Dear dancers, friends, and followers,

I hope you’re all doing as well as possible at a time like this. I know it’s an uncertain, scary, time for a lot of us. Maybe this has greatly affected your work. Maybe there are people close to you who have already been diagnosed with this disease. Maybe you’re filled with worry. I’m sorry and I wish I could do more to help you.

What I can do for you is this: I can promise to do my best to keep you dancing at home. I can give you a time to dance and shimmy and remember that there are still pockets of joy in hard times. I can give you a chance to dance in your own home, but not alone, via our online classes.

As you’ll all know, the social distancing measures have been extended by the Dutch Government until at least June 1. This means no in-studio classes until June at the earliest. However, Greenstone Belly Dance has already taken the plunge into live, interactive, online classes. And we are getting better every time! I’m doing my best to research and invest into new technologies to give you fabulous audio, a great picture, and of course, a great time dancing!

I have just announced block of online classes in April (we were due to take a month break in April; however, I now think it’s even more important that we keep moving to look after our brains, our bodies, our minds, and to get a chance to say hi to your classmates from the comfort of your own home). The free trial classes in May will indeed go ahead, but they will be taught online. At least the first portion of each class session will be taught online. If the Dutch Government relaxes restrictions by June, I will gladly look into moving the classes back into the studio.

I’m looking forward to shimmying with you again in person when we can. But for now, let’s stay home and do our bit to protect the most vulnerable around us. Wash your hands, don’t touch your face, keeping moving as much as possible, stay connected, and look after each other.

Love and strength and shimmies,

Siobhan Camille,
Greenstone Belly Dance

In case you missed it: An article by Greenstone Belly Dance founder, Siobhan Camille, was featured in the January 2020 edition of Zameena magazine! Read on below for a sneak peek, and check out the full article here.

The New Year is upon us!

And for 2020, I’d like to propose a different sort of New Year’s Resolution.
One that doesn’t focus on the size of our bodies, or on avoiding certain foods. One that doesn’t focus on how our bodies look in a bikini, but rather, one that focuses on how our bodies function and feel during dance and life.

Dance allows us an outlet to express ourselves whilst keeping active at the same time. However, too often as dancers we spend all our time loving the dance, and neglecting to maintain the condition and strength of our bodies to keep up with our graceful, strong, and at times athletic movements.

I’ve met many young dancers who are secretly nursing niggly injuries that they try to ignore, and older professional belly dancers who tell me they wish they had taken better care of their bodies when they were younger. Whether you’re a professional dancer, or just dancing for fun, you can help reduce your injury risk (and improve your dance stamina and technique) if you put some time into looking after your body.

As part of my work, I conducted the first ever scientific study examining injury incidence in belly dancers. From the results of this, and combined with almost a decade of experience working in injury rehabilitation and athletic performance, I have some ideas on what we, as dancers, can do to look after our bodies.

To ensure you’re dancing strongly into 2020 and beyond, here are my 4 quick tips for happier, healthier bodies!

  1. Be active outside of belly dance

In our study of 118 female belly dancers, participation in non-dance-related exercise was associated with a significant decrease in injury rate.[1]

This may come as no surprise to some of you, as it’s well known that training in other types of exercise has been found to reduce injury in professional dancers of other styles.[2]

Working on your strength (think bodyweight exercises like squats and push ups, or using weights or resistance bands), and aerobic fitness (with activities like swimming, cycling or jogging), can be beneficial as it can help make your body more resilient, and better able to deal with the demands of dance.[3],[4]

My personal motto is that I always want to be stronger and fitter than my performance or teaching schedule actually requires, so I’m less likely to experience injury.

Be easy on yourself if this is your first time incorporating non-dance exercise into your schedule. If you’re not exercising at all during the week apart from belly dance, jumping into 5 days of training will be both unrealistic for your motivation, and perhaps even lead to an injury from such a sudden change in your training load!

Start low, progress slow: Aim to add in just one 20 minute strength session per week, or start getting off the bus or train a stop earlier to work and take a brisk walk the rest of the way. Look for places to sneak in just 10 minutes of continuous exercise into your day, then build from there.

Want to read the other 3 tips? Check out the full article here in Zameena magazine!

References:

  1. Milner SC, Gray A, Bussey M. A Retrospective Study Investigating Injury Incidence and Factors Associated with Injury Among Belly Dancers. J. Dance Med. Sci. 2019 Mar 15;23(1):26-33.
  2. Bronner S, Ojofeitimi S, Rose D. Injuries in a modern dance company: effect of comprehensive management on injury incidence and time loss. Am J Sports Med. 2003 May-Jun;31(3):365-73.
  3. Koutedakis Y, Pacy P, Sharp NCC, Dick F. Is fitness necessary for dancers? Dance Res. 1996 Oct;14(2):105-18.
  4. Koutedakis Y, Jamurtas A. The dancer as a performing athlete: physiological considerations. Sports Med. 2004 Aug;34(10):651-61.

We are very excited to announce that Siobhan Camille was named the winner of the 7th edition of the Datura Online Belly Dance with her entry for Zaina!

Watch the video of Siobhan’s entry here:

This choreography was created by Henna, a dancer based in Portland, Oregon, who Siobhan has also been lucky enough to study with in person in the past.

Siobhan is delighted to have been able to take part in this competition, and ecstatic to have been selected as the grand prize winner for “Zaina”!

A special thank you to Darin Young Photography for all his work on filming and editing this piece.