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  1. #21
    V.I.P. lizaj's Avatar
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    I hear this "keep the dance alive" a lot? Do you think belly dance is in danger of extinction?
    I'm not sure and I am not sure it needs rescuing from outside of its' lands of origin.
    Where we can enlarge our understanding is by attending classes/workshops with native dancers or those who can cascade that knowledge to us.
    Fusion/Tribal/Experimental dance is just that and is not belly dance once it has left behind the music and cultural roots. That's the way I have come to regard the situation regarding the evolution/development of the dance. This does not take place in the West. We go to the font and return with the inspiration we see there.
    I dance tribal style as well as Egyptian and enjoy dancing and watching both. I would love to travel to the font of ATS knowledge and see FCBD and they ( and other Americans)are who I expect to inspire direction and devolution.

    I'd rather watch good Fusion than bad bellydancing I may say

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aziyade View Post
    I have no idea what you're saying in your post, but since you have made it clear through this and your PM that you aren't interested in my comments, I won't respond any further to you. You are free to set me on "ignore" if you like.
    well that isn't the case, and not my intention, it seems your putting words into my mouth.

    i'm not sure at what point i said i'm not interested, and if you don't have an idea of what i am saying, how can you say i've made it clear here and my PM (where i thanked you for links) i'm not interested! honestly!

    you said it wasn't clear what i wanted from posting my uploads in the youtube forum, right? I said it never crossed my mind to discriminate as to the nature of feedback i wanted, its a forum! i then elaborated on that. and infact in my second post in the youtube forum, i was clearer since it had been brought to my attention already.

    what is it you don't understand?! perhaps i may be able to clarify the matter.

  3. #23
    Premium Member Aniseteph's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lizaj View Post
    I hear this "keep the dance alive" a lot? Do you think belly dance is in danger of extinction?
    I'm not sure and I am not sure it needs rescuing from outside of its' lands of origin.
    I can't speak for in the lands of origin, but outside those lands? Sure it may perk up the local belly dance scene to flirt with the latest fusion craze or do your own experimental thing, but it does nothing for the understanding and appreciation of real belly dance by the general public (or of a lot of new students, come to that). I'd love to take friends and family to belly dance shows to try to get them to see what I'm on about, but lately I'm actually embarrassed to do that because of all the "innovation". So often it looks more like self indulgent codswallop, and I'm tired of explaining it all.

    Basically what I'm saying is I sometimes think it needs rescuing from us, not by us.

  4. #24
    V.I.P. Aziyade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ababalond View Post
    well that isn't the case, and not my intention, it seems your putting words into my mouth.

    i'm not sure at what point i said i'm not interested, and if you don't have an idea of what i am saying, how can you say i've made it clear here and my PM (where i thanked you for links) i'm not interested! honestly!

    you said it wasn't clear what i wanted from posting my uploads in the youtube forum, right? I said it never crossed my mind to discriminate as to the nature of feedback i wanted, its a forum! i then elaborated on that. and infact in my second post in the youtube forum, i was clearer since it had been brought to my attention already.

    what is it you don't understand?! perhaps i may be able to clarify the matter.
    Well referring to me as a zealot and saying 'thank you for educating on what I was thinking' was a little off-putting, but perhaps I misunderstood.

    One thing, though:

    nor did i mention some mistake about the cultural package that belly dance came in, but yet again thankyou for educating on what i was thinking! the west has infiltrated, and i've listened to teachers talk on the subject explaining this. and read up on it myself on the net.
    "Infiltrated" is an unusual word. Of course modern Egyptians (for example) are AWARE of goings-on in America (for example). But has what happened HERE directly affected what happens THERE -- as far as dance and music? What great and distinguishing features of Western music and dance do we see in Egyptian or Turkish or Lebanese music and dance? I think that would make a very interesting thread because I think there are far fewer direct effects and affects than people realize.


    Theres American Cabaret or Burlesque Belly Dance, then there the development of ATS too.
    I seriously doubt you will find an Egyptian dancer advocating or performing "Burlesque" bellydance. And the great majority of "Burlesque Bellydance" performances on Youtube omit completely the dramatics and variety acts that Michael Leavitt and Jackie Gleason would recognize as Burlesque.

    American "cabaret" and ATS are American interpretations of Eastern dance. Again, not a Western thing "infiltrating" the Eastern thing.

    Or are these inventions of my imagination. there are many steps in Egyptian style Sharki that come from ballet, and cabaret too. one has affected the other.
    You say many steps in Raqs Sharqi come from ballet. Would you be so kind as to elaborate?

    The "step" that routinely gets trotted out as an example of Ballet-Bellydance fusion is the arabesque, which speaking as a former ballet dancer, I can assure that in ballet an arabesque is a completely different creature than the bellydance arabesque. The ballet variation is about a position and a line. In Egyptian dance, the "arabesque" is used as pause that continues moving through space, and the "up and over" movement of the hip of the working hip creating an internal feeling that is absent from the ballet version. Based on my experience, I would argue that the only two things these steps have in common is the name. (I cite Raqia Hassan, Zahra Zuhair, and Shareen el Safy teaching the Egyptian arabesque.)


    To say one has affected the other is fairly obvious -- otherwise we would not have bellydance in the USA or UK. What is arguable is the extent to which the West has influenced the East (which from my research I would argue is minimal, apart from the addition of wings and larger stage space; and a slight shift in maqamat to accommodate fretted and keyed instruments.)

  5. #25
    Moderator Yshka's Avatar
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    Dear Aziyade, I wanted to give you rep for your last two posts, but the Forum Powers won't let me give anything to you anymore (why do you always post such beautifully put, truthfull stuff?? Please know that if I can give it to you again, I will, hehe.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Aziyade
    But having a few lessons in ballet DOES NOT imply fusion.

    Masabni's dancers DID borrow concepts in stage dynamics from western dance. But the essence of Egyptian dance was still very much there. The Egyptian culture was still very much speaking through this dance and this music, even though the music was also exploring western approaches.

    When one culture is exposed to another one, it is only natural for each culture to explore the other. Sometimes they will borrow from each other. Sometimes one will swallow the other completely. But this doesn't necessarily mean there is a "fusion" or blending of cultures, or that either culture is significantly affected by the other.
    This is exactly what I wanted to say, only much better put. To say that Egyptian dancers fused their dance with ballet is incorrect, but yes, concepts and influence are difinitely to be noticed. This still doesn't make it fusion IMO. It's simply an alteration that might enhance the dance at that moment. Artistic expression, yes, but also very much a cultural one. Good fusion to me will always be with a dancer who has studied both forms fused, and in her fusion, reflects the essence of both, while creating a piece that combines the two as a whole.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aniseteph
    Basically what I'm saying is I sometimes think it needs rescuing from us, not by us.
    Amen to this. I've been seeing this disturbing thing in many dancers from the west who tend to think THEY should keep the dance alive. I'm afraid this might have to do, and this is just a theory that I've been giving thought, with the 'ol western view of superiority to the Orient, if I may call it that, that also exists in some dancers.

    It does not need to be saved by western dancers, but in order for western dancers to bring "bellydance" or raqs sharqi, or oryantal tansi to the stage one should retain it's essence, but this is something we don't learn by staying in our own little hole. This is, as Liz put wonderfully, only done by studying with natives and native dancers who will understand the intricacies they are familiar with, and we (by we I mean dancers from anywhere but the countries of origin), simply, will have to work extremely hard to understand and do justice.

    Quote Originally Posted by rsps
    It wasn't viewed as a 'cultural' change but rather an artistic one
    Still, they were part of North American culture and the changes brought, IMO were have been influenced by this culture. It was an expression that came from these people, coming from their OWN background. This change, for example, would have been entirely different if the innovators had been brought up in say, Egypt or China. (I'm trying to make a point here, but am not explaining myself well and am not finding the right words, darn language thing).

    Ok let's try again, cultural change is happening in bellydance, the 'original' cultures are evolving as is every culture, and with this the dancing evolves as well. However, artistic change will always be extremely influenced by culture, to my opinion, since you are as an artist yourself, part of one culture that becomes embedded in you being from the moment you are born. The culture you are brought up in and that is familiar to you, will affect how you bring artistical changes to a form of art. If you are Dutch and playing Dutch music, you will simply not bring a change or development to this music that say, a native Egyptian would. Having said that, I think cultural and artistic change one can bring as a person, are tied firmly together from birth. I could explain this much more logically, but words are escaping me. Did I just make sense?

    I should consider reading the forums at more decent hours so my mind doesn't have to work so hard to stay awake . The above is indeed a very, very interesting point. One that would deserve it's own thread IMO!

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aziyade View Post
    Well referring to me as a zealot and saying 'thank you for educating on what I was thinking' was a little off-putting, but perhaps I misunderstood.

    One thing, though:



    "Infiltrated" is an unusual word. Of course modern Egyptians (for example) are AWARE of goings-on in America (for example). But has what happened HERE directly affected what happens THERE -- as far as dance and music? What great and distinguishing features of Western music and dance do we see in Egyptian or Turkish or Lebanese music and dance? I think that would make a very interesting thread because I think there are far fewer direct effects and affects than people realize.




    I seriously doubt you will find an Egyptian dancer advocating or performing "Burlesque" bellydance. And the great majority of "Burlesque Bellydance" performances on Youtube omit completely the dramatics and variety acts that Michael Leavitt and Jackie Gleason would recognize as Burlesque.

    American "cabaret" and ATS are American interpretations of Eastern dance. Again, not a Western thing "infiltrating" the Eastern thing.



    You say many steps in Raqs Sharqi come from ballet. Would you be so kind as to elaborate?

    The "step" that routinely gets trotted out as an example of Ballet-Bellydance fusion is the arabesque, which speaking as a former ballet dancer, I can assure that in ballet an arabesque is a completely different creature than the bellydance arabesque. The ballet variation is about a position and a line. In Egyptian dance, the "arabesque" is used as pause that continues moving through space, and the "up and over" movement of the hip of the working hip creating an internal feeling that is absent from the ballet version. Based on my experience, I would argue that the only two things these steps have in common is the name. (I cite Raqia Hassan, Zahra Zuhair, and Shareen el Safy teaching the Egyptian arabesque.)


    To say one has affected the other is fairly obvious -- otherwise we would not have bellydance in the USA or UK. What is arguable is the extent to which the West has influenced the East (which from my research I would argue is minimal, apart from the addition of wings and larger stage space; and a slight shift in maqamat to accommodate fretted and keyed instruments.)
    honestly would send you message saying thankyou, and in the same turn try cast dispersion, i was trying to say there is passion and enthusiasm, zeal, a religious zeal almost for this subject you have studied. i found the response alittle intense for me, thats what i meant.

    perhaps infiltrated may not the correct term, rather influenced then? but no i dont think whay has happend here has affected what has happend there, and wasn't coming from a musical point of view. I've watched a few instructional DVD on different styles Belly Dance. And can see a big difference in the way the same move, like a hip circle in American Cabaret to Baladi for example is executed. Very different. Music wise, i've not clue.

    but i was trying to say with Cabaret, Burlesque or ATS, we wouldn't have it, i don't think at least, unless had not cultures come over with their tradtional styles initially? I think there was misunderstanding between my choice of describing this and your apprehension, which is why it felt you putting words into my mouth. as if implying it doesn't still exist and evolve, belly dance that is, in the countries if come froms.

    i was trying to say in my first post actually that, speaking from my own little experience, it is important to be aware of the culture from which belly dance comes, as i started off just interested in the aesthetics of it, but then when started to learn of culture, i found it very educating, and it was watching Ranya Renee, and reading Hozzam Ramzy articles that made me fall inlove with the Baladi, for now! lol! I didn't realise belly dance is folkloric in origin then. i'm quite close to my mothers roots as Bosnian woman who grew up in Croatia then came to the U.K. in her youth, and i've watched folkloric ensembles, some Bosnian Dances, especially the Gypsy or Peasant ones are quite reminiscient of Baladi, that nostalgia. my mama also interpreted for the refugees from Bosna and we'd have parties to celebrate when they came to the U.K. or Religious festival, a singer from Bosna would come and we'd all dance in circles sometimes one of us in the middle or two, while the others egged us on, usually me and mama (she used to be a in an ensemble in her youth and taught me the dances) and this reminds me of Baladi too. Bosnian music has alot of accordian too, another reason i like accordian Baladi progression.

    anyway, i've digressed hope this clears up the issue?

  7. #27
    V.I.P. Caroline_afifi's Avatar
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    There is nothing to be confused about the 'tone' of this discussion forum.. there is something for everyone.

    A discussion forum is not just about 'what color lipstick shall I wear with this Bedlah..'

    This thread alone is testament to that and if people keep it civil, great things come from these discussions and people learn very significant and important things about this dance.

  8. #28
    Member Pleasant dancer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rsps View Post
    A lot of what you are saying makes sense.

    *And I do still qualify this with the fact that I am a NOVICE in BD. But what I brought to BD was my own past history of dance (latin) and other performing arts (theatre etc.)*
    This has been a very interesting and thought provoking thread. I just make one observation, based on my being both a student of oriental dance and now a teacher:
    I have a background (and medals to prove it) of Scottish Highland and Country dancing. When I began to do oriental dancing I left it all firmly behind me. - along with all other forms of dance I had been associated with (Morris, a bit of Clog, a bit of Salsa etc).

    Many students ask me when they first start "I've done (latin, ballroom, whatever) dancing, do you think this will help me learn belly dance?" My answer is probably no. My advice: leave all other forms of dance behind you and learn oriental dance as if you have no conception of what it involves (including any preconceptions you might have).

    Of course, should a student get a poor teacher, this might not help as much as it should, but that's another thread ..........

  9. #29
    V.I.P. adiemus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pleasant dancer View Post
    This has been a very interesting and thought provoking thread. I just make one observation, based on my being both a student of oriental dance and now a teacher:
    I have a background (and medals to prove it) of Scottish Highland and Country dancing. When I began to do oriental dancing I left it all firmly behind me. - along with all other forms of dance I had been associated with (Morris, a bit of Clog, a bit of Salsa etc).

    Many students ask me when they first start "I've done (latin, ballroom, whatever) dancing, do you think this will help me learn belly dance?" My answer is probably no. My advice: leave all other forms of dance behind you and learn oriental dance as if you have no conception of what it involves (including any preconceptions you might have).

    Of course, should a student get a poor teacher, this might not help as much as it should, but that's another thread ..........
    We can attempt to 'leave it all behind' but the motor pathways that drive movement are usually so well-rehearsed that even if you do a hip lift, if you've been a ballet dancer, you'll do it with an underlying ballet motor pathway - which means all the associated movements in the way you adjust your posture, head position, arm position etc will be 'ballet'.

    It's like learning to speak a foreign language - unless you're very, very good you'll always sound a little bit foreign when you speak the new language.

    It's not a voluntary decision to make - movement patterns are unconscious after a while and when you learn a new movement it doesn't 'undo' the old movement pattern, it just lays another one nearby - so it's always easier to return to the original movement pattern than the new one.

  10. #30
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    Bronnie stated my thoughts perfectly. Rep to the lady with the brains and the insight.

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