The Art of Dance Improvisation

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Gabriela Katschka-Las Vegas Belly Dancer

In Dance Improvisation is a Natural way of expressing yourself. As a dancer you really follow no choreography no need to memorize 8 counts or dance patterns. I feel best when I just improvise. I don’t think I have mastered this technique however I feel in my element. If you want to improvise a dance and don’t know where to start? Don’t worry I will share with you one of my improv performances and break it  down for you to make this process easier.

First choose a song you absolutely love. Perhaps is a melody that you often replay. Although there’s so many choices make sure the song you have chosen makes you want to move! Let the melody lead your body. Also think of the length of the song. What’s the time limit you been given? Sometimes once I have chosen a song I play the song and close my eyes. I try to visualize the moves I’m going to use. For the video you will watch below I felt in love with the song Compassion from the Moroccan Artist Yosefa.

The second step is to choose your costume. Think what would look best with the piece you have chosen. If you would you be doing floor work make sure you don’t reveal too much. Also think of the type of event you will be dancing for? Is it a family event? Who is the Audience? Is it a paid performance? For the performance I’m about to show you. It was a Local Belly Dance Community Event. To be precise it was Hallowiggles, a Hafla in celebration of Halloween. The audience was the whole family so I knew my costume couldn’t be too revealing. My costume consisted of Harem pants, vest, a beaded brad andbeaded belt. Since it was a Fall Event I decided my Orange costume will be just perfect 🙂

The third thing to consider are props. Would you be using a prop? Would a prop enhance the melody you have chosen. Among the popular Belly Dance props you have a lot options such as veils, canes, zills, swords, baskets, Candelabras and Trays. Make sure you are comfortable using the desired prop. The idea of using a prop is to enhance your performance so if you have barely started to learn to use a certain prop I wouldn’t recommend using it. For my performance I decided not to use any props because the melody was fast and I had thought of doing floor work instead.

In conclusion consider the music, costume and props and make those 3 elements work in harmony.  I hope you enjoy doing your next improvisation, wish you happy dancing.


Thanks for reading!