It may sound funny to practice for improvisation, but even improvisational comedians and actors hone their craft through practice. Preparing for a free form dance performance allows the dancer to become more familiar with her music as well as giving her the opportunity to play around with variations of core belly dance moves. Some sections of the dance may become loosely choreographed but rehearsing the dance shouldn’t become stiff.
The Right Brain Belly Dancer
The two halves of the brain each have a dominant thinking style. The right brain dancer prefers free form dance and the opportunity to play with the music as opposed to choreographing a piece where each move must be strictly timed to the music.
The first part to rehearsing an improvisational piece is selecting a piece of music. It isn’t necessary to use this as the sole piece of music in the dancer’s rehearsal. A dancer may prefer to dance to numerous other pieces by the same musician so they learn the musician’s style without overworking a single song. With enough notice, a dancer may choose to dancer through her piece of music once a day for a couple of weeks, giving her the chance to practice without losing her spontaneity.
Bellydance Music and Practice
With hope, a belly dancer has a personalized practice routine that allows her to exercise her body and her familiarity with the dance moves and their variations. Drilling moves in private so muscle memory can take over in performance is essential to the ability to perform improvisational pieces.
To rehearse for an upcoming show, determine if a prop, such as veil, sword, veil fans, wings of Isis, etc. will be used. A prop can always be added later when a dancer realizes that the prop will accent her movements. In the performance, does the dancer wish to tell a story or convey a particular emotion? What will make audience members pay attention to the dancer? Answering these questions can help the dancer to select a piece of music in line with the mood she wants for the performance.
Rehearsing without a Belly Dance Choreography
To rehearse for a piece without choreographing it, run through the piece in a variety of different ways. This will also keep the feel of the piece fresh.
Dance to the song only using hip moves. Keep arms at the sides and feet still. Discover what the hips have to say about the music.
Dance to the song only using rib cage moves. Try to keep arms and shoulders still. Incorporate belly moves in with the rib cage moves or try dancing the entire song with the belly.
Dance to the song using only the arms and shoulders.
Dance to the song emphasizing the hands. It’s okay to move the arms while practicing dancing with the hands.
Dance to the song emphasizing footwork. This can include traveling steps, spins, and pivots.
Dance to the song with all the focus on manipulating a prop. For the dancer who has a variety of props available to her, run through the song with a different piece each time. It may have not occurred to the dancer that the music demands a feathered fan.
Finally, dance to the music incorporating all the body parts (and the prop, if one will be used).
By practicing for an improvisational dance, a performer pushes herself to discover the variety of moves she can feature in her presentation of her dance. Focusing on different body parts and even different pieces of music by the same musician allows the dancer to create a routine that comes off as both fresh and practiced.