Students being told where a dance originates and being told its cultural context; when a prop first appeared or a move became popular; who taught what move to whom and how it changed over time. I don’t get this in Ballroom or Sequence, Line-dance, Tap-dance, Breton or Salsa. I do in Morris and Irish, but nowhere near to the extent as in Bellydance.
Why is this seen as an important part of learning Bellydance? Is it the folkdance aspect of it – preserving a heritage that needs careful tending or it’ll be sullied by ignoramuses? Is there a fantasy element – I need to know all about this dance because it then makes me more ‘native’ to it, more ‘attuned’ to its essence? Or is it habit – I’m telling you this because it was told to me? Has this always been done with Bellydance teaching?
I’m not trying to say it is not important or interesting. I’ve done my own limited reading into Ballroom and Tap-dance to appreciate where those dances come from and who influenced them, but I don’t actually feel I needed to know that in order to dance them. There are teachers in every genre of dance who know such things and students who will ask and find out. I do myself want to know more, but in Bellydance it seems taken for granted that you need to know, straight from the beginners level. Am I missing the point somewhere, or got the wrong end of the stick (again)? Do you think all dances should be given a similar presentation regarding their history and background, or is Bellydance somehow special?
For my money, I think I’d like it and appreciate it if every dance (and for that matter every thing) I learnt were to contain some history, context and development in it.