Sunday, June 01, 2008

If you listen carefully...

the music tells you what to do. If there is one lesson someone needs to take away from belly dancing it is just that. Technique, complex combinations, fabulous costumes and wonderful venues aside it boils down to the music. Sure, I was enchanted and entranced by the costumes and the colors and the sparkles and oh my, all the accouterments that come along with this dance but first and foremost it was the music that moved me, touched me and seduced me. And if you listen carefully you don't need to think about what step or position or pose you can use, you just have to let go and trust that the music will tell you what to do.

I can't tell you how many times I have heard a song and felt a rush of emotions through my body as I watched a dancer perform. People have said that if a dancer is skilled a deaf person could 'hear' the music by just watching the movements on her body. It's true, I've been there...and it's amazing. Some dancers perform to a song, while others let the music come through them. Trust me, the most technically proficient dancer pales in comparison to a dancer who lets go and lets the music tell her what to do.

So, I was so excited and impressed that one of my beginner students 'got it'. I announced tonight they would start learning a short choreography and at first she looked a little worried especially since she's still getting the hang of some steps. But after a moment's reflection she noted that this dance, compared to all others, seems to come from the music. And, she visibly relaxed when she realized that it probably is easier when you have the music helping teach you what to do and when...and how...

And, for the rest of us, we just have to trust that our bodies know what to do if we just listen carefully.

Evilness, continued

So it's been over two weeks since I taught my class. Between a trip out of town for work and Memorial weekend, I've been on hiatus. I had a good friend come teach while I was out of town so at least my students didn't miss out on some practice. I even told the 'sub' that she could do anything she wanted with my intermediate gals and that she should really make them sweat for the first 30 minutes of class. It's been my goal to get them (and myself) stronger each week so we do my version of squats (butt bounces really), push-ups, and the plank along with lots of drills, shimmies and whatever else strikes my fancy. We sweat a lot and I love the fact that they keep coming back for more. It's like belly dance boot camp...not for the timid!

So, I know that the sub really worked them hard (you should see her fabulous abs and glutes...) which made me walk back into my class with mixed feelings. I haven't worked out much in the last few weeks (not even my martial arts classes), so I'm feeling a little out of the groove. I also have a little competitive streak (sorry ladies) that said I should push them further than their sub did...consider it 'marking my territory' or just showing them (really, just myself) that I can push even harder. There were even moments in class when I smiled and laughed in a crazed way before I made them do more. I even scared myself a couple of times.

So what's the result? Well, I was soooo sore before class even finished but I didn't want to show them (probably because I was lightheaded and a little shaky) and now I truly believe that my retribution will come tomorrow morning when I try to get out of bed. And I know, they are probably feeling it as well because mid-way through class they became very quiet, very still, and moved a little slower than normal.

So, is "Najla" Arabic for "evil"...perhaps not...but it may be in the running for "crazy woman who shouldn't kill her students or herself".