5 easy ways to brush up on your belly dance technique during lockdown
✔️The 5/6 rule: Choose 1 particular move that you struggle with. Don't shy away now. Commit 5 minutes a day for 6 days in a row to nailing it.
✔️Keep stretching: Either do simple spinal roll downs from standing to the floor, try to touching your toes or forward folds. Keep it moving as even the most simple stretches make a difference.
✔️ Play with it: How can you make your hip drop look different? Spend 5 minutes trying to figure it out. Add a plie, change the level, Change the speed, body angle or hip angle. Have fun with it and play.
✔️Stuck shimmies: Every time your shimmies get stuck and stiffen up, sllloooooooowwwww iiiitttttttt ddoooooowwwwnnn. Slow motion your shimmies. Practice 5 mins a day for 6 days at half the speed you normally shimmy.
✔️Dust off your foundations: Watch my free Bellydance Study Buddy Tutorial playlist for your foundation bellydance moves. Good foundations will level up your dancing.
Remember: a step forward, is still a step forward.
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Tips for working out at home
During this current pandemic, I hope you and your family are healthy and well.
As a qualified fitness class instructor, here are my top tips to keep you moving during Lockdown 2020.
Enjoy your workout.
I'm taking over this blog post. I've been taking classes with Tevec for 3 years and bellydancing since the summer of 2007. It helped me get over bad post natal depression.
I'm a mum of 3 children - daughters Jade (29), Amberley (14) and son Alex (10).
When lockdown was first announced, I immediately thought of all the extra time I'd have each day, usually spent commuting, that I could spend with my children or on hobbies... but... reality quickly set in.
I’m used to working from home occasionally while my children are at school, but I’ve found working from home while home schooling my children hard work.
I've changed my routine and expectations to keep my sanity!
Here are my top 5 tips for mums working from home:
Stay well and look after yourself.
Easy tips for looking after your mental health and wellbeing during lockdown 2020:
Stay well and look after yourself.
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Being an Introverted Dancer
By Tevec's student of 4 years - Liv Johannesson
Extroverted and introverted personality types are widely accepted nowadays.
Cartoonish images of social, adventurous, loud extroverts versus bookish, shy, homebody introverts skew our understanding of what this really means.
If you want to understand it better, I warmly recommend reading Quiet by Susan Cain. What can it mean as a dancer to be an introvert or to have introverts in your class when you’re teaching?
Let me try to paint you a picture.
First, let’s punch a hole in the perception that introverts are shy. Some are, some extroverts are too, but an introvert personality and shyness don’t equal each other.
According to my mother I didn’t even reply when spoken to as a child, but I have never been shy. While a shy person fears but perhaps wishes to take centre stage, an introvert simply prefers to stay away from the attention.
To quote Susan Cain: ‘Shyness is the fear of negative judgement, and introversion is a preference for quiet, minimally stimulating environments.
An introverts tendency for inner thought and feeling makes expressing what they dance a challenge. We do not express outwards but inwards and often prefer the small gestures to the dramatic moments.
Personally, I must connect with the music emotionally before I can express something outwards. That can mean hearing the song until I know it backwards and practising the dance moves until my muscles hurt. It also means that even when I do express outwards my expression might seem big to me but look reserved to those looking on.
Introverts are not group-people. We need alone time, and although we can be very sociable, our preference is for one-to-one interactions.
This means that already in class, often a larger group, you have put me out of my comfort zone. The smaller the group and the better I know my fellow dancers the more I’m also comfortable but it isn’t a natural environment for me and it might take years in the same group to get to a reasonable level of comfort.
One of the aspects I struggle the most with in Belly dance is the preference and need to improvise.
Introverts prefer to work focused, methodically and often slowly. We do our research, we analyse and practise….and practise, and would happily practise some more.
Improvisation is the opposite of that.
My brain cannot work fast enough to do what it naturally does which often renders improvising doing the same move over and over or not being able to move at all. This often leaves me feeling that I failed the exercise. One thing for teacher to understand is that this analytical brain isn’t possible to merely turn off which is why the advice to ‘just go for it’ isn’t working.
Introverts tend to be fairy immune to wealth and fame. This may not tie in so closely to dance courses but we simply do not have a need to be seen and heard. We often actively choose to be the wallflower out of a preference to go unnoticed, and only go for the spotlight if there are other incentives, deeper motives to be fulfilled.
I love to dance, even perform, and have been taking dance classes and done performances since I was a child but as I have grown older I have also realised that the challenges I meet are not the obvious ones.
I struggle much more with finding my way to learn and improve in a way that suits me while in an environment that isn’t built to fit my needs. Simple things, like ‘just dance to this song you never heard before’ when you could happily practise the same move for an hour or getting the kick of your life doing the dress rehearsal, not during the performance when everyone else is having their adrenaline kicks.
Sometimes it’s as simple as finding the motivation why you would do a performance at all, when you’re happiest learning for the sake of knowing.
I felt proud to represent the Turkish National Football Team for UEFA (football association). This is UEFA’s international promotion video for the upcoming football matches. This video will be rolled out across the world 🌍.
This video represents years of hard work, research, training and absolute love for my culture and what I do. This is the ultimate reward for my work so far. This isn’t even about belly dance. This goes deeper. This is about art, nationality, my heritage, my family, friends, connection with Turkey and Turkish culture.
I’m so humbled to have been given this opportunity. Good luck Turkey 🇹🇷 as always I’ll be rooting for you. I hope you win the match. You have my support! Watch the video below.
Bu gün çok güzel bir gün. Benim için bir hediye 🎁. UEFA Futbol Organizasyona Türkiye Futbol milli takım için reklam. Türkiye ile Rusya maçı için dünya boyu reklam çıkacak. 🌍 Gerçekten çok mutluyum ve memnun oldum. Çok şükür 🙏. Hadi Türkiye, yenebilirsiniz.
BEING THE FACE OF MOVE IT 2018
This time I thought I would talk about what I am currently up to. As normal I'm teaching, performing and dancing across England and Europe. In the summer of 2017, I was selected to be the #faceofMOVEIT2018. My friends seem to think that this is quite a cool achievement and want to know more after it was announced on social media. Seeing as my friends think it's exciting, I thought maybe my readers would be interested too.
What exactly is #faceofMOVEIT2018 I hear you say?
If you don't know, MOVE IT is the UK's biggest dance event with over 25,000 people visiting in 2017. Dancers from all disciplines participate from ballet, jazz, contemporary to Latin, ballroom and dancehall. It is a 3 day dance extravaganza taking place in ExCel, London on 16-18 March 2018. The likes of Strictly Come Dancing stars, Flawless, Michael Flatley Lord of the Rings, Urdang, Jenifer Ellison, Darcey Bussell, the Royal Ballet, Kimberley Wyatt, Capezio, Bloch, Dance Moms attend. It is one hot dance event.
For this year’s campaign MOVE IT were on the lookout for 6 dancers from different dance styles to be the face of the show for 2018. I was selected from hundreds of applicants to represent belly dance along with 5 other dancers.
What does being the #faceofMOVEIT2018 entail?
I get to respectfully represent belly dance as a serious dance form on the same platform as ballet, jazz and contemporary to a vast dance audience not just a belly dance audience. For me this is a big deal and a responsibility that I don't take lightly. I'm here to represent my Turkish background and Middle Eastern dance culture.
I know that there are probably some misconceptions about the dance and I'm here to definitely challenge them. Although the people I have met so far have been very encouraging and keen to learn about the dance.
On a more fun note, myself, the 5 dancers and the MOVE IT team participated in a two day photoshoot. One day on location and one day in a photography studio.
It was great to work alongside other dancers and find out about their experience. We were photographed by Virtuoso Imaging who has photographed so many famous dancers. The other 5 dancers represent ballet and jazz, Bollywood, street, hip hop and commercial dance styles. It's so incredible to see how they work in their own way.
Each day was 7 hours of shooting in different outfits and concepts. Which sounds easy but after the initial 3 hours outdoors in your 4th outfit of the day in London weather - steam tends to run out and it becomes difficult to smile/pose for the 500th shot.
I thought I'd share some tips with you about being on set all day. This might come in handy for those who want to refresh their portfolio or if it’s your first time being photographed professionally.
What did I learn from the photo shoot?
Other perks involve being on all of MOVE IT's event posters, literature, promo materials on and offline. In addition, we were interviewed by MOVE IT and all of us six dancers will be at the event.
My aim is to be at the forefront of Turkish belly dance in the UK and improve knowledge of Turkish belly dance in the U.K. This role will definitely help spread the word about Turkey’s rich culture and history.
I will be teaching at MOVE IT on Saturday 17 March 2018. It would be great to see you there. Also, watch out for me at a few different festivals in the UK.
Photos courtesy of Virtuoso Imaging
Last year I had the pleasure of performing for Sabrina and her husband on their special day. The day was beautifully captured by Mark Barnes Photography. Check out his lovely pics for some wedding inspiration...you might even spot someone that you recognise ;) (me)
Read the blog by Mark Barnes
My most recent TV appearance was for Britain's Got Talent on ITV. I filmed for the show's TV promo last year and it has finally aired on BGT on ITV.
I am really honoured to represent Belly Dance in the UK on this prime time television talent contest. It's a good start to 2017 so far. Watch the short clip below.
Award-winning Turkish Oriental and Theatrical Fusion performer and teacher.