A Belly Dance Prompt For Practice & Choreo Ideas

Sometimes you just need an idea. Whether it’s something fresh to motivate you for a personal practice session, planning a class or something to spark a solution for a section of choreography. Those are good times to think out of the box. Having a few prompts on hand can help you get started. Let’s look at one and some ways you can use it.

Prompt: Choose a shape and see how many ways you can express it.

We could go with something easy like a circle or an infinity shape, but let’s reach a little further and use a triangle as our example. That’s not a standard shape in our movement vocabulary like a hip circle or figure 8 so that should push us into some new ways to use what we know. That’s exactly what a good prompt does!

How can you create triangle-shaped movement on different body parts?

  • Use rib slides, lifts and drops to draw triangles with your chest. Try pointing the triangle both up and down. Try alternating them for an upper body drill.
  • Create a triangle on the front of your hips using low, wide hip slides and a high centered pelvic tuck
  • Use an unweighted front hip twist, back hip twist and a high hip up to draw a triangle on one side.
  • Working with your hips as the wide base and your ribs at the top, expand your triangle to upper and lower body. Try a shimmying hip slide with a rib pop when you pass through center!

How can you move in a triangular path in your space? And when would that work well?

Consider your space with the point of the triangle at center stage and the wide base along the downstage edge. By traveling from center to a downstage corner and across, then back upstage to center you can make a strong travelling entrance path. By travelling downstage and across, you welcome and acknowledge your audience then plant yourself back at the power position of your stage. Many magence-style compositions start out with just that – a travelling entrance that transitions into the “let’s get to the serious dancing” part!

Ok, now that we’ve thought about when that could be useful, let’s thing about how to approach it. Brainstorm through your travelling step vocabulary and look for interesting ways to mark the corners and make transitions to the next angle of the path. Those transitions can be smooth like a spin that slides right into the next travelling section, or dynamic with sharp contrast. Your music will tell you which one you need.

In a less literal sense, how about a triangle of size, energy or intensity?

Consider two triangles – one pointing up and one pointing down. Let’s interpret that as an increasing and decreasing factor.

  • Choose a movement (any one – it doesn’t have to be triangle shaped here!) and take it from the smallest your can make it to the largest form you can do. Go from the tiniest shoulder roll to big rippling snake arms as an example.
  • Play with increasing the energy level. Start with your biggest, most energetic shimmy then gradually dial it down to barely there, then crank it back up!
  • Try barely travelling with a tiny bourree step and increasing the amount of ground you cover by moving on to a grapevine and then really whipping though your space with a series of travelling turns (if you’ve got the room!).

These are certainly just a few of the ways you could use the prompt of a triangle. What ideas come to your mind?

For lots more practice ideas and short tutorial videos, be sure you’re subscribed to The Bellydance Quickies email!

Share your ideas in the comments below….


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