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    Default Improvising on stage

    I know this might sound a bit weird but I was wondering if it is possible to perform on stage with a piece of music you know but improvising the dance as you go along? Has anyone done this?

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    V.I.P. Kashmir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moonoverwater View Post
    I know this might sound a bit weird but I was wondering if it is possible to perform on stage with a piece of music you know but improvising the dance as you go along? Has anyone done this?
    Yes - why not? I prefer to improvise and this would be my preferred option. It is especialy easy if you know the music. I have seen many dancers not only improvise on stage - but do it to an unknown band playing something the dancer may or may not know. (Or worse a diiferent version of something they do know)

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    Moderator Daimona's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moonoverwater View Post
    I know this might sound a bit weird but I was wondering if it is possible to perform on stage with a piece of music you know but improvising the dance as you go along? Has anyone done this?
    It is probably a lot more common than you think it is.
    Every step between a fully choreographed dance to complete improvising is both possible and common in belly dance performances.
    --
    Daim.

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    Moderator Zorba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moonoverwater View Post
    I know this might sound a bit weird but I was wondering if it is possible to perform on stage with a piece of music you know but improvising the dance as you go along? Has anyone done this?
    Yes, certainly. Its how many, many dancers perform - including me. Now show me a dancer who improvises to a song s/he's never heard before - THAT is real skill! No, I can't do that!

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    Junior Member nany rodriguez's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moonoverwater View Post
    I know this might sound a bit weird but I was wondering if it is possible to perform on stage with a piece of music you know but improvising the dance as you go along? Has anyone done this?
    Hi, I used to choreographed every song I was supposed to dance, but sometimes I dont have enough time and now I am starting to improvise more and more, and find it very interesting, pleaseant and enjoy every minute of the dance while performing....but I do listen to the music many times before.

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    V.I.P. Jane's Avatar
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    I'll be doing improv in my next stage show out of necessity. The musicians never play my piece the same way structurally twice, and they are playing improv for the taxeem and drum solo sections of the song. They primarily play for ATS dancers, so their music isn't traditional belly dance music. They do have Ah Ya Zein and a Rai piece in their repertoire, but that's about it for Arabic music. It's very difficult to match Egyptian style dancing to what they play for me. It's impossible to anticipate any phrases and accents. I end up using more of my American Oriental background when I dance with them. It's not ideal, but I can make it work. Sometimes it is what it is.

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    V.I.P. Kashmir's Avatar
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    ... however, to make a good job of it, you have to really know belly dance ie you need to know the movement vocab reasonably well - so it is clean and automatic. You also need to know how to interpret Arabic music with your body in a belly dance manner. You need to practice improvising for performance. After all, improvising in itself is just dancing to music. When you are doing it on stage you need to be able to also consider how the piece looks to the audience; how have you used the stage? have you varied your texture? have you got a balance between repetition and novelty?

    If it takes 6-24 months for anew dancer to perform a choreography in front of friends and family - it takes several times that time to improvise a good performance. Basically, it takes experience.
    Last edited by Kashmir; 05-22-2012 at 01:43 AM. Reason: spelling

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    Administrator Salome's Avatar
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    Does it mean I am starting to get old when I say stuff like 'back when I was student...' ? I am always a continuing student of course... but back when I was a student attending regular weekly classes; my teacher made us improvise. It wasn't a choice and it was a central part of class. As a beginning performer all through my dancing life to a professional level... I have always improvised. I have been in situations where, for one reason or another, the band played what they played and sometimes I did not know the music. And that was OK because my teacher made sure I could dance spontaneously and be comfortable doing it. It feels like there is so much focus on combinations and choreography, combinations and choreography these days... It has its place, straight up I am not dissing it. But it shouldn't be optional. To the OP, develop this skill, it will serve you so well and some of THE best dancing comes out when you are in the moment, in the music and spontaneously responding. Viva la improvisation!

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    V.I.P. Yame's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moonoverwater View Post
    I know this might sound a bit weird but I was wondering if it is possible to perform on stage with a piece of music you know but improvising the dance as you go along? Has anyone done this?
    This question made me chuckle. Have we really strayed so far from the improvisational roots of this dance that there are now people asking if it's "possible" to improvise as if it was some novel idea?

    Of course it's possible. This is how most of us perform! LOL

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    Thanks for the replies guys. Totally did not know what to expect from the responses. I certainly feel more comfortable with the idea of improvising on stage. Previous experience has shown this to be true also. Sorry if this sounds obvious to some but I wasn't sure how other people work as many belly dance classes I have taken focus mainly on learning a choreography or a routine set out by the teacher whereas I like to learn the moves and then take them home and play around with them.Indeed I tend to find this not just in dance but in yoga and pilates too where I like to do the moves I feel like doing on the day as opposed to what is set out for the day by a teacher or textbook.

    ... however, to make a good job of it, you have to really know belly dance ie you need to know the movement vocab reasonably well - so it is clean and automatic. You also need to know how to interpret Arabic music with your body in a belly dance manner. You need to practice improvising for performance. After all, improvising in itself is just dancing to music. When you are doing it on stage you need to be able to also consider how the piece looks to the audience; how have you used the stage? have you varied your texture? have you got a balance between repetition and novelty?
    Thanks for these tips Kashmir. Will def start being more conscious about these things when I am dancing. Are there any books, dvd's, articles etc. you or anyone could recommend on the above mentioned aspects of improvised dance/ choreographing your own belly dance or is it purely accumulated knowledge from experience of dancing?

    Thanks so much

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