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  1. #1
    Junior Member Jahzara bint Hana's Avatar
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    Default A Beginner's Observation

    I first wanted to get into this dance because I wanted to use it as a catalyst to have fun and get into shape while really tapping into my femininity. After reading this forum and the AWESOME amount of knowledge here, I feel compelled to explore it more deeply. With that said, this is one observation I have put together.

    When considering what is and what isn't Oriental Dance the foundation is you have to thoroughly learn the rules in order to effectively break the rules. When effective rule breaking is employed you intuitively keep your origin which doesn't "strip" you of your "title" and "being" as an Oriental Dancer.

    Have I surmised correctly?

  2. #2
    V.I.P. adiemus's Avatar
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    yup - but who sets the rules can be open to debate!

  3. #3
    Junior Member Jahzara bint Hana's Avatar
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    HA! I kind of figured that from reading the "infamous" Shakira post.

  4. #4
    V.I.P. Aziyade's Avatar
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    I think this is an appropriate statement for all arts -- learn the rules, then learn how to break them uniquely and creatively, or how to work within them to find your unique expression.

    Remember it's not always about rule "breaking." Sometimes staying coloring well inside the lines, with only a couple of crayons, can create soul-stirring performances.

    For example, try taking two movements -- let's say the pelvic undulation "camel" and the hip drop. Create a dance using ONLY those two body movements, but feel free to use your visual focus, your face, arms and hands, and upper torso to express the music. It's a revealing and often enlightening exercise.

    Mona Said's ICMED workshop video from Turquoise is a great resource to see how a limited movement vocabulary can be used to create beautifully expressive dances -- and she's not wearing a costume, so you aren't distracted by the sparklies.

    Give yourself time to be a beginner. Explore lots of different dance styles and if you find one that really sings to you, explore it in depth. But don't feel like you have to "make art" with your dance right away, and don't worry if you have to ask a bazillion questions. That's how we learn.

  5. #5
    V.I.P. Kharmine's Avatar
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    Absolutely. It's like with jazz music, abstract art, and improvisational theater -- you need to know the forms and boundaries before playin' around with 'em.

  6. #6
    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    Default Breaking the rules

    Dear Jahzara,
    It is also important to realize that those of us from outside the dance's cultures of origin will spend a lifetime trying to learn the rules and so we are rarely in a position to know enough to break them.
    Regards,
    A'isha

  7. #7
    Junior Member Jahzara bint Hana's Avatar
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    Thank you all for your input.

    Ms. A'isha you bring up a very intersting point. Your post actually got me to thinking (even more) about those of us that are descendants of Mother Africa. It seems to be that there are very many people who spend eons trying to get what we instinctively have. It's as if the "rule breaking" doesn't apply to us because it's just who we are, the way we move. I had a previous dance (in another form of dance, not oriental dance) teacher tell me that she had to take more time teaching her Black and Spanish students because of our "natural" connection to music. Often the movements were supposed to be straight and rigid and we would unconsciously add a curve and a little "spice".

    I have spent the last couple weeks pouring over more videos of Oriental Dance than one would think would be sane. Of the good and bad, I've found that one thing has remained constant. Although the moves are the same, the spirit in which they are presented are vastly different. Even with troupe dancing. That is where the excitement continues to build for me. I am deeply honored to be a student of this dance and all its subtleties.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Jahzara bint Hana View Post
    Thank you all for your input.

    Ms. A'isha you bring up a very intersting point. Your post actually got me to thinking (even more) about those of us that are descendants of Mother Africa. It seems to be that there are very many people who spend eons trying to get what we instinctively have. It's as if the "rule breaking" doesn't apply to us because it's just who we are, the way we move. I had a previous dance (in another form of dance, not oriental dance) teacher tell me that she had to take more time teaching her Black and Spanish students because of our "natural" connection to music. Often the movements were supposed to be straight and rigid and we would unconsciously add a curve and a little "spice".

    I have spent the last couple weeks pouring over more videos of Oriental Dance than one would think would be sane. Of the good and bad, I've found that one thing has remained constant. Although the moves are the same, the spirit in which they are presented are vastly different. Even with troupe dancing. That is where the excitement continues to build for me. I am deeply honored to be a student of this dance and all its subtleties.

    Dear Jahzara,
    In my family there are representatives from all three major races, and many different ethnic backgrounds. My grandson refers to himself as being "African and Polish". What I have noted is that dance, rhythm, a feeling for certain kinds of music and movement, is not really about ethnicity as much as it is about a connection of soul to a particular way of moving, and a way of hearing the music. Hence, we get Irish people whop are great Samba dancers, or the occasional Frenchman who can do the jumping dance with the same feeling as a Masai Warrior, or a Chinese ballerina! I will admit that it does not happen often that one can sort of latch on to an element of another's culture and feel at home with it, but it does happen.
    And by the way, I have not seen you on the forum before, so if you are a new member, welcome!
    Regards,
    A'isha

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