Belly Dance and Teela Gets Her Groove Back

Yesterday I gave an hour dance class. It was the first time I have taught in probably 4 months. Spring and summer hit and the heat came faster than expected. The few students and I agreed “Summer in the South” was not a time for dancing and sweating. There were other seasonal tasks to attend.

If I told the truth it would be this: I haven’t danced since those spring months. I played around with giving it up. It’s been over 5 years now, and that’s not a long time to learn all the ins and outs of belly dance, but I wondered if I really had it in me to continue.

I’ve been so involved in writing and rewriting and getting manuscripts together to publish this late fall and beyond, I didn’t think I had much energy to expend on other things. The garden had to be rebuilt after the sewer debacle of this summer and there were other events that pulled on my energies.

Well, some ‘things’ don’t die so easily.

I gave a class to a new student, a woman about my age, a little younger, who had no dance experience. She had some yoga, but there were problems with that discipline and she had a bad back.

We were introduced about a month ago and hit it off from the start. She doesn’t know me as a dance teacher, and I didn’t know how she would turn out as a student. But something was definitely clicking in that hour.

I have been using the “Luscious Workout Belly Dance” dvd from World Dance New York for about a year now. It’s one of the best dance programs I know. I’ve had a few videos and dvds over the years, but mostly classes in a studio. There were times, months sometimes, I would drop out, bored with the routines, the choreography or perhaps just not extending myself to dance in troupe-like behavior. I overall loved belly dance, but I was restless. There were also long standing injuries to one knee.

I had four years of Turkish/Egyptian technique, and sometimes dancers get into a rut.

I think part of my problem was this: I wasn’t seeing anything new to do. You can get awfully bored with the same combinations.   It  can become so automatic you aren’t being very creative.

“Going through the motions” I think applies here.

I knew I had to shock myself out of this malaise. To that end I went in January to Montreal to attend a 4 hour intensive class under Audra Simmons. I picked Audra because she was about as ‘out there’ as you can get…At least for me. Her teaching and class opened my eyes to a lot of Tribal techniques but there was also a good dose of flamenco influence. What evolved was a regeneration in my own stalled technique. Now I had some new examples ….had started the basis of developing the necessary muscle memory of these new techniques, and new movements.

I came back in the dead of winter to some students for the first real classes.

Stepping into the unknown of these other styles allowed the most important thing to happen: I grabbed from all of it, but I made it my own. In other words, I incorporated it into my natural dance movements and layered some different techniques.

So yesterday was a test run: to see what she could do, and also for me to see what I would do.

One thing I have learned with this new avenue of teaching: Every student is different and a teacher must attend to those differences. Many things need to be corrected and positioned, but there also is a question of the basic style of the dancer. This is an amazing thing to see unfolding. One lesson doesn’t tell you much about a new dancer except her attitude and little about the range of her body.

This new student was a quick learner. And I had such a ‘transforming time’ it knocked out any thoughts of giving up.

We started with infinity loops (vertical and horizontal) and pelvic circles…staccato and fluid. Some layering with arms and a little kick out but that is actually a lot for a new student to grasp. The muscle memory has to be developed and the muscles have to be warmed up to receive all these ‘messages’. So we went slow, and then flipped on the dvd so she could see what it looked like in costume and by better dancers. It was quite overwhelming for her as it always is when you see three dancers going through their paces. A new student just doesn’t know where to look! So, I demonstrated for her some of the movements…breaking them down piece by piece. The point is this: you can’t really learn from a video….you have to know how to place your body, your butt, your shoulders, how to stand, how your neck and head lifts and elongates, what the bottom half of you looks like: the knees never locked but gently bent…’soft’.

Many teachers shun dancing for their students in a studio. I always wondered why. It’s so instructive for students to see their teacher ‘make real’ the movements they are learning. It’s good when we fall out of just endless, disconnected (or barely connected) movements and really show how they so naturally combine and the myriad possibilities for it all. And they are really endless.

We are DANCERS, after all!

I flipped on some music and did a short beledi for her, a barefooted dance that can be very vigorous. And then I felt it. This Hyperarousal Trance, this state of brain activity and endorphin change, and she said that there was an immediate shift in mood, appearance and energy.

Ah God! I have missed this endorphin /whatever rush! I got so used to it dancing before. I didn’t really appreciate how it looked from the outside. I used to be very self-conscious about my dancing and how I was doing ‘the steps’….but later, I chucked all that concern because I had developed enough confidence and style so I could free-float in the dancing.

I was coming into my own as a dancer.

She said my whole face changed and I radiated a bundle of obvious energy. Hah! I don’t know what it looks like from the outside, but inside I was flying. I have to be careful about this because you can spiral outward for a long time, and about time? It seems to have a different meaning under Hyperarousal Trance.

Movement, repeated movements, an internalized ayoub rhythm is the portal into Hyperarousal Trance. She saw it happen and she saw the transformation. There is no drug that can match it. And she wants to ‘be’ in that same space….that ‘zone’. She will get there in time. It’s very much worth the effort.

The upshot was this: it was a good class. Both teacher and student had fun and our collective energy level rose and lasted for hours. I really believe a major part of dancing is having fun and discovering the movement-potential of our bodies.

Yesterday it was only one student, but it was the particular one- on -one that can be so good and instructive. I am anxious to see how the two other students work together and feed each other.

That will come, and soon enough, but yesterday? I found my groove again, and this time I’ll be careful not to lose it.

Teela…who is Lady Nyo….who is Jane

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14 Responses to “Belly Dance and Teela Gets Her Groove Back”

  1. Berowne Says:

    I like the idea of a ‘Luscious Workout’; the belly dance part is icing on the cake.

    Like

  2. ladynyo Says:

    Men.

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  3. Professional BellyDance Costume Says:

    […] Belly Dance and Teela Gets Her Groove Back […]

    Like

  4. shia1 Says:

    Men? lol.. Can’t live with them or without them. I love men. All kinds..lol

    Wonderful to read about your belly dancing. Good luck on the lessons too.

    Shake your groove thing, shake your groove thing, shake shake..

    shia

    Like

  5. Berowne Says:

    Well, luscious reminds me of melons, and melons make me think – no, never mind.

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  6. ladynyo Says:

    If you like melons….you should see the dvd. I believe it’s online, a video on Youtube…

    worth the peek.

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  7. ladynyo Says:

    At first this seemed to be spam…but upon reading, it’s got some good information….not exactly correct, but some good stuff.

    Teela

    Like

  8. ladynyo Says:

    LOL!…well, it’s about time…you either go forward and with the company of students, it’s a lot more fun.

    I don’t know about all kinds….I don’t like sadists, nor do I like weak, sniveling men, nor do I like bullies…Ok…most of them aren’t in those categories, but you learn…..to identify and avoid. Especially the first category.

    Teela

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  9. Margie Says:

    Happy that you’ve gotten back to dancing! When you write about it there is a lightness and playfulness that comes across, even on the page (or computer screen, actually). I’ve been watching Shimmy on FitTV (a cable network, I don’t know if everyone gets it) – and I’ve even dared a few tentative steps myself. I was afraid to try because my balance is so bad, and I’ve become so inflexible the past few years, but the reverse seems to be happening. I feel more sure footed and looser in my joints than I have in years!

    Yay! I’ll have to find a “belly dance” name!

    Like

  10. ladynyo Says:

    Hey Margie!

    I’ve never heard of Shimmy on FitTV but then again I don’t have cable! LOL!

    YES!!! That is exactly what happens with any bellydance…(at least what I’ve seen)

    THE BODY GROWS YOUNG!

    You keep it up and soon you will be in diapers….

    Thank you, Margie….my name was given by a man who was just an surly and aging bdsmer…but to spite him I kept it. Since I have danced for 3 years under it, I have grown to like it, and to be known by it. What the hell, you can change the intention of most things.

    I am glad that ‘lightness’ comes across the page. Writing about it lifts my heart and I will go anywhere to learn more. That was the reason for the trip to cold Montreal in damn January last year. The class knocked my socks off. And laid the basis for some stuff that was truly valuable…and helped me regain some confidence I was missing. I felt battered after the influence of this ‘fellow’ and it took many months to flip him off the radar. Belly dance is something that all women should do…it creates so many positive things, and as we get older, we need the positives that belly dance gives us.

    That Hyperarousal Trance thing is REAL and powerful. It is a tool that anyone can enter and utilize. It takes a while to ‘tap into’, but once you do, and you are conscious of the ability and understand where the portals are….you can do it very easily and without fail. What you get in there is some amazing ‘stuff’.

    Teela…..

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  11. Margie Says:

    Actually, I am familiar with Hyperarousal Trance, maybe — many years ago, I practiced meditation therapy with a wonderful woman named Barbara. She brought me through some bad stuff, some good stuff, and our last few sessions ended with me being totally zoned out, blissed out, in my “happy place” – and I imagine that is what Hyperarousal Trance is like. I can’t describe the feeling to anyone else, but maybe you can understand. I was barely aware of my surroundings, but I was really happy, smiling, it was great. I’ve rarely achieved that feeling since, but maybe this will help recapture it!

    BTW, I don’t really want to be in diapers! Who knows, if I get old enough that may happen anyway! LOL!

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  12. ladynyo Says:

    ROTF! Look what we have to look forward to…

    I think I can relate….it very much sounds like perhaps…subspace. And that is a lovely place to be.

    Hyperarousal Trance could be the culprit here, but my experience is different…as probably everyone’s is. It’s a total focus, but again, you can spiral inward or outward.

    Regardless….but you will feel it again if you can find the portals….and movement, dance, poetry, etc..must be the portals.

    My experience is that HT comes through movement, repeated movements, but also the ayoub beat somewhere in the background.

    But how ever we get there….it’s a haunting experience.

    Like

  13. smotp Says:

    Hello M’Lady

    First it is good to know that you have survived the atrocious weather in Georgia. I have some close friends in Atlanta and it has been a time of concern for me for them.

    I am writing from the Balieric Islands in the Mediterranean, specifically Mallorca while on vacation. I tell you that as they here have also had weather that is out of the ordinary. Though I quite enjoy thunder and lightning when it stays warm! It seems the world weather is out of kilter as we know it?

    You have written elsewhere about Hyperarousal Trance and knowing my practice I thought you might like some of my take?

    Repetition and rhythm are your key or ‘portal’ to inducing your trance state. Marge talked of meditation taking her to a ‘blissed out’ state.
    These are all forms of self hypnotic trance. In this suggestible state almost anything can be possible. Extreme mental focus, incredibly realistic sensory experiences and wonderful expansion of the consciousness without using mind altering drugs.

    I have induced sub space in partners through trance means as you are aware. I am now working with a yoga teacher in your area on plumbing the sensual and emotional release that is possible through blending what I do with Tantric practices.

    I agree with you that exploration and variety are key to keeping vital. Going through the motions is a form of becoming trapped in what becomes routine.

    That way lies sleepwalking through what remains of our life.

    Whatever the means we select, that suit us and our ways, waking up to life is a beautiful and uplifting experience. It is way too short to snooze through.

    My regards as always to M’Lady,Teela and Jane!

    Like

  14. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Smopt!

    Good to hear from you, and that you are on vacation. Mallorca? Lovely!

    Yes, we are fine but others here in Georgia aren’t. My neighborhood is in Old Atlanta, hilly…and those in the suburbs, especially Austell, have been hit hard. Water up to the second floor we are told. 10 people or 11, are dead, as the waters recede, they find more bodies. 20,000 households have some sort of damage to them. Roads still closed, but the recovery begins. Hope your dear friends are ok.

    >>>Repetition and rhythm are your key or ‘portal’ to inducing your trance state. Marge talked of meditation taking her to a ‘blissed out’ state.
    These are all forms of self hypnotic trance. In this suggestible state almost anything can be possible. Extreme mental focus, incredibly realistic sensory experiences and wonderful expansion of the consciousness without using mind altering drugs.<<<

    I am not so sure that HT is self hypnotic. From what I have read, and I can't find the source now, but HT isn't the same brain wave pattern as self-hypnosis, hypnosis, etc is.
    Apparently, from this article…and it was pretty scientific as I remember…HT taps into a different brain wave….not alpha, not the usual ones we know of generally. But until I find that article I will say that it sure feels like self-hypnosis.

    Thank you! I have struggled with a couple of people as to this issue of extreme focusing…through HT, and it's very hard to describe. It is especially obvious when writing about other cultures that you have little practical knowledge. But for some reason, it's like your mind is flooded with details and customs, cultural practices you couldn't have possibly practiced or had knowledge before. Writing "Tin Hinan", "The Zar Tales" and "The Kimono" all were part of that. It's as if things floated into my mind while I wrote…and when I checked the details, most of them were on target. So HT is very helpful in writing. At least I think so.

    Yes, I am a bit familiar with your inducing subspace (grin here) but your working with Tantric practice is new to me. I await your findings.

    You are very right when you say that exploration and variety are key to vitality. So much of our lives can be hedged in with fear and nonsense, and we see it all the time. Perhaps giving control over to another person sets the stage for this, when you are not giving control to a trustworthy person. I did this for a short while, and the results? Well, I learned a lot of things, but they weren't necessary 'good' things. They stood more as a caution. The key here is not having your eyes closed. And mutual respect.

    HT can be a very disorienting I believe, though it hasn't been so far. But you do second guess what you have gone through.

    This life is the only chance we get, in my humble opinion. I'm determined not to sleepwalk!

    Good to hear from you.

    Lady Nyo

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