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Thread: Dance Mentor

  1. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yshka View Post
    Dear A'isha, I was referring only to those styles of bellydance that we actually KNOW as bellydance, though they are far from "totally traditional" nowadays, not about just anyone who claims their style is a new form of bellydance. I guess you are right: Nowadays everyone could say what they're doing is bellydance while it is not. This is wrong and I am aware many out there do it this way.
    I was just saying bellydance IS open to the new and this is not something to be ignored by bluntly saying it is not open to any new influences simply because the experts with 20 or more years of experience want to keep it traditional (like Michelle states). What I mean is that newer styles of bellydance that are/will be established and accepted as being bellydance would most likely not be started by someone who knows nothing of the dance or has no experience in that field.

    I feel sorry for all those misguided by anyone claiming what they are doing is bellydance, while it is in fact a misrepresentation of the dance or they have little knowledge of the dance they say it is related to..
    Some bellydancers are open to the new. Certainly not all of them.

    There is, of course, a big difference between being open to new things and being unwilling to take the time to actually learn something. "I'm an original" is an excuse used by those who don't want to learn from others just as much as "I'm traditional" is used by those who lack imagination.

  2. #52
    Moderator Yshka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Persephone
    "I'm an original" is an excuse used by those who don't want to learn from others just as much as "I'm traditional" is used by those who lack imagination.
    You do have a good point there. Remaining traditional does require one to know their stuff (for to actually BE traditional and be aware of what exactly is traditional, though nowadays many say they are traditional while their dance is far from it), while saying you're an original does not..

  3. #53
    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    Dear Yshka and Persephone,
    Well, I think that traditionalist dancers and alternative dancers can both have plenty of imagination and still realize that being "open to the new" or "willing to learn" does not mean having to accept everything that everyone wants to do on stage as belly dance or even legitimate art or dance. Some stuff, in fact a lot of stuff is just drek in the name of art. Some people want to teach in the same way, or mentor or coach.This has nothing to do with imagination of the audience a lot of the time, but more the quality of the product on stage and in the class setting.
    Regards,
    A'isha

  4. #54
    V.I.P. Aziyade's Avatar
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    I've paid three people to do a kind of video analysis for me.

    The first one was a well-known American instructor who didn't advertise that she did video reviewing, but agreed to do so for me. I sent a video of me performing a choreography and said "I want to look very beledi. Is this choreography close to what an Egyptian would recignize as the beledi form of dance?" She returned a lengthy set of comments to help me understand the beledi style, and how to dance more in that style. She picked certain movements and accents in my performance and said to go with that kind of a feel. I got a lot out of her comments.

    The second one was very specific. She taught Bedouin dance, and I had put together a choreo for an international festival that I THOUGHT would be recognized as Bedouin, and I wanted her to review it. She did, and gave me a lot of good feedback. (I was way off, and she brought me back on track).

    The third person was actually my first video reviewer, and I just sent her a compilation of my performances and said "point out what looks weird or awkward. Fix my stage presence." And she too sent back a wealth of good comments.


    Now, I've had friends and teachers review my performances and give me their advice. I like that, but you always have to take "general advice" with a grain of salt. One person may not like George Abdo music, or they don't like the way I interepreted that section of Inta Omri. Somebody else may think I need more "pops and locks" in my drum solo. Whatever.

    When you go to someone with a specific goal: For example, "my hands and arms look out of place. Can you help me choregraph arm movement" or "I really want to make this piece look like Banat Mazin style Ghawazee. You're the expert -- how can I do a better job at this?" I think you'll get a lot more out of the advice if you have SPECIFIC questions you want addressed.

    ALTHOUGH, personally I have considered doing some kind of video analysis for people without live teachers. I run a yahoo group for people who are trying to learn from video, and I think something like this would help people understand the importance of correct posture and alignment. I would never CHARGE for this service, because I don't have the time to give the in-depth analysis that $50 or $65 will buy.

    It's probably hubris on my part, but sometimes I see student performers and I think "Ak, I could SO fix that weird hip thing she's doing!" Of course, I would never offer advice unless asked for it, and free advice is only worth what you pay for it. But sometimes all it takes is for someone else to point out "look dear, you have propeller hands with every movement you make." Being aware of the problem is the first step towards fixing it.

  5. #55
    V.I.P. Kharmine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aziyade View Post
    ...Being aware of the problem is the first step towards fixing it.
    And knowing what kind of questions to ask is the first step toward enlightenment, as you surely have proved here, Aziyade.

  6. #56
    Moderator Yshka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by A'isha Azar
    Well, I think that traditionalist dancers and alternative dancers can both have plenty of imagination and still realize that being "open to the new" or "willing to learn" does not mean having to accept everything that everyone wants to do on stage as belly dance or even legitimate art or dance. Some stuff, in fact a lot of stuff is just drek in the name of art. Some people want to teach in the same way, or mentor or coach.This has nothing to do with imagination of the audience a lot of the time, but more the quality of the product on stage and in the class setting.
    I think you are right. I had a long talk about being innovative in bellydance with another dancer today, and she told me from her experience working with choreographers and dancers that have no experience in bellydance whatsoever, her conclusion was that they are able to help or give advice on aspects of dance in general that might also apply to bellydance. This made me think about knowing 'dance' in general as opposed to 'knowing specific styles of dance' in order to help, and I started to feel that both could bring lots of good things. One has to ofcourse understand at least SOME form of dance and movement in order to help (and therefor not be vague about qualifications, so one knows this person actually understands movement and dance). I still feel in bellydance, one could benefit from a teacher who is experienced in dance, but knows about specific styles and specific movements also (for, like Aziyade states, specific help on concrete questions). If it concerns just movement, any dance-expert could see this or that doesn't work, or this or that transition doesn't quite look right..

    I will think about this some more though. It's an interesting thing I might want to look into further before engaging again in this discussion .

  7. #57
    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    Dear Yshka,
    Because belly dance is a very specialized art in both the way it is taught and what it is supposed to do on stage, I do not feel that someone who knows nothing about it could even give much generalized instruction because they would not understand the difference in the approach to say, ballet on stage as opposed to belly dance.
    Here is a pretty good example. When I was making my DVD the cameraman and director thought I should enter and exit the stage in that little running walk that ballerinas sometimes use. I had to explain to them that it was appropriate for ballet, but definately not for belly dance. They had professionally filmed ballet, their kids took ballet, etc, but I was their first experience with a belly dancer. They just did not know that there was a huge difference in how one entered and exited as opposed to the formality of ballet. This illustrates why I would also not be good at telling ballerinas how to leave the stage, or how chorepgraph, bring correct cultural feeling to their dances, etc. I am simply not qualified to do so, though I have been a dancer for 33 years, and have costumed ballerinas.
    Regards,
    A'isha

  8. #58
    Moderator Yshka's Avatar
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    Dear A'isha,
    you are very right when it comes to instruction on specific moves or cultural feeling/music interpretation etc, but I feel when it comes to certain transitions or executions of movement, experts in other fields of dance of movement could be of help (as I said earlier, a transition looks off or movement looks forced/unnatural and the like..). Also I feel this kind of goes for choreography (but to a certain extent). Though oriental dance choreography is different from any other dance style, choreography is still a common thing in most western dances (as opposed to the free expression and improvisation in oriental dance), so it is structure in some way, a structure I think dance experts in any kind of dance would be able to see. Then again, for bellydance, one should also know in which way to structure bellydance movement within a choreography, which is not possible ofcourse when not knowing anything about bellydance-specific movement.
    I do feel that for helping and instructing on aspects that ONLY go for bellydance, one should know their stuff. You cannot expect a ballet expert to know of the cultural feeling behind say, Dabkeh, I see that very clearly or expect them to know certain rhythms, etc. For this you would REALLY need a MED-expert.
    I very much like to read about your insight on this by the way, it's giving me a lot of things to review and dig into

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