moves. I then go to the chest, where I do slow and fast range of motion exercises, then alternating speeds, then I work on chest squares and circles (then, you guessed it-- alternating speeds). Then I do slow and fast range of motion exercises in the hips, then the alternating speeds, then the pelvic circles and squares. Then glutes and shimmies-- alternating exercises, and if I have lots of time, a good ten or twelve minutes shimmying (with layers!)

    Then I take it all walking! I am dipping my toes in the Suhaila pool, so I drill this for two reasons-- for the language (so I do an exercise and then afterwards sit down and work it out to be something like-- half time singles on the up, walking forward releve quarter time) or I decide to do that and then figure out how to take it from my mind in the language to movement.

    After all that if I'm not too tired I'll work on a specialty move for awhile-- over the last few months it's been overshimmy and walking half time with this crazy hip combo I did at a workshop. But the fun stuff comes last :P

    My practice used to be much less defined before I started working with my current teacher on a regular basis, and I honestly can't believe the impact it's having on my attitude, work ethic, teaching and performance

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