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  1. #31
    Senior Member walladah's Avatar
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    Default I would agree with Shanazel

    that learning from real people dancing in front of you is much better than anything else!

    I can share with you my own experience: i have learned and i continue to learn in any way i can: just dancing with other people in parties where bellydance is traditional, having lessons, attending workshops, studying by using DVDs, studying by using youtube videos, etc.

    However, i admit that my impression is that video technology, even in DVDs, where teachers are explaining moves, will never be able to capture the tiny particles of a movement and of the entire body posture during the movement while human eye can absorb all this information at class, even if the student is unable at the moment to reproduce the information package just received...

    This is why evolution while studying with live teachers might seem same with DVDs at the beginning, but never will it be same afterwards, when the student is somehow advanced and practices alone after a class. At that stage, the information received through attending classes for some time re-appears, after the student masters some the basic moves... then a hip drop is not a hip drop, is a movement of an entire person...

    THis is why i also insist in attending workshops where some reasonable participation limit exists instead of attending popular/supermarket workshops, where i cannot see the teacher's movement clearly and with her entire body...

    However, i do not dismiss the idea of learning through DVDs and videos and mirrors once there is not any other solution available. Quite the opposite! I think that we should learn in any way we can and once we are able to attend a class or a workshop, we should rush there (provided that the quality of the teaching we receive is the appropriate one).

    And as i use very much youtube to decide about which teachers' workshops i should attend, i can assure you that the better the teacher, the worse the video looks after you can see her/him dancing live or teaching live. In some cases i was wondering how those excellent videos (which persuaded me to attend the workshop) make injustice to the real thing and why... then i understood: it is the technology, me fool! we will never be able to reproduce real dance on digital format...

    Note: I wanted to add to Kashmir's reputation but the rep system did not allow me. Kashmir, consider as if i have given you a virtual reputation...
    Last edited by walladah; 03-06-2011 at 04:10 PM.

  2. #32
    Senior Member goddessyasaman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MissVega View Post
    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.
    There are a lot of teachers out there that don't teach about belly dance history even if they can get to the info for study, at least you care to.

    When I was Teaching at this one location, the people that owned the yoga studio try'ed to tell me that they did'nt think that anyone who was coming to the class wanted to learn about the history of belly dance and the like, that they only wanted to dance or exercise, I told them "I don't think you understand Belly dance" I think 50 out
    of 125 of my students that took the begginer classes when I started did'nt think that there was so much to belly dance. I do think DVDs
    for learning belly dance could be better far as breaking everything down but everyone learns differently.

    May I ask how long you have been studying Middle eastern dance MissVega?

  3. #33
    Member Nailah_Siti's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shanazel View Post
    Some students are permanent beginners due to any number of things, including physical limitations, lack of regular practice, long periods of absence from classes, and just general disinclination to advance. That's okay as long as they are happy and accept the reality of their situation.

    Other students pick things up so quickly that it makes one's head spin. When I was 21, my teacher took me aside and told me she was bumping me up into the intermediate class after half a dozen beginning lessons. All the beginning stuff came very easily to me and I've had students who were the same way. Lack of challenge is as deadening as too much challenge, and I've bumped fairly new students up a few times myself in thirty+ years of teaching.
    This is a great view. My teacher moved me up to intermediate after 2 6 wk sessions because I caught on quickly. However, I came in with an advantage from previous dance experience, musicality and work with expression. I know of people who had been with her for years and were still beginners and were totally fine with it. I wish there was a standard "code" of what each level should be able to accomplish, it would make personal growth easier when we purchase dvds, watch videos online etc. I honestly try not to stress what level I am, in my eyes I AM a BELLYDANCER. The length of time since I've started and whether or not I get paid does not define me

  4. #34
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    I came in with an advantage from previous dance experience, musicality and work with expression.
    In the interest of complete disclosure I should add this was also true for me, though I didn't have dance experience going clear back to grade school like some of my friends.
    "Well, now that we have seen each other," said the unicorn " if you'll believe in me, I'll believe in you."

  5. #35
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    the problem with DVDs is that the instructor cannot come over and put your foot, arm or elbow where she would actually like you to be holding it, or hold your shoulders to keep them still or get you to not bob up and down. I definitely believe in "hands on" dance instruction! Some people can get it without hands on, but the large majority cannot.

  6. #36
    V.I.P. Aziyade's Avatar
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    I have met several piano tuners in my life. (Long boring story -- just believe me when I said I've met at least a dozen.)

    Only one of those guys and gals could tune the piano by ear. The others used electronic "pitch pipes" so to speak.

    The guy who could do it by ear explained to me how he did it. It's simple acoustics, but it takes a VERY PRACTICED ear to actually hear how it's tuned.


    I think the same thing is true of most dance students. MOST students cannot imitate other dancers and give themselves a meaningful critique, even via video. Being able to look at yourself on videotape and actually give yourself feedback is an incredibly important (but also incredibly difficult) skill to learn. I have been around dancers who look over their performance videos and think "wow I look fabulous" because they can't actually SEE what's wrong. Developing the eye for self-critique takes times. Very few people have it right out of the starting gate.

    I suspect MissVega may have it - ?

    Of course, we are all "self-taught" in some ways. The thing that concerns me about dancers who don't get formal training in Middle Eastern dance, is that they don't know what they don't know. You are limiting yourself to only a surface interpretation of the music.

    For some dancers and entertainers this is fine. And they don't care to know more. For others, we see continued study and continued analysis as a way of milking EVERYTHING we can out of the music and culture. When you've been to Seville, it's much easier to understand and appreciate the music of Flamenco -- it's so different to experience the place of origin and the culture of origin. I'm told when you've been to the Said, it puts an entirely different level of understanding on the Saidi dances.

    Honestly I think the best non-native dancers are the ones who have spent time in the region, who have studied the music and the culture, and who really attempt to encompass that culture's "mindset" when dancing. People like Sahra Saeeda and Ranya Renee -- their dancing is on a completely different plane of existence than that of so many of the rest of us. Why is that? I can only conclude that it's because of their intense study and intense exposure to the originating cultural traditions and music.

  7. #37
    Senior Member goddessyasaman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aziyade View Post
    Honestly I think the best non-native dancers are the ones who have spent time in the region, who have studied the music and the culture, and who really attempt to encompass that culture's "mindset" when dancing. People like Sahra Saeeda and Ranya Renee -- their dancing is on a completely different plane of existence than that of so many of the rest of us. Why is that? I can only conclude that it's because of their intense study and intense exposure to the originating cultural traditions and music.

    I agree, A lot of belly dancers have yet to really understand the culture traditions and music of middle eastern dance. Or they know none.

    I don't think I have come across any workshops on the history of middle eastern dance, have you Aziyade?

  8. #38
    Member mahsati_janan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by goddessyasaman View Post
    I agree, A lot of belly dancers have yet to really understand the culture traditions and music of middle eastern dance. Or they know none.

    I don't think I have come across any workshops on the history of middle eastern dance, have you Aziyade?

    There are a number of people out there who do specialty workshops on history of particular styles or regions. Some names to get you started:

    Sahra Saeeda
    Faten Salama
    Artemis Mourat
    Robyn Friend
    Helene Eriksen
    Habiba
    Aisha Ali
    Hadia
    Andrea Deagon
    Barbara Sellers-Young
    Hassan Khalil
    Mahmoud Reda and Farida Fahmy

    There are a lot more out there and the information available is amazing. Also check out the music/dance/folklore camps and weeklong intensives. The IBCC is also a great place to learn more about history is you can make the trip there.
    Last edited by mahsati_janan; 03-07-2011 at 08:16 PM. Reason: thought of more for the list

  9. #39
    V.I.P. Kashmir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by goddessyasaman View Post
    I agree, A lot of belly dancers have yet to really understand the culture traditions and music of middle eastern dance. Or they know none.

    I don't think I have come across any workshops on the history of middle eastern dance, have you Aziyade?
    Actually I have been doing these in New Zealand since 2001 (Christchurch, Wellington, Auckland, Tauranga - will travel ). They vary in length from 2 to 6 hours depending on scope required.

  10. #40
    Moderator Darshiva's Avatar
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    How far will travel? Just as a point of curiousity...

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