When we think of becoming better belly dancers, we naturally think of everything dance-related we need to do. We put more hours in the studio, attend more belly dance classes and workshops, connect with more belly dancers, etc. Depending on what it is you want to accomplish, these are definitely great and necessary steps to take but they're not the only ones.
Think outside the box. Here are 6 non-dance things that can make you a better dancer:
1. Learning an instrument
You may not have the time or money to pick up the violin or piano but what about the tabla? There are plenty of online resources and affordable tablas to buy for beginners. Learning an instrument (especially one you hear regularly) will teach you about musicality and force you to listen to your music more closely. And you never know: you could have a new calling in life as a musician!
2. Networking with other artists
You never know who your next student or event supporter will be. You didn't know belly dancers existed until you broadened your horizons so who knows who you can inspire to start taking up classes? And aside from potential business, your next choreography could be inspired by going to a Tango show, or your next costume could be inspired by the latest art exhibit you saw. Get out there and meet new people and make new friends!
3. Writing a blog
Writing is hard but you'll be amazed at how much better you become the more you do it. It teaches you discipline when you don't have any motivation or inspiration to continue (much like some days in the studio, right?) and it helps you become a better communicator. And the more quality blog articles you write, the more of an expert you become in your field and Google loves quality content (Google love = better Google rankings for your website).
4. Reading regularly
In addition to writing, reading regularly is just as important. Read up on the latest health and fitness news to make sure you're teaching your students safely and taking care of yourself while training. Read up on the latest business news to see if you can get any inspiration to help promote your own business. Whatever it may be just read good, quality articles and ideas. Never stop learning.
5. Cross training
I've mentioned before how important cross-training is so I won't step onto my soap box again. Just get out and train like an athlete, not just a belly dancer.
This is probably the most difficult one. In the Western world, we're taught a strong work ethic is important for growth but rarely are we taught that we need relaxation and rest just as much for a peaceful mind and healthy body. Although some days I struggle with it, I like to practice meditation. It teaches me discipline and helps clear my head. Also, I'm a strong believer in "less is more" so anything that helps you relax while dancing is a major win.
What non-dance activities make you a better dancer? Share in the comment section below!