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Thread: Dying forums?

  1. #31
    Moderator Zorba's Avatar
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    Yea, I think we're in a nadir - There were 4 yearly festivals semi-local to me. The biggest, Rakkasah, has probably 2/3rds the vendors as they did in their heyday, and attendance is WAY down. Desert Dance Festival closed their doors last year after 29 years, and the "Bay Area Belly Dance Festival" is very young, very small, and still trying to get off the ground. Whether or not they succeed remains to be seen. Lastly there's Carnival of Stars which is about the same size that DDF was (albeit in a larger venue) - but I will say there was more activity there this year than I've seen before.

  2. #32
    Member Bellydance Oz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roshanna View Post
    Things are quiet here in the UK, too. Classes are small with few new beginners, festivals are dropping like flies, and a large proportion of what gets done under the umbrella of 'bellydance' is really more like generic theatre dance with a bare midriff, which I suppose is probably similar to the "Fusion with no hips and attitude".

    To be honest, I'm feeling pretty despondent and disillusioned with the whole scene at the moment. The level of interest in the dance as a cultural dance is so low that I often get a sort of 'alone in a crowded room' feeling in the bellydance community.
    In a funny way, I'm glad to read this, as you may have just saved me from uprooting my life for nothing! I've just moved from Sydney, where the belly dance scene is alive and well and thriving, to Southampton. I've been depressed by how little is going on here, and have been seriously thinking of moving elsewhere in the UK, on the assumption So'ton is just in a slump. However maybe the rest of the country is no better?
    Last edited by Bellydance Oz; 08-07-2015 at 12:24 PM.

  3. #33
    Member Bellydance Oz's Avatar
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    I just had an interesting discussion about this with a martial arts teacher who's had a similar experience with forums in that field.

    His explanation makes a kind of sense. Both martial arts and dance have a strong tradition of learning face-to-face. Before the internet, you wouldn't find many dance students or karate kids studying text books about their art - and if they needed advice, they'd ask their teacher or fellow students. So as dancers, we're not brought up in a culture where we naturally turn to the written or spoken word when we want to learn or seek help - even when we go on courses, very little of it will be sitting in a room with a notebook!

    Contrast that with other hobbies which boast a plethora of reference books, and where devotees will happily go to lectures on the topic, even if it's an active one (fishing is an obvious example).

    So, his theory is that while forums were a novelty at first, they're not a natural mode of learning for us, and therefore they haven't persisted in the dance or martial arts world as much as in other fields.

  4. #34
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    That's a real interesting viewpoint that hadn't ever occurred to me; thanks for sharing it, Oz.
    "Well, now that we have seen each other," said the unicorn " if you'll believe in me, I'll believe in you."

  5. #35
    Member Bellydance Oz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shanazel View Post
    That's a real interesting viewpoint that hadn't ever occurred to me; thanks for sharing it, Oz.
    It had never occurred to me either, I'm still mulling it over!

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    Moderator Amulya's Avatar
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    That's an interesting viewpoint. Before internet I remember people writing things down in classes, but there certainly we no reference books and the few books that were out there were totally misinformed*
    Not sure if I read this whole thread, I probably have, but wanted to say that I suspect Facebook, everybody has gone off to FB. But it's so useless for dance forums, can't find anything back when you want to look something up, you wouldn't know in which group it was and there are countless groups

    *this was a big problem in the dance community because lots of the stuff being taught was just nonsense, I felt really stupid when I found out

  7. #37
    Moderator Zorba's Avatar
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    That does make some sense - after all, teaching dance by email/forum is pretty much an exercise in futility! I've been on both ends of it, and sometimes it kinda-sorta works, but for the most part...

  8. #38
    Moderator Farasha Hanem's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amulya View Post
    That's an interesting viewpoint. Before internet I remember people writing things down in classes, but there certainly we no reference books and the few books that were out there were totally misinformed*
    Not sure if I read this whole thread, I probably have, but wanted to say that I suspect Facebook, everybody has gone off to FB. But it's so useless for dance forums, can't find anything back when you want to look something up, you wouldn't know in which group it was and there are countless groups

    *this was a big problem in the dance community because lots of the stuff being taught was just nonsense, I felt really stupid when I found out
    i know exactly how you feel, Amulya. The few books I have on bellydance contain false wishtory. If it weren't for this forum, I might not have been pointed in the right direction.

  9. #39
    Premium Member Aniseteph's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bellydance Oz View Post
    I just had an interesting discussion about this with a martial arts teacher who's had a similar experience with forums in that field.

    His explanation makes a kind of sense. Both martial arts and dance have a strong tradition of learning face-to-face. Before the internet, you wouldn't find many dance students or karate kids studying text books about their art - and if they needed advice, they'd ask their teacher or fellow students. So as dancers, we're not brought up in a culture where we naturally turn to the written or spoken word when we want to learn or seek help - even when we go on courses, very little of it will be sitting in a room with a notebook!

    Contrast that with other hobbies which boast a plethora of reference books, and where devotees will happily go to lectures on the topic, even if it's an active one (fishing is an obvious example).

    So, his theory is that while forums were a novelty at first, they're not a natural mode of learning for us, and therefore they haven't persisted in the dance or martial arts world as much as in other fields.
    I can't speak for martial arts, but for belly dance it doesn't fit with my experience at all. Is there an "us" to have a collective learning culture? I think we are too diverse a bunch for that. I didn't even particularly come to forums to learn, that was a by product; it was more about talking BD with like minded folks.

    I think it's more about numbers, and FB drift. Maybe also in downturns of popularity people are more insecure and get more focused on what's going on in their own classes/ groups/ local scenes. With fewer classes and events there's also less BD hot topics to talk about on forums.

  10. #40
    Member Roshanna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aniseteph View Post
    I can't speak for martial arts, but for belly dance it doesn't fit with my experience at all. Is there an "us" to have a collective learning culture? I think we are too diverse a bunch for that. I didn't even particularly come to forums to learn, that was a by product; it was more about talking BD with like minded folks.

    I think it's more about numbers, and FB drift. Maybe also in downturns of popularity people are more insecure and get more focused on what's going on in their own classes/ groups/ local scenes. With fewer classes and events there's also less BD hot topics to talk about on forums.
    Yeah, for me it's mostly just nice to chat to like-minded people. But even during the bellydance boom in about 2008-9, when I first started dancing, there was almost no overlap between dancers I met IRL and those I interacted with online. Most people in my regional scene were never on here or on Bhuz, and most don't participate actively in the new facebook discussion groups either.

    For me, the value of forums was always that they enabled me to get outside of my local dance bubble (which has tended to be fairly insular) and interact with the worldwide bellydance community.

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