Review: Hilde Cannoodt’s Belly Dance Geometry

I took this workshop on the same day I took Alexis’, so I was tired, but that didn’t stop me. Now, in the interest of disclosure, Hilde also happens to be my Tribal Fusion teacher, and I’d already taken a workshop with her before at Orient Expressions, but the concepts she was covering this time are a bit more abstract.

Basically, Hilde uses her background in Choreology and mathematics to view a completely different point of view to dancing, including a whole new sense of your space, body, and relationship with the audience. A lot of these concepts also, quite interestingly, overlap with traditional arts concepts like planes and symmetry. And if you have a background in 3D, like I do as part of my day job, then it becomes even more interesting.

Hilde introduced concepts like kinesphere, planes of movement, symmetry, dynamic oposition, rebound and locks, and how these started shaping our dancing and our moves. From the start, even with the warm-up, we took this concepts and applied them to become more aware of what they meant and how they applied to our specific style of dancing, there was a lot of exploration of space not just for ourselves but also in relation to dance partners, and I do remember having a fleeting amusing thought about how that can go wrong when a venue invites 10 dancers to a stage the size of a stamp and expect all of them to dance on it.

We then worked on a medium length sequence where these things came into play, with the idea that we should try to identify all of the things that were happening, and why. The combo used modern dance as well as belly dance moves, and exemplified a lot of the concepts used.

Overall impressions: this workshop does sound initially like it would be good only if you’re thinking of starting to choreograph, or if you already do, but trust me, it will bring a whole new level of understanding to your own dancing, and those of others. Don’t get me wrong, if you do choreography it will be invaluable, but even if you mainly do improvisation, committing the concepts to heart should aid you about how you approach your dancing, how you position yourself for your audience, and even the sort of movement you do, postures and gesturing.

Would I take another workshop with Hilde? I take weekly classes with Hilde and I feel very privileged for that! She’ll be doing a Choreology Intensive in February, and hubby has booked me into it as my birthday present (all together now: “Awww!”). Spaces right now are extremely limited, but if you want to know more, head over to Hilde’s Website.

Hilde will be teaching this same workshop next year at TribalFest! More info at the TribalFest website!

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