About the 8 Elements™
THE 8 ELEMENTS™ APPROACH TO BELLY DANCE
The 8 Elements™ is a process-centered approach developed by Rachel Brice. It is rooted in fusion, ATS®, and American Cabaret belly dance styles, other contemporary and ethnic dance forms, and viniyoga™.
The 8 Elements™ is a multi-phase training designed to impart a strong, creative and dynamic foundation to one’s belly dance practice, and as a way to complement and converse with the many belly dance styles. The intention of this student-centered approach is not to teach a set style of belly dance, but rather, seeks to explore the underlying architecture of many dance styles, honoring traditions, while encouraging discovery, excellence, innovation and joy.
Check out the video below for an inside look at the 8 Elements program and the objectives of each of the 4 phases.
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The 8 Elements Training Schedule can be found here.
The 8 Elements™ Instruction
The 8 Elements™ approach encompasses biomechanics, vocabulary development, improvisation, choreography, musicality, practice development, belly dance history, costuming, and performance preparation and experience. Participants of these intensives will come away with a toolbox of methods and concepts to improve technique, stimulate creativity, and build effective and dynamic dances, whether improvised or choreographed, solo or with others.
Recognition and Certification
The 8 Elements™ intensives are intended as an approach for exploration and development of one’s personal dance practice, with the opportunity to join a network of other practitioners and teachers who have displayed a degree of commitment and proficiency in the approach through testing for recognition at each phase and two culminating certifications: A Practitioner’s Certification and a Teaching Certification.
The Practitioner’s Certification will be offered for participants who complete Phases I - III, and who satisfy the requirements and testing for each phase. The Teaching Certification will be offered after the completion of the Practitioner’s Certification and Phase IV, the Teacher Training phase and its requirements. A document of recognition at each phase will also be provided for those who complete and have passed the testing for each phase. Participants who complete all phases and testing, earning the Teaching Certification, will be certified to teach the Datura Style™ approach. More information about Datura Style™ can be found here.
OVERVIEW OF EACH PHASE
Phase I: Initiation
Initiation, Phase I of the 8 Elements™ training, introduces and explores 8 key concepts building from the simple to the complex with the purpose of laying a foundation to unlock the "how" of dance making and healthy dance practice. Through Initiation, participants are introduced to the key concepts of the approach which encompass biomechanics, vocabulary development, improvisation, choreography, musicality, practice development, belly dance history, costuming, and performance preparation and experience. Participants in this intensive will come away with a tool box full of methods and concepts to improve technique, stimulate creativity, and begin to build effective and dynamic dances, whether improvised or choreographed, solo or with others.
Initiation is open to all levels of dancers, from the familiar beginner (1+ year of experience) to the seasoned performer seeking to strengthen the foundation of their dance.
Phase II: Cultivation
Cultivation, Phase II of the 8 Elements™ training, continues the focus on technique and creativity as engines for expression while expanding the dancer’s creative ‘toolbox’ for building a unique approach to vocabulary, musicality, adornment, improvisation, and choreography. This intensive goes deeper into the fundamentals of belly dance technique and yoga asana, exploring Rachel’s dance vocabulary, shared vocabularies, while practicing solo and group improvisation. Participants will create original combinations, expand proficiency in musicality and learn common Arabic rhythms, and explore design for adornment. Initiation is an overview of a well-rounded dance practice, and in Cultivation the approach is advanced and refined to support the dancer’s process of development and discovery.
Cultivation is open to dancers who have completed Phase I, Initiation or by accepted application.
Phase III: Culmination
Culmination, Phase III of the 8 Elements™ training, continues with the refinement of technique and musicality, and focuses on improvisation, choreography, and performance elements of belly dance. In addition to daily technique training, participants will create original compositional studies. We will discuss group rehearsal, challenges presented by rehearsal and performance, and optimal conditions for group work.
At the completion of Phase III, participants will receive a document recognizing them as Practitioners of the 8 Elements™ approach. They may then be eligible to register for Phase IV, Teacher Training, provided that they complete all requirements and have consistently displayed respectful and positive behavior toward other participants and themselves throughout all three intensives.
Primary objectives of Phase III:
- Honing Datura Style™ technique: Polishing and mastering technique to become a certified 8 Elements Practitioner
- Collaborative work: Gain experience with dance composition concepts, group rehearsal dynamics, and prepare for your final project composition
In Culmination, participants will:
- Practice compositional principles in collaborative groups to prepare for a final project
- Gain experience with solo improvisation
- Get feedback about technique and dance making skills
- Perform dance studies for the class
- Learn tons of Datura Vocabulary and experience group improvisation
- Drill technique studies and conditioning practices daily
- Participate in a morning discussion about group work, group dynamics, and critical response
- Have nightly homework that reinforces concepts from class. Topics include: Dance, Arabic music, kinesthetic learning, skill building, giving and receiving feedback, and collaboration
- Learn and dance with a densely-packed zil composition
Culmination is open to dancers who have completed Initiation and Cultivation.
Phase IV: Transmission
Transmission, Phase IV of the training, focuses on transmitting what has been learned from these trainings and other performance experiences to other dancers. Subjects will include demonstration, observation, corrections, different teaching styles and methods, ethics, positive communication, critique, inspiration vs. imitation, and the business of belly dance. Participants will also have the opportunity to gain hands on experience practicing teaching during the intensive.
In Transmission, participants will learn:
• teaching approaches for each of the 8 elements, including musicality and finger cymbals
• to teach Datura Technique Studies™
• to teach Datura Conditioning Sequences™
• classroom management strategies for groups
• effective unit planning
• curriculum design
• principles for creating your own sequences
Participants who complete all phases, projects, and testing, earning the Teaching Certification, will be certified to teach material from the Datura Style™ approach. More information about Datura Style™ can be found here.
Transmission is open to dancers who have completed testing and requirements for Initiation, Cultivation, and Culmination, or by accepted application.