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  1. #11
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    Re: hippies

    The early seventies were more the sixties than the early sixties were, if you know what I mean. Disco boots were much later in the decade.
    "Well, now that we have seen each other," said the unicorn " if you'll believe in me, I'll believe in you."

  2. #12
    Member Elfie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shanazel View Post
    Re: hippies

    The early seventies were more the sixties than the early sixties were, if you know what I mean. Disco boots were much later in the decade.
    Oh. I wasn't born till the next decade (80's) - I thought disco was early the seventies thing. In any case, I'd have fit.



    Since we're already here - and since I've already started like... 5 threads in as many days... What do you guys think of using Native American music for BD?

    And my layering sucks! I can manage easy stuff, but mixing anything with a twist or any shimmy... it's not pretty. I've tried and tried. But I cannot layer with shimmy. At all. Is it just one of things that takes more practice than the rest?

  3. #13
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    What do you guys think of using Native American music for BD?
    It's no more incongruous than using Gregorian chant, Chinese opera, or Appalachain folksongs. Of course, it is no less incongruous, either.

    Layering will come with practice and some things are easier than others.
    "Well, now that we have seen each other," said the unicorn " if you'll believe in me, I'll believe in you."

  4. #14
    Member Bellydance Oz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elfie View Post
    I dance for fitness right now ...I run out of steam after about 30-40 minutes of dancing. I was wondering if anyone had any tips on how to make your energy last longer
    ...Note that I am a smoker, and I've smoked for a long time.
    You just have to accept that if you smoke, there's nothing you can do to counteract the effect of the smoking on your breathing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Elfie View Post
    Lastly, how much of a factor is clothing material in overheating?
    A lot. As someone who suffered seriously from overheating during menopause, I can tell you that the more you wear, the hotter you'll get. And synthetic materials are the worst! You'll feel much hotter in a nylon/lycra singlet than a cotton one. Loose clothing is cooler than tight-fitting - a skirt or baggy pants may be better than leggings.

  5. #15
    V.I.P. Aziyade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elfie View Post
    What do you guys think of using Native American music for BD?
    I'm going to risk the wrath of several on this board, but here goes:

    You said you wanted to learn improvisation and musical expression. You said you like classical Egyptian style.
    Based on these goals, I would recommend you stick to Egyptian music.

    Improvisation:
    The biggest part of learning to improvise is learning your music. Now this doesn't just mean "learn your song" although you should always know your performance piece backwards, forwards, and upside down. It means learning how the music works. Learning what is typical of the drum beat and what the drummer is likely to do where and when. Learning what a maqam-based taqsim sounds like, and how it travels through the maqam. Learning what the structure of the overall song feels like.

    Western music does NOT emulate Eastern music in these ways. Western vocal improvisations do not travel up and down the scale with the same set of "rules" as Eastern ones. Western drummers have very different "typical" behaviors than Eastern ones. Apart from radio-pop songs, Western songs are not arranged and organized the same way as Eastern ones.

    If you immerse yourself in Eastern music, you will (after a time) start to internalize these Eastern structures and "rules" even if you can't articulate them. You will be able to anticipate maqam modulation and structural changes. You will be able to hear the drummer "winding up" for a specifc riff, and you'll be able to anticipate and follow the winding path of a vocal or instrumental improvisation.

    If you start dancing to Eastern music from pretty much day one, all these things that people struggle with in improvisational dance will already be IN your body. You won't struggle so much to express the music.


    Musical Expression:
    See above. Western music SOUNDS different than Eastern music. If you immerse yourself in Eastern music, it will be SO much easier for you to express the differing emotions evoked by the nay versus the kawala. That's a whole 'nother "LAYER" of musicality that you are never going to really grasp if you don't expose yourself to it A LOT.

    When you dance to Western music, I'd pretty much guarantee you're responding emotionally to the LYRICS. What you need to be able to do is shift that, so that you can respond emotionally to the music. Although music and lyrics are very much tied together in the Eastern model, as a DANCER you don't want to capture the linear progression of the lyrics so much as you want to capture the general feeling of the lyrics. I've seen some students dance what is essentially a sign-language version of the song. Gesture is used sparingly in Egyptian dance, and even now when everybody is dancing and singing along karaoke-style, the better dances don't try to translate phrase by phrase. They pick out a couple of key themes (my eye will remember you, for instance) and use gesture to help illustrate them.

    You have to expose yourself to a LOT of songs in order to start identifying and exploring the "scales" of Arab music. And their music is very cleverly DESIGNED to evoke emotions -- just like Western classical music, but in a completely different way.

    I guess if you're content to just dance to shaabi or pop the rest of your life, then it doesn't really matter what you practice to, but it seems from your posts that you want to learn it "right" and you want to explore a greater depth of music and musical expression than just whatever's on Yallah Hit List this week Because of that, I would heartily encourage you to stick to Eastern music -- and Egyptian is a great place to begin. From there you can develop your exploration into Turkish, Iraqi, and Persian music and musical forms if you want. We have access to a lot of good Egyptian music and books, articles, and DVDs on Egyptian music, so it's a logical and lovely place to start your journey.


    And my layering sucks! I can manage easy stuff, but mixing anything with a twist or any shimmy... it's not pretty. I've tried and tried. But I cannot layer with shimmy. At all. Is it just one of things that takes more practice than the rest?
    First of all layers need to be thought of as levels of a house. If your ground floor is shaky, then none of the levels above it are going to be solid either!

    Work your base moves first. They should be rock solid. (I recommend Autumn Ward's "Beautiful Technique" dvd for a GREAT practice tool.)

    Next get a solid and good shimmy. Once you have a shimmy you can hold, in tempo, for 5 minutes, then start focusing on putting the two together.

    Remember, you absolutely have to have a solid and complete foundation before you can build on it. If you're trying to do a movement while walking with a complicated traveling pattern, then get the footwork FIRST. Make sure that's solid and perfect. Then worry about adding the successive layers.

    And do it SLOWLY! Most students want to rush through this stage. If you can't do a movement slowly, you can't do it. LOL. Download a metronome program (or buy one) and set it at a slow speed. Practice. When you can do what you were practicing SOLIDLY, without mistake) for 5 minutes (*) then you can "kick it up a notch" and practice at a faster speed. This method WORKS! I swear by it.

    (* I say 5 minutes because that's a nice round number and it's an average number of minutes in an average song. It's a good benchmark for knowing you really "HAVE" a movement.)

  6. #16
    V.I.P. Aziyade's Avatar
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    One more thing -- you need to be breathing through and into your movements. Breathing into a movement flow allows it to come alive and look less like you're just standing there doing movements and more like you're actually DANCING. Plus it will keep you from passing out.

    Ranya Renee has a wonderful way of expressing this, as does Autumn Ward. I recommend Ranya's Baladi dvd and Autumn's Beautiful Technique dvds for lots of reasons, but the breathing thing is well described and used in both.

  7. #17
    Member Elfie's Avatar
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    Man, I had a nice, long response typed out to this and the forum logged me ut so I lost it! Crud.

    Basically, I said that my background with music (I'm a musician and writer, though the music is a hobby rather than a means of living) is proving invaluable with musical expression. I don't dance with lyrics - instrumental is the only way to go. You tend to listen more to lyrics than music if you dance to songs that have lyrics. And that I may learn to play some ME flavored music so I can better understand the artistic choices by the musician and tell the story through dance correctly.

    Man I wish my other response had come up. It explained it so much better than that.

    Thank you, Aziyade, for the response. Incredible advice there and some that I will definitely take to heart. Much appreciated.

  8. #18
    V.I.P. Aziyade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elfie View Post
    And that I may learn to play some ME flavored music so I can better understand the artistic choices by the musician and tell the story through dance correctly.
    Oh yeah!! It's a whole new ballgame, but it's sooooo helpful! I want to eventually learn to play the qanoun, but right now I'm just learning to sing the music, which is hard enough. But once you're actually MAKING music, listening to it makes so much more sense!!

    Thank you, Aziyade, for the response. Incredible advice there and some that I will definitely take to heart. Much appreciated.
    You are VERY welcome

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