Page 3 of 7 FirstFirst 1234567 LastLast
Results 21 to 30 of 63
  1. #21
    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Pacific Northwest USA
    Posts
    5,313
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Group dances

    Quote Originally Posted by Caroline_afifi View Post
    I too like A'ishas approach and we work like this quite a bit in our area.

    I do like good performance groups though and for me, the odd group dance or duet breaks up a long line of solo's in stage shows.
    The development of dance in theatre means we have the opportunity to experiment more with the dance and include a greater number of people rather than the select few.

    I think essentially, solo is what it is about. It is more difficult to achieve a group expression and choreography often tends to be more limited.

    There are some groups though whom are very very good and have produced some amazing work.

    Dear Caroline,
    I agree that group dances help to make the show great.... they just don't have to be belly dance. In fact, I think its better if they are some other kind of dance, clearly explained to the audience by a narrator. Our last performance had four group dances and usually there are more. We did a Melaya dance with do-woppers, A Guedra with do-woppers, a group percussion number and Samri for group dances, and all included at least four dancers, with 2 having eight.
    Regards,
    A'isha

  2. #22
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    South East England
    Posts
    20
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    [QUOTE=Aisha Azar;88667]Dear Lizaj,
    First, my students do not learn any group belly dance choreographies for stage, because they need to know right from the outset that this is a solo dance. Occasionally both they and I may end up being background do-woppers for other dancers, either as in the introductory piece for a belly dance, or in other kinds of dances.

    So traditionally belly dance is not meant to be performed in groups? I've had 3 teachers and they all danced with the students, so I was surprised to read that, lol. My first teacher usually performs with the group and sometimes she, or another dancer does a solo or duet. But these performances are usually at events like church fetes, school fairs, summer festivals etc. (Charity events, not professional). My second teacher did a ghawazee dance with two of her students and also performed solo at the same event. And my third (current) teacher usually performs with the students.
    However, when I went to see Galit Mersand's show in Brighton (UK) she didn't perform with her students, she just did a solo. I can see that it's different performing at a charity event to a restaurant. You'd be more likely to perform solo at a restaurant.
    Last edited by Marietta; 10-06-2008 at 11:04 PM. Reason: Forgot to put something!

  3. #23
    V.I.P. lizaj's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    4,438
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    [QUOTE=Marietta;88961]
    Quote Originally Posted by Aisha Azar View Post
    Dear Lizaj,
    First, my students do not learn any group belly dance choreographies for stage, because they need to know right from the outset that this is a solo dance. Occasionally both they and I may end up being background do-woppers for other dancers, either as in the introductory piece for a belly dance, or in other kinds of dances.


    So traditionally belly dance is not meant to be performed in groups? I've had 3 teachers and they all danced with the students, so I was surprised to read that, lol. My first teacher usually performs with the group and sometimes she, or another dancer does a solo or duet. But these performances are usually at events like church fetes, school fairs, summer festivals etc. (Charity events, not professional). My second teacher did a ghawazee dance with two of her students and also performed solo at the same event. And my third (current) teacher usually performs with the students.
    However, when I went to see Galit Mersand's show in Brighton (UK) she didn't perform with her students, she just did a solo. I can see that it's different performing at a charity event to a restaurant. You'd be more likely to perform solo at a restaurant.
    Hi Marietta
    At heart Egyptian belly dance is a solo dance but you do see dancers backing the greats like Samia Gamal in films of the Golden Age and Reda did present folkloric dances in groups. But I think the class/group dance Aisha will say( am I right ?) is very much a Western phenomena in essence.
    Small night clubs in Cairo or whereever wouldn't allow for big numbers but I know you'll see "shows" in Sharm for tourists.
    BDSS right through to hafla dances are not very "Egyptian" even if they are dancing in the style. Egyptian is solo and improvisational traditionall ( again am I correct ladies)
    There,here, seems to be different reasons for teachers dancing or not. Dancing with strong students in small groups, leading a group dance or dancing a solo within it. It seems to depend on the individual and the situation.
    As a rule I have let my group go it alone as they tend to watch teacher and the audeince mayfocus on teacher but I did once because one dancer was unwell for a hafla dance and they refused to go on with 13 of them! But it was a case that all the students did a little solo or duet within the dance and I didn't,staying in the chorus.

  4. #24
    V.I.P. Jane's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    In the mountains of Montana
    Posts
    2,220
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    I'm dealing with this issue now.

    This September I started teaching a beginning belly dance class at a dance school which offers many types of dance. The kids and young adults range from 3-22. The students in my class are between 13-22 and are all female with experience in other dance forms. From day one we talked about what dance is and what belly dance is specifically. I'm trying to stress that belly dance is connected to a culture and is typically a solo dance. The problem is student recitals. The school has the typical format, each class does a choreographed routine for the parents and families on a formal stage with a short blurb in the program. This school has the teachers perform with the students, which is new to me. I've only seen graduating High School Seniors perform a short piece with their primary dance teacher before. I need to choreograph a group piece for the program. This is what the owner and the parents expect. There is not time for each girl, there are 12 of them, to do a solo, and after one year they won't have the skill to pull it off well. I've told the girls that we will use choreographies as a learning tool and for the beginner's recital, but that it is a Western concept. I plan to label our piece Americanized Belly Dance in the program. The following year, if I stay there, I'm going to push for short solo's for intermediate class dancers. There will be less of them and they should have enough skills by then. I've danced enough in public, I don't need to do it at a recital for students. The parents are there to see their kids dance not me.

  5. #25
    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Pacific Northwest USA
    Posts
    5,313
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Dance etc.

    Dear Marietta,


    [
    QUOTE=Marietta;88961][
    So traditionally belly dance is not meant to be performed in groups? I've had 3 teachers and they all danced with the students, so I was surprised to read that, lol.
    Well..... this kind of makes my point, doesn't it? I think it is important to teach and perform the dance the way it is if we are claiming to peform belly dance.

    My first teacher usually performs with the group and sometimes she, or another dancer does a solo or duet. But these performances are usually at events like church fetes, school fairs, summer festivals etc. (Charity events, not professional).
    ???....... I am not sure why this would make a difference. the dance is the dance regardless of venue. Often in large shows, the solo dancer might have people in the background for her beginning dance, as I have said. ( We refer to them as "do-woppers" in my dance company.) Usually they are not on stage very long and are there as window dressing, doing very simple choreographies, nothing complex.

    My second teacher did a ghawazee dance with two of her students and also performed solo at the same event. And my third (current) teacher usually performs with the students.
    Ghawazi is not belly dance and is usually performed in groups of two or three.

    However, when I went to see Galit Mersand's show in Brighton (UK) she didn't perform with her students, she just did a solo. I can see that it's different performing at a charity event to a restaurant. You'd be more likely to perform solo at a restaurant.
    [/QUOTE]

    I think the venue is not the point. The point is that belly dance is largely a very complex solo dance, and when performed in groups, it must be taken down to it's simplest form, not really doing justice to the dance. Now, if one is doing American Oriental, this might be different. I am not sure as I usually saw that as a solo dance as well when I used to hang out and/or dance in the clubs a million years ago.
    Regards,
    A'isha

  6. #26
    Member Bellydance Oz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    462
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jane View Post
    I I don't need to do it at a recital for students. The parents are there to see their kids dance not me.
    I think this is the crux of it. If your students are going to put on a performance, they are not going to look their best if you're out front - they won't be able to resist watching and copying you (as they do in class) instead of performing to the audience. So they're not going to do their best, and you're going to outshine them anyway. If they're not ready to perform without you leading, they're not ready to perform, full stop.

    In Oz, restaurants with belly dancers are fairly common, and they're always solo. However the belly dance schools also run events, and they are a mixture of solo and group numbers. I know group numbers may not be traditional, but it's a way for students to experience performing long before they're ready to go solo. They are a good learning experience and a way for students to share their love of belly dance with friends and family who come to watch them. So I think they have their value.

    As I said, I don't like it when the teacher dances out front - but I do like to see the teacher do a solo, and the students certainly love to see their teacher get up and show them how it's done.

    Most belly dance events also have a DJ or a live band so that everyone can get up and improvise at intervals during the evening.

  7. #27
    V.I.P. Mya's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Trinidad
    Posts
    1,062
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    ****LONG POST ALERT***

    I agree that it's a solo dance - i just have problems reconciling it with other things within the context of dance in my country/area. I'm guessing this might be similarly the case for some of you.

    Most people here have limited appreciation for this artform - it's a novelty more than anything else to them. When they hire performers for most events it's for the flash and glitter and "oooh, ahhh factor" so they will most likely request multiple dancers.

    Similarly if we were to put on a show, they'd (most of them) be bored by looking at solo after solo and require the occasional flash and pomp of multiple dancers doing something that looks impressive (synchronisation usually looks fairly impressive) to keep their attention.

    So, we have option A which is only solo dances, lose the interest of the small market that we have here, go broke, close our schools and alas bellydance has died in the southern caribbean.

    Or, we have Option B - mix it; in performances which give us more freedom to choose the format, have a solo and a synchronised choroegraphy - get the audience used to seeing more solos and grow the appreciation into something that will allow us to use more solo performances and fewer group choreographies eventually.

    On the student recital/hafla side of it i find it more complicated. I have never performed with my students because of all the reasons you stated above - i want the audience looking at the students, i want the students remembering the choreography and not following me and it's just bloody hard to go back to dancing without the natural flourishes that come to me when i hear music now. Also i hate choreography and forget it regularly, much to my embarassment.

    As for them performing in groups, they're all beginners, they want to use what they've learnt and show it to their family and friends but they don't feel comfortable dancing alone as yet. They've all grown together for the last year and they feel like they've achieved what they have together so they want to share the stage and the accomplishment with each other. I think i'm ok with that but i'm also going to encourage them to grow into dancers that are understanding of the fact that it's a solo dance and they'll need to be able to do it solo eventually.

    I think i will always have at least one group choreography though because i like that my students want to operate like a team and a family as opposed to back biting and fighting for attention and solos.

    As for the various folk styles that allow for multiple dancers without affecting how the dance is traditionally presented - we don't have people with that knowledge here! I'm working towards it and longing for the day when i can present a production that includes these things so that MED can grow and our audiences can mature in their appreciation of it, but until then, it's going to have to be this way or simply not be at all!
    Last edited by Mya; 10-07-2008 at 12:15 PM. Reason: Alert

  8. #28
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    South East England
    Posts
    20
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    [QUOTE=lizaj;88966]
    Quote Originally Posted by Marietta View Post

    Hi Marietta
    At heart Egyptian belly dance is a solo dance but you do see dancers backing the greats like Samia Gamal in films of the Golden Age and Reda did present folkloric dances in groups. But I think the class/group dance Aisha will say( am I right ?) is very much a Western phenomena in essence.
    Small night clubs in Cairo or whereever wouldn't allow for big numbers but I know you'll see "shows" in Sharm for tourists.
    BDSS right through to hafla dances are not very "Egyptian" even if they are dancing in the style. Egyptian is solo and improvisational traditionall ( again am I correct ladies)
    There,here, seems to be different reasons for teachers dancing or not. Dancing with strong students in small groups, leading a group dance or dancing a solo within it. It seems to depend on the individual and the situation.
    As a rule I have let my group go it alone as they tend to watch teacher and the audeince mayfocus on teacher but I did once because one dancer was unwell for a hafla dance and they refused to go on with 13 of them! But it was a case that all the students did a little solo or duet within the dance and I didn't,staying in the chorus.

    Hi lizaj, I understand now. I wondered if it was more of a Western thing to dance in groups.

    Well..... this kind of makes my point, doesn't it? I think it is important to teach and perform the dance the way it is if we are claiming to peform belly dance
    Hi Aisha, so you don't consider it belly dance when people perform in groups? What would you call it instead?

    ???....... I am not sure why this would make a difference. the dance is the dance regardless of venue. Often in large shows, the solo dancer might have people in the background for her beginning dance, as I have said.
    The reason I mentioned about different venues is that I thought maybe we performed in a group at certain events because it was more informal and so didn't have to be strictly traditional. I don't mean that isn't important to do it properly but I think with my first teacher the emphasis was more on having fun, because she's older now and has already danced with other troupes. So maybe she's not as concerned about being strictly traditional. She was teaching traditional movements though, hip drops, shimmies, shoulder shimmies etc, she didn't make up her own. I know with another teacher (I only went to a couple of her classes) she said that she's Westernised the dance with her class and has made up her own combinations. But I do see what you mean about the dance being the dance wherever you perform.


    Ghawazi is not belly dance and is usually performed in groups of two or three.
    Ok, I don't know a lot about Ghawazee. I looked it up online and this what it says on Wikipedia:

    The Ghawazee dancers of Egypt were a group of female and male traveling dancers. Like most forms of oriental dance, much of the history of the Ghawazee dancers is unknown due to a lack of historical documentation. An ethnic group that has been exoticized in Western travel literature regarding and cinema portraying Egypt since the 18th century, they are seen as particularly sensual and are probably the origin for the contemporary notion of belly dance.

    I know Wikipedia isn't alwas accurate bit it sometimes has some good information. On another site: About Ghawazee

    It says that Ghawazee are dancers of the countryside. So it seems to be a type of Egyptian dance but not the type called belly/Oriental dance. Is that right?

  9. #29
    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Pacific Northwest USA
    Posts
    5,313
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Dance, etc.

    Dear Marietta,
    [QUOTE=Marietta;89076][QUOTE=lizaj;88966]

    Hi Aisha, so you don't consider it belly dance when people perform in groups? What would you call it instead?
    I think that whenever we deviate from the intent and purpose and meaning of authentic ethnic belly dance, or present it in ways that deviate drastically from those styles, then it is no longer belly dance. I would call most group stuff that I see "American Oriental", or "Western oriental"


    The reason I mentioned about different venues is that I thought maybe we performed in a group at certain events because it was moreinformal and so didn't have to be strictly traditional.

    Belly dance does not have to be "strictly traditional" to be belly dance, but it does have to have certain elements in order to be belly dance. Emphasis on a solo dancer is a big part of that in order for the musical interpretation to be sufficiently complex and as intelligent and warm as belly dance can and should be!


    I don't mean that isn't important to do it properly but I think with my first teacher the emphasis was more on having fun, because she's older now and has already danced with other troupes.
    If your teacher could be clearer with both her students and her audiences about what she is presenting and why it is different from belly dance, that would be great. I am "older now" (55), and have danced with three different dance companies and well as having a 20 year solo career. The venue made no difference.


    So maybe she's not as concerned about being strictly traditional. She was teaching traditional movements though, hip drops, shimmies, shoulder shimmies etc, she didn't make up her own.
    I know I say this often enough so that people probably yawn when they read it, but.....movement is only one of the components that are necessary in order for something to be belly dance. There are countless other dances that have those exact same movements!!

    I know with another teacher (I only went to a couple of her classes) she said that she's Westernised the dance with her class and has made up her own combinations. But I do see what you mean about the dance being the dance wherever you perform.
    I love the honesty of a teacher who will come out and say what the one above said!! I have total respect for that because it shows respect for the dance.


    Ok, I don't know a lot about Ghawazee. I looked it up online and this what it says on Wikipedia: The Ghawazee dancers of Egypt were a group of female and male traveling dancers. Like most forms of oriental dance, much of the history of the Ghawazee dancers is unknown due to a lack of historical documentation. An ethnic group that has been exoticized in Western travel literature regarding and cinema portraying Egypt since the 18th century, they are seen as particularly sensual and are probably the origin for the contemporary notion of belly dance. I know Wikipedia isn't alwas accurate bit it sometimes has some good information. On another site: About Ghawazee It says that Ghawazee are dancers of the countryside. So it seems to be a type of Egyptian dance but not the type called belly/Oriental dance. Is that right?
    There is about as much bad info as there is good on the internet! The Ghawazi performed in both country and city and they were actually a group of people. They did not call their dance "Ghawazi", ousiders did. You are correct in saying it was not belly dance, but another type of dance all together.


    Regards,
    A'isha

  10. #30
    Premium Member Aniseteph's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Sussex, England
    Posts
    4,855
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    I know about the group dances in the show Marietta saw because I was there! They are by the (clearly identified) beginner and improver classes, and for me they are less about presenting authentic belly dance and more what Mya said - a chance to show family and friends what you've been learning, to experience performing, and something to work towards with your classmates.

    A performance troupe doing a group dance is a slightly different situation, and I'd agree with A'isha, it's usually something else.
    Quote Originally Posted by Aisha Azar View Post
    I think that whenever we deviate from the intent and purpose and meaning of authentic ethnic belly dance, or present it in ways that deviate drastically from those styles, then it is no longer belly dance. I would call most group stuff that I see "American Oriental", or "Western oriental"

Page 3 of 7 FirstFirst 1234567 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •