Friday, 21 November 2014

How to Combat the Bellydance Blues

It's gotten to that time of year, where it's dark, it's damp, it's cold, and it's miserable! (Well, here in the UK that is!) If there is going to be a period of time where you feel like hanging up your hip belts and packing away your dance paws in favour of snuggly jumpers and eating chocolate it's now!

Sometimes however, it's not just the weather and seasonal shifts that can impact our dancing.

Sometimes we just get a bout of the blues, where our choreographies seem muddled and not up to par, we perhaps lose confidence in our abilities as a dancer, and we let our inner critic come out to play and stamp all over our hard work.

I'm a sensitive person. I really care about my dancing and really invest a lot of time, and emotional effort into creating and performing. And this really does take it's toll, on not only my social life, but also, my creative life. Surprisingly, you'd think that trying to practice every day and working hard will encourage results, and yes, it does... but it can also leave you feeling frustrated, burnt out, and fed up!

I wanted to share with you my tips for coping with, and combating the bellydance blues!

  • Take a Break - This is the toughest to follow through! You may feel like perhaps sitting and taking notes in your dance class when you or your body is tired and fatigued is lazy, or that by skipping a class because you feel poorly (whether mentally or physically) is letting people down - Don't. I have pushed myself so hard before that I had to miss a workshop that I really wanted to attend because I was experiencing a really severe panic attack, that probably could have been avoided by taking a break when I needed it, and not feeling like I was "letting other people down". Sometimes it's hard to take a step back and say - "You know what? I feel really anxious, and stressed and unhappy today, and really need a break." 
  • Give yourself some "Me" time - Sometimes if we are working on other people's choreographies, or learning routines for shows, it can become really easy to lose sight of who we are as dancers. Take time out to just dance for fun, making up your own routines or improvisations that are just for you, and not for anyone else. Feed your inner creative artist and allow yourself to have a play - it's not shirking off, as you are still dancing!
  • Learn Something New - If you are feeling uninspired or feeling like you are at a loss with your dancing and not sure which way to go, learn a new skill! Whether it's a different style of dance, a new prop, learning from a new teacher, it can all help to jog your creative juices and get things flowing again. 
  • Talk to Someone - Its important to have a chat with colleagues, dance troupe members, teachers, about how you are feeling. Firstly because you realise that you are not alone as a dancer, and that other people are going through these feelings too! Secondly, if people know you are feeling down about your dancing, they will want to support you, and be ready with lots of advice, and help you to feel back on cloud nine about your belly dance abilities!
I would like to leave you with this Native American Indian Story:
An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.
“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”
The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
Final Note for the Day:
In this cold weather, make sure to take in lots of fluids and eat plenty if you are exercising! Your body is only as good as the fuel you supply it with, so over this winter, look after yourself! 

If you want to use this post in your e-zine, blog or newsletter, please go ahead! But make sure that you credit Louise Brooks -

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