Friday, December 4, 2009

Reflection and Goal Setting

I have been thinking quite a lot about my dance lately and about how I want to grow as a dancer. I haven't seen a lot of workshops come through my area lately and while I love teaching my students, I miss having a teacher of my own. When time and resources allow, I travel an hour to Denver to study with Eva Cernik. Her 7 week class on zils was a major challenge for me. I have a few goals that I can work on in the immediate future but that will likely be areas for growth for many years.
I stink at zils. Or at least, I think I do. I must find a practice routine that works for me and USE IT! I owe it to myself, to my audience, to the art and most of all to my students! So far they aren't good enough with them to have exceeded my ability to teach but that day will come and I feel it's my job to grow as a dancer so that they have more to continue learning from me. Part of my reluctance is that I don't like the sound... it hurts my ears *whine* If I ever find a pair of zils that have a low sound perhaps I will fall in love :)
I want to deepen the emotive quality of my dance. I'm already a fairly emotive dancer as far as it goes but I'm so used to dancing to live instrumental music that I haven't pushed myself to research song lyrics so that I could bring that new layer of understanding to my dance. I have begun looking up lyrics for my restaurant sets. We will see where it takes me...
My ability to choreograph and not just improvise... Well, I've made some strides there too but I must push myself further. I have found Garage Band to be remarkably helpful in noting the phrases within the music. I can also record additional tracks for counting and calling cues which makes for an excellent learning tool. Recently I have also rediscovered how much easier it is for me to build a choreography when I have a partner to help me visualize and bounce ideas. My near goal is to finish the veil poi choreography I started. Then perhaps at least one other new piece for our proposed student show in June 2010.
It's not all weakness and faltering. I am grateful for the strengths that I have already developed. My students have access to pretty extensive costuming and construction and I'm pretty good at organizing. We've got a Yoga for Belly Dancers workshop lined up for mid-January and a whole list of interesting workshop topics like bead embroidery, silk veil dyeing and others for skirts, harem pants and arm ornamentation.


  1. For the record, I used to have an unhealthy fear of zills. My first teacher was a 6-month wonder...which I didn't know then. She couldn"t count rhythms or zill to save her life and let that be known to us, making us feel like zills must be really hard.

    I first wore zills and performed them when a friend asked if we could for a final number...not wanting to let her down I did.

    When I started dancing every week at the same restaurant a few years ago I knew I had no recourse but to strap them on and go for it. I used mini-zills (in keeping with the restaurant size and my fear of suckage) and just plugged along with it every week.

    I have a variety of zills and I go back and forth on which ones I love. I am once more in love with my Saroyan Arabesques in German Silver.

    For speed using mufflers while you walk and listen to things on your ipod does muffled drilling...but eventually you need to take the mufflers off to practice tones.

    I do like Artemis's Cymbals Speak cd, Tobias Robeson's dvd..there is the perenial favorite Jameila Salimpour cd (although I wish the patterns played for longer....)

    Killer Ziller's drills aren't bad and can be done with your brain slightly shut off with the dvd on Mesmera's video has a few drill ideas and some good examples of how one can mix-up tonal variations.

    Not a big Ansuya zill-dvd fan.

    Just start by tacking on zills while you drill any other movement in practice.

  2. a double check shows me early on that I splurged, my beloved are Arabesque II in german silver.

  3. Thank you for the recommendations :) I have two sets of Saroyan zils but can't remember which ones :P I met him a few years ago at some workshops in Vegas. Harry Saroyan is such a sweetie! I will add some of your suggestions to my wish list. I may also schedule some private drumming lessons with Lawrence Osborn of Kara Nomadica (local ME fusion band). Perhaps expanding my drumming capabilities will help me zil...


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