Improvisation Toolkit Volume 1: Movement Recall
Are You Struggling In the Improvisation Deep End?
Many belly dancers are frustrated by improv, and it's no wonder; most instructors teach improvisation by telling their students to "just do it" in class.
Throwing someone in the deep end of the pool may teach them to swim, but it will also teach them to hate swimming!
The Improvisation Toolkit DVD series starts you off in the shallow end.
We'll use practical, step-by-step exercises to develop the most fundamental (and often neglected) skills needed for improvisation, so you can gradually let go of the pool wall, and head into deeper water without fear.
Even if you've tried before and given up, you can build the foundation you need to improvise with confidence.
Volume 1 of this program will improve your movement recall.
When you try to improvise, do you:
* Draw a blank?
* Remember only a few movements, even though you know many?
* Take forever to think of the movement you want?
* Wish you could focus on the more creative aspects of your performance?
Drawing a blank is the result of having too many choices, not too few!
WHY YOU CAN'T FIND YOUR KEYS
Your movement vocabulary is like a big tote bag: the more you put in it, the more time you spend digging around for your keys! But some purses have special pockets and compartments that make it easy to find your things.
You put the items you use most often in the easy-to-reach outside pocket, so you don't even have to think about where they are. You can just reach in and your keys will be where your hand expects them to be.
ORGANIZE YOUR PURSE:
We'll sort your movements into the right compartments in your brain, so you can find the one you need quickly.
We'll begin by establishing safety moves, and ingrain them so deeply in your muscle memory that you can do them by instinct alone. When your brain can't think of what to do next, your body steps in and provides the move. You never get the chance to draw a blank!
We'll also train your body to use your safety moves in many different ways and transition smoothly between them. This will allow you to perform interesting and beautiful variations with just a few movements - and only minimal input from your brain! This frees up the brainpower you need to let go and think more creatively in the moment.
It's ironic: training your body in a small number of movements makes it easier for your brain to remember the rest!
Once your safety moves are second nature, we'll use simple memory tricks to help you access the rest of your movement vocabulary. Not only will you be able to remember more movements, they'll come to you faster!
HOW IT WORKS
The Toolkit eases you into improv using a series of practical, step-by exercises:
* Guided Exercises
* Plug & Play Choreography
* Free Bonus Downloads
IMPORTANT: This disk does not have any region encoding, and so will play on dvd players anywhere in the world. However, it will only display properly on televisions that use the PAL standard, which is the norm for televisions in most of Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia. An NTSC version is also available, which is the standard used in most of North and South America.
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Top Customer Reviews
Until now. Nadira Jamal's video, the first on this subject, actually does tackle the challenging area of improvisation. In this first of a three-DVD series, Nadira focuses on Movement Recall, which is what gives most people "dancer's block".
This video begins with an orientation to improvisation and what the video series will bring. I like that a warm up has been included here because you don't have to stop and turn to another activity. The warm up is adequate for the activity on the video.
After you physically warm up, it's time to get the creative side of you going with a session of "noodling" or playing with movement. Noodling is a nice fun concept meant to loosen you up and disinhibit you. The exercises Nadira puts you through while noodling make you turn off your inner critic and have fun with movements. Nadira explains the concept in detail, gives its rationale and logic, and demos how she would do it. Then you have a whirl yourself. This isn't just an ice breaker but also leads on to the next set of explanations and exercises.
Through a series of exploratory exercises and demos, Nadira next gets you acquainted with your own movement vocabulary and helps you identify your key moves. With each exercise on this video, you find yourself exploring your moves in different ways. The exercises stop you from over-thinking and getting stuck in complex territory. What's really nice is that relatively early beginners can use the few belly dance movements they've learnt and use these exercises to start being creative. The exercises are an excellent way of getting concepts into your head because you're doing something rather than just listening to explanations of what improvisation means, conceptually.
More exercises help you take into account timing, transitions, weight changes into your improvisation.
The next chunk of exercises is most innovative. It involves arranging your moves into lots of categories. I'm not getting into more detail on this as it would take the fun out of the video. Or sort of spoil the surprise, anyway. Broadly I'd say that instead of creating with individual movements you're now using categories. Now you've moved from fooling around with the alphabets into guided chunks of improvisation! You may, like me, find yourself smiling at this point because the penny has dropped. This is probably the point where you'll be yelling - hey! I'm doin it! And did I forget to say.. it's fun!
But the funnest of all exercises is the final one: choreographing the song, Layla. Something I've always wanted to do, by the way. What Nadira does here is to give you different levels of help choreographing this song. She starts backwards - and that's a great tip I'm going to use often - and shows you how to end the song. But moving further back along the song, she leaves chunks out for you to fill in. You work your way right to the beginning of the song. With several repetitions - there you have it! It's really too delightful.
Through these exercises, all of which use music from the CD Bellydance for Fortune and Fame by the Mogador Band, pretty scenes fill the screen at points where you have to do stuff on your own with voice cues. The whole video has a wonderful flow and is sort of butter smooth from one end to the other.
As it weren't a wonderful enough video already, Nadira leaves you with some thoughts on what else to do - and even more exercises on her Taktaba website. Taktaba, by the way, is thename of Nadira's podcasts. How she's managed to make such easy work of such a difficult subject, I totally don't know.
Why do I talk so much! In one word - fantastic.
She basically TEACHES you how to improvise. There are people who PRESENT material, and people who TEACH material. I have no doubt in my mind that if you don't know how to improvise your dance, or are crappy at it( using the same two or three moves)...this is an INVALUABLE dvd. She really is a teacher, and a good one. I can't wait to see what she puts out next.
I recommend this for all levels of dance. Even if every dance you do is off the top of your head, this will help you to unlock some of the stuff that is way down in the recesses of your brain, and use it. BUY THIS!