Performing arts are limitless. Once you dive into performing, you discover that there a million things to try, to learn, to fail at, and just a few to master. Since taking my first belly dance lessons at the beloved Center for World Rhythms and Movement (may it rest in peace), my eyes have been opened to poi spinning, hula hooping, fire eating, hand drumming, playing zils, and working with dance props such as the veil, Thai nails and more. (Yes, more!)

All of this promotes beauty, to be had and shared; this is why I love it. But how do I manage to practice it all? It’s easy breezy, and there are two ways.

ways to make dance practice fun and productive
“I usually try to set a goal for each week,” says Laura of Dante’s Gypsy Circus. “Whether it be to practice for 30 minutes to an hour, 3-5 times a week, or even just 10 minutes a day. However, I find that spontaneity also plays a role…When the spirit moves me, there ain’t no turnin’ back! ๐Ÿ™‚ Sometimes I’m even guilty of practicing any variation of belly rolls, or my attempts at flutters, umi’s, chest rotations, etc. while standing in place for any elongated period of time, or in the car, and so on!” Photo courtesy of Luxkala Photography

Ways to Make Dance Practice Fun and Productive

1. Some nights you may have only 10 minutes to practice. Literally…either you’re very tired, or simply do not have more than this to yourself. So take that 10 minutes of time, shut your door, and do the basics: yoga, to bring calmness and maintain flexibility; or isolation drills, which also clear ones mind with focus.

2. When you have a larger chunk of time, say 45 minutes to an hour, choose one of your favorite CDs and pop it in; any genre of music works, as long as it’s somewhat upbeat. Decide on several different things you’d like to work on, and begin. At each new song, switch to a new practice. On the day I wrote this, mine went something like this:

  • yoga (Salute to the Sun) and various stretches, including sit-ups
  • juggling; basics, since I’m pretty new to this
  • poi spinning; new tricks
  • jumping on my mini-trampoline (for cardio and because it’s just silly fun)
  • hula hooping tricks
  • shimmy drills
  • more stretching, including balance poses and core strengthening

By the time your CD is finished, you’ve had a complete rehearsal session. Of course, you’ll want to also dedicate larger chunks of time (such as in a weekly studio class) to really focus on specific movements, but this method breaks it up and gives your mind (and body) a break for daily practice.

Another option you have is to use your computer or MP3 player to create a playlist that fits the amount of time you want to dedicate to your practice session. Again, choose any type of music; my playlist is called “I’m a dork, I know” because it includes everything from 90’s rap to more current tunes at which my ever-supportive hubby just shakes his head. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Also, remember to set goals for yourself as you go on your creative journey. Now, get off the computer and go play!

Cherie Dawn


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