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  1. #1
    Senior Member LadyLoba's Avatar
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    Default Clarification on term "Six week wonders"

    I hear the term "Six week wonders" in the belly dance community a lot. Just to make sure I know what I'm talking about....is a "6 week wonder" someone who studies for 6-10 weeks (about the typical length of a Beginner Belly Dance course) and then believes herself to be a great dancer?

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    V.I.P. jenc's Avatar
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    Yeah someone who goes out for professional gigs or starts teaching without knowing what s/he doesn't know

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    V.I.P. Greek Bonfire's Avatar
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    Someone who takes one six week course then goes out and bills herself as a professional. These people also have a tendency to undercut the regular going price, thus making it more difficult for the real professionals to get good gigs.

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    Member mahsati_janan's Avatar
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    In general, a 6-week wonder is a dancer who is at a beginning level who begins teaching, performing, or both professionally. The 6 week part is shorthand. They may have taken classes for 6 weeks or far more, but the most important part is that it refers to an unstudied/unskilled dancer who is promoting themselves professionally.

    The time frame is less important than what you do with it. A person who takes 1 class a month for 2 years will only have taken 24 classes. Another person could take 2 classes a week in the same time period and would have taken 208 classes. The first is most likely far less skilled than the second (no guarantees, but in general).

    Sadly, there are actually students who declare themselves professional after taking a few beginner level classes.

  5. #5
    Senior Member LadyLoba's Avatar
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    I see...if anyone can relate to the phenomenon of "unskilled people getting ahead" in the field...it's a writer! Just look at all the poorly written books that get published. I know I bristle when I read a particularly horrible book, then flip to the back and read "The author took a 5 week writing workshop at the ABC center. This is her first attempt at writing."

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    V.I.P. Aziyade's Avatar
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    Professional performance and transmission of this dance also requires an understand of music and culture that 99% of American students aren't born with. You may be able to "get the moves" after a short period of time, but I don't think you can really act as a cultural ambassador, or communicate the real SPIRIT and heart behind the dance until you have a LOT of experience with it. It takes a lot of training and experience to "do it right" even on a small scale.

    The "6-week wonder" doesn't recognize that her training is just the tip of the iceberg. She doesn't know (and often doesn't care) that there is an entire MOUNTAIN of work to do just under the water.

    Just like the writer who says "look I wrote a first draft, now I should publish it and get famous!" (I always want to say, "yay for you! Now go do the HARD part, which is the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc. draft.)

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    Member Elfie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aziyade View Post
    Just like the writer who says "look I wrote a first draft, now I should publish it and get famous!" (I always want to say, "yay for you! Now go do the HARD part, which is the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc. draft.)
    19, 20, 21...

    I'm not a novel writer. I do write novels, but they suck. I know they suck.I'm a short story and poetry writer. It took me my entire life to be good enough to publish anything. I quit school in the tenth grade, went back and got my GED (which is a sort of high school equivalency test). I wrote for years with just that. I have yet to return to college, but through self-discipline, receiving critiques and reading, reading, reading some more, checking grammar dot com if I was unsure, I am fairly comfortable with my writing now.

    The beginner dancer is like a Kindergartner. They have to learn to recognize the letters and numbers, learn the sounds each letter is capable of making... then it's on to shaping those letters for themselves with pencil and crayon, perfecting those formations and stringing them with others to make simple words. If a Kindergartner wrote 350 double spaced pages of narrative, it would be very like the beginner dancer preforming at a professional gig. In my opinion, that is exactly what it looks like.

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    V.I.P. Greek Bonfire's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aziyade View Post
    Professional performance and transmission of this dance also requires an understand of music and culture that 99% of American students aren't born with. You may be able to "get the moves" after a short period of time, but I don't think you can really act as a cultural ambassador, or communicate the real SPIRIT and heart behind the dance until you have a LOT of experience with it. It takes a lot of training and experience to "do it right" even on a small scale.

    The "6-week wonder" doesn't recognize that her training is just the tip of the iceberg. She doesn't know (and often doesn't care) that there is an entire MOUNTAIN of work to do just under the water.

    Just like the writer who says "look I wrote a first draft, now I should publish it and get famous!" (I always want to say, "yay for you! Now go do the HARD part, which is the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc. draft.)
    And as Elfie said, 19, 20, 21. . .that's how it is with my choreos, not to mention improv practice.

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    Moderator Amulya's Avatar
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    The sad thing is: not all 6-week wonders are dancers who have taken only a few lessons. I knew a dancer (not naming her of course!) who danced for 10 years and could do the basics right, neither did she know much about the dance. I saw her teaching and I cringed at what she was doing to the students.

  10. #10
    Member Bellydance Oz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amulya View Post
    The sad thing is: not all 6-week wonders are dancers who have taken only a few lessons. I knew a dancer (not naming her of course!) who danced for 10 years and could do the basics right, neither did she know much about the dance. I saw her teaching and I cringed at what she was doing to the students.
    Amulya, this is so true, and I think part of it is the lack of formal teacher training in belly dance (unlike ballet, for instance).

    When I attended my first belly dance classes in Sydney, I was mystified to find that the belly was never mentioned. In fact I was taught that all hip movements were generated by the knees - the "tucked pelvis" was mentioned at the start of the class, but otherwise the abdominal muscles were never mentioned except in belly rolls/undulations. We were encouraged to dance with our muscles relaxed and "pulling up" in the tummy muscles was discouraged.

    So I worked hard to unlearn the use of those muscles in hip work (which I'd learned in jazz ballet)...

    I moved on to another school - still no mention of the abdominal muscles. I mentioned this to a teacher once - her response was that "we don't teach the use of the abdominal muscles until the Advanced class". I began to notice that some professional bellydancers let their stomachs hang out unattractively while dancing, and began to believe that belly dance technique was seriously flawed!

    Since then, I've studied with dancers who trained overseas, and in Queensland and WA and - surprise! - they do place emphasis on keeping the core turned on to protect the back, and using the abdominal muscles to move the hips. And I notice that when I see Queensland or Perth dancers perform, they have taut mid-sections and much better control.

    Although there are many belly dancers in Sydney, most of the local dancers ultimately come from a few major schools. I can only assume that somewhere in the transmission down the generations of dancers, the information got lost in Sydney where it didn't elsewhere - like Chinese whispers.

    Edit: I should say that this doesn't apply to every Sydney dancer, by any means, nor to every school.
    Last edited by Bellydance Oz; 11-21-2010 at 12:01 PM.

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