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Do you ever wonder why some dancers have a natural propensity for fast, powerful locks while others can bend time with the slowest, and juiciest figure 8s?  The answer may lie in the composition of their muscle fibers.

The human body contains over 215 pairs of skeletal muscles and each muscle is comprised of a combination of fast and slow twitch muscle fibers.  Slow twitch muscle fibers (Type I) contract with little force and contain a higher density of capillaries which allow the muscles to carry more oxygen to the muscles for aerobic activities and sustain those activities for a longer period of time (10 minute shimmy drill, anyone?).  

Fast twitch muscle fibers can be divided into two types, type IIa and IIb.  Type IIa are the “hybrid” muscle fibers, and they retain properties of both fast and slow twitch.  Type IIb are the true fast twitch muscles.  With a twitch rate of up to 70/sec, these muscles contract quickly and powerfully.  Your Type IIb muscle fibers allow you to strike like a cobra and unearth your most vigorous pops and locks.

In order to remember the speed and force qualities of each type, it may be helpful to think of them in
terms of lighting.  Slow twitch muscles are like a lava lamp, the light being given off is relatively dim (displaying little force), but the lamp can remain on for extended periods of time.  Fast twitch muscles on the other hand, are like a strobe light, they’re quick to turn on and quick to turn off. They’re not going to provide a sustaine...

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2 Comments | Posted in Practice Tips By Datura Online Staff

New Workshop: 4/12/17

Knee Love!

Treat yourself to a new Pilates and yoga routine from Ashley Lopez that focuses on strength and functionality of the knee joint!

 Knee Love!Knee Love

This workshop focuses on the health and functionality of one of our most precious assets...our knees! This workshop includes two concise practices: a mat practice which focuses on activating and strengthening the quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes as well as practicing larger range of motion exercises using a chair. As with any exercise routine, be sure you consult with your physician before beginning, especially if you have had any past injuries or surgeries. Take care of your knees and they will be the bee's knees!

1 Comments | Posted in News New Classes By Datura Online Staff

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This Edition: Facing challenge in dance

 challenge

“It is not in the still calm of life, or the repose of a pacific station, that great characters are formed. The habits of a vigorous mind are formed in contending with difficulties.” -Abigail Adams

The Community -


Welcome to the Datura Online Community, where we share our thoughts, tips, and resources together in one place!

Each month we ask the DO community a question here on the Datura Online blog and we want to hear your thoughts.

Q: This month's question is: What challenges have you experienced in dance and how did you face them?

We'll feature responses from the Datura Online community right here in our blog. We look forward to hearing from you all!

Thanks for reading. Please post your stories about belly dance and the dance making process in the comments below or on our Facebook or Instagram pages.

14 Comments | Posted in News Practice Tips The Community By Datura Online Staff

New Workshop: 3/29/17

Cynthia's Tears: An Original Choreography

We are excited to present this new original choreography from April Rose, "Cynthia's Tears". This choreography is all about growth and change: how we can start at a place of self doubt and restriction and through intention cultivate ease and expansion.

 Cynthia's Tears: An Original ChoreographyCynthia's Tears: An Original Choreography

This workshop from April Rose is a chronological breakdown of an intermediate/advanced level choreography that features belly dance roots and contemporary embellishments. Set to the Arabic Jazz song, "Cynthia's Tears" the movement in this dance interprets the melody and inspired by the idea of growth. Techniques include rounded hipwork, spiraling arm pathways, leg extensions, choo choo shimmies, chaîné turns, and a complex layering sequence.

0 Comments | Posted in News New Classes By Datura Online Staff

Datura Online Belly Dance Challenge #5!

Mar 31, 2017 3:41:00 AM

Datura Online Belly Dance Challenge #5!

DATURA ONLINE BELLY DANCE CHALLENGE #5!

You know what time it is...it's Datura Online Belly Dance Challenge time! You have the chance to learn awesome choreographies from your favorite teachers, connect with your dance friends all over the world, show off your amazing dance skills, and maybe win a PRIZE...

Here's how it works:

1. Learn one of the four selected choreographies from Datura Online (see below).

2. Video yourself dancing it. Dance in costume or not, in your living room, on the street, on stage, on a boat in the middle of the ocean - wherever is the most fun for you!

3. Upload the video to your YouTube channel with DO Belly Dance Challenge #5 in the title by April 30th, 2017. Make sure to add your name and where you are from in the description of your video.

4. Have a great time watching your fellow dancers all over the world and cheer them on. (You can search for other dancers' videos by typing in DO BELLY DANCE CHALLENGE #5 on YouTube). Join our Facebook event and cheer each other on!

5. We'll pick our favorite video(s) by May 7th to share on our Facebook and YouTube pages. Our favorite video for each choreography will receive the following GRAND PRIZE!
  • A Free Year's Unlimited Access Membership to Datura Online - a $260 value!
You can rent any one video for the challenge or activate an unlimited access membership to try all of these videos and hundreds more on Datura Online.


The following choreographies included in this challenge are (choose one or more to enter):

   Henna:...

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0 Comments | Posted in News Special Offers Practice Tools By Datura Online Staff

We’d like to talk a little bit about music theory…wait, wait, wait! Don’t run away just yet!

animals running nope octopus run away

We know music theory can be a bit daunting, but today we’re just going to touch on the basics and ask ourselves a few questions about music.

There certainly is a dynamic and important relationship between music and belly dance. A few good questions to ask ourselves as dancers are: How much do I need or want to know about music? Will knowing more about music affect the way I dance? If yes, then how much should I study?

The answers are ultimately up to you as an individual, but for those interested in exploring the world of music, we’re here to share a few practice tips for training your ear, give you just the basics of how music is put together, and show how you can apply basic music theory to your own personal practice.

Let’s start at the very beginning: Music is the “art of sound in time that expresses ideas and emotions through the elements of rhythm, melody, harmony, and color” (dictionary.com). As belly dancers we’re exposed to all kinds of wonderful music from all over the world and we can innately understand the differences and similarities of all the music we hear.

Most of the music we encounter in our dance has a beat to it, although there are some exceptions: drum solos definitely have a beat, but an oud or violin taxim solo might not. We can find a great example of this in Sedona’s choreography, danced to the song Jemilleh.
The musician, John Bilezikjian, plays a beautiful taxim...
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3 Comments | Posted in News Practice Tips Music By Datura Online Staff

New Workshop: 3/14/17

Chomper: An Original Choreography

We're digging this awesome hidden treasure out of the vault just for you! Filmed way back in the day, this challenging choreography from Zoe Jakes is perfect for Musical March, combining complex locks and layers with intricate finger cymbal compositions! 

 Chomper: An Original ChoreographyChomper: An Original Choreography!

This is a challenging belly dance choreography for advanced dancers created by Zoe Jakes to an original song, "Chomper". It includes layering sections, lock patterns, and some complex finger cymbal patterns and compositions. Get ready to spin and travel as well!

0 Comments | Posted in News New Classes By Datura Online Staff

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This Edition: What music inspires you to dance and where do you go to search for new music?

 Mary Pickford guitar

“Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.” -Victor Hugo

The Community -


Welcome to the Datura Online Community, where we share our thoughts, tips, and resources together in one place!

Each month we ask the DO community a question here on the Datura Online blog and we want to hear your thoughts.

Q: This month's question has two parts: 1) What music is inspiring you to dance right now? And 2) where do you go to search for new music?

We'll feature responses from the Datura Online community right here in our blog. We look forward to hearing from you all!

Thanks for reading. Please post your stories about belly dance and the dance making process in the comments below or on our Facebook or Instagram pages.

8 Comments | Posted in News Practice Tips Music The Community By Datura Online Staff

2 New Workshops from Sedona! : 3/1/17

Mar 1, 2017 9:13:00 AM

2 New Workshops: 3/1/17

2 workshops from Sedona

Welcome to musical March! We've got two, count 'em two, new workshops chock full of rhythm and dance technique from Sedona: Spirit of the Drum: An Original Choreography and Drum Solo Expressions Class # 3: Chiftitelli!

 Spirit of the Drum: An Original ChoreographySpirit of the Drum: An Original Drum Solo by Sedona!

In this workshop you will be learning one of Sedona's original drum solo choreographies to a song created by Jason Ramirez. This choreography is fast, fun, and full of diverse belly dance techniques. It features tight pops and locks, various shimmies and shimmy layers, interesting hand, arm and head movements, plus dramatic rhythmic breakdowns. Be sure to warm up before starting this choreography and cool down afterwards.

 Drum Expressions 3: ChiftitelliDrum Solo Expressions # 3 : Chiftitelli!

In the third workshop in Sedona's "Drum Solo Expressions" series we will continue to cultivate our musicality, understanding Sedona's particular Drum Solo techniques and identifying Arabic rhythms. Sedona will explore several fundamental sounds that comprise a well executed drum solo, drilling movements and combinations to familiarize us with the sounds of the drum, with a focus on the slow and slinky Chiftitelli rhythm. Make sure to be properly warmed up before attempting this class.

1 Comments | Posted in News New Classes By Datura Online Staff

The Process: Book Worms Part 1

Feb 22, 2017 7:05:00 AM

Insights from Our Teachers about Dance and Dance Making

Something we really love about our D.O. instructors is their endless quest for knowledge. Reading provides endless inspiration and helps balance active bodies with active minds! Here are a few recent "favorite reads" from some of our teachers.

The Process: Book Worms Part 1 -

Q: What is the most influental book you've read recently?

Rachel Brice: "The Talent Code" and "The Little Book Of Talent" by Daniel Coyle. The Little Book Of Talent has revolutionized the way that I not only approach practice for myself, but has completely changed the way I teach. I have never gotten so much positive feedback about teaching in my life as I have since I have been using the techniques in the Little Book Of Talent.

Colette Todorov: The book "The Talent Code" by Daniel Coyle has been at my side since I purchased it last spring. It has influenced me as a dancer and also as a dance instructor, expanding my knowledge of how the brain and our bodies work to increase skill level and optimize performance. We all have busy lives and the time in the studio needs to be productive and not a place to spin your wheels or go through the motions – it needs to be productive and show results. Specifically, Daniel Coyle's idea of “deep practice”, or working in the “uncomfortable terrain located just beyond our current abilities, where our reach exceeds our grasp” hit home for me. After reading this book I made significant, and valuable, changes to my persona...

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3 Comments | Posted in News Practice Tips The Process By Datura Online Staff

New Workshop: 2/15/17

Playful Technique & Combinations for Raqs Assaya

Here is another fantastic Raqs Assaya class with Henna: “Playful Technique & Combinations for Raqs Assaya”!

 Playful Technique & Combinations for Raqs AssayaPlayful Technique & Combinations for Raqs Assaya!

This workshop details several playful raqs assaya combinations inspired by folkloric movements and made for the raqs sharki stage. Using fast cane work, beautiful frames, juicy hipwork and more, Henna will break down and drill two combinations at several different speeds to get your cane work precise, fast, and fun! This workshop begins with a warm up to prepare the body for dance.

0 Comments | Posted in News New Classes By Datura Online Staff

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This Edition: How do you do your makeup for stage?

 Brushes

“Makeup is no different than clothes and accessories - it's embellishments for your face. And it also gives you creative freedom. You get to have that moment in front the mirror every morning and give yourself self-love. You're making yourself up beautiful, which is essentially self-love.” -Michelle Phan

The Community -


Welcome to the Datura Online Community, where we share our thoughts, tips, and resources together in one place!

Each month we ask the DO community a question here on the Datura Online blog and we want to hear your thoughts.

Q: This month's question has two parts: 1) What are your favorite makeup looks for dance? And 2) how do you do your makeup look for stage??

We'll feature responses from the Datura Online community right here in our blog. We look forward to hearing from you all!

Thanks for reading. Please post your stories about belly dance and the dance making process in the comments below or on our Facebook or Instagram pages.

12 Comments | Posted in News Practice Tips The Community By Datura Online Staff

New Workshop: 2/1/17

Cardio Blast: Work It Out!

Get ready to work it out in this power packed, super fast cardio workshop with Ashley Lopez!

 Cardio Blast: Work It Out!Cardio Blast: Work It Out!

Get ready to work it out! This quick 30 minute cardiovascular interval training routine will give you the fantastic work out you need, without any equipment, without needing to get out and run a million miles. All exercises are body-weight based, so you can make them high or low-impact and you can go as easy or difficult as you like. Feeling tired? Slow it down. Want to get into a higher heart rate zone? Push faster and jump higher! Be sure you are thoroughly warmed up before beginning this workout so your joints and muscles are ready to fly!.

0 Comments | Posted in News New Classes By Datura Online Staff

Musician Spotlight: Elsie Jaiar

Jan 23, 2017 11:00:00 AM

Elsie Jaiar - Lauren Checchio & Jay Reynolds

David Reihs by Pheobus PhotoTogether Lauren Checchio (Divahn, Solar Falcon) and Jay Reynolds (Bootsy Collins, Freekbass) are Elsie Jaiar, a band that creates belly dance-inspired music that looks to the future. Elsie Jaiar's music is featured in many Datura Online classes with April Rose. Here are some of their insights into creating music.

5 Q's with Elsie Jaiar:

DO: How did you both get interested in music?

Lauren: My interest in music sparked at a very young age when I started playing cello in school. On my 21st birthday I was fortunate enough to attend the Oregon Country Fair, which presented a tribal style of belly dance. To that point I had no experience outside of the traditional style. At the fair I saw Sharon Kihara perform and she was such an inspiration to me that it changed my life path. I focused on the drums from that point forward. The whole thing came full circle for me at 3rd Coast Tribal Festival when Sharon asked me to improv for her at the show the following night.

Jay: I started on piano when I was ten then switched to flute a year or two after that. When I got to middle school band, I took up the saxophone. On my 15th birthday, my grandfather bought me a copy of Cannonball Adderly's greatest hits. Halfway through "Jive Samba" I was absolutely floored. I had not really heard modern jazz before, and I no idea you could just make up stuff as you went in music, much less with that degree of prowess.

DO: What brought you to the belly dance scene?

La...

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1 Comments | Posted in News Music By Datura Online Staff

New Workshop: 1/18/17

Elements & Compounds

Break down the elements of belly dance isolations and work on compound layers in this exciting new workshop from April Rose!

 Elements & CompoundsElements & Compounds

In this workshop from April Rose you will learn two combinations that challenge both the brain and body. You will begin with a focus on elemental belly dance movement and move into compound layers that focus on stacking torso isolations and hipwork. You will carve space with luscious arm patterns and learn new ways to segment the body with punctuated isolations. This workshop begins with a warm up and ends with a cool down.

3 Comments | Posted in News New Classes By Datura Online Staff

Belly Dance and fitness classes to fit your style, schedule, and budget.  Anytime.  Anywhere.


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