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  1. #1
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    Default Standing on demi

    Hi Everyone,

    My teacher insists that we always stand on demi (one foot flat with the other leg slightly bent on demi pointe), unless doing folkloric. So even when we shimmy, we only do it in that particular stance.

    Is that correct? I have watched famous Egyptian dancers and have not noticed them in that stance constantly. I also feel it hampers my shimmies and they end up looking very uneven.

    I hope someone can enlighten me! Please note I am learning Egyptian technique.

    Thank you.

    Habiba

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Mosaic's Avatar
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    The "normal" stance for a standard shimmy ( as far as I know) is feet flat & your weight tends to be more on the heel/back of the foot than the whole foot, knees are soft. There are many different shimmies, but that is how I learnt to do the standard shimmy. The demi- pointe shimmy must be something your teacher prefers, or possibly taught as the 'correct' way.
    ~Mosaic
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  3. #3
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    Thank you Mosaic. I think in general, standing on demi looks pretty until it comes time for the basic shimmy - then I prefer flat. Having said that, my teacher won't allow it so it makes things a bit difficult in class when I feel I'm executing the move incorrectly and it doesn't feel natural.

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    Moderator Darshiva's Avatar
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    That's one of four poses that are typically used in bellydance. I find it odd that she sticks to the one (do you swap sides or are you doing it on the right side only?) but she must have her reasons. Why not ask her?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Darshiva View Post
    That's one of four poses that are typically used in bellydance. I find it odd that she sticks to the one (do you swap sides or are you doing it on the right side only?) but she must have her reasons. Why not ask her?
    Hello Darshiva, thank you for your reply.

    We do swap sides but she typically says that good dancers only dance on demi. It's been drummed in to all of her students to the point that whenever we have a visiting instructor, they have a hard time getting the girls to go flat foot when required. I have studied with some very well respected teachers in the past and all have asked for flat when doing the basic shimmy - hence my confusion.

    I am trying to reconcile what I know is right (for me at least) and what my teacher is wanting me to do.

  6. #6
    Premium Member Aniseteph's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Habiba View Post
    ... good dancers only dance on demi.
    Dina, Tito and Randa didn't get the memo. Or Mona Said, Fifi Abdo... lots of examples on YouTube. Did she mean it in a particular context rather than as an absolute rule? It seems a bit off for Egyptian style.

    The more I learn of Egyptian style the more I think that that flat footed connection to the ground is important for it to look right. But maybe one person's "Egyptian style" is another's "too folkloric/baladi".

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    Moderator Farasha Hanem's Avatar
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    I don't know your teacher, but if this is a hard, fast rule with her, I think I might find someone else, but that's just me. Because I don't know her, I'm giving her the benefit of the doubt when it comes to her professionalism, and knowledge of Egyptian style, but if she is unbudging on the shimmy-on-demi issue, that would send off alarm bells in me if I knew differently, as you do. Be it teacher or student, a dancer has to be open to continual education, but especially if she is a teacher who's responsible for bringing up new dancers. If a teacher discovers that she's mistaken about something, she should be willing to to admit it and correct any mistakes in her opinion, teaching method, practice, whatever. That's just my opinion.

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    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    I'm a classic American Oriental dancer and spend a lot of times on my toes; it's a stylistic thing, like the slight lean to the back. You don't necessarily see either in more modern AmOri but that's what I teach because that's what I know and like.

    As a beginning dancer I started on my toes but I was coming from a ballet background and had good strength and balance to begin with. I start my newbie students flat-footed and ease them up on half-pointe as their legs and feet get stronger and their balance improves. They view going up on their toes as the AmOri equivalent of getting pointe shoes.
    "Well, now that we have seen each other," said the unicorn " if you'll believe in me, I'll believe in you."

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    Super Moderator gisela's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Habiba View Post
    Hi Everyone,

    My teacher insists that we always stand on demi (one foot flat with the other leg slightly bent on demi pointe), unless doing folkloric. So even when we shimmy, we only do it in that particular stance.

    Is that correct? I have watched famous Egyptian dancers and have not noticed them in that stance constantly. I also feel it hampers my shimmies and they end up looking very uneven.

    I hope someone can enlighten me! Please note I am learning Egyptian technique.

    Thank you.

    Habiba
    Do you mean standing like this?


    When you say demi I picture you standing on your toes all the time, but that might not be what you mean.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Duvet's Avatar
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    I'm surprised that your teacher insists on demi, which I associate with Turkish / Cabaret style. I can only imagine that it is how she learnt and she doesn't want to change, or that she feels it provides a good profile in performances and promotes the dancers' image. Is the issue only with the one move? Is it linked to a specific choreography you've learnt?

    Regarding the visiting teachers; - presumably your own teacher is asking these other tutors in, and is present when they are contradicting her own stance. Surely she has noticed this? If she thinks they are teaching it wrong, why is she asking them to teach her class? Has she ever reacted to this? Or has anyone asked her?

    If she is insisting on you doing something you feel is wrong from what you are seeing around you, then you have the choice to change your tutor, but I strongly advise asking her why she is doing this. Otherwise you'll always wonder why. None of us here can answer for her. And perhaps the answer will make enough sense for you to stay with her.

    But I really disagree with her idea that only good dancers dance on demi! Aniseteph gives some good examples.
    (Perhaps your tutor has only one specific style in mind.)
    Last edited by Duvet; 01-16-2012 at 12:18 AM.

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