A Surprise Performance

A Belly Dance Performance to Remember - Leyla Najma's Belly Dance Blog

I wanted to share an experience I had at a restaurant years ago with you all because I want to let you know that you never know what lady luck will send your way.

One particular night I just happened to be performing at an Italian restaurant in the downtown area of Dallas. I was hired to perform for a large group of Doctors and their wives. Unfortunately I had to be at their beck and call the entire evening which meant performing at a moments notice or giving a lecture on the dance. Oddly enough I performed to a few songs from one of the Gypsy Kings cds since they were one of my favorite bands.

As it was getting very late, I was just about to fall over in my chair until the bartender started to yell telling  everyone that the Gypsy Kings were coming to the restaurant to eat dinner. They had just finished their concert and wanted to eat Italian food. So the owner of the restaurant looked at me and asked if I had it in me to do one more show. Not only did I come back to life but I was jumping up and down because I couldn’t believe my luck. Thirty minutes went by that seemed to last an eternity and I had to remember to breathe so I wouldn’t pass out from the anticipation. With a yell the valet drivers let us know they had arrived. They drove up in their limo to the front doors and everybody started to clap. The entourage consisted of over twenty people and they all walked in with the Gypsy Kings laughing and singing as they were directed to their table. Read more

Practice Tip 1. For the Serious Student

Bely Dance Practice Tip #1 -  Leyla Najma's Belly Dance BlogRecently Daniel came to me and asked me if there were any tips I could share with dancers not only for their dancing but also for their practicing and drilling. So I thought about it and decided I would give tips that will help make a difference in the training aspect of dancing. It’s really in our preparation of dance that we start to understand ourselves so we can then go out and dance for the masses with confidence.

The tip that I am going to share with you is broad but it came to me because it is a common problem that we all have when we first start out dancing.  How we focus and work within our body starts out the habitual way we train. Most of my students won’t look at the whole enchilada (body) only a specific part of the body depending on what I am showing them. After you get the move down into your body then look at your image in the mirror and see how the rest of your body looks while you are working the combination or movement. When my students can’t see the whole body they have what I call “blinder” focus. It’s almost as if they are afraid to see how it looks in the totality of the body. Read more

The Belly Dance Routine

How To Practice Belly Dancing - Leyla Najma's Belly Dance Blog

The hardest part about belly dancing is knowing where to start on a daily regimen for training and practice. There are different areas to focus on and most women don’t know that each area should be worked on equally. I wasn’t taught this methodology of practicing on specific areas separately and to this day I wish I would have. I think that practicing everything together can muddy up movements and the completion of moves. It can also keep a dancer from seeing that she really doesn’t have the moves down. This happed to me because when I look back at my first videos, all I see is a bird getting ready to fly out of the nest!

Another case in point; Remember not to over practice a choreography! I have a student who just recently lost her rhythm because she over practiced. She could not hear the beat of the music because she forgot to listen to the music. I had to ask her not to practice for a week so we could get her back on track. What was surprising to me was the fact that she said she felt off in certain areas but she did not do anything about it. So if there is robotic repetition in practice, the danger can be that the dancer won’t know the difference or if she does, do nothing about it. There definitely seems to be a need to put in a work schedule so that weekly practicing will keep you fresh, graceful and relaxed. Read more