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  1. #1
    V.I.P. Caroline_afifi's Avatar
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    Default Art versus Entertainment

    Just interested to know peoples thoughts on this subject and how people define the difference between Art and Entertainment?

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    Good question! I have mused about this a fair amount myself and saw the related question on Bhuz about a year ago--"Do You Think of Oriental Dance as Art or Entertainment?" I would have to say "both" to that and I think there is often a lot of overlap between art and entertainment.

    Just speculating here but it seems to me that there is more of an implication of formal principles with art, separate and apart from its entertainment value. Also art is not always entertaining. Some art is very difficult and puts all but those most dedicated to the form off. I'm thinking of say certain modern painters or 12-tone composers, whose work is difficult to fully appreciate without a lot of training. As a result I would call it less entertaining.

    Are there Oriental dancers whose work is "difficult"? Well, I would say there are dancers who are more and less complex, more focussed on structure, nuance, and technique and those who are focussed more on flash and showmanship. Nothing wrong with that--it is very fun and entertaining. The "art" dancers may be just as pleasing to the general public--but are they "getting" everything the same way other dancers do?

    Maybe it's a partly highbrow/lowbrow thing. Do the people who look on it as "art" tend to eschew showmanship for its own sake? Say, integrating circus tricks or trendy new props or novelty costuming into performance? Do they tend to be more purists? Whereas people who view what they do as entertainment or show biz--do they tend to have a more "whatever pleases the crowd" attitude, and therefore are they more willing to --fuse or confuse? Blur the lines between their form and other forms?

    Is the ultimate goal to be all things to all audiences? That is, both a formal purist dancer's dancer AND rousing entertainment for the general public? Would this even be possible?

    Also of course the lines get blurred because people refer to things as art that others might not consider suitable for the term ....say "circus arts" or "the art of love."

    Hey, and what about "craft?" Where does that fit in?

    Cathy
    Last edited by cathy; 05-15-2008 at 01:12 PM.

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    V.I.P. karena's Avatar
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    Art to me has to involve thought provocation of some sort, and it has to be dynamic and of its time. I am speaking in general terms, not just about bellydance.

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    V.I.P. Caroline_afifi's Avatar
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    I know this is a tough one as I have been chewing over this one for a few weeks.
    I have to try and produce some form of a statement for the Arab Arts festiva conference, as often the dance element is looked down upon in certain arts quarters.

    I have to specifically discuss why Middle Eastern dance is an art form and not just an aspect of cultural entertainment. It is very important for this to be concise and I cant think of a better place than this forum to get these answers.

    Thank you both for your contribution.

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    V.I.P. karena's Avatar
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    I just did a British Library journal search and came up with nothing. I thought it might be something that has been discussed in that arena. There must be something but the search terms are maybe not that straightforward.

    Btw am looking forward to the Arabic Arts Festival.

    To me, there is lots of MED that isn't art, it is just entertainment. Like any other dance form has both sides. But then really it's just coming down to semantics, but then imo everything does in the end. Good luck with it.

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    V.I.P. adiemus's Avatar
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    I really dislike this sort of pedantic debate...as if somehow things that are 'Art' are better than things that merely 'entertain'. Note the capital letters!
    I would venture to say that this distinction has developed as a result of increasing wealth in a society meaning that there are some people who can pay for others to produce 'Art' that is not entertaining but instead 'provokes'.
    Aspects of culture that can't be recorded for posterity (unlike painting, sculpture) seem to be less recognised as 'Art', while things that are also used in every day life such as woven items, pottery, jewellery, these seem to also live under the cloud of 'craft'.
    To me it's snobbery - things that are appreciated by fewer people are 'exclusive' and it must therefore be 'Art', things that most people enjoy are nonexclusive, therefore are 'cultural' or 'craft' or lowbrow. ggggrrrr!
    Ask a silversmith or a potter or a dancer or a guitar player - any one of these people who have spent time practicing their skills will tell you they work just as hard to produce their work as the 'artist' who paints, draws, or the author who writes 'literature'.

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    V.I.P. Caroline_afifi's Avatar
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    Wikepedia Quote
    Traditionally the term art was used to refer to any skill or mastery, a concept which altered during the Romantic period, when art came to be seen as "a special faculty of the human mind to be classified with religion and science".[1] Generally art is a (product of) human activity, made with the intention of stimulating the human senses as well as the human mind; by transmitting emotions and/or ideas. Beyond this description, there is no general agreed-upon definition of art. Art is also able to illustrate abstract thought and its expressions can elicit previously hidden emotions in its audience.

    This is the best definition I could find. Culturally it has become something of a high brow definition used to exclude certains aspects of entertainment.

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    V.I.P. Caroline_afifi's Avatar
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    I have just had another thought I wanted to share about these forums and what I enjoy about them.
    I have only been on these boards since march this year. I was doing some research and a friend kept saying 'well on bhuz this was said..and on Orientaldancer.net they said that...' so I thought I would take a look and see what kind of things people are discussing.
    I was impressed by the level of discussion as I had always judged it differently without actually knowing much about it.
    There is a freedom here to explore and express and sometimes it is uncomfortable but most learning often is.

    When I teach a workshop or present a seminar etc. I find that people very rarely disagree or argue with anything I say, they jsut ask a few questions.
    In hindsight it is quite worrying because it means people dont challenge teachers enough. Just like school, the teacher has the last say and anyone who pushes it maybe seen as a trouble causer and one to watch. Speaking out in a group can be scary.
    I am not saying it is like this all the time and I dont teach weekly classes so I dont know. I have a few friends whom I trust their knowledge to have a good debate with but here i can get to talk to a great deal of people and get a much wider perspective.
    It was years before I was able to contradict or disagree with my teacher without feeling l was not going to be expelled from class. We are great friends now and we have a bond and trust.


    Perhaps this is what is meant by stardom? dont question me or criticsize me cos i am a SUPERSTAR.
    B******* to that! I hate hierarchy.
    once a rebel always a rebel.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Caroline_afifi View Post
    IWhen I teach a workshop or present a seminar etc. I find that people very rarely disagree or argue with anything I say, they jsut ask a few questions.
    In hindsight it is quite worrying because it means people dont challenge teachers enough. Just like school, the teacher has the last say and anyone who pushes it maybe seen as a trouble causer and one to watch. Speaking out in a group can be scary.
    You are right, Caroline, people *don't* challenge teachers enough. Indeed, some teachers conduct their classes in such a way as to discourage any questions, obviously a sign of teachers whose knowledge is lacking. I love asking questions, but, as you say, a lot of the time people seem too scared to say anything to teachers. I've had people say to me after workshops when I've asked the teacher a question "I wanted to ask that but I didn't like to!" Why? Why are so many students so reluctant to say what they want to?

    One thing that really bugs me is when workshop teachers roll their heads all the way round to the back in their warm-ups - we all know that we shouldn't do that, it could be dangerous, but I see our "experienced" and "respected" teachers in the workshops following along and doing it. I'm not going to say to the workshop teacher "You shouldn't be teaching that" but I sure as hell am not going to do it myself! It seems that students are all too ready to go along with whatever teacher says or does, no matter how dangerous or ridiculous, despite their common sense telling them otherwise.

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    Super Moderator gisela's Avatar
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    I don't believe in labeling a whole genre as art or entertainment. IMO we have or learn some tools or different languages like dance, writing, music etc and it's what we choose to do with that that decides if it's art or not, and of course it varies from person to person. F ex I do ceramics. When I make a bowl which is meant to be used and has no other history in it other than it's a bowl and you use it for eating something, then I'm in NO WAY ever going to say that's art. The next second I can swith to making a sculpture in which I try to express something and create a mood in the viewer. The I have NO PROBLEM calling it art. Same person, same material, same process, same education, different purpose.

    It would be the same way of thinking in bellydance for me. I just have to translate it into ceramics to understand my own point haha

    I don't feel the snobbery. I think Art is the most wonderful thing ever and I am sad that some people are afraid of it.
    Last edited by gisela; 05-16-2008 at 12:38 AM.
    immer glimmer

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