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  1. #21
    Senior Member goddessyasaman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elfie View Post
    Yeah. That's exactly it.
    You know in todays world everyone thinks that you must learn something from some other person, this has not and is not always the truth.

    Whoever was the creator of Middle eastern dance did not learn it from someone else, as things must have a start, so who is to say that you must learn from anyone, If you have the tools to learn something as you are not the creator then so be it. Who is to say that you will not be just as well learned as the person who had to learn under someone?

    Now if you are learning from watching DVD instruction and videos and the like, then it may take you longer to pick up the moves then lets say a person with a one on one teacher, or it may not. Each person is different.

    All I can say for the self taught Belly dancer that wishes to know her dance level is to keep practice as much as you can, the same as a Dancer with a instructor, A mirror is key when learning on your own as I'm sure you know.


    I was thinking of making a program online that as you learn I give you level progression test (like I do in my Classes), but I think a live feed would be best for that where I can see you as well or have the student send in there test results in video format. I'm working on it though

  2. #22
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    Whoever was the creator of Middle eastern dance did not learn it from someone else, as things must have a start, so who is to say that you must learn from anyone, If you have the tools to learn something as you are not the creator then so be it. Who is to say that you will not be just as well learned as the person who had to learn under someone?
    Well, me, for one. In thirty-five years of involvement in belly dance, I have never seen a completely self-taught middle eastern dancer perform with anything approaching the skill, finesse, and understanding of a dancer who learned from other dancers.

    Inventing a dance style on your own is one thing. Learning an established style of dance without a teacher is another. Middle eastern dance did not just spring full-blown into being like Athena from the head of Zeus.

    A teacher on dvd cannot walk around you and determine if your posture is correct. A mirror cannot show you everything you need to know about posture, position, and execution. Neither of these learning tools can pinpoint and explain to you exactly why your efforts are not resulting in the desired effect. I could go on at tedious length, but will spare everyone the pontification.
    "Well, now that we have seen each other," said the unicorn " if you'll believe in me, I'll believe in you."

  3. #23
    V.I.P. jenc's Avatar
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    I agree. Of course new dancers who belong to the culture don't have lessons - but they are immersed in the culture and the music. They see peopple around them who dance that way and they don't have to unlearn any other way of moving or relating to music.

  4. #24
    Senior Member goddessyasaman's Avatar
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    I understand what you are saying Shanazel, I'm not saying that this can happen for everyone only that it is not unheard of is all, I'm sure there are just to many people into belly dance to say this for a fact. I'm sure there are not many as it is taught to people that they must learn whatever the something is from someone, thats all I'm saying which does not help much

  5. #25
    V.I.P. Kashmir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by goddessyasaman View Post
    You know in todays world everyone thinks that you must learn something from some other person, this has not and is not always the truth.
    During the Cultural Revolution the Maoist believed that too - they had people intuiting how to build bridges - lots fell down. How about learning surgery after watching lots of hospital soaps? Closer to belly dance, learning ballet by re-running a tape of Swan Lake?
    Quote Originally Posted by goddessyasaman View Post
    Whoever was the creator of Middle eastern dance did not learn it from someone else, as things must have a start, so who is to say that you must learn from anyone
    Middle Eastern Dance arose from a culture. People who do it know the music, and the language - and they grew up with hundreds of hours of close up watching and mimicing other dancers. So, no, they didn't have aunty Farida explaining how to do a hip drop - but they saw many variations over a lifetime. Same way as westernrs might learn to skip or play ball.

    But the well known, the "great" dancers did have formal lessons - built on an existing movement vocab and then extended. Badia Masabni is well known for organizing this but before her Mohamed Ali Street and ghawazee dancers both served an apprenticeship under a teacher/dancer.

    I won't say it is impossible to learn without guidence living outside the Middle East but it would take an incredible talent to combine the physical and cultural aspects of this dance from mere observation. The problem is you often don't know what is significant or what you are missing.

  6. #26
    Senior Member goddessyasaman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kashmir View Post
    During the Cultural Revolution the Maoist believed that too - they had people intuiting how to build bridges - lots fell down. How about learning surgery after watching lots of hospital soaps? Closer to belly dance, learning ballet by re-running a tape of Swan Lake?

    Middle Eastern Dance arose from a culture. People who do it know the music, and the language - and they grew up with hundreds of hours of close up watching and mimicing other dancers. So, no, they didn't have aunty Farida explaining how to do a hip drop - but they saw many variations over a lifetime. Same way as westernrs might learn to skip or play ball.

    But the well known, the "great" dancers did have formal lessons - built on an existing movement vocab and then extended. Badia Masabni is well known for organizing this but before her Mohamed Ali Street and ghawazee dancers both served an apprenticeship under a teacher/dancer.

    I won't say it is impossible to learn without guidence living outside the Middle East but it would take an incredible talent to combine the physical and cultural aspects of this dance from mere observation. The problem is you often don't know what is significant or what you are missing.
    Come on now don't make jokes none of those are even close to what I have said. And I never said u should go look at a belly dancers performance and learn to dance, there are instructor dvds and online classes. I'm sure these are a help to someone. All the examples you used had nothing to do with learning only watching and trying to mimic, thats a bit different as there are many ways to learn on your own if you must, some people have to as they can do nothing else. They very well could learn on thier own Thats all I'm saying, as things are possible.

    It will not be a easy thing for the person who learns this way, yet I'm sure it has happend and could be happening now. As the world is a big place.

  7. #27
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    there are instructor dvds and online classes.
    And neither are decent substitutes for a real live teacher who corrects your posture and tells you that you drop your chest when you dance and warns you that trying to turn with your feet in that position will eventually wreck your knees.

    True, the world is a big place and a million monkeys with typewriters might eventually reproduce the works of Shakespeare and a dvd-taught belly dancer may become the toast of Cairo, but both are long shots and so far unheard of.
    "Well, now that we have seen each other," said the unicorn " if you'll believe in me, I'll believe in you."

  8. #28
    V.I.P. jenc's Avatar
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    At the moment I am looking at beginner dvds for review - and then my dvd player broke. I will say that there are several moves that I have seen beginners struggle with, not realising if or what they are doing wrong and in my studies I have not always seen these moves explained clearly in beginner dvds.

  9. #29
    Member MissVega's Avatar
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    I think for those who live in rural areas or areas that aren't that multicultural then one will have to think outside the box with how they learn this dance. It's not ideal and it doesn't work for everyone but you make do with what you have.

    I personally have never attended a regular class, had a private lesson or had someone correct my posture etc in a workshop. Up until fall 2009 I hadn't attended any workshops. I have since then and have gone because I have liked that instructors dance style or respected what they have accomplished in this dance. The vast majority of my learning has been from watching performances and filming my practices and critiquing them myself in comparison to the performances I have watched etc.

    I don't own any instructional dvds. And haven't actually ever watched one.

    I'm pretty confident in my technique and am always reviewing my videos noting what needs work. I am the first to admit that there are huge gaps in my "dance education" in regards to knowledge of folklore, names of rhythms etc as those can be harder to find the resources to teach yourself. I have learned lots by reading the forums, but also acknowledge that for that sort of thing having a teacher nearby would be preferable lol. That being said I am always honest when teaching students, I am good for technique but you'll have to go beyond me if you want to learn more in regards to folklore, history etc. I still do lots of reading but am always trying to learn more but I do have limited resources available to me at this moment in my life based on where I live.

    Am I perfect dancer? No. But I think I've done okay with what has been available to me.

  10. #30
    Senior Member goddessyasaman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shanazel View Post
    And neither are decent substitutes for a real live teacher who corrects your posture and tells you that you drop your chest when you dance and warns you that trying to turn with your feet in that position will eventually wreck your knees.

    True, the world is a big place and a million monkeys with typewriters might eventually reproduce the works of Shakespeare and a dvd-taught belly dancer may become the toast of Cairo, but both are long shots and so far unheard of.
    I don't think a million monkeys could reproduce the works of shakespeare, then I don't follow the scientific studied of monkeys so i'm not sure, I'm not sure on the long shot about the belly dancer, I'm not sure if she would want to become the toast of cairo as you say, and even if there were such a belly dancer (that was self taught) we may never know of her as it seems that no one would care to see her dance if she said I am self taught,or maybe they would want to see, just to tell her you are doing that wrong. Everyone learns differently just because they have a live teacher does not mean that they will be great. And I wonder, what If she was great would people believe her about the self taught?

    I understand the differents between A instructor in person and a DVD/online instructor, as I Teach belly dance, I was never saying that a student should not seekout a Instructor in person. I just never say never as everyone is different, one person could learn a belly dance move from a DVD and another persone could not, I think it still matters who the teacher is, some people don't break things down well no matter if they are in person or not.

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