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  1. #111
    V.I.P. Kashmir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by walladah View Post
    So, you would better collect several opinions, instead of being shocked by a "teacher's saying", because teachers are not authorities, and thankfully, there are no authorities in dance and in all nice things in this world.

    Teachers are people to open routes for others. So, be happy if one of your teachers or some of them try to give you information about cultural things or even technical things, because they do not mean to keep you at this information only, but to make you open the discussion for yourself; to make you search on the web, ask people, ask other teachers, watch dancers more carefully and then decide what is fine and what is not (please, remember, it is not written "correct" but "fine"), what is fitting the music and your feeling, and what is not.
    True to a point. Getting information from several sources is usually a good idea. But some sources do have more authority than others. It depends where the information comes from. There is some utter rubbish out there (I'd say at least 80% of belly dance sites on the internet qualify ) and unfortunately these are often the sites that catch the imagination of flakes - and they recycle it onto their own site (some times word for word).

    When evaluating the information, first thing to look for is where did they get their info from. If there is no indication on the site, raise a red flag. If there is an indication, then look at this source and its providence. Ideally you want only a few jumps back to someone with first hand knowledge. Take care with anecdotes - that is a single first hand experience which may be unique to the person. Also treat with care information from native civilians. Just because a person is born in a country does not make them automatically an expert on their dance, history or dance history. (A bit like asking an average Brit about the evolution of Morris Dancing, or stopping someone on the streets of New York to clarify the correct execution of a squre dance sequence)

    Compare the info with known reliable sources - keeping in mind that different people have different areas of expertise. Dancer A may be very knowledgable about Egyptian but know nothing about Turkish. Dancer B maybe a Turkish expert but know nothing about Tribal.

  2. #112
    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    Dear Kahsmir,

    Quote Originally Posted by Kashmir View Post
    True to a point. Getting information from several sources is usually a good idea.
    Not only a good idea, but necessary in a field like our's.

    But some sources do have more authority than others. It depends where the information comes from. There is some utter rubbish out there (I'd say at least 80% of belly dance sites on the internet qualify ) and unfortunately these are often the sites that catch the imagination of flakes - and they recycle it onto their own site (some times word for word).
    I agree and sometimes even sites where the info is from a "respected expert" does not necessarily make it true, as I and many other dancers discovered the hard way after years of putting our faith in them.

    When evaluating the information, first thing to look for is where did they get their info from. If there is no indication on the site, raise a red flag. If there is an indication, then look at this source and its providence. Ideally you want only a few jumps back to someone with first hand knowledge. Take care with anecdotes - that is a single first hand experience which may be unique to the person.
    I have to disagree since all first hand information is indeed anecdotal. What I look for is information from various sources that are not known to each other, who end up saying pretty much the same thing. An example of this is my firsthand anecdotes about what the Arab Gulf women have told me about Gulf dance. No expert in the States ever told me what they did and I have had the doubted often because so and so important person did not say it, yet Lydia, who lives in the Gulf and has never met me, hears the same thing from the Gulf women. Both of our reported experiences are anecdotal. There is no written source to trace this knowledge back to,....except Lydia and myself. this does not make it less true.


    Also treat with care information from native civilians. Just because a person is born in a country does not make them automatically an expert on their dance, history or dance history. (A bit like asking an average Brit about the evolution of Morris Dancing, or stopping someone on the streets of New York to clarify the correct execution of a squre dance sequence)
    At the same time, you can ask just about any person within certain age groups about boogeying or hip-hop and they can tell you some information of value. We have to remember that some of these dances are danced often by the general populace, such as Samri and Shaabi and debke. The natives often do know what they are about. There are stage and more professional dances that the average citizens do indeed know or care little or nothing about, such as Raqs Sharghi.

    Compare the info with known reliable sources - keeping in mind that different people have different areas of expertise. Dancer A may be very knowledgable about Egyptian but know nothing about Turkish. Dancer B maybe a Turkish expert but know nothing about Tribal.

    First make sure your sources ARE reliable. Well known and reliable is not the same thing. The longer I have been involved in dance the more I realize that I have heard some of the worst drek from people who should know better. And just because its in a book does not make it true, either. Written sources can be some of the worst. But absolutely, a great Turkish dancer may know nothing about another sty;e, and no one, no matter what they may want you to believe, is an expert at it all. I have the utmost respect for and am more liable to believe the person who occasionally says they don't know something. The best way I have found to glean accurate information is to gain experience in the dance, the history, sociology, etc, of the countries involved. Talk to natives to get their view, because you will always learn something, even if it is only a sub-cultural perspective. Many dancers who keep to it eventually get a feel for what is applicable and what is not.
    Oh, and one more thing. If you can stay away from hero worship of your teachers, you will do a lot better as far as getting good info because you will understand that we ALL get it wrong on occasion. Be a student, NOT an acolyte!!
    Regards,
    A'isha

  3. #113
    V.I.P. Kashmir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aisha Azar View Post
    I have to disagree since all first hand information is indeed anecdotal. What I look for is information from various sources that are not known to each other, who end up saying pretty much the same thing. An example of this is my firsthand anecdotes about what the Arab Gulf women have told me about Gulf dance. No expert in the States ever told me what they did and I have had the doubted often because so and so important person did not say it, yet Lydia, who lives in the Gulf and has never met me, hears the same thing from the Gulf women. Both of our reported experiences are anecdotal. There is no written source to trace this knowledge back to,....except Lydia and myself. this does not make it less true.
    I was thinking more of the one off rather than verbal vs written. Such as where someone knows someone who although may be right on the button may have also had an unusual or limited experience or is speaking outside their actual knowledge. The first type would be discussing music with someone who was deaf (my cousin loves music - but for him there is only the bass). The second would be asking about something outside of everyday experience - for instance a regional folk style from another part of the country or historical background.
    Quote Originally Posted by Aisha Azar View Post
    If you can stay away from hero worship of your teachers, you will do a lot better as far as getting good info because you will understand that we ALL get it wrong on occasion. Be a student, NOT an acolyte!!
    Yes, another reason for taking lessons from a range of teachers!

  4. #114
    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    Dear Kashmir,

    Quote Originally Posted by Kashmir View Post
    I was thinking more of the one off rather than verbal vs written. Such as where someone knows someone who although may be right on the button may have also had an unusual or limited experience or is speaking outside their actual knowledge. The first type would be discussing music with someone who was deaf (my cousin loves music - but for him there is only the bass). The second would be asking about something outside of everyday experience - for instance a regional folk style from another part of the country or historical background.
    Ah, I see what you mean, now and I do agree that it is best to weight info and sources rather than to simply take it all at face value. It is impor6tant to look at one;s sources in a realistic, practical way and form no opinions until you have heard something from more than one source!

    Yes, another reason for taking lessons from a range of teachers!
    Yes. No matter how learned someone might appear, there is always more to know and no one person can know it all.
    Regards,
    A'isha

  5. #115
    Junior Member antares's Avatar
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    Sad Please say your opinion

    Hi girls,

    I'm antares from The Netherlands and want to greet you all and ask you opinion.
    I'm diying to ask somebody for advice, but my teacher is very wel known in the area i live and i don't want to risk getting her to become angry at me. Please forgive my using a nickname. I never do this, but i have already explained my reasons.

    I discovered bellydance 3 years ago. I have always have the same teacher.
    I do not doubt about her teaching abilities, but i do suspect her of the following. I think she doesn't want that her students become good at dancing, ever! She allways says that it takes very, very long to achieve enough knowledge and ability in bellydance in order to be worth while looking at.
    That very very long is between 12 and 15 years. At least. She also goes very slooooooowly in her lessons, never learns travel steps. We practice everything on the spot. We never ever do choreographies. In three years we have only have the basic stuff in class: hip & egyptian shimmys, hip circles, horizontal and vertical eights (on the up as wel as down) hip side to side. Hip twist. Rib circle, shoulder shimmys. Snake arms. The usual stuff. Omi's and 3/4 shimmys where introduced in the last week before ending the second year. As i said everything gets practiced on the spot and not as part of a compound movement or showing variations or posibilities for applying in a dance performance. She also keeps allowing beginners to our class, resulting in having to explain again stuff that we repeatedly have excercised in MANY past lessons. We also seldom practice to real bellydance music. I think just once in three years!!! She always has this kind of New age music, from Shanty and friends and Loreena Mc Kennith. It is very beautiful music, but sometimes it drives me nuts, since i love classical egyptian music i would love to learn and practice to it in class as wel.
    I think you have alredy noticed that i'm getting tired of doing the very same thing every time i go to lessons. I really suspect her of holding knowledge and trying to discourage people to become a better dancer, since she allways repeats that you only are good enough after about 15 years of consistent bellydance education. I know i could learn to dance beautifully, but i'm having trouble to "create" a dance because i miss certain knowledge. For instance knowing when you follow the rhythm and when the melody, how to transition fluidly from a movement to the following, travel steps, etc.
    I hope i could explain better what i mean, but it would be very long to write it here.
    What do you think? Have you ever had a experience like this? Any advice for me?
    Many thanks in advance and i wish you al a very nice day.

  6. #116
    Super Moderator gisela's Avatar
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    I have obviously no idea if you teacher is holding you back or not. About the issue of choreography there are mixed feelings. Some does not teach choreo because the dance really is improv-based. All my teachers have only taught choreography and it's a real struggle for me to improvise now . However, something that drives me nuts as well, is NOT playing ME music in class. The key to the dance is the music and if you don't get to hear it, how could you ever learn to respond to it? This fact alone would make me look around for other teachers in the area, that acknowledges the importance of appropriate music.
    I think you should take one more class with another teacher. You really have no obligations to your current teacher, but if you are afraid she will be upset with you changing class, you could just do the other class in addition to this one. If you want to get really good (faster than 15 years), you will eventually have to do several classes a week anyway. Don't think so much more about her motives (eg holding you back), but try to find a class that suits you better and do some workshops if you can.

    Good luck with it all,
    happy dancing
    Gisela
    immer glimmer

  7. #117
    Junior Member antares's Avatar
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    Thumbs up thanks....

    Hi Gisela,

    First of all, thank you so much for your kind response. You are totally right. I shouldn't be wondering about her motives. It's just holding on to negative energy. I was already thinking of changing teacher. I have already told my teacher i can't sign in for next semester. I did not told her the truth since i know from experience that she gets very angry when people have criticism about her. And what would it help? It's her vision on bellydance teaching and she probably won't change it just for me.
    Thank God for the instructive DVD, since it has given me the chance to learn for instance more about percusion rhythms in Middle Eastern dance and many other interesting things. Anyway i think a good teacher should speak about these topics in class. And use authentic music as wel :-)
    Thank you very much for giving me the idea of going to class more than once a week! I will try to arrange this with my next teacher.

  8. #118
    V.I.P. da Sage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by antares View Post
    Hi girls,

    I'm antares from The Netherlands and want to greet you all and ask you opinion.
    I'm diying to ask somebody for advice, but my teacher is very wel known in the area i live and i don't want to risk getting her to become angry at me. Please forgive my using a nickname. I never do this, but i have already explained my reasons.

    I discovered bellydance 3 years ago. I have always have the same teacher.
    I do not doubt about her teaching abilities, but i do suspect her of the following. I think she doesn't want that her students become good at dancing, ever! She allways says that it takes very, very long to achieve enough knowledge and ability in bellydance in order to be worth while looking at.
    That very very long is between 12 and 15 years. At least. She also goes very slooooooowly in her lessons, never learns travel steps. We practice everything on the spot. We never ever do choreographies. In three years we have only have the basic stuff in class: hip & egyptian shimmys, hip circles, horizontal and vertical eights (on the up as wel as down) hip side to side. Hip twist. Rib circle, shoulder shimmys. Snake arms. The usual stuff. Omi's and 3/4 shimmys where introduced in the last week before ending the second year. As i said everything gets practiced on the spot and not as part of a compound movement or showing variations or posibilities for applying in a dance performance. She also keeps allowing beginners to our class, resulting in having to explain again stuff that we repeatedly have excercised in MANY past lessons. We also seldom practice to real bellydance music. I think just once in three years!!! She always has this kind of New age music, from Shanty and friends and Loreena Mc Kennith. It is very beautiful music, but sometimes it drives me nuts, since i love classical egyptian music i would love to learn and practice to it in class as wel.
    I think you have alredy noticed that i'm getting tired of doing the very same thing every time i go to lessons. I really suspect her of holding knowledge and trying to discourage people to become a better dancer, since she allways repeats that you only are good enough after about 15 years of consistent bellydance education. I know i could learn to dance beautifully, but i'm having trouble to "create" a dance because i miss certain knowledge. For instance knowing when you follow the rhythm and when the melody, how to transition fluidly from a movement to the following, travel steps, etc.
    I hope i could explain better what i mean, but it would be very long to write it here.
    What do you think? Have you ever had a experience like this? Any advice for me?
    Many thanks in advance and i wish you al a very nice day.
    Hi Antares,

    It sounds like your teacher is giving you good instruction, but it is very basic and incomplete. You should definitely find another teacher to learn from, whether or not you continue with your first teacher. You already know some of what you need to learn, and you won't pick it up by staying only in this same class, that repeats over and over.

    I wish you much luck and success! And I hope eventually your teacher learns that she should be happy when her students move on to other teachers - as long as they're moving on with strong basic skills, she's done her job right.
    Last edited by da Sage; 11-07-2008 at 04:59 PM.

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