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  1. #31
    Member Yasmina's Avatar
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    Default How and why she approached me

    Quote Originally Posted by Aziyade View Post
    Did she approach you quietly, or call you out in front of the whole class?
    She approached me quietly


    Quote Originally Posted by sedoniaraqs View Post
    I guess I'm just playing devil's advocate here. I know there is a tendency of American dancers to neutralize the sexuality in the dance and to not be in touch with their music (happy face during sad song, etc), but how do we know this teacher didn't have a point in her correction?

    If someone came on and posted that their posture or hip movements had been corrected by a teacher, would we all be automatically be jumping to the student's defense? No probably just the opposite. We would assume the teacher was in the right, whether she was or not would be just as unknown to us.

    The fact is that it is just as easy to go overboard or off the correct path on facial expressions, hair touching or body touching as it is to be overly-inhibited about them.

    Sedonia
    That's right, you don't know whether she had a point or not in this particular case, because I posted a textual report without a video fragment. I realize that this makes it very hard for all of you to make a reasonable judgement. Like I said, by no means am I offended that she corrected me, but my problem is that her point was that it's not ok for a bellydancer to end up on a picture looking sad or sexy, IN GENERAL. That it's not ok to touch your body (she didn't mention any difference between masturbation and touching your liver), IN GENERAL. This is a statement that you can or cannot sympathize with, even without knowing whether or not my facial expression was on the correct path or not.

  2. #32
    Member Yasmina's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gia al Qamar View Post
    Facial expressions need to be rehearsed the way that hand movements and choreography needs to be rehearsed.

    I did not know that.

    Third...
    I think there is a GIGANTIC, huge, massive thick line between dancing sensuously and dancing sexually.
    Your teacher was 100% correct to instruct you not to fondle your body or it's parts and to be aware that some of your facial expressions were too "orgasmic".

    She didn't mention that my facial expressions were too "orgasmic". She simply said that I should smile all the time, because I didn't want to end up on a picture looking sad or sexy (I don't think sexy means orgasmic).



    What is the difference between dancing sexually vs. sensually?
    Easy.
    When you enjoy yourself and share this with others, the experience is naturally sensual. Like eating chocolate, the moment is pure pleasure and you're enjoying that moment.
    When you're dancing with the intention to arouse others...it's sexual.

    Ok, this is the thing. I don't know how my facial expression looks like. I haven't paid attention to this until this moment. But I do know this with 100% certainty: I don't dance with the intention to arouse others. When I do, it's in my private life and private audience and therefore 100% acceptable.

    Laying your open hands across your belly and massaging in a circle...sexual. Running your hands through your hand and massaging your scalp with an open mouth...sexual. Thrusting your crotch at an audience...sexual.

    Like, uhmmm.....I.....ok, sorry, I'm speechless

    Belly dance has a naturally sensual nature to it. Gilding the lily by adding sexually suggestive movements or facial expressions isn't only unnecessary, but it adds to the stereotypical myth that belly dancers are strippers, whores and have to rely on sexual antics to entertain.
    Gia
    I sincerely hope that never in my life I will contribute to this myth in whatever way. Never ever ever did it come to my mind that I might rely on sexual antics to entertain.

  3. #33
    Member Yasmina's Avatar
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    Default Egyptians and others on facial expression

    Quote Originally Posted by sedoniaraqs View Post

    Quote Originally Posted by Yasmina View Post
    Maybe I need to change my teacher, but in his choreos he lets us touch our body all the time, we touch our hair all the time and he tells us to feel sexy all the time.
    It all depends on the nature of the touching and the intent. I have never seen any of the Egyptian dancers run their fingers through their hair ala Suhaila or Kaya. They do however, place their hand on their hair without moving it around, or informally place the hair behind the shoulder or move a stray lock out of the way (and I've seen western dancers do this too much and too contrived).

    I'm not a professional dancer, let alone a professional Egyptian dancer, I'm a dance student, and since my original post was about what my teacher is teaching me as a student, I'll respond by telling what kind of a dancer he is (because if he's a bad dancer, most probably I'm going to end up being one myself). He's an Egyptian dancer who has been dancing and choreographing in the professional circuit of Cairo since he was a zygote. He has been living outside of Egypt for a couple of years now. He does not like Suhaila or Kaya and does not think that his dance has anything in common with them.

    Similarly, the Egyptian dancers will *place* their hand on the side of their hip, but don't run their hands up and down the body or massage them around. They will place their hand over their liver or heart in gesture to particular emotional song lyrics but this is generally to express emotions other than sexual ones, like heartbreak and angst.

    Replace "Egyptians" by "Yasmina's dance teacher" and the text will still be correct.

    Your best bet is to watch the Egyptian dancers (assuming Egyptian style is what you are shooting for). What do they do with their faces and hands (and when), and does your use of movements and expressions fall within these parameters?

    Sedonia
    I did not know Kaya until this thread or any other similar dancer. I asked whether my teacher knew her and his face went . I'm not particularly shooting for Egyptian style (I adore Egyptian style). I'm trying very hard to become a good dancer one day, in whatever style this good dancer in me will come out. However, until now my only serious source has been this Egyptian teacher and two other Egyptians (Hassan Afifi and Mo Geddawi). None of them is easy with compliments when you're studying seriously with them and they make sure to correct the students whenever they feel that the music is interpreted wrongly. None of them has ever corrected my facial expressions and the approval comments were mostly about the "feeling".
    Last edited by Yasmina; 12-05-2007 at 08:25 PM.

  4. #34
    Member Yasmina's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yshka View Post

    I do feel sexy when I dance, but that's the way it is. Feeling sexy and good about yourself is part of the dance, whether you're male or female IMO. It is as much part of the dance as it is part of everyday life. It's not 'what it's all about' but we cannot pretend it isn't there at all.
    My point exactly!

    Quote Originally Posted by Yshka View Post
    Only person who brought in the entire sensual/sexual discussion was the other girl, probably to make herself look good and make you feel bad. She was wrong to comment on it since it was not her right to give her opinion on it and she wasn't asked to do so, and she was wrong since I really really doubt YOU would make a porn face in class.

    Honestly, I've seen Yasmina dance and I was not the only one who thought she had a-ma-zing expression when dancing...

    Sorry, but porn-faces....? give me a break.
    Thanks for the kind words, Yshka!

  5. #35
    Member Yasmina's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sedoniaraqs View Post
    Lesson one:
    How not to touch your hair. Also facial expressions not to do, how not to be in touch with your music, and how to turn a beautiful expressive dance form into theatrical masterbation of the ego:



    Lesson two: How to make orgasmic porn faces. How to add superfluous locks, pops, head tosses, and drama when the music doesn't call for any.
    Thanks for posting those WTH!! Please release me from my misery if you ever see footage of me dancing like this.

  6. #36
    V.I.P. Kashmir's Avatar
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    Default by women for women ???

    Quote Originally Posted by Moondancer View Post
    there is a difference between sensual and sexual. belly dance is sensual, not sexual. it is performed by women for women; it is a dance that celebrates femininity.
    And what about all the male belly dancers - men "belly dance" in the Middle East - it is the basic, normal folk dance form.

  7. #37
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    Default smile???

    wow.... re read original post several times to make sure I got all implications.. (still not sure I did...).... so let us IGNORE RUDE STUDENT re the porn face... as this is (it seems) NOT what instructor was correcting you for...
    I am an American teacher... I am ALWAYS telling my students to "smile" (although usually yelling it out during a group practice... not a one on one correction) during a "choreo" piece (most not all.... every once in a while I tell 'em... on this piece you may look serious or sad or whatever... BUT watch your EXPRESSION!)
    THE REASON for this is ALMOST ALWAYS>>>
    most students tend to grimace (or make "funny" expressions) while LEARNING a new move/combo/choreo... & I impart on them (as someone else said... sorry I do not remember who in this long thread!) the importance of remembering their expressions AS WELL AS their movements in choreo (or improv for that matter!)... cause what you do in practice shows up in performance (ie... the face is part of the body in body memory!!)
    ALSO... with new (or unknown in the case of a workshop) students I always errr on the side of caution... ("if you give em an inch they take a mile" type reasoning.. or "you cannot speak slang til you know correct grammar")... newer students tend to take the 1st couple of classes & think they know it all.... so in their minds if they think it is "sexy"... it COULD be "oooooh I'm a belly dancer... I'm soooo sexy"... can you see where this may lead???
    AND after the Kaya thing.... eeeekkkk do NOT want a hint of that face on ANYONE I teach...... (am thinking of a photo op here.... where a face may be PASSING THOUGH one of those expressions.... but what if THAT is the one that ends up in print)
    so do NOT know this teachers motives in this correction.... however there are many valid points to consider....
    gotta go class is starting!!!!

  8. #38
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gia al Qamar View Post
    I feel very strongly about this subject.
    First, let me say that the other student was 150% wrong to 'immitate' you and she should be ignored.
    Second...facial expressions need to be rehearsed the way that hand movements and choreography needs to be rehearsed. Natural expression is all well and good...but...when you're performing, you need to put your best face forward...pun intended.
    Third...
    I think there is a GIGANTIC, huge, massive thick line between dancing sensuously and dancing sexually.
    Your teacher was 100% correct to instruct you not to fondle your body or it's parts and to be aware that some of your facial expressions were too "orgasmic".
    What is the difference between dancing sexually vs. sensually?
    Easy.
    When you enjoy yourself and share this with others, the experience is naturally sensual. Like eating chocolate, the moment is pure pleasure and you're enjoying that moment.
    When you're dancing with the intention to arouse others...it's sexual. Laying your open hands across your belly and massaging in a circle...sexual. Running your hands through your hand and massaging your scalp with an open mouth...sexual. Thrusting your crotch at an audience...sexual.
    Don't laugh...I've seen em all...
    Belly dance has a naturally sensual nature to it. Gilding the lily by adding sexually suggestive movements or facial expressions isn't only unnecessary, but it adds to the stereotypical myth that belly dancers are strippers, whores and have to rely on sexual antics to entertain.
    Gia

  9. #39
    Member Nafiseh's Avatar
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    I find this thread incredibly interesting, however I think that the 'sensual vs sexual' links back intrinsically to other discussions regarding whether Western dancers can truely emulate, say 'Egyptian' style.

    We in the West have an incredibly different view of sex and sexuality to those in Egypt or the Arab world in general. Look at many female 'stars' that are big there now (dancers and singers), they tend to look overtly sexual and 'porn star'-esque, with enormous breast, enormous pouty lips, enormous 'bed' hair. Haifa can't sing without sounding like she's in the throes of passion. Randa Kamel is incredibly 'animalistic' in here dancing.

    This is not to say that they have crossed the line into Kaya-style posturings, however you cannot deny that they are incredibly sexual, and this is bourne out of the intensly complex social/religious make-up of the areas from which they come, where a beautifully sensual AND sexy dance originated and has evolved, but has what we in the West see as restrictive views of women. And yet female stars like Haifa, Dina, et al are very popular not just with Arabic/Egyptian men but with the women too.

    In fact I remember a Lebanese woman telling me that she though Kaya and Sadie were very good dancers

    Many of you have pointed out that in the West we tend to a-sexualise belly dance because we fear the 'oh so belly dancing is like stripping right?' view that so many people wrongly hold, but in Egypt they amp up the sex!

    Of course we are not in Egypt...but where does that leave us? Hopefully not on Kaya's doorstep!

    I think that we are arguing semantics to a certain extent: like Yshka said there's sexy and there's SEXY (or porno), we all have to decide for ourselves what is comfortably sensual/sexy but still DECENT. But to deny that as women (or men!) we are sexy, especially when dancing (barring it being a piece when we should be showing other emotions) is to strip this beautiful dance down to mere sterilised movements.

    Do we say the Rumba shouldn't be sexy? My god it is all about sex and passion, but it is still a respected and recognised form of dance, without turning itself into a live sex show.

    Oooh I'm feeling a bit hot and bothered now

  10. #40
    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    Default Dance

    Quote Originally Posted by Yasmina View Post
    I did not know Kaya until this thread or any other similar dancer. I asked whether my teacher knew her and his face went . I'm not particularly shooting for Egyptian style (I adore Egyptian style). I'm trying very hard to become a good dancer one day, in whatever style this good dancer in me will come out. However, until now my only serious source has been this Egyptian teacher and two other Egyptians (Hassan Afifi and Mo Geddawi). None of them is easy with compliments when you're studying seriously with them and they make sure to correct the students whenever they feel that the music is interpreted wrongly. None of them has ever corrected my facial expressions and the approval comments were mostly about the "feeling".
    Dear Yasmina,
    I have noticed the same thing in studying with Egyptians. They let their faces do what they are going to do. They do not seem to practice looking
    pretty" or having the perfect "Look" on their faces. they just let their faces dance as does the rest of their bodies. I have seen Lucy look like a Pekingese dog, Nagwa Grimace, Dina frown, Suheir smile with a big mouth full of hideous teeth, etc. the face must dance as the heart and body do.
    Regards,
    A'isha

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