Belly Dance Moving Across the Floor (I)- Technique, Playlists, and YouTube Links

Classic New York-Style Belly Dance with Veil (I): Class Notes, Playlists, and YouTube Links

Step-Touch (Linear Walk), Step-Ball-Ball, and Rocking Rhumba

First step is opening up and getting our connection flowing again.

Music

Warm-Ups (In-Place)

  • Simple drop-down-and-reach-up, with veil (use music Diaspora from Spain, see link above),
  • Simple in-place gyrations – emphasize whole-body movement – with veil (same music as above).

Techniques

YouTube Vids for Reference

A more complex walk, the “Turkish Walk,” to do later: Learn to belly dance: the Turkish walk .

Related Blog Posts

Master Class Study

Preps for Turns and Spins


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Very best wishes as you use Oriental dance (belly dance) for personal growth and healing!

Yours in dance –

Alay'nya - author of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Unveiling-The-Inner-Journey-Alaynya/dp/0982901305/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1368123419&sr=8-1&keywords=unveiling+the+inner+journey">Unveiling: The Inner Journey</a>
Alay’nya – author of Unveiling: The Inner Journey

Alay’nya
Author of Unveiling: The Inner Journey
You are the Jewel in the Heart of the Lotus. Become the Jewel!

Founder and Artistic Director, The Alay’nya Studio
Bellydance a courtesan would envy!

Check out Alay’nya’s YouTube Channel
Connect with Alay’nya on Facebook
Follow Unveiling: The Inner Journey on Facebook

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Alay’nya, Unveiling: The Inner Journey

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Kindle

 

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Copyright, 2016 (c). All rights reserved.

Preparing for Winter Dance Classes – Percussives, Zills, and Drum Solos

Winter Dance Classes (the Season of Earth) – Grounding Energies – Percussives, Zills, and Drum Solos

Even though it’s mid-autumn now, this is a great time to start preparing for winter drum solo choreographies.

Each season, we select a different featured instructional DVD to be part of our class curriculum.

This winter, we’re using Tribal Drum Solo Choreography by Zoe Jakes> and Issam Houshan.

Three Good Reasons (Start Conditioning and Doing Technique Practice Now for Your Winter Drum Solo)

There are three good reasons to work with this DVD – even in preparation for winter! These hold whether or not you do tribal-style belly dance.

  1. Excellent and sufficiently-long warm-up sequence – the warm-ups and basic technique practice here is a bit over 20 minutes. That’s just right for getting the body stretched out before heading out for work on a winter’s morning.
  2. Really good focus on hand and wrist release and stretching – we all tend to be a bit stiffer in the joints come winter, and our fingers and wrists may be a bit more susceptible to stress. We also need to stretch our shoulders, neck, and back a bit more, since we’re often more sedentary during winter months. I particularly love the time that Zoe puts on these areas during her warm-ups and technique section. .
  3. Different and fun technique combinations – since I’m not a tribal dancer, Zoe’s combinations are new and different for me – a little mental and physical stimulation to keep both mind and body energized for winter!

Recommended DVD for Winter Dance Classes – Tribal Drum Solo Choreography

Tribal Drum Solo Choreography by Zoe Jakes and Issam Houshan.

You can get a peek at Zoe’s technique style by watching Zoe Jakes’ Belly Dance Flow Drills on Datura Online.

For a nice, long (nearly 8-minute) drum solo with Issam, listen to Bellydance Music: Issam Houshan-Drum Solo.

DVD

Choreography


Beginner’s Lesson 1: Warm-Ups, Energy Work, Techniques, & Choreography

Beginner’s Lesson 1: Introduction to Esoteric Belly Dance with the Alay’nya Studio

Warm-Ups, Energy Work (the Cabbalistic Cross), Energy Circulation (Introduction), Principles (Anchoring), Basic Techniques, Introduction to Music and Rhythm, Introduction to Choreography

This is a study guide and reference serving three groups:

  • active members of the Alay’nya Studio,
  • those who are visiting from out-of-town, or coming in for an “introductory visit,”
  • those who wish to study with us “at a distance” – you can be living in any portion of the world, from Athens, Greece to Athens, TN.

Look throughout this blogpost for homework assignments; follow the links and be prepared to use what you’ve studied with the online materials when you come to class!

Warm-Ups

We typically use the same warm-up music each time; Cuts 1 – 7 (all or in part) of Beyond the Sky, by Omar Farouk Tekbilek and Brian Keane. We’ll have the same warm-up pattern each time. You’ll get detailed handouts in class (“Warming Up with Alay’nya”) until you’ve built up a notes collection for the entire warm-up sequence.

Energy Boundaries: The Cabbalistic Cross

Our first step with energy work is to define our space. We do this by setting a boundary – circumscribing the area in which we will work. To do this, one of our mainstay “practices” is the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram. (Please note: All words within this ritual are to focus our attention on aspects or emanations of G*d, or to invoke the protective presence of the archangels.

In the first class, we will learn and practice a dance version of the Cabbalistic Cross, which is the first part of the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram (LBRP). The words that you will learn and vibrate are:

(Those of you who are steeped in the Christian tradition of reciting the Lord’s Prayer, or in the similar Jewish tradition, will note that these phrases are drawn from those prayers.)

Our music for this etude will ultimately be Anahat on Zaman by Kairo by Night.

Energy Circulation and Breath Control: Drawing Energy (Ch’i) Up Your Spine

In the Beginner’s Series, we develop a number of energy-circulation movement patterns (or etudes). Our first one helps us to bring energy up our spines. We bring it to each of seven different “energetic way-stations.” (Later on, we’ll learn how to connect these to chakras.)

Our music for this etude is the beautiful Gayatri Mantra on Saffron Blue by Rasa.

As you listen to this music (do so online), you’ll note that the word-sequence or change is repeated seven times. We’ll ultimately use all seven; each for a different energy center.

In preparation for the first class, listen to the music, and read along using the translation.

While doing this, we’ll use a series of mudras, which are hand gestures that help open our energy centers, circulate energy, and encourage certain mental/emotional states. Specifically, we’re going to use two mudras that open our two lower chakra areas. Note that the two sounds that we’ll use are LAM and VAM, with the two respective mudras.

As we do this etude, we will also incorporate a breathing pattern – a very simple aspect of pranayama. We use only a very simple three-part breathing pranayama for this etude. We will have a pause (or retention of breath) after each inhalation and exhalation. We’ll use the four phrases of the Gayatri Mantra to cue our inhalation, retention, exhalation, and pause.

First Principle: Anchoring

We take a Principles-based approach to learning the dance movements. Each Principle gives us a kinesthetic and internal-image “cue” or “trigger” that helps us to align or move our body in a certain way. There are seven basic, or Static (non-moving) Principles that we’ll seek to learn during the Beginner’s Introductory Classes. The first Principle that we’ll learn is Anchoring. This is discussed in Unveiling: The Inner Journey, in Chapter 22: “Looking Like a Dancer (Even If You’re Not).”

Techniques: Hip Drops and Hip Thrusts

When we use the first Principle of Anchoring to align our pelvis, then all our pelvic and hip techniques come about automatically. We simply “discover” that they are there, waiting to be used! Over the first several weeks of the Beginner’s Introductory Classes, we’ll learn an etude that lets us practice lots of different hip movement techniques, particularly hip thrusts and hip drops, together with transitions, step patterns, pelvic circles, and other moves. Our music for this will be The Magic in Your Eyes (Cut #1) on Hossam Ramzy’s Source of Fire.

Music Analysis

We will start our musical analysis with the opening portions of Hossam Ramzy’s Source of Fire. There will be a take-home worksheet for this.

Choreography

Dream Dancer

Time permitting, we will start two or three mini-choreographies. Specifically, we’ll focus on creating “choreographic units” – small sections that we can match onto a section of different pieces of music.

Cool-Down & Meditation

We’ll close the class with a cool-down section. We often use Beautiful Friend on Dream Dancer by Light Rain as a gentle and beautiful cool-down. This is something that we can develop later for arm and hand work, along with undulations and some turns and rhumba movements.

See you in class. Namaste – Alay’nya

"Energy Dance" Deserves Its Own Respect

“Energy Dance” – Oriental Dance Combined with Energy Work – Requires Special Handling, Care, and Respect

This last Sunday (just five days ago), I resumed regular “dance class.” It was “class with myself” – doing all the things that I usually do (and teach) when holding regular classes: warm-ups, technique drills, choreographies. At the end of two fairly intense practice sessions, I was tired. In fact, my muscles were stiff and sore for the next couple of days. This isn’t unusual when getting back into Oriental dance (belly dance); we use large muscle groups, and the workout is not necessarily more intense, but it’s often deeper.

Yesterday, after morning chores and during morning journaling, a piece of music kept coming to mind; “Dark Fire” by Light Rain, on the <a href=”http://www.amazon.com/Dark-Fire-Light-Rain/dp/B000008R22″>Dark Rain</a> CD. I followed a strong intuition that I should start working with this music. Several hours later (of very intermittent efforts), I had a bit of choreographic overview, some intense practicums (lasting only a few minutes, but still intense), some small sections of more specific choreography, together with costume ideas. I’d even selected my veils – two 4-yard pieces of subtly patterned and deeply toned silk chiffon.

In addition to playing with the physical aspects of this dance, though, I did something else: I started working with the energy aspects. This was entirely different from Sunday’s “classes.” This was a deliberate, intentional effort to infuse energy (ch’i) collection and direction with the dance movements.

And then, being somewhat tuckered out, I went to bed. I didn’t fall asleep right away, and so started listening to a book on CD. And that’s where I made the mistake. In fact, my intuition (or “guidance”) was telling me not to listen to that book, and I did an override – I wanted the story, and so I indulged.

I awoke a couple of hours later from a nightmare. For me, any form of nightmare is really unusual. My dreams are usually interesting “adventure stories.” Maybe not always fun (and usually strong on the “adventure” aspects), but almost never unpleasant or scary. In this dream, though, characters similar to the book’s villains showed up – people who were being hurtful, cruel, or simply very mixed-up.

This experience brought me back to recognizing that energy work – even when just practicing or developing something (that is, not being done with full-out magical intention) is still very powerful. I’m likening it to being in a fast-flowing, full stream of water.

Most of the time, we have an “energy flow” inside ourselves, but it is relatively low-level. This is like walking through a stream that is just trickling around our ankles, and isn’t moving very fast. When we deliberately start ramping up the “energy work” aspect of our practice, then it is like being in a stream of water that is much higher – imagine thigh or waist-deep – and is swirling and moving with some vigor. This kind of stream can easily pick up and move around stray, random things such as tree branches and any loose debris.

The difference between the energy flow (ch’i) that we create and move through our bodies during intentional practice and being in a stream of water is that when we do the energy work, the “stream” is really inside us – and when we ramp it up, it is also outside us a bit as well.

When a big rainstorm causes a stream of water to swell, it not only moves faster, but also rises in volume – picking up all sorts of stream-bank debris. This extra debris, along with dirt washed into the stream, make it full of extra “stuff.” Similarly, when we expand our personal energy, we not only attract more thought-forms from our vicinity, we “swirl them up” with extra energy. We give them more “oomph” and power in our lives.

Usually, this extra “stuff” doesn’t do any damage; the waters subside and the “stuff” gets left along the streambank once again. But if part of our intention and goal is to actively work with our internal energy, then it makes sense to keep our energy-stream as pure as possible, doesn’t it? Simply put, why add unnecessary junk?

There’s a notion called “magical chastity.” While it technically refers to a time of sexual abstinence unless using sex for magical purposes, this is actually a more broad-reaching concept. The idea is that when we are focused on creating something, we keep our attention and energy pure and focused solely on that desired creation. I’ve done this a lot when getting insights for a new invention, or when seeking clarity on a writing project. Athletes will often do this as they approach a significant competition or game. It’s all about focus.

The lesson here is that even relatively low-key energy work is still energy work, and deserves respect. It’s like shifting from using a couple of batteries to a full-scale generator. The higher the voltage (or more accurately, stored energy content – thus creating “potential”), the more we should be careful with our thoughts. Our thoughts function much like “connection wires” – they guide where the energy goes. And if we allow our thoughts to be randomly corroded with material from books, TV, or movies – just as we’re ramping up our energy store – then we’ll sometimes get a bit of “energy leak-over” as the energy that we’ve built up combines with the thought-forms that have caught our attention.

Usually, there’s no real damage. In my case, having an unpleasant dream is not a severely damaging experience. But the more proficient we become with energy work, the more important it is to be careful. Especially, we need to be careful with our thoughts. If we must read for entertainment, it’s important to choose something uplifting. I’m right now in the midst of my first pass through A Course in Miracles, which emphasizes love and forgiveness. These are better thoughts to have in my head than the actions of some villain in a novel!

One final thought: when we’re in a ramped-up energy state, it is much easier for us to influence “reality.” This is a good time to bring to mind those people, events, and organizations that are on our prayer list. Is there a person or group of people for whom you have kind intentions, but cannot give the time or money or attention that this person or group would like? Give them your loving thoughts while in a heightened energy state, and let the cosmos “do its thing.” Remember the foremost adage of basic New Age thinking, “That which is like unto itself is drawn.” (See the works of Abraham-Hicks for expositions.) When we are in a heightened energy state, and create a thought-form of love, respect, good-will, and appreciation for someone or something, and then (with gentle intention) send that thought-form to that person, then – because this thought-form has been created both with clarity and an extra energy-oomph, it will attach to the object to which it was sent. That is, it will attach if it is in synchrony with the energy-essence of the person or group. So then, it will cause other similar thought-forms to attach – resulting in good things happening! (A simple form of creating reality through intention.)

Best wishes, much love, and see you in dance class!