Saturday, March 2, 2013

Improv Challenge Day 1: Back in the habit

The post title makes me think of Sister Act 2, which I kid you not is my dads secret favorite movie, and that seems appropriate since we are currently without a pope.

So I am supposed to be participating in Alia's 90 Day Improv Challenge, and I was going to blog about it. While I am technically doing those things, I am about a month behind. I got the worst cold I have ever had about 2 days before the challenge was supposed to begin. Not only did I not leave my house for 7 days, I also was not able to really dance for almost 3 weeks. The first day I tried to practice all I managed to do was change clothes and hook up my iPod before I was beat. So today I officially kicked off my altered timeline 90 day improv challenge. Why did I decide to blog about it? A little bit of accountability, a little bit of guilt for letting my blog sit unused but mostly to make myself analyze what I was feeling enough to articulate it.

So as this is my introductory post, how about a little introduction to how I practice to begin with. My dance room, there is a post with photos around here somewhere, has a mirrored closet. I like to make notes on the mirror with dry erase markers. It's easy to see when you are up close but they don't get in the way at all when you are practicing. On the left mirror I write the month and what my focus is for that month (sometimes several things). On the right mirror I write the dates of every day that I practice this month and under a big heading labeled Today's Notes I write anything I observed that I want to remember for my next practice. I also added numbers 1-90 that I can mark off as I work on this challenge and space for some little notes and observations on it as well.

March: shimmy drills, choreography (that I am learning from my teacher), syllabus (review for changes for my next session of classes), improv

3/2 Improv Challenge Day 1
Intentions: Get out of head
Notes: Shimmies make me think, push turn with V (a move I noticed I did and liked)

I decided that even though I would put my iPod on shuffle for this challenge I would stick to a playlist so as not to feel too disjointed. I decided that since I'm starting slow I would use my classic/traditional playlist. I warmed up to Oum Kalthsom to get into the mood. I set my timer for 20 minutes and hit play.
Not even a minute into it I found the ticking of my timer distracting. My dance room is very small but moving it across the room so it was opposite the sound system allowed me to focus on just the music. I found that the first song which was a taxsim that I was able to focus my mind on the steady rhythm while my body danced to the accordion. It felt like a really good start. The next couple of songs I was very familiar with and able to go on auto-pilot, I tried to really focus on breathing with the music. I need to figure out how to breathe with the music when it speeds up. When the music moved on to something unfamiliar I was having trouble not "thinking". I happened to turn toward the window and noticed some birds eating in the snow. I realized I could watch them and dance without thinking about my dance just feeling the music. Unfortunately, this distraction went too far and I started thinking about the other things I needed to practice and lost the intention in my improv.

When the timer dinged, I turned the music off. I didn't even let the song finish. I still haven't gotten up to doing very much cardio dance since my illness and didn't want to overdo it since I had other things to practice. I moved on to my shimmy drills and worked on my choreography. I only had a 50 minute practice because I was feeling beat. After stretching, I did do my favorite yoga for abs DVD. I can't let all the abwork I did coughing my head off go to waste ;)

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