JUST FOR FUN: DANCE GAMES AND DRILLS!
Consult a physician before undertaking any new physical
activity, and dance safely with proper technique and a good warm up and cool
Start the music. Make an overly dramatic entrance and exit. Have
fun being overly dramatic. Pretend you are someone
else...channel a diva.
Dance improv w/light behind you! Play with your shadows. It
doesn't have to be bellydance! Experiment with
lines/poses/postures. Go slow. Be mysterious. (Objective: fluid
Dance, say “STOP”, pose, pause, or move slowly. Drop energy like
a leaf. Lift like smoke. Dance at regular speed again. (pauses
rest the eye and brain and give contrast to your dance)
OBSTACLES: Create a small pillow obstacle course on the floor. Walk through the “course” to the beat,
then add arms, then full dance. You don’t have to always move
forward - go sideways, go in a circle always facing forward
(part of your circle will be moving backwards, follow one hip
through the course, let your arms pull you through, etc. (This
helps you with navigating space in a variety of ways, and
utilizing irregular floor patterns.)
SHAPES: Use 8’s, circles, squares, triangles, s’s,
diamonds, arches, smiles, zig zags. Dance a song using
everything you can think of using one shape (floor pattern,
hands, hips, overhead hands, travel) Variation: Do HALF the
shape, then pause.
HOW FAR CAN YOU GO?
Fun with a group! Do a move for 8 counts, then do a new move for
8, then another new move for 8...you lose when you run out of
moves or repeat a move. Variations are OK. (Trick - use elevator
technique, moving up or down.) Last one dancing is the winner.
(Helps you test your vocabulary.)
ARMS HAVE A PURPOSE:
They help to determine direction when turning or spinning, framing
a hip or body parts, creating a line for the eye. Practice poses
or turns utilizing arms.
FLAMINGO: Hold one foot up (tree pose works great!) and dance w/arms/upper body only. (learn to express
yourself with your arms) You can do it with both feet down so
you can use your chest, but don’t move your hips!
RISING/FALLING: Act out (with
BD or NON-BD moves)
things such as a windblown leaf, a building storm, soft rain,
hard rain, fish, dolphins, birds, waves. MOVEMENT HAS VARYING
ENERGY. Push/pull, up/down, in/out. Really concentrate on the
rising and falling of the energy for this exercise! Breathe IN
for up or raising, breathe out for down or lowering.
WHAT’S MY STORY?
Hand out photos, and dance the story of the image. Think about
the energy you portray to tell your story. How do your arms,
gestures, travel, posture, face, type of moves illustrate the
story? This is a great exercise to show how percussive, travel,
or smooth moves show different energy.
Open a magazine or book w/photos of people. Dance the story in
the photo. After a few minutes, switch to new page. Portray
open/closed, happy/sad. Tell the story w/your movements and
gestures. Who are you? Become the alter ego! What is the persona
of the person in the story?
DIALOGUE: Dance to the DIALOGUE of a movie NOT THE MUSIC! Tell the story
NUMBERS: Pick a number from 1 - 4. Dance everything in that number to fit
the song count. For example: THREE’s: 3 lifts, triangles, 3
steps...you may need to stretch one of them to fit it into 4
counts: 1, 2, threeee (3,4). (Or fast, fast, slo-ow) Unless your music is in 9’s...then
that’s whole ‘nother ball game! :)
BUILD A COMBO: First person calls a move, and all dancer do it for 8 counts,
2nd dancer adds another 8 counts (do both). 3rd dancer adds
another for 8, do all three. 4th adds another, do all 4, etc.
COUNTDOWN: Pick two moves and do a countdown: 8 beats of each move, 4 beats
of each move, 2 beats of each move, to develop quicker
transitions. Really concentrate on a smooth transition. When you
get down to 2, you may only be able to do half the move, and
that can create some interesting combos! Or try 4+4/4+4 (to
equal 8 of each for two moves) - that first 4 would be the SAME
move but changing direction or sides for each 4), then 2+2, 2+2,
EMOTION/ANIMAL/SITUATION: Pull either an animal, an emotion, or a situation from a hat and
dance it, and have others guess. Use speed, height, direction,
math (dividing or multiplying a move), or size to express the
idea. (Changing energy.)
FOLLOW THE LEADER: Everyone in a line, one person picked to stand in front, facing
that line, and leads with various moves, then leader tags out,
next goes up to lead group.
CIRCLE: one person is in center, and
all follow person in center, then they step out. Or TRAVEL in a
circle, following what the leader does.
SHIMMY DRILLS: Start slow, then double the beat, then double again, then
full-on shimmy. Widen your stance a bit to shift weight from one
foot/side to the other, then walk with it. Try shimmying figure
8’s or slides. Or shimmy with one foot slightly up (unweighted),
then other up, then walk. Choo choo with various arm moves. ¾
variations. Various shimmy types - call them out (Lebanese, hip,
Egyptian, freeze, one leg, shoulder shimmy, Tunisian, etc.
Go from lower part of body to upper, part by part: do a move
with your feet, then do a move with your hips, undulate up,
chest move, arms, head, travel (back to feet). OR: hip, ADD
chest, ADD arms to work on crazy layers.)
Choose a move, how many variations can you do using size, speed
(fast/slow or try first half of an infinity slow, second fast,
first part of next one fast - that way the accent falls on the
opposite side every time around), math (divide or multiply),
BEAT? Dance on:
Down beat, do doubles, triples, halftime. Or try SLOW MO: do a
move in 4 beats, 8 beats, 16 beats, 32 beats. It really helps
you slow down and concentrate on how you are driving the move
with your muscles.
RAQs ROULETTE (from Mahin):
Shuffle your music player, dance to one minute of each song.
(Feel the difference in energy and how you need to portray
that!) SHIMMY W/LAYERS: Get shimmy going strong. Add chest up,
2,3,4, then down, 2,3,4. Chest slide234, other side,234. Then
side, up, side, down (1234. Then smooth the circle. If you fall
apart, shake out your legs and get that shimmy going again!
For rhythm exploration, slow down and dance JUST on the doums.
It is important to KNOW your rhythms! Dancers should know the
difference in accents (where the doums fall) in various Middle
Eastern beats such as beladi, malfouf, maksum, karsilama, ayub.
Most Westerners know that a waltz is “ONE, two, three, ONE, two,
three”, or that a polka is “OOM-pa-pa, OOM-pa-pa”, and if you’re
a bellydancer, you should know various M.E. beats, too! The more
you learn about the various rhythms, the easier it is to let the
music transport you, and you will begin to FEEL your dance, not
THINK it. :)
Dance for YOU...but
please do it safely with proper technique and a good warm up and