Happy Holidays, Beautiful!

Happy Hanukkah, Christmas, Yule, Kwanzaa, Eid, Solstice, and more!
Whatever you celebrate, even if it is a can of soup, I send you all my love and kisses.

And of course, we have a present, too!
This year’s present will keep giving all year…

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Christmas-15tiny

 

Hugs and kisses,

Alia

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dance Magic Webinar

Hola, beautiful!

Ready for a free LIVE webinar?

Box of rocks_0(3)
Sometimes making dances is like sorting a box of rocks.

How about one on making dances? Lots of holiday haflas coming up! How do you quickly make a dance so you feel confident–without having to remember all those steps?

Ta-daa! Presenting

Dance Magic

Quick, easy ways to make a dance without setting a single step. 
In fact, we will make a dance right on the webinar!

This will be on Thursday, Dec 17 at 3PM EST (see that in your time zone: https://goo.gl/tJs7UB).
Yes, there will be a recording!

Sign me up!

(We will only use your addy for the webinar (unless you also choose to get Alia’s fabbo newsletter). Pinky swear!)

Save the date! It’s gonna be a hot one!

Love,
Alia

Here’s that link again…

Dance Magic me!

How thankfulness in dance brings joy and peace into our lives

Amity+Alia
Alia and Amity at the birth of Amity’s new studio

In the USA, we have this powerful myth of the first Thanksgiving. The first pilgrims came to the shores of this country, escaping religious differences in England. The ingenious peoples kindly took pity on them and invited them to a feast. The pilgrims were so grateful for this kindness that they commemorated the feast as a national holiday.

Today, laden tables will be set in every home that can afford it (even the virtual genocide of native folk hasn’t dimmed the glory of Thanksgiving). Each person at the table may even be pushed to to name something for which they are thankful. Which they will do, however sulkily. On other days, though, most folks focus on what’s wrong (of which there is always plenty).

What if we highlight what’s right? There has recently been a lot of research that highlights the power of good–of thankfulness and gratitude in daily life. Folks who prioritize the positive feel happier and more at peace with their world. The impact of terrible events recedes, and love finds a foothold in their hearts.

We can bring this practice into our dance with marvelous effect.  Kenny Werner, the author of Effortless Mastery, said, you can be the most miraculous player in the universe, never hit a wrong note–but still not be free. He said, the only way you can be free is to love your playing *even when you play badly.* When you hit wrong notes, make mistakes, and generally suck.

Freedom means loving yourself–and your art–no matter what. How radical is that? We are so conditioned to punish ourselves, dismiss compliments, and obsess over our flaws. Where is our thanksgiving?Where is our gratitude for the joy of creating art with movement, this marvelous dance that offers us joy, solace, and a pleasurable, self-loving relationship with our bodies?

What if we let this year be different? What if we choose to reflect upon ourselves with kindness and love? Our dance will not suffer. It will not grow less. It will grow more, as our dance, too, becomes more loving and filled with joy. As we fill ourselves, we fill those around us. The whole world wins.

What if you write a love letter to the dance? To your teachers. And to yourself, as a dancer. Tell yourself all you have accomplished, how beautiful you are, and how much joy you have brought into the world through dance. Write one today–and every week for a month. No negatives–just the good. Replace negative thoughts with love and affirmative warmth.

Next time you dance, what if you just enjoy yourself? Enjoy the pleasure of your moving body. Only do what feels good, what feels easy, what your beautiful body enjoys. Allow yourself this pleasure, this happiness.

It’s a dance of joy.

Let’s enjoy it.

Love,
Alia

How to Enjoy Dance Practice Part IV

HubMasterBrightIn this series, we look at how dance has turned from a pleasurable fun activity to one of perfectionism and hard work. The series began with the observations of a dance friend, Sarah, who noticed that practicing improvisation was seen as less valuable than drilling or fitting combos into other songs.

Our first strategy was making time for creative work. Read Part I here.

Our second strategy was Opting for the Most Pleasurable. Read Part II here.

Our third strategy was Share Your Joy. Read Part III here.

So we’ve looked at a lot of strategies.

Now let’s look at some caveats–things to watch out for. Sarah mentioned that she and her dance friends tended to dismiss “just improv” as not a quality practice session.

We must consider what a person means by “just improv.” If they mean put on music and hop around on autopilot, no, that is not going to make them a better dancer. It will maybe up their stamina, but otherwise it is just going to reinforce hopping around on autopilot. 

When a person really dances, they become more skilled at really dancing. The interoceptive (Sufi, Dancemeditation™) model puts us in questing, curious relationship with our body, the music, and the Divine. That is entirely different from hopping around. 

Sarah said,

I’ve had days where I’ve danced for 30-40 minutes; playing around with the music and what feels good … Then I beat myself up for not having “really” practiced.

Part of the shift is letting go of beating ourselves up. For anything. This is a destructive behavior. It is a symptom of old shame and trauma. When we feel it happening, we can take long exhales and let the impulse wash out of the body. Practicing self-love and acceptance is far more valuable–and genuinely subversive ; ).

To dance well, we need confidence. Drilling and technique practice encourages us to look at ourselves with narrow, critical eyes. Really dancing, using our time to enjoy and connect to the music, the guests, our bodies, and our joy–this develops our confidence. The affirmation in the picture, “I am a Master. I am great!” is worth a lot of repetition.

There’s a difference between drilling and improv. Drilling practice makes us more precise and stylized. Quality improv practice develops musicality and intuitive response. 

A classical musician trains through technique, plays scales. A folk musician plays music. That is his practice. The folk musician may be every bit the musician and every bit as skilled as the classical musician. It’s just a different system. 

Dave Brubeck went to Turkey and was flabbergasted that the folk musicians were so brilliant and improvised on odd meters better than trained Western musicians. That’s what inspired him to write Take 5 (or that’s the myth, anyway). Even in Arabic music, there is the maqamat, a classical learning system of modes and scales, and there is the nagamat system, that of melodies (nagam means melody in Arabic). 

What I suggest is a nagamat system: practicing dance–by dancing! (the raqsat system, if you will).

Wait, what about technique?! I roll technique into my practice. I often stop to explore a move, enjoying its path and texture in my body. I fit my movement to the music, listen for and express emotional timbres, respond intuitively, explore and enhance individual movements & vocabulary, develop grace (slow movement), strength (by using the floor), etc etc. 

I also practice stagecraft and connection. I roll all of this, too, right into my practice. I “dance like someone is watching.” I challenge myself to be as open as I am in the interoceptive mode while connecting to an “audience.” I dance with my eyes open, and pull out all the performance stops, right in my own room, flirting with the walls, mirror, and the guest who exist far past those physical walls. 

This practice style makes me more creative, innovative, and happy. I am always finding new ideas, new avenues, and new elements in my music. I have more freedom, better technique, and a lot more joy–both in dance and in life. Plus my musicality improves, too. This is a pretty significant win-win.

If you want to be a great dancer, it may take more than 20 minutes of practice a day. But if all you have is 20 minutes, you will become a better dancer by dancing–and developing a deep connection to your body and the music–than you ever will by drilling. It may not be the same in other dance forms. But that is how it is in this dance. 

The basics of our dance are not that hard. It’s not like ballet, or even Flamenco. It’s super organic, super comfortable on the body. I mean, it’s a folk dance. There’s a learning curve, but you can get most of it in a couple of months. Hell, you can get a lot of it in an couple of hours. 

–> The artistry is in the intuitive connection to complex, improvised music, in never doing it the same way twice, in the feeling, in the connection, in the joy. 

You can’t drill that. 

You have to dance it. 

That’s what we’re doing when we practice improv. 

Or at least, that’s our path.

Love,

Alia

PS Want to inspire, amaze and delight? 

You might enjoy How to Create Dance Art (CDA), an online composition intensive for improvisation & choreography, coming this spring.  http://CreateDanceArt.com

“Alia took the time to read my postings and reply to every one, always with helpful information and insight. I felt that she really understood the different ways people learn and work. We weren’t all the same people. I felt that I was a part of the group but that I was also lucky enough to be taking a private course with Alia.”

“The work is spaced out over a long period of time which allows for a true thinking sift to happen. It’s a lifestyle change not a diet so to speak. I would recommend this course to people who are ready to have a paradigm shift and who have an open mind.”

“it was really amazing in the ways that it helped me to make my dancer richer. Even if it was only in my mind. Because every feeling I have is somehow translated to the audience, and having so much to work with made me feel that I would never be out of ideas. I could do a hip circle 20 times, but if I emoted differently with each one, it would seem different to the audience. Mind blowing.”

 

There is a special early deal November27-30. Please have a look right away as it is very short term. http://CreateDanceArt.com

How to Enjoy Dance Practice Part III

Don't Prepare, Just Show Up
Don’t Prepare, Just Show Up

In this series, we look at how dance has turned from a pleasurable fun activity to one of perfectionism and hard work. The series began with the observations of a dance friend, Sarah, who noticed that practicing improvisation was seen as less valuable than drilling or fitting combos into other songs.

Our first strategy was making time for creative work. Read Part I here.

Our second strategy was Opting for the Most Pleasurable. Read Part II here.

Our third strategy is Share Your Joy. 
Sarah said,
“I feel like I am not fulfilling my duties to the audience if I’m not sharing myself “enough.” But doing that authentically and without trying so hard that it becomes pure performance is a challenge.”

How do you bring confident spontaneity into a performance?

Share your joy.

Dance is a social activity. Even for the millions of us who don’t perform, we may dance at parties and social events. We risk being seen, and with it, being judged—and possibly found wanting. That can feel pretty daunting—especially for an introvert. But sharing joy is a skill. How do we learn to share our pleasure in the dance? Practice, of course. How do we practice sharing? Build it up, and build it in.

Build it up. At first, we may struggle to give ourselves permission to play, to enjoy, to “dance like no one is watching.”
There are techniques to help with this.

  • Dance with your eyes closed.
  • Avoid the mirror.
  • Breathe in time to the music.
  • Slow down so far that the shapes of the moves you know so well disappear, and let the body shift and change the pathway as it likes.
  • Break the rules.
  • Break up your conditioned responses, always going for the what feels most delicious.
  • Sometimes you will do things that aren’t pretty. It’s okay.
  • Relax. This will take time. Don’t rush. Have fun.

Build it in. Over time, you will feel happier and more comfortable in your own skin. Your body (and you) will express the music as it streams in you and through you. You (and your body), will feel more confident in your choices. You will be having fun! Now you are ready to share.

Dance like someone is watching. Dance as if your whole room is watching—and you love it, and you love them, and they love you. Stoke the fire of your heart with the joy of friends. Wrap yourself in a warm pink aura of love and joy. Welcome every corner of the room. You don’t have to go them. They come to you.

Magnetize yourself. Allow the joy of the room into your gravitational field. Oriental dance is inwardly-directed. It is a dance of sidelong looks, playfulness, and recycled energy. It is a visual sillage, the lingering scent of a lovely perfume. For every out, there is an in. So bring the audience in, too.

Consider the egg. Does it go running after the sperm? Never! The egg, ensconced in its cushy nest, leisurely examines the wriggling sperm. We used to think that the pushiest sperm got the egg, but that is not the case. The egg chooses.  Women choose. We, as dancers, choose. We are goddesses.

Dance is a benediction. It is a gift we give, a blessing we enact. We do not need an audience’s approval—or anyone’s. We dance as a gift. It is right and good for the guests to offer us money, adoration and so forth. But we don’t need any of these things.

We are whole, inviolate, replete with resources. Making offerings enriches the guests. We accept their offerings out of graciousness and compassion.

Express the joy. Our guests feel what we feel. Our anxiety or fear gives them anxiety and fear. Our joy in the moment gives the guests joy in the moment. So we call our joy. We allow love to well up inside ourselves. In this way, we love our guests. In your practice, express joy.

Welcome the room. Draw them in with loving, sidelong glances. From your center within yourself, you become the center of the room, the world, the universe. You, as the dancer, are the omphalos, the navel of the world. Everything comes to you. And you reflect back meaning, depth, and joy.

See you next week with Part IV!

Love,

Alia
Your comments are welcome.

 

PS Want to inspire, amaze and delight?

Please take a look at How to Create Dance Art (CDA), an online composition intensive for improvisation & choreography, coming this spring.

CDA has a fabulous Premium bonus this year with a series of lectures by Dunya McPherson on Space, Time, and Design.

These come from her Juilliard choreography study back in the 70s, when there was incredible innovation in the field. Most of those pioneers never wrote books and many have passed away.

This rare material comes infused with Dunya’s decades of study with Sufi and Oriental dance and music. It is a special, remarkable opportunity to acquire some valuable, unusual material.

There is a special early deal at the end of November. Please have a look right away as it is very short term. http://CreateDanceArt.com

How to Enjoy Dance Practice Part II

Part 1 is here

In this series, we look at how dance has turned from a pleasurable fun activity to one of perfectionism and hard work. The series began with the observations of a dance friend, Sarah, who noticed that practicing improvisation was seen as less valuable than drilling or fitting combos into other songs.

Our first strategy was making (and defending) time for creative work. You can read Part I here.

We concluded that whatever it takes, it is in our best interests to make the time we need for our creative work. And creativity is play, plain and simple. Which brings us to our next strategy,

Opt for the most pleasurable.

Painting by Donna Marie Buchanan http://www.spinningdaydreams.com/
Painting by Donna Marie Buchanan http://www.spinningdaydreams.com/

How often we deny ourselves! Day after day we choke down the dreary, overcooked vegetables of life. Even in our dance practice, we feel obliged to work hard at every moment, to glare at ourselves with pointed eyes and find endless faults. Everything is an exercise in perfection. Everything is a reminder of how we fail to measure up. We cannot even celebrate success—there is always so much more to do.

Sarah explained,

 I’m fairly certain that this is at least partly just a symptom of the larger issue within our culture that devalues any sort of self-care or downtime. Hell, we have even made relaxing “self-care” so that it sounds enough like a job that we can give ourselves permission to do it. 

We feel that if we aren’t working or being productive (even if we are productively relaxing), it is somehow self-indulgent and, therefore, bad. But there is also that perfectionist tendency there, too, and the idea that there is a right way to do each thing or respond to a piece of music. 

Where is our hot fudge sundae? We have so bought into the shame and blame of our society that it even creeps into this luscious, earthy dance. Let’s kick it out.

This dance is a miracle of pleasure. The moves feel delicious in the body. People may think that improv doesn’t develop dance skills—but they are wrong. Take the time to explore a movement. Let it evolve, let your body enjoy it and find the most yummy, rich, elegant expression if it—that is not easy. It is a skill that we learn. This means it will be hard at first, and the change from rote movement may be challenging. But it is so pleasurable, after a while, it doesn’t feel like work.

It’s like the “work” of eating the most delicious meal ever. It’s nourishing and good for you, sure. Yet so thrilling is the pleasure of the meal that it eclipses all those mundane elements. Even a simple meal can have this quality. Everything is better when the ingredients are fresh and made with love.

Celebrate enjoyment. We’ve all heard that the feeling is the most important thing. This pleasure in movement is one of the feelings we want to cultivate in dance. We usually think of feeling as an emotional thing—but dance is also physical (surprise!). The body feels the movement. It feels its connection to the music. The body is wise and beautiful. It will give us our movement with the greatest of pleasure when it allow it to connect. Yet we control every moment of our dance with stylized shapes, combos and choreographies.

We pre-create our dances so we don’t have to risk anything. But these canned combos and dances are like automated telephone help lines. We get so desperate for a live person, soon we start banging the phone on the table, screaming AGENT!

Yet agency is one of the hallmarks of our dance—the alive dancer, reveling in her feeling, who responds in the moment to the music. It is this al fresco creation, presented with love, that nourishes both dancer and guests. It is more of a risk than ordering out or heating up a frozen dinner—but the rewards are far, far greater than the risks.

So how do you bring confident spontaneity into a performance?
Part 3 is here.

Love,

Alia

PS Want to have more fun with dance? Alia offers Creativity Coaching. Develop the time and space to bring joy to your dance–and life. For details, see here.

How to Enjoy Dance Practice Part I

beignet+coffee
Beignet and chicory coffee at Cafe du Monde, NOLA. Photo by Tamalyn Dallal

Remember fun? Doing things just for the sake of enjoyment? Laughing with friends, riding a carousel, exploring a new road—even window shopping, or having coffee and a treat with a friend. Where the heck did that go? It seems like we do every thing because we have to. Even going to dance class or to an event has somehow gotten mixed up with hard work.

Sarah, a dance friend, recently shared this observation.

I have noticed a distinct feeling that improvising somehow doesn’t count as practice, not only for me, but among other dancers I have talked to. Drills count, refining technique counts, even fitting combos into a song counts. But improv is “just” fooling around or not a productive use of time. Or they have to be “working” the improv so hard that they really aren’t improvising in a pure sense, because they are thinking so hard about being good or getting stuff right. 

Dance has become hard work. Practice is something we have to do to get better—yet we never work hard enough. We are never good enough. And it never stops. Ever.

But dance is supposed to be fun. It’s play. Of course, if you are a professional dancer, there is an element of “work.” After all, this is your day job. But even so, the ethos of this dance is one of relaxation, musical connection, and joy. These qualities are not going to come from grimly drilling yet another combo. And, like a genuine smile, they are hard to fake. So we have to practice them, like any other skill. Wait, how do you practice the skill of enjoying yourself? Good question! Here are three ways to have fun with dance.

Make time to play, opt for the most pleasurable, and practice sharing.

Make time to play. None of us has buckets of extra time floating around—and even if we do, we probably have a lot of entrenched Resistance preventing us from using it for fun. Maybe we are busy procrastinating—that takes a lot of time. Or maybe we are angry about something—obviously we cannot let go of that to have fun. But that is exactly what we must do. For any creative enterprise, one of the hardest tasks is carving out the time and defending it with our lives. Yet it is also one of the most rewarding things we can do. So how do we do that?

Designate the time and space. Don’t leave it to chance. Maybe it means getting up earlier (I know, it hurts, so much!). Maybe we find a private corner, get earphones, utilize small moments of downtime—even include our children. Just hoping it will happen means it probably won’t. We have to make the time, and then smooth the way towards using it. Schedule it in your planner, put it on your calendar. Use and app or an alarm. Do whatever it takes. There are myriad methods for for helping us remember to use the time we have carved (I favor TinyHabits.com). But the most important element is the decision to do it—followed by the determination to protect it.

Defend the time and space with your life. Everybody and every thing will do its best to get in between you and your Creative Time (one of the many benefits of getting up even earlier is that no one else is awake to derail you). Become like a tiger protecting her cubs—fearless, ferocious, and determined. The phone will ring, someone will need a ride, your boss/mother/kids will get sick—there is no end to the trickery of Resistance. Just Say No. This is a skill. At first, it will seem like a horrible transgression. After a while, it will become normal. You can even do it pleasantly.

It is in everyone’s best interests to make the time we need to do our creative work. We will be better, happier, and more generous people when we care for our creative selves. And creativity is play, plain and simple. Which brings us to our next strategy,

Opt for the most pleasurable.

Part II is here

Love,

Alia

PS Want more time and space for art? Alia offers Creativity Coaching. Develop the time and space to bring joy to your dance–and life. For details, see here.

What is Belly Dance? Part IV

What is Belly Dance? Part IV

Read Part I here

Read part II here

Read Part III here

 

It’s pretty clear by now that belly dance is much more than a sparkly little toy. It’s much more than a sexy treat for the male gaze, a fun way of getting exercise, or a dress-up opportunity. It is more than entertainment. It is more than art. We can use it that way, and it will work just fine, but we are playing marbles with giant pearls.

Belly dance is a glorious marriage of the sacred and the profane—beautiful, sensual, healing, and integrative. It aligns the body and mind, washes away stress and trauma, frees us from fear and anxiety, and connects us to the Divine. How many other venues have all that?

There are plenty of practices that do most of it—tai-chi, yoga, Zen archery, even sitting meditation. But none of them include those sensual, beautiful, entertaining, profane qualities. There are no spangles, playfulness, or music. No sensuality. No fun.

Belly dance has all that and more.

Belly dance has been seen asa pastime, entertainment, even art—but always as a generally innocuous occupation with little meaning outside of itself. Many of us have a mission to “elevate the dance,” which often means to make it more Western—put it on bigger stages, with bigger audiences.

What if there were a way to elevate the dance that kept its cultural values? Without them, this dance is dead. It’s an empty movement vocabulary. It becomes like Cheez Wiz or Cool Whip—an artificial, processed, non-food masquerading as real food. We don’t need more plastic crap in our lives.

We need real things that connect us to our true selves. We need avenues to our souls, ways to accept and nurture ourselves, be kind to ourselves, love ourselves. Through accepting and affirming the self, we find the courage and the kindness to love others.

Little by little, this love radiates outward, touching others, healing as it goes. It extends outward, all over the world, finally returning back to us, energizing us and everyone it meets.

Am I saying belly dance has the potential for world peace?

Yes. Yes, I am.

Instead of using this dance to glorify ourselves, we can spread love, healing, kindness, spirit, joy.

We heal the world, one undulation at a time.

 

An excerpt from the upcoming book, Midnight at the Crossroads: Has belly dance sold its soul?

What is belly dance part III

What is belly dance? Part III

Read Part I here

Read part II here

appropiration2Of course, there are specific folkloric dances that have nothing to do with belly dance—no one is arguing about that. But there are others that have been adopted. They are not belly dance as such (Sa’idi stick dance, for example, or Turkish Romani dance), but they are here to stay in our repertoire. So “belly dance,” (a made-up name to begin with), is already inclusive of many fusion elements. Then there are the various forms of “Tribal” dance, from Jamila Salimpour’s Bal Anat through tribal fusion, a host of ethnic and other fusions, and all the theatrical approaches. It’s a mishmash. What do we do with all of these? What do we call them?

I am loathe to kick anyone off the belly dance bus. I have concerns about some things, and will explore them as we go along, never fear. But as we come to understand the soul of the dance, misconceptions fall away. There are qualities of the dance that underlie everything else, and these are where we want to put our focus. The rest is window dressing.

To me, the vital elements of the dance are

  • improvisation to improvised (preferably live) music
  • the foundation movement vocabulary, with micro-movement
  • an inseparable connection Oriental music and its the values and qualities, including  the importance of the feeling in the moment.

I will return to these elements often. This dance is not only as an ancient, beautiful art form. It also has healing, spiritual properties, and is a legitimate mind-body practice that equals yoga, tai-chi, and sitting meditation in its effectiveness and power. Really? Yes.

Sparkly little belly dance has immense power. People are drawn to it because they sense this, though they may not know how to access it. Once they come to a class, they are usually taught a sterilized version: stylized, choreographed, counted, body-control to recorded music. This is not the dance they were looking for. But it is all they see, so okay. Well, it’s not okay with me. I am here to explode this view of the dance. I am here to shine a light on the magic and mystery of our dance.

We are drawn to this dance because we feel something from it. It is real. It is there. The dance waits for you, a hidden seed trembling with life, ready to blossom in your heart and soul. It is beautiful and free and loving–and so are you.

Part IV coming next week…

How to protect your dance space

Most days I get up several hours before anyone else in my family. It is often dark, now that it’s fall here in Vermont. It’s also cold. I hate getting up in the dark, and I hate the cold. I’d prefer to sleep in every morning until it is sunny and warm. But I get up. I don’t like it–but I like myself better when I do it.

I wash up, make some coffee and toast, and take my vitamins. Then I open the file of my book. And then I write. I like to put in at least an hour or 1K words. I often go more and sometimes less. (For a while I was reading every morning, but now I am focused on the writing). After I write, I put in my headphones and pick a dance song on my phone.  Once I’m moving, I usually dance for my whole 20 minutes. And then I feel like I accomplished something, all day long, even if the rest of it goes completely to heck.

It’s hard, because when I feel sorry for myself, I tend to get self-indulgent. I slack on things I know are important. I eat crap food. I don’t write–or dance. Then I feel guilty (another big time-waster). Then I feel even sorrier for myself–and the cycle of Resistance continues.

It’s taken me a long time to get to this point of relative consistency. And I don’t always defend my time well. Yesterday I overslept and my Mom got up early. I just stepped back. I wasn’t happy with myself, but I am done beating myself up over the occasional slip. NGAMO, right? No Guilt And Move On.

Today I got up earlier and wrote–but I didn’t fully close the book part of my morning and formally move on to the next task in the chain, the headphones and song. So somehow I didn’t dance.

Little by little, progress comes. I narrow the focus of my intentions and determination, things get done, and they become habits. Accomplishments then become more reliable, and my skills improve, because I get consistent practice, so I feel better about myself. You get the picture, right?

It’s so seductive to let our creativity slip down the back of the sofa. We put ourselves last and swallow our frustration, turning it against ourselves. We waste our lives hating ourselves for our weakness. Hating ourselves is just another trap.

Why do we do this? Some of it is what we learned to do. Some of it is our own fear. Where does the fear come from? Often it’s left over from times we got shamed. Wherever it came form, it’s corrosive to our creativity. Art requires us to take a stand and make something–to move, to put words or ink or paint on the page.

Instead we believe the lies we tell ourselves.  It’s no good, I’m no good,. It doesn’t matter. It’s too hard. I don’t care. It’s just…

How do we protect our creative spaces?  Our dance habits? Our self-confidence and joy, which are so tied to our creativity?

It starts with showing up. Showing up to do the work. This is a big reason I like taking classes (besides the learning). I have a reason to show up. Someone besides me notices. They’re on my side. I started teaching so I would practice. I still do. Little by little, I grow my habits.

Every day, I learn to show up. When the Muse comes looking, I want to be there.

So do you.

Just show up. 

 

Want some classes to help?
All of these start within the next week.
Rosa Noreen’s teaching one on arms
http://rosanoreen.com/handsandarmsintensive/

Nadira Jamal’s teaching one of developing a sustainable practice
http://www.bellydancegeek.com/practice-habit/

And I’m teaching one on Effortless Improvisation. Daily assignment, accountability, and a great community that has your back. https://aliathabit.com/effortless

 

Plus, you can double up and win with the Compassionate Critique Salon. 

Do you crave honest, objective dance feedback?
(Wish it didn’t hurt so much?)

Announcing: The Compassionate Critique Salon!

The Compassionate Critique Salon. Honest, empowering feedback in a safe environment so dancers can develop the confidence to grow their artistry.

Plus (since one size does not fit all), you get great feedback from *three* professional dance coaches: Nadira Jamal, Rosa Noreen, and Alia Thabit.

Each coach will provide you with encouragement, observations on what to cultivate, and one idea to work on. So you feel good about what you’ve accomplished and have a manageable set of goals.

How do we sign up?
Registration opens October 25th.
Get notified the minute it opens!
http://www.bellydancegeek.com/compassionate-critique-salon/

Special treat for anyone who takes 2 or more of the above classes, too.