Monday, October 09, 2006

Belly Dance Swap Meet - Part One

Andrew and I went to the belly dance swap meet in Granada Hills yesterday. My teacher suggested we go so we could pick up costume pieces and watch live belly dancing. This posting will focus on what I got out of the dancing aspect of the swap meet. My next post will deal with the findings there.

This is an amazing place to go as a student to watch belly dancing in action. It's also great entertainment for a Sunday afternoon at the super-affordable price of $2 per person admission. (Seriously. We got more than our $2 worth.)

I saw dancing at all levels. I watched some students who demonstrated what they learned to a salsa-type beat. I watched some other individuals and noticed what worked and what didn't work about their performances. I even got to see a hippy-looking group with a pregnant chick (AMAZING) who wowed the hell out of us. Here's what I learned:
  • Smile. My substitute belly dance teacher urged us to smile. My regular teacher urged us to smile. People will be more forgiving (or unnoticing) of mistakes if you have a beautiful smile to distract them. Some of the performers did not smile at all. They looked nervous or angry or bothered. I didn't feel like they really wanted me to watch. I love it when a performer is happy to be there. I have to remember to smile no matter what I do wrong.
  • Drill the basics so they don't look sloppy. I have enough of a foundation that I can drill the basics every day. That's what I should do anyway. If my basics are good then I won't look sloppy when performing. A dance is a combination of moves, usually basic moves. I want to look good, so it's practice practice practice of the basics I've learned.
  • Wear something flattering. The hippy chicks (I hope to find a link to them later today when I have more surfing time) had amazing costumes with layered pieces. They were very different. There was a dancer whose ta-tas looked like they were being squeezed out of the top and sides of her shimmery bra. I don't think I'll have that problem, but I want to look good. I also don't want a boob to come out for a visit when I'm performing for families.
  • My teacher (and substitute teacher) is amazing. She smiles. She knows her basics. She looks good. She seems happy when she's dancing. That's the kind of person I want to teach me. There was a teacher who danced and she looked angry the entire time she was dancing. Just imagine the look she'd give a student if they did a hip drop wrong! It's important to study in a safe environment with someone who encourages you to improve.
  • This is a style that anyone can do. The ladies who performed weren't all dainty little things. There was a pregnant chick who could do hip rolls and ribcage isolations just as well as the other girls. If someone wants to pick this up late in life, I think they totally can.
  • Slow moves look sexier. It's true with stripping. The slow stuff seems more sensual. The hippy chicks did some really slow stuff and it was mesmerizing.

They do this swap meet twice a year - spring and fall. If you're in the area, you should go just for the dancing.

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