Losing confidence...and technique

adiemus

New member
I am going through a bad patch of 'my dancing sucks and I'm no good and why bother doing this any more'....
I need some tips on how to gain my confidence, how to improve and how NOT to feel overwhelmed by it all!
I dream dancing, I watch dancing, I try to practice - but somehow what I feel in my body doesn't match what I see in my head, and I've lost my sense of what works and what doesn't.
Any ideas? it's been going on for about 4 or 5 months...
 

gisela

Super Moderator
Aaawww sorry you are feeling this way Bronnie. I think we all plateau now and then and feel like there hasn't been any development for a long time.

I don't know how to fix it. Some ideas are:
-Don't perform in a while, just focus on taking classes and watching performances, taking it all in and enjoy it- until you long to get on stage and try things out, and just want it so much that the confidence stuff HAVE to get in the background.
- Perform at every single event possible and accept that it will be "not great but ok" for a while.
- Work through your dance issues analytically, like work on your arms only (or whatever) intensely for a month and watch your progress, and thrive on it. Find the feeling inside that there can be improvement.

I struggle with some of the same things you mention every now and then but I don't have a perfect way of fixing it. These are just ideas and perhaps something makes sense to you, some not.
Sometimes we move away from the plateau without doing anything in particular.
 

Eshta

New member
Aww, I feel your pain!!! I hate that sense of utter frustration, feels like a big fog you can't quite make it through!

There's no easy answer, but whatever you're doing, try something different.

Also, if you have been really pushing yourself hard over the last few months straining to "get better" in order to get through the fog, perversely I find that I need to drop all my goals for a little while and just re-connect with the enjoyment. My "training" sessions become free-dance sessions with no aims.

I recently discovered the joys of dancing to music that you were into when you were a 'baby belly dancer', it really gave me a big boost to revisit those old songs but also to realise how much more I could make of them now! Worth a shot!
 

gisela

Super Moderator
I recently discovered the joys of dancing to music that you were into when you were a 'baby belly dancer', it really gave me a big boost to revisit those old songs but also to realise how much more I could make of them now! Worth a shot!

Oooh interesting, I'm going to try that too. Thanks!
 

Aziyade

Well-known member
I feel your pain -- I just danced in front of one my idols and COMPLETELY screwed it up. :(

Why is it that a good performance gives you a high for maybe a day or two, but a bad performance depresses you for a month?

What people told me is to watch a lot of inspiring videos. Maybe old black and white clips, modern Turkish dancers -- something you wouldn't ordinarily watch. Ranya Renee says going to experience OTHER forms of art is really important for dancers, so maybe take some time to go to an art museum, or try your hand at simple pottery, or attend a concert?

I don't have much advice, but here's a virtual hug (in the form of a dancing banana).::yay:
 

Greek Bonfire

Well-known member
You could be bored too and not even know it, maybe the same venues, the same people, the same locations. And yet you can't always go jetting off somewhere else so maybe you should sit on the sidelines for awhile and watch what others are doing.
 

Safran

New member
Oh, I have that coming on every now and then... Often the development is smooth, that watching yourself day-to-day may really frustrate you because you don't see any progress. Maybe every fortnight you could have an improvisation session that you also film. Then the progress should be much more noticeable.

Or, you could dedicate a week on something that you're really good at - be it zills or improvising to taksims or just attend a class that is lower than your regular class level. This way you'll realise what a long journey you've been through and learn to appreciate the technique and skills and knowledge that you've got.

Or maybe it is just time for a break? Take a few completely dance-free days. Don't dance, don't go to class, don't listen to the music, don't even come to the forum :shok:;) Do something else that you enjoy - go for a hike, hang out with non-dance friends etc. And then you can come back to your old things with a fresh look.

Hugs!
 

adiemus

New member
Thank you so much ladies! The practical ideas are just what I'm looking for... and I really appreciate your support too. I especially like the idea of doing another dance form or a workshop outside of my comfort zone - maybe that will remind me of how much I have learned, and what it is about my dance that I do like. And I love the idea of dancing to some of the early music and trying out what I can do now that I couldn't originally. Working on specific components too is a great idea - and fits in with what I've been trying to do with drilling variations on one or two movements.
Can we add to this? Now I know I'm not the only one (did I ever think I was?!!) maybe we can all put some thoughts down... Another of mind is to just 'noodle' for a while and let my body do the talking rather than thinking too hard, does anyone else try this?
 

Nejmeh

New member
I recently discovered the joys of dancing to music that you were into when you were a 'baby belly dancer', it really gave me a big boost to revisit those old songs but also to realise how much more I could make of them now! Worth a shot!
This also works for me!
 

Aniseteph

New member
Cool thread!

Been there, done that - I spent the whole summer thinking why do I bother (the usual post-performance beating self up :rolleyes:), back to classes thinking much the same, then a few little things come together and you think actually it's not that bad. I went to some great workshops and was not useless, I actually had a clue in improv last week, my teacher is planning a few events (nice to have an external focus), so it's all picking up again.

It helped to have the summer with no classes; I was able to put it all on hold rather than having my perceived craptasticality rubbed in my face every week.

The workshops were a big boost - but prescribing workshops with your idol that are pitched just right is not much help! Though I think the change in environment/focus was helpful in itself; in class I sometimes tie myself in technical knots because by default I have my Learning Difficult New Stuff head on, which is about concentrating hard for dubious results (puking camel impersonations, falling over own feet etc), or working towards technical improvement. The "could do better" mindset is built in, and IMHO that is not where you need to be for just dancing. Noodling at home, playing with what you can do, or following bouncing butts and just having a go without sweating it is very good for that side of things, IMO.
 

Aziyade

Well-known member
Another of mind is to just 'noodle' for a while and let my body do the talking rather than thinking too hard, does anyone else try this?
YES -- I think sometimes we get caught up in the technique part that we forget to "Play" with our dancing.
 

Greek Bonfire

Well-known member
Aziyade, that is a great point. Many times we forget that most of us started dancing because it was fun!

Sometimes this could mean that you need to change direction because what you are currently doing or places you are going are not working for you anymore. I've had that, not realizing what exactly is bothering me or the fact that anything is bothering me. But when my dancing is affected, I know that there is something I need to really think over, and just find out what it is.
 

Mosaic

Super Moderator
I'm a bit late coming to this, but have had a time or 2 where I have felt that I want to throw up my hands (& costumes:D) & walk away from it all. My put the spark back cure is to have nothing to do with dance for a week. I watch goofy comedy movies, or silly stuff on youtube, clean out cupboards and windows (yuck) - so far after a few days of that I find I am looking forward to listening to a few favourite pieces of music, and find I 'need' to dance. So far a few days to a week time out has been enough.

I sure hope whatever route you choose to take for a 'time-out' break works for you. I think it is normal to have those burn out times with anything one dedicates a lot of physical and thinking time too.
~Mosaic
 

Shanazel

Super Moderator
Bronnie dear, have you ever read about the periods of disequalibrium that babies and toddlers go through when they are learning new skills? During the six months or so it takes them to learn a new skill, they are grouchy, teary, touchy little souls. Then they conquer the new skill (crawling, walking, whatever) and turn back into cherubs for approximately six months until the next new skill comes up.

I've been teaching something (agriculture, writing, dancing, needlework, etc) for getting on 35 years now and I find essentially the same thing is true of older students who have hit a new growth spurt in their educational journey- they sort of go to pieces until they get it licked.

Hang in there! It will get better. And taking a little break might be just what you need before going on to the next level of dance.
 

illustria

New member
i can really relate to your situation. i sprained my ankle back in January and I couldn't dance for a while without going all wobbly and strange. My isolations were bad, my technique was disappearing, and my 3/4 shimmy went poof. Like, literally, if you saw me shimmy, you didn't see boom boom boom - I was going poink poink poink. And I had just made it to troupe then (I belong to a bellydance student group/club) where all the dancers are awesome, so there I was, trying my best to dance while everyone else was picking things up easily. I tell you, everything hurt, from foot to ego:(

But you know, i tried having fun again, and I agree with everyone else in the thread when they say that sometimes, you just hit a wall. don't rub your forehead and cry about your bruises. Just have fun - find ways to have fun, whether it's another form of art, another form of dance, or just resting and relaxing.

In my case, I had to stop dancing, and then when my foot got better, try to come back. I danced for 5 minutes a day, then 10, then 20, and so on. I'm now at a constant 2 hours a day, drilling myself to music and just having fun. I've also found that doing the moves slowly adds to the fun - I like discovering how my muscles are working, and I've freaked my roommate out a lot of times with random shouts to the tune of, "Oh, holy night, I think I felt my psoas! woohoo!"

My point is, it will come back. Everything does, eventually. I even got my 3/4 shimmy rockin' again to the tune of Stayin' Alive. really. It's been fun since. Confidence is back, the fun is back - it took months, and it also took patience.

Best of luck!
 

Farasha Hanem

New member
I'm late coming into this, too; I'm sorry, Bronnie. Wish I'd seen this earlier. :( *hugs*

Bronnie, if this weren't a confidence issue, but a pain issue, how would you handle it? What are the steps you would take to analyze the problem to find a solution?

Hopefully, looking at the problem with the same mind as you do your other passion, maybe it will help you to take steps to regain your confidence, because in a sense, your self-confidence is in pain. I know you'll find the answer, and you have all of us to cheer you on, support you, and be here for you when you need us. :)
 

Yshka

New member
Sweet Bronnie, I think every single one of us can relate to what you're going through right now. I felt I was getting there myself this summer and here's what helped for me, though the other ladies have mentioned this as well.

I took 2 weeks off of dancing during summer, got out the old world-music (anything non-Arabic ;)) CD's and listened to those for a while. Took modern dance workshops and went through my old bellydance cds. Not having expectations for a while gave me a fresh start.

Getting something new I'd loved to add to my dancing for a while worked as well. I got a new veil recently (my first silk one) and the troupe wants to start working on fan veils. You know that feeling of getting a Christmas present you couldn't wait to play with when you were little? ;)

I hope you get past this soon Bronnie, don't give up! Farasha is right, we will be waiting right here when you need us :D
 
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Salma Parvaneh

New member
Well,

my best remedy for the desease you've described (and, so I think, everybody has got it from time to time) was a trip to Cairo!

It was amazing to watch, to listen, to feel the music, the atmosphere, the different egyptian dancers and it boosted my dancing enormously!

Back home I started to work together with live-musicians which helped me a lot.

Before I always wanted to dance THE _perfect_bellydance stage show, but then I learned to lean into the music, to enjoy the melodies, to follow the rhythms and to feel what the singer tells in the song.

Maybe, this can be a little help for you, too.

KR
Salma
 
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