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  1. #11
    Moderator Darshiva's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bellydance Oz View Post
    If someone is learning from online sources, then I would be surprised if they ever get good enough to perform!

    To get to a performance standard in dancing, you really need feedback and correction from a real live teacher. Perhaps you could look for some summer schools or belly dance holidays where you could get some personal tuition, as well as honest feedback on your standard.
    I learned *mostly* from videos, but I do agree that having in-the-moment feedback is invaluable, which is why I supplement my learning with private lessons, workshops and skype classes as they become available. Sticking to one delivery method isn't healthy, be it live classes or videos. It's essential as a well-rounded dancer to get instruction and feedback from a variety of sources.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kashmir View Post
    Dance teacher or theatre teacher? If it was you dance teacher, I'm appalled. No-one is ready to belly dance in public after a few lessons - unless it acting as background scenery. If it was your drama teacher then the issue is she really has no idea what is involved in belly dance. No surprise there. However, by agreeing to go on stage as a belly dancer you are not doing yourself or the genre any favours. People will assume they saw real belly dance and conclude there isn't much to it.

    As far as feedback goes, the General Public is not the answer. You need feedback from an experience belly dancer. How do you expect the GP to know what belly dance actually is? Whether your technique was correct? Whether you interpreted the music correctly? All they can tell you is whether you project and communicate well (important but not the whole of the dance) and if they liked your costume (which they are unlikely to know if it is appropriate).

    I just wrote a massive reply which got eaten by the internet and now my baby is crying. I will come back to this. This is just a reminder
    Last edited by XanaDance; 01-12-2016 at 01:15 PM.

  3. #13
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    Losing massive replies to internet hunger is enough to make a mom cry, let alone a baby.
    "Well, now that we have seen each other," said the unicorn " if you'll believe in me, I'll believe in you."

  4. #14
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    Ok here goes -
    It was my dance teacher who suggested I was in her show, alongside herself and others dancers. Some of us had been dancing a couple of weeks, some about 8 years. I said NO, because like you I felt that there's no way I'd be worth watching!

    I don't have a drama teacher, I used to run a youth theatre, and again you are right - I would never presume to know enough about a dance form to put it in a show.

    The feedback was from friends and family in the theatre group because they have a party at New Year where people are invited to sing or dance or do a "turn" - poetry etc. It's all for fun. They wanted to see what I'd been learning so I threw together a basic choreography to music I enjoy. It was mainly to get my confidence back on a stage and do something I love - I'm struggling to come back from postnatal depression.

    So while you are right - I probably was a disgrace to bellydance and obviously the General Public won't give as valuable feedback as a dance teacher - sometimes you just need to get back up and have some fun, supported by people who love you.

    I think my original point was that the dance teacher can't be all that good if she thinks that after a month of teaching I'd be equal to herself and others who have been dancing for years.

  5. #15
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    "sometimes you just need to get back up and have some fun, supported by people who love you."

    Absolutely. Sometimes we make too much of who dances in public how soon. Professional troupes have different requirements than amateur ensembles which have different requirements than community rec center recital performances. There is a place for every level of performance.

    Belly dance is not a god to be served with perfect performances and rules about who has studied long enough to represent the art form. Belly dance came easily and quickly to me. My first public performance came within my first year of lessons and it was quite a credible performance. I'm not unique in this by any means. Other people struggle with the vocabulary and their own bodies: they may take lessons all their lives and never be up to even skilled amateur levels. So what? They can still get up and have some fun, supported by people who are happy to watch them.

    Give your teacher the benefit of the doubt. Maybe she is a kind woman who wants all her students to feel included and invited you to perform so you could get a taste for what is ahead.

    None of my current students are going to be professionals though one or two have done some private gigs. I make sure there is at least one dance that everyone is capable of following and if a newbie student wants to take a swing at it, she or he is welcome. Most new students prefer to be in the audience but they are also welcome backstage to help out with costumes and props if they aren't dancing. They are part of the class and are entitled to be involved.

    A few times as a teacher, I've been faced with saying, "If you don't catch up with the others, you can't dance in the show. It isn't fair for others to work hard and then have the performance pulled down by someone who hasn't bothered to practice on her own." I hate doing it but it is important for that student's education to understand what is required. Once I had a student who was on the border of dance or don't dance. The other well-rehearsed and dear students said unanimously, "We want her to dance with us- succeed or fail, she's one of us." Upon hearing this, the laggard got herself in gear, practiced diligently, and by show time was step perfect.

    Sometimes all it takes is a little push to turn a so-so dancer into a good one.

    (Stepping off soapbox NOW.)
    "Well, now that we have seen each other," said the unicorn " if you'll believe in me, I'll believe in you."

  6. #16
    V.I.P. Kashmir's Avatar
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    "They wanted to see what I'd been learning so I threw together a basic choreography to music I enjoy" - great. I don't think you were necessarily a "disgrace to bellydance". You were sharing what your learnt with your friends - whether or not it was "belly dance" is a completely different issue (I mean if you had a performance from someone who'd done 2 months of ballet classes would you call the resulting performance "ballet"?)

  7. #17
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    I would. It might not be great or complex ballet but it would be ballet as opposed to, say, tarantella.
    "Well, now that we have seen each other," said the unicorn " if you'll believe in me, I'll believe in you."

  8. #18
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    Well yes, if it was recognizable to me as ballet I would. What else could it be called? It might not be of a very high standard, but if she's only been learning two months that's understandable.

    "Most new students prefer to be in the audience but they are also welcome backstage to help out with costumes and props if they aren't dancing. They are part of the class and are entitled to be involved.

    A few times as a teacher, I've been faced with saying, "If you don't catch up with the others, you can't dance in the show. It isn't fair for others to work hard and then have the performance pulled down by someone who hasn't bothered to practice on her own." I hate doing it but it is important for that student's education to understand what is required"

    I suppose you're right I should try and be more forgiving to my teacher. Maybe she was trying to involve me - it just seemed odd.
    And yes, I've had to do that in the youth theatre with the lead male who had too much on his plate but was too young to see it or admit it to us. Sad, but we all learned from it.

    Definitely going to practice at home and will stick in with the workshops when I can. Maybe I'll ask a LOT more questions on technique when I don't know what we're meant to be doing. Possibly she will then start giving more verbal instructions alongside saying "Just copy me"

  9. #19
    Member Bellydance Oz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by XanaDance View Post
    Maybe I'll ask a LOT more questions on technique when I don't know what we're meant to be doing. Possibly she will then start giving more verbal instructions alongside saying "Just copy me"
    In my experience, a LOT of traditional dance styles are taught by the "watch and copy" method, with little or no explanation. I've come across it a lot in belly dance and frequently in flamenco, too.

    My theory is that these are dances which are learnt from childhood in their countries of origin - and "watch and copy" works for children. They're not ready to intellectualise what they're doing anyway. Then, when your Middle Eastern teacher comes to the West and starts passing on her knowledge, she teaches it the way SHE was taught as a child.

    I once had this conversation with a Turkish teacher, who told me she didn't start explaining about the correct use of the muscles (especially the abdominal muscles) until the students were in their third year. In the first two years she just wanted to get the students familiar with the movements.

    That seemed completely back-to-front to me, because I always feel I do a movement better if I know the explanation beforehand. In fact, I found myself having to "unlearn" some steps where I was using my legs to drive hip movements, when it was finally explained!!

    I also suspect this is the reason I see so many belly dancers in Australia with taught legs and saggy tummies - they use their legs. I once asked one Sydney belly dance teacher whether she'd ever been taught how to use the abdominal muscles in belly dance, other than for camels and undulations - and she actually said "you don't".
    Last edited by Bellydance Oz; 01-13-2016 at 04:44 PM.

  10. #20
    Member Roshanna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bellydance Oz View Post
    I once had this conversation with a Turkish teacher, who told me she didn't start explaining about the correct use of the muscles (especially the abdominal muscles) until the students were in their third year. In the first two years she just wanted to get the students familiar with the movements.

    That seemed completely back-to-front to me, because I always feel I do a movement better if I know the explanation beforehand. In fact, I found myself having to "unlearn" some steps where I was using my legs to drive hip movements, when it was finally explained!!

    I also suspect this is the reason I see so many belly dancers in Australia with taught legs and saggy tummies - they use their legs. I once asked one Sydney belly dance teacher whether she'd ever been taught how to use the abdominal muscles in belly dance, other than for camels and undulations - and she actually said "you don't".
    This seems illustrative of the importance of general physical awareness/proprioception in learning dance. I think that if someone had trained in *any* movement discipline that encouraged being mindful of muscle engagement and aware of the body (e.g. pilates), they would get a lot further with 'watch and follow' teaching. When I watch a dancer now, I can almost feel what muscles she is using (or isn't) - but this definitely wasn't the case as a beginner. I do find that I now find it easier to pick up non-bellydance dance movement by watching, too, having developed that set of skills.

    The problem with 'watch and follow' for beginners in bellydance is that so many of our new dancers are not only adults, but do not have any previous relevant movement background, and so have not developed the motor skills to learn in this way. So as teachers, giving new students that toolkit of body awareness has to be a top priority in order for them to get anywhere.

    Sorry to go totally off topic, but this is an interesting digression...

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