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  1. #51
    V.I.P. Aziyade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kashmir View Post
    Basing the comment on material on the FCBD site. Basically potential students are told to stick to certain types of music and rhythms. Basically what I think of as "musicality" in belly dance does not translate into ATS due to the inbuilt restrictions of the cueing and training. It isn't a matter of experience or skill it just isn't a part of the genre.
    In ATS the movements are all designed to fit into a 2/4 or 4/4 framework, so you have to work within that for the thing to make logical sense. That said, you CAN dance ATS to a debke, but because a lot of debke has those 6-beat phrases, the dance itself (which is built mostly in 4s) is going to be off for half the phrase. Thus it's going to look unmusical to a belly dancer, or to someone who really knows debke.

    But then "musicality" in belly dance isn't like "musicality" in other dance forms. Like I've said before, ballet is not about being the "visual representation of the music" (although SOME choreographers will use that technique.) In ballet the dancers can be an unheard voice in the orchestra. Same with the Contemporary dance.

    Kashmir -- when you're referring to musicality, I think some of us translate that as "lyricism" -- and there are some BAD ATS groups out there that are NOT lyrical, and are not able to create a lyrical performance out of their music. Those groups seem to work against the music rather than with it.

    I'm also agreeing with Zum, in that I think that lack of lyrical quality is the result of a bad leader. But the MUSICALITY is a different matter.

  2. #52
    V.I.P. Yame's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aziyade View Post
    But again the question is -- do we NEED that kind of extensive training? I mean, not just you and me and the people who eat sleep and breath this because they CAN. But do even the highest quality professionals NEED this? Do the touring pros train like that?
    I think the answer, ultimately, is "no." I think even our highest quality professionals, those world-class belly dancers who tour the world and represent the best of the best in our field, do not train as "hard" as the typical, average professional ballerina.

    As much as belly dance may be difficult in a lot of ways, it just doesn't require the level of athleticism that something like ballet or modern dance require. And that's perfectly fine. Actually, I think it's a great thing.

  3. #53
    V.I.P. Kashmir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aziyade View Post
    Kashmir -- when you're referring to musicality, I think some of us translate that as "lyricism" -- and there are some BAD ATS groups out there that are NOT lyrical, and are not able to create a lyrical performance out of their music. Those groups seem to work against the music rather than with it.
    Unsure want you mean by "lyricism" so hard to comment. What I meant was the ability to react to the music in terms of rhythym, melody and lyrics in such a way as to make sense (to the audience). To organically switch between these modes in a way that enriches the music. This will sometimes call for something that just appears and then never reappears - a gesture, a movement, a layer. This you cannot do with group improvisation unless you have actually rehearsed it - when it is no longer strictly ATS. It also encompasses those odd changes of timing - a switch between a 6 then a 10 then a 4 (which I certainly cannot improvise to - but I can handle if I know the music well).

    It is these quality which I enjoy in a mature belly dance performance and I call "musicality" which is far more than just keeping to the beat or working with the phrase.

  4. #54
    Member Roshanna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yame View Post
    I think the answer, ultimately, is "no." I think even our highest quality professionals, those world-class belly dancers who tour the world and represent the best of the best in our field, do not train as "hard" as the typical, average professional ballerina.
    I was thinking about this earlier today, actually. I don't think the comparison to ballet works, for many reasons. And I was wondering what *was* a fair reference point... The only one that really makes sense is the comparison to professional bellydancers at the top of their game.

    I can't believe that Randa, Dina etc, or people like Aziza or Jillina wouldn't have pretty serious training schedules - but no doubt very different to what a ballerina would be doing. We have different needs from our training...

  5. #55
    Senior Member Sophia Maria's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darshiva View Post
    Actually, this is one of the reasons I have taken choreography out of my regular classes and turned it into a class on it's own - that you must pass an audition for. If you want to learn choreography, you have to earn it!
    Cool idea But then what are your non-choreography classes like? Are they more drilling, or improvisation based? I love improvisation and feel like it should be taught more, but I know a lot of people in my class struggle with it even more than the choreography...

    ETA: by "my class" I mean fellow students...NOT ready to teach. Not in the slightest

  6. #56
    Moderator Darshiva's Avatar
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    Strong on both.

    And you'll find people take to improv a lot easier if you do two things:

    1) Call it something else non-threatening
    2) Let them dance any style they want to, but encourage them to listen to the music in a middle eastern way & to use the moves they've been learning. (eventually they will start solely using bellydance moves because they work better with the music, and social pressure does the rest - the more long-term students are dancing bellydance & the newbies follow suit because they want to fit in)

    I've never had any trouble with students learning improv. They might not realise they are learning it, but they are!
    Last edited by Darshiva; 03-05-2013 at 12:19 AM.

  7. #57
    Member AndreaSTL's Avatar
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    That's why I used the word "technically". Technically a dancer has to interpret the music, but it doesn't necessarily have to be her interpretation. She can be showcasing someone else's vision and I would still call her a dancer.

    IRL I'm not a fan of competitions for several reasons, and one of them is what you mentioned. It seems like they are more about sensation and less about content. Dancers try to stand out and wow judges with more and more when sometimes pure and simple will do. If they even have to exist, my fantasy competition involves a full band and the dancer drawing a well-known song at random from a hat and dancing to it right then. I would actually go to watch this one! The judging would still be subjective, but the dancing would have more feeling.

    Since everything about this dance is foreign to us (in the US), I know it's a lot to get a handle on in the beginning. There are moves you've never done to music you've never heard that's sung in a language you don't understand from a culture you've never been a part of. That can be a lot to overcome! I remember a fellow student who told me she concentrated so much on what she was doing that she didn't even hear the music. She just followed the teacher and/or counted. Ideally (for me) the teacher would give a new student a few months to feel comfortable with the movements then start sneaking in the interpretation with seemingly offhand comments. You don't have to outright tell them that you are teaching them how to interpret the music, but if you sneak it in there hopefully they'll absorb some of it. It's a lot like putting veggies in the meatloaf. Many kids have a knee-jerk "Ew, veggies!" reaction, but if they don't know what they're eating it's A-OK. It's the same with students who will freak out if you directly address and title what you're doing (ie calling it musical interpretation or improv), but if it's just there hanging in the background it's not threatening at all. Once they're a bit more comfortable you can bring it out into the open/share the recipe.

    Sorry I wasn't clear about that before. I was going on in the technical vein. I would never advocate teaching strictly physical movements and nothing else IRL. (I have seen "professional" groups who have done this and it was less than entertaining to watch.) I'm not much of a writer, and besides I know what I'm thinking.

  8. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jane View Post
    There are dance teachers from other genres of dance that yell, demean, cuss at, and even hit students to correct them in classes and rehearsals. Students accept this as a necessary part of "serious" dance training.

    Have you experienced this? Do you think it's acceptable? Have you ever heard of this in a belly dance class? Thoughts?
    Wow, that is serious. Hey, if that's how you want to learn more power to you but I wouldn't be in a class like that. It's belly dancing not the army! Lol I thought belly dancers (all dancers really) were supposed to have grace and finesse. It seems a little counterproductive if you are trying to produce beautiful and fluid dancing.

  9. #59
    Member Munniko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Belly Dancing Housewife View Post
    Lol I thought belly dancers (all dancers really) were supposed to have grace and finesse. It seems a little counterproductive if you are trying to produce beautiful and fluid dancing.
    Having studied under that kind of training, and going back under it for another dance style, I think the main point is to drill the form and technique because grace and fluidity later in the game when you are closer to performing. Can't be a beautiful swan when you are dropping your pelvis and duck footing can you? Though I do think it takes a very special kind of person to enjoy or flourish under this style of training. I like it because well....it is my culture in a messed up way. You can always do better and there will always someone to tell you that.

  10. #60
    V.I.P. Aziyade's Avatar
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    We have a lot of fluffy bunny instructors out there who don't know how to deal with a student who wants to enter the highly-competitive pro arena.

    Now, that's not to say there's anything AT ALL wrong with fluffy bunny having a good time and feeling pretty classes. That's what the majority of students want, and that's the basic belly dance experience in the US.

    BUT -- moving from a "Let's express ourselves and you can do nothing wrong" kind of class into a "we're here because we are competing for spots in competitions or on videos or in festivals," can be a HUGE paradigm shift. I've been yelled at -- well, she was yelling over the music -- by a famous Egyptian dancer, and it did make a difference in how "seriously" I approached correction.

    A lot of those instructors came from organized companies like Qawmiya and Reda Troupe, so they're used to a certain regimen. That doesn't excuse being crazy hateful, but I've not had much experience with that. I think sometimes people who are used to fluffy bunny teachers think they're being "yelled at" when they take lessons from a more intense instructor.

    And of course, some teachers are just flat out crazy, so you have to factor that in.

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