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  1. #31
    Member Nat242's Avatar
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    Default Looking for an update...

    Hey Catwoman -
    What's happening? Have you found a new instructor? How did your previous teacher take the news?

  2. #32
    Member perfumeshop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gypsy8522 View Post
    I find the 'cult' existing widely among westerners as they tend to argue over minor things and overanalize every little thing they've heard about or seen, much more than the people who come from the culture. You almost never see this in the Middle East, it could be the reason why dancers from those countries (eg. Egypt) look more free and relaxed when dancing. I personally think the dancing itself is no longer fun when it is a competition. Dancing in the west is nearly always a competition and proof is all the contests and 'pageants' that are taking place.

    I see many arab girls who think they can dance when reality is they can't, and yes, there are westerners who can dance circles around them. However, here are women who became great famous dancers without training (eg. Suheir Zaki), its rare but it is possible. I don't think the same could happen with someone who was not raised in a Middle Eastern culture. A non-Egyptian cannot dance the same way as an Egyptian, and this includes Jordan since it isn't part of Egypt. I can usually tell right away when a dancer is from Egypt (even the not so good ones), there is an inherent body language and cultural gestures common to all.. that one can't learn from watching videos or imitating famous dancers.

    Some think they cannot arrive at their goals unless they walk over other people. Your teacher's attitude towards you only reflects her personality, people like that exist everywhere. You're getting fed up with it, so it's time for you to move on.
    Yes I am very dubious about this "competition" element in Bellydance. Here in the UK, it has been a no -no until recently. But if you read Suheir's thread on Festivals , you'll see that the latest attempt has been cancelled..though another is in the offing. I think we see some splendid and well deserved dancers getting "titles" but in the end a final judgement between talented dancers is often subjective. I was singing the paises of a Scottish dancer a few days ago, another dancer..she's not so impressed!

    And yes I think when push comes to shove, You'll single out a good Egyptian above all..if that's the style you favour of course. It's just that I am fed up with a couple of local dancers here who because they have Arabic blood
    ( not Egyptian), lord it over dancers who are far superior to them but who are British or Russian born.
    But then one of the best UK dancers at the moment is Egyptian born and male

  3. #33
    Junior Member Raja's Avatar
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    As a teacher I encourage my students to take classes with as many teachers as possible (maybe not all at once This gives the student opportunities to learn different dance styles and maybe even same movements but taught differently. The student can then take from each experience and form their own style. Best to you an your dancing. Raks On!
    Raja

  4. #34
    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    DEar Gypsy,
    Responses in context so I don't get too confused.


    Quote Originally Posted by gypsy8522 View Post
    I find the 'cult' existing widely among westerners as they tend to argue over minor things and overanalize every little thing they've heard about or seen, much more than the people who come from the culture. You almost never see this in the Middle East, it could be the reason why dancers from those countries (eg. Egypt) look more free and relaxed when dancing.

    A. writes- As one of my Arab friends said to me once. "I never thought about a lot of this stuff until you asked. I just live it." Among dancers, however, I find that in attending workshops with Arabs, they do think about it more than the average person, and do argue over minor things. They tend to have THEIR way of doing things and they think its the right way...sometimes the only way. They look free and relaxed while dancing because they are free and relaxed while dancing. They have dancers who they think suck, too. Even back when it was mostly just the Egyptian girls, they were very competitive among each other. What they do have is an inherent understanding of what they are trying to accomplish within certain cultural boundaries.



    I personally think the dancing itself is no longer fun when it is a competition. Dancing in the west is nearly always a competition and proof is all the contests and 'pageants' that are taking place.


    A. writes- One often has to make a distinction between the dance itself and dancers. Competitions are definitely about dancers a lot of the time, as opposed to dancing. I have never been in a contest and never will. I do not encourage my students to enter contests either. This dance does not come equipped with a standard set of criteria against which one can be judged, so contests seem rather... I guess dubious and subjective in their outcome.

    I see many arab girls who think they can dance when reality is they can't, and yes, there are westerners who can dance circles around them.

    A. writes- I find that this is true on a technical level, but on other levels, such as understanding the heart and soul of the dance and the music, then no. The other thing is that most of the Arab women I know do not fancy themselves professional dancers when they have little background to do so. Out of all the Arab women I have known, I have known three who were nasty to me about the fact that I am not Arab and dancing. Most are thrilled to have somebody care about their culture. It might be because I have never singled out dancing as the only aspect of the culture that interests me. I do not see it as something that can be separated out. It is part of a bigger picture.



    However, here are women who became great famous dancers without training (eg. Suheir Zaki), its rare but it is possible. I don't think the same could happen with someone who was not raised in a Middle Eastern culture. A non-Egyptian cannot dance the same way as an Egyptian, and this includes Jordan since it isn't part of Egypt. I can usually tell right away when a dancer is from Egypt (even the not so good ones), there is an inherent body language and cultural gestures common to all.. that one can't learn from watching videos or imitating famous dancers.

    A. writes- There are some few dancers outside the Egyptian culture who have a certain quality in themselves that allows them to dance as the Egyptians ( or Turks or Lebanese) do. It is rare, I agree. But then not everyone is a great ballerina or a fabulous Irish step dancer,either. It's just that one of the myths perpetuated by belly dancers is that "anyone can do it". Anyone can take class and probably find a niche in the world of Middle Eastern dance, but not all are going to be good belly dancers. Some will be great at Debke. Some will be very good at American Oriental or other fusions. Others will be able to play drums well, or do incredible justice to Samri. I think this is the true meaning of "something for everyone" in Middle Eastern dance. There will be few really good authentic belly dancers, but there are many other avenues to explore.

    Some think they cannot arrive at their goals unless they walk over other people. Your teacher's attitude towards you only reflects her personality, people like that exist everywhere. You're getting fed up with it, so it's time for you to move on.

    A. writes- Agreed!!!

    Regards,
    A'isha

  5. #35
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    This Jordanian instructor of mine grew up bellydancing, her mother and grandmother taught her. However, I was told by audience members of her shows and mine that I was the better dancer (which I felt was a huge compliment, since she had been my teacher years ago). She is a purist; she never wants anyone to learn a different style of dance...she would probably be horrified. When I got back to the area I called her and told her how successful I had become (on her answering machine) and also that I had tried out for the Bellydance Superstars...I didn't hear anything back from her. I wanted to thank her for getting me into it in the first place.

    On the other hand, I worked for my Egyptian boss for two years and he enjoyed the way I danced, as did his wife and the rest of his family. I was invited by a Turkish professor to do a show, so I think based on all that that my dancing is palatable to people of those places of origin. I wouldn't have learned some of my favorite moves if I had remained a purist, though.

    -Brea

  6. #36
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    A. writes- As one of my Arab friends said to me once. "I never thought about a lot of this stuff until you asked. I just live it." Among dancers, however, I find that in attending workshops with Arabs, they do think about it more than the average person, and do argue over minor things. They tend to have THEIR way of doing things and they think its the right way...sometimes the only way. They look free and relaxed while dancing because they are free and relaxed while dancing. They have dancers who they think suck, too. Even back when it was mostly just the Egyptian girls, they were very competitive among each other. What they do have is an inherent understanding of what they are trying to accomplish within certain cultural boundaries.

    gypsy8522: Yes, they were competitive. They tried to outdo each other with creating bigger shows, keeping up with the latest in costume trends etc.. but when it came to dancing, each dancer did her own thing. For instance, Fifi Abdo doesn't think when she's dancing "I gotta show Lucy and all those other dancers whose got the best technique" ... at least I don't get that vibe when I'm watching her.



    I see many arab girls who think they can dance when reality is they can't, and yes, there are westerners who can dance circles around them.

    A. writes- I find that this is true on a technical level, but on other levels, such as understanding the heart and soul of the dance and the music, then no. The other thing is that most of the Arab women I know do not fancy themselves professional dancers when they have little background to do so. Out of all the Arab women I have known, I have known three who were nasty to me about the fact that I am not Arab and dancing. Most are thrilled to have somebody care about their culture. It might be because I have never singled out dancing as the only aspect of the culture that interests me. I do not see it as something that can be separated out. It is part of a bigger picture.

    gypsy8522: I was referring to the professional western dancers who studied the dance and have spent alot of money on lessons and workshops vs. the Arabic/Egyptian dancers with very little training. I see that westerners work very hard, as opposed to some Arabic women, anyone that works hard is most likely to achieve something good in the end... but still there is a limit due to the language and cultural barriers. Middle Eastern people have rich, complex cultures and at times even us Arabs have a hard time understanding each other. I wouldn't have had the knowledge about the west that I do now if I didn't speak the language, listened to their music and watched western films and TV shows since I was a little kid. However, with some countries things have to be learnt within its own cultural context and learning the language isn't enough. America and most western countries are referred to as "low context" cultures, as opposed to the Middle Eastern and China which are very "high context" cultures. Ok, I think the communication class I took my first year in college is starting to pay off... hehe.. anyway, have you seen any Egyptians dancing Khaleegi? The dancing done in the gulf by native women doesn't look quite like that.

  7. #37
    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gypsy8522 View Post
    A. writes- As one of my Arab friends said to me once. "I never thought about a lot of this stuff until you asked. I just live it." Among dancers, however, I find that in attending workshops with Arabs, they do think about it more than the average person, and do argue over minor things. They tend to have THEIR way of doing things and they think its the right way...sometimes the only way. They look free and relaxed while dancing because they are free and relaxed while dancing. They have dancers who they think suck, too. Even back when it was mostly just the Egyptian girls, they were very competitive among each other. What they do have is an inherent understanding of what they are trying to accomplish within certain cultural boundaries.

    gypsy8522: Yes, they were competitive. They tried to outdo each other with creating bigger shows, keeping up with the latest in costume trends etc.. but when it came to dancing, each dancer did her own thing. For instance, Fifi Abdo doesn't think when she's dancing "I gotta show Lucy and all those other dancers whose got the best technique" ... at least I don't get that vibe when I'm watching her.



    I see many arab girls who think they can dance when reality is they can't, and yes, there are westerners who can dance circles around them.

    A. writes- I find that this is true on a technical level, but on other levels, such as understanding the heart and soul of the dance and the music, then no. The other thing is that most of the Arab women I know do not fancy themselves professional dancers when they have little background to do so. Out of all the Arab women I have known, I have known three who were nasty to me about the fact that I am not Arab and dancing. Most are thrilled to have somebody care about their culture. It might be because I have never singled out dancing as the only aspect of the culture that interests me. I do not see it as something that can be separated out. It is part of a bigger picture.

    gypsy8522: I was referring to the professional western dancers who studied the dance and have spent alot of money on lessons and workshops vs. the Arabic/Egyptian dancers with very little training. I see that westerners work very hard, as opposed to some Arabic women, anyone that works hard is most likely to achieve something good in the end... but still there is a limit due to the language and cultural barriers. Middle Eastern people have rich, complex cultures and at times even us Arabs have a hard time understanding each other. I wouldn't have had the knowledge about the west that I do now if I didn't speak the language, listened to their music and watched western films and TV shows since I was a little kid. However, with some countries things have to be learnt within its own cultural context and learning the language isn't enough. America and most western countries are referred to as "low context" cultures, as opposed to the Middle Eastern and China which are very "high context" cultures. Ok, I think the communication class I took my first year in college is starting to pay off... hehe.. anyway, have you seen any Egyptians dancing Khaleegi? The dancing done in the gulf by native women doesn't look quite like that.


    Dear Gypsy,
    Yeah, I have seen the Egyptians dance Samri and it is pretty bad in most cases. One of the guys from the Gulf put it perfectly once. He told me, "We laugh when we go to Egypt and see them trying to dance Samri". I think Tarik Sultan and I both commented on a video clip on another section of the forum where Nagwa Fouad and Mohammed Abdou were doing a thing together. The dancing was really, REALLY pathetic.
    I have been dancing Arab dances for 33 years. My first two dance instructors were Arabs. I have studied with some of the finest dancers from Egypt, Fifi being the latests, about 3 months ago. Please, believe me; she wants you to know she is "more authentic" than Mouna or Randa or Dina, etc. The competition is personal, not just about shows. I live daily with Arabs. My best friend is Saudi. When we have her baby shower on Saturday, half the guests will be Arab women.
    BTW, where are you from?
    Regards,
    A'isha

  8. #38
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    Dear Gypsy,
    Yeah, I have seen the Egyptians dance Samri and it is pretty bad in most cases. One of the guys from the Gulf put it perfectly once. He told me, "We laugh when we go to Egypt and see them trying to dance Samri". I think Tarik Sultan and I both commented on a video clip on another section of the forum where Nagwa Fouad and Mohammed Abdou were doing a thing together. The dancing was really, REALLY pathetic.
    I have been dancing Arab dances for 33 years. My first two dance instructors were Arabs. I have studied with some of the finest dancers from Egypt, Fifi being the latests, about 3 months ago. Please, believe me; she wants you to know she is "more authentic" than Mouna or Randa or Dina, etc. The competition is personal, not just about shows. I live daily with Arabs. My best friend is Saudi. When we have her baby shower on Saturday, half the guests will be Arab women.
    BTW, where are you from?
    Regards,
    A'isha
    I'm half Egyptian, half Syrian, and my grandmother's mother was from Turkey. Both my parents lived in Egypt when they were young and they met in college... my dad's professor in medical school was Om Kalthoum's husband.

  9. #39
    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gypsy8522 View Post
    I'm half Egyptian, half Syrian, and my grandmother's mother was from Turkey. Both my parents lived in Egypt when they were young and they met in college... my dad's professor in medical school was Om Kalthoum's husband.

    Dear Gypsy,
    Thanks for sharing. Where do you live? ( I live in the Northwestern part of the U.S. We have many, many Arabs here. Some are refugees, some immigrate here and many Saudi and Gulf guys go to school here.)) It is amazing to me how easy it is to be in touch with the stars in Egypt. A Saudi friend of mine has an apartment in the same building as Omar Khorshid's family. His dad bought Omar his first guitar!! I love those kinds of stories.
    Regards,
    A'isha

  10. #40
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    Well, then here's another that A'isha as a child of the California 1970s may appreciate: my gastroenterologist is a cousin of Kahlil Gibran.

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