Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Classes with Kallisti Tribal Bellydance

My troupemate Lyra is offering tribal group improv classes in Baltimore January - March 2008. Here are the details (below). You can register for the classes at our website.

Aura Movement in Fell's Point (Baltimore, MD)
Saturdays: January 5, 2008- March 8, 2008

Improv Tribal Belly Dance is a series of moves that are woven together through hand and verbal cues. In this sense, it becomes a universal dance form wherein anyone who learns the moves and their cues can dance together in an improvisational lead and follow fashion. It's a very liberating, proud and joyful dance form that celebrates women in all of their shapes, sizes, colors and emphasizes spontaneity, interaction and a fusion of both individual and group dynamics. Class will focus on American Tribal Style moves as well as other fusion and tribal choreographies that draw from various forms of dance, including Cabaret, African, Indian, Middle Eastern and Greek. Note: This is not an ATS only class. Improv Tribal Bellydance mixes ATS movements with various Improv Tribal Combos not created by Carolena Nericcio and Fatchance Bellydance.

11am-12pm: Improv Tribal I
This class is focused towards students who are new to Improv Tribal Bellydance or need to work on solidifying the basic movements before moving on to Improv Tribal II. Class will focus on posture, basic slow and fast movements and formation. Emphasis will be placed on learning the stylistic differences that are characteristic of tribal bellydance- carriage of the body, arm movements, floreos, hip work, etc. By the end of this class, students should be comfortable following a leader in formation through these basic movements and can even try out leading themselves.

12pm-1pm: Improv Tribal II
This class is tailored for students with at least one year of Improv Tribal Bellydance instruction who are comfortable with basic posture, formation and lead/follow format. Improv Tribal II will be a more intense class in which we will be focusing on the finer technique of basic improv tribal movements, as well as the lead/follow/chorus format. Students are required to attempt to lead movements in each class, as this is an intermediate-begginer class. In order to join this class you must be proficient in the following:

-tribal posture
-tribal arm placement
-basic egyptian w/half turn
-turkish/turkish shimmy
-3/4 shimmy
-snake arms

By the end of this session, students should be able to fully understand the lead/follow/chorus dynamic, as well as have a much more solid grasp of the basic tribal movements and transitioning between them in a dance setting. This class will also focus on incorporating these movements to music and each class will end with a short free dance period.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Please come in form fitting clothes that ensure easy movement and comfort. NO COIN SCARVES OR DISTRACTING ACCESSORIES ALLOWED. Please be kind and respect the right of your fellow students to learn in non-distracting environment. Shawls and hip wraps are fine, as long as I can still easily see your muscles/hip movements.

Class Rate: $15/drop-in rate or $120/10 week session in advance.

If for any reason you are wondering which class you should take, please contact me via tribe or email me at lyra at kallistitribal DOT com and give me a resume of past classes you've taken and previous dance experience. You may also contact me at the above email to set up a private or group evaluation for class placement. Please take care to consider which class would best benefit your skill level. I reserve the right to take students who are not ready for Improv Tribal II and place them into Improv Tribal I at my own discretion.

NOTE: In order to keep classes economic for everybody, each class has a 5 student minimum that must be pre-registered two weeks before the class or classes will be cancelled. Each class will be limited to ten students maximum in order to ensure that every students gets personal attention. Please contact me at lyra AT kallistitribal DOT com for pre-registration information. If classes are cancelled, any students pre-registered for classes will receive or a full refund OR can apply their payment towards private lessons.

Thanks and I hope to see you all in class!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

It's not so simple

Lately I've been watching lots of ATS and tribal group improv videos online looking for tips on technique and moves, and I've come to a conclusion: the Basic Egyptian move is really damn hard. This was one of the first moves I learned when I joined a belly dance class almost 4 years ago, and I still don't have it down correctly.

You can see this move at around 17 seconds in this clip of Fat Chance Belly Dance. It consists of the lead right foot stepping slightly forward of the body and the foot and hips twisting, then coming back and repeating on the left side, allowing the hips to reverberate as you transfer the weight. The arms are overhead and as a foot reaches out the arms give a slight pull, opening up the line of the body on the side of the foot that is out.

When I started dancing this move felt like "step the foot and bump the hip a little and pull with the arms". My timing was horrible. Then I realized I was pulling my arms too hard, and I had to soften it a bit. Next I figured out that the hips were a twist, not a bump. Then I saw that there was the reverberation with the weight transfer. I had to make my hands smoother, less flippy. When turning in a half circle the turn should be smooth and try turning under the left arm. And my current focus is on keeping my pelvis neutral (no duck butt!) while making sure my arms are up, not drooping down, and pulled back using my shoulder blades so I don't obscure my face.

4 years! 4 years and many teachers and workshops and I'm STILL tweaking this move. I'm not perfect at everything I do but I can say my Turkish Shimmy and Arabic basic and many variations and hip bumps/choo choos are doing a lot better than my Egyptian Basic. It's a tricky move, a lot is going on, and it all needs to pull together seamlessly. Unfortunately it's also a move where each bit that's "off" is noticeable, which is why I've been working on mine so much. Actually, I've also been working on my posture around my shoulders, that back and down through the shoulder blade that keeps the arms and chest strong and lifted, that gives the openess of tribal posture. It's hard work, but I've been lucky enough to have lots of "Ah-hah!" moments lately that make the work rewarding.