Influence by or copying?? Help please
Something I have been struggling with the last few days is when does being influenced by someone fall into copying them??
Obviously there are dancers I admire and love and a certain move i may use of theirs or do a regular move in their style sometimes on purpose and sometimes I am not even aware I am doing it.
2 people made comments to me after my casino performance and said 'gosh you can tell your a student of such and such or gosh you can tell who influences you'
This obviously is a big compliment but equally does that mean I was in some way without realising completely mimicking them???
So how can you appear influenced by someone before you end up copying them??
Copying is more so if you take a complete dance they already do and perform it as your own. If you dress identically to them that is copying. If you have no original work or movement combinations but only that of another person then some could consider that copying.
Copying is not bad if you have permission from them to use certain movements and you give them credit for that where appropriate.
Influencing only goes so far. But when you start falling into the area about then I think you moved into the copying field.
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Copying is the universal way of learning something so it is very normal to copy to some extent when learning something. Sometimes we have to struggle to get out of it and sometimes it comes naturally to want to express yourself in a more personal way.
IMO it is good to be aware of how much you ressemble your teachers, but don't let it get to you and make you worry too much.
I was about to turn into a clone of a teacher once (well not as good but def similar in style) so I needed a long period of taking from many other teachers to find myself.
Observation and Imitation are the only ways we have
to learn, as humans...
Feel free to observe dancers, teachers, actresses, etc even if you are not sure what you are learning from them. Your body is learning.
Copying is when you imitate as a (copy) machine, e.g. as if what you imitate has no meaning for you.
Influence is what you receive when you imitate the thing that has meaning to you.
Boundaries among imitation, copying and influence are not clear, but you need to keep in mind that whenever people tell you "you copy, you are influenced by A or B", you reply with a question: did you like what you saw? If the answer is yes, then it was not "copying". Keep dancing!
It also helps to take lessons from more than one teacher. I have always fought against having my dancing being identified by my teacher. In fact, wise words from a teacher will tell you to find your own style and not to copy them. The only time that cloning works well, however, is when you are part of your teacher's troupe, then it looks great. But sometimes when you see so many dancers who's styles are so much alike, it can get pretty boring. I am glad that you are very aware of this and I think you will definitely develop your own style more and more.
"Mediocre artists imitate; great artists steal."
Similar words been attributed to everyone from Stravinsky to Picasso.
Dancer #1 loves Samia Gamal's little shoulder bump, so she stole it. Anyone who knows anything about belly dance recognizes that shoulder bump, but the rest of the dance is #1's own.
Dancer #2 is crazy about Rachel Brice. Everything she does looks like a watered down imitation of Rachel Brice.
#1 was influenced by Samia, but no one watches her dance and says, "Oh, I can tell you learned from Samia Gamal."
#2 has little imagination and copies Rachel so faithfully that people say, "Oh, you dance just like Rachel Brice."
In my mind, I think of copying done as something intentional and being influenced as something unintentional.
Of course you have to copy to learn how to do something, but no two people are the exact same. At some point, a dancer is going to be influenced by many different things and will pick up on things she is personally attracted to. That, combined with their own natural movements is what makes it their own style.
(And I definitely know what I'm talking about, seeing as I discovered BD an entire month ago )
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