Making the Dance Your Own

One big reason that I’m attracted to bellydancing is because it’s usually improvised, allowing you to dance freestyle to your music as you feel it at the moment. In improvisation, you ‘go with the flow’ and each time you dance, it’s different.

I also like choreography, where the dance is planned out ahead of time. In choreography, each beat of the music has memorized movement set to it, and the movement sequence is identical each time you dance.

Bellydance is traditionally (but not always) performed as a solo improvisation. When the music plays, the dancer has to think, and respond, ‘on her feet’. To be able to do this, bellydancers first have to master the foundation movements and techniques of the art. Once that’s accomplished, you have the skills to improvise, dancing freestyle and interpreting the music from your own unique perspective.

Choreography is essential for most beginning belly dance students. It teaches the dancer valuable lessons on the structure of music, what movements are appropriate, and how moves flow one into the other. In bellydance, and other dance forms, choreographies are created by teachers, choreographers, or experienced dancers. Until you learn how to create your own choreographies, these dances are someone else’s concepts, as danced by you.

Once you have mastered the basic tools of the dance, you can dance freestyle and/or create your own choreographies (usually done by first dancing freestyle to your music and then taking notes). This is when you can truly makes the dance your own – something as unique as your personal fingerprint. Through the creative process of belly dance improvisation, you can really be yourself. It’s a hip thing to do.

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