Dear Dance Geek,

 

I like you best.

Like moms, coaches aren’t supposed to have favorites. And I do love all my clients and students in different ways.

 

But I have to admit it:

If they were making a movie called “Nadira’s Choice” and I had to pick one kind of person to work with for the rest of my life, it would be you.

Your enthusiasm, energy, and burning desire to learn are what make me want to work through the night.

(I almost said “make me want to get out of bed in the morning”, but that would be a lie. I am just not a morning person.)

I love dance geeks

I love geeks the most.

 

So I think about you a lot.

I spend a lot of time thinking about what I can do to help you shine on stage, satisfy your lust for learning, and be your best geeky self.
 

Because I do my best, most exciting work when I make it for you.

 

 

Here’s What I Want for You:

 

Can you imagine:

       Knowing you can give a great performance to any music – even if you’ve never heard it before?

       Stepping on stage with a live band with happy anticipation, not terror?

       Never again turning down a performance because you don’t have a choreography prepared?

       Experiencing that amazing moment when you melt into the music and just create?

       Someday teaching your students how to be confident, fabulous improvisers – because you understand how improv works?
 

Because it’s possible.

 

Heather Wayman“It has given me the confidence to dance to live music for the first time.”

This course has TOTALLY changed the way I view improvisation. I never really did improv before because I was too much of a planner. I’m much more confident now because I know I have the tools to create great improvisation with any music that I encounter.

Heather Wayman


 

That’s why I created my flagship program:

 

Be Amazing in the Moment

Mentoring for Improvisation Mastery

 

In three months, you will crank up your improvisation-meter from “terrified” to “can’t wait!”

Your head will swell with a delicious understanding of the principles and skills behind great improv.
 

But wait a sec: Understanding? Principles? Skills?

That doesn’t sound very creative, right?

It seems counter-intuitive, but by learning these skills analytically, you can let go and dance intuitively.  You’re going to understand these tools and  train your body to use them in the moment, without having to think so hard.

 

Just like you no longer have to concentrate to do a clean hip drop, these skills will flow naturally.  

(And if you do still have to focus to do a hip drop, you’re not ready for this program yet. It is designed for advanced students and professionals.)

 

Learn from the head, so you can dance from the heart.

Learn from the head, so you can dance from the heart.

I want you to have that.

I want you to have the knowledge in your head, and the skills in your body, so you can let go and just dance.
Because that’s amazing.

 

So How Do We Get There?

 

Sure, the destination sounds good, but how the heck do you get there?

The most common way to “teach” improv is to put on some music and say “okay, now dance”.

 

That’s like teaching you to swim by throwing you into the deep end.

It actually works, if the student and teacher are persistent enough. But the trial-and-error method is terrifying, it takes forever, and you never really learn how improvisation works. So when it’s time to teach your own students, the only tool you have is “okay, now dance” – and the cycle starts all over again.

 

Being a geek, I knew I could do better.

So I reverse-engineered my own improvisation process, and figured out exactly what skills go into great improvisation. And then I designed a step-by-step curriculum, so you can learn each skill individually, in manageable chunks.

 

So what are those skills, exactly?

Nadira's Graduation

My degrees are in ocean engineering, not reverse-engineering, but I'm still pretty good at it.

 

Access Your Movement Vocabulary

When I ask dancers about their improv challenges, the #1 response is accessing their movement vocabulary.  
They’ve learned dozens of moves, but once they step on stage, they draw a blank, and end up repeating the same few moves. (One client called this “dancer’s amnesia”.)
 

This is a good thing.
Yes, really!  Your brain knows that you’re under pressure, so it makes the decision process easier for you by offering you only a few choices.

 

So instead of fighting it, we’re going to make friends with your safety moves.

You’re going to learn easy techniques for making your safety moves gorgeous and interesting. Once your brain trusts that you can give a good performance using just those moves, it will relax and let you access the rest of your movement vocabulary.

We’ll even cover some techniques for accessing the rest in the most efficient way possible.

Best friends

Your safety moves will become your best friends.

 

Create Interesting Combinations on the Fly

Next, we’ll want to organize all that yummy vocabulary into combinations. This is easy when you’re creating choreography, but not so easy in the moment.

You’ll learn a variety of frameworks that you can use to create interesting combinations on the fly. These are easy-to-use recipes based on the same structures you find in the music.

All you have to do is add some movements, and voila – logical, interesting, musical combos.

 

Use Repetition for Good, Not Evil

Repetition is not a four-letter word.

(It’s ten letters, actually.)

Sure, too much repetition is boring, but too little repetition (scribbling) is actually worse: your audience can’t follow your train of thought, and stops paying attention. So they get bored AND feel dumb because they can’t keep up. (Not good.)

So you’ll learn tools for keeping repetition fresh and holding the audience’s interest.

Tools you can use on the fly, with no pre-planning.

I started to be evil, but then I got better.

Stop using repetition for evil.

 

Add Dimension to Your Moves

We’ve all seen complex combinations that were totally lack-luster, and simple ones that were spectacular. What makes the difference is dimension.

Dimension is how you use space, shape, time, and energy to make your dancing less, um, one-dimensional.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Use the stage like you own the place
  • Create exquisite poses and frames
  • Use timing variations to create variety (without adding more “stuff”)
  • Use different movement qualities to bring out all the luscious textures in the music

With these skills under your belt, even basic movements look rich and interesting.

 

Start Strong and End With a Bang

What the audience remembers most is how you begin your performance, and how you end it.

I’m not making this up: every dance teacher, music teacher, and theater coach I’ve ever had has told me this.

So you’ll learn how to grab the audience’s attention, set the mood, and warm them up for your show. You’ll also learn how to create dynamic endings that leave them wanting more.

Most importantly, you’ll learn how to predict when the music is going to end, and what to do when you’re wrong.

(Hint:  you meant to do that, and it was *awesome*.)

Ta da!

Start and end your show with style.

 

Understand the Structure of Middle Eastern Songs

One of the biggest challenges of improv is predicting what the music is going to do next. You may notice that the music is repeating, but not be able to predict when it’s going to change, or what it’s going to change to.

But most of the songs we dance to fall into three basic structures. You’ll learn what those structures are, learn strategies for dancing to them, and practice doing all of this in the moment.  

We’ll even do it with mystery music, so you’ll know you can cope.

 

Understand the Components of Middle Eastern Music

When you ask a seasoned dancer how to improvise, she’ll tell you to “just listen to the music.”

That’s great advice, but it isn’t useful advice.

Because nobody ever tells you how to listen.

Middle Eastern music is complicated.

On the one hand, that’s awesome: it gives us so much to work with. But it’s also very easy to get overwhelmed.

So we’re going to break the music down into individual components, so we can make sense out of it.

You’ll learn:

  • The six components of the music (there’s a lot more than the rhythm and melody!)
  • How to listen for them
  • How to dance to them
  • How to dance to more than one at a time (and when not to)
Shh, listen:  I love this song.

Listening is a skill in itself.

 

Troubleshooting Music That Doesn’t Do What You Expect

Musicians are pranksters.

They delight in setting up patterns in the music, and then just when you think you know what’s coming next, they hit you with something unexpected.

They don’t do this because they’re jerks. They do this because it makes the music more interesting.  It would get boring if they didn’t shake things up.

But this means that, if you want to give a musical performance, you need to be ready for the expected AND the unexpected.

You’ll learn:

  • When the music tends to change
  • Common ways that the music fakes you out
  • Two spiffy techniques for recovering when you guess wrong

 

Summary

That’s a lot, huh?
 

But don’t worry. We’re going to break it down into nice, doable chunks:

Step 1: Access your movement vocabulary in the moment.
Step 2: Create interesting combinations on the fly.
Step 3: Use repetition for good, not evil.
Step 4: Start and end with a bang.
Step 5: Use space to command the stage.
Step 6: Use poses and frames to make even simple moves look exquisite.
Step 7: Use timing to create rich texture in your moves.
Step 8: Use different movement qualities to bring out textures in the music.

Then we take a break from new material, and spend a week integrating and applying all this awesome stuff.

Step 9: Identify and dance to different components of Middle Eastern music.
Step 10: Identify and improvise to the most common song structures.
Step 11: Deal with music that doesn’t do what you expect – without letting the audience know.

Then we take a full two weeks to review what you’ve learned, work out any remaining kinks, and practice applying it in a performance context.
 

Why two whole weeks?

There’s a proverb from Papua New Guinea: “Information is just a rumor until it’s in the body”.  

I’m going to send you back out into the world with skills, not rumors.

 

How Are We Going to Do It?

 

Be Amazing in the Moment is a one-on-one, private program.

It’s just you and me, geeking out, and getting your improv worries solved for good.  

I will be there with you every step of the way to:

  1. Direct your learning.
  2. Hold your hand.
  3. Kick you in the bum (gently but as often as needed).
  4. Give you high fives.

 

This program is designed to be done online, with our live sessions done over Skype video chat.  But if you’re within driving distance of Boston, we can also work in person.  

High Five Dog

And I’ll be there to give it to you.


 

So what are all the pieces?

 

Kickstart Session

Before we start, we’ll have a short online session to get to know each other, discuss your goals, and get you comfortable working over Skype.
 

Brain Freeze Breakthrough Retreat

We’ll kick off the program with a Brain Freeze Breakthrough day-long retreat. You’ll learn how to stop drawing a blank on stage, and access your full movement vocabulary. Most importantly, you’ll get a running start on the program, so you can build some momentum. We’ll do this over Skype, or in person, if you’d like to come to Boston.

 

The Program Proper

BAM itself will be 15 weeks of intense practice and brilliant geekery.

This includes fourteen dancing weeks, and one week off (at the time of your choosing) to make room for vacations, rest, and any catching up you may want to do.

Aghh... brain freeze

The first step is to stop freezing up on stage.


 

Each week you will:

  • Watch a downloadable video lesson from the Be Amazing in the Moment System (This is where we’ll geek out on the concepts.)
  • Do daily assignments (These include five dancing days, one reflection day, and one day off. Most assignments will take about an hour, but some may take longer.)
  • Make daily entries in your online accountability and training journal – this helps you integrate your learning, and helps me keep you on track
  • Meet with me for a one-hour private coaching session. We’ll work on any questions or problems, and refine what you’ve learned this week. (I’ll also send you a video recording of each session, so you can focus on learning, not taking notes.)
  • Have priority email access for quick questions and feedback. (Don’t tell my mom, but you even get priority over her.)

 

Does that still sound like drinking from a firehose?

To make serious progress, you’re going to have to commit some serious time. If you sign up for this program, you’ll need to make it a priority, and carve out the time for it.

But if you have a day job, teach, dance with a troupe, and/or have kids, committing 6+ hours a week may not be practical.

 

So I also offer a half-speed version of the program.

The content is exactly the same, you just have twice as much time to complete it. So instead of working 6 days a week, you can do 3. Or you could work 6 days a week, but take it in smaller chunks. It’s up to you.

 

Wharrgarbl dog

It’s kind of like that. But doesn’t it look like FUN?

Closing Session

We’ll close out the program with a final Skype call.  
We’ll celebrate your success, discuss where you want to go from here, and create a plan for how to get there.

 

But wait, there’s more!

(I have always wanted to say that.)

Half the fun of designing a program like this is picking out the bonuses.
These are fun presents that will support you in your improvisation journey, but aren’t required parts of the program.

So you’ll also get:
 

DVDs of the video lessons

These will be provided upon completion of the program. These will be helpful if you want to review the material later on.
(They also make a nice memento and reminder of how much you’ve accomplished.)
 

The Improvisation Toolkit DVD series

My DVDs are a great way to help you structure your improvisation practice when you’re working on your own. You’ll get all volumes in the Improvisation Toolkit DVD series (even the ones I haven’t made yet – I’ll send those to you as they’re released).

 

One half-day retreat of your choice (Premium only)

These “continuing education” sessions can be done over Skype video, or live in Boston. You can choose from Zils in Improvisation, Song Mapping, or Imagery and Sensuality. To be used within 6 months of completing the program.  

Improvisation Toolkit Vol. 1 and 2

 

A video critique (Premium only)

Your progress doesn’t end when the program does. As you start applying your new skills “in the wild”, you’ll keep learning and developing. This video critique is a way to get feedback after the course, and help you continue to grow.
 

Eternal insider discount (Premium only)

You will also get a 5% discount on any dance products and trainings I release, ever. Anything. As long as it’s fully and legally mine to sell, you get it for less than everyone else. For as long as we both shall live.
 

Treats and surprises throughout the program

You’ll just have to wait to find out what these are…
 
 

Not too shabby, huh?

 

First class all the way

This kind of intense program is unheard of in the belly dance world, but it’s actually very common in other industries.  
They call them “platinum programs”.
 

The purpose of a platinum program is to help you accomplish something very big and very important to you.

 

Platinum programs are designed to provide:

       A step-by-step system: so you know that everything you do is taking you closer to your goal.

       Expert coaching: to help you get the most out of the material.

       Personal support: to turn to when you’re confused or scared.

       Accountability: to help you stay focused on your goal, even when you’re tempted to quit.

       Luxury and ease: so there are no “rough edges” to distract you from learning.

 

It’s kind of like flying first class.

I flew Virgin Atlantic’s “upper class” a couple of years ago, and it was exquisite. I usually leave a transatlantic flight feeling like a wrung-out washcloth, but this was a totally different experience.  The Virgin staff anticipated my every need, and created a comfy, distraction-free environment.

But I didn’t just have a lovely trip – I got an astounding amount of work done.   (In fact, I wrote the first outline of this program on that flight.)

 

I want you to have that first-class experience.

Yes, this will be a lot of work. (And, frankly, a lot of money too.) But you’re going to make a ton of progress in a short time.

And you’ll do it all in an environment of ease, grace, and support, with nothing to distract you from learning.

First class lolcat

I’ll do everything I can to make you comfortable.

 

When does it begin?

BAM is offered by appointment, but we’ll need 2-6 months notice to schedule it. So if you’re interested, apply now, even if you’re not ready to get started right away.

 

Why do I make you apply?  Why not just just give you a “buy now” button?

Because Be Amazing in the Moment is a pretty serious investment. For that to be worth it to you, improv has to be one of your top priorities. And not just a top dance priority; it has to be a top priority overall.

If the program isn’t perfect for you and your goals, or if you and I aren’t perfect for each other, I won’t let you waste your time and money.

Plus, BAM is pretty intense for me too, so I can only take two clients at a time.
 

I’m saving those spots for just the right people.

The kind of people who make me want to stay up all night working.

People like you.

People like Heather:
 

Heather with SwordThis program is super intense and I loved it!

I really needed someone to guide me through step by step and help make me accountable for my practice time and learning.

Nadira’s program is well-planned, super organized and methodical. The flow of the material and workload is such that you WILL get a total immersion experience into improvisation.

This course was just as thorough and intense (if not more so) than a lot of college level dance classes.

(Read Heather’s full account…)

 
 

Apply Now

 

If you’re bouncing in your seat thinking “pick me! pick me!”

Then let’s get your application started!

 

Here’s how the application process works:

       1) Read the program options below, and choose your package and payment plan.

       2) Submit the program application below.

       3) We’ll follow that with a Skype meeting to discuss the program, your goals, and your questions or concerns.

       4) If we both agree that BAM is a good fit for you, we’ll enroll you in the course. (I’ll send you a bill for the deposit at that time.)

 

Sound good?

 

What’s Included:

Basic Package
Premium Package
Be Amazing in the Moment 3-month coaching program

Bonuses:
DVDs of video lessons (worth $67)

Improvisation Toolkit DVD series (worth $60)

Half-Day retreat of your choice (worth $397)

Video critique (worth $297)

Eternal 5% VIP discount (priceless)

Price:
$2887 $3187

Two Payment Options:

Basic Package
Premium Package
Option 1: Deposit + One Payment (save $300 over the payment plan) $897 deposit + $1990 balance $897 deposit + $2290 balance
Option 2: Four Payments Full-speed:

$897 deposit + 3 payments of $767

Full-speed:

$897 deposit + 3 payments of $863

Half-speed:

$897 deposit + 6 payments of $383.50

Half-speed:

$897 deposit + 6 payments of $431.50

Apply Now 

 

(Feeling faint? I saw spots the first time I invested in a four-figure program, but it was some of the best money I ever spent. Just breathe deeply, put your head between your knees, and picture happy audiences.)

Pick me!  Pick me!

Feeling like this?


 

Is that a big chunk of change?

Yep. You could buy several Bellas instead.

 

Is it worth it?

Read Heather’s account, and decide for yourself.

Read Heather’s Testimonial

 

Am I open to other payment plans?

Certainly. If you’re 100% committed to the program but cash flow is an issue, we can work out another arrangement.

The price is not negotiable (and actually will go up in the future), but I can split the charge on multiple credit cards, or do a smaller deposit and larger monthly payments (or vice-versa).

If the size of the monthly payments is an issue, let me know. We can start you on a longer-term payment plan now, with a later program start date.
 

Are you suffering from Belly Dancer Sticker Shock?

THE OTHER BDSS

Raksinvestophobia (commonly known as “Belly Dancer Sticker Shock”) is the paralyzing fear of making a serious investment in your dance education.

 

Common symptoms include:

a) Physical or emotional distress when faced with prices higher than $100

b) Cumulatively spending thousands of dollars on small-ticket items (e.g., DVDs, classes, workshops, costumes), while avoiding larger investments.

This disease can be particularly debilitating when it keeps the dancer from opportunities that have been carefully investigated and deemed appropriate, valuable, and important.

 

Recommended treatment:

a) Breathe deeply

b) Evaluate whether the outcome is something you truly want. (e.g., do you feel that you “should” be able to improvise, but you would actually be happy just doing choreography)

c) Investigate the value of the outcome. (e.g., what is the value to you of being able to dance with live music, accept more gigs, experience melting into the moment, etc.)

d) Evaluate whether the opportunity is appropriate for you. (e.g., appropriate level, appropriate style, does it solve a pressing need?)

e) Investigate any non-financial concerns. (e.g., time commitment, not convinced of the efficacy of the program, etc.)

f) Consider the price and the process separately (“If this opportunity was a chip we could install in your brain, would you buy it?”)

 

I’m ready if you are…

 

If achieving improvisation bliss is really, truly important to you, then I’m ready to take a stand for you and your dreams.

This is my best work. I made it just for you, and I want you to have it.

 

Happy Dancing,

Nadira

 

p.s. And if you’re reading this page for the squillionth time, drop me a line. We clearly need to have a chat about what’s going on in your dancing and what you need to move forward.

I won’t ask you to commit to anything until you and I are both sure that this is right for you. And if not, I’ll be happy to help you find whatever it is that WILL meet your needs.
 

p.p.s. The photos of Heather are by Carl Sermon. The lolcat images are courtesy of I Can Has Cheezburger. You can click on an image to link back to the original.

Why lolcats? Because there’s a lolcat (or loldog) for everything. Because they’re a hallmark of geek humor. And because they’re a great litmus test: if you hate lolcats, you and I might not get along…
 
 

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