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  1. #51
    V.I.P. karena's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aisha Azar View Post
    they allow themselves to respond naturally...
    imo they are able to and know how to respond naturally. Not everyone can do that. Honest.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aisha Azar View Post
    let your face respond naturally, as your body should, to the music
    My natural body movement to the music would not be bellydance. It would be some frankly ridiculous awkward flailing. I work hard to learn the tools to be able to respond to the music in a way congruent with bellydance. I would like to extend this to all my body, and for want of a better word, soul.

    I think it's been said before, that it's not about being able to have the perfect face. I think that looks like insincere nonsense. One of the reasons I can't be bothered with the BDSS. It's about learning to be able to let go and express emotion. To use a popular term, the 'essence' of being British is about not expressing emotion. We're very good at that. Just watch the Queen and see how 'naturally' she is able to be devoid of emotion.

  2. #52
    V.I.P. Caroline_afifi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CarolineT View Post
    not say cheese!

    But the effort in trying to smile stops me from grimacing automatically it just stops the lip from curling and the look heaven ward I do when I've messed up - but then I've always been a bit strange!!

    I am pulling your leg of course... but the thought did make me howl as I have seen this done. I have seen people go into ultra sexy mode to distract away from a mistake too!

  3. #53
    Senior Member AngelaJP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by karena View Post
    you see for me, how do you ever lose it?!
    Hahahaha, Karena! You got me laughing so hard here. Darn, I wish I can be like you. My special needs students have more rhythm than me, no kidding

  4. #54
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    Just been reading through this thread with interest...Warning, long response alert!

    Here's my take. Most people, even very outgoing people, when stood in front of a camera and told to smile, feel very observed and vulnerable - and struggle to smile naturally. On the other hand, take a camera out discreetly when everyone is having fun and snap everyone before they notice and you have lovely natural smiles.

    Same goes for dancing. Get together on a night out with a bunch of friends and dance and I am sure most of us aren't thinking about who might be watching or what facial expressions we are making - and are more relaxed and natural as a result. But when you first start to perform, you know you are being observed and you are hyper-aware of this fact. You know you need to act naturally - i.e. as if unobserved - but of course you can't because you know you are being observed!!

    So the answer is simple - if you can lose yourself so that your only thought is on the dancing, not what people are thinking of you, or whether you got it "right", then your facial expressions will be the last thing on your mind - and you will be expressing the music in a natural and relaxed way.

    So simple - yet so very hard to achieve! Because to do this we have to allow ourselves to be vulnerable. We have to let people see our emotions. We have to commit to what we are doing 100% regardless of what our audience may be thinking. We have to just dance - even though people are (gulp!) watching!

    Of course there are natural performers who can do this quite happily. But for most - and particularly for us repressed Brits! - I think this is one of the hardest things. Someone can show you how to do a dance step, but how can you show someone how to let go emotionally? I honestly don't think anyone can because it is such a personal thing for each of us. We all have to find our own ways there, though someone might facilitate it or be the inspiration to take that step.

    I've been down this route myself. Like Karena, I felt myself to be too prone to over-analysis. I couldn't switch my internal voice off from saying "you didn't get that bit right, oh and look, that person is frowning at you, maybe they aren't enjoying it". I tried various workshops with various teachers, but just felt silly trying to follow their suggestions. I could feel the block in my own dance and knew this barrier had to be overcome to take my dance to the next level.

    But without realising it, the change was already taking place. Seeing my Moroccan teacher enjoy the music so much every time she danced, whether it was in rehearsal, at class or during a performance, helped. Performing more regularly and became more used to being observed helped. Picking music that really spoke to me, that I just adored and listened to constantly, helped.

    And then finally, I reached a point (I suspect in my life, not just in my dance...) where I started to be able to let go and give of myself and experience the music and live in the moment and not worry so much about if I am right or wrong...

    The Arabs call it "tarab" - lost in musical ecstasy. And while there I gurn away happily, oblivious to what I look like!

    Good luck!

    h xx

  5. #55
    V.I.P. jenc's Avatar
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    But what ifyour natural hABIT WHEN NO ONE IS LOOKING IS TO DANCE WITH YOUR JAW!

  6. #56
    V.I.P. da Sage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jenc View Post
    But what ifyour natural hABIT WHEN NO ONE IS LOOKING IS TO DANCE WITH YOUR JAW!
    Or tribal fusion w/ pops and locks?

  7. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by jenc View Post
    But what ifyour natural hABIT WHEN NO ONE IS LOOKING IS TO DANCE WITH YOUR JAW!
    Ok, I am curious - how do you dance with your jaw?! Do you mean you have too much tension in your jaw, or that you stick your jaw out? Please explain because I have some very odd images in my head of someone doing shimmies with their jaw..!

  8. #58
    V.I.P. jenc's Avatar
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    Well my head slides are very definately jaw slides - but that's common. I stick my jaw out and mirro movements in my body - if i'm concentrating hard!! Particularly upper body moves!!

  9. #59
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    Ah, a concentration face! We all pull daft expressions when we are thinking hard about something. My boyfriend always laughs at me when I am working on something new because I purse my mouth in a particular way!

    I guess the only way round a concentration face is to practice till we don't need to concentrate so hard! It is easy to forget that we need to practice improvising as well as individual moves or choreographies.

    You could also try incorporating some facial movements in with your normal warm up - it looks pretty silly but it might help! Actors do this to warm their face before a performance.

    Try each of these a couple of times: making a small pursed "o" with your mouth and then stretching it wide like you would for a big smile, making an exagerated chewing motion, raising and lowering your eyebrows. Finally, screw up your whole face then stretch it wide, then relax. Finish by gently rubbing/massaging your cheeks, then pattering the fingertips across the face like "rain".

  10. #60
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    Just did a quick search and found the following article, which seems to have some useful exercises!

    Theatre Bay Area

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