It was with some regret that I let three great bellydance workshops pass me by so far this year, so I was extra excited for today's workshop with Kami Liddle of the Bellydance Superstars. (Photo of Kami below is from the BDSS Web site, fyi.)
About half of the three-hour workshop was movement drills, and I picked up a few bits of very valuable information.
One was the correct muscles to be contracting to tip the pelvis backwards (the gluteus medius, which are, in basic terms, located above the large gluteus maximus muscles but below the lower back). Her attention to good form and posture was excellent, in both example and explanation of why it is so important (so we can all still be dancing when we're 110 years old!).
The other is something she learned from Carolena Nerricio (creator of American Tribal Style Belly Dance (ATS) and director of Fat Chance Belly Dance), which is that it takes eight minutes of drilling a certain movement to create "muscle memory" for that movement. Dancers want muscle memory because once you have it, you can use proper technique while performing without consciously thinking about what muscles to contract. This will definitely change the way I do movement drills at home.
After drills, she taught us an advanced-level combo from a choreography she did for Bellydance Superstars (and one that they are currently performing on tour). I can't say I nailed it perfectly on every run-through, but I kept up pretty darn well. Yay me!