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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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1 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.

7 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

The Community: Share your stories!

Jan 11, 2017 9:00:00 AM

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This Edition: Share Your Stories!

 Book

“One of the marvelous things about community is that it enables us to welcome and help people in a way we couldn't as individuals. When we pool our strength and share the work and responsibility, we can welcome many people, even those in deep distress, and perhaps help them find self-confidence and inner healing.” -Jean Vanier

The Community -


Community is a big part of what makes Datura Online so special. Supporting one another and providing resources for each other makes us all stronger as artists and humans. With that in mind we want to hear your voices!

Once a month we'll be asking the Datura Online community a question both here on the Datura Online blog and on the Datura Online Facebook and Instagram pages and we want to know your thoughts.

Q: This month's question: What is your costume creating process?

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.

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

New Workshop: 1/4/17

Steady Shimmies!

Let's shimmy in the new year! Build strength, flexibility, and stamina for Egyptian shimmies in this new workshop from Sedona.

 Steady Shimmies!Steady Shimmies!

In this workshop we will be focusing on getting a strong and vivacious shimmy! Sedona will be sharing exercises and drills designed to strengthen, stretch and open the muscles around the knee joints in order to support the Egyptian Knee Shimmy. You will be shimmying through different timing manipulations and traveling movements that will help you to increase the stamina and mobility of your shimmy.

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

The Process: Studying The Arts

Dec 28, 2016 11:00:00 AM

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This Edition: How expanding our studies to other forms of art can help us as belly dancers...

 

“Once you understand passion is a part of all great art, you will start to unlock your unique voice and bring it to your dance.” -Henna

The Process -

Q: What other art forms (besides dance) do you think would be helpful to study to enhance one's belly dance technique?


Henna:
 Whatever appeals to you. If it interests you and you are thoughtful about it, it will serve your dance - and vice versa. My background is in literature, so I often find parallels to dance and music in poetry. Technique, for me, is not only the movement itself, but it is also the emotional connection and expression of life. All art is a combination of technique and having something to say. Once you understand passion is a part of all great art, you will start to unlock your unique voice and bring it to your dance. So, my advice is not to study one kind of art over another, but rather to study any and all art, and especially the masters in those fields.

ColetteI think ANY art form can help enhance one's belly dance technique, primarily in the approach to practice and the process of creativity. There are similarities in learning anything new. Being open to letting yourself struggle in order to develop a skill, whether it's writing, painting, or dancing, is an important concept that I think other art forms help develop. While being able to knit a sweater perfectly may not directly make your...

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

New Workshop: 12/21/16

Clever Combinations

Ready for some awesome combinations designed to challenge both mind and body? Ashley is here to train with you!

 Clever CombinationsClever Combinations

Ready for a challenge? In this class we will practice combinations designed for the advanced dancer, layering isolations and shapes, sequencing movements, learning tricky footwork and drilling different kinds of spins. You will work on increasing your endurance through long drills and learning combos quickly. At the end of class you will learn one long master combination to be practiced on both sides, first slowly and then super fast! Remember to have fun with this; the video is meant to be repeatable so we hope you find it challenging enough to return to over and over again.

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

When it comes to choosing what to include in your personal practice, belly dancers have a lot of options.  You could drill your basic shapes (locks, circles and eights); incorporate those shapes into more complex layers; practice fancy footwork with traveling, levels, and turns; incorporate smooth and controlled arm pattern cycles; or you could spend the hour powering through the biggest, juiciest shimmy you can muster. 

And that’s not all! A well balanced routine also includes conditioning, strength training, flexibility, expression, musicality, improvisation, and choreography.  You may be wondering: "How can I possibly make time for everything?". We’ve got 5 short, and very effective tips to help you organize your practice and track your progress.

you can do anything,organizing your dance practice, belly dance motivation

Quick Tip #1: Set Goals at Regular Intervals (and revisit those goals)

Ask yourself what skills you wish to learn or improve on.  For many of us, our initial response might be “I want to master all of it!”, but what would truly give you that triumphant sense of accomplishment?  As David Allen so aptly put it, "You can do anything, but not everything". Choose a few items to really focus on and then determine concrete goals and a realistic time frame in which to achieve them.  It’s helpful to set weekly goals as intentions to keep at the forefront of your mind throughout your practice (“This week I will maintain energy and intention throughout my arms”) and longer term goals as deadlines for progress (“In 3 months, I will be strong en...

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6 Comments | Posted in News Practice Tips By Datura Online Staff

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