When the Choreographer is Born

leyla najmas belly dance blog - when the choreographer is born

The individual choreographer goes through so much in order to dance her inspiration; it’s almost a daily ritual of trial and error that places her into the realm of the artiste. The first telltale signs that a choreographer is born is when he or she braves the stage performance after performance, knowing that it’s only for a few brief moments each time. It’s not the end result of the applause so much as it is the freedom to express an individual inspiration from beginning to end…their way.

Sometimes I listen to a song over and over again and wait for it to give me subliminal images and ideas for various combinations and hip movements. I have always felt music must be heard in a way that allows it to whisper directly into the ear of the artiste. Combinations and hip articulation work together but to me, they aren’t necessarily one and the same. Layering for example isn’t always brought in on accents because sometimes the melody can call for movement that is the visual beacon that becomes familiar to the audience because it’s repeated. Since the melody can be the poetic expressive part of the music, it’s not always about traveling or hip work. So in order to understand music, I think we have to understand the culture that it comes from.

So when I put together combinations especially for my students, I try to put together different ideas that call to them and inspires them to change them up, their way. The choreographer is born not so much from dancing to someone else’s choreography but from understanding how to feel movement to music in the way they hear it. The hard part for beginners to beginner/intermediates is having the courage to create an individually inspired dance that tells the world how they hear the music. I remember my first choreographed dance emotionally was between a victorious triumph and a horrific nightmare. It was the first time I was responsible for what I performed and if it didn’t pan out or if the audience showed disappointment there was no teacher to hide behind, it was all mine.

The naked feeling on stage is the hardest part to get used to because in the end it’s really about how your body moves to music; it’s your interpretation of how the music inspires you. This is the part of choreography that isn’t easy to discuss because it has to be experienced first hand to understand it. I have told my students the various emotions they might feel with their first debut performance but nothing I ever say compares to what they tell me afterwards. I have found this is because they experience life through their own understanding of fear, elation and for each one; there can be a million meanings to life. The completion and success of dreams that come true, always shows in their eyes but it’s their story of how it all happened. This to me is the reward for being a teacher and the reason for teaching.

So with the joy of remembering my student’s who became choreographers born and dancers in their own right and in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’m going to share a combination with all of you. Take it and mix it up to your hearts delight and enjoy.

 Thanksgiving Combo:

Right Hip Maya/Backward Stomach Roll/Left Hip Side Thrust/Right Hip Side Thrust/Right Side Forward-Side-Back/3 Step Turn/Right Hip Down-Up-Out/Left Side Thrust/Right Side Thrust

Left Hip Maya/Backward Stomach Roll/Right Hip Side Thrust/ Left Hip Side Thrust/Left Side Forward-Side-Back/3 Step Turn/Left Hip Down-Up-Out/Right Side Thrust/Left Side Thrust


Photo by the Amazing Vivien Skrupskis


Remember that the Divine Unrest is almost available for the Holidays so don’t forget to contact Daniel at [email protected] or me at [email protected] for more information.  

Free Belly Dance Choreography Video


PS: You can find a free 25 minute choreography belly dance video and wake up your inner choreographer