Some people think a great belly dancer must have impeccable technique. Personally, I think a great belly dancer simply has “it.” In other words, that elusive extra-special something that pulls you in like a magnet and makes you wonder where time has gone while you’re watching them dance or learning from them. That, my friends, is why I adore Bozenka!
Yesterday, I took a mini road trip with my good friend Jennifer from Orlando to The Art of Bellydance Studio in Miami for Bozenka’s technique workshop. Though we were a little slap-happy and tired from being on the road and experiencing some, umm, adventures along the way, we were thrilled to have the opportunity to soak in some of Bozenka’s magic. (For those who don’t know, she helped Shakira create many of her bellydance choreographies).
The workshop, aptly titled The Bozenka Experience, covered many of Bozenka’s special areas of expertise in three short hours. The first combination we did was light, airy, dreamy and ever-so-slightly Cuban inspired. We then moved on to some earthy, funky stuff to Rachid Taha’s cover of an old Farid el-Atrache song, and finished off with some beledi. There was a lot of emphasis on feeling the mood and vibe of each combination from the footwork through the hands, and picking out as many layers in the music as we could to maximize our personal expression of the music. We worked our way through even the toughest transitions and weight changes to make them effortless, and focused on “pretty” arms and hands. Bozenka encouraged us to keep our arms softly moving, echoing what the rest of the body was doing. (Being a Lebanese-flavored dancer, I far prefer this style of arm carriage over the “Dancer on a Cross” or “Air Traffic Controller” arms that have been popular in Egyptian style in recent years!)
The best piece of advice Bozenka gave, however, was to move deliberately and with intention: “If you think you’re being too repetitive with one move, stop, and do that move again.” Throwing in the kitchen sink is tempting, but committing to your movements keeps you from looking busy, and communicates loud and clear that you are enjoying that specific move.
I met lots of great people after the workshop, too, including Jen’s friends Lauren and Jillian from Gainesville, who were dancing at Taverna Opa in West Palm that night. My belly dance friends in Florida are definitely a warm and welcoming bunch, and let’s just say I’m making up for a lot of missing time by meeting so many great friends down here. While business was great in CT, there was never much of a belly dance scene up there. I feel very welcomed whenever I’m in FL and will definitely make a smooth transition since I have so many friends who are up for doing the same things!
My stay in Cocoa Beach is a short one this time, but I look forward to coming back in early February for more belly dance adventures!