Bellydance Cohesion is presented in two tracks: Enrichment Courses and Teacher Trainings.
The Enrichment Courses are where you learn the Bellydance Cohesion content. The Teacher Trainings are where I help teachers learn how to deliver that content to their students.
During the Stage 1 Enrichment Course, dancers learn the fundamentals of bellydance technique via ritualized cumulative practice drills and examples of stylized movements. Level-up options are available to anyone who wants to increase the difficulty of the drills. Examples of a level-up options are:
Adding a finger cymbal layer to the practice drill
Traveling with the drill
Adding a concept like turning or level changes to the drill
In addition to technique drills, we engage in improvisation exercises designed to help you develop your presence and personal expression.
Stage 1 also incorporates study of bellydance music. We learn to play Middle Eastern rhythms on the frame drum as well as how to identify instruments and classic songs.
I also give historical context to this dance form. We answer the key questions: where did bellydance come from? Who have the performers of this dance been? When have things shifted throughout the form’s development and why?
Lastly, I share my personal insights with you about why dance is a meaningful way to spend your time and energy. It’s a journey which helps us develop self-awareness, discipline, connection to other human beings, the joy of focused concentration, ego dissolution, and not least, our freedom of choice and individual expression.
During the Stage 2 Enrichment Course, dancers learn more complex and stylized movement phrases as well as combinations which are paired with finger cymbal layers. These combinations can be arranged into choreographies or placed in solo improvisation. They may also be performed in the context of a structured group improvisation.
We will also experience providing the live percussion for such performances by playing Stage 1 Middle Eastern rhythm loops on the frame drum while others dance, and vice versa.
In Stage 2, I engage dancers in a lecture-discussion on cultural appropriation and issues of authenticity.
During the Stage 3 Enrichment Course, dancers learn elaborate combinations of stylized technique paired with musically complex finger cymbal layers. Similar to the previous stages, these movements can be placed in a solo improvisation, choreography, and structured group improv. We continue to experience such performances from the position of the dancer and the accompanist.
In Stage 3, I also give a special-topics history lecture on new discoveries in the ongoing project of bellydance research.
By the of Stage 3 you will be shredding on percussion and dance technique, empowered by your awareness of how bellydance has developed through history, able to perform synchronized choreographies and improvisations with others, and familiar with how you dance when you open yourself up to your own individual expression.
Bellydance Cohesion dancer enrichment courses are for (current and aspiring) bellydancers who:
Yearn for the type of mastery over their body that methodical practice can provide.
Crave a stronger connection to the rhythms, instruments, and songs associated with bellydance.
Desire a more complete understanding of how bellydance has developed through history.
Are interested in improving their improvisation and choreography skills.
Want to attain the ability to more effortlessly play finger cymbals while dancing and like the idea of being able to provide your own accompaniment.
Might be struggling with their relationship to (or ability to communicate their thoughts about) Orientalism and cultural appropriation with respect to their bellydance practice.
Who might be dissatisfied with the limitations of and misunderstandings between the categories that have been drawn between bellydance styles (i.e. Tribal vs. Oriental) and who desire an interdisciplinary approach to this dance form which values and incorporates lessons from both of these major categories.
The Stage 1 Enrichment Course is open to anyone. Though, I do recommend taking one year of local bellydance classes or Datura Online study before attending Stage 1.
The Stage 2 Enrichment Course is open to anyone who has completed the Stage 1 Enrichment Course. The Stage 3 Enrichment Course is open to anyone who has completed the Stage 2 Enrichment Course.
Each Enrichment Course ends with an in-class Student Assessment. The purpose of the Student Assessment is for each person to track their progress and receive feedback. A participant’s performance on the assessment will not affect their ability to enroll in the next stage, as long as they have completed the entirety of the previous stage.