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  1. #31
    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    Default Samri, etc.

    DEar Moon

    Quote Originally Posted by Moon View Post
    WOW So many replies already! I'm sorry for not coming back to this earlier.
    No one can ever accuse the members of this forum of not being responsive!!

    I think I will try to mention the "other origin of the movements" I've heard of after class to my teacher if she mentions Khaleegy again. Not as way of correcting her, but more like sharing information. I've been dancing with her for 3 years now and I don't think she would be offended by it. Thanks for helping me out with this.
    If you think it would be of value, you can go to my website and download (is that the right term... I mean print them out) the two articles about the dance.

    Lydia and A'isha, thank you so much for confirming again what I've read here before. I started to doubt myself already if I had understood it correctly earlier!
    I does seem like trying to get good information is something that we have to check and re-check. That research was done over about a 10 year period and only wirtten after having spoken with countless women and men.

    DaSage, maybe if I had expressed it as "representing daily life near the sea" instead of saying "mimicking water plants" it would have sounded less strange, lol.
    In fact, I have been told that the movement of the hair is a mimicry of water plants..... I think it sounds perfectly realistic that people who lived by and IN the sea would do this.


    If you imagine that there are Berber dances in Morocco that have movements in it that represent women making couscous and roma havasi dances in Turkey that represent women doing all kinds of household stuff (washing clothes, cooking) and dances in a lot of cultures that mimick men fighting, it is less strange that dances of people living near the sea represent what life at sea was like in the old days.
    In fact this is exactly right. Many folkloric dances are mime the actions of every day life.

    When I first heard this, I also thought it was amusing, but more because of the idea that so many people in the West assume it's all about looks and wealth while it's actually showing actions of daily life! So much less superficial!
    Yes!!

    A'isha I started to wonder this now: How is khaleegy danced by men? I though pearl diving was done by men. Was it also done by women? Is the concept of sea seen as something feminine and is that why the women are tossing their hair to mimick motion of waves and water plants?
    To the first question, there is a dance that men do, but it is very distinguishable from what women do. On a video called "an evening with Leila Abdulaziz ( who was an actress) two old men get up and dance in a male style. I am not totally positive, but I have never heard anything about women in the Gulf diving for pearls, but in the dance, they definitely mimic the men diving, the waves rolling the plants moving, the wind across the beach, etc. Prince Abdulaziz Al-Thani of Qatar had a magnificent collection of old Khaliji films from parties and things, and he used to let me and Hallah Moustafa watch them. I am sorry to say that I do not know the answer to your other questions.

    It's also an interesting thought that maybe nowadays the movements started to mean something else and young people are even forgetting what it used to be about?
    Kind of like how we have certain kids songs of which kids and even many adults have no idea of the actual original meaning.
    I mention in one or the other of those papers on my site that the dance has taken on new meanings and forms as it has spread from the Gulf to other regions of the Middle East. The form danced by my best friend who is from the Nejd in Saudi Arabia is different from the Gulf forms and then Iraq has a different form. There it is just a party dance with no meaning attached to movements, etc. One of the most common denominators is the way the feet move on a basic level. Each village seems to have variations of the dance, sort of like Debke!
    In some cases, yes, the original meaning is being totally lost. We also have to understand that it is NOT like Hula, where every single thing has a distinct meaning. It's sort of.... I don't know.... softer and fuzzier than that, but you do hear a lot of the same explanations over and over again from the natives.

    Regards,
    A'isha

  2. #32
    V.I.P. da Sage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moon View Post
    DaSage, maybe if I had expressed it as "representing daily life near the sea" instead of saying "mimicking water plants" it would have sounded less strange, lol.
    Hi Moon,

    With respect and friendship, I do consider "representing daily (human) life near the sea" and "mimicking water plants to be two different concepts. I know that in dances around the world, human and animal movement is often depicted. Imitating plant life is much less common.

    Quote Originally Posted by Moon View Post
    If you imagine that there are Berber dances in Morocco that have movements in it that represent women making couscous and roma havasi dances in Turkey that represent women doing all kinds of household stuff (washing clothes, cooking) and dances in a lot of cultures that mimick men fighting, it is less strange that dances of people living near the sea represent what life at sea was like in the old days.
    Hi Moon, I was lucky enough to study some folk dance in school, so I'm aware that often these dances imitate daily human actions. It's the whole plant thing that seemed strange to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Moon View Post
    When I first heard this, I also thought it was amusing, but more because of the idea that so many people in the West assume it's all about looks and wealth while it's actually showing actions of daily life! So much less superficial!
    The whole thing seems very high concept to me, more like modern dance (say, Merce Cunningham's Ocean). Off the top of my head, I can't think of another dance where people portray plants, although I'm wondering if there are dances where people portray heavenly bodies. Although it does seem that Khaleegy has become a "superficial" dance to some of the native dancers - seems like it's the older people who know the old significance (if this origination story is correct), many of the younger people have forgotten it.

  3. #33
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    I
    can't think of another dance where people portray plants,
    I was a dancing Christmas tree in the first grade- does that count?

  4. #34
    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    Default Dance etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shanazel View Post
    I

    I was a dancing Christmas tree in the first grade- does that count?


    Dear Shanazel,
    My dance company learned a Palestinian Debke ( from Palestinians) in which plant images are utilized. I know of a Sakura dance of Japan that also utilizes t plant images during Spring, and I am sure there are other folkloric dances in which plants figure. I think that there is nothing as wonderful as Christmas trees!! they are magical lands unto themselves, each and every one! I start thinking about mine usually in July... its a sickness...
    Regards,
    A'isha

  5. #35
    Senior Member AngelaJP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shanazel View Post
    I

    I was a dancing Christmas tree in the first grade- does that count?
    Hahaha, Shanazel! For a Christmas school program I think, I also danced a leafless tree in winter. I looked it too

  6. #36
    Member Samira bint Aya's Avatar
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    Default Lizaj, Aisha, Shanazel

    If I understand correctly, you are basically asking why I still go to class, if I am not satisfied with the instructors’ level of skill.

    The answer it twofold:

    The way I look at it, my primary teacher is Maria Aya. She teaches as a quest teacher at a local school whenever she visits us here in Crete. The regular teacher here is responsible of leading the weekly classes. I joined last year, but quit after about two months, because I wasn’t happy. I rejoined earlier this year because it was the only way I could practice Aya’s choreographies and dance with the rest of the class. Some of the girls there are close fiends of mine and I enjoy dancing with them. I do it because it is a fun activity for me. I am not looking to learn belly dancing in that class. Anyhow, there are no drills and exercises thought. Just practicing the choreographies.

    I have absolutely no intension to undermine the instructor, and that is why I always follow her instructions in class. If however, after class, someone asks me “how do you do the hagala?” I will show them how I normally do it, not how the teacher does it (because what she does is not the hagala). In class, I normally try to not move very differently from the teacher.

    When I was saying that she will be in for a “rude awakening” in Cairo next month, I meant it in a realistically factual way. It is not like I am looking forward to it.

    Actually, I like my local instructor, she is very sweet and friendly. As long as I am not looking to learn good technique from her, I have no reason to be disappointed with her. There is another local belly-dance school here, but they are rivals with my school. Going to both wouldn’t be an option, and I would hate to loose the company of my dance sisters at my old school.

  7. #37
    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    Default Dance etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Samira bint Aya View Post
    If I understand correctly, you are basically asking why I still go to class, if I am not satisfied with the instructors’ level of skill.

    The answer it twofold:

    The way I look at it, my primary teacher is Maria Aya. She teaches as a quest teacher at a local school whenever she visits us here in Crete. The regular teacher here is responsible of leading the weekly classes. I joined last year, but quit after about two months, because I wasn’t happy. I rejoined earlier this year because it was the only way I could practice Aya’s choreographies and dance with the rest of the class. Some of the girls there are close fiends of mine and I enjoy dancing with them. I do it because it is a fun activity for me. I am not looking to learn belly dancing in that class. Anyhow, there are no drills and exercises thought. Just practicing the choreographies.

    I have absolutely no intension to undermine the instructor, and that is why I always follow her instructions in class. If however, after class, someone asks me “how do you do the hagala?” I will show them how I normally do it, not how the teacher does it (because what she does is not the hagala). In class, I normally try to not move very differently from the teacher.

    When I was saying that she will be in for a “rude awakening” in Cairo next month, I meant it in a realistically factual way. It is not like I am looking forward to it.

    Actually, I like my local instructor, she is very sweet and friendly. As long as I am not looking to learn good technique from her, I have no reason to be disappointed with her. There is another local belly-dance school here, but they are rivals with my school. Going to both wouldn’t be an option, and I would hate to loose the company of my dance sisters at my old school.


    Dear Samira,
    It sounds like you have some good reasons for staying.
    Regards,
    A'isha

  8. #38
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    Thanks for the explanation, Samira. Makes perfect sense.

  9. #39
    V.I.P. janaki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shanazel View Post
    I

    I was a dancing Christmas tree in the first grade- does that count?
    LOL Shanazel, of course it counts. I was a seaweed in one the dance show. The theme of the dance is fish tank. I wasn't good enough to be a fish, so they gave me a role of a seaweed!!!

    There are lot of folk dance in India that mimic the movements of nature. I have quite few friends from Gulf and they said the same as what Ai'sha has written in her articles. Some times a given dance form looks so much different compared to its origins.

    Aisha, tks for great articles and they are a great source of info for teaching. You are a living encyclopedia. Keep up the good work.

    Hugs
    Janaki

  10. #40
    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    Default Samri, etc.

    Dear Janaki,
    Thank you you for your affirmation and validation!! It means a LOT!!!!!!! I seem to get a bunch of flack every time I open my mouth on this forum lately, so its nice when someone sees the value in what I am saying and understands that I don't just spout off garbage, "unlikely" as some of the info that I bring to the table might seem! I am also glad that you really listen to what your friends from Arab countries say instead of telling them what is going on in their own cultures, as so many people seem to try to do. Perhaps that's why we have a large number of friends from cultures not our own. We are willing to try to see what they see instead of deciding for them and then telling them who they are!!
    Regards,
    A'isha

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