Do you know what season it is? RuPaul season! Yes. We are officially into the third week of RuPaul’s Drag race and the new queens are bringing it. Those of you who know me already understand my obsession with and appreciation for these performers. I’ve learned so much from them since I started watching RuPaul’s acclaimed show where drag queens compete for the title of America’s Next Drag Superstar. While you may be asking yourself, “What does this have to do with a dance blog?”, I will answer back everything.
As a bellydancer and dance performer I’ve found that there is so much crossover (no pun intended) in what I do every week with the art of drag. Costuming, stage make-up, stage presence and self-promotion are a few shared elements but perhaps the most important element is knowing how to SERVE. Any man who has the cajones to put on a dress and high heels is going to own it. While drag performers differ in their own niches and talents, they all execute a walk that can be learned from. Queens have mastered how to command attention and express themselves doing even the simplest steps that we learned how to do as toddlers. Dancers take note! Walking is the basis for more intricate movement and can be translated into choreography. Being able to walk with authority and control will only aide your confidence and make you a stronger performer.
From watching queens, teaching different styles of dance, and performing every weekend I’ve had fun exploring the many sides of “dance walking.” Delve into my article sharing tips and tricks of the trade so you can execute the “charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent” that RuPaul encourages out of his superstars.
Strut Your Stuff: Dance Walking
While we walk everyday, it’s not often we consider how to walk for an audience or how to “dance walk” to a piece of music. Dancers, models, and performers have practiced movement technique to make their struts more noticeable, strong, and even desired. Whether you’re planning an upcoming show entrance, choreographing a strut filled dance, or just trying to make some heads turn, you might be wondering how to sexify your stride. Read below for my tips and tricks on mastering your saunter and owning your walk.
Keep Your Head Held High
Beam confidence and heads will turn! Performers will often keep their gaze just over the heads of audience members as a trick to keep their focus and energy up. Think thoughts of self pride and your... Read full article HERE.
Like any good dance fan, I’ve spent endless hours watching dance videos on YouTube, drooling over choreography and inspired by everything from tutting to ballet to bellydance. With the conveniences of the Internet, thousands of dance videos are readily available with just the click of a mouse. With the large amount of high-level quality dancers performing today and the easy accessibility of dance videos, the dance world can be competitive in winning over its viewers and keeping their attention. Some videos keep us glued to the screen while others loose our attention after just a few seconds. Of course dance videos don’t do their actual live performances justice, but even when seen in person, some choreographies just shine above the rest.
So what’s the secret to keeping an audience captivated? There are a variety of factors that can make a choreography entertaining and watch worthy, but there is one factor that is essential to making a dance excellent. Keeping it clean! There’s a big difference between watching a dance that’s performed sloppily and watching a dance that’s well prepared, thought out and executed.
Teaching weekly at Bella Ballroom dance studio in Costa Mesa has given me the opportunity to write dance blogs and explore dance topics as such in depth. This week I explored tips and tricks for cleaning choreography that can be used for any style of dance performance. Take a look…
Creating Clean Dance Chreography
Choreographies that stand out have undoubtedly been well thought out and practiced prior to their debuts. Often times a choreography’s success doesn't’ depend on it being technically impressive as much as it depends on being executed cleanly. While knowing how to perform a dance with strength and clarity takes experience, I can offer some helpful hints to consider when preparing to nail your next dance.... READ MORE FOR ALL THE TIPS
The Rockettes Rock
I must have been living under a rock! When I was requested to write a Holiday blog about the Rockettes for Bella Ballroom Dance Studio in Orange County, I had no real idea what this iconic dance company was. After some research I quickly discovered that the Rockettes make up an impressive precision dance company dating back to the 1920s and are very much alive and high kicking today. Performing in bigger productions and working with the Sahlala Dancers has given me a huge appreciation for the work and talent that goes into creating a uniform look in a dance group. As a soloing bellydancer, we have the liberty to show off our individual strengths and can express ourselves freely and independently. As a troupe dancer, we are only as strong as our compadres, and the shows strength relies on the unity of the group. It can be a truly beautiful thing! Read on as I share what I discovered about one of the world’s beloved and top precision dance companies.
The Rockettes Rise to the Radio City Christmas Spectacular
Glamour, patriotism, precision, commercialism, entertainment, and joy; these are just a few of the words that can be used to describe The Rockettes. Created in the 1920’s, this dance company has persevered well into present day and generated an American legacy... READ MORE.
As an entertainer, I often feel like a one-woman show. Continually venturing and expanding my knowledge of dance and the performance arts has shaped my life. It’s fascinating to take a moment to look at the lives of the artists who played foundational roles in what we understand as dance today. Surprisingly one of the dances currently embraced by the world started with a man whose beginnings were rooted very close to home. From Southern California to San Francisco, vaudeville actor Henry Fox got his start before heading to New York to influence what would become embraced as Foxtrot. Read on…
Fox's Start in Southern California
While social dance is very popular in Southern California, most may not know that Foxtrot beginning’s stemmed out of Pomona, California. Wait, what? The Foxtrot is from Los Angeles?! Well, not quite; but the dance’s... READ MORE.
Get Asked to Dance
When I moved to Orange County to pursue growing as a bellydance performer and International Dance artist, one of the things I was most excited to explore was Southern California’s dance world at large. When my bellydance gigs take me into LA County, I take advantage of being dolled up and out and about at club prime time and head out dancing after my bellydance shows. I’ve enjoyed checking out the salsa dance scene from Malibu to Newport Beach.
As a new face in the Los Angeles and Orange County dance scenes, established social dancers do not know me. Being an unknown dancer can make it harder for a follow to get asked to dance in a developed dance community. Personally, I like to leave it up to the leads to invite me to dance instead of the other way around. Call me old fashioned, but really I’m just shy, and to some extent I haven’t needed to do the asking. Just like dancing, there is some technique involved in getting invited to dance. Read on as I share a five fantastic strategies to get and keep you on that social dance floor!
1. Have a Good Waiting Strategy
The key to getting asked to dance is to create the least path of resistance for inquirers. Place yourself close to the dance floor, preferably in a higher traffic area where potential dance partners will be walking by. Standing up and grooving to the music while waiting will make you appear more approachable and like you want to dance. Make eye contact and smile with other dancers. Avoid sitting down, burying your head in a smart phone, or... FULL ARTICLE
Square Dance Day!
Grab your partner and do-si-do! November 29th is America’s Square Dance Day!
What is Square Dancing?
This folk form of entertainment is for a group of dancers. Square dancing is typically done with four couples arranged in a square with one couple on each side facing in towards the middle of the square. In most American forms of square dance, a directed caller cues the dancers to do movements... READ MORE
All About That Risk... No Trouble!
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Dancing at the wedding in Huntington Beach was equally fun and fulfilling. I got to be a surprise for the guests. Unfortunately and ironically, the MC announced me as performing “Middle Eastern Dance.” I cringed backstage wearing a black feather boa and pinstriped fedora hat preparing to dance to American Pop music. There was nothing Middle Eastern about the show and I feared for any unknowing associations that would be made by viewers after the performance. Sometimes when you dance outside the box, people just don’t know where to put you. (Which in turn describes my biggest marketing challenge! How can I promote a multifaceted dance performance and teaching service that’s not categorized? Comment your thoughts below!)
I highly recommend all dancers or anyone looking to improve their craft read on as I share what I’ve learned along the way about staying committed to practice.
Plan, Practice, and Prosper
Improve Your Dance
By Ziva Emtiyaz
It’s always a little amusing to me when students come in for their next lesson and they give me that look like they have a confessional. You know the look; similar to a puppy’s gaze after they’ve gotten into the trash. They don’t even need to say it… I already know. They didn’t practice... FULL ARTICLE HERE
Sometimes you don’t know what life is preparing you for, or even that you are being prepared. I never thought my experiences at music festivals and clubs would provide me with valuable insight on a dance scene that I would play a role in as a teacher. I’ve recently come to love working with Electronic House Music dancers. These kids are passionate and hungry for all the details within the EDM dance world. Also bringing an eagerness to learn have been single gentlemen looking to just survive the club scene with some movement basics. They are equally fun to show a little know-how on rave and party dancing.
The EDM world is a huge and growing one. I recently shared some EDM dance resources and details for our Orange County dancers at Bella Ballroom in Newport Beach. Helpful info and awesome EDM dance links ahead:
Everyday I’m Shufflin’
By Ziva Emityaz
When stepping into Bella Ballroom, you may expect to hear John Legend’s “All of Me” as couples practice their first dance for an upcoming wedding. You might also suspect to find dancers smoothing out their waltz technique, or firing up their salsa patterns. What you might be surprised to find in Bella Ballroom are dancers getting down to Electronic Dance Music (EDM)... READ MORE.
Cause This is Thriller!
…cause this is THRILLER!
By Ziva Emtiyaz
With Halloween around the corner, the festivities are brewing and Michael Jackson’s 1983 hit “Thriller” can be heard blaring in dance studios worldwide. The horror themed pop song was used to produce one of the most influential music videos of all time... ...let’s dig up some of its lesser-known details and shine some light on its dark and chilling dance! READ MORE
Ziva Emtiyaz is an award winning International Dance Artist excited to share her knowledge and life experiences about the big world of dance!