Using The Belly Dancer’s Treasure Pack!

 

 

Using The Belly Dancer’s Treasure Pack!

By Guinevere Clark

The ultimate guide to using the Treasure Pack Cards - This article gives a fantastic introduction to the cards, what their ispiration was and tips on how to use them and all from the devloper herself, Guinevere. Please have a read....

The Belly Dancer’s Treasure Pack is an illustrated 58 Guidance Card Set and Book. It was produced and launched in 2011 from Baubo Press, a pioneering independent, rural Welsh publishing company in association with Baubo Belly Dance.

The pack was developed by myself, Guinevere, to honour and give you an easy way to explore the timeless benefits and joy that Belly Dance brings to women and audiences. Whether you are a part of a dance troupe, solo performer, teacher or beginner, this pack offers you unlimited inspiration! The cards are of top quality in their presentation with predominantly bespoke art work - giving you the feeling of complete indulgent luxury and also making it the ideal gift for belly dancers. Each card has an empowering affirmation and card description, guiding the reader further. It gives you a new resource for celebrating and developing Belly Dance practice and performance. The pack also gives you the bonus of a free workshop voucher and a free music download courtesy of the Bellydance Superstars who helped develop the product for market.

One point that has been raised by dancers is that they want more guidance on how to use the pack. I met Zara with her Zouk at a recent Belly Dance event in Wales and we discussed offering an article that included some tips, games and exercises to help people work with The Belly Dancer’s Treasure Pack either in classes, workshops at home or events  and here it is!

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An oracle type card deck provides the opportunity to work with chance and synchronicity. The idea is that you choose a card at a certain time as it has meaning and potential for you. Historically an oracle is a reflective tool, a source of wisdom and guidance. The Belly Dancer’s Treasure Pack is similar to many oracle card sets on the market such as Angel, Goddess or Unicorn cards but is the first illustrated card deck for Belly Dancers! Since its launch it has been used all over the world! 

 

 "I've been getting to know the Treasure Pack and found it fun and easy to use. It’s just a joy to sift through looking at the art-work. I've found the cards a useful tool for thinking about my dance more. It's like having a mini-instructor with you in some ways, highlighting areas you could start work on, develop and/or refine depending on where you are in your dance journey.  Lyza Chthonia. Tribal Fusion Dancer, Teacher and Performer. Majma Festival Rising Star Award Winner. Wales, UK."

The exciting thing about the cards is that they will empower you as a dancer. They will help you develop your dance and encourage you to be more creative. If you are a teacher they will help you to facilitate the creative process of making and expressing dance. Are you in a troupe? The cards offer a quick, easy route into devising group material as they allow everyone to share something from their card choices - no one will feel left out and the whole troupe will have contributed to the piece.

When you pick a card from the pack, be it randomly or consciouly, it fosters a personal connection and unique creativity and input can be developed from that starting point. It may begin with a gesture from the image, a shape or something that the card stimulates, like a a memory or link into movement style.

The Treasure Pack is based on a traditional card deck so it has four suits. I developed the suits with inspiration from Belly Dance costumes! So we have the visual index of;

  • SHELLS section - WATER.
  • COINS section - EARTH
  • GEMS section - FIRE
  • FEATHERS section - AIR

WATER/SHELLS

This suit covers SENSUALITY, LOVE and personal connections. These cards will help you nurture SELF-ACCEPTANCE and bringRELAXATION and ENCHNANTMENT into your dance.  With big cards like GODDESS and BIRTH this section offers great routes for exploring the Divine Feminine principles in our dance. You could use the WATER cards in pregnancy, post-natal or beginners groups. Cards likeCIRCLE and FLOW encourage gentle moves especially if you choose soft, relaxing music. This section is about freedom of dance, so thePLAY card is here and works well with any group! This card is vibrant and fun with an acrobatic dancer and a leaping cat! –

‘In performance add some play to your show. Use upbeat music. Bring improvisation, anticipation, exciting prop work or circus skills to your dance. Encourage audience participation with singing and clapping. Wear bright costumes and quirky accessories. Make your audience smile with clear projection of your own enjoyment.

With play comes flexibility and a willingness to surrender to the mystery and journey of the unknown – this is where we learn.’

 

 

COINS/EARTH

This suit emphasises grounding and structure in our dance and life with cards such as COMMUNITY, FEET and TRIBAL. My current classes drew on the SAIIDI card from this section. We used it to help our music choice and keep an overall style with the movement. Students randomly chose a card each and very quickly we were able to bring out some fun new stick work, group circle moves, partner sequences, considered gestures and strong footwork. Some of the cards chosen were GIFT andPYRAMID –

Use pyramids in your dance to create bold lines, structure and energy flow. Experiment with reaching towards a higher central point. In groups; raise Saiidi canes, Isis wings, veils, swords or candles to an apex. Dance in the middle of the pyramid formed. How does it feel?...

Make pyramid designs for backdrops in shows. Or project The Great Pyramid on a white screen and bring the energy of the Giza Plateau direct to your event!

Place a little pyramid in your dance space to remind you of its majestic power. Be strong like your pyramid – keep a firm base as you reach to and embody your Higher Self.’

 

 

FIRE/GEMS

This suit explores TRANSFORMATION and WILD dance! It is about the passion within our souls - within our souls;AMBITION, LEADERSHIP, creating pioneering work, becoming anew, crossing boundaries and making some heat with your dance and art. The SHIMMY card is perfect here! We focus on our HEALTH and find SYNERGY within our many parts. Use the CABARET card to develop a new show piece or plan a whole show! The FIRE card invites you to add flames to your dance, from a soft candle jar to a troupe shamadan piece! Use the FIRE cards to raise the pulse, explore COLOUR, TRAVEL and find your joie de vivre!

‘Bright lights upon me.

A spectrum of shades

refresh my days.’

COLOUR card verse.

 

AIR/FEATHERS

This suit is about Spirit in our dance, the magic that inspires us.DREAMTIMEMUSICANGEL and ZODIAC feature. TheBREATH and STAR cards consider how we can energise and accentuate our dance. Can you bring extra light to your performance and stage shows? The AIR cards invite cosmic awareness, how can your star sign or the moon’s position help you in your self-awareness and expressions? With cards likeTRANCEMEDITATION and SPINNING this section is ideal for group or solo soul journey work. The VEIL and ISIS cards ask that you bring in dramatic props to your dance to literally move the air around you in beautiful new ways!

‘The myth of Isis taps into the nature of womanhood in its many forms. Through Isis you are asked to connect to your own capacities for healing and your potential to nurture and nourish yourself and others. Isis is about joining parts together and reclamation. She will always assist you to be your best and to unite your strengths…

Goddess Isis reminds us there is wisdom in the deepest quarters of existence, the places of darkness, death and mystery…

Invoke Isis as you wear wings. Find new expressions; imagine Angels, butterflies or birds as you move. Or go for a majestic costume which reflects Isis in myth and a grand choreography of her journey…’

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The pack comes with a guidance book which contains each of the card's verses, It also has tips on how to use each card and suggested exercises related to the card. However, people usually have an immediate impression on how to apply or interpret them - it is that seed that sets off the growth of your dance.

The pack embraces the idea that the qualities and experiences we have in everyday life become our art or are expressed though our art. This is where the empowerment and self-development tools go a long way. The mixed media of visual artpoetrycreative writingmusic and dance mean it can appeal to an array of people as a learning tool in different ways.Young children love the colour and variety, teenagersseem inspired and empowered by the pack and for the more seasoned dancer there’s a sense of supporting and celebrating achievement and practice. Whether you focus on the text or just a quick visual stimulus, it will help your creative and personal development, show pieces and study of the art form in any direction or style you wish..

Are you a teacher of Belly Dance or working in a group? 

 

For any teachers or groups wanting to use the cards, they don’t need to know the pack
inside out!  It's a journey of discovery for everyone with the results being based on
chance and spontaneity. There are no rules just a little structure. Go for it!  Have some fun getting to know the pack and see what comes.  Imagine regular playing cards and how many games you can play with them!

I find most Belly Dance groups come with a lot of knowledge which is what makes my work with Belly Treasure workshops so special; there’s a bounty of content and variety to explore and generally people want to share. We all learn something. The last few decades have seen a major increase of what Belly Dancers can learn and discover. 

 

"I have been dancing for several years, so many of the ideas in The Treasure Pack are nothing new to me, but still they resonate like eternal truths.  When I think back to how hungry I was as a beginner, I would have devoured this pack whole! This is something every belly dancer should have on her wish list for birthday and Christmas presents!’Melanie Collier. Belly Dance Teacher, Performer & Troupe Leader. Wales, UK."

To some extent the teacher has the pleasure of letting go of intricate lesson plans and being more open to the unknown and crafting from there. It’s fun! There is no overriding goal with the workshop/class you put on, except to find new and exciting paths into our dance, what comes, comes. The cards instigate the release.

I have had to take real trust in my own creativity and ability to work with the unexpected. My Belly Treasure workshops usually have a rough format with music and exercises that I can draw on. I’ve collated music into the elemental themes of WATER, EARTH, FIRE and AIR. So the water section has lovely relaxing, slow tunes, the earth section has great drum pieces, the gems suit has cabaret tracks and the air music is more cosmic with some nice New Age mixes. Each card has its own specific track to fit with the theme. You can try matching music to cards as an exercise. Your choice for a TRANSFORMATION or HANDS track may be very different to mine. Again, you can see the possibilities are endless!  I carry a small selection of percussion instruments and dance props (but this is optional) and then I simply offer the cards out as context for the sessions.

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Are you a perfomer? 

Pulling a card before a performance is a lovely trick to add that little extra something. I did this recently and chose EYES. I found my performance connected with the audience more as I used my eyes and gaze to link into my moves, body and the music. The cards are designed to give you a lovely colourful message and confidence boost, some being very specific to Belly Dance and others focusing more on self-development. All dancers share their energy when they perform; if you feel confident you dance with more radiance. The Belly Dancer’s Treasure Pack aims to ‘bring out every woman’s sparkle.’

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Below is a list of some Treasure Pack games, exercises and techniques for you to use that I’ve been developing and applying since the pack was launched. Don’t forget, each card also has many applications which you can reference in the guide book. I recommend using a special cloth or drape to base the cards on. It can be used as a lovely centre piece in a workshop or be near the teacher’s music system for easy reference. If you are using the cards at home, put them in a safe and accessible space where you will see them.

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TREASURE PACK EXERCISES

 

·         DAILY CARDS – Like any pack you can explore it as much as you like! Try focusing for say a week or a month. Pick a card daily to get a quick affirmation, enjoy the visuals and see if you get any repetition or synchronicity occurring. Does a card keep popping up? What does that mean to you? See how your dance and self-awareness changes when you choose a card a day!

 

·         PICK A CARD – Great as an ice breaker for any sized group. Pick a card at the beginning of a session, as you come into a space or as an initial exercise. Each person feedbacks their card choice, saying the title and affirmation aloud and perhaps any words or immediate feedback that comes. Is the card relevant to them, does it resonate etc?

 

·         PRESENTATION ICE BREAKER – Pick a card.  In pairs share your card choices and then present each other and their card back to the whole group.  The feedback may be personal or just dance related. Ask each person to offer a simple move that the card inspires. The idea is that the cards help us to introduce ourselves and can also help the teacher make an initial assessment. Cards can then be set in a designated place and referred to later. Using the cards as an ice breaker means you can establish context and content very quickly!

 

·         TREASURE WHISPERS - CIRCLE DANCE – This is a lovely way of actively combining initial gestures and sequences from people’s card choices into a whole group. Pass moves on, share them and add new dynamics. You can link moves by adding travelling steps. It works well as a warm up, can create exciting new performance pieces and combines work at the end of a session too. Great for any group!

 

·         ELEMENTAL THEMING– as discussed in the main article. Use the main structure of the pack – EARTH, AIR, FIRE, WATER to create varied and focused dance practice. Within each element a myriad of options await you in the deck.

 

·         MIX & MATCH – work on developing diversity or intensity to explore say mood, energy or style in your dance So perhaps use the cards WILD and EYES, LOVE and SELF-ACCEPTANCE orCHAKRAS and MEDITATION! What comes? Teachers can prepare card choices before this exercise or ask people to choose randomly. Do this individually, in pairs or small groups.

 

·         UNITY & SHARING – Ask people to form smaller groups based on say star sign as you immediately create elemental groups. Choose one card. How do 3 or 4 groups respond to the same card? Maybe look at technique cards such as SPINNING or SHIMMY or dance body parts using the cards FEET or HANDS. Or look at a quality such asSENSUALITY, a divine energy - GODDESS or ANGEL or a prop such as VEIL or a style with the TRIBAL or BALADI cards. Ask for a short sequence or phrase to say 8 or 16 beats. Share the results to form lovely new dances and help group bonding.

 

·     GUESSING GAMES – This is great fun. In small groups/pairs pick 1-3 cards. Keep the card choices secret in groups. Allow time to explore the cards then demonstrate back. The groups then guess what cards have been performed! It’s a lovely way of taking bite-sized chunks of the pack, works as an ice-breaker and quickly devises material. If you are a teacher or group leader, you can choose the cards for this exercise. If you wanted participants to work onSHIMMY or SAIIDI you can gently guide people according to their needs or strengths. You can offer out additional ‘wild cards’ to the game so could have the combination of say SHIMMY and CIRCLE,SAIIDI and RHYTHM or CHAKRAS and SYNERGY. The creative combinations are limitless.

 

·     SNAP! – Great for younger groups and to introduce the whole deck in a fun visual exercise. Split or share the pack in equal piles, working in pairs, place cards down, face up, one at a time, the first to call out SNAP! when an element matches, e.g. a SHELL, COIN, FEATHER or GEM card, gathers the central deck. The one with the most cards wins and could choose the next dance exercise or have a little treat. Groups doing a few snap games simultaneously will eventually have an overall winner.

 

·         FEEDBACK – This is a key part of Belly Treasure work. Feedback allows the whole group to learn from, enjoy and often dance other people's work. It’s best done in a circle or in a performance framework, so set up an audience space and a performers space for work to be shown back. If cards are chosen at the beginning of a session it’s nice to come back to them at the end. Have people learnt, applied or reflected on their card in any way?

 

·       TAROT – Many people immediately use the cards to lay out traditional Tarot card spreads or see similarities in the art work with key Tarot cards. Based on this feedback in conjunction with a professional Tarot Card reader and psychic, I’ve created a 21 card Treasure Tarot collection which uses the major Arcana. Some translations are literal. Here are some examples:

 

Treasue Pack Card

Tarot Card

LOVE

LOVERS

LEADERSHIP

STRENGTH

ANGEL

TEMPERANCE

STAR

STAR

MOON

MOON

FIRE

SUN

ZODIAC

WORLD

 

Card readers can use the Treasure Tarot for beautiful readings in dance or women’s groups. For further information on the full 21 Treasure Tarot Arcana contact Guinevere as she is preparing a special PDF document for those interested in working with the cards in this way.

 

·         BREAKS - It’s lovely to sit with, look at and generally talk about the cards and this gives a good, informal focus to a group during breaks and rest phases.

                                               ABOVE ALL - ENJOY!!

 

 

 


The Belly Dancer’s Treasure Packs are avalible to buy from

the Zara's Zouk Website for ONLY £25

CLICK HERE TO FIND THEM

They are the unbeatable gift for xmas, birthdays and most importantly your dance! 

 

 

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