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  1. #31
    Member Bellydance Oz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by karena View Post
    I understood it as being rehearsing responding to the music rather than rehearsing what that response will be, as that will depend on the response at the time. This makes sense to me.

    I cannot fathom how people cannot hear the beat. To me it is so unbelievably obvious; I cannot not hear a beat.
    This resonates with me so much, Karena! I dance ballroom and Latin with my (new) husband. It's such a treat for me to have a man to dance with, but he doesn't have a good sense of rhythm at all. I've learned not to let it frustrate me, but I'm sure you'll understand how hard it is not to start leading when he gets out of time... I, too, find it impossible to teach him how to hear the beat because it seems so natural to me.

  2. #32
    V.I.P. karena's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bellydance Oz View Post
    This resonates with me so much, Karena! I dance ballroom and Latin with my (new) husband. It's such a treat for me to have a man to dance with, but he doesn't have a good sense of rhythm at all. I've learned not to let it frustrate me, but I'm sure you'll understand how hard it is not to start leading when he gets out of time... I, too, find it impossible to teach him how to hear the beat because it seems so natural to me.
    I think that would be then end of me! I have to try not to lead all the time with my fiance! I know my mind and like to do what I think. Just imagining us trying to dance together is making me laugh

  3. #33
    V.I.P. Caroline_afifi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by karena View Post
    I understood it as being rehearsing responding to the music rather than rehearsing what that response will be, as that will depend on the response at the time. This makes sense to me.
    Totally.


    I can practice a choreo till it is total auto pilot. But, I then have to remember my face, and often I then mess up the choreo. This is because my mind is thinking, what shall I do here, what shall I there etc etc. I am very much an analytical person, so this is how I approach any task. Obviously it doesn't work so well. But thinking of incorporating what I am doing with my face makes sense; I think I have been told it before, but the stored muscle memory really resonates with me.
    This is very good advice for troupe/group practice and solo choreography.
    This somehow needs to develop to expand to improvisation.
    There are tricks of the trade too, like turning your back to the audience (if possible) if you need 2 seconds to re-focus and that sort of thing. Working with live music is another aspect.
    Eyes are perhaps even more important than the face and the feeling perhaps should shine through them (the facial expression will follow).
    I think this goes back to your first post which talked about 'startled rabbit'. The other thing I tell people off for is 'rolling' their eyes when they make a mistake, why do dancers insist on letting you know when they feel they have made an error? I am sure no one would notice otherwise!

  4. #34
    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    Default Face etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bellydance Oz View Post
    Sorry Aisha, I did not mean to suggest one should "rehearse" one's facial expressions - quite the opposite, in fact! In fact I don't believe facial expressions should be rehearsed in any dance form, inclding ballet.

    What I was trying to say is - your facial expression should be a reflection of your feelings during the dance. If you feel uncomfortable during the dance, your face will not be able to react in a relaxed and natural way.

    If you rehearse in front of a mirror, or at half-stretch, or with your eyes downcast, then when you get on stage you'll feel uncomfortable because something is different. Result - strained and unnatural facial expression!


    Dear Oz,
    I think there is a difference between the way that western and Middle Eastern dancers approach this element in the dance. I think they rarely worry about what their faces are doing, and they express with it naturally rather than worrying about it. My face rarely does what I want it to do and Often in still photos I look like hell, but the over all effect is very natural in stage. I used to worry about it a ALOT. then one day I sat down and really watched Suheir Zaki, Nagwa Fouad and Lucy and several other dancers, and what I saw were grimaces, wrinkled noses and foreheads, toothy grins, double chins, and all kinds of other less than "professional" looking faces. I was astounded and pleased to see that the dancers react with their faces in the most human of ways, and thrilled to know that what was happening on my face was just like what was happening on theirs!! This taught me alot about how the Middle Eastern dancers sees the dance very differently than the western dancer, in that they see it as a natural extension of human expression and not a work of perfection of any sort.
    Regards,
    A'isha

  5. #35
    V.I.P. karena's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caroline_afifi View Post
    This is very good advice for troupe/group practice and solo choreography.
    This somehow needs to develop to expand to improvisation.
    There are tricks of the trade too, like turning your back to the audience (if possible) if you need 2 seconds to re-focus and that sort of thing. Working with live music is another aspect.
    Eyes are perhaps even more important than the face and the feeling perhaps should shine through them (the facial expression will follow).
    I think this goes back to your first post which talked about 'startled rabbit'. The other thing I tell people off for is 'rolling' their eyes when they make a mistake, why do dancers insist on letting you know when they feel they have made an error? I am sure no one would notice otherwise!
    Yes that's me! I am working on now showing people I made a mistake.
    The shining emotion though the eyes thing is interesting too. Recently, we were doing emotion in a class, and I did sadness. I really put some into it, and the people really reacted to say how sad I was making them feel, but as soon as they said that, it switched off. I guess I wasn't used to sharing emotion and it scared me a little. But it was a step in the right direction.

  6. #36
    Premium Member Aniseteph's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caroline_afifi View Post
    The other thing I tell people off for is 'rolling' their eyes when they make a mistake, why do dancers insist on letting you know when they feel they have made an error? I am sure no one would notice otherwise!
    We have a girl in our class who was an absolute menace for this. Her dancing is lovely not least because her face is so natural and relaxed and "in" her dancing, no dead face or scared rabbits, but when she goes wrong her face has "oops" written all over it! When we got told NOT to telegraph when we went wrong you could see "oops I went wrong" followed closely by "...and I let it show", then "...and the teacher saw me". All with a great big grin, and then everyone else was falling about laughing.

  7. #37
    V.I.P. Mya's Avatar
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    This dance has shown me just how terrified i am of being vulnerable. I can dance to the saddest song when i'm alone and express it in a way that makes me scare myself sometimes, but the thought of doing that on a stage for people, STRANGERS to see makes me cringe from the inside out - how do you find the balance?

  8. #38
    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    Default Dance etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mya View Post
    This dance has shown me just how terrified i am of being vulnerable. I can dance to the saddest song when i'm alone and express it in a way that makes me scare myself sometimes, but the thought of doing that on a stage for people, STRANGERS to see makes me cringe from the inside out - how do you find the balance?


    Dear Mya,
    This is rather esoteric, but I think also valid. I believe deep in my soul that part of the intrigue and mystery of the dance lies in the fact that dancers ARE vulnerable in expressing human emotion. We rarely allow other people to see who we really are, and yet in dance, that can not be hidden. In belly dance especially this is true because, it is very much about being a human being with all the warts as well as all the beautiful qualities that people can have. It is not telling a story with heroes and other types that are iconoclastic. It is expressing our humanness that is the deepest appeal of the dance, I think. And this is culturally applicable all over the world, since I see that humans everywhere feel the same things, but sometimes we think and act differently about what we feel.
    Regards,
    A'isha

  9. #39
    Member Bellydance Oz's Avatar
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    Aisha, I would say I use my face in exactly the same way in belly dance that I did in ballet or jazz or flamenco - that is, I let the emotion of the dance express itself in my face.

    The difference lies in the fact that in both flamenco and belly dance, I find myself getting far deeper into the emotional aspects than I ever did in ballet and jazz - with a corresponding effect on my facial expressions. When I danced flamenco, I know I had some awful looks on my face - but then, watching the great flamencas, they do exactly the same thing, so I didn't worry about it!

  10. #40
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    Don't know if this will help Karena but I'm one of those who rolls eyes and everyone knows when I've made a mistake. I now tell my students - and myself - to smile harder when they/I make a mistake.

    It's helped me mask the eye roll a bit!

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