How I Improve My Improv

Tips and Tricks for Your personal practice + New Mini Lesson Reveal!

Hello! It’s been a while since I’ve written! I took a 9 month break from teaching, performing, and writing to adjust to life since COVID as well as get married and start a new chapter in my life with my husband and step kids! It’s been a wild yet amazing ride!

During all this time I still have been practicing, mostly working on my improvisation and focusing on small details that add texture, depth, and ooey gooey-ness to my movement.

I want to share some tips and tricks that I use to improve my improv and bring depth to my practice! This is essentially a breakdown of my own practice and also how I coach my students!

At the end of this post I will also post a video and short breakdown of my own practice footage using the concepts I outline below.

Pick a move, any move! For my practice video I chose two sets of moves to improv together: interior hip circles (omis), hip slides, and shimmies. I warmed up by drilling these movements at various speeds then put on a song I love and got moving.

Once you have a few movements in mind and you’ve warmed up, play with directions, what does your movement look like on the frontal plane? Sagittal plane? Transverse plane? Going up, going down? Side to side? What happens when you layer one of your movements over the other? So on and so forth. Once core concept here is to explore and play without judgment!

You’ll see what I mean in my practice video practice below. I played with directions such as horizontal hip slides punctuated with soft shimmies of varying cadences, slow then quick omis, sometimes with level changes. I let the music dictate the cadence of my movement. The song I chose is “Maoud Pt. 2” from Guy Schalom’s Album, Baladi Blues 3 (this is not an affiliate link).

This is real, raw, unpolished video of my own practice. I did not want to curate this video because I want to lead by example- I don’t want you to expect perfection in your practice improv. Don’t squash your potential by being unnecessarily critical or perfectionist.

Now take a breathe, pick a song, and get practicing! I highly recommend you video your practice and review it! Be kind, be playful, and be gentle.

Drop a comment below to let me know what you think about this improv structure and anything else you’d like to know or learn.

I also LOVE seeing your videos so dm or tag me on IG @dancingsoleil to share how you put this concept into practice!

As always I’m also here to help you one on one.

To make one on one time easier to access and more affordable, I’ve developed new mini lessons. Get a 30 minute one on one class with me for $20. If you’re interested in this and it’s still out of your budget, contact me anyway to discuss options! I want you to dance and create. It’s my goal as a teacher and coach to work with you to remove barriers to your expression.

Happy dancing!

xoxo Kate

Kate Soleil holds a BA in Anthropology and English from the University of Virginia, is an Oriental Style Belly Dance Performer & Instructor, Social Worker, and Personal Trainer in training.

She’s dedicated her life to the study of her art, the creative process, and coaching others in personal and professional settings. She lives with her husband in Portland, Oregon, is a proud cat mama, an avid book worm and knitter.

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