I'm really glad to be able to
generate hits from help people who are looking for specific moves and steps, like the Chico Four Corners pass, for example. I hope I did help you, whoever you are! Probably next time you can leave some comments?
Okay, now on to the notes from Thursday night class with Ms. Stefanie Kelly:
- Spins: When doing them, always make sure that you open your feet as wide as your shoulders. This might not be automatic at first, but it comes with practice. Ms. Kelly gave a cool analogy: the Nutcracker doll! Feet planted firmly shoulder-width apart, arms and elbows are gracefully up, not droopy. Hmm... So I took one minute to look for a picture of the doll and wasted ten minutes to drool over ballet guys in tights. Here. You're welcome. Here's uh... Some more... If you're into that sort of thing.
- Spins: Remember the Phone Booth / Pizza Box (PB) concept? Well, Spins is one of those things that will greatly improve with the help of PB. The head faces the right corner of the PB to spot. This way, the whole body opens up and not closes up, therefore providing an excellent Kodak moment.
- Spins: Another thing to remember (and to help angling the body) is to make sure the outer side of your right foot faces the right corner (see the picture I made. Haha, sorry for the quirky-looking toes and footprints, but you get the idea. The red square is the PB outline).
- Spins: in addition to not setting your feet too wide apart, watching the body alignment will also help balancing your spins. Make sure you have a straight angle from the top of your head to your feet.
- Performance Drills: Ms. Kelly reminded us about checking in by turning whenever we assume the lead position (this works for both one-side and multiside gigs, although assuming the leadership can be trickier during multisided performances). However, if you happen to screw-up, keep smiling! Don't change your facial expression, don't mouth or drop the F-bomb, keep your cool and do a smooth transition. It happens, and if it does, then let it slide off. There's no disappointment with yourself or other dance members.
- Shimmies: make sure to bend your knees to create larger shimmies and more upper-body stability (therefore, your upper body won't jiggle along with the hip shimmy). Ms. Kelly showed us a really neat thing: she did the Turkish Shimmy with Arms and Turns WITH the Turkish Shimmy, meaning she didn't lose the shimmy even while turning. That's my goal. I mean, seriously? Sometimes I just get too caught up in the turn itself that I lose my shimmy.
The following Thursday, we had a class with Ms. Elliott and I was late. Of course. I missed the bus and I ended up missing the BART ride, and so I came to the studio about ten minutes later. The disadvantages about coming late to a dance class are not getting a good spot (I can be very nit-picky about positioning myself on the back right of the teacher, because it's the follower position) and not being able to mingle and chat with the other dancers before class.
In the class, she also taught us the regular Oriental Shimmy (not the Tribal Shimmy where it's actually the Three Quarter Oriental Shimmy). She likened it to the unhinging of the hips, so the hips go up and down and up and down in a rhythmical way. I find that by bending the knees lower, I can get bigger up and down range of motion.
She also drilled us on milking the movements. She said that it was impossible for a Slow Move to be too slow, but it was possible for a Slow Move to be too fast. Then she reminded us about the Arm Undulation while circling. Sometimes we get too carried away with trying to get from Point A to Point B that our feet star to move fast and our Arm Undulation automatically follows. We need to remember to isolate our arm movements from our feet.
Last Saturday's classes were taught by Ms. Wendy Allen and we did a very mind-blowing exercise for multigig performances!
We grouped up in trios and here was the plan:
- Shimmy to expand and move into position (leader, followers)
- Arabic and Turn
- Arabic and shrink (the dancers bunch up together, sort of like a modified Arabic Orbit)
- Arabic and do a quarter turn
- Back to Shimmy to expand and another dancer take the lead
It sounded pretty simple. It was level 1. Then we moved on to level 2: use corners, instead of the walls, for the audience. Then we moved on to level 3: use whatever object in the studio as the audience.
Honestly, I found that the level 2 was the hardest. I believe this has to do with my needing more PB exercise. I also found that this exercise helped me in three things: be aware of my body alignment / performance angle, give a clear-cut cue, and take the lead with conviction.