Archive for skirt dancing

Skirt Flare-kick step breakdown

Step Right, step Left, repeat.

Here’s a quick video clip on the “Flare-kick” skirt combination from the Tribal Skirt online course. The full tutorial goes into more detail but this should be enough to get the gist of the 16-count sequence.

Teaching this particular skirt combo is always an adventure. With only two steps in 8 counts, that leaves 6 whole counts where students are going, “huh?!” Of course, ANY combination that includes facing away from the instructor is a challenge in class because students continuously try to “check in” while dancing – which is why I often sit down and watch. At some point you have to cut the cord and see what happens!

So here it is for you to try on your own – can you get it?

Have you ever noticed that sometimes the simplest combos are the trickiest?

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investing time in dance drills

Small drills pay off big later

but how do you find the time?

In a recent show my advanced dancers and I were in the middle of a Tribal Odyssey set when somebody cued the Flare-Kick combo while we were in a circle. My be-here-now focus must’ve been off by a beat or two because I missed the cue and never did catch up. Naturally this particular combination is an extra-long 16 counts, and involves turns and eye-catching arm moves – plenty of time for the audience to notice any irregularities! Oh well.

Wouldn’t you think that several years after creating the combination and plenty of time spent teaching and dancing it, I’d be bullet-proof in terms of boo-boos? Not so much.

So I featured this long but simple combo in drills of the smallest bite-size chunks in class this week, and will continue to do so. My dancers actually love drills, and they’re quick to point out we have so many combos now that getting them all into drills on a consistent basis is hard with such limited class and rehearsal time.

How do you handle drills for a large repertoire of “group choreography” combinations? Do you have any pointers? Is is just that we need another hour or two a week? That solution seems unlikely.

I previously wrote about our Skirt Moves here: we got skirts and we know how to use them a title that seems ironic now! I think we’ll know how to use them better if we continue our Skill Drills!

two dancers

that’s me behind Galiyah, trying to keep up!

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we got skirts and we know how to use them!

skirt dancing

swirling skirts in action onstage

We love the Tribal  Skirt Combinations, they add flash and flare to fast numbers! There are eight in the TOBD format, and they can even be used to throw the lead… gotta stay on your toes! I’ve just created a Playlist for the Skirt Combos, including step-by-step instruction, practise (“follow me” while I’m dancing), and even live performance clips you can dance along with. It’s ALL online at my YouTube channel, DanceEternal.


Would you like to do Skirt Combos with your troupe? Do you use Skirt dancing already? Let me know in the Comments!

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last chance to dance outside!

I didn’t want the year to end before we got in a Dance and Drum Hafla outside, so we quickly planned an outing to Hurkamp Park here  in Fredericksburg (VA) for this past weekend. We got to meet new fans, and enjoy the rhythms of several local drummers who showed up and kept us company.

Since it was a busy weekend and we had very few performers, I went with mixing levels again. A lovely Level 2 dancer joined us and kept up very well, only dropping back when the Level 3’s did Tribal Skirt or Veil dancing.

tribal belly dance hafla

whipping the skirts around!

And since the temperature hovered around the mid-50’s we all layered costuming as much as possible; I was wearing two skirts, two tops, and two belts! But other than aching from dancing on concrete, I felt absolutely perfect. Everyone enjoyed themselves and it was a blast getting outside on a sunny fall day. Another Dance and Drum Hafla at Hurkamp is definitely going to go on the schedule for next year when the weather warms up again!

This type of performance situation is where Group Improvisation shines – it’s so adaptable to circumstances! That’s one of the things I love about it. There’s no worries about who knows what choreography, or if a dancer can’t make it at the last minute and now the dance is missing a person, or we’re all tired of using that same music, or the costuming is hard to adapt to the venue – there’s no worries like that. Tribal Improv not only adds another dimension to our abilities as performers but gives us the chance to play together as dancers. We can have fun and look good doing it!

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Small group, short set, but full of fun

With just enough time left in our Multicultural Fair show for 2 songs, we packed as much in as we could… Chorus and Center Dancers, Veil, Skirt dancing, Staggered Line, Circle, even Pharaonic! It was fun –

I’ve noticed different dancers will showcase the particular moves and steps they like: usually Al’Anqa will do the 3-Step Turn, Nashida will do Pharaonic, Galiyah loves the Skirt combinations; Pixie loves the Sharp Hips; Maharimah does either Bow & Arrow or Hip Twist… and I love the smooth beledi hip moves. That’s another thing I love about group improv!

having fun sharing the moment onstage

lots of movement and flow with the Bela step!

Kawakib and Galiyah dancing together

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