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  1. #11
    Member Samira bint Aya's Avatar
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    This is a beautiful song you have chosen! Quite a challenge though!

    You are understandably nervous…

    I put together my first choreo after I had been dancing for several months too. I did not perform it for another six months or so though…

    I don’t know weather this will help you, but what I did was this: At the time I was interested in researching the different rhythms in Arabic music. I searched the net and also bought a rhythm CD (Jallila’s).

    I researched the moves that go well with each rhythm, as well as the overall “feel” of the rhythm. Next I watched a lot (tons and tons) of drum solos and picked up moves and small combinations that seem to work well for each rhythm.

    I chose a nice drum solo, with variety and interesting rhythm transitions. I listened to it a lot and improvised, video taped myself, and finally, I put it together! The actual choreographing took about two days, but the research was extensive.

    For my first musical piece that I choreographed, I choose a piece where the musical instruments come in one by one and do a “solo” before playing as an orchestra (I don’t know what that is called). I researched each instrument (the nay, the quanoon, the violin, and human singing) and of course the underlying rhythm of the song! So I choreographed each section separately, according to the nuances of each instrument, and the “inspiration” that each instrument gave me.

    With Ghannili Shiwai Shiwai, being that it is a classic, you can find many different versions. I would take the time to listen to many of them and try to get a feel of the song, its “history” so to speak. This is what gives me, personally, inspiration.

    But most of all, enjoy it!

  2. #12
    Member Prusilusken's Avatar
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    If your teacher wants you to perform a solo at a hafla a student recital or whatever, and the thought makes you happy, by all means, do it!
    A public festival...wow...that's a biggy. If you don't feel you're 100% ready, no matter if it's technically, psychologically or in other ways, DON'T.

    Aziyade's post is one large string of pearls, if you ask me, so if you decide to go ahead with it, keep that in mind, and you'll do fine...
    Kudos to you, if you've got the stones to go solo on stage already.

    I do feel compelled to add that I hope your teacher is kidding.
    No one should be pressured into performing like that, IMO.
    I personally think that if she's not kidding...I don't even want to say out loud just how wrong I think her "teaching technique" is on his point, but that's just me.

    I got guilted into making my first truly public performance when I had danced (many weekly lessons, I should add) for about 9 months.
    On national TV, on a program I despised. It wasn't even a solo, or I swear I would probably never have danced again.
    I was 20 at the time and I am still a bit ashamed that I sold out back then.

    At least I learned something valuable:

    I perform when I damn well want to.

    If I believe you're technically ready to perform in public or not is really the least important point to me. Even if you were the worst bd student on Earth, the sky won't fall if you go on stage with whatever you can't or can do.
    The consequences to the rest of the world (or just the OD community even) would be pretty surpassable.
    Sucky performances are given everyday around the globe, so don't worry about that part too much.

    Of course I should add, that the fact that you haven't been dancing very long really doesn't have much to do with your overall quality as a performer!
    A good natural performer can get away with almost anything short of murder on a stage.

    Whether you're ready as a dancer is a mere detail compared to whether you feel ready AS A PERSON.

    No matter what - Just promise me that you'll only do this for you, not for your teacher.

    I wish you all the best!
    Last edited by Prusilusken; 04-02-2010 at 11:54 PM. Reason: Sppppelling :S

  3. #13
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    Really interesting points about choreography and researching the music.
    Now can some of you give tips for researching music? I will go search in the music section of this forum but any specifics about how to research the music would be very helpful.
    Thanks
    Amy

  4. #14
    Member Samira bint Aya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by amy.an8 View Post
    Really interesting points about choreography and researching the music.
    Now can some of you give tips for researching music? I will go search in the music section of this forum but any specifics about how to research the music would be very helpful.
    Thanks
    Amy
    I used the internet a lot (sites such as Arabic Maqam World offer reliable information), you-tube clips, as long as you know the performer is authentic (here Nagwa Fouad shows you how to interpret the accordion, tabla and quanoon YouTube - Najua Fouad*** Accordion-Tabla-Kanoon ???? ???? ) as well as performance and instructional cds and dvds (such as Jallila’s).

    For rhythms specifically, there are many instructional dvds out there, I would recommend Jenna’s. Other than that, any instructional source for zills should be helpful.

    Eventually, you could meet with musicians and learn from them. Me personally, I met with a percussionist who had some experience with the tabla and was interested in practicing more, so we did the research together, and I was able to practice dancing and improvising, while he was trying out things on the tabla. It was a fun and very rewarding way to practice.

    And also, ask your teacher to demonstrate for you live, the different ways to interpret the music.

    I hope this helps…

  5. #15
    Premium Member Aniseteph's Avatar
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    As far as the OP goes I don't think it's fair at all to expect someone to get their head round much of that after only 6 months, especially if the teacher is not giving pretty intensive help - which from the sound of it she isn't. Talk about dropping you in the deep end...

    It's fine for a class show-and-tell exercise. Or, if the OP wanted to, maybe a student hafla where everyone appreciates how hard it is. There is no shame in doing a sucky first solo there because we've all done it (or are too scared to); mess up, get your styles in a muddle and be generally clueless - THAT'S OK! We all know it is 100% normal, part of the learning curve, and kudos to you for having a go.

    But IMO a public performance of a solo at this stage is a set up for a crashing "OMG what was I thinking?" crisis later, and that's not good for anyone's confidence, especially if you really didn't want to do it in the first place. I'd be a bit worried about a teacher who didn't see that coming.

    Seriously - who benefits from this?

  6. #16
    Member Pleasant dancer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gypsy View Post

    I am nervous, this won't be a hafla, this will be performing on a stage at a city summer festival in front of hundreds!
    I want to know what I'm doing, I really love belly dance!!!
    Could you do it as a duet/trio with some of the other more experienced students and still keep it relatively simple? Usually group performances are better when it's kept simple. That way you could rehearse together and gain confidence from the other dancers. You also won't be alone on stage. I still think it's a lot to ask of someone of your experience, it would be preferable to give you your public amateur stage debut in a group choreography.

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by amy.an8 View Post
    Really interesting points about choreography and researching the music.
    Now can some of you give tips for researching music? I will go search in the music section of this forum but any specifics about how to research the music would be very helpful.
    Thanks
    Amy
    I recently bought Jallilah's Raks Sharki 4 which contains many rhythms because I have been learning rhythms. Knowing rhythms can really help your music research and I have found that it greatly affected my ability to dance to the music. It has helped my improvisation ability greatly too.

    To the Original poster:

    Only you know if you are ready. As many people have said already, you need to do this for you not for your teacher or anyone else. If you don't feel ready then don't feel pressurized to do this performance. You should enjoy dancing above all else and if worrying about this is affecting your enjoyment then I wouldn't do it. I have been dancing over a year and a half and I don't know whether I would feel up to performing in the situation that you described. I am only just starting to develop skills in choreography now and I certainly wouldn't have been able to do a choreography at 6 months. Best wishes xx

  8. #18
    Member Jujube's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aziyade View Post
    NOBODY should perform until they're ready.

    NOBODY should perform in public until they can do justice to what they've learned. I seriously hope your teacher is just talking about a student recital or hafla.

    Six months is a ridiculously short time to prepare you for performing. Has the teacher even gone over stage dynamics, musical interpretation, choreographic principles, or ANYTHING?


    Aside from all that -- it's never too early to start choeographing, and you will learn quite a bit about the dance as you try it.

    Start with the music.

    1. Find a short piece of music you like, listen to it a dozen times, and see if any sections of the music call out to you. Does one part scream "shimmy here!" or "lots of nice drops here" ? Write that down.

    2. Look at the structure of the music. Are there verses and a chorus? You can repeat the same movements every time the chorus plays. You can think about verses as using similar movements -- so maybe on verse one, you do a lot of circles, and on verse two, you use infinities/figure 8s. Or verse one uses drops, so verse two can feature lifts. Etc.

    3. Explore and experiment with the so-called "rules" --
    - Shimmy when the qanoun or oud "quivers"
    - Use upper body on the flute, or lighter hip movements that feel effortless
    - Try abdominal and heavier (but not heavy) hip work on the accordion, clarinet, or violin.
    - Heavy hip work is fun on the drums, but don't dance ENTIRELY to the drums.
    - Travel when the music swells. Stay in place when only one or two instruments are featured.
    - Don't try to hit every accent. Just the obvious ones. If there is a musical "answer" or trill in between the melody line, try accenting that with your hips.


    Pick a song and let us know what it is and maybe people here will give you suggestions as to what WE hear the music calling US to do. You might get some ideas from that.
    Terrific advice!

    Personally, I do think that 6 months is awfully early to choreo something yourself, much less perform it. It's easier to wade gently into performing by doing group choreos. If you feel up to the challenge, go for it, but if you don't, explain that and don't apologize for it. This is YOUR dance experience.

  9. #19
    Moderator Daimona's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jujube View Post
    If you feel up to the challenge, go for it, but if you don't, explain that and don't apologize for it. This is YOUR dance experience.
    I agree. It is all up to you.

    It doesn't matter how early you start making your own choreographies as long as you are having fun with it and love your music.

    If you choose to make your choreography and perform it, my general advice, would be to make it short, smile and enjoy yourself on stage while you perform.

    If there are parts of the music you don't feel attached to, don't be ashamed to shorten it.
    As a member of the audience I'd rather see a short performance done well, than a performance that are too long and/or difficult for the dancer to make interesting both for herself/himself and her/his audience.

    And to quote myself from another thread:
    Quote Originally Posted by Daimona View Post
    Smile!

    If you remember to enjoy yourself while on stage, you'll probably experience less nerves AND your performance would probably be better both for you and your audience to watch.

    Don't be afraid to do mistakes or forget the choreography. You'd better do it with a smile and do the mistake with confidence than become even more nervous afterwards.

    6 months of weekly classes isn't much, but it isn't impossible either.
    I made my first "choreography" (i.e. combination) after just 10 h of classes and performed with it in public as a tiny part of a revue/music hall show.
    Last edited by Daimona; 04-06-2010 at 07:30 AM. Reason: addition
    --
    Daim.

  10. #20
    Member maylynn's Avatar
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    My goodness, that is a challenge... great advice on how to prepare given here by others, and I also echo the sentiment that performing in front of hundreds of people after 6 months is going to be quite the challenge... if you're already not feeling good about it, it might be a good idea to opt out and then have a great first performance later on when you're feeling ready and exciting about performing.

    If you're going to go for it, I would add another bit of advice!

    You're going to be NERVOUS. Your hands will be shaking, your stomach will be in knots, and you will feel panicky! You might go onstage and forget your entire choreography. I don't want to sound too discouraging, but 6 months is not a long time and realistically I look back at my very first performance (a group choreo at a friendly hafla) and remember how nervous I felt (and then again for my first solo) - and if this is your first performance experience you should be aware, and plan for, the nervousness that you're going to feel!

    I'd agree that choosing a piece that you love and listening to it over and over and over again will help. That will mean that even if you forget parts of your choreo, you won't end up standing there with a look of horror on your face but will know what's coming up next in the song and have a good idea of what to do next - even if it's not exactly what you planned. Try improvising to the song as you're creating your choreo, figure out what it's calling you to do (exactly as Aziyade said) and then hopefully the choreo will come more naturally and not be just a sequence of moves that you're memorizing. It will help to be prepared!

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