Chances are if you’re new to a dance form, you’re going to have moments where you feel like your body’s movements are akin to a baby giraffe trying to walk for the first time. Let’s face it: unless you’re a finalist on So You Think You Can Dance who’s good at every dance all the time, there’s going to be times when your body feels like a wildly uncoordinated mess.
And hey, that’s okay! Everybody feels like that sometimes.
Naima’s Bellydance blog posted a hilarious parody video of belly dance and I think it’s a good talking point for beginner dancers.
Now, I’m not saying that this performance from Sibel is something that any beginner should strive for (obviously). The point here is to maintain a balance between working hard and having fun. If you want to grow and improve as a dancer, you’ll need to put in a lot of practice. But along the way, be sure that you’re enjoying it. Too often people become intimidated by the amount of work it takes to better a skill, or they become so focused on the end goal of obtaining a status of “good enough” that they lose any pleasure they can derive from the practice.
This is a tragedy. Whether you’re dancing to perform, become professional or just have fun, you need to enjoy yourself. Some tips on staying positive while learning belly dance:
It’s easy to look down and become consumed with the technicalities of what your hips and your arms and your legs are doing, but look up! Practice in front of a mirror and see yourself improving.
Dance to music you love. This may seem like a no-brainer, but music has a huge effect on the mood or emotion of your dance. Dance to music that’s dance-able, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be classical Arabic tunes. There are all kinds of styles out there, so I’d recommend going on a music hunt and keep yourself open for inspiration. You’d be surprised how many different kinds of songs work well with belly dance. Some of my favorites lately have been Bassnectar, Florence and the Machine and Muse.