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  1. #11
    V.I.P. Moon's Avatar
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    I admit I posted my reply without reading the article, as I can't find it! I forgot to ask. Can someone please post a link? Thanks very much.

  2. #12
    V.I.P. Dev's Avatar
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  3. #13
    V.I.P. Dev's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aniseteph View Post
    I take the "belly dance is for everyone" message as a friendly invitation and an open door. Not a guarantee of success in finding some "inner dancer", not code for "come to classes and you can be a belly dancer regardless of effort or natural aptitude" (who seriously thinks that after their first lesson?). And certainly not a reason to dumb down the the cultural messages/context/background. I wouldn't be surprised if the majority of the bellydance addicts originally just turned up for a bit of a giggle and an alternative to aerobics (bleurgh*).
    I totally agree with you.

  4. #14
    V.I.P. Moon's Avatar
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    Thanks for the link Dipali!!!

    Ok... after reading, my comment to this teacher is: change the text on your website to "I will only teach bellydance to those who have a dance background of at least 5 years, are flexible, talented and want to become professionals. If you have never danced before or if you are clumsy, please don't come to my classes, as I will feel discouraged am affraid I will fail my job as a teacher."

  5. #15
    Member Suhad's Avatar
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    I was the first one to comment on the article at the site.

    I was actually a little offended by it.

    It probably isn't pain or unhappiness on their faces, it's extreme concentration!

    How many of those students will be put off forever by bellydance because of their teacher's superior attitude toward them? Those are people who WOULD come to haflas, performances, etc and support the community if they were encouraged and excited by the dance. They won't however, if they are made to feel like they don't belong because they aren't 'dancer material'....

    As I said, not everyone could, should, or even wants to dance professionally. So what? They still can get the benefits of developing coordination, core strength, a little bit of an aerobic workout, grace, and a sense of beauty.

    Someone needs to check their ego in the coat closet near the door, I'm thinking, and it's not me. Miss Shapoopie needs to get off her high bellydance horse and come down to reality ground.

  6. #16
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    Students are for teaching, and not for boosting the teacher's self-esteem.

    I took ballet (and jazz, and modern and folk dance) years ago for fun and to increase my flexibility and balance, not so I could be the prima ballerina of the western world. I've never regretted it, though I was not very good, and had at least one teacher who was impatient with those of us she deemed to be "not serious dancers" meaning we were never going to enhance her reputation as a teacher by being accepted into the Royal Ballet.

    I will not be that kind of teacher, whether my students have "stiff feet" or not. Hell, some of my students have got fused vertebrae in their necks and rods in their spines. Am I going to tell them to go find something less challenging to do? I don't think so. My job is to teach, and not to tell my students that their motives for taking my class are not good enough. Plenty of students have said some version of , "Wow, this dance is really hard work!" Some don't come back and some do. I teach the ones who return and let the others go their merry round of new and exciting exercise routines without feeling affronted that they'd dared to try a new dance class without "being serious" about it.

    Hmm, it appears that this is a sorer spot with me that I originally thought.

  7. #17
    V.I.P. Yasmine Bint Al Nubia's Avatar
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    Hmmm, I'm surprised that some of you are offended by the article: I reread the article and here's what stood out to me :
    "When you have very beginning, non-dance students who most likely won't pursue a career, What movements or class focus do you think is most appropriate so that it will be a fun and satisfying experience for the students?"
    This was her opening paragraph, in which she's asking how to create a satisfying atmosphere for brand new beginners? I've asked my self that question as well, since I don't expect anyone to have the desire to perform.For some people a basic hip circle is very difficult and the frustration they feel is very palpable. Should I avoid teaching certain moves because they become frustrated easily or do I teach the curriculum and provide gentle encouragement each step of the way until they have a level of satisfaction for their effort. I would choose to do the latter. The difficulty for any teacher would be to keep an entire class motivated throught the tough spots, otherwise why even teach at all.

    "On my website, on many websites, on videos, etc. the message today is that belly dance is for everyone and anyone. We all say this because we as dancers discovered the fun of it ourselves and somehow, someone put the buzz phrase out there for business advertising that “belly dance is for everyone” but, to begin with, we discovered the fun because we were dancers or dance lovers or were motivated by movement in some way and we worked at it to get to knowing the dance well enough to get to the fun.

    This statement is so true! How many websites describe how challenging belly dance really is? Think about all the posts made on this forum about the difficulties of certain moves etc. We all decided to join a BD class initially for fun and at some point we were intrigued enough to stick with the dance and learn alot more along the way. But we had to work hard at it. In order to participate in any physical activity, one must have at least the ability to sustain the activity for at least 30 mins w/o injury. So is bellydance for the asthmatic who is so short of breath after a shimmy drill or a student w/ osteoporosis and their hips pop out of joint or a student who has had a stroke and has balance and numbness on one side of their body? I've had these students in my class, scaring the shit out of me.
    I'm glad Belly dance is an inclusive activity, that may people can enjoy no matter what their level or goals are, but we need to be realistic as students and teachers.
    Yasmine

  8. #18
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    What you say is very true, and in my case, at least, being realistic means realizing I am going to get students who have physical limitations, but who still need to be taught in the best way possible.

    The writer started out with a very good question, and I wish she had answered it instead of going on to tell her audience that real dancers are special people and should hold themselves above those who will never reach her standards. This is indeed an offensive philosophy, particularly for a teacher. One teaches a student become the best dancer or writer or horseback rider she is capable of becoming, without passing judgement about whether the student has sufficient innate ability to excel. Just because I cannot teach a student a body wave does not mean her next teacher will not have a technique that will work immediately.

    I cannot find it in my heart to resent teaching a student who is held back by a physical disability like asthma or balance issues. One makes adjustments for other people- my students adjust themselves to my hearing problem, I adjust my lessons to their stiff ankles and sore backs.

    Once again, I wish this writer had answered her original question instead of just feeding the elitist ego that unfortunately lurks in most of us.
    Last edited by Shanazel; 01-25-2007 at 08:04 PM.

  9. #19
    Senior Member sedoniaraqs's Avatar
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    O.K. reluctantly stepping in to my BOB role. I have been on enough discussion boards and lists to know that this author is utterly and completely clueless about Middle Eastern dance. She comes from a western dance background, and is seemingly incapable of absorbing any kind of cultural context about belly dance/oriental dance/raqs sharqi/whatever you want to call it.

    Seasoned knowledgeable dancers have explained various things to her over and over and she just doesn't get it (at times I have suspected her perpetual state of confusion to be passive resistance against the truth, but I digress...). She isn't a belly dancer, she's a modern world fusion dancer who likes to wear belly dancing costumes, and the only problem with that is that she calls herself a belly dancer, proclaims to teach belly dancing, and publishes articles which by inference propound that she's an expert or instructor of belly dance.

    Just to give you one of many examples, she posted a schpeel somewhere (MED-list maybe?) about Shareen el Safy -- she couldn't see anything skilled or valuable in her dance and couldn't get past that Shareen is a fat dancer, how could any dancer let that happen to her body, why do people consider her to be a master teacher, bla bla bla.

    So, I would agree that the question "is belly dance for everyone" is a valid question to discuss, I'm just not interested in Barbara the dancing spirit's thoughts on the matter.

    Sedonia

  10. #20
    V.I.P. Yasmine Bint Al Nubia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sedoniaraqs View Post
    O.K. reluctantly stepping in to my BOB role. I have been on enough discussion boards and lists to know that this author is utterly and completely clueless about Middle Eastern dance. She comes from a western dance background, and is seemingly incapable of absorbing any kind of cultural context about belly dance/oriental dance/raqs sharqi/whatever you want to call it.

    Seasoned knowledgeable dancers have explained various things to her over and over and she just doesn't get it (at times I have suspected her perpetual state of confusion to be passive resistance against the truth, but I digress...). She isn't a belly dancer, she's a modern world fusion dancer who likes to wear belly dancing costumes, and the only problem with that is that she calls herself a belly dancer, proclaims to teach belly dancing, and publishes articles which by inference propound that she's an expert or instructor of belly dance.

    Just to give you one of many examples, she posted a schpeel somewhere (MED-list maybe?) about Shareen el Safy -- she couldn't see anything skilled or valuable in her dance and couldn't get past that Shareen is a fat dancer, how could any dancer let that happen to her body, why do people consider her to be a master teacher, bla bla bla.

    So, I would agree that the question "is belly dance for everyone" is a valid question to discuss, I'm just not interested in Barbara the dancing spirit's thoughts on the matter.

    Sedonia
    Interesting! Thanks for your input Sedonia!
    Yasmine

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