Belly Dance Chat Room “Belly Dance Talk”

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 Belly dance chat room, “Belly Dance Talk” is happening this Wednesday at two different time zones, 10:00 to 11:00am and 9:00 to 10:00pm. We decided to give you two choices to make it easier for you to come in and join the fun even if you don’t live in the United States. So let’s talk about your drum solos and anything else that comes to mind.

How To Join: To reserve your spot just enter your information in the box to the right. 

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        Rocking and Grooving your Drum Solo

Most women who see belly dancing for the first time usually remember the hip work the most. I remember I did and the main thought that went through my head was, “How did she do that?” Once we decide to take the plunge and dive into belly dancing our fate is sealed. Rocking and grooving our drum solos is the Holy Grail of fulfillment,  a journey that lasts over a life time.

The drum solo is the one aspect of belly dancing that almost everyone looks forward to seeing. The connection between drum solo and dancer is a relationship that magically brings to life the soul of music.  Dancers bring to life visually what the audience hungers for because if the dance is executed well, the audience time travels with the music. But getting to the point where you own your drum solo meaning it’s all you and not an interpretation of someone else, isn’t always easy. So for the beginner dancer it’s important to learn to feel movement in your body. Now what does that mean, well most of us spend most of our belly dance lives trying to figure that out.

When I first started out with my drum solos it was obvious that I was going for pistons, thrusts and shimmies basically playing it safe. But I was starting to get bored and I realized that there is only so much of the same moves that people will watch especially if you are a restaurant dancer. So there has to be a light bulb moment when you finally just cut loose and do your own thing or as I like to say create a signature style of dance that represents you.

Drum solos tell so much about a dancer for instance how comfortable she is with her dancing, how well she listens and interprets the music and I think the most important, how she executes her moves. A good dancer will know how to create a mood with her dancing but a skilled dancer will take her audience with her. When a dancer invites an audience into her story she’s guiding them into a magical world that doesn’t exist outside of her. For those few moments all eyes are on a dancer’s hips because how she executes her moves reveals how she interprets and interacts with the drums. Movement without sound is just that, movement.

“O body swayed to music, O brightening glance. How can we know the dancer from the dance?” William Butler Yeats

Years ago I danced at a wonderful night club called Al Amir and there was a disc jockey named Ahmed, who told me that I was too American in my way of dancing. He said I needed to listen to the music like an Arab. Ahmeds words stung alittle because I thought with my trip to Egypt that I had some sense of the music. But I had to agree with him because I was struggling with my dancing at that time. Al Amir had separate dance floors on three levels which I would either perform solo or team up with another dancer. Running up and down the stairs definitely kept us all in shape!

Though I was gung ho to take on Ahmeds challenge some of the other dancers weren’t so thrilled about it so we had to work in my sets separate from everyone else’s. In a way I was really excited about changing things up and my adrenalin kicked in basically making me a human yo-yo. Ahmed made me feel better because his enthusiasm was so contagious plus the night of our first “duet” he was at the club early making sure I had a great set to dance to. I walked in nervous as hell and he walked up to me saying, “Just wait till you hear the music I chose for you, it’s all new music!” With his comforting smile calming my nerves, I walked up the steps to our dressing room and started to dress for my first set. The first set wasn’t crowded because it was early in the evening so I was relieved that I wouldn’t be making a total fool of myself to a full house.  The fateful moment arrived with Ahmed giving me a special introduction so I knew there was no turning back or running away. I will always remember my first song; it was by Amr Diab called “Nour Alain.”

After our first set was over I was hooked because Ahmed created the best line up of songs I could have hoped for. He would get in the newest songs weekly that the crowds loved so it looked like I was up on all the new music. I have Ahmed to thank for that. To this day he remains one of the pivotal players in changing my career and teaching me to hear music differently. He would throw in drum solo music in various places through out my sets because he felt that it was the only way that I would learn to dance to music instead of anticipate what comes next. He said that the one big difference between American and Arab dancers is that Arab dancers follow the music without anticipating what comes next. I learned quickly that listening to music is different then hearing music. I can’t thank him enough and I will always be grateful to him for what he did for me as a dancer.

My week days were full of practicing to various songs that Ahmed gave me but there were always new songs in my sets at the club that he would bring in to keep me on my toes. He expected me to practice during the week and he would create many variations of music for me so that I could understand how to follow the music. What ended up happening is I learned to relax and enjoy myself and then I started to hear changes in the phrasing in the music differently. The owner of Al Amir, Jon told me he saw a difference in my dancing and he felt I had improved. One of the regular customers came up to me and said, “Leyla you have become Arab in your dancing.” That to me was the best compliment a dancer can be given. That was a huge compliment and testament to Ahmed’s help.

The changes that happened were gradual but they felt more natural to my body. First course of action was I layered a lot more with my drum solos and I put in more traveling steps. I would incorporate layering with shimmies along with soft moves. I think that the confidence I felt was the most impactful change because when you feel good and confident on the dance floor it shows. Today I still search for my Holy Grail of drum solo combinations. It’s a quest that will last as long as I am in this dance field. But I feel it’s important to remember those people who along your dance journey made the difference and impacted your dancing in a positive way. I thought I would share with you some text that might work for drum solos. Let me know how the text works out and if you feel like it, share your story in our belly dance chat room, “Belly Dance Talk”. I’m looking forward to hearing all about your stories and how belly dance has impacted you!! —————————————————————————————————————————————————————

Text Combination Ideas for Drum Solos and Choreography

Rt hip thrust to the side/rt hip ommi/lf hip thrust to the side/lf hip ommi/Full hip circle starting from front clockwise/Full chest circle to the rt (clockwise)/rt shoulder roll back/lf shoulder roll back

Lf hip thrust to the side/lf hip ommi/rt hip thrust to the side/rt hip ommi/Full hip circle starting from front counter clockwise/Full chest circle to the lf  (counter clockwise)/lf shoulder roll back/rt shoulder roll back

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Rt hip thrust/lf hip thrust/rt backcorner thrust/lf backcorner thrust/Full chest circle to the left (counter clockwise)/rt shoulder roll back/lf shoulder roll back

Lf hip thrust/rt hip thrust/lf backcorner thrust/rt backcorner thrust/Full chest circle to the right (clockwise)/lf shoulder roll back/rt shoulder roll back ——————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

Rt hip piston up/lf hip piston up/rt hip ommi/rt hip maya/rt hip piston down/lf hip piston down/pelvic down/up.

Lf hip piston up/rt hip piston up/lf hip ommi/lf hip maya/lf hip piston down/rt hip piston down/pelvic down/ up.

—————————————————————————————————————————————————– Right Maya Right full hip circle around (clockwise) Pin Cushion (single right hip circle around towards belly button (left) and back around to center/half of a full hip circle going forward going to left side/single left hip circle around to left side and back around to center/half of a full hip circle going from left side back around to right side and back to center).

Right backcorner thrust Left backcorner thrust Right hip thrust side Left hip thrust side Left piston down Right piston down Backward pelvic stomach roll Chest forward circle (Ferris Wheel/figure 8) Right shoulder roll Left shoulder roll

Left Maya Left full hip circle around (counter clockwise) Pin Cushion (single left hip circle around towards belly button (right) and back around to center/half of a full hip circle going forward going to right side/single right hip circle around to right side and back around to center/half of a full hip circle going from right side back around to left side and back to center).

Left backcorner thrust Right backcorner thrust Left hip thrust side Right hip thrust side Right piston down Left piston down Backward pelvic stomach roll Chest forward circle (Ferris Wheel/figure 8) Left shoulder roll Right shoulder roll          Rockin Your Drum Solo Combinations PDF Download

 

 

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About Leyla Najma
Lifelong professional Belly Dancer dedicated to providing "Belly Dance Instruction That Is Easy To Understand And Learn That Connects The Dots"

Comments

4 Responses to “Belly Dance Chat Room “Belly Dance Talk””
  1. aflynn1a says:

    Leyla,

    Good Evening! I hope you are having a wonderful weekend! Thank you so much for Belly Dance talk and Rocking your Drum Solo! I have been listening to drum music since then and dancing to it just to get a feel for it. I was able to finally pick out one song that I feel pretty comfortable with by Hossam Ramzy; Groove Sanctuary. What I like about this piece is it starts our really slow and has pauses in it so I can take my time with it. I have a basic set up moves for the beginning and I am really liking how it is coming together…..Walking forward with 3 shoulder rolls pause turn hands on hips chest lift up 2 chest circle, chest lift down 2 circle, pelvic tuck 2 pause, pelvic drop 2 pause, piston r/l small hip r, piston l/f small hip left, dble thrust right, omni dble thrust left omni, chest lift,drop, tuck drop, upper undulation, pelvic drop, tuck, chest lift, drop, pelvic roll, back thrust r/l r hip thrust half head circle, back thrust l/r half head circle…..

    About a month ago I was invited by another dancer close to our area to perform for a show and I was thrilled at the opportunity but at the same time I thought what am I going to do? I work so hard on curriculm for my students that it is hard to find time for myself so I end up sometimes throwing something together but I did not want to do that with this because she only invites the best of the best!!

    Thank you Leyla for not only your support but helping and giving me the inspiration and helping me through the many obstacles! I appreciate your wisdom and talent and sharing it with not only me but everyone else!! You have a true gift my friend!!

    Lots of Hugs and Love!

    Allison

    • Leyla Najma says:

      Allison I truly believe we are all works of art in progress and there is always new detail to reveal, sculpt or carve. Our own revelations happen because we are ready to reveal aspects of ourselves never before seen or shared.

      You are ready to reveal something new to your audience. It’s all divine timing and it all has to do with you working with yourself. When you help your students in many ways you help yourself. Congratulations on your up and coming show and do share all the details with us when you have performed your new choreography! A video would be divine!!

      Annnnddddd the chat was a lot of fun and I definitely want to do more of that with you!!

      Hugs back,

      Leyla

      • aflynn1a says:

        Leyla, I will definitely share once I get the choreograhpy put together if you would not mind I would like to send it to you for to get your feedback on it and then I will definitly share the performance! It is funny you are right when I am helping my students I am also helping myself out. Today in class for instance we were doing figure 8’s which I had planned but what I did not have planned was putting in arm movement and placement. We had our hands behind our head, up in our hair, behind us, arms overhead with our hands crossed, arms in front crossed…I just kept it moving and changing it up and I had them follow me and it was really great!! They enjoyed it and so did I we added a whole fenimine side to what we were doing!

        • Leyla Najma says:

          I would love to see your creative and inspirational choreography!!

          Arms can make our dance not only feminine but they can finish off a move by adding that exclamation point or question mark. It’s all in how we incorporate them into our dance and I think it’s fun to see where the arms can take a move or combination. Glad you all had fun!