A Technique Game for Belly Dance Class
Here’s a game to use in your belly dance class or even by yourself as part of your practice. The goal of this game is to think analytically about the properties of movement and play with the changes. I suggest using this in an intermediate or higher level class.
Any dance movement has a set of properties, for this game we will only be using three: location, shape and plane. Let’s make sure we’re all on the same page with these…
Location – where the movement happens on the body. This could be the hips, the ribs, arms, shoulders or the whole torso.
Shape – a circle, figure 8, lift, drop, etc. (ok, these two are more lines than shapes but you get the idea)
Plane – what is the orientation of the movement in space. It could be on one of two vertical planes, a horizontal plane or even a diagonal one. For a visual explanation on this check here.
As an example, let’s think about a basic flat hip circle. Its location is the hips. Its shape is a circle and it’s on the horizontal plane.
To play, one person will start by leading a movement – let’s use that flat hip circle – and everyone will follow. The second person has to tell the group which attribute of the movement she is changing, and to what. For example, she may keep the location (hips), and the plane (horizontal) but change the shape to a hip slide to the side. The third person takes the properties of the hip slide and changes just one. As an example, she might keep the shape (hip slide) and the plane (horizontal) but change the location to the ribs. Now it’s a horizontal rib slide.
Continue around the circle, changing only one property of the movement at a time. It’s a real exercise for the brain as well as a drill for basics! I recommend not setting any counts for the next person set the change – most people don’t think well under pressure in this. Have the class keep on with the movement while the person thinks through her turn.
This works well in a practice for two, passing it back and forth, or for small or medium-sized groups. Give it a try and tell me how your class liked it in the comments below.