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  1. #11
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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  2. #12
    Junior Member Donia's Avatar
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    I wouldn't beat yourself up over their less than enthusiastic response to the what I would consider more advanced topics like musicality and emotional response. I do think those are some of the most important aspects of a great dancers versus a medicore one, but I don't think most students are ready to recognize and appreciate those qualities quite that early in their development.

    Although I'm not familiar with the song, I do think Natasha Atlas is a fine choice. In my experience, it takes a while to develop their "ears" as well. I've been told that sounds like the rababa or the zurna give people "a headache" at first. It sometimes takes years before we start to listen to those instruments with smile on our face. So, I like to start with something easy for students to appreciate. For example, almost everyone seems to like Hakim and Saad (happy, upbeat, 4/4). But, because of the age, the fusion sound of Natasha Atlas is likely to be a big hit.

    I think you're decision to choose it was well-thought out, and you should stick to it.

    On a side tangent, I've seen the local university's bellydance class on many occasions. Most of the time I'm appalled by the choice and state of costuming (things looking like they're not going to stay in place, fabric doesn't cover quite all that it should, costuming not in good repair, etc.). And when these college students have choreographed their own pieces, there are two constantly re-occuring issues:
    (a) Over dancing - it's hard for new dancers to feel that they're "doing" enough to impress the crowd and
    (b) Overly Scandalous <grin>. I'm hardly a prude, but I've rolled myself many times at the movement choices made.

    And I went off on that tangent to say this: presenting them with a well-structured choreography is a wonderful thing. Showing them how to incorporate the movements with the music is a fabulous learning experience that they (most likely) desparately need and are currently ready to absorb. You can work some of the musically and emotional expression theory into the classes teaching the choreography by describing why you choose a certain movement, how to express what the song is describing, or how a particular combination fits with the flow of the song.

    You sound like a devoted and generous teacher. Your students are lucky to have you.

  3. #13
    V.I.P. Kashmir's Avatar
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    If you want a cross over piece - why not choose some Arabic pop? There's lots out there with good beat (but not drum machine constant) and simple concepts in the lyrics. A dancer's first choreography in a new style tends to burn deep. Starting with faux ME music is likely to mean if any continue with the dance it'll be as fusion dancers - which would be sad as they never had the chance to choose the one true path

  4. #14
    Junior Member bopeep's Avatar
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    I'm a new student, but considerably more 'mature' than your typical university student. In many ways, I am similar to them and thier exposure to and pre-existing concepts of belly dance. In other ways though, I am different - I have a pre-existing love/fascination with many things Egyptian and Middle Eastern (studied Egyptian Arabic, already loved Warda and Fairouz, and have many pop Egyptian cd's)

    I think sometimes people who have travelled very far along a path, forget the level of (or lack of) enthusiam or desire newbies generally have (I have been guilty of this very thing in my own areas of expertise!). Most beginners really don't want to know *everything* (or even anything) about Middle Eastern dancing or the culture surrounding it. They just want to learn some neat dance moves for the clubs. However, there will always be one or two that is bitten by the bug, and wants more and more - more 'moves', more background, more knowledge, more classes, etc...

    I also think some level of catering to the 'Shakira wannabe' crowd is going to be necessary in any university or rec centre beginner class, but the instructor should also give as much history and background as possible about what they are teaching as well. This way, those like me, who do want more, will get it, and the rest can think about weather this is something they want to pursue or not.

    I would think Natacha Atlas' "I put a Spell on You" is a great selection for a beginner class, but I would also explain why it is not traditional. Those already hooked will want to know what *is* traditional, those sort of hooked will do their Natacha Atlas choreo and may stick around a bit longer and think about it, and anyone that just wants to be Shakira II will only take what they want from it no matter what you tell them!


    BP

  5. #15
    V.I.P. Caroline_afifi's Avatar
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    Hi Eshta,

    I would recommend going for a song which is Arabic but has an easy musical pattern.

    Nursery rhymes operate with children in the same way.

    If you are looking at a song like this, you might want to try Arab Habibi by Tamer Hosny

    I find this is a very easy one to get people humming along too and is good to use as a stepping stone onto more complex music.


    YouTube - Tamer Hosny - Arab habibi

  6. #16
    V.I.P. jenc's Avatar
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    Very nice beginner music and I can see movements fitting to different bits - which would be a good starting point
    Last edited by jenc; 01-02-2009 at 10:18 AM.

  7. #17
    V.I.P. Maria_Aya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caroline_afifi View Post
    Hi Eshta,

    I would recommend going for a song which is Arabic but has an easy musical pattern.

    Nursery rhymes operate with children in the same way.

    If you are looking at a song like this, you might want to try Arab Habibi by Tamer Hosny

    I find this is a very easy one to get people humming along too and is good to use as a stepping stone onto more complex music.


    YouTube - Tamer Hosny - Arab habibi
    Ok me being paranoic Egyptian here lol
    Arab habibi is THE most classic song to use for Simsimeya, so any arab that watch it danced as bellydance see it as wrong....

  8. #18
    V.I.P. jenc's Avatar
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    like this.?


    Don't want to start another of those authenticity arguments. I still think it would be a good choice. First year students are not going to be authentic anyway!!!!

    Which is where we came in!!!!
    Last edited by jenc; 01-02-2009 at 12:34 PM.

  9. #19
    Senior Member Eshta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jenc View Post
    like this.?


    First year students are not going to be authentic anyway!!!!

    Which is where we came in!!!!
    I guess that's the spiral I keep going around!

    I'm relieved that this thread has sparked a lively debate, to throw some more wood onto the fire, some more ramblings from me:

    Normally I play it 'safe' and use Egyptian pop but clearly even this has its authenticity issues. Also, how authentic really is pop? I haven't yet seen an Egyptian dancer performing to Nancy Ajram (although welcome the opportunity to be proven wrong). I know dancers appear in many videos, but that's something different. Also, Egyptian pop is heavily influenced by all sorts of international sounds, is it still authentic? Arrrgh, the authenticity issue!!!! Not again!!!

    I often use language teaching as a useful comparison. The moves are vocabulary, technique is the accent and intonation, the style is the dialect, etc. I would rather have a bunch of students who can recite nursery rhymes with passion, zeal and understanding than a bunch who can recite Shakespeare but don't have a clue what the words mean, if that makes sense.

    I guess at what point should they start connecting to the music? Could you imagine hip hop or street dance without that connection? And how does one go about creating that connection? Through full immersion or small steps at a time?

    (by the way, please don't let this kill the thread as the topic still intrigues me, but I think I've settled on what song I'm going to use, will update you when the thread dies )

  10. #20
    V.I.P. Caroline_afifi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maria_Aya View Post
    Ok me being paranoic Egyptian here lol
    Arab habibi is THE most classic song to use for Simsimeya, so any arab that watch it danced as bellydance see it as wrong....
    Simsimiya is used in this pop song but that is where the style ends..

    It is a classic pop song and has been danced 'belly dance' as at every party/wedding i have been to since it came out.

    Some songs have a little 'Saaidi' thing going on, but it does not make it a 'classic Saaidi'.

    Different rhythms and styles are often used and fused in pop.

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