June 1, 2008

If you listen carefully...

the music tells you what to do. If there is one lesson someone needs to take away from belly dancing it is just that. Technique, complex combinations, fabulous costumes and wonderful venues aside it boils down to the music. Sure, I was enchanted and entranced by the costumes and the colors and the sparkles and oh my, all the accouterments that come along with this dance but first and foremost it was the music that moved me, touched me and seduced me. And if you listen carefully you don't need to think about what step or position or pose you can use, you just have to let go and trust that the music will tell you what to do.

I can't tell you how many times I have heard a song and felt a rush of emotions through my body as I watched a dancer perform. People have said that if a dancer is skilled a deaf person could 'hear' the music by just watching the movements on her body. It's true, I've been there...and it's amazing. Some dancers perform to a song, while others let the music come through them. Trust me, the most technically proficient dancer pales in comparison to a dancer who lets go and lets the music tell her what to do.

So, I was so excited and impressed that one of my beginner students 'got it'. I announced tonight they would start learning a short choreography and at first she looked a little worried especially since she's still getting the hang of some steps. But after a moment's reflection she noted that this dance, compared to all others, seems to come from the music. And, she visibly relaxed when she realized that it probably is easier when you have the music helping teach you what to do and when...and how...

And, for the rest of us, we just have to trust that our bodies know what to do if we just listen carefully.

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