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Hadia's International Belly Dance Academy archive
Tag: Belly Dance
January 13, 2015
Would you like to get Fast, Safe, and Effective Relief from Lower Back Pain?
If you think that this is a commercial for a Pain Medication or Muscle Relaxants, I have a surprise for you. This is waaay more FUN, it’s FREE and has absolutely No Nasty Side Effects to worry about! If you guessed that I am going to recommend an Oriental belly dance movement solution, Bravo! You are absolutely right.
If you are a professional dancer or teacher or just a super enthusiastic student and you dance daily, it is unlikely that you will suffer from back pain. But, if, in spite of your many hours of dance per week you still find that you have nagging lower back pain, my first recommendation is to check in and see if you are one of the many who contract your abdominal muscles to flatten out the natural curve of your lower back. Surprise! This actually creates rather than protects you from lower back pain.
Anatomy 101 time. The key concept here is that the natural forward curve of our lower back actually keeps our back healthy and happy by balancing the weight of our torso and upper body evenly between the main body of the vertebrae (see photo) and the two sliding joints at the back of the vertebrae. This avoids compression of the discs that are designed to cushion our movement between the vertebrae. If we flatten out the natural curve, this shifts all the upper body weight forward and compresses the dics, which can lead to nerve irritation, sciatica, bulging and eventually herniated discs. Believe me, you do NOT want this – OUCH!
If you already do suffer from any of the above, I highly recommend that you avoid sitting whenever possible, as this position automatically flattens out the natural Lumbar (lower back) curve and increases pressure on the discs. If you are not familiar with my technique, then my #1 easy and quick solution is to do a virtually effortless, gentle pelvic rotation (sometimes called an “Omi”) by shifting one hip to the side, a very gentle pelvic tuck front by contracting both gluts, a shift to the other side and a relaxation into the neutral position that restores your natural lumbar curve. You can actually find this movement defined in the dictionary on my website, and you can have free access to a video demonstrating the movement simply by singing up with your name and email address. If you are familiar with my technique, i.e. my Body Logic for Bellydance – soon to be renamed SavvyBodyBellydance – then I also recommend my full torso open and close undulation movements, beginning with diagonal and eventually trying the front to back version. This is actually the best, simplest and completely free self-massage EVER!!
If you have a day job which requires lengthy periods of sitting then it is important to try to take regular quick breaks and do a front to back undulation while seated in your chair. This is tricky unless you seek to touch your elbows together in front of your chest (allowing a gentle slump and rocking back onto your tail bone) then opening the elbows and chest while rocking onto the front of your sit bone (belly button forward) and repeat several time with as little effort as possible.
If you have to commute to and from work with other passengers, you can do this in your car seat when it’s not your turn to drive. If you do the driving, be sure to put a cushion or rolled up towel behind your lower back when seated to maintain your natural arch.
I hope that you found these little tricks and clarifications helpful in your dance and work day. You are also very welcome to share this info with your other dance friends.
Thanks again for your time, and feel free to comment or ask questions on Facebook and I will do my best to reply and clarify.
Until the next one… May you dancing keep you healthy, happy and young!!
January 4, 2015
>If you are like most people, it is highly likely that at least one of these common goals will be on the list:
- Get Healthier and more Active
- Have More Fun
- Tone up Your Body
- Lose Weight
- Start a new Hobby or Learn Something New
- Make and Take more Time for You
This is why joining the gym or a new exercises class are two of the top New Year’s Resolutions for so many of us. However, what most people don’t realize is that the most current research has shown that dance offers a multitude of extremely powerful benefits for our body, mind and soul! Here are the first two on the list:
1. Increased Energy
Can’t seem to find your get-up-and-go? Taking a dance class might help. Research published in The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition found that a weekly dance program could improve physical performance and increase energy levels among adults.
2. Improves Co-ordination, Posture and Balance
If you are nervous about falling as you get older, some dance lessons might help ease your worries, according to a study in the Journal of Aging and Physical Activity that showed dancing can improve balance in aging adults. Dancing requires a lot of fast movement and good posture, so frequent dancing will help you stabilize and gain better control of your body.
I Love virtually all forms of dance and have spent the past 43 years of my life studying, dancing and teaching jazz, contemporary, ballet, oriental belly dance and folklore, flamenco, Polynesian, African, Afro-Brazilian, Samba, Latin, Argentine Tango, Indian, Turkish Roman and Tap.
I have also spent the past 22 years practicing, teaching and developing Massage, Manual and Movement Therapy. This enabled me to discover the absolutely amazing secrets of our bodies and how they work, which made me realize that the Art of Oriental Belly Dance is the safest and most gentle form of dance. It is actually physically therapeutic and specifically beneficial for a woman’s body, which is not at all surprising, since it was created by and for women!!!
This has inspired me to write a new, ongoing series of articles about the multiple benefits of Oriental Belly Dance for a woman’s body. I am sure that if you are already belly dancing (like an Egyptian), having fun and loving it, wouldn’t you be doubly excited to discover that due to the gentle, unusual and multidirectional undulating movements that we do with our torsos, we can get and keep our entire spine supple, mobile and healthy. In fact our dance is the single the most effective way to prevent and avoid the #1 most common physical complaint in today’s world – nagging lower back pain!ear by Celebrating the Multitude of Wonderful Physical, Psychological, Social and Spiritual our Benefits of our Beautiful Art Form!!
January 1, 2015
Hello and I sending you a warm and fuzzy Happy Holiday and Bring in the New Year dance from my house to yours!
I have been VERY busy with my full time therapy career again and loving it, but still managed to keep my toes in the dance world with my annual Asia Tour (Japan, Thailand, Hong Kong, Indonesia and China) and a wonderful action-packed Australia tour with a stop in Japan for a very important and special wedding and pro course. I also had the delight of co-teaching again with my dear friend and Master Teacher Denise Enan, our Egyptian Canadian Folkloric Queen, in my home-town of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (now THAT is a mouthful)!!
I would like to thank you all for your patience with my repeated disappearing acts, but just in time for the New Year to begin I have some surprises and changes on the horizon. As these are busy brewing in the background I would like to reboot and continue a series of posts and discussions about the 7 Most Common Injuries of Belly Dance and how to avoid them. However, since becoming a massage therapist and discovering 1,001 fascinating well-kept secrets about our bodies, I have been singing the praises of our art form as the most powerful (and delightful) way to GET AND KEEP YOUR BODY HAPPY, HEALTHY AND YOUNG. I will send these out in my Hadia.com blog right after Christmas Day calms down. I will also post a quick version on my Hadiadances FB and invite and answer any questions and comments that you might have.
In the meantime, it is my pleasure to offer you a Special ‘Tis the Season Sale’ on all of my Ultimate Oriental Instructional DVDs. Just click here for full details, and Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all!!
December 7, 2012
“Do you want to learn another dance or do you want to learn HOW to dance?”
Music can and does exist without dance, but dance cannot exist without music. If you want to learn HOW to DANCE to Arabic Oriental music instead of being a prisoner of combinations, the best place to start is to learn about the music. The best way to start to understand the enchanted world of oriental music is to learn the rhythms.
The principal percussion instrument is called a tabla aka darabuka or derbeke. This hand drum has 2 primary sounds; a deep resonating sound known as “doum” which is made by hitting the centre of the drum, and a sharper, lighter sound called “tak” made by striking the edge of the drum. The various combinations of these two sounds create what we call the rhythms.
The sound that dancers hear most easily is the doum. And the rhythm that most dancers learn first is called Baladi aka Masmoudi Saghir (small masmoudi). Please note that some people use this term to describe the 8 count rhythm with the accents on the first 2 counts. The heavy base of these main beats and the particular order of where they are found, have a very magical effect on virtually all dancers and natives of the Middle East – We have no choice but to get up and dance, while a huge smile appears on our faces and arms move through the air above our heads. This very special rhythm is indeed the Heartbeat of Belly Dance.
Although Middle Eastern rhythms are very different in structure from Western rhythms, most of our principal dancing rhythms are in 4/4 time, which makes them easier to understand. The most commonly found 4/4 rhythm, which is considered the metronome (keeper of the time) for the majority of popular songs, is the maqsum or maksoum rhythm. However, because this rhythm is ruled by the tak, instead of the doum, it is one of the most challenging rhythms for dancers to hear and to recognize in the music. Other common rhythms are in 2/4 time, such as “Malfouf” aka “Lef” and Ayoub, or 8/4 time, such as Masmoudi Kebir or Chiftitelli, while some less common rhythms are in 6/8, or tricky, uneven counts such as 9/8, 10/8 or 12/8. For more detailed information on each of the rhythms click on the highlighted name. You can also hear what these rhythms sound like by clicking on the mp3 button after each name.
Other percussion instruments which are played together with tabla are the riq, daf, dahola, the large tabl baladi and zagat or zills. Click on the names to see what they look like.
Here are some of my favourite rhythm CDs that will help you to become familiar with and practice dancing to the most rhythms:
- Sayed Balaha “Oriental Grooves Vol 1″ and “Oriental Grooves Vol 2”
- Hossam Ramzy’s “Rhythms of the Nile”
- Samasem’s “Drum Rhythms for Oriental Dance” featuring Mohammed ‘Bibo’ Gaber
To learn more about the interconnections between rhythms, instruments and much more, I also highly recommend Dr. George Sawa’s booklet/CD combination, “EGYPTIAN MUSIC APPRECIATION”, which has 2 CDs with 65 tracks of instruction: 21 rhythms, finger cymbal patterns, drum solos; 8 “maqams” or Arabic scales; photographs, description and sound of 32 instruments; 6 musical forms.
My dear friend, Dr. Sawa, has agreed to offer us a very special Christmas Discount price of $50.00 (plus shipping) and he will include, as a gift ,“The Art of the Early Egyptian Qanun, vols. 1 and 2. These CDs are historical recordings on period instruments whose aim is to bring to life the sound of the dances of Badia Masabni, Tahiya Carioca and Samia Gamal. They also contain spiritual dances from Egypt and the 17th-century Ottoman court. All in all this deal will give you 4 CDs, a 32-page book and two CDs liner notes. For yourself of as A GREAT XMAS PRESENT!
In the USA and Canada $55.00 (includes shipping); all other areas $60 (includes shipping). Payment through paypal to firstname.lastname@example.org or a cheque or money order to George Sawa, 22 Fermanagh Ave., Toronto ON, M6R 1M2 Canada
Now all of this is very helpful information but let’s get back to your second question:
WHERE CAN I LEARN TO DANCE TO THE MUSIC?
I admit that I am biased on this point, but I highly recommend that you study my Volume 3 DVD in my Raks Sharki Series. Raks Sharki Vol. 3 Rhythms – The Heartbeat of Belly Dance. Together with my wonderful, percussionist, Pierre Khoury, I present the rhythms and dance movements one by one and step by step. Pierre begins each rhythm with what I refer to as the ‘skeleton’, or essential beats, so that you can hear and see the sounds being made. He gradually fills in the secondary beats, one piece at a time, until he is playing the complete embellished version. I join in the fun by playing finger cymbals, so that we can give you a sense of how the drum and the cymbals work together in harmony to make the rhythm even richer. Then, I demonstrate a series of very typical movements and steps and even some variations of those steps that would fit well with that particular rhythm. We work together through each of the major rhythms (and even throw in some tricky ones), in the same way so that you can practice, practice and practice my suggestions and perhaps start to explore some of your own movements to Pierre’s skillful drumming. Finally, we put everything together for a grand finale with an improvised performance; Pierre on drum and myself in full costume, dancing to a typical progression of these rhythms in the order that they might be found in an oriental belly dance composition. To make things crystal clear for you, we present only the drum and the dance so that you can clearly hear each rhythm and each rhythmical change and see the dance movements as they follow these rhythms.
Check out the video below for a quick peek at our rhythms:
If you don’t already own this DVD, now is a great time to add it to your collection by taking advantage of our “Christmas Cane” special discounted price. Click on this link to get it now. Thanks so much for joining us here and reading through this post. If you found it helpful and enjoyed reading it, please send your comments and questions and feel free to share it with your friends by clicking the ‘share’ and ‘like’ buttons as well as the social media icons below.
September 26, 2012
Today I am celebrating a beautiful warm and sunny morning, sitting on my deck, sipping my MUG of espresso and looking over the first week of autumn’s abundance from my organic garden. I am also celebrating more than 40 years of dance in my life and the beginning of my fourth year living in my little village of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. This Unesco World Heritage Site is snuggled in a cove on the wide open edge of the Atlantic Ocean and if I was to jump in a boat and sail straight south from our Harbour, I would end up in Venezuela with nothing with water in between. Now THAT would be an adventure and a half…!
There have been so many changes since my move here; learning how to garden and loving it, refocusing on my profession as a massage and manual therapist, adapting to the sloooooow and easy pace of life in Atlantic Canada and exploring all the exciting possibilities of sharing my love of dance, movement, health and fitness, with the world in new, very different and updated ways.
I will be sharing all of these developing changes with you here in my new blog. However, it will be dedicated to bringing you all kinds of helpful, informative and inspiring news about all of the 1,001 wonderful benefits, surprises and secrets you can discover within the world of Oriental “Belly” Dance and Baladi, also known as Raqs Sharqi. Here’s my list:
✓ Regain and Maintain a Happy Healthy Body
✓ Turn Artistry through Movement into Therapy
✓ Surprise Yourself by Thinking and Dancing Diagonally
✓ Can Fitness REALLY be Feminine?
✓ Kiss your Sweet Pain Goodbye!
In closing I would like to introduce a tasty concept. Our dance has often been compared to fine wine. The finest, most delicate and surprising develops its bouquet slowly and gradually over time. Then it shares its delights with the palate slowly and gradually as it seeps through the entire body taste by taste. It leaves its warmth and afterglow to be savoured. But this slow and gradual discovery doesn’t happen overnight, it doesn’t happen in a year, or in 5. It is a lifelong exploration….so let’s get going!