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Thread: Undulation help

  1. #1
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    Default Undulation help

    Okay, I need some help with my undulations. Says my teacher, "You undulate like Beyonce!".
    Which is bad, methinks.
    Anyway how to help correct this behavior?

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    Senior Member sedoniaraqs's Avatar
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    Wow, that's not a really helpful remark from your teacher.

    Being almost completely ignorant about popular culture, I just went and watched a video called "beautiful Liar" with Beyonce and Shakira so I could see how she moves.

    First of all, Beyonce does not have the correct posture for middle eastern dance; it looks alot more like what I see in Latin dance. Her "home base" stance if you will is very sway back, with the pelvis very tilted anteriorly and her but sticking out. (BTW this has nothing to do with her also having a rounded butt). This pelvic posture totally changes the look of many many movements used in belly dance.

    Actually both Beyonce and Shakira have this sway butt posture. So when they do the "maya" movement (downward figure 8), the focal point of the movement becomes a butt waggle instead of the hips and front of the waist.

    When Beyonce does any kind of torso undulation, she way way way hyperextends her lower back and sticks her chest out way too much. Its a bigger must be better kind of ideal that is not found in belly dance. Not to mention it is not safe -- I was really cringing at the end of that video when she was really grinding it. Middle eastern undulations are more controlled, originating from the core, smaller, internalized.

    Also, most of the undulations both singers were doing in this video were upwards undulations -- ones that start at the pelvis and roll up, rather than the "camel" which I'm assuming means an undulation that starts in the vicinity of the solar plexus and rolls down.

    So, my interpretation of your teacher's vague remark could be any combination of:
    1) you are not grounded in a neutral pelvic position. core strength and control are required to maintain neutral pelvis.
    and/or
    2) you hyperexted the lower back to much, and need to make the movement smaller and more internalized
    or
    3) you are undulating in the other direction.
    or maybe even
    4) you are not meshing the undulation with the arabic music in the usual way, which would be to start the extension part of the movement the downbeat of the music and have the drawback on the upbeat. In western body language and dance there is a tendancy to want to draw back on the downbeat and extend movement on the upbeat.

    So, all in all, that remark could mean alot of things and you need to get your teacher to explain what she meant by that remark.

    Sedonia

  3. #3
    Senior Member sedoniaraqs's Avatar
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    Compare posture of Beyonce and either Naima Akef or Samia Gamal:





    Samia Gamal on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
    Last edited by sedoniaraqs; 08-02-2007 at 01:58 AM.

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    Super Moderator gisela's Avatar
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    Hi Sedonia,
    I'm curious about number four on your list. I feel that it's something important and interesting to know, but I don't quite understand what you mean by meshing, drawback and extension. It's probably language related (my limited english knowledge) so if you could write it again explained in other words I might get it. Hope you will take the time.
    Many thanks, Gisela

    Quote Originally Posted by sedoniaraqs View Post
    4) you are not meshing the undulation with the arabic music in the usual way, which would be to start the extension part of the movement the downbeat of the music and have the drawback on the upbeat. In western body language and dance there is a tendancy to want to draw back on the downbeat and extend movement on the upbeat.
    immer glimmer

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    Member nicknack's Avatar
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    I think Beyonce's posture also has to do with her penchant for dancing in high heels (my back aches just looking at that posture)

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    off and on i have been on this thing.

    i also tend to think beyonce does a sort of forward to back undulation, versus an elongating of the spine up and down. for example i imagine a correct undulation is like a slinky, stretching it up and letting it fall back down, where-as front and back undulation is pulling the slinking out of line, so the undulation is along a tilted axis rather than a straight axis. axis being the spine.

    for example if you put a wall to the front of her chest and a wall to her rear, her chest would slide out horizontally to bump the front wall, then arc or crescent up and back to "bump" the rear wall and then back to center and then the bottom half of the body scoops down and back to bump the back wall and arcs back up and in to center. hmmm...

    will try to draw this. be back with it.

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    Senior Member sedoniaraqs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gisela View Post
    Hi Sedonia,
    I'm curious about number four on your list. I feel that it's something important and interesting to know, but I don't quite understand what you mean by meshing, drawback and extension. It's probably language related (my limited english knowledge) so if you could write it again explained in other words I might get it. Hope you will take the time.
    Many thanks, Gisela
    The example I gave above is not that great because it assumes you're doing pretty fast undulations -- 4 per measure. Maybe you would do them at that rate if the music was really slow or you were doing tiny fast undulation.

    Lets slow things down to half time. You're dancing to some music that has 4/4 time like basic beledi or maqsum rhythm (e.g. 4 beats per measure), and you are going to do 2 undulations per measure:

    The part of the undulation where you lift your chest a little and your pelvis is swayed back a little in preparation for the roll down (I'm calling this the extension) should correspond to the "one" of the measure. If the music is a basic beledi rhythm (DUM dum TEKa tek DUM tekatek), you should begin the camel on the first dum. You should complete the roll on the first tek (which happens to be the "two" of the measure), you extend again on the third DUM (the "three), and complete the second undulation on the last tek (the "four"). So, the extensions happen on the two emphasized downbeats (the "one" and the "three") and the roll downs are on the "two" and the "four". If you do 4 undulations per measure, the extension happens on the downbeats (the counts) and the roll down happens on the upbeat (the "and" between the counts).

    If you switch these, the movement doesn't look right, but you often see people do this who are taking middle eastern movement and using them within the context of western dancing.

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    oh nevermind, i dont know what got me to thinking i could draw so suddenly.

    i have sloths, with tiny feet, it illustrates nothing

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    Senior Member sedoniaraqs's Avatar
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    look at fifi between 0:58 and 1:03. Count 1,2,3,4 with the music if you can. Her chest is up on the 1 and 3. This is the extended part of the undulation.


    O.K. here is Naima Akef. Around 1:30 she does some slower undulations and around 2:00 she does some faster ones. She doesn't lift her upper body as prominently as Fifi but there is still extension on the downbeats.

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    Senior Member sedoniaraqs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by charity View Post
    off and on i have been on this thing.

    i also tend to think beyonce does a sort of forward to back undulation, versus an elongating of the spine up and down. for example i imagine a correct undulation is like a slinky, stretching it up and letting it fall back down, where-as front and back undulation is pulling the slinking out of line, so the undulation is along a tilted axis rather than a straight axis. axis being the spine.

    for example if you put a wall to the front of her chest and a wall to her rear, her chest would slide out horizontally to bump the front wall, then arc or crescent up and back to "bump" the rear wall and then back to center and then the bottom half of the body scoops down and back to bump the back wall and arcs back up and in to center. hmmm...

    will try to draw this. be back with it.
    Charity you are exactly right. Beyonce's undulations are not internalized. She sticks her chest out forward and her but out behind here, where a Middle Eastern dancer would do a much smaller internalized lift of the upper body that would go mostly up and not out very much.

    Sedonia

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