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  1. #1
    Member Kiadorin's Avatar
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    Default Baladi - What am I missing?

    I recently shared a video clip of my dancing with an Egyptian friend and, if I understood correctly, his reaction seemed to be along the lines of "Nice dancing, but clearly not Egyptian." Unfortunately, I was not able to get a clear sense of what it is that I'm missing.

    I'd really like to be able to dance in a traditional way -- or at least be aware of what I'm doing differently. I know we have several people who are well-versed in Egyptian style, so I'm hoping that you will be willing to help me.

    Here is the clip in question:
    YouTube - Afrah Baladi Improv


    Oh, and try to overlook the moments of weird broken-neck posture and chicken-wing arms, please. More interested in style feedback than technique feedback right now.
    Last edited by Kiadorin; 09-30-2008 at 07:08 PM. Reason: Couldn't get the video to embed :(

  2. #2
    V.I.P. jenc's Avatar
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    Very nice - I can't put my finger on it. Will leave that to the more established

  3. #3
    Senior Member Eshta's Avatar
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    Hi Kiadorin,

    I'm replying because I totally relate to that sense of knowing there's something there just not knowing what it is- it's a common theme in learning this dance!

    I want to start by saying that you dance very nicely, and don't let your friend's less than sizzling review make you feel insecure in any way. I also want to say that I am no expert and am waiting for one of the more seasoned posters to provide you with a better answer than I will give you!

    For me, I guess what I notice is the disconnect between the emotion in the song and the emotion in your dancing, and baladi's all about that. I get the feeling you are thinking about the movements, rather than letting them flow to your emotional response of the song. But that could just be the discomfort factor of filming yourself knowing you are going to be asking for feedback on it Again, I can relate!

    For my own part, retrospectively analysing the various stages of development I had to tackle/am still working on they were/are roughly:
    - not comfortable enough with the movement vocab so all energy needs to be focused on execution (don't think this applies to you)

    - not hearing the music 'thoroughly' - hard to describe, but can you hear the subtleties sufficiently well to be able to translate them when you dance? The trills in the accordion v long clear notes? the pauses? The characteristics of the different instrumentation?

    - not understanding the music 'thoroughly' - there are so many layers, but remember that baladi is often improvised music, in order for those musicians to actually function together they give each other clues as they play, can you hear them, do you know what they mean, do you understand the underlying 'structure' of the song?

    - not understanding the cultural significance/the emotion of the music: lumping these together although each is worthy of its own paragraph. aaakk, how to explain this one! In the context of baladi, the song usually goes through several stages, and in it's home context, the audience knows and appreciates this, anticipating it. The youtube clip of fifi was one of the best examples I could find a while back, but watch her face (for the emotion) and the audience response



    Finally, did you really love love love the song you picked to dance to?

    Just some pointers, but I think you were really brave to ask for the feedback, and good luck!

  4. #4
    Member Samira bint Aya's Avatar
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    Kiadorin,
    First of all congratulations for the beautiful dancing! You chose one of my most favorite songs. I have also attempted to dance baladi to this, but it ended in a miserable failure!
    I am not an expert, just a beginner dancer and clearly not as advanced as you. However, a couple of things I noticed in your movements that I found a little out of place for baladi were:

    The backbend seemed a little out of place
    My impression is that the hands were too expansive and too busy for baladi, and at certain moments they were not “energized” all the way to the fingers
    The movements did not flow from each other as we often see in baladi (the end of one movement fusing with the beginning of the next).

    Other than that, as Estha was saying, probably what your friend noticed more was the emotional response to the music.

    But don’t beat yourself over with this, you are clearly on the right path and you are doing great!

  5. #5
    Member Samira bint Aya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eshta View Post
    The youtube clip of fifi was one of the best examples I could find a while back, but watch her face (for the emotion) and the audience response
    Estha, the emotional expressions of Fifi in this clip, they are very characteristic of her, aren’t they? And of other Egyptian dancers also.

    They remind me a lot of the expressions you often see on female performers here in Greece, in the bouzouki clubs and the more “heavy” oriental-type of music (for lack of a better word) we have here.

    They are very appropriate for an entertainer who wants to give the crowd a good time, but I wouldn’t try to emulate them, as I don’t find them necessary unless someone is trying to entertain in that way. (Having said that, I understand that you were probably not suggesting that someone should try to copy her anyway).

  6. #6
    Member Kiadorin's Avatar
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    Thank you, guys. I really appreciate the responses

    The emotional aspect is probably at least part of what he was trying to get across, now that I think about it in that light. Reflecting on things, I do remember him once describing a particular American singer as being "like us" because his songs were "so full of feeling" or something along those lines. So I think you're both right about that.

  7. #7
    V.I.P. Lydia's Avatar
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    Hi ..I like it!! I think you are dancing realy nice...but yes must put some feeling in it ...try not to count everything like 4 times r 4 times left enz...let it be ,,playfull ,,a bit....,,streched,, sometimes...like everybody will think you gonna mis the dom,but then you just catch it on time...something like that so it becomes more like dancing. not like a excersise...i hope you understand what i try to say...like when you watch a movie and you already know the end before its there...its a bit to calculated..try to be more free in mix and match your movement...specialy in the beginning its staying a bit to long on the same movement try to be more playfull give more of ,,you,, and dont put yourself in a box feel free and enjoy and make people see you are having a good time.....But realy i like the way you dance its very nice...you just have to bring it to live....keep up the good work! you are doiing great!! Lydia

  8. #8
    V.I.P. Moon's Avatar
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    I must say I liked it Kiadorin :-)
    I'm no expert but I think what might improve things is not standing with your back towards the audience for so long. It's a very sensitive moment in the music and too bad we can't see your facial expression there. Also your arm movements sometimes seem a bit too "classical". Not sure if it makes sense what I'm saying

  9. #9
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    I thought you looked very nice and fluid! What is that song?

    But yes after really mastering the technique I am gathering what one has to do is let that go on automatic pilot a bit, and kind of "bust loose" or "let go" and concentrate on expressing the feeling of the music for the audience, like you are channelling feeling rather than thinking about either "am I doing this move right" or about what comes next. It is hard! I am really trying to do this myself. But not look like I am trying! That seems to be part of it!

    Cathy

  10. #10
    V.I.P. jenc's Avatar
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    OK I've got it now - you stick too closely to the music. you should be performing in harmony, ie not always doing in time etc.. Build in some pauses, swoops etc

    But very good none the less

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