Thursday, January 31, 2008

Ballet for Bellydancers

Sounds like fun, huh? Actually, it was! Last week, I hosted a Ballet for Bellydancers workshop, taught by Jennifer Alvarado, the owner and director of Queens Dance Project.

The workshop was a ballet class, but instead of focusing on pirouettes and tour jete's, Jen focused on the skills that we, as bellydancers, need to know.

I've taken ballet since I was a little girl, and it's been drilled into my head by dance teacher after dance teacher that "ballet is the foundation of all dance." While that might be a very grand statement to make, now that I am a bellydancer - practicing a form of dance that seems to be the farthest thing away from bellydance - I see how true that statement really is.

Ballet teaches strength, but it also teaches grace. It teaches proper posture, and proper arms and hands. It teaches you how to be aware of your body, so that you can become a better dancer. And shouldn't everybody know how to do that?!

Were you at the Ballet for Bellydancers workshop? Share your thoughts! And even if you weren't - what do you think about the connection between ballet and bellydance?

5 comments:

Suney said...

I was a part of the ballet for belly dancers workshop. I always thought that ballet is the foundation of most dances. It does teach you posture, elegance and grace. Is it easy? Of course not, but is it fun? Yes, Yes, Yes. Jennifer was great and she concentrated on the types of "posture" and the "technique" that belly dancers should have. I have only been taking belly dance classes for about a year on and off, but I would definitely take ballet if my scheduled allowed it. I highly recommend ballet classes to any newbie belly dancer who has have no dancing experience. I am sure with some classes anyone can become more graceful.

Suney said...

I was a part of the ballet for belly dancers workshop. I always thought that ballet is the foundation of most dances. It does teach you posture, elegance and grace. Is it easy? Of course not, but is it fun? Yes, Yes, Yes. Jennifer was great and she concentrated on the types of "posture" and the "technique" that belly dancers should have. I have only been taking belly dance classes for about a year on and off, but I would definitely take ballet if my scheduled allowed it. I highly recommend ballet classes to any newbie belly dancer who has have no dancing experience. I am sure with some classes anyone can become more graceful.

kara :) said...

Thank you for hosting a great workshop & having such a talented instructor teach it. Jen focused on the skills definitely needed to be more graceful & polished bellydancers. As much as I did not enjoy ballet class when I was younger, I really enjoyed this class. It helped me recognize some flaws in my dancing as well as in ordinary life such as posture. It brought awareness to the importance of proper posture, opening up your chest, having strong arms, pointing your toes and spotting while turning.
I think everyone who took the workshop benefited from this experience. Now we have no excuses for posture, clawed fingers and ugly sickle feet.

Martha said...

I was also at the workshop and it was great. I've never taken a Ballet class before and I enjoyed it even though my arms and legs were aching the day after, it was worth it...It has helped me with my flexibility and posture in Bellydancing and overall the techniques that entail all types of dancing. Now I am conscience and better aware of how I don't want my arms to get floppy and keep them elegant. Thank you for hosting this workshop which was truly a great experience.

Anonymous said...

I think that foundation is the foundation is quite a grand statement. There are types of dance that trained ballet dancers can make look awkward: dances where too much 'body awareness' and perfect posture is detrimental to the desired effect. I do believe that ballet is a great foundation for many, maybe even most, dance types and that belly dancers in particular benefit greatly from the training.