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    V.I.P. jenc's Avatar
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    Default Is Relevee Egyptian

    When teacher X said I should spend another 6 months in her basic beginner's class. (The one where she told me beginners don't want too much technique) she told me that they would be doing relevee in her "Advanced class" as a reason why I couldn't join. I just wondered as she advertises her classes as Egyptian dance, how authentic they are?
    Jen

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    V.I.P. jenc's Avatar
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    I also want to know this as I can dance relevee if I absolutely have to, but it isn't my personal style. Also I broke my ankle 4 years ago and relevee is painful. I do use it when practising to make sure I have movement through variety of positions.
    Jen

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    V.I.P. Moon's Avatar
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    What is relevee???

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    V.I.P. jenc's Avatar
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    On toes not but all the way up like ballet, it's a ballet term I think. We often do camels on relevee

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    V.I.P. Moon's Avatar
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    Oooh ok thanks for explaining.
    I hope you don't mean really like this. That looks very unhealthy and not very Egyptian to me.

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    Senior Member sedoniaraqs's Avatar
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    The best way to tell what's Egyptian is to watch the Egyptian dancers. When a teacher tells me something is Egyptian, I usually look to my videography for verification.

    If you watch the Egyptian dancers such as Souhair, Fifi, Samia, Lucy, Mona etc. you will see that the do use releve, some more than others. Souhair and Lucy, for example, work mostly on releve -- Souhairs famous down hips are always executed on her toes. Fifi is flat footed more, and Dina works alot in both positions. In fact, I think that using some releve is one of the technical characteristics that distinguish raqs sharqi from raqs baladi.

    Here is my youtube playlist of Egyptian dancers. I'm sure in some you can see their feet.
    YouTube - Broadcast Yourself.

    Also, there is a video with Souhair and Nagua in Abu Dabai, in which Souhair dances in a red assuit dress, and the camera man has some kind of fetish with her feet so you see them alot. Check that one out. It is put out by Sout wa Soura and available through Dahlal International.

    Working in releve takes proper training. I never got it and learned it the hard way. No belly dance teacher I have ever had has said anything about how to stand and move on releve and how to strengthen and train for it. As a result, about 6 years ago, when I really started focusing on Egyptian raqs sharqi, I was not distributing my weight properly across the balls of my feet, (and I had gained some weight and gotten out of shape), and I ended up with a metatarsal stress fracture in my 4th metatarsal of my right foot. It took forever to heal.

    As a result, I always make a point to ease my students into releve work slowly, give them advice on building calf strength to do it, and talk to them about proper posture of the feet and ankles.

    If you can't work on releve because of some injury or condition, you can modify most movements to do flat.

    Sedonia

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    Senior Member sedoniaraqs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moon View Post
    Oooh ok thanks for explaining.
    I hope you don't mean really like this. That looks very unhealthy and not very Egyptian to me.
    No, that's pointe, not releve. Releve just means lifted on the balls of the feet.

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    V.I.P. Moon's Avatar
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    Ok, thanks Sedonia.

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    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    Default Dance terms

    Dear Gang,
    This is going to sound nitpicky, but I am opposed to using ballet terminology for teaching raqs sharghi because I think it gives the wrong psychological impression. This dance is not related to ballet, or jazz or any other western dance form and I feel that in using too much decidedly western dance terminology, we only enforce an untruth. It is just as easy to say, "Move on the balls of your feet", and then even those, like me, who have never studied ballet know what we are talking about.
    Regards,
    A'isha

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    V.I.P. da Sage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jenc View Post
    When teacher X said I should spend another 6 months in her basic beginner's class. (The one where she told me beginners don't want too much technique) she told me that they would be doing relevee in her "Advanced class" as a reason why I couldn't join.
    There may be other reasons she doesn't want you in the other class (they may be quite a jump ahead of where you are now in other movements), but I don't see why the relevee should be a big issue. Since you can go up a little, I think she should just let you do what you can on your toes (go flat the rest of the time), and let you concentrate on everything else? Some of my classmates have to sit out movements that put stress on the knees, or modify them, and it's no big deal. I can do most of the actual dance moves, but I have to modify the conditioning because of my wrist and hip problems.

    Would your teacher be willing to let you try the advanced class, and announce to the class that you have ankle issues from an old injury, so you won't always be on relevee? Maybe she is afraid that other people will copy your movement, but if you are "out" about why you are modifying, that should help.

    You might also look into other teachers, or (a limited number of) privates geared to get you caught up with the next-level class.

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