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  1. #1
    Member ana_bat's Avatar
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    Default Don't know what to do next in this process...

    Recently I've realized that I no longer feel passionate about ATS which was what I thought to be a true calling. I'm looking for a change, but I find myself unsure how to proceed next. Basically I came to this realization that after 4 years I knew nothing about belly dance at all. I'm upset that I don't understand the cultural significance of several things, I'm upset that I don't know the different style of music from the middle east and appropriate zill patterns when applicable, gosh I'm just upset at how culturally devoid this belly dance experience has felt for me! I'm tired of making costumes that bare what feels like little cultural significance and emulating this blend of cultures yet understanding none. I don't see how all these cultures that are fused together in dance, make any sense. I feel self conscious and wrong about performing and participating in ATS. I don't mean to offend anyone out there who dances ATS/ITS or Tribal fusion, I'm just referring to my own experience not to the dance form as a whole.

    I want to really learn belly dance, I want to learn about the many cultures of the middle east but I don't know how to go about this. I'm not sure if I want to quit or if I want to start the search for a new teacher and start all over again. I just feel lost, like I'm having an identity crisis of sorts . Have any of you gone through something like this before? I would appreciate any advice or perspectives.

  2. #2
    Moderator Darshiva's Avatar
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    Hold on to your old tribal gear & start looking for classes in other bellydance styles.

    Talk to your teacher about your desire to know more about the dances tribal springs from and ask for advice.

    I think everyone has itchy feet with regards to their dance style at some point. If you think of it as cross-training rather than deserting your origins, you'll come at it from the right perspective. It's fine to take a hiatus from tribal while you try out new things, anyone who tells you otherwise has other motives in mind.
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  3. #3
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    You clearly listed the things you wish you'd learned in the last four years. Next step: start doing research on those things. There are lots of links throughout OD to get you started. Shira.net is a great place to go for information.

    If you don't want to do tribal any more, find a teacher who teaches a traditional style.

    Don't disparage what you've been doing for four years- that does both you and the style an injustice. Dance training is dance training and rarely goes to waste when you move on to something different.

    ATS is a cultural phenomenon- an American cultural phenomenon that has been embraced by women all over the globe. It nurtures feelings of sisterhood and solidarity and strength. The people who do it adopt costuming that fits their style of dance and their own tribe/troupe. Just because we can definitely pinpoint the beginnings of this style doesn't make it culturally insignificant.

    And no, I am not a tribal gal, but I see the grounding and joy it brings to its adherents. If we go back far enough, all of us can trace descent from tribes of some sort. I see ATS as a celebration and resurrection of tribal cohesiveness, memories of which still exist in the Collective Unconscience.
    Last edited by Shanazel; 10-10-2012 at 09:44 PM. Reason: spelling
    "Well, now that we have seen each other," said the unicorn " if you'll believe in me, I'll believe in you."

  4. #4
    Member ana_bat's Avatar
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    Thank you for your input Darshiva and Shanazel

    You raised some excellent points that I managed to miss in my own thinking. I think I'm just going to hit the pause button rather than quit all together and start researching and cross training down the line. I really appreciated the input!

  5. #5
    V.I.P. Kashmir's Avatar
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    Research who in your local community can teach these things and consider joining their classes or doing private lessons. Look out for workshops by well educated, experienced teachers (they may not look sexy - but they may have heaps to teach). There are also festivals which have cultural components.

    DVDs are harder - because even if the teacher knows what they are on about they are limited in what they can transmit on a DVD - but worse DVDs are very expensive to produce and rely on volume to recoup the costs - so often the least useful things are the ones that make a splash. That said, Ranya Renee's DVDs have some useful information.

  6. #6
    Member BigJim's Avatar
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    I think I know where you are coming from.... you've just had your eyes opened to how huge and vast this concept of belly dance really is... that you've worked hard for 4 years and the revelation that you know virtually nothing is a real jolt.... but look at this from the flip side... you can work at it for a lifetime and still find motivation, challenge and satisfaction every time you put on the dance togs... you can find something new to learn and conquer every day... what's not great about this... why would you ever dream of quitting...

    If you think I haven't felt like you are feeling now you are wrong.... I just did a performance at a show where I felt I did O.K....But I knew that it just didn't click... and I thought "Geez... after all the work I did for this I'm actually regressing... not gettting ahead'... But you have to give your head a shake and say I know where I need to improve so let's get at it....

    Keep practicing and keep having fun.... this ride lasts a lifetime...

  7. #7
    Moderator Farasha Hanem's Avatar
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    Ana, I also want to encourage you not to quit. You can still learn ATS and traditional bellydance. And no, you're not the only one here who has had doubts about what they're doing/learning, and certainly not the first to question what you have been doing.

    This forum and Shira.net are indeed wonderful sources for bellydance research, I've certainly learned a lot in my short time here. We have many super people here who are a wealth of BD knowledge, so when you have questions, you've come to the right place. There are lots of threads on traditional styles, BD history, music, etc. Check out the stickies in each subforum, they're also full of useful information!

    Every now and then, my situation drives me a little nuts. The dance company that I'm a student of (at? of? at? oO;; ) is what I consider to be very much American Oriental, with only a very little exposure to more traditional stuff. My teacher (whom I do love dearly, BTW) uses some traditional music (or modernized versions of the classics), but a lot of the music she uses is either Celtic, Americanized pseudo-ME music, or Shakira. And Christina. -_- Absolutely no offense to either artist, but I always dread when my teacher does "freestyle time," because 99 times out of 100, it's going to be either Shakira or Christina. There have been days when I've thought, "If I have to dance ONE MORE FREAKIN' TIME to either "Hips Don't Lie" or "Lady Marmalade," I'm goinjg to SCREAM so loud, my BD friends all over the world will hear me!!!" So yeah, I do get where you're coming from. You're hungry to learn what makes bellydance bellydance. Nothing else will satisfy you. So find some teachers in your area who (hopefully) teach more traditional styles, and if there are none, use instructional DVD's as a last resort. Watch for YouTube recommendations here if you need some guidance (there's a lot of garbage on YT as well as gems). You're already off to a great start by being here---remember, you're a part of OUR family! *hugs!*

  8. #8
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    very much American Oriental, with only a very little exposure to more traditional stuff. My teacher (whom I do love dearly, BTW) uses some traditional music (or modernized versions of the classics), but a lot of the music she uses is either Celtic, Americanized pseudo-ME music, or Shakira. And Christina.
    -

    No American Oriental dancer would be caught dead using non-ME music while calling herself an American Oriental dancer.

    As soon as Shakira or Silly Wizard enter the room, American Oriental leaves. Americanized ME music is traditional for AmOri, starting with the likes of George Abdo and Eddie the Shiek. The style and the music grew uo together. The longer I've danced, the more I prefer ME music without the Americanization, but I do love some of the American/ME hybrids.
    "Well, now that we have seen each other," said the unicorn " if you'll believe in me, I'll believe in you."

  9. #9
    Moderator Farasha Hanem's Avatar
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    Default :s

    Quote Originally Posted by Shanazel View Post
    -

    No American Oriental dancer would be caught dead using non-ME music while calling herself an American Oriental dancer.

    As soon as Shakira or Silly Wizard enter the room, American Oriental leaves. Americanized ME music is traditional for AmOri, starting with the likes of George Abdo and Eddie the Shiek. The style and the music grew uo together. The longer I've danced, the more I prefer ME music without the Americanization, but I do love some of the American/ME hybrids.
    Well, actually, my teacher has never really stated what she teaches, just "bellydance." She does tell us (when we're not dancing cabaret) that we're supposed to be "wild crazy freespirited...(ack)...gypsies."

    Yeah, I know, right???

    Geez, Ana, I feel your pain more than I thought! ack, ack, ack...

  10. #10
    Member Pleasant dancer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ana_bat View Post
    Recently I've realized that I no longer feel passionate about ATS which was what I thought to be a true calling. I'm looking for a change, but I find myself unsure how to proceed next. Basically I came to this realization that after 4 years I knew nothing about belly dance at all. I'm upset that I don't understand the cultural significance of several things, I'm upset that I don't know the different style of music from the middle east and appropriate zill patterns when applicable, gosh I'm just upset at how culturally devoid this belly dance experience has felt for me! I'm tired of making costumes that bare what feels like little cultural significance and emulating this blend of cultures yet understanding none. I don't see how all these cultures that are fused together in dance, make any sense. I feel self conscious and wrong about performing and participating in ATS. I don't mean to offend anyone out there who dances ATS/ITS or Tribal fusion, I'm just referring to my own experience not to the dance form as a whole.

    I want to really learn belly dance, I want to learn about the many cultures of the middle east but I don't know how to go about this. I'm not sure if I want to quit or if I want to start the search for a new teacher and start all over again. I just feel lost, like I'm having an identity crisis of sorts . Have any of you gone through something like this before? I would appreciate any advice or perspectives.
    Well - you could have gone to an Oriental teacher for 4 years and still learned very little about cultural significance, music, etc, so don't be too hard on yourself!

    Very simply, as others have said, you will just have to learn about a different form of belly dancing. Find yourself a good Oriental teacher, do lots of research yourself (hey - you've got this Forum so you are heads up!) Approach it as a challenge, but don't throw your Tribal costumes/knowledge/skills out of the window just yet. It could be quite exciting and you might even end up respecting and loving all the different forms even more, because you will know where it all comes from and how it's been shaped.

    Good luck in your new journey ......

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