Posted on April 4, 2015
Learning to play the zills will complement your dance training but it can offer much more. Many dancers discover that playing finger cymbals provides benefits that extend beyond their belly dance classes as they notice the positive emotional, mental and physical benefits of learning percussion.
Five Healthy Reasons to Practice Percussion
- Become a Musician as well as a Dancer
As a dancer you will use finger cymbals to complement the musicians but as a musician you can learn a great deal about the structure of music, rhythm and beat. There is nothing quite like knowing not just the basic rhythms (called the skeleton of the rhythm and this is usually what belly dancers learn) but also how to fill those rhythms in a number of creative ways. This puts the beat (the pulse of percussion) and the rhythm (the song of the drum) in your body and brain on a much deeper level.
- It’s your Brain Gym
Looking outside of belly dance training we need to find activities to keep us sharp as we age. Learning to play the zills is the ultimate brain gym. Even for beginner level percussionists, playing simple patterns within a rhythm, (ex: 123 123 123 123 in a 4/4 rhythm like Baladi) and stepping on the beat seems impossibly difficult. However, as you progress not only does it get easier but provides ongoing self-accomplishment. You even notice a newfound ability to multi-task on an entirely new level in day-to-day life!
For dancers and artists that like a challenge, and love to put themselves in the beginner’s mindset, zilling reminds many of when they started taking belly dance classes. students have to relearn to move and find the co-ordination that is required of belly dance but now with the addition of simultaneously playing a musical instrument.
- Connect with Yourself and Others
Percussion is a connection activity both in terms of self-awareness and bringing participants together socially:
- Playing zills in class is oftentimes a group activity. Dancers and musicians work together to practice and produce layered and complex songs and dances. Even the newest percussionist can play a simple pattern while more experienced players fill and hold the piece.
- Percussion is a team building exercise. As we learn to play zills we are watching and listening to each other. This overflows into dance as well. We need to be communicative, comfortable and in tune when reaching a common goal with our troupes and classmates.
- Playing finger cymbals is fantastic for self expression. When you learn music you gain the ability to play with and within the music. There are a seemingly infinite number of rhythms and patterns that can be played within the beat of the music and this unleashes a serious amount of creative and artistic potential; the chance to be heard and the opportunity to work as an individual within a group, or as a soloist.
- Reduce Stress and Ground Yourself
Percussion is powerful and has been used to heal for millennia. Playing the finger cymbals or a drum has a trance-like effect that reduces stress. Learning to play the zills also involves a deep level of focus and concentration that can take your mind off anything from a bad day to a traumatic experience. Finger cymbals will ground you because you must be in the present moment for the level of timing and coordination involved. Being grounded and in the present moment helps us to live “in-the-now”.
- Percussion increases alpha waves in the brain leading to a calmer mind. Drumming and percussion can be used to help treat individuals with over-active or hyper-vigilant minds.
- Sometimes we are out of sync with ourselves. This can manifest as sickness, addiction and even self-centeredness. There is something to be said regarding the act of physically syncing and its result on mental and emotional synchronicity.
- Life has natural rhythms and percussion helps us to feel the earth, nature and universe in more deep and profound ways.
- Zills are Fun!
Zilling is fun, there is no doubt. Whether you’re a belly dancer looking to add a new element to your routine, an older adult hoping for interesting ways to achieve brain health or someone that wants to come out of her shell and be heard; finger cymbals provide countless opportunities to find the musician within and to progress on both personal and artistic levels.
While belly dancing is a gentle exercise that can be adapted and modified to almost anyone’s level of health and physical fitness, playing zills is accessible to absolutely everyone. Even the most fit and conditioned dancer can take a break in class to play percussion if s/he feels the impulse. Developing musicality, playing in time and putting it together with dance does take work, patience and practice but we all start at day 1 and it’s a fun and rewarding process!
Kaleena is a student and teacher studying under the tutelage of Roula Said at Om Laila Studio in Toronto for belly dance, wellness and music. She has discovered the benefits of playing zills as a dance artist and as an individual seeking new and fun ways to achieve a powerful mind-body connection. She attends Om Laila for its focus on artistic, intellectual and personal growth. Visit Kaleena’s belly dance blog, Kaleena Belly Dance to read more.
Guest writers are welcome to submit articles relating to their experiences at Om Laila Studio. Please write to Roula with your idea at firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted in arabic music lessons,Bellydance,Classes,Om Laila,Toronto Bellydance,zill lessons | Tagged bellydance classes bellydance toronto om laila studio Toronto Zills
Posted on March 24, 2015
Our space is more than just a bellydance studio and we need a class to reflect that! We provide classes that span a range of artistic and self-healing topics across the schedule and this class will offer a taste of everything from bellydance, finger cymbals, sensual fitness, Seven Waves exercise and more.
The first class is free and if you like it we recommend at least 4 classes to find your groove at the studio. This class will help you determine your next step!
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged
Posted on March 13, 2015
Om Laila’s Bellydance Choir is competing at the Star Bellydancer Canada Competition this Sunday, March 15!
The choir is a very special group that has a keen interest in dancing, singing and playing percussion with Roula Said at Om Laila Studio in Toronto. We are a self-accompanied performance ensemble. The Om Laila Bellydance Choir sprouted last spring with only a few members and has since grown to 10! In almost a year this group has made great strides and has performed together many times within the bellydance and Middle Eastern communities and for private events.
Here’s some Interesting Facts about the Bellydance Choir
1. We perform 90% of the time to live music and Roula Said’s vocals. However, we also learn our dances to prerecorded tracks so we have the ability to perform without our band and singers.
2. We have 5 numbers so far but they are never performed the same way twice. The group is very versatile and this allows us to perform with any number and combination of singers and dancers available for the show!
3. Different Bellydance Choir members have different interests and goals. Some want to learn the songs, others the dances and some want to learn it all. Our commonality is the desire to authentically represent belly dancing as a rich and beautiful art form and to have fun while we’re at it.
4. Our numbers have many layers. Most of the group learns the song first in choir class, or a choreography in weekly classes and/or workshops. From there, the performers learn the piece in stages. The last step is usually adding zills/percussion.
5. This is our first time competing but last year Roula was one of the judges! We will likely be the only group in the troupe division performing to live music.
6. The Bellydance Choir operates as two classes. The choir is taught by Roula at 7 pm on Thursday and the Choreography class is with Kaleena at 8. This is a class format so some attendees are learning to perform with the Bellydance Choir while other belly dance students just want to be in class to improve their musicality or to learn the lyrics and meaning to popular Arabic songs.
7. After the competition we plan to slow the pace and welcome new students to this delightful and happening ensemble. If you are interested in attending choir and/or choreo class write to email@example.com
We are very excited to participate in the competition and would love to have friends come out to see and support us. To buy tickets visit the Star Bellydancer Canada official page!
Posted in Bellydance,Classes,Om Laila,Performances,Toronto Bellydance | Tagged Bellydance choir bellydance workshops Classes performances Toronto
Posted on March 5, 2015
We had a great time at the February edition of the Hip Hip Cabaret. The Bellydance Choir is a live music performance ensemble and we have been workiing together for under a year. However, this was the very first time we performed as (an almost full) group outisde of our own shows at May Cafe! We are quickly learning and experiencing the joys and challenges of presenting our work with live musicians and vocals. Here’s a couple of pictures from the evening:
Next up is the fundraising event at Beit Zatoun on March 7 and Star Bellydancer Canada Competition on March 15. See our events page for more information!
In class news, the first term started this week and there is still space left in level 1 and 2 on Monday evening, Karma/PWYC Saturday at 11 and the Introduction to Bellydance Courses Wednesday at 7:30 and Saturday at 12:30. Please see the new pricing and payment options page, and also the Introduction to Bellydance Course page to learn more. Many of our students in Toronto and beyond take classes and workshops with Roula as an experienced artist but you can start as a baby, beginner belly dancer too!!
See you in the studio for the March/April term!
Posted in Bellydance,Classes,Om Laila,Performances,Toronto Bellydance | Tagged bellydance classes bellydance toronto Om Laila om laila studio performances Toronto
Posted on February 21, 2015
This week has been super exciting for us at Om Laila Studio. For one thing, we finally launched the new website, which has been in design + development since January. If you are in Toronto and have always wanted to take belly dance classes, the new website should make finding and purchasing classes very easy. We have also added a new Introduction to Bellydance Course on Saturday at 12:30 pm. Here’s the link to the Intro Course in the shop.
In other class related news, the new term is starting in just over a week! Please see the new schedule and register for your classes soon to reserve a spot.
Prepping for Performances!
On the events side of studio happenings we have been VERY busy preparing for performances. Roula, Kaleena, Shaila and Liz recently performed a funny skit and drum solo at the Sarah Skinner and the Sisters of Salome’s fundraiser Be Bine or Bite Me on February 13. It was a fun night spent with new and old friends!
Upcoming performance prep includes the Hip Hip Hooray Cabaret that is next Saturday, Feb 28th and the biggest Bellydance Choir undertaking yet, the Star Bellydancer Canada competition on March 15 (21 days away!). The piece we are performing has been evolving and refining since last summer.
The Bellydance Choir is also making their own costumes and rehearsing for an extra 1-2 hours together every week. We thank them for their hard work and dedication. Even if we all fall off the stage and come in last place we have all been making progress as individuals, and as a group, and that’s already a huge success!
See our events page for more information about these performances.
We do have permanent studio fairies but in addition, the Om Laila students are also crafty and resourceful fairies that always help to make the studio better for everyone by bringing in decoration, snacks for the back-to-back-to-back classes, painting (the stairs in the studio were painted entirely by long-time students!), cleaning and making fabulous and practical items like a hanging business card holder and fancy, fuzzy boards for choir songs!
Thank you students for caring so much about everyone and the space. We appreciate your generosity but most of all we appreciate your presence. You are all bright lights and shiny stars
Posted in Bellydance,Classes,Performances,Toronto Bellydance | Tagged bellydance classes bellydance toronto performances Toronto
Thank you again for arranging all to bring your insights, movement and song to Wyldwood Sojourn.
I think you stirred something ancient in us…something to re-member (that was dis-membered) This work stirred our souls’ ancient memories and awakened the potential to re-develop the power to heal ourselves, with the deep nurturing wisdom of the feminine path, that is at the same time, lighthearted, sensuous and playful..
…Your retreat was so much loved and you are certainly wanted back. Jesse is integrating it into her life and her husband wants to learn the Seven Waves too. I have 2 other men who may also come.
The music aspect was cherished as well.
So thank you for squeezing us in to your schedule!