Dance Class Jibber Jabber

July 28, 2008 § 2 Comments

Since I relaunched my American Tribal Style dance class, interest is growing and I’ve gotten some new students.  The class is still not paying its own rent, but this is only the second month in.  What the class needs is stability.  When I get a more regular student body, it will be much easier to make progress.  Everyone interested and participating so far is a member of the performance troupe, which makes sense since all of our dedicated students end up in the troupe eventually anyway.  Learning American Tribal Style is like learning a particular dialect within the belly dance language so it takes a little effort.  The benefit about troupe members participating in my class is it will mean performance opportunities.  Getting us to a performance level is the challenge.

For the next two weeks, I have been asked to teach some American Tribal Style for part of our performance class.  I think I’m going to be emphasizing leading and following so they can get a feel for what Tribal is really all about.  I will not be focusing on breaking down perfect arm positions and detailed technique or widely expanding our dance vocabulary as much as I do in my weekly classes.  Instead, I will teach a couple of combinations to show how to transition from one move to another and how to lead and follow the cues for the movements.  I will break down the class into trios or quartets and have them take turns leading the combos and encourage them to change the order of the movements once they feel confident. Very Carolena Nericcio-workshop inspired.  I think this will be fun and give the ones who haven’t tried Tribal a good feel for it.

What I’m working on now for my weekly class is developing a really good standard warm-up.  I am going to focus on overall stretching and focus my warm up exercises on building strength, control and muscle memory specifically for moves commonly used in Tribal Style, and not put time into anything not used in the Tribal family.  For example, instead of doing alternating shoulder shimmy warm-ups, we will focus on three-quarter shoulder shimmies only since we will never use an alternating shoulder shimmy when dancing together.

I have been changing the class every week depending on the students present that day and where they need to start from and I’ve been changing the warm-up to correspond with what I’ll be teaching them that day. I will continue to adjust the class focus according to student skill level, but I really think a standard well-rounded warm-up will work better in the long run.  That way we get in a little practice with all the muscle groups every class even if it’s not the focus that day.

I’d eventually like to start filming the classes and video-blogging a condensed version every week.  That will come a little later.

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The Perfect Poi Search

June 15, 2008 § Leave a comment

I took my poi to my dance studio the other night and got to practice with plenty of room and in front of a mirror for the first time in a year and a half. I remember now why I like it so much. I decided to look around for some new tricks to work on. Enter homeofpoi.com.

I also started looking for new toys that could be easily incorporated into belly dance shows, as fire can be very limiting.

I looked at tail poi and thought it was kind of cheesy looking.

Glow poi is pretty cool, but really only if you’re spinning them in a darker place.

I thought I found the answer when I discovered voi. It’s veil poi created with belly dancers in mind. It’s basically long veils attached to practice poi. I was really excited until I watched some videos and noticed all the dancers were only doing 3 or 4 actual poi moves and integrating in a couple double veil moves. It looked…limited. Not nearly as cool as the idea itself. I did a little research into this prop and discovered that it is, in nature, limiting. Apparently most poi moves cause the long veil tails to tangle, which was a little disappointing.

Then, just when I thought I was gonna have to settle for glow poi, I found this!

Flag Poi! All the ability of poi with all the beauty of veil! And it certainly helps that GlitterGirl puts on such a good show with them. Now, the only problem is finding some as nice as these. That is my newest mission. Find some pretty flag poi!

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