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  1. #1
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    Default Learning from the videos - is it hopeless?

    Hi everyone! I have been intrigued by belly dancing since my first trip to Turkey when I was 13, and I have recently decided to at last go and learn it. My problem is that I am a broke student and I can't afford classes. I have decided to learn from rented dvds, youtube instructions and professional dancers videos, such as Sadie, Mishaal, Rachel Brice, and the ladies form Goddess Dancing. I also loved the snippets of the old Egyptian movies featuring belly dancers from the 40s and 50s.

    I realize that it's not the best way to go about learning belly dancing, but I have years of ballroom dancing experience as well as some tai chi and yoga. Would it be still a horrible decision to learn without a live instructor? Should I stop now or it does not matter since I do not plan to ever teach?

    thanks!

  2. #2
    V.I.P. Kashmir's Avatar
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    Whether or not you ever plan to teach isn't really the issue. If your "some" tai chi and yoga has given you the ability to realistically compare what your body is doing and a video you may have a chance - but most beginners are unable to do so (somethimes even when a teacher says "you're doing this, you need to do this" )

    The other thing a teacher does for you is sort through the bs. A teacher should be able to distil the essence. Belly dance is more than a bunch of moves and if you are learning via a mix of video it is very likely that you'll miss the important bits that make it "belly dance" rather than jazz or modern or salsa or hula.

    Keeping in mind that what you first learn is hardest to unlearn - whether it be lifting your heels to shimmy or believing in one of the modern myths - holding off a few months or even a year may be a good idea.

  3. #3
    Member Miranda Phoenix's Avatar
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    I am learning BD through both instructor-led classes as well as DVDs. I'd say - yes, absolutely, you can learn and improve your dance through (some) DVDs.

    HOWEVER, you can't do it through DVDs alone, for several reasons. I'd say the most important (for your dance) is that there is a connection between the dancer, the music and the moves that can't be conveyed through a DVD. A close tie for second would be the safety issue (improper posture can and does result in injuries) and the lack of feedback (everyone learns differently and if the DVD instructor isn't speaking your "language", you won't "get" what you need from the instruction).

    When I first started dancing, I found DVDs pretty useless. Today, however, they are a regular part of my learning - because I've got enough background to judge the quality of instruction and to utilize the content, regardless of the instructor's method of delivery.

    Just my two cents.

  4. #4
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    thank you

  5. #5
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    Videos are a great resource if you can't afford an instuctor. It is more challenging to learn from the television versus a teacher but hang in there. You will find great dancers who fit your interests and can attend class in your living room as often as you like.

  6. #6
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    You can learn and certainly improve using DVD's, but you do need to attend class or workshops, as you cannot be subjective about yourself and bad habits can become ingrained if not corrected. So ideally both...starting with classes and then continuing with DVD's. But it's not impossible.

  7. #7
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    I will definitely try joining a group, hopefully this spring, and I understand that there is nothing better than an instruction from a good teacher.

    I was hoping though that a dvd will give me an idea of what I am dealing with, what are the basic moves, what is important in general. For example the posture I see in belly dancing is basically the same as in ballroom dancing european program, but belly dancers isolate upper and lower parts of their body when it will ruin your movement in waltz for example.

  8. #8
    Member Miranda Phoenix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stepbystep View Post
    ...For example the posture I see in belly dancing is basically the same as in ballroom dancing european program, but belly dancers isolate upper and lower parts of their body when it will ruin your movement in waltz for example.
    Oh, totally! I'm a ballroom dancer, too, and while there is bound to be some overlap between any two types of dances (keeping the shoulders back and down, for instance), between BD and ballroom - there's not that much. *chuckle*

    I have two ballroom classes on Saturday mornings and two BD classes Saturday afternoons.... I LOVE getting to the BD studio, taking off my shoes, relaxing my "frame" and just letting my body move.

  9. #9
    Member Jujube's Avatar
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    I think DVDs are great for a non-beginner. They allow you to work on areas that your teacher doesn't cover, or explore different styles and presentations.

    For a beginner though, I think the usefulness of videos is limited. You can see the moves and become familiar with what they are, but you really need a teacher to correct your posture, your feet, your hands, etc. Once you get the basics of form and posture down, then DVDs can be fantastic.

  10. #10
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    Default learning from videos

    Hi StepbyStep and welcome. I think and I see this as I've received the Turkish Style Belly Dance... that perhaps the a live class is more important as there are so many things that you have to have an understanding of that a live teacher can correct and a video no matter how good cannot. That said a dvd is a great memory aid. It also can really show differences in style. But your body must be able to speak the language and understand it before it can go off and play with dialects and accents. I hope that makes sense. The dvd made sense to me because I knew what she was doing but if I came to Turkish style cold and wanted to learn bd from it ... I don't think I would be confused by it. Okay other folk on the forum know me - but here goes the food comparision. You want to learn how to bake bread, you buy a breadmachine... you follow the directions but it doesn't come out quite right and you don't know why. Okay you learned how to bake bread with your hands and someone to show you ... what it means if the dough is too wet or too dry... not kneaded enough. Those things you have to see and feel to know. You've studied them and now you try the breadmachine again and by looking at the dough in the machine you know if you have to add more liquid or maybe stop the machine and knead it longer. So to me that is the difference between learning with live experience as opposed to learning by dvd. Hope this helps and isn't too convoluted it's been a long weekend. Creaks (amd now I'm an even older creaky old dancer)

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