Sep 1

Summer Bellydance Festival - Day II

On the second day of my arrival I taught two sagat (finger cymbals) workshops. Most of the students didn’t have any sagat experience, so we went over basic strokes and patterns and incorporated everything into a short choreography. I know that this is not how finger cymbals are taught traditionally, that usually strokes are introduced one at a time and drilled while walking first, but this method never worked for me. Working on incorporating the cymbals directly into my dance combinations did the trick. It provided me with motivation to keep practicing and set me on a path of creative exploration of this musical instrument. I’ve also gotten inspired by my early childhood piano training and believe it or not by the years I have spent in front of the computer working as a Software Engineer. In both cases ergonomics, such as correct wrist and fingers “posture” and loose “conserving energy” playing, is the key to developing clean injury-free technique and speed. This is why I prefer a more “top to bottom” approach at workshops. In the limited time we have I opt for familiarizing the students with a wide range of tools and providing them with “homework” so that after the workshop they are ready to start practicing on their own.

After the workshops I had a chance to catch up a bit with my online friend Kyria! I have been admiring her amazing costume creations for a long while now and I was glad to finally meet her in person! She is sweet and funny and too bad she had to leave early and we didn't get to hang out more.

Later in the evening the teachers have reunited for the first round of competition. Contrary to what you might have thought judging ain’t easy! You find yourself questioning not only the contestants but yourself: what are the key ingredients that make a successful performer, how do you balance technique with expression, control with enthusiasm, innovation with authenticity. The heated arguments we had at the judging table served as a proof that there is no right or wrong, it’s very personal and open to interpretation.

Day one is here! Day 3 is coming soon, promise :)