My dance roots

My dance roots are the Western basics-- ballet, jazz, modern. I think that because I studied them from a young age, they'll contextualize any dance I ever study for the rest of my life, amen. But I am rusty. Ballet, in particular is not like riding a bike. You forget. So when I got this big idea of being a dancer in any real sense, I realized I needed to go back to basics hardcore.

So I got a modern teacher, and now I have started ballet again with her too. I love being pleasantly sore the day after class in some non belly dance places. The main differences between my ballet posture and my belly dance posture are less significant than I thought. My knees are straighter in ballet, and my glutes are always engaged. The lower abs/pelvic floor have basically the same amount of tension in the basic posture of each, and I tend to belly dance with my (minimal) turn out anyway, so it's a good practice for me.

Ballet also reminds me to point my effing feet. Which is good because there's nothing more hideous than doing a really smooth snaky traveling move and seeing this awful flexed foot sticking out like an antler on the bottom of your leg. It is not good.

I think dancers also tend to have a certain carriage (long spine, long neck lifted chin, low shoulders, lovely walk) that ballet brings out in me well. Carrying yourself better can only ever be a good thing.

As for modern, I find my belly dance has more in common with it than anything else. When I improv, there's a lot of it happening in there. And now that belly dance has become my dominant movement vocabulary, I'm more comfortable letting it out a bit. So taking modern is exceptionally good because it refines a pool of ideas that I know I want to be drawing from.

Where I'm really going with this though, is that to me, fusion means I need to know more than one type of dance inside out. I've read so many people (belly dancers) write things like "oh maybe they do tribal fusion because they can't do real belly dancing" but to me, fusion presents a very unique challenge in the sense that to properly design and perform choreography, you need to be intimately familiar with the vocabulary and technique of (at least) two disparate dance forms. Not only do you mix them, but you have to make it look good, seamless and natural. It's a tall order. And I feel less confident in my ability to do that than ever, having gone back to basics. But that's what I needed.


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