Even for those of us who love to dance, it can be hard to train ourselves to practice daily, or even weekly. The key? Don’t wait for motivation to come to you. Demand its presence by moving, even when you just want to relax and watch TV; feel the need to dust your house; or, in some cases, curl up in a ball and cry.

belly dance, tribal belly dancer
Harness a variety of emotions for your dance.

For me, the best way to harness inspiration is to put on some of my favorite music; the genre doesn’t matter, it just has to fit my mood (happy, sad, mysterious, playful, whatever). Then, I stretch. While we all know it’s important to stretch before rehearsing, here it comes in handy as a gentle call to motivation…give yourself permission to move and see where your body takes you (click here to share this quote on Twitter). It has been said that the hips hold quite a bit of emotion; perhaps your stretching organically focuses on this part of the body. Embrace it. At some point, the movement will come from your intuition instead of your left brain, and you may find that your body will give you exactly what you need.

So, music + stretching = nirvana. Right?

Nope, not quite. Give it time. Give yourself time. Once you’ve warmed up and have dipped your toes in the water, just wade through it. For me, it takes about 30 minutes before I’m completely swimming: then I hold my breath and see how far I can go. And by rehearsing, even when I don’t necessarily feel like it, my next practice (range of motion, isolations, etc) comes that much easier. I’ve grabbed motivation by the horns and have experienced a rewarding and fruitful dance session.

It feels good. 🙂 And you know, we’re all human here. So I’ll share this with you. When I’m sad, it’s the best time to tap into my creative energy. Not only does it release any negative emotions I’m experiencing, but it’s also perhaps where some of my strongest performances stem from. Negativity is powerful. Amazing things happen when one can channel it into something positive and productive. I’m hoping that you, yes, you human…over there, can take this information put it into your own practice, if you don’t already.

Peace, love, and dance,
Cherie Dawn


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