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  1. #1
    V.I.P. Aziyade's Avatar
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    Default Hmmm... Does this sound right to you?

    There's someone posting on the bellydancevideos Yahoo group about wanting to create a series of instructional dvds on the AUTHENTIC dance. What are your initial impressions of this posting (the bold parts are mine, making note of specific things):


    Greetings Listees,

    I'm working on a series of instructional dvds in classical Egyptian
    dance.
    From beginning stance to end floowork, and everything in
    between (including arms). I won't be teaching props at all, just
    the moves and how to break them down and how they all fit together.
    I also will not teach choreography. I prefer you mix and match the
    moves to create your very own dance, as the music and moods
    influence you each time you dance. In other words, I don't want to
    create clones of me, but individual artists instead. Just as you
    see all Egyptian dancers are individual as they use the moves they
    prefer and are good at, in the way they prefer to use them (fast,
    slow, small, large, broken into tiny components of the moves, etc.).

    We've worked up an outline for 10 1-hour videos, and there may be
    one of two more when we've finished shooting these. There are about
    70 moves in all (I mean FULL moves, not the broken up or made up
    ones you've seen in most videos). I was privately instructed for
    nearly 3 years, which cost me $10.00 per class back in the 1970's.

    I missed a handful of classes during my instruction (less than 10),
    so this added up to quite a lot of money my family and I paid.
    Please keep this in mind with regards to your suggestions for the
    cost of the dvds?

    Finally, these dvds will not have distracting backgrounds or music.
    They will be shot in the dance studio I've instructed in for the
    past 5 years, with no "set dressing". Just the studio background.
    Also, I will not be in a hip scarf or costume of any sort. I want
    you to see what my feet and legs are doing. The majority of the
    moves come from the feet and legs, so I have prepared my wardrobe to
    help you focus on this. These dvds are straight up instruction. No
    bull, no lit candles, no fluff.

    The most important thing is this. These videos MUST be followed in
    the order they are made. For instance, Beginning Level 1, Beginning
    Level 2, Intermediate Level 1, etc., etc. If they are followed out
    of order the dancer learning from them runs the risk of severe
    injury, possibly permanent. In the final standing dvd (before the
    first floorwork dvd) I am teaching what's commonly known as
    the "Turkish" drop, and the small steps and exercises involved in
    mastering this move.
    Those dancers who know about this move will
    understand the importance of these dvds being followed IN ORDER.

    So, with all of this in mind, here are my questions to you...

    1) Would you be interested in a series like this, which teaches the
    authentic classic Egyptian dance from A-Z (this is the SAME dance
    that Lucy, Dina, Fifi, Tito, etal do. NO ballet or other influences
    involved at all)?

    2) Would you be able to follow the series in it's given order and
    not try to skip ahead?

    3) Would you take the recommended time mastering the steps in each
    dvd before moving on to the next? I will give guide posts for each
    move so you will know when you've mastered it, AND there will be an
    online message board for any questions you have while learning,
    which will be answered by me personally. The message board will be
    accessable to anyone online.

    4) Would you be willing to pay $30.00 per dvd? (The costs of my
    producing this are high, so I'm not trying to rip anyone off, just
    break even)

    5) Have you ever seen a series like this?

    6) What is your biggest beef about instructional dvds/videos you've
    previously seen and/or purchased?

    7) Ideas, suggestions, etc, please?

    Thank you so very much for your time in reading this, and any input
    you may offer.


  2. #2
    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    Default Instruction

    Dear Aziyade,
    Like you said "Hmmmm". Who is the dancer that posted the ad or whatever it is?
    That part about not using any music is especially... Hmmmm-ish.
    Regards,
    A'isha

  3. #3
    V.I.P. Aziyade's Avatar
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    I'm not sure I've seen the Turkish drop done in "classical Egyptian dance."

    I keep thinking there are some movies where they drop to the floor, but I can't remember if those are actual Egyptian movies, or just old movies I've watched.

    And can you really separate ALL the ballet out of modern Egyptian dance? I can understand not teaching the footwork a la Reda and Mo Geddawi, but even Dina does little Arabesques (albeit not like a ballerina).

    Something doesn't track right with this post.

    Here's something else she just posted, again bold is mine:

    Holy moly, I sure didn't expect all these awesome responses to this
    post! Wow, Ladies, thank you SOOOO much!!!

    Tatiana, I'm very grateful for your ideas here. The music is a bit
    of a bone of contention between my lead dancer (who's going to be in
    the dvds with me) and myself. Nothing major, just that she wants
    the music and I'm not so sure just yet. In class I turn the music
    wayyyyy down so I'm not yelling at my students. lol Still, I think
    you and her are probably right about there should be some music in
    the background. I would so love to have George Abdo or Umm Kulthum
    in the background, so I'll do my best to obtain their
    representative's permissions to use their music for this series.

    I can almost guarantee you've never seen instruction like this.
    I've watched nearly 100 dvds in the past few years (some from my
    students, some from the library, some I've bought, etc.) and have
    yet to see anyone teach the footwork properly.
    It seems that just
    no one wants to teach it, or no one knows it outside Egypt? I
    really don't know? I just haven't seen anyone teach it.

    For instance, a basic move most people call the "Egyptian walk" is
    pretty much all in the feet. Just do the wedding march with a
    slight forward hip movement on the leading foot before stepping
    forward. Really easy, so long as you keep the balls of your feet
    parallel with each other when you do the hip movement. The extra 2
    movements in your backside (the sways back and forth) come from
    gravity and relaxing your muscles in the backside. So it "appears"
    that the dancer is pushing the hip back and forward, when this is
    simply not the case. The movements come naturally, just gravity
    taking over with the simple forward hip movement on the leading
    foot's hip, and the natural sway from walking after setting the foot
    down again. Like, if you throw a ball up it's gonna come back down
    by itself. Now, if you tighten that move up really good and fast,
    and do it in place, it's a 3/4 shimmy. Egyptian dance is really
    easy at it's core. It just looks hard because most people don't
    know the mechanics of it. If you can walk, you can dance. I've yet
    to see anyone on a dvd/video who teaches this. And so far none of
    the Egyptian dancers seem to want to share. lol


    I'm really happy to read you would follow these in order. The steps
    are in an order for many reasons. First off, as another poster
    mentioned, you have to walk before you can run. Another reason,
    most of the moves tie in with each other in an intricate way. Like,
    above, where you would never be able to do the shimmy if you hadn't
    learned the walk already. Yet another reason is the muscles you'll
    build as you follow in order. I have some VERY weird muscles in my
    knees, shoulders, and over my hips that developed from the dance.
    They support my joints. Without these muscles being a bit built up
    and worked, you can hurt yourself doing more advanced moves before
    your body's ready. I'm very happy you are willing to follow in
    order, and sincerely hope everyone will. I would hate for a dancer
    to ruin herself trying to jump ahead.

    Thank you for the feedback on not having seen a series like this
    before. I've looked at a lot of the dvds out there, but am
    certainly no expert on everything that's available. :O This
    question was one of my biggies. Thank you.

    Yes, yes, yes! The choreography is certainly not pertinent to true
    Egyptian dance. An Egyptian dancer is all about freestyle. The
    steps fit together like universal puzzle pieces, so there's no need
    to choreograph. Well, a troupe may wish to, for obvious reasons,
    but an individual dancer should never have to worry about it past
    possibly, "Gee, what move do I feel like doing next?" while they're
    dancing. I have an excellent track record as far as safety goes.
    So far, in 30+ years of dancing, I've never hurt myself. Dancing,
    that is. lol None of my students have either. I really pride
    myself on that. The dance should never hurt you. It should
    strengthen your body, not hurt it.

    Thank you so much, again. You've given me some great advice and the
    music...yes, I think my lead dancer will win that argument. lol
    Hope you're having a lovely weekend.

  4. #4
    V.I.P. Moon's Avatar
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    First things that come to mind:

    - Isn't 3 years of lessons way to short to start teaching?
    - Is a Turkish drop really classical Egyptian style?
    - I never saw Lucy, Dina, Fifi or Tito do a Turkish drop (did I miss something?)
    - And I think Classical Egyptian style does have some ballet influence.
    - no music?????????

    edit after reading Aziyades 2nd post: I don't understand her description of the Egyptian walk. Hips swaying back and forth? That sounds more like some salsa move.
    And I thought she took 3 years of lessons and has been teaching for 5 years. What did she do during the other 22 years? Or is she talking about other dance styles? huh??
    Last edited by Moon; 10-29-2007 at 03:31 PM.

  5. #5
    V.I.P. Aziyade's Avatar
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    Default

    Her name is Tegan Ollie.

    Anybody know her?

  6. #6
    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    Default DVDs

    Quote Originally Posted by Aziyade View Post
    Her name is Tegan Ollie.

    Anybody know her?

    Dear Aziyade,
    After reading more, I reiterate, "Hmmmm".
    Regards,
    A'isha

  7. #7
    V.I.P. Aziyade's Avatar
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    Okay, I'm being a jerk, but here was my reply to the group. Her original comments are in italics My response is in normal type.



    Re: Your Dream Video?

    Okay, I'm going to be the stick in the mud for a second here.


    > I'm working on a series of instructional dvds in classical Egyptian
    > dance.


    Everybody has their own opinion on what exactly IS the "classical"
    Egyptian dance. I thought Shareen el Safy did a good job explaining
    what SHE thought made up the "golden age" style of Egyptian dance, so
    I would expect the instructor on this dvd to explain what "Classical
    Egyptian dance" is to her, and compare and contrast it to modern
    Egyptian dance.



    > There are about
    > 70 moves in all (I mean FULL moves, not the broken up or made up
    > ones you've seen in most videos).


    I think you might have a hard time selling this concept -- I'm not
    sure how many people would agree on what is "made up" and "broken up."
    The instructor would have to have some SERIOUS standing in the dance
    community to get something like this accepted. Any time you start
    talking about the "real" or "authentic," you open yourself up to
    criticism from others who claim to teach the "real" and "authentic" --
    and it might be different from yours!


    SIDENOTE TO A'ISHA -- you only had 10 moves. Looks like you need to make 7 more DVDS!




    > I was privately instructed for
    > nearly 3 years, which cost me $10.00 per class back in the 1970's.


    I'm not sure this applies, as I'm not sure that you would be the
    instructor on the dvd, but I think Egyptian style as was understood in
    the 1970's is VASTLY different from Egyptian style today. I think of
    students who studied the style of Nadia Hamdi versus students of
    Dina's today, and I see a world of difference. This MAY OR MAY NOT
    matter to anybody. Just a thought.


    > Finally, these dvds will not have distracting backgrounds or music.


    I'm confused -- are you saying the instruction will not be done to
    music? I'm having a hard time understanding why, of ALL the styles,
    someone would want to try to teach Egyptian without using music. To
    me, that's like trying to teach someone to swim without using any water!


    > In the final standing dvd (before the
    > first floorwork dvd) I am teaching what's commonly known as
    > the "Turkish" drop,


    I can't stress enough that I think the above is a bad idea.

    I can tell you right now that students will pick and choose the dvds
    they want. Most students who have been dancing a while will NOT spend
    the money on what they perceive to be a beginner level dvd.

    FWIW, I think only a qualified teacher should teach some things, and
    then only in person. The modified Turkish Drop, I SUPPOSE could be
    taught on dvd, but I would be leery of it.



    > So, with all of this in mind, here are my questions to you...
    >
    > 1) Would you be interested in a series like this, which teaches the
    > authentic classic Egyptian dance from A-Z (this is the SAME dance
    > that Lucy, Dina, Fifi, Tito, etal do. NO ballet or other influences
    > involved at all)?



    First of all, I'd have to know A LOT about the instructor and she'd
    have to have good standing in the community. I would have had to see
    her dance quite a bit before I would "trust" that she knew what she
    was talking about. Does that make sense?

    There are hundreds of self-proclaimed "experts" out there making
    videos and teaching workshops. If the instructor was Shareen el Safy,
    Tamra Henna, Bahaia, Saida, Zahra Zuhair -- somebody like that I would
    trust to know what she was talking about and I would trust her videos
    would be top-notch as far as instruction.

    But I still would have to have some things clarified for me. I would
    personally argue that Lucy and Dina definitely have ballet/ballroom
    influence. I'm not sure that you can say Egyptian dance today is
    WITHOUT ballroom/ballet influence because it played such a big part in
    the dance as we knew it in the "golden age" which evolved into Modern
    Egyptian.

    So would these videos be more Raqs Baladi or Raqs Shaabi than Raqs
    Sharqi? While I think there's certainly a market for Shaabi and
    Baladi instructional dvds, the majority of interest seems to be in
    Raqs Sharqi and theatrics, and the use of a large stage. I would
    expect the instructor to give instruction on BOTH the nightclub style
    performance, and also the stage performance -- how they differ and
    what would be appropriate for what. That kind of thing.

    One thing Shareen el Safy does is shows you the more "folk" version of
    a movement, explaining this might be how Fifi would do it, and then
    shows you the Oriental version the way Soheir Zaki might do it. I find
    this kind of info REALLY valuable, since sometimes the music has
    "folky" sections where the typical Oriental stylization doesn't fit
    right, so you have the "folky" version of the move to choose from.

    Now if you're talking about no ballet/ballroom/jazz stage-covering
    footwork, a la Reda and Mo Geddawi, then that's perfectly wonderful.
    I'm not the only one of getting tired of seeing too much footwork in
    modern Egyptian dance instruction !



    > 2) Would you be able to follow the series in it's given order and
    > not try to skip ahead?


    No. I would skip to what I didn't recognize.

    I've studied over 300 different videos and dvds, read all the extant
    "textbooks" on Oriental dance and tried to study with those people who
    have developed their own styles or their own techniques. With rare
    exceptions, the instruction is the same -- albeit there are tiny
    subtleties (like use of the lower belly on circles and figure 8's)
    that give certain dancers a characteristic look, and of course modern
    Egyptian style has a different sense of what muscles drive the
    movements than American Cabaret style, but inside each specific
    "genre" the instruction is the same. The vocabulary differs, but the
    instruction is the same. Just my experience, and I've LOVE to hear
    from others who disagree!!



    > 3) Would you take the recommended time mastering the steps in each
    > dvd before moving on to the next? I will give guide posts for each
    > move so you will know when you've mastered it,



    The guideposts thing is a good idea, but ultimately most students
    THINK they have mastered something long before they actually have.
    It's usually only when they get around to adding a shimmy to the
    movement that they realize they haven't actually mastered it. Or when
    they see themselves on video. Some STILL are convinced they've "got
    it" when they don't. As a teacher, I still can't figure out how to fix
    that one!



    > 4) Would you be willing to pay $30.00 per dvd? (The costs of my
    > producing this are high, so I'm not trying to rip anyone off, just
    > break even)


    Probably not. $30 for one hour is too much, especially when you're
    talking about 10-12 volumes. Make them 2 hours, with lots of bonus
    performances of what you're teaching on that particular dvd, and then
    I think it would be worth it.



    > 5) Have you ever seen a series like this?


    Oh yeah -- it's an old concept:

    - Serena Wilson's 4-volume Bellydance series
    - Shareen el Safy's 5-volume teachniqe series (before the choreo vids)
    - Veda Sereem's 20-volume (?) series "Quality of Bellydance"
    - Hadia's 6-volume Raqs Esharqi (actually 5 volumes)
    - Jamila Salimpour Archive series (4 volumes)
    - Habiba's Quickstart to Bellydance (for beginner/intermediate)
    - Cory Zamora's dvds (are there 8 of them?)
    - Delilah's Visionary Bellydance system (5 dvds now?)
    - Alexandra King's 4-volume Ancient Art of Oriental Bellydance

    Those are what I can think of off the top of my head.



    > 6) What is your biggest beef about instructional dvds/videos you've
    > previously seen and/or purchased?


    Rehashing of the same things, over and over again. In my opinion, if
    you're going to produce an instructional dvd, take a new angle with
    it, or show us something we HAVEN'T seen done before, or done better
    by another instructor.


    > 7) Ideas, suggestions, etc, please?


    Well, I doubt this is the angle you're going with, but I personally
    would LOVE to see an instructional based around the folkloric steps
    and how they were Orientalized, or how to add folkloric steps from
    different cultures into your debke, Saudi dance, Orientale routine --
    whatever. Shareen el Safy does this a bit, but I'd love to see more,
    especially with non-Egyptian dances. I've learned a LITTLE from Greek
    and Spanish and Lebanese instructors, but it's such a wide open field
    that I'd love to see a video on it. Just me.

    Who's the instructor??? You've got me curious -- I'd love to see her
    (I assume it's a her!) dance and see if this would be a series I'd be
    interested in investing in!!

    Amanda

  8. #8
    Senior Member sedoniaraqs's Avatar
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    Three whole years of classes? I'm SO impressed.

    This reminds me so much of my college students, who come in complaining that they did so poorly on an exam. "But I studied the night before for three whole hours!" This for an exam that covers 4 or 5 weeks of 3X per week lectures and a weekly 2 hr lab.

    It sounds to me like this woman doesn't even know her market. There are a number of good video series dedicated to teaching Oriental dance beginning through advanced, plus multifacets of the dance movement, improvisation, culture, music, props, dancing in clubs, etc: Shareen el Safy, Yasmina Ramzy, Keti Sharif, Hadia, etc. Wonder if she's seen any of these?

    No distractions like music? Clueless.

    Sedonia

  9. #9
    V.I.P. Aziyade's Avatar
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    Oh it gets better -- check out the yahoo group
    bellydancevideos

    She has issued her rebuttal, and she's dismissing Shareen el Safy as a REAL Egyptian style instructor because she once took class with Jamila Salimpour.

    She hadn't HEARD of Shareen of course, but looked her up on the internet.

    Thing is, people like this actually DO manage to sell a few videos and confuse people. I should make my own instructional series. I have good rep here and on Bhuz. I'm going to call it "Everything you need to know about Egyptian style dance and everyone else is WRONG!" Why not jump on the bandwagon like other people?

  10. #10
    V.I.P. chryssanthi sahar's Avatar
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    Hey Aziyade, it is really cool how you interact with this woman, who tries to convince people that she is an expert on "Classical Egyptian Dance", while she very obviously has no idea of what she is talking about. I wonder what makes people so impudent that they try to "sell" something they are not and they cannot do. Cheating people was possible in older times, when the world was still big and unmanageable. At those times you claimed to be something and nobody could check out (I'm thinking of some famous anthropologists at the end of the 19th century who wrote huge books about certain cultures, but haven't ever left their own country Today those books are rather a joke than scientific work), but today, in the time of Internet and mass media, the world has become veeeery small. You cannot fake anymore, especially if you are trying to reach people via Internet. So I'm really amazed how stupid some people are and try to fake although they have no chance. But maybe this lady doesn't even try to fake. I think that she simply has only half-knowledge, which is lot worse of having no knowledge. She obviously believes that she is an expert on classical Egyptian dance, because she knows some things and she doesn't realize, that what she knows is only a tiny part of the whole.
    For me there were two very disturbing things in her descriptions:
    a) teaching movements without music Hello? The harmony between movement and music is THE essence of the Arabian dance. You express the music with the body. So how the hell can you teach to dance the Arabian way without music?
    b) Floor work. It almost doesn't exist in the Arabian belly dance. Well, there are some older videos with Egyptian + Lebanese dancers doing it, but generally it is frowned up in the Arabian world.
    Anyway, are there any videos of this fabulous dancer in youtube? If yes, post some

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