90 Day Bellydance challenge update

Right before the end of March I posted about Andalee’s 90 day Belly Dance Challenge. One of the points of the challenge is to do some sort of account/tabulation/journaling of what is going on, and why.

I started the challenge on the 1st of April, and it’s been going relatively well so far. I’ve skipped about three days, one of them because my ankle flared after too many turn drills in class, one of them because I was expecting to have an open floor at an event to dance and there wasn’t. Another day I had a fever and spent most of the day in bed. The day the tendonitis flared, I did propioception and physio instead, as it was the responsible thing to do. The day I was sick I managed the requisite 5 minutes with a slow ATS practice, and the day there wasn’t the open floor, I managed a couple of minutes while waiting for someone, plus plenty of chair dancing, so there hasn’t really been any day when there was *no* activity whatsoever, even though I haven’t stuck to the letter of the challenge.

It’s been interesting to notice some subtle changes as I am moving along. I always used to fidget while doing tummy rolls or whatnot, but it’s a lot more conscious now. I’ve been drilling quite a bit of ATS, mostly because this term we covered moves that required quite a bit of homework on my part (spins, learning proper spotting, some new vol. 9 moves), and I’ve also been practicing the solo I did in December to maybe do again in late April/May. With three classes or official practice sessions a week, and one day definitely set aside for ATS, What about the rest of the days? Here is where it gets interesting, as I’ve started figuring out how to fill in the rest of the week. I’ve had so far a couple of days where I’ve worked with zills, aiming to get used to playing them not for ATS, as I’ve been doing, but for Egyptian. It’s not been easy, but it’s been quite fun and exhilerating to get right.

I’ve also realised that I can do some “scattered” practice during the day, that does add up to quite a bit: five minutes of arms drills while watching a TV program, 5 minutes of tummy rolls while on the phone, 5 minutes of isolation combo drills while waiting for the kettle to boil, a couple of minutes of one-legged shimmies and propioception/balance exercises while talking to hubby, a couple more minutes of shimmies while doing the dishes, a few minutes doing undulations and torso twists at the desk while waiting for programs to open or items to render, and suddenly it’s nearly 20 minutes of dancing that I’ve barely noticed. This is great for those days when I can’t consciously set aside the time to practice, or when my body needs a bit of a break and I don’t want to be on my feet that much.

Have I seen any benefits? Hell yes! Aside from better overall stamina, my ATS this term has felt a lot more enjoyable, as I’ve seen very definite improvements. My spinning went, from barely able to do a couple at a pitiful 70bpm, to a more respectable 120bmp, so average of 10bmp increase a week since start of term. My TribalFusion isolations are becoming a lot quicker and sharper, or so I think, and I’ve been able to tackle much quicker combos presented by my teacher without wondering whether my body could keep up with them. My turns seem to have also improved, they do feel faster and I seem to finally be loosing my fear of turning without toppling over. I have to confess I haven’t been practicing the Egyptian choreos, mostly for lack of space (we are working on a fan veil choreography and I can’t use them in my house at all) but the overall sharper, faster moves are helping me use my practice time at the studio a lot better.

So, overall, very please with how things have been going so far. Ideally, I’d like to work a bit more on my zills, and start setting aside a day for working on developing choreography, but there’s still time for that while I settle into the flow.

I’d strongly recommend doing it, and even if you have missed the starting day, there’s always the option to extend the date. So what are you waiting for?

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