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  1. #51
    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    Default Dance, etc.

    Dear Yasmine,
    A few years back, I had a rather odd TIA stroke, in which for about 45 minutes, I could not remember how to start my car. It had happened a couple of times before, but only for a minute or so, so I did not recognize it as an issue until that long episode.
    From this time on, I have had some issues with telling what side is my right or left, what side of the clock face the 3 and the 9 are on, etc., sometimes getting the letters of my name or other words in the wrong place, and other directional stuff. One time I got really confused because I thought the door handle was on the wrong side!
    I feel that my movement abilites are intact, but anyone learning a choreography from me now has to have a little patience with my directional issues. Sometimes I think they are improving, but not always.
    I have a lot of synmpathy for people who find dance challenging, believe me.
    Regards,
    A'isha

  2. #52
    V.I.P. da Sage's Avatar
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    Agreed. I have seen a fairly hopeless boy with no apparent rhythm abilities *at all*, learn to imitate basic rhythms, given daily repetition and encouragement.

    And while I can hear and clap a rhythm, I am sometimes behind the beat on new or challenging steps.

    This is why student performances should be judged differently than professional performances...the audience shouldn't forget they are students! And of course, the students should put on the best performance possible for them.

  3. #53
    Member Kiraze's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Suheir View Post
    It doesn't look very good in a student troupe if someone's always one step (or even more) behind everybody else...
    True, but performing in student troupe is not "the most important thing" for all (or even most of) the dance students. In all dancing in troupe whether it is on student level or even professional is about coordination between different dancers and then naturally you must follow both the music and the other dancers... in fact it is more important to follow what the others are doing than to follow the music in case choreographer has not followed the music (which happens extremely often)

    Besides as I said before different people hear and listen to music differently: there are lots and lots of western dancers who despite their wonderful technique hear the music based on western patterns and in many cases that simply is not similar with Middle Eastern way. When I admitted that I cannot always hear the rhythm or instrument I meant that I cannot always distinguish whether some rhythm is e.g. baladi or just basic maqsoum or to be able to correctly count some more complex pattern like 7/8, 9/4, 12/8 etc... and I cannot always dance to them at correct beat: well, if you all can do that lucky you...
    Quote Originally Posted by A'isha Azar View Post
    In belly dance, it is all about the cultural, physical and emotional response to the music, after all. If a student is one of those people who can never understand the music, then she/he will probably never be a dancer. This does not mean that people with this problem should not take classes if they want to do so. Teachers will have to be careful not to become frustrated in their efforts to teach truly rythm challenged students, and realize that everyone is not in class for the same reasons.
    But what does it mean to be able to understand the music?I believe that everyone can learn to listen to the music and to respond to that either by copying others or by interpreting it their own way. I prefer the later way as even it sometimes is not necessarily technically "correct" it can still be very beautiful: some dancers can follow the rhythm, some others the melody, some can feel and interpret patterns of orchestra and solo instruments... and the best dancers can follow and interpret them all but even some part was missing the dance still can have that cultural, physical and emotional response to the music. It may not always be perfect but as bellydance by its nature *is* interpretative dance then who are we to tell that they are wrong

  4. #54
    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    Default Dance etc.

    Dear Kiraze,
    Authentic belly dance is only "interpretive" in certain contexts. There are certain elements of the Middle Eastern dances of all sorts that make them what they are. Without specific elements, it is not belly dance.
    Something can indeed be very beautiful and still not be belly dance. Just as there are certain elements that make a dance form Ballet, Celtic, Hula, or any other form of dance, belly dance has its own characterisrtics that give it definition and purpose and form to be uniquely what it is. When we say that the dance is not for everyone, in the case of belly dance, that musical interpretation, spirit and essence are very much important to the form that the dance takes. As I say in my advertising, "Belly dance is the physical manifestation of and visual compliment to the music". This is the basic truth of the the dance, and the reason why, without that understanding, one is not belly dancing.
    It is not meant as a put down or a form of discouragement, but in order to perform the dance, the musical element is of utmost importance. Dance, no matter what the form, is not movement alone, but a combintion many specific elements.
    Unfortunately, often in the teaching and learning of this dance form, people get very hung up on, "If I am doing the movements, then I am belly dancing". This is not true at all since many movements are ubiquitous and seen in many forms of dance. It is the other elements that make dances specific to their time, place and culture.
    Regards,
    A'isha

  5. #55
    V.I.P. Maria_Aya's Avatar
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    What a wonderfull thread, full of knowledge, opinions and the beauty of oriental dance.
    Not adding anything, just thanking all the mates that post their opinions. Very enlightening.

    Maria Aya

  6. #56
    V.I.P. Aziyade's Avatar
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    I agree with Sedonia and A'isha --- especially on their observations about Barb, the author.

    The Vaganova system of ballet is designed so that the first 6-8 YEARS of study prepare the student's body for the demands of actually DOING the movements required for the dance.

    Belly dance is different. Apart from increasing the range of motion in the torso (for some people) and specialized skills like floorwork and balancing, you don't really have to physically prepare your body to dance in the same way that a ballet student has to.

    So, in a sense, belly dance IS open to everyone -- because you can start at any age and still hope to develop a certain amount of competence in the form if you devote enough time to it. Like writing, painting, learning to play guitar, etc --you only need to devote time and energy into your practice to feel like you "know how to do it."

    "Competence" does not mean professional-level ability, however.

    Competence just means, "I can do this dance pretty good -- enough to amuse myself and maybe show off at student haflas or recitals."

    I teach a group of women in the SCA and I am well aware that NONE of my students have any desire (that they've expressed to me) to go professional, and most of them have said they don't want to perform at any events. Mostly they just want to know a few moves to play with at drum circles.

    THAT's the beauty of this dance. And that's what Barb seems to be missing.

  7. #57
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by A'isha Azar View Post

    I feel that my movement abilites are intact, but anyone learning a choreography from me now has to have a little patience with my directional issues. Sometimes I think they are improving, but not always.
    I have a lot of synmpathy for people who find dance challenging, believe me.
    Regards,
    A'isha
    Put me among the directionally challenged. I have given up on right and left and my poor students have had to learn north, south, east and west. Don't know why I have so much trouble with right and left- I occasionally suspect myself of having two left feet.

  8. #58
    V.I.P. Moon's Avatar
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    I also have trouble with left and right. Always been like that and probably always will be. I know more people with the same problem and those are all intelligent people Probably just some weird brain twists

  9. #59
    Senior Member Venefica's Avatar
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    I have a problem whit my left and rigt, I have this problem due to my syndrome Aspergers witch I have.

    As for the original coments on this tread. I am dancing bellydance, do pilates and ninitsu, while I like bellydance, my main motivation is getting into shape, I have cordination problems and I dont know if I will ever get good enough to perform for anyone but my family. And I still think I have full right to want to learn. But I also think and instructor have the full right to say that they want to train future performers and not act like some weight loss guides, that is their reight to.

  10. #60
    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    Default Dance etc.

    Dear Venefica,
    There are very few circumstances where a dance instructors should be able to say that she/he will teach only dancers. The reasons that people are in class are very much varied and not all have to do with dance. At the beginning levels of the dance, no one is a trained dancer, and therefore all people should be welcome. Even in academic dance this is true. When I was costumer at a university, all theatre students were required to take some dance classes.
    At the continuing levels, we still see some people who will never be great dancers, but they still want to learn all they can because they love it. Whether or not they are professional material, they should be able to continue their classes.
    Now, we come to the time when we separate out those who will become professional and those who will not by offering classes that are open to professional dancers only, or by forming a dance company and allowing only professional dancers to be in it. At this level of instruction, yes the instructor should be able to say who attends the class and who does not. There is a level that requires professional ability, but there are also levels that do not. At any level other than professional, I allow anyone who wants to attend to do so, though I suggest that nearly everyone know the basics before going further than beginning class. ( My beginning class lasts about a year, which means it is strudctured rather differently than many formats.)
    Regards,
    A'isha

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