At Corinna’s Bellydance Academy, I often get asked by my students how long it takes to learn to bellydance, or how long it takes to make a move look good. My answer is always the same – it depends!
I’ve been teaching in the Durham Region for a number of years now, and over that time I have seen a huge mix of students. Some of the ladies who come through my door have never formally studied dance before (let alone bellydance), others haven’t taken dance classes in years, some are students with serious ambitious of mastering this craft, and others have no intention of doing much practice, they are there just for something fun and social.
Whatever motivates you to take a bellydance class, it’s all a good reason; just know that the speed in which you learn this art form will totally depend on your past experiences, and your desire to practice with the intention of getting better. And it’s not a race. Learning bellydance is very much a personal journey.
However, if you do want to practice, here are some tips that will help you on your journey to becoming a better dancer.
Take time to really focus your practice and spend the time to learn well.
The worst thing you can do for yourself when learning a new move is to practice bad form. Take the time to break down each movement very slow and learn how it feels in your body. Learning a new move requires a lot of muscle memory to develop and this takes time – after all, you had to learn how to walk first before you could run right? Same with bellydance. You need to perfect each part of the movement slowly and then gradually speed up the movement. Only go as fast as you can without losing the integrity of the movement.
Use a mirror – it can be your best friend when learning a new step.
A mirror is an excellent practice tool. It allows you to see what your body is actually doing – how sharp your are making the isolation, how still the other parts of your body are, how far how are able to stretch the hip slide etc. And you don’t need anything fancy either. Ideally, one that is long enough so that you can see your full body is preferable. This is the one I use … excuse the dust marks and blotches on the mirror … next time I’ll clean it first!
I’ve had this mirror forever, but if you don’t have one, you can probably find one at places like Walmart or Target fairly cheaply.
When you are short on time, make every moment count!
I’m a busy woman. There’s not really anything such as extra time in my life. I’m also constantly multi-tasking. While it certainly won’t count as serious practice, I’ve definitely been known to practice shimmy technique while watching tv or standing at the bus stop. When I teach my classes at Corinna’s Bellydance Academy, I often point out certain elements that make good tv watching practice.
Practice soon after your class if finished.
The more time that passes between when your class is finished and when you practice, the more you’ll forget. I typically like to review what was done in class within a day or two after taking a class so that I don’t forget certain points the teacher discussed. I also keep a little notebook (picked up at the local dollar store) where I can write down things I need to work on. This serves as a good reminder.
These practice tips were posted by Corinna, owner of Corinna’s Bellydance Academy in Ajax, Ontario Canada.