Tips for Getting Out of your Belly Dance Rut
Just like everyday life, belly dance can become stale and dull. The magic goes away and you don't feel the same way you did when you started. You are not alone. All dancers from the beginner to the most experienced lose their mojo.
1. Revisit old videos and photos.
Either purely for nostalgia or to see how far you've come, revisiting old videos and photos can help pull you out of a rut. Personally, getting to see my improvement over the years reminds me that I am actually progressing. Just like weight loss, motivation can be hard when you're not seeing results immediately. Constantly checking yourself in the mirror, measuring yourself, stepping on the scale at least daily; progress just doesn't work like that. It takes time, practice, and perseverance. Progress is slow but it's still progress. Remind yourself where you started.
2. Take a beginners class or a class outside of your skill set.
You are never too good or advanced for a beginners class. Reviewing the basics and starting from scratch can refresh your love for the dance. Join in on another dancers class or even a different beginning belly dance class. For example, if you are a cabaret-style dancer, go check out an ATS class. If that's not interesting or not available try another dance style completely! I've been taking hip hop classes and it's been incredible. It's re-invigorated me and forced me to think about dance in a completely different way.
3. Be an audience member.
Inspiration comes from all over. Watching dance is a great way to get inspiration and ideas! Attend as many shows as you can, featuring dancers of all levels and types. Explore new shows and make an effort to attend events that are out of your regular "go tos".
4. Get off of social media.
Social media affects how we perceive ourselves because of the pinhole view we get of others lives. You might follow and idolize other dancers online, which is fine, but sometimes it can affect how you dance and view your self-worth. Remember that just like you would, these dancers are showing only the best versions of themselves. Their 30-second video or posts are not a full scope view of their career. Keep this grain of salt in mind when comparing yourself to others. View these dancers you idolize as inspiration and positive influences but not as people who are better or more worthy than you. Your art and voice are just as important.
Social media can also be a place of judgment and finger pointing with an originally good intent. When online, we are not always granted the ability to hear the tone and have a true face to face conversation. This leads to heated discussions and usually ends negatively with no real progress being made. Getting sucked into to these conversations turn quickly from positivity to name calling. Take a deep breathe and remove yourself from those dance discussions for a while to focus truly on what's important; your dance education, learning about the culture, and your growth.
5. Check out another dance scene.
Get out of town! Sometimes after seeing the same people over and over again, it can get tiresome. Explore what other dance communities have to offer. Visit a halfa, attend a show, take a workshop, or even go to a festival! Be open to new things and people and get refreshed with new and exciting ideas.
6. Take a break.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking time for yourself and your well being. Taking a break does not mean the world will come to an end or your dance career is over. Take as little or as much time as you need. Come back when you feel ready.
Kat teaches, dances, and produces shows in Tacoma, Washington. You can find out more about her belly dance classes, belly dance performances, and belly dance shows at www.tacomabellydance.com