Two options you can choose from this time!
1) a choreography or structured improvisation you have already been working on to a recorded piece of music, that you want to bump up to the next level of amazing...
2) raise up your improvisation skills in front of an audience, to prepare for an upcoming performance with live music, or to feel more prepared to GO FOR IT at the next opportunity!
*ANY* STYLE PIECE IS WELCOME!!
Traditional, fusion, experimental, folkloric, lyrical, stylin', comedic, romantic, meditative, dark, fun-lovin'... you pick!
We all feel a little extra stress when we need to get ready for a high-stakes performance,
Even more so if it’s something new for us, like a new piece or a new type of piece or our first time doing a solo. Dancers who are experienced professional performers feel the pressure too — sometimes even more.
What was really confirmed for me in the first two runs of the BYB coaching series (and in the 15 years prior as I honed my special solo-within-group coaching format) is the awesome power of group support for a dancer's solo journey. It may seem like a strange set-up, to receive private coaching lessons in front of other dancers, and have that actually feel comfortable. But it really works, and I think it's a big reason why many previous attendees return to my coaching series. It can really help you to advance faster, having the support of the group alongside my tailored, specific feedback. It will the confidence to soar on your wings.
Feel like you might be judged?
Dancers may feel (or at least fear) judgment from their peers in the dance community or members of their classes. They may not always feel the support from their peers that is necessary to get to the next level. They may feel "held in a box" by the opinions of others. Or they feel they can’t share themselves fully onstage, for fear of being judged. Maybe they don’t even feel welcome.
They may even be such perfectionists that they feel they’ll never be as good as they want to be. These feelings can keep talented people from sharing their art… not being able to realize their full potential. And honestly, what a shame that is.
If you have any of these concerns, BYB will help you to open up your perspective, to find a deeper sense of confidence and control that will satisfy both you and your audiences. Not fake smiles. Genuine feeling.
Would you like to have a focused experience of preparing for performance, no matter what your performance goals, where the goal is NOT to judge you but to fully empower you?
…with HONEST FEEDBACK that doesn’t traumatize you, because it’s delivered with respect for your capability to progress and reach your goals?
…with PERFORMANCE TOOLS that are tailored to your needs, your level, and your personality?
....where you are inspired by the progress and SUPPORT OF YOUR FELLOW DANCERS to reach for new heights in your own work?
You are ready for this.
This online series is based on my successful Performance Prep coaching series model, specifically geared towards preparing for a live performance, which I ran for more than a decade in New York City, inspired by my experiences in numerous acting classes. This model I have converted into an online group program. The BYB series will enable you to work towards specific dance performance goals whether your performance is in a few weeks or in several months. It’s quite simple: You will make extraordinary progress as a performer within the period of our course. If you are ready for that, if you are ready to BRING YOUR BEST, no matter what level you are at, then join us! I’ll give tailored feedback to dancers of all styles and levels of experience, and help you make powerful and comfortable choices in showcasing your work, for a hafla, stage show, or competition.
And what if you don’t have upcoming performance plans, but you still want to join in the fun?
Don’t worry: Even if you don’t have a specific performance to prepare for, you can join in our online showcase after the close of the series, for all the Bring Your Best! dancers ready to participate.
The Fall (Sept-Dec) 2018 BYB will be longer than the previous BYBs, to allow for...
1) more time to watch and absorb all the content packed into the other dancers' live and recorded feedback sessions, in addition to your own;
2) more time to keep up the fantastic web of support by sharing positive feedback with each other;
3) more time to accommodate any schedule challenges like trips or shows you are involved with during the series; and of course
4) more time for making your own major transformation. We'll also be formalizing the "final show" version of your piece so that you can get some final feedback from me on it.
We already have several of the satisfied pioneers from the first Bring Your Best! series getting excited for this one... and I'm excited to have you join this group too
If it's your first time in my coaching series, you can get a sense of how the process goes, by witnessing the work of series veterans who will present first, and then preparing your own video. Join as early as you can, to be part of watching others' work, even if you need a little extra time to record your own first video. If you are brand-new to working with me, I would encourage you to pick a piece you are already a little familiar with, but that you want to do something new with or just develop and take that piece to the next level, but if you have your heart set on a new piece, it's certainly do-able! If you really want to prepare for improvisational performance, you can apply yourself to freeing up your patterns and approaching your music fresh each time - even with different songs each round if you choose.
If you are not sure which option is best for you, we can touch base over email or in a short phone consultation to determine the best goals for you right now. Just reach out to email@example.com or to me on Facebook (personal profile Ranya Renee or within the Ginger City Community group) to set up a meeting!
Here are some words from some of the amazing dancers I've been lucky to work with:
“In my opinion, my dance has catapulted to a whole new level since the first Baladi Coaching session. I’ve felt the difference in my performances over the summer and also felt it contributed to very positive outcomes in my first solo competitions. People (including judges) have shared great feedback and those who know me more personally have commented that they almost didn’t recognize my dancing. One actually said, “Did magic fall into your head or something?” Now, I’ve also worked hard mentally during this time and listen to several audio books that were complimentary to improving mindset BUT my decision to do Ranya’s program WAS the catalyst for my new approach to dance, physically and mentally. She is extremely in-tune and insightful so she challenges you to step out of your comfort zone in a way that isn’t too much. It’s a little scary but you can see she believes in you and wants you to be your best you so your feel safe in your attempts. The group setting also offers you great insights. You get to observe others challenging themselves and can observe how it all can apply to you in some way. I don’t think I would’ve gotten as much from private sessions as I did from the group set-up. Highly recommend this class to anyone who wants to level up their dance!
– Raena of Dallas-Ft. Worth (Ricki Lascody)
Before I met Ranya I felt like I wanted to speak but I had no voice. Through Ranya’s coaching methods she has taught me how to unlock my potential and become a really effective performer and artist. Now I feel like I can truly connect with myself, my audience and share my voice through my dance. Learning how to dance from my core, how to focus my attention and use of breath work through Ranya’s methods has really transformed my dance. I cannot recommend Ranya enough. If you truly want to invest in your dance and take it to another level, invest in Ranya, you won’t regret it!
—Roslyn Hart, New Zealand
“If anyone out there is looking to deepen your understanding of raks baladi and taqsim baladi in particular, I highly recommend online coaching with Ranya Renée. Her two DVDs Bellydance Egyptian Style: The Baladi and Bellydance Taqasim: Improvisation Skills and Drills are excellent introductions but taking it a step further to live, online coaching will help you connect with the joyous, spontaneous, earthy, roots of the more stylized and elegant dance that we see on stage and know as raqs sharqi. I really appreciated how positive Ranya’s critique was for myself and everyone else. Not once did I feel threatened or judged. She created a very safe and supportive atmosphere and I appreciate that she shared some of her own personal struggles and process. I also liked working an a small group for the conference sessions. At first I was intimidated to be critiqued in front of others, but as we got going I found it was helpful to see everyone else being critiqued too. Often the concepts and skills they were working on were applicable to me personally, and I was able to listen to and evaluate all the critique in a more objective way than when it was just my own feedback, if that makes sense. I LOVED seeing other’s personalities and musicality come through their dance. It was inspiring and made me that much more excited about my own creative process and interpretation.”
– Bobbie, Victoria, BC
“Would just like to say how much I enjoyed working with Ranya on her initial coaching class. I am not a tech person but learned a lot about taping my routine.. submitting it to her for critique….video conference..etc. Don’t let any fears on the tech side stop you from signing up… If I can manage it anyone can! The one-on-one part of the coaching was excellent as was working in the group…The first time I met everyone online was a little nerve-wracking as I didn’t know what to expect, but as the course went on these sessions became a favorite part of the experience. I have no problems in highly recommending this course and feel my dancing improved a lot in a short time.” – Jim, Saskatchewan
“Baladi Coaching Series was an amazing tool to improve my Baladi technique! I am very lucky to have had the opportunity to receive direct feedback from Ranya Renee about my Baladi: what I’m doing, what to keep, and what to practice/improve. It was wonderful to share with other dancers around the world during the live sessions and be able to receive feedback from them as well. I definitely saw improvement in my dance after every session! Thanks very much!” – Katiuska Alvarado, Australia
“It was such a wonderful experience taking Ranya’s online Baladi coaching. She is an excellent teacher with her pool of knowledge and patience….What I enjoyed was the fun dance learning communication across the globe and the stack of pointers that she gave to each students.” – Evelyn Wong, Singapore
Participants in my in-person New York City Performance Prep and the first Bring Your Best! online coaching series have said that my coaching series “adds up to much more than the sum of its parts” and that the group sharing really enhances the learning experience… I think you’ll agree!
If you haven't already taken Breathwork for Performance, you can get access to it at a reduced rate of $99 (current regular rate $199), or get extra time access for the videos if you took the course this spring, so you can refer back. Look for this option AFTER you checkout for the course in the shopping cart (links below). Breathwork for Performance is an integral part of my coaching method, so it's a natural pairing with the Bring Your Best! coaching series. You will be absorbing and applying these concepts to accelerate your progress in the series. You can gradually absorb and integrate this work into your piece with plenty of reinforcement of these powerful practices. Calming your nerves, preparing to go out onstage, settling into yourself, connecting with your music, connecting with your space, connecting with your audience, self-acceptance and "uplift," letting go of self-doubt or feelings of judgment from others... ALL OF IT will be in there for you, with practice you can directly apply to your performance piece for the coaching series!
(I've decided to make these mini courses part of the series for fall, and will record them live around the time of the meet-and-greet meetings so you can join in!)
Get your act together from the beginning by mapping your music! This short and practical video training is INCLUDED as a bonus for Bring Your Best! coaching series members, so you'll have a starting point if you need some inspiration for this important part in the Performance Prep process! You'll see how I map my own music when preparing to work on a piece for a performance or for a class I'm teaching, how I count the rhythmic cycles, find the phrasings, and assign imagery to melodic sections to help me distinguish each in a unique way. If you have been procrastinating about approaching your music, then, my friend, procrastinate no longer, with this easy-start method!
(I've decided to make these mini courses part of the series for fall, and will record them live around the time of the meet-and-greet meetings so you can join in!)
Learn powerful techniques for WORKING THE STAGE, no matter what kind of stage you are performing on. Putting your attention towards your use of the space, awareness of body line, and how to manage the invisible lines of energy between you and your audience... you'll learn practical tools for creating floor patterns and choreography, as well as how to set your piece with a connection to the audience (and to the band if you are working with live musicians). I will break down how you can change the way you set your piece appropriately for theater stage (raised or not raised), or restaurant/club, or even less formal settings. This video training is INCLUDED as a bonus for Bring Your Best! coaching series members, to help you set your plans in motion on stage...and not freak out about choreography!
During the registration period, once you sign up, you'll be added to the Facebook group and then get right into the loop to start working on your series goals and watching the preparation videos. The earlier you sign up, the better... the more time you'll have to start planning what you want to do in the series...but you can join anytime up to the third week in September. I'm setting up this series as a payment plan so just a deposit will be needed to get you started.
Don't worry if you need to miss a week or more during the series: you can adjust your sessions accordingly and make-up sessions are available.
The exact meeting slots will be arranged between us once we open discussion in the group. So don’t worry if you are in Europe or Asia or “down under” – We’ll be able to find times that work for you and at least some others! We'll coordinate among group members in the Facebook group, so you'll always have a buddy with you at your meeting, usually more than one. And of course... it's all recorded and shared privately just for course members, so you can catch up after on others' coaching sessions, even when you can't make it on the videoconference live.
We start meeting in the private Facebook group or forum first, to meet-and-greet and set goals; your first video will be submitted after the first meet-and-greet meetings (returning coaching members are encouraged to submit theirs early, even before the meet-and-greet if you can and are ready).
***NOTE! THE SCHEDULE BELOW WAS THE SUMMER (July-Aug) SCHEDULE - FOR REFERENCE ONLY. ****
I'm working on the fall schedule, and here's how it will be different from this summer schedule you see below:
The fall BYB will be more spread out, with groups of dancers submitting or presenting in alternate weeks to spread out the work for you and for me, and to give dancers new to the series a chance to see some of the returning BYB "veterans" in action first, to get the hang of things. Dancers who are returning to my coaching series will be asked to record and present first, before the new folks. New members will also be paired with returning BYBers for accountability buddies, so don't worry, we've got your back! And if you have a busy time during the series time frame, or a week or two where you are traveling or in show prep mode, you can adjust your sessions around that - we can accommodate. Sometimes people double-up and do two meetings in one week when close to a show deadline, sometimes people spread them out if they need to. We plan around people's schedules as much as possible in advance, but even if something comes up last minute (like illness) we can generally work around it.
SUMMER 2018 SCHEDULE.... FOR YOUR REFERENCE ONLY
(FALL SCHEDULE WILL BE POSTED HERE SOON AND WILL BE MORE SPREAD OUT, FROM MID-LATE SEPTEMBER THROUGH EARLY-MID DECEMBER).
PRE-SERIES PREP: Online forum discussions to get us started, watching my training videos and asking any related questions, setting personal goals for the series; learning how to work with the technology of the live meeting service, making sure you have decent equipment and internet connection for smooth participation; learning how to upload your videos to either YouTube or Vimeo.com if you are not tech-savvy. We’ll also set the series meeting time slots. If you have previously done BYB or my Baladi Coaching Series, and want to submit your first video during this period, this is recommended, and you can be among the first to share your feedback in the group, showing the new folks what it's like!
WEEK 1 (scheduled group meetings in early July and as people join during the summer): First live meet-and-greet meetings; if you are new to the series, this is where you'll be working on your first video, to submit one week after the meet-and-greet. Your piece should be no more than 5:30 in length, but you can also do a portion of the piece if it is longer than that. Prepare your Round 1 videos via link to me by email - we can coordinate your video submission dates with your schedule for the series.
WEEK 2 (by mid July): Check out the feedback videos in the secret Facebook group from your early-submitting peers. Submit your videos. I review your Round 1 submitted videos and send you feedback: These videos that I make will include 1) your video without commentary, then 2) my commentary on it and feedback for you, then 3) me giving you synchronized audio feedback over your video to point out specifics. I'll send it to you by email (shared via Google Drive) for you to download and keep forever! You watch your feedback video and (optionally) share it with the group (or I can post it, with your permission). Then you can also watch others' feedback videos, and give supportive and SPECIFIC feedback to others based on my guidelines for giving feedback (training video and discussion for this). This process has been improved for 2018, and it has been so wonderful to enjoy all the sharing in the latest coaching series!
WEEK 3 (mid-late July): First live solo coaching session meetings using my conferencing service – each dancer gets 35-40 minutes of focused time, while others witness and support. These meetings last 1.5-2.5 hours depending on how many dancers are doing slots that day - with slightly longer sessions in this series, we'll limit it to 2-3 dancers each meeting. If you are not dancing that day, you still can attend and watch. If you can’t attend, you can watch the recording of the video after I post it to a private page for group members only. The more of these you can watch, the more you will benefit, though you are not required to watch them all. You'll have the chance to tell each other what you most enjoy about each other's work, and take notes for your own work!
WEEK 4 (by 3rd or 4th week of July, or earlier if you wish): Following your goals for this round, you submit your Round 2 video, upload it (to a private or unlisted page) and submit the link to me so i can review it.
WEEK 5 (by end of July): I review your Round 2 videos and send feedback videos back to you; you can post your videos and watch others’ shared videos too
WEEK 6 (end of July and early August) Round 2 live meetings
WEEK 7 (by early-mid-August, or earlier if you wish): Following your goals for this round, you submit your Round 3 video, upload it (to a private or unlisted page) and submit the link to me so i can review it.
WEEK 8 (by mid-August): I review your Round 3 videos and send feedback videos back to you; you can post your videos and watch others’ shared videos too
WEEK 9 (end of August) Round 3 live meetings to close out the series! I'm going on a trip after August 30, so we will try to have everyone's sessions wrapped up before then!
It is ok to have your live and recorded meetings for any round in the opposite order, like doing live first then recorded. If you have a question about which is better for you, just let me know!
POST-SERIES: Wrap-up and final assessments, and looking ahead to what is next for you in your development based on your progress and remaining goals! We’ll also finalize the plans for video sharing as part of the online showcase of your work, for all of you that want to join, with either recorded performances from your shows or videos recorded just for a group showcase to share with each other.
Access to the video trainings will be for the duration of the series plus 30 days, so you will have time to re-visit any sections you want to, after the official close of the series.
Q: I love the idea of this… but I have a show deadline BEFORE the completion of the series! Can I accelerate my progress and my feedback sessions so I’m ready for my show?
A: You can do it! We can arrange for you to double up your recorded and/or live meetings leading up to your live show. No problem at all. And you can still attend others’ meetings and support their work right through to the end, and also let us know how your performance went!
I have found, in my almost fifteen years of running targeted coaching series, that the 6-8 weeks period is quite practical: short and focused enough to create a strong drive in participants to challenge themselves, and yet long enough to see real progress—it amazes me every time how people just step up to their next level. For this series, I decided to spread things out a little more to allow for the greater complexity in your pieces and more time to enjoy and absorb others’ work too. But you can definitely get your sessions done early if you need to, and still watch others’ progress in their remaining sessions!
Q: This sounds a little “hi-tech” for me… I’m new to video sharing and web conferences. How do I know if I have the right equipment and skills for this?
A: If you are not super-technical, don’t worry! We can help you get set up. In fact, some previous series participants have learned how to use a webcam and how to do video uploading through preparing for this coaching series! So I know it is possible to bring you quickly into the digital age, if you are not already there. The conferencing service also has its own online tutorials, and you can even test your equipment with them before starting the series to be sure you are set up and ready to go for the live meetings (it’s pretty easy!).
If you are concerned about privacy, your links can be password-protected if you wish (by using a free account on Vimeo.com you can get several sharing options including password-protection, for example) or shared by private links.
A webcam (either on your computer or your phone’s camera) is needed for live video feedback, but even if you don’t have this set up, or if you prefer to have us look at your video in the live session instead of dancing live, you can still participate by submitting video in advance for me to give feedback on during the live session. It’s ideal to be on the call via video so we can see you, but if you need to audio-call in on a particular day, you can do that: My conferencing service offers the option to call in and has country-specific phone numbers if you need them.
Many computers have a built-in webcam that is decent, but you may have more flexibility and better quality with a separate webcam. I have found from my own experience that the popular Logitech C920 HD (currently around $50 online, but you may find it cheaper too–just make sure it’s that model) has great quality, even for capturing dance (which not all webcams can do as well, since most are oriented towards more “talking head” uses.
Lighting matters! Make sure you are not "backlit" when recording or in a live session, and I'll be providing some helpful advice on this before the start of video submissions, for those of you who are new to the world of online coaching!
Q: When are the live meetings and how long are they? I don’t see specific dates and times for those yet….
A: These will be scheduled and set after people start to sign up, so that there are at least 3 meetings per time slot over the course of the series, and they will run between about 1.5 and 2.5 hours per session, depending on number of participants per meeting who have their dedicated time during that meeting. Basically, we arrange the meetings at times that are convenient for small groups of members, even if people are on the other side of the world from me! Other coaching series participants can also join as observers to witness the work and take notes. For each session we will have a minimum of two participants, so you have someone (besides me!) there to witness your work. Most of the big learning happens when you are watching each other, actually! So this has become a key element in my coaching method, and past participants have agreed that this makes the learning process even more effective than private coaching.
Previous online Coaching Series time slots, for example, that have worked well were Wednesday nights and Saturday and Sunday afternoons and evenings in Eastern Time – New York; you can look at http://timeanddate.com to convert to your time zone; World Time Buddy is a great app for iPhone too for keeping track of times in other zones) but we can definitely have different times to accommodate whoever signs up. This has been easier than it sounds!!! I’ll suggest some potential times, see who is free, then add new times if needed to get a consensus. Facebook polls have been useful for this process. Because it’s a very small group, it’s been relatively easy to find a handful of times that fit everyone in the series. And remember you will have the option for a makeup too, if you are missing any dates.
We’ll finalize exact times together after you register and we’ll narrow down the times in polls so that everyone can attend at least one meeting live per round so they can dance live (or show their prepared video), and then of course you can watch the other meetings’ recordings the day after the meeting was held.
In the past coaching series, we have had members from across the USA, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Sweden, and Germany. We manage to find times for at least a few people to meet live, and we all catch up in the Facebook group in sharing and watching videos and feedback. Even two participants plus me can witness each other’s work, but we’ll try for more people in each time period. Some meetings may be longer than others. All meetings will be recorded so you can catch them later if you have to miss one.
Q: I can’t make every live meeting in my preferred time slot, or I might have to leave early or arrive late for one or two. Can I still join the series?
A: Yes! It’s best if we know your plans by the time we start the meeting, just so we’ll know if you are arriving late or leaving early….that way it’s not a surprise, but this has not been a big deal. I’ll have your sound and video muted when you join the meeting, automatically, so it won’t be disruptive if you need to join late on occasion. I recommend that people be there for at least two of three sessions of others’ meetings (in addition to watching and commenting on their shared videos and progress) so you get to know the work of the others and they get to know your work. In general, people try to attend as much as they can because they learn so much each time, and it’s fun to be there for each other live when possible. But the recordings are a good way to catch up too. I’ll arrange for a makeup session at the end of the series, if needed, for anyone who still needs to make up a meeting, based on your schedules.
Q: I’m not on Facebook and I don’t really want to join it… Can I still participate in the series’ discussions?
A: In the past, series members who didn’t want to have their real identity on Facebook for whatever reason did set up a “pseudonym” profile so that they could still participate in the group, and that seemed to work out fine for them. There are ways to share discussions and videos apart from Facebook too though, so don’t worry, you can still participate and we can accommodate that. Facebook does offer some easy, accessible functionality for people who are on it regularly or who know to check it, so it’s ideal if everyone can do it, but we can work around that if needed, for sure, and we are able to share videos through direct email links easily too. I am planning a new forum for my website but for now we'll use the Facebook group and just try to accommodate video sharing for anyone averse to FB. 🙂
Got questions not answered here?
Contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook via my personal Ranya Renee profile or the Ginger City Community group page. I will be making myself available for phone or video meetings with dancers who are seriously considering series participation and who have specific questions they want to ask before joining.
Pay-in-full and installment plan options available. Limited to *15 registrants* for the BYB fall (Sept-Dec 2018) coaching series.
As soon as you join, you can start talking with me about your piece and your plans... or if you need help with your direction for the series!
Then we’ll add you to the secret Facebook group where you can meet the other participants and start discussing your goals for our time together! We’ll start discussing available time slots for the first live meetings. And we’ll also go over tech requirements and answer questions to make sure everyone is all set up before we start the live meet-and-greet meetings and coaching sessions.
After you register, you’ll also be given access to the online videos and links to welcome materials, which will be on a page on my website, with any PDFs or other materials added there over the course of the series too. Then you can start prepping and getting excited about the series!!! You’re going to love it.
Pay-in-full and installment plan options available.
This run of Bring Your Best! registration is limited to *15* dancers, for maximum personal attention and a tight community of support on your journey.