Dear Improvisation, I Will Defeat You. (Pt. 2)

I apologize for the infrequency of my posts lately.  Between the end of school (and the endless papers that come with it), starting a new job, and OM Meditation Teacher Training (post about that to follow), things have been a little crazy around here.  Here’s a brief update on my dance life.

Lastlastlast weekend, I won 3rd place in the Professional category of the East Regional Bellydance Championship!  Although there were problems with the organization of this Championship from registration onwards, I still enjoyed myself and met some amazing people.  My partner in crime, Dolunay, won 1st place and People’s Choice so we had matching Aladdin’s lamp-shaped trophies in the car on the way home.  Neither of us had competed in years and had similar doubts about reentering the competition world.  Luckily, we were both pleasantly surprised by the genuine openness of many of our fellow competitors.  The bellydance world really is the warmest community around!  This week, I performed at Rakkasah’s Spring Caravan.  I’ll be posting a full tale about my first East Coast bellydance festival (hopefully with a YouTube video of my Gypsy Jazz performance) by Thursday.  Promise! So stay tuned!

But anyways, on to the topic of this post: improvisation!  After my previous post in which I bemoaned the woes and travails of improvisation, I thought it only fair that I share the results of my all ideas and theories about how to improve my practice.  Here’s a little snippet of my performance at the Grisly Pear in April:

All in all, I have to say that the evening was a huge success, and I really had the time of my life.  I was incredibly nervous leading up to my performance, but mainly because I was setting unrealistic expectations for myself.  While aspiring to be a great artist and dancer is awesome in terms of motivation, it can also be very harmful to your self esteem when all that intensity turns inward.  I constantly have to remind myself that I’ve only been bellydancing for a year and a half, and I am what I am on this journey.  I’m not going to be Rachel Brice tomorrow so I might as well just put my best foot forward and relax.  It sounds simple but I have to constantly remind myself to stay encouraged rather than discouraged.  Dolunay, Alura, Leni, Scott, and the band were incredibly supportive before, during, and after my performance.  The audience was small, but incredibly warm and joyful.  I didn’t feel judged while dancing.  The audience simply celebrated my dancing for what it was, not what it should be.  I was able to walk away feeling encouraged and ready to rededicate myself to my dance practice.  A little success can go a long way towards refueling your engines.

So I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: Go to the Grisly Pear!  Not only does it support established dancers, but it creates transformative experiences even for little goobers like me.



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