The 3 Things that will (instantly) improve your Dance. And Life.

Samia Gamal one of the starts from the Egyptian Dance Golden Age, striking a pose

Who doesn´t like a shortcut, a formula that helps us get there – wherever there may be – faster and better; an efficient hack?

I know I do. Plus, I love to share the pearls I´ve been gathering in all these years of performing and teaching Egyptian Dance, first in Cairo and then around the world. Reflecting on what I´ve learned, filtering the information and expressing it in a way that students can benefit from is one of my biggest pleasures.

Without further ado, here we go: checkthe 3 things that will instantly improve your dance. And life. (you´re welcome 😉 )

  1. Breathe more consciously and frequently; also, slower. Breath is a major key to a lot of essential things. In dance, as in life. Being aware of your breath – inhaling and exhaling – and managing it for your own benefit will not only allow you to dance better but it´ll increase your health – physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual – and potential for growth. Write BREATHING reminders on post-its; start your dance practice with a minute of conscious breathing (eyes closed, in silence); introduce meditation into your daily routines. It can be a dance and life changer.
  2. Love yourself, starting with your physical body. The way you move is a mirror of your relationship with yourself. If you´re someone who feeds self-hate and criticism, your dance (and life) will show it and suffer because of it. Self-care, self-love and self-awareness are basic skills for any Oriental Dancer (and, again, for any human being). The more you know and love yourself, the more confident you become and the more confident you become the better you move, the more chances you take, the more creative you become, the more you exhale positive vibes. Start replacing self-destructive thoughts with POSITIVE AFFIRMATIONS. For instance: replace “I´m ugly” by “I´m beautiful”; replace “I´m not interesting” by “I´m unique and fascinating in my own way”; replace “I suck” by “I´m amazing”; replace “I´m a loser” by “I´m an achiever”. And so forth. Feed yourself properly, sleep/rest, exercise; become your own best friend.
  3. Be vulnerable. Allow yourself to listen, receive, assimilate music and life experiences, feel the pleasant and the unpleasant; embrace life in all its colors. Open your heart (trust me, I know how hard it can be), show up as you are. Don´t fake it; express your true self, your joys and sorrows, your strengths and your wounds. In dance, as in life, becoming more vulnerable is a turning point. Start with saying “I love you”. First to yourself, then to the most important people in your life. Grab the phone or send a message. Reach out. If you´re afraid, say it so; if you´re lost, acknowledge it. Tell your parents, spouse/lover, friends, family how much they mean to you. Be the first to say “I´m sorry”, the first to lean in during a fight, the first to reveal something extraordinary like “I´m human; I also suffer; I, too, feel hopeless, sometimes”. Extra tip: watch Brené Brown´s Netflix Special “The Call to Courage”.
I´ve said and written it many times but here we go again: Egyptian Dance isn´t just a bunch of exotic empty movements randomly stitched together.
Egyptian Dance is a holistic art form that connects movement with feeling, feeling with pleasure, pleasure with soul, and soul with life. It´s a way of LIVING, way more than a dance.

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