Returning to the Basics: Some tips from Dayanisma

Recently we were talking about how to keep our students interested in working on the basics when they feel like it is boring. The longer you dance, the more you realize how much there is to learn, including the absolute value of returning to basics as often as possible. To help our students, we brainstormed a list of all the things that dancers can focus on when they are returning to the basics. We hope it will be helpful to you, your troupes and your students!

1.       Practice muscle engagement- which muscles should you be using?  Are you using those?  Are you dancing from your core? 

2.       Practice flocking

3.       Practice body matching- Start at head and scan down the leader’s body, how closely can you follow the leader based on your body type?

4.       Spatial Awareness in formation, on stage…

5.       Musicality and phrasing— How can you use the Lead to set up next Leader, like for a dynamic change in the music or phrase change? Are you filling the entire beat with movement? Are you transitioning moves when the music phrases transition? Are you matching your movements with the style of the music? Are you setting up next dancer to be on music phrase change?

6.       Zilling— Are your rings strong and consistent? How is your tone?

7.       Zipped ribcage

8.       Dancing within a movement family and building complexity

9.       Achieving flow when following

10.   Dance Posture

11.   Audience engagement and facial features for performance

12.   Strength of cues— How am I communicating with my body position, arms, head, gaze?

13.   Visuals and group dynamics— How am I being the dancer that sets up cool shapes or helps the other dancers match the music? Am I thinking about how our Show looks viewed from the audience? From above? Am I integrating interesting shapes and challenging the group to do so even using beginning moves?

We would love to hear your ideas? What are the things you continue working on when reviewing basic moves?

 

All About Dawn

Welcome back to Dayanisma’s 12-part blog series highlighting our 12 troupe members! We are re-introducing ourselves to tell you a little more about us as dancers and to share a little about our lives outside of dance. We would love to hear about what we have in common with YOU!

Dawn Ruckert

Favorite food:  Nachos

Favorite dance move: Arabic hip twist flourish

How long have you been dancing: 23 yrs.

What do you do when you are not dancing: I love to garden and to do puzzles.

Tell us about your family:  I have been married to my fabulous husband, Andy for 18 years.  We have two beautiful children, Ella and Aden, and we have two grandkittens, Thor and Freya.

How did you get into dance:  I started going to SCA events and saw Ghawazee (members to soon become Zafira) perform there and I fell in love with dance.

Favorite song to dance to: Anything Bee Gees

Anything else you want to share: ATS® and Dayanisma have brought me so much joy and laughter.  I have made life-long friends cherish every moment.

All About Ming

Welcome back to Dayanisma’s 12-part blog series highlighting our 12 troupe members! We are re-introducing ourselves to tell you a little more about us as dancers and to share a little about our lives outside of dance. We would love to hear about what we have in common with YOU!

Ming Jing Wu

Favorite Food: Ramen

Favorite Dance Move: It depends on the music. Basically, I love movements that can express my feeling at that moment!

How long have you been dancing? I have been dancing since 2007 and would love to dance as long as I can move.

What do you do when you are not dancing? I am a scientist who is doing crazy research in the lab and I love to sleep whenever I can.

How did you get into dance? I need a balanced life between logic/analytic and artful creation in my brain.

Favorite song to dance to? I love any music except rap.

All About Margaret

Margaret Campbell        

Favorite food: Ice cream

Favorite dance move: Ghawazee shimmy

How long have you been dancing: Since 2003.

What do you do when you are not dancing: I love to go hiking and camping with my family. I also love cooking, baking, and gardening.

Tell us about your family: I live with my husband Matt and dog Jasper. They are both wonderful.

How did you get into dance: I read an article about belly dance several years before I ever went to a class. I wasn’t a dancer, but thought it sounded interesting, so when I saw a tiny add in the Independent for a local class several years later advertising Dawn’s class, I decided to give it a try. I fell immediately in love with it.

Favorite song to dance to: I don’t have a single favorite dance song, but I love dancing to Rajasthani folk music, Beats Antique, 80s pop, 90s hip hop

All About Lisa

Welcome back to Dayanisma’s 12-part blog series highlighting our 12 troupe members! We are re-introducing ourselves to tell you a little more about us as dancers and to share a little about our lives outside of dance. We would love to hear about what we have in common with YOU!

Lisa Allred

Favorite food:  Patti’s Brownies

Favorite dance move: Arabic Double Turn… by itself, in a Sassy Switch, with a basket, in a circle, as a fade- lol, I love this move!

How long have you been dancing: Bellydancing for 14 yrs., dancing my entire life

What do you do when you are not dancing: I hang out with my daughter (when she is home from college), our snake, Biscuit, and our dog, Tawney. I also enjoy helping my partner, Alan, edit pictures (sometimes of my dance performances) and pose models (often dancers and cosplayers) during his portrait sessions. I also spend a lot of time doing the “behind the scenes” work for Dayanimsa. I love learning new skills like website development and it is even better when I can apply these new skills to promoting our troupe.

How did you get into dance:  My sister, Terri, got me started. I took classes with many local instructors in all different styles until I took a class with Dawn and realized ATS(R) fit my personality and dance style. I love the emphasis on community, communication, and teamwork.

Anything else you want to share: I have made so many friends through ATS®, here and all over the world. I love the physically challenging dance, the music, the costumes, the performances, but these connections and friendships are why dance has become a way of life for me.

All About Debbie

Welcome back to Dayanisma’s 12-part blog series highlighting our 12 troupe members! We are re-introducing ourselves to tell you a little more about us as dancers and to share a little about our lives outside of dance. We would love to hear about what we have in common with YOU!

Debbie Richardson

Favorite food:  Dawn’s Brownies

Favorite dance move: Shoulder Shimmy Hip Drop

How long have you been dancing: 10 yrs.

What do you do when you are not dancing: Hanging out with my family, church and meeting with friends.

Tell us about your family:  I’ve been married to Burt for 27 yrs. and we have 3 handsome sons.

How did you get into dance:  It started with a show called “Shimmy” back in the day. And my husband encouraged me to look for classes. When I looked for classes I found cabaret, but I quickly realized that it wasn’t for me. The next search led me to Patti Beaman. And I was hooked.

Favorite song to dance to: This is hard because there are so many good ones but...Burn it Up by Janet Jackson and Kali Sara by Josh Workman

Anything else you want to share: ATS® has given me so many dance sisters and brothers and I will always be grateful for that.

All About Susan

Welcome back to Dayanisma’s 12-part blog series highlighting our 12 troupe members! We are re-introducing ourselves to tell you a little more about us as dancers and to share a little about our lives outside of dance. We would love to hear about what we have in common with YOU!

Susan Ulrich

Favorite Food: Ben and Jerry’s Chubby Hubby ice cream

Favorite dance move: anything Turkish!

How long have you been dancing: eight years

Tell us about your family: I have two awesome kids. My daughter loves dancing with me which is one of my favorite things!

How did you get into dance: I saw belly dance with my mom at the Renaissance Festival over 16 years ago. Every year we talked about how awesome it would be if I started to learn the dance. After my mom passed away and the birth of my son, I finally decided it was time to do something for me and to honor my mom. I haven’t looked back since!

Favorite song to dance to: This can change so much depending on my mood, but I love to play around with non-traditional belly dance music for a challenge and be anything from Nine Inch Nails to being totally silly and dancing to “What does the Fox say?”

Anything else you want to share: It is such a great honor to dance with Dayanisma. Belly dancing has given me so much, confidence, joy, and a dance family that loves and supports me.

 

All About Sharon

Welcome back to Dayanisma’s 12-part blog series highlighting our 12 troupe members! We are re-introducing ourselves to tell you a little more about us as dancers and to share a little about our lives outside of dance. We would love to hear about what we have in common with YOU!

 Sharon Walker

Favorite food: To cook...Italian!!! I took a cooking class on my last trip to Italy and loved it! But I love Sushi and Mexican food as well. 

Favorite dance move: Oh boy... I have to pick just one??? I love almost all slow moves, but Strong Arm 3 is my favorite. (But for fast...Arabic Double Turn!)

How long have you been dancing: I took my first class when Dawn and Patti were teaching at the Cary YWCA. Then life got in the way, but I took it back up in 2005 and took classes when I could. A few years later, I was taking classes regularly from Dawn.

What do you do when you are not dancing: When I'm not dancing, I'm helping people start their small businesses during the day so they can be legally established here in my home state. I'm also a costumer and member of the SCA. I make belly dance wear, sci-fi costumes, renaissance faire costumes, and recreate historical garments (Ottoman textiles is my main area of study).

How did you get into dance: I saw Blue Moon Dance perform at the local Renaissance Festival. Shortly after that, I took my first class with Dawn and Patti.

Favorite song to dance to: I love a good tango!!!

Anything else you want to share: If I'm not working, dancing, or sewing, I'm at the gym or a book store. I like learning about cooking, history, and space. I love to travel and take photos (Italy and Scotland are my two favorite countries to photograph). I also love all things Marvel, Harry Potter, and STAR WARS!!! I always wanted to work in the wardrobe department for a Star Wars film. 

 

 

All About Jamie

Welcome back to Dayanisma’s 12-part blog series highlighting our 12 troupe members! We are re-introducing ourselves to tell you a little more about us as dancers and to share a little about our lives outside of dance. We would love to hear about what we have in common with YOU!

Jamie Katz Court

Favorite food: Italian

Favorite dance move: Arabic double turn (fast) or Sahra turn (slow)

How long have you been dancing: Most of my life, I've been doing one form of dance or another, from ballet and jazz to modern and west coast swing; I've been belly dancing for about 7 years

What do you do when you are not dancing: Spending time with family, working for a non-profit music organization, reading, hiking, traveling

Tell us about your family: Living in Morrisville with my amazing husband and two cats (Callie and Hermione). Between us we have extended family in Connecticut, Vermont, California (L.A. and San Francisco), Boston, and beyond. 

How did you get into dance: I got into ATS(R) bellydance thanks to a World in Motion open house, where the instructors offered short sample mini-lessons. I fell in love with the collaborative nature of this style (and it helped that classes were on Monday nights!). 

Favorite song to dance to: Too many to choose from! My favorite recently is "The Aviators" by Helen Jane Long.

All About Li

Welcome back to Dayanisma’s 12-part blog series highlighting our 12 troupe members! We are re-introducing ourselves to tell you a little more about us as dancers and to share a little about our lives outside of dance. We would love to hear about what we have in common with YOU!

Li Marcus

Favorite dance move: In ATS® currently probably Arabic Shimmy – I love its layering and am really diving deep into it right now. Outside of ATS® always and forever an anterior undulation – my favorite layering isolation and way to transition from one part of my body to another.

How long have you been dancing and how did you get into dance: I started learning bellydance in 2005 – I was taking far too many credits as well as working two part-time jobs in college and wanted to try dancing as something to keep me centered. So a friend and I tried out the class at our university rec center and I’ve been learning since!

Favorite song to dance to: So many songs! I adore “Double Doom Drum Solo” by Djinn – it spans the ooey gooey heavy masmoudi to the speedy ayoub and beyond. I also have always loved “The Fall” or “The Gathering” by Afrit Temple, “Szai Dezla” by Dikanda, and “The Aviators” by Helen Jane Long.

What do you do when you are not dancing: I teach dance classes out of World in Motion Dance, work full-time at a university, make jewelry, hang out with my partner/family/friends, and play video games when I can squeeze them in.

Favorite food: Bi Bim Bap with beef bulgogi <3

All About Karen

Welcome back to Dayanisma’s 12-part blog series highlighting our 12 troupe members! We are re-introducing ourselves to tell you a little more about us as dancers and to share a little about our lives outside of dance. We would love to hear about what we have in common with YOU!

Karen Hoover

Favorite food: Mexican

Favorite dance move: Anything slow, but I do love the taxeem

How long have you been dancing: 23 years and some change

What do you do when you are not dancing: I’m a Realtor

Tell us about your family (optional): They are a bunch of fabulous crazy people that include a very patient husband George, a 29 year old daughter Jessie and her two children Bella (9) and Finn (4), a 26 year old son Jakob, and 23 year old twins Kanaan and Kalynn.  Kalynn also has a wild child, Kennedi who is one and a half.

How did you get into dance: I saw a dance demo at my college with a friend who thought we needed to go to the class they were promoting.  I thought she was crazy (I had just had twins 6 months ago) but she talked me into it.  She lasted one class and I’ve been at it for 23 years, give or take a couple of breaks.

Favorite song to dance to: For slow, Karangailyg Kara Hovaa by Yat-Kha.  For fast, its hard to beat Bounce by Solace. 

Anything else you want to share:  If there is something out there in the world you want to try, go for it!  Don’t let your crazy mind monkey tell you what you can and can’t achieve.  He told me I’d never be able to belly dance, especially in front of people.  I’d say he was wrong 😊

All About Jennie

Welcome back to Dayanisma’s 12-part blog series highlighting our 12 troupe members! We are re-introducing ourselves to tell you a little more about us as dancers and to share a little about our lives outside of dance. We would love to hear about what we have in common with YOU!

Jennie Armstrong-Bettini

Favorite food: chocolate chip cookies

How long have you been dancing: I have been learning and dancing ATS since 2011 after a year of workshops and classes in 2003.  I have studied many styles of dance since childhood, from jazz and ballet as a youth to Brazilian, West African, and American Ballroom as an adult.

What do you do when you are not dancing: I love to spend time with my little family, make lists in my bullet journal, and squeeze in costuming & fiber arts crafts when I can.

Tell us about your family: My family includes my wonderful spousal unit, a delightful kid, an adventurous baby, and 2 snuggly and troublesome sibling cats.

How did you get into dance: I saw tribal improv at a Renn Faire in 1997 and was fascinated. Got dragged to some workshops in 2003 and fell in love with fusion bellydance and tribal improv. I got serious about learning to bellydance in 2011.

Favorite song to dance to:

“Groove is in the Heart” by Dee-lite

Anything else you want to share:  I weep happy tears watching flash mobs, especially ATS Flash Mob event videos.

All About Patti

Welcome to Dayanisma’s 12-part blog series highlighting our 12 troupe members! We are re-introducing ourselves to tell you a little more about us as dancers and to share a little about our lives outside of dance. We would love to hear about what we have in common with YOU!

Patti Beaman

Favorite food: Homemade Pasta e fagioli

Favorite dance move: Ghawazee Shimmy Combo

How long have you been dancing: 19 years

What do you do when you are not dancing: Run the World In Motion Dance Studio!

Tell us about your family: I have two amazing adult daughters, a wonderful son-in-law, a grandson who lights up my life, and the most incredible husband in the world. My daughters have both been performers, instructors, and troupe directors at World In Motion, and my husband is a self-taught musician and member of the Lost Nomads. My life would be incomplete without them.

How did you get into dance: As a fun form of exercise and to get away from my family for a bit. (I had 2 teenagers then.) Look how that turned out!

Favorite song to dance to: There are so many! I guess Super Rifle for ATS® and Boogie Wonderland by Earth, Wind & Fire for non-bellydance jams

Anything else you want to share: I have always - as long as I can remember- loved to dance. It has brought me joy, purpose, community, and fulfillment. It was one of the reasons I fell in love with my husband who also loved music and to dance. Who knew as a little girl who learned to dance by standing on her daddy’s feet or by copying her sister’s sweet moves that it would have led to all that it has!

#T4T: Practicing and Improving Technique with Dayanisma

One of of the things we love about being in Dayanisma is that all of us are committed to improving our technique, communication and stage presence. It is so much fun to dance in a group with shared values and goals! So how do we stay motivated and encouraging to each other??? At rehearsal we each identify the things we are working on and divide into groups. We have a group working on making shimmies bigger and a group working on torso flexibility (think twisty moves and Arabic), etc. Between rehearsals we message or get together to encourage each other and share tips.

It is way more fun to hear about it than read about it so check out this DAYANISMA VIDEO we made about what we are working on together!

We want to hear from you… how do you encourage each other to practice? What are you working on???

What's in a Name?

Dayanisma is a Turkish word meaning unity and our troupe feels like it both describes our dance mission and the American Tribal Style® outlook.  Our troupe, along with all ATS® dancers, are unified in dance, in community, and in our love of ATS®.  ATS® is a language and because dancers share a common vocabulary, they can dance anywhere in the world with other dancers that all know the same ATS® language. 

Our Mission Statement "through our performances we will convey our joy and love of dance in a way that is felt as well as seen"  summarizes the way we approach all of our performances.  Whether we are  combining Classic and Modern ATS®, incorporating our ATS® Dialect steps, or performing our signature basket improv, Dayanisma strives to delight and unite audiences in the shared experience of dance.

We would love to hear what your troupe name is, what it means in translation, and what it means to your troupe members!

Skirt Tucking for ATS®

Feeling bored with the same old tuck?
Want to add some excitement to your tucking?
Just feel like you would be happier if your tucking was better?
WE hear you!  Dayanisma member, Sharon Walker (or as we like to refer to her "The Queen of Tucking") has some tips for you!

When tucking a skirt, the first rule is to decide ahead of time where your accessories are going to go for the best visual effect. Accessories include kutchi belts, hip scarves, tassel belts, saye goshes- whatever you love to wear around your hips to sparkle and shine onstage!

For the Corkscrew Tuck, arrange your accessories so that they accent the back of your left hip and the front of your right hip so that the tucks will be on opposite sides (front to back and vice-versa) of your accessories.

Once your accessories are in place, start tucking at the front of your left hip by lifting the skirt at the second tier from the bottom on the right side and pulling it up at a 45 degree angle. Don’t pull from the front of the right leg or directly from the side, and be careful not to start at the very bottom tier of the skirt otherwise you can lose the lovely effect of having that tier showing while dancing.

Next, hold the top of the tier that you have picked up from the right side and use your fingers as a guide to pleat the skirt. When wearing two skirts, you can pick both skirts at the same time and pull the bottom layer out a bit so that it can show when tucked.  In using this method, you will usually have 4 or 5 pleats to tuck which will give a truly dramatic effect to your tuck.

Once the pleats are ready, pull the skirt flat across the front of your waist then fold the pleats in half (from top to bottom) so that the tuck is less bulky. To keep the skirts from drooping too much in front, you can safety pin the skirts to your belts, etc. to keep the tiers smooth. Just be sure to do this carefully so that you don’t rip a hole in your skirts!

Then repeat the same steps on the right side by pulling the skirt from the back of the left leg and bringing it up to the right, ending by tucking just behind your right hip.

This type of fold gives a lovely flourish at the hips when spinning, and is less bulky and more comfortable all around.

Practice this technique ahead of your performance a few times and you, too, can be a pro at tucking fabulous looking skirts!

To see a Facebook Live skirt tucking demo by Sharon:

Demo 1
Demo 2

And of course, the queen of skirt tucking herself, Kae Montgomery in her video “Go Tuck Yourself.”

Eating for Dance Class and Performance

Eating for Dance Class and Performance

If your energy is flagging by the end of class, you’re feeling more than a little jittery before a performance or you feel really wiped out the day after you’ve danced hard, you may want to take a look at what you are eating. Your diet directly affects not only your mood and health, but also your performance, attention span, and stamina. With wonderful weekend-long events such as ATS® ATTACKS (proudly sponsored by Dawn Ruckert and Dayanisma) coming up the weekend of August 9-11, 2019, eating well is especially critical for keeping your strength and focus and getting the most out of this phenomenal experience.

Here is a list of foods to include in your diet as well as ones to avoid. Follow these guidelines and you will be on the road to better dancing and better health as well!

  • Complex carbs are your friends! Pairing them with high quality protein sources will keep your body functioning at an optimal level and will help your muscles recover   quickly. Good choices include brown rice,  grilled salmon, carrot sticks, grapes, red peppers, bananas, peanut butter, whole grain crackers or pretzels, trail mix, and yogurt

  • Stay hydrated!!! Water is always best, but smoothies, Gatorade, and even applesauce are great. Your muscles will thank you as keeping up your water intake will help keep them pliable and ready to go

  • Avoid caffeine, soda, sugary food &drinks, and alcohol. (I know this is a tough one for a lot of us!) Caffeine can make you jittery and may amp up performance anxiety (which none of us needs boosted!) Soda can make you bloated, and sugary foods or drinks often lead to a crash in your energy levels 15 minutes after they’re consumed. And while having a drink to “take the edge off” may seem like a good idea, in reality, alcohol is a depressant, and both it and caffeine can make you more dehydrated

  • Avoid processed foods/fried foods/fast foods. They tend to be high in sodium and  may make you feel bloated, heavy, and lethargic. You may also want to avoid milk products and sorbitol as they can lead to increased gas and bloating

  • Eat several small meals the day of a performance. Don’t skip meals no matter how busy or nervous you are. Wise choices if you don’t feel like eating a lot include edamame, hummus, nuts, bananas, avocado toast – even a little bit of dark chocolate (which contains magnesium -great for your muscles!)

  • If you eat a sports or energy bar, avoid ones that are highly processed or loaded with sugar. Check nutrition labels and opt for ones that contain more natural ingredients and fewer fillers

  • Try to eat a dose of complex carbs and protein within 40 minutes after your performance or an especially rigorous dance class to help your muscles recover quickly and prevent soreness the next day. Be sure to include at least one food that is high in potassium (raisins, potatoes, bananas, tomato products, cooked spinach, yogurt are all good choices) as it is helpful in reducing anxiety and stress, as well as enhancing muscle strength, metabolism, water balance, electrolytic functions, and the nervous system

Have fun choosing foods that please your palate and drive your dance. And be sure to let us know if you have any particular tips on how you eat to be your best belly dance self!

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