It’s the time of the year when everything get’s super busy and when I sometimes wonder if it wouldn’t be better to slow down a bit. Is whatever I am doing making me happy? Is it worth the effort of going out into the cold, dark night from a warm and cozy home? I mellow bit as I get older and I am very content spending evenings at home huddled under a fleece blanket with a cup of tea and a movie. I also appreciate and love doing what I do and it get’s easier to say ‘no’ to the things that cost me too much energy.
As every dancer that I know at some point thought about quitting, I compiled a list of ten things that I do to renew my love for belly dance and keep me going. Feel free to try these, elaborate or change them according to what works for you. Falling right back in love with belly dance is one of the best gifts I can get for myself!
- Just say no to whatever is taking up too much energy
I love to dance. I love to teach. I love to perform. But when I am short on time, some of the these things give me more energy with a little bit of effort while others require a lot of preparation for a relative small reward. I tuned down my participation in one of my troupes, saving me a couple of hours every month. It sure hurts a bit when I hear of the exciting plans and projects that they are working on, but then I remind myself of the plans and projects I get to do for myself and I am good. As dancers we are used to doing everything, but not doing activity X, Y or Z doesn’t make you less of a dancer.
2. Dance ten minutes every day
Moving, dancing, feeling at home in my body, these are the things that drew me to belly dance in the first place. Even if I can’t schedule regular practice sessions, dancing ten minutes every day is an attainable goal and it is a lot of fun. I am dancing around the living room to Christmas songs with my little girl right now and loving it.
3. Attend an event without participating
Usually I am performing, my students are performing or I am helping out back-stage. But it is refreshing to go to an event, buy a ticket, lean back and enjoy the show.
4. Create your own practice space
Or, if you already have a dedicated practice space, clean up and declutter. Creating a real space where I can practice, stretch, and focus helps me to reset my mind and think about dance as an activity of contemplation and serenity.
5.Get rid of costumes that don’t work
It could be the a costume that I am hanging on to for sentimental value, but never wear. Or costumes that haven’t fit me in years, hiding in the back of my closet. In the end, my costumes should fit me, flatter me and make me happy. They should spark joy! I try to sell my costumes first, and if they don’t move I try to find a happy new owner among my friends, sometimes trading costumes so we both have something new to wear.
6. Go back to the basic moves
Imagine being a beginner again, being excited about a well executed hip drop or figuring out different directions for figure eights. I sometimes make things far more complicated then they need to be. Going back to the basic moves and playing around always brings a smile to my face.
7. Count the numbers
Every now and then I sit down and do a quick tally of what I have accomplished in the last year, and the last decade. I have created over fifty choreographies, taught over six hundred students, performed over two hundred times. Seeing these numbers make me grateful that I have done all these things and determined to add some more for the fun of it.
8. Set some SMART dance goals
When life is overwhelming, picking a couple of SMART goals that can be attained in a couple of weeks or months always cheer me up. I’m doing a very exciting project with several dancers from all over the world right now that gives me tons of energy and ideas.
9. Find some friends to dance with
Being a professional belly dancer can get a bit lonely. As the owner of my own company, most of my activities are done solo. Administration, taxes, promotion, creating lesson plans, working on choreography and practice… it has to be done, but being on my own it kind of sucks the energy out of me. Going out with my dance friends, visiting for a cup of tea or even talking on the phone helps me to get some feedback and perspective.
10. Write down what I love about belly dance
I sit down and start writing. All the things I like about belly dance, the things that made me fall in love. The day that I come up blank is the day that I stop dancing. But looking at all the reasons why I dance, that might take another decade!
I am a professional bellydancer and costume-a-holic living in the Netherlands. My biggest passion is teaching and performing bellydance and I intent to continue for quite some time! If you enjoyed this post and like to be kept in the loop, please like Kyria Bellydance on Facebook or follow me on Twitter. Leave your questions or comments in the box below, or let me know through Facebook.