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This Edition: What drew you to belly dance?

 How did you start belly dancing?

“Dance when you're broken open. Dance, if you've torn the bandage off. Dance in the middle of fighting. Dance in your blood. Dance when you're perfectly free.” - Rumi

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: Why belly dance? What drew you to this art form and how did you get started?

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.

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

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This Edition: Who Inspires you to dance?

 It's time to inspire

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched - they must be felt with the heart.” - Helen Keller

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: Who ispires you to dance? And do you have favorite dancers and dance videos that you like to watch for inspiration?

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.

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

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This Edition: Music that gets you up and dancing...

 Music

“The songs and rhythms make my body move before I know what is going on.” - Colette

The Process -

Q: What music is inspiring you to dance right now?


Tamalyn:
 The latest CD by Ilahun, a young band from Salta, Argentina is gorgeous! Unfortunately, they aren't on itunes, Spotify, etc. Instead, they sell the CDs at their shows around South America, as does one of the band members sister, Lujan. Somehow, this CD is making the rounds in China, copy by copy and many people don't know where it is from nor who created it. The Lakhdar Hanou Ensemble has an amazing Andalusian- Arabic music CD with a Chinese instrumentalist. Really great. It's called "Ne Fut-ce Qu'en Chine".


Colette:
 I have found myself returning to the music I was introduced to when I began belly dancing. Specifically, Aisha Ali's field recording of The Music of the Fellahin, and the Music of the Oulid Nail. The Music of the Fellahin has songs I routinely use in class and this album gave me some of my first tastes of Middle Eastern instruments (argul, mizmar, and doumbec) and rhythms. One song that always mesmerized me when I watched FatChanceBellyDance perform to it was Saidi Dance. I have also been listening to Music of the Oulid Nail for inspiration. The songs and rhythms make my body move before I know what is going on. After taking Journey Through Egypt, I was able to place the music to a specific location, and being able to visualize who was creating the music has re...

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

The Community: Scheduling your practice

May 17, 2017 9:00:00 AM

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This Edition: Scheduling your practice

 Schedule your practice

Target and celebrate small wins. Amid the clumsiness of the start, there are moments of figuring out fundamentals, of making small improvements. Find them, name them, and highlight them.” - Daniel Coyle

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: How do you schedule your practice?

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.

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

serpentine,snake,bellydance,technique

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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4 Comments | Posted in Practice Tips 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.

20 Comments | Posted in News Practice Tips The Community 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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4 Comments | Posted in News Practice Tips Music 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.

11 Comments | Posted in News Practice Tips Music The Community 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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4 Comments | Posted in News Practice Tips The Process 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.

26 Comments | Posted in News Practice Tips The Community 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

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

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

The Process: Detours and Taking Breaks

Nov 9, 2016 11:13:00 AM

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This Edition: Diversions and side roads, rest stops and refueling...

 

"All of it is applicable to your dance, whether or not you are dancing.” - Henna

The Process -

Q:  Do you feel there is value in taking breaks or detours from one's chosen dance path? Have you ever taken a break from belly dance? Why, how did you feel, and how did you know it was "time to come back”?


Henna:
  There are no detours. All of it is applicable to your dance, whether or not you are dancing. I took a break from dancing after I had my son, but only for a few months. I missed it terribly, and the studio became my sanctuary in a way that it hadn't been before. Dancing with a slightly different body was hard at first, but I felt like my dance was much more meaningful after that break. I suppose you just know if and when it's time to come back - and in what capacity.

Colette There is tremendous value in taking breaks or detours in your dance path! Stepping back to gain perspective on your situation and re-evaluate your goals and desires is completely worthwhile. Things change, people change, interests change and there is SO much good stuff out there to study or be involved with. I've been consistently involved with belly dance for 18 years but the amount of time and effort has fluctuated over the years. When something, or someone, sparks a fire in me, I know it's time to ramp things up and get back in the studio.

Ashley:  For every dancer, of course, this is going to be personal...

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

You’ve heard it time and again: Practice makes perfect.  The adage has withstood the test of time and throughout the years many of us have experienced first hand the improved performance of an action after consistent practice, but have you ever wondered what exactly is happening at the super-cellular level?  What chemical changes are occurring in your biological make up that enable you to be faster, stronger, and sharper?   

Every action you perform can be biomechanically observed as a minute electrical impulse.  The action begins in the brain, which sends electrical commands down the spinal cord and through the vast network of nerves, located throughout your entire body.  When the neural unit is fired, the surrounding muscle fibers contract.  Myelin is a fatty tissue that wraps around the wires of our brain like electrical tape, forming an insulating sheath.  

 bellydance, practice, myelin,

We have learned a great deal about myelin and how it can benefit your dance practice from Daniel Coyle (avid researcher of skill building and author of “The Talent Code” & “The Little Book of Talent”).  It goes like this:  Each time we complete an action, a new layer of myelin is created, making the electrical command stronger and faster.  There are a few ground rules, but with this knowledge, one can harness the powerful potential of myelin and apply it to his/her dance practice to learn faster and build stronger, more efficient neurological pathways.

So we’ve established that with each repetition of an action, myelin w...

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3 Comments | Posted in Practice Tips By Datura Online Staff

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