Ahh, zilling. The terror of many a bellydance student, the bane of many a professional dancer.
And I effing LOVE IT.
We started talking about zilling in November, and in January, my class started zilling for realsies. Of course, the first several sessions, my hands could not get the rhythm down for more than a couple measures, and then I'd end up thinking about what I was doing, and the second your brain interferes with a movement like that, it all comes crashing down. But, then I committed myself to practice. I'd zill two or three songs a day, whatever I had saved on my phone. And then I'd screw it up, get annoyed, and remind myself, "Just two more songs, you can hold pee for two songs when you're driving. If you need to cry, cry and cut."
It would always be more than just two more songs, though, because DAMN IT I want to be the best zill player in the universe. But, by the times my fingertips turned blue (the international signal for "You want I should stop, maybe?") I'd take off the headphones, and feel accomplished. I might have fallen off the rhythm eight times, I maybe zilled only eight bars total that night, but I was trying.
This past week has been a realization for me in terms of zilling. We were working on fast moves with zills in class (Arabic and Egyptian), and I realized as we were drilling the movement, my brain wasn't shitting itself with too much math to keep track of. It was pretty comfortable, actually.
Then, on Sunday, just to be different, I was talking to my folks about dance (The Gentleman and I went to hang with them). I mentioned playing "the finger cymbals", and they wanted me to demonstrate. So I did... and even with three people looking at me, I didn't fall off the rhythm. Then, in class today, we did the fun drill of walking around the studio in time with the beat, zilling while we went back and forth across the floor. And... I CAN ZILL!
The big thing is... practice and troubleshoot. When something weird happened with the zills (for example, that delightfully awkward quacking noise they make when you clap the whole thing together), I'd speak up, to try and find out how not to do that. And zilling for even fifteen minutes a night made a huge difference, both in my confidence and in my ability.
...Now to get through those damn taksim drills!