Improvisation Toolkit

DVD Series with Nadira Jamal

About the Toolkit   Volume 1   Volume 2   Future Volumes

"I know this series will be great because you address the real issues that students have in a very intelligent way"
- Medea


Are You Struggling In the Improvisation Deep End?

Many dancers are frustrated by improv, and it's no wonder; most instructors teach belly dance improvisation by telling their students to "just do it" in class.

Throwing someone in the deep end of the pool may teach them to swim, but it will also teach them to hate swimming!

 

The Improvisation Toolkit Starts You off in the Shallow End

 

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We'll use practical, step-by-step exercises to develop the most fundamental (and often neglected) skills needed for improvisation, so you can gradually let go of the pool wall, and head into deeper and deeper water without fear.

Even if you've tried before and given up, you can build the foundation you need to improvise with confidence.

Volume 1 Trailer

 

This series will teach you the core skills of improvisation:

Now Available:

  1. Movement Recall  
  2. Without choreography, you have to think of movements on the fly, but still leave enough of your brainpower free to focus on other aspects of your performance.

  3. Structure  (February 2010 - Pre-Order Now!)
  4. Nothing bores an audience faster than scribbling! In order to keep them engaged but not overwhelmed, you need to put your movements together in a logical, structured way. Your audience can't appreciate your artistry if they can't follow your train of thought!


    Future Volumes:

  5. Transitions  
  6. Smooth transitions don't just make your dancing look more polished. They also help facilitate the flow of moves and ideas while you improvise.

  7. Dimension  
  8. No matter how many movements she uses, a dancer can still seem flat and one-dimensional. Dimension gives your dancing a richness that makes it interesting to the audience - even when you're only using a few movements!

  9. Musical Interpretation
  10. It is often said that the dancer should be the visual embodiment of the music, but that can be a tall order. When working with unfamiliar or live music, you must analyze and respond to the music on the fly.

 

Where to Start

The Improvisation Toolkit is a step-by-step system. Even if you already have improvisation experience, it's important to begin by building strong movement recall skills. Otherwise, the other skills you learn won't come to you easily in the moment.

I strongly recommend that you begin with Volume 1.

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About Volume 1: Movement Recall

When you try to improvise, do you:

  • Draw a blank?
  • Remember only a few movements, even though you know many?
  • Take too long to think of the movement you want?
  • Wish you could focus on the more creative aspects of your performance?
 
Drawing a blank is the result of having too many choices, not too few!

 

Can't Find Your Keys?

Your movement vocabulary is like a big tote bag: the more you put in it, the more time you spend digging around for your keys! But some purses have special pockets and compartments that make it easy to find your things.

You put the items you use most often in the easy-to-reach outside pocket, so you don't even have to think about where they are. You can just reach in and your keys will be where your hand expects them to be.

You put the rest of your belongings into the other compartments of your purse. Even though they aren't in that handy outside pocket, you can still find them quickly, because you know exactly where to look.

 

Organize Your Purse

We'll sort your movements into the right compartments in your brain, so you can always find the one you need.

Keep Your Keys in the Outside Pocket

We'll begin by establishing safety moves, and ingrain them so deeply in your muscle memory that you can do them by instinct alone. When your brain can't think of what to do next, your body steps in and provides the move. You never get the chance to draw a blank!

Pack the Essentials

We'll also train your body to use your safety moves in many different ways and transition smoothly between them. This will allow you to perform interesting and beautiful variations with just a few movements - and only minimal input from your brain! This frees up the brainpower you need to let go and think more creatively in the moment.

It's ironic: training your body in a small number of movements makes it easier for your brain to remember the rest!

Change Goes in the Change Purse

Once your safety moves are second nature, we'll use simple memory tricks to help you access the rest of your movement vocabulary. Not only will you be able to remember more movements, they'll come to you faster!

 

How it Works

The Toolkit eases you into improv using a series of practical, step-by exercises:

  • Journaling
  • Self-knowledge is the source of creativity. The journal exercises, done on paper, will help you take stock of your skills and movement vocabulary. They are deceptively simple, and may even seem trivial, but don't skip them: they are a powerful foundation for your improv journey.

  • Guided Exercises
  • These are the drills that will get improv out of your head and into your body. I'll explain each one and demonstrate on camera. Then, because you can't learn to improvise by simply following what you see on the screen, I'll use voice-over to guide you through your own practice.

  • Plug & Play Choreography
  • We'll start you off in the improv shallow end by teaching you a partial choreography and leaving some sections open to improvisation. But even in those sections, you won't be told to "just do it". I'll give you guidelines to use as a life preserver until you're comfortable enough to let go and swim on your own.

  • Free Bonus Downloads
  • For a limited time, you can use the code printed on your DVD to download bonus versions of the exercises. When you get too familiar with the exercises featured on the disk, you can download alternative versions to keep you on your toes. I'll also offer versions of some exercises without music, so you can practice them to your favorite songs.

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