Tuesday, November 1, 2011

First Ever Workshop Series!

I am super excited to announce this news....the Daniela Dance Company is Proud to Present:

Beyond the Basics: Bellydance Workshop Series

Four workshops with two great instructors!

November 12th – Ballet for Bellydancers with Jennifer

Students will use modified ballet techniques to help increase balance, fluidity, flexibility, strength and grace. Ballet is widely understood to be a foundational movement style, and cross-training in ballet provides structure and body awareness that is beneficial to all levels of belly dancer. This workshop will focus on ballet technique that is most useful to a belly dancer, and will include bellydance combinations integrating ballet-inspired moves and postures.

December 10th – Dancing with Zills with Daniela

Students will drill different rhythms and patterns for playing zills (finger cymbals). Different dance combinations to accompany new zill patterns will also be taught. Basic zill ability (competence with the R-L-R/gallop pattern) is recommended but not required. Please bring your own zills.

January 14th – Advanced Sword Choreography with Jennifer

Students will learn a complex sword choreography, with new and innovative “tricks” that can be used in choreography or improvisation. Students should have a basic competence with sword balancing. Please bring your own sword.

February 11th – Raks Al Assaya (Cane) Choreography with Daniela

Learn a complete cane choreography to the classic Egyptian song, Luxor Baladna, and add an authentic cultural element to your shows. A basic competence in dancing with cane is recommended but not required. Students must bring their own cane.

The more workshops you attend, the more you save!

One workshop: $30 in advance ($40 at the door)

Two workshops: $25 each (total $50) in advance ($35 each at the door)

Three workshops: $22 each (total $66), in advance ($30 each at the door)

All four workshops: $20 each (total $80), in advance ($25 each at the door)

Pay for all workshops now, or pay as you go – amount paid will be applied to the “total amount due” as you continue to register for more workshops

All workshops will begin at 4:00 and last for 2 hours. Workshops will be held at Queens Dance Project, located at 214-26, 41st Avenue in Bayside.

To Register, contact Daniela at 347-782-3616 or danielabellydance@yahoo.com

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The best students make the best teachers

After another fabulous weekend of workshops with Aradia of Las Vegas, I've been thinking about what it is exactly that makes her workshops so fabulous.  Comparing them to other dancers I've had the opportunity to learn from, I think it comes down to one major thing - where most dancers present "dance moves" to you, Aradia presents the dance, along with its context. 

Let me give an example of what I mean - Dancer X may explain a move like so: "This is a hip circle, but it only goes to the front, so push to the front and then contract back in before you start to circle back."  Aradia, however, will say "This is a hip circle that only goes to the front.  We do it this way when we are dancing in the style of the Golden Era, because the dancers back in those days considered pushing their butts to the back to be vulgar. So, before you start to circle around to the back, contract back in to center."

Or, Dancer X might say "now we are going to do tush pushes to the left."  Aradia would say "Now we will do Mona's gooey tush pushes to the left.  Mona El Said does these while looking over her shoulder at her hip; she's very flirtatious with this step so that is how we will do it." 

Just looking at the notes Aradia hands out after every class, you can see they contain not just the descriptions of dance moves, but the names of the dancers to whom the signature move belonged.  Learning a choreography from Aradia means you are also learning the history, culture, and context of the dance. 

Aradia is the ultimate student. She absorbs information from dancers all over the globe, and spanning across generations, and is able to pass that information on to her own students.  It makes for a so much more of a rich class, when you can learn more than just a dance move, but the who, what, how and why of that move as well.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Bellydancing and....Italian food?!

Yes, that's right - come see me and members of the Daniela Dance Company performing at Cascarino's in Bayside on October 10th, and enjoy a delicious dinner (Italian food, of course!) as well!

Tickets are $30 and include the show, dinnner, dessert, and non-alcoholic drinks. 

Buy tickets below!  (name will be held for reservation - you will not receive an actual ticket).

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Name (for reservation)

Friday, September 9, 2011

Back to (Dance) School!

I don't know about you all, but I am itching to get back to dance class!  Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a little time off; it's nice to have all of my evenings free to hang out with my daughter and my husband.  But by the beginning of September, I'm ready to DANCE again!

Please join me for a new season at one of my classes (listed below).  There will be all new choreographies, new music, and new and improved warm-ups!  So, don't miss out!

All classes resume next week (9/12).

Mondays, 7:30 - American Dance and Drama Studio (188-22 Union Tpk, Fresh Meadows)
*Open level class (please note there is no seperate intermediate class at this time. HOWEVER, if there is a demand for it, it will be reinstated. So, if you would like the intermediate class to resume, you MUST come to this open level class or else they will never know that there are serious students interested in the intermediate level. Intermediate level will resume as soon as there is demand demonstrated, so come to class as soon as possible so that we can have the intermediate class back quickly!!)

Wednesdays, 7:00 - Queens Dance Project (NEW location - 214-26 41st Ave, Bayside)
*Open level class (stay for Zumba after and get a discount!)

Sundays, 10:00am - Ultimate Fitness (26-50 Brooklyn Queens Expressway, Woodside) (formerly BQE Gym)
*Cardio belly/Open level

I'm also teaching yoga at 7:30 on Monday mornings at Queens Dance Project (address above).  This is a mixed-levels vinyasa style class; no experience necessary and all are welcome! 

I hope to see you in class soon!

The information on my website is currently slightly out-of-date (stay tuned for a BRAND NEW website coming soon!), so email me with any questions!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

When is it lying?

In a dancer's bio, she often lists the teachers she has studied under in the past, particularly if they are "big names," to give others a sense of what style she is, how much knowledge she has, and how much time she has put into her bellydance education.  Of course, the general public, reading a bio, will not know (or likely care) who the dancer has studied with, but other dancers will.  And the general public will like to see that a dancer has a broad dance background, even if they don't have any clue who the particular teachers are.

But my question is this - when does a teacher "qualify" to be listed on a dancer's bio? In other words, how long/often do you need to take classes or private lessons with a teacher before you can put them in your bio as someone you've "studied under"? 

In my own bio,  I only list two teachers by name, because those are the only two teachers who I have spent a significant amount of time with.  I studied with my first teacher, Amira Mor, for two years.  I danced in her company, I was in her DVDs, and she was basically my first and only intro to bellydance for quite a while.  I studied with my second teacher, Alyne, for much less time, but her impact on my dance and my style is just a great, if not more so, than Amira's.  I was with Alyne for three months, while living in California with my boyfriend/now husband.  I attended classes twice a week and had several private lessons with her. 

I consider these two women my "teachers," worthy of being in my bio as dancers who have trained me and shaped the way I dance.  I've taken lots of workshops over the years, with "big name" dancers like Suhaila, Fathiem, Jillina, Nourhan Sharif, and of course Aradia, whom I host in NYC every year.  But I wouldn't include any of these dancers in my bio, because I haven't actually "studied" under them - in my opinion, one or even two, workshops does NOT equal "studying under."  If the teacher doesn't even know your name, doesn't know your individual needs as a student and doesn't help you on an individual basis, you haven't studied under them.  (Hmm....since I will now be hosting Aradia for the third time this September, maybe she does qualify as someone I've studied under at this point.  I'll have to think about that one!).

That's just my personal opinion.  BUT.....I've seen loads of bios where dancers list basically every "big name" bellydancer as someone they've studied under.  It's clear to other dancers that these dancers have only taken a workshop or two, at most, from these dancers, because it would be impossible to meaningfully study under all of them.  But that's how it's portrayed in the bio; there are no disclaimers given.  I've seen this happen in varying degrees - people who list loads of dancers, as well as people who will list only one or two dancers, but I personally know that those dancers were just in town for one workshop, and that's the "training" that the bio references.

I think it's false advertising to list dancers in your bio unless you have really, meaningfully studied under them. OR, unless you clearly state that your exposure to that dancer was a one-off workshop.  Again, I'm not sure how much impact this all has on the general public, so maybe it doesn't really matter.  But I think it all goes back to professionalism, which relates directly to truth in advertising.  You don't want to create hype around yourself that you can't live up to! 

What do you think?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Zumba class killed the bellydance star....

Well, not the bellydance star, but possibly the bellydance class....

As a bellydance instructor, I have felt the effects of this extremely popular exercise "fad," and I don't mean on my waistline. I mean in my classes. Ever since Zumba has become "the" thing to do, I've noticed that less and less students are showing an interest in, and signing up for, bellydance classes.

Here's are my thoughts on why this is happening.....

Lots of women come to bellydance with the goal of doing something fun while getting in some exercise as well. Most students do not start a bellydance class with the hopes of one day "going pro." They like the dance, it's fun, and it can help get them in shape. Additionally, most people these days are feeling a pinch in their wallets, and probably don't have the money to sign up for multiple recreational classes a week. As great as a bellydance class is, it is still a DANCE class. And if your goal is to get fit, a bellydance class alone is not going to help you. You need to take an EXERCISE class.

That's when Zumba might seem like the perfect answer - it's a great workout, but you also get to "dance," which appears to be the perfect compromise to the student who wants to take a dance class for fun, but also wants to get in shape.

I'll admit it, I like Zumba. I take Zumba classes frequently. But let's be clear about one thing - Zumba is not dance. More and more often, I have people who tell me they know how to "bellydance" and then when I ask who they take classes with, they tell me they do "bellydance" in their Zumba class. ::smacks forehead::

Zumba is a follow-the-bouncing-butt type of exercise class. It's not dance. It's fun for what it is, but please don't confuse it with learning any form of dance - be it Latin, belly, hip hop (and speaking of hip hop, according to a hip hop instructor I know, those classes are also being negatively affected by the Zumba craze as well). Take it for exercise, but if you want to actually LEARN to dance, take a dance class.

With the Zumba craze being as large as it is right now, it's hard to picture it ever waning. Will it eventually go the way of Jazzercise in the 80's, and Tae Bo in the 90's, and loose it's popularity? Maybe. If history is to tell us anything, then probably.  But one thing's for certain - bellydance is an art form that has been around longer than any exercise fad, and it isn't going anywhere.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Buy tickets for Daniela's 6th Annual Student Showcase here!

Our Sixth Annual Student Showcase is on May 7th, at Frank Sinatra School in Astoria, Queens. Doors open at 7:00pm. Don't miss it, buy your tickets now!

Just follow the link below!

Name (tickets held at door)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Getting back into the swing of things

In September, I had my beautiful baby girl, Gabriella.  During my pregnancy, I had delusions of being back to my "fighting weight" very quickly after giving birth, and being able to get back out to gigging soon after.

Sadly, that is not the case!  The baby weight is coming off much slower than I had thought it would, and as a result, I haven't yet restarted my advertising. I feel like it is false advertising to show pictures of myself on my website looking one way, and then show up to the gig looking entirely different.

I have a gig this weekend - a first birthday party for a former client, and I've explained the baby thing! - and I am very excited to be getting back in the saddle.  Although I had hoped my return to performing would have been much quicker, I'm happy to be back, at any rate!

Any other moms out there returning to professional performing? How long did it take?