10 belly dance lessons to improve your choreography

Belly dance choreography. Some of us think oh yay! At the sound of that word and others shudder in dismay. For those of us that cannot improve effectively at a moment’s notice, choreography is a necessary skill. But how do you do it? Well, you’re in luck! We have compiled a list of 10 belly dance lessons to improve your choreography skills!

1. Listen to your music. TO DEATH. The more you listen to the music you are choreographing or have choreography to for your belly dance class, the easier it will be. Part of the area where you get stuck is not only not knowing the step but not knowing the counts or the beat. Almost memorizing your music will take care of that.

2. Take notes. If you come up with a great combo- right it down. Or even write out the whole choreography. It doesn’t matter if it’s written like hieroglyphics of Egyptian belly dance, if you can understand it, it works. Then take that and listen to your music (Step 1).

3.Make up cues. If you know that when a violin plays in the belly dance song, it means this move or this pause. Go with that. See if there is anything else distinctive that can help solidify your memory at a certain spot. This way you will have markers to help you remember your place.

4. Drill. Take each belly dance combination in your routine and drill it such that you can do it 100 times in a row and it ceases to require thought. Take it and do it standing still, moving in a straight line, in a circle, with your arms in different positions. Again, anything that turns it into muscle memory and not mental memory.

5. Smile. If you smile the whole time then you’ll smile when you perform it, even if you mess up. That way if you do, no one will know!

6. Do it a bit at a time. Take the first 30 sec of your 3min piece. Work on those 30 seconds. Then when you feel like you remember more, add the next 30. Don’t feel that you have to do it all in one shot.

7. Video. Take a video of your rehearsals. Maybe the first one looks horrible to you maybe it doesn’t, it’s a good way to mark your progress.

8. Change it. If you see that you keep stopping at a certain spot or no matter what a movement doesn’t come easily (see step 7) then change it. Put something else it’s in place and make a note to drill that particular move until you do feel comfortable with it.

9. Don’t forget your props. Whether it is a pair of Isis wings, led fan veils, if you’re going to use them in your piece. Make sure you rehearse with them. Don’t just assume you’ll be able to add them in seamlessly. You might have to make adjustments on timing, or what looks good in your imagination doesn’t pan out in the real word.

10. Have fun! The whole point of belly dance is to have fun with it!

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