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  1. #41
    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jenc View Post
    When I started learning it was amazing to me that we were all learning egyptian dance without ever having seen any. Only myself and one other girl who has lived in Egypt are still dancing. she goes to the advanced class that wouldn't take me and apparently they still learn nothing about the music and still do not talk about the essence of the dance.

    Dear Jen,
    I dance frequently for my classes so that they will see where we are trying to go. I also do a short dance at the beginning of my DVD,again so that people will see our eventual goal. How else are our students supposed to know what in heck they are reaching for? I do the same thing when I teach workshops, by usually opening the the classes by dancing for the students, and then if possible showing videos of natives performing whatever dance form I am teaching, during a short break. I feel it is necessary to give people a picture of what we are doing, rather than leaving them wondering. What is the point of NOT dancing for the benefit of your class? Yes, we DO look more glamorous when we are all dressed up for stage, but the message also comes across in class mode as well.
    Regards,
    A'isha

  2. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by A'isha Azar View Post
    Dear Jen,
    I dance frequently for my classes so that they will see where we are trying to go. I also do a short dance at the beginning of my DVD,again so that people will see our eventual goal. How else are our students supposed to know what in heck they are reaching for? I do the same thing when I teach workshops, by usually opening the the classes by dancing for the students, and then if possible showing videos of natives performing whatever dance form I am teaching, during a short break. I feel it is necessary to give people a picture of what we are doing, rather than leaving them wondering. What is the point of NOT dancing for the benefit of your class? Yes, we DO look more glamorous when we are all dressed up for stage, but the message also comes across in class mode as well.
    Regards,
    A'isha
    Hi A'isha

    I agree. In fact I think sometimes it comes through better in class mode. Glamorous costume, makeup, stage lights are fun, like the icing on the cake. But if done well the dance itself is the satisfying part.

    Cathy

  3. #43
    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    Default Dance etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by cathy View Post
    Hi A'isha

    I agree. In fact I think sometimes it comes through better in class mode. Glamorous costume, makeup, stage lights are fun, like the icing on the cake. But if done well the dance itself is the satisfying part.

    Cathy
    Dear Cathy,
    Interesting observation.... I had never thought of it, but you might have a point. It is the dance then, stripped down to its very soul, without the superflous elements. Just the dance and the music. I had never thought about how enlightening it might be on that deeper level. Thanks!
    Regards,
    A'isha

  4. #44
    Premium Member sausanacademy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eshta View Post
    Hmm, interesting thread.

    I am going to be a bit argumentative here. The old school dancers weren't less athletic, less precise etc. Naima Akef came from a circus background and grew up as an arobat, that woman had strength, technique and control beyond comparison - which is why she could make it look so so easy!

    And I think what we mistake for 'trained and polished' nowadays, I would refer to as more regimented. It's far more common to see a dancer dancing 'in the fours' rather than freely following the melody, for example.

    But I think one of the biggest differences in my view is that the old school dancers weren't all out there looking for things to 'leave their mark' if that makes sense. There was a lot less 'look what I can do' and there was a lot more subtlety in quite how sophisticated the dancers' skills at interpreting the music was. There were a lot less stomach rolls, flutters, splits, backbends, etc, and certainly it wasn't because these ladies couldn't do them!

    Often when we look back at the history of something we inherently assume that there has been a gradual but consistent improvement in something. With oriental dance I think it can be easy to mistake the subtlety of these "golden age" dancers for simplicity, especially given today's appetite for shoehorning in something that's obviously difficult just to make sure people know that you can...
    Hi, Eshta:

    I think it is somewhat presumptuous of us to think that the "old school" dancer did not want to leave her mark. I think ALL dancers anywhere and everywhere want to leave their mark -- old school or new school; Egyptian or Western. Taheyia left her mark; she saw, set out, and was the first to make a difference in the dance by elevating it to a level that it heretofore did not have. Samia Gamal left her mark; she introduced the evening gown as a dance costume. Na'eema Akef left her mark; she brought more of the ballet element into the dance because of her circus background. Others left their mark in their own way, wanting to make a difference in the dance with their contribution -- and they did. And it is obvious that Dina wants to leave her mark. Her dance style now is the one that is most imitated by many a dancer both Western and Egyptian.

    The aspect of "trained and polished" is a lot more different in an Egyptian dancer than it is in a Western dancer. Since Egyptian dance is mostly a cultural expression, it is easier for an Egyptian to appear more natural doing it. It is not in the Western experience to use their kinds of expressions or to inherently understand the music the way the Egyptians do, so we, as Westerners, do not look natural dancing this dance. It is no wonder why the Western dancers dance more about themselves (pop, lock, belly roll, flutters, etc.) than about the music which is what the Egyptian dancers dance for. Moreover, the Egyptians grew up listening to the music they dance to just as we grew up listening to the songs of Frank Sinatra or of Elvis Presley making it easier and therefore appear smoother when we do the twist or the mash potatoes or the funky chicken (am I dating myself?) Watch an Egyptian do these dances and they (to me) look goofy.

    Western dancers will tend to do a lot more back bends or stomach flutters or pops or locks because these are separate movements in and of each other. I believe that ballet and offshoots of ballet are choreographed in the same manner. We learn the movement according to how we see it in Western thought. Egyptian dancers don't do this stuff; they just dance according to their cultural experience.

    Perhaps, at one point in Egyptian history, the dance became boring and therefore outdated and Dina saw an opportunity to change the dance to make her mark by incorporating some Western movement, therefore making the dance new and fresh again to the Egyptian populous.

    I'm very partial to the old school style. I think that without the old school style as the foundation, the new modern style becomes disproportionate and disconnected from the audience. But with Dina, she already had that foundation and therefore her change to the more modern style, thereby making her mark (as it were), made for a smooth transition which has been widely accepted by the Egyptians. She has most definitely made her mark, but only with the tutelage of her idols....Taheyia, Samia, Na'eema, etc.......

  5. #45
    V.I.P. Aziyade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aniseteph View Post
    His point was that the string of dums and teks she was asking for would not help her reconstruct the rhythm because they were missing that structure, and she didn't see that.
    Ah -- understood. Thanks

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