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  1. #31
    V.I.P. shiradotnet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eshta View Post
    Quite broad a question, but do you think it is possible to teach them something about the more subtle elements of Egyptian style by using a non-authentic example that they can relate to (as opposed to an authentic version they would struggle to identify with)?
    For beginning students, I probably wouldn't worry so much about teaching the subtle aspects of Egyptian style. I'd choose an Egyptian song that I like and create a simple choreography that suits it. For example, I use the Gems of the Middle East recording of the song "Hibbena" for one of my beginner-level choreographies. This is a simple arrangement of qanoun + percussion, so there aren't a lot of frills in the music to deal with. I use a "verse-chorus" approach in my choreography - each verse has a different step combination, and the chorus is the same every time.

    I also have a beginner-level choreography to "Nibtidi Mneen al-Hikaya" on the same CD. It's the second instrumental section of the song which has a nice steady walking maqsoum rhythm. I use 5 different step combination in it, and after the 5th one I have the students go back to the beginning and cycle through all 5 again, etc., which fits with what the music is doing.

    Do you think I'm worrying too much too soon - I'm paranoid because it was very late in my dance education that I learnt about the more subtle elements of Egyptian style belly dance but then perhaps you need the building blocks before you can 'branch out' into distinctive 'styles'?
    I do think students need to learn the building blocks before we can expect them to start noticing and caring about subtleties. We can introduce some subtleties even at the beginner level. For example, I recently taught a 2-hour beginner-level workshop as a cancer care fundraiser. I used bouncy Egyptian pop for the first hour, and lyrical ballads (Turkish, Egyptian, Greek, Hebrew) for the second hour. As each song started, I told the students which country it was from and a sentence or two regarding what the lyrics were about. After class, several students came up to me to say how much they loved being told this stuff. I think having a general understanding of each song's "story" is a good place to start with subtleties at the beginner level.

  2. #32
    V.I.P. jenc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caroline_afifi View Post
    Slap them back!

    I actually mean weddings and parties in Cairo... they dont jump up and dance with spoons every time it comes on! it is a 'bop and pop' song.

    When introducing Arabic music we have to begin with a variety so it becomes familiar.

    Pop these days has many influences and artists draw on many vibes from various parts of the Middle East and beyond.

    I know everyone wears their Spanish skirts for Amr Diabs 'Habibi' but it is not a Spanish song... just an Arab one with a sprinkle of Spanish flavour.

    We can tell classes about the different 'flavours' within the music and explain it in the way we would with music from the West.

    Do you remember the Arabic pop version of Carmena Burena about 15 years ago?
    This is just what I thought habving an "Egyptian native2 teacher. she uss whatever music she thinks fit. We dance cane to other rythmns tha Saidi. we dance to pop tunes without worrying whether they were origianlly Nubian or Simisayyia. I often think that we worry too much iabout aythenticity in the West and yet somehow manage to miss out on what the authentic heart is - whereas a native can make wider choices because they are sure of what they are doing!

  3. #33
    V.I.P. Caroline_afifi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jenc View Post
    This is just what I thought habving an "Egyptian native2 teacher. she uss whatever music she thinks fit. We dance cane to other rythmns tha Saidi. we dance to pop tunes without worrying whether they were origianlly Nubian or Simisayyia. I often think that we worry too much iabout aythenticity in the West and yet somehow manage to miss out on what the authentic heart is - whereas a native can make wider choices because they are sure of what they are doing!
    To a degree yes.

    The difference is, she will know the difference...or should.

    Too often though I see performences (even though they might be good) to completely mis-matching music.

    This is often to do with how much the teacher knows about music...

    Years ago, teachers in the Uk knew nothing of music styles, intruments or rhythms... it was all just 'belly dance' music. I am not sure how much that has changed.

    Arab pop has the same function as any pop and there is often wider boundaries because it is not 'traditional or classic'.

    Having said that, the style maybe inflenced with the music from various parts of the Middle East so the 'social dance' style may change accordingly.

    For instance, my friends from Yemen will dance to Maryam Fares, or Arab Habibi in a 'belly dance' style but as soon as Yemeni music comes on they know exactly what to do.

    They will go into a 'disco Yemen' style dance, but not start doing full on traditional dance unless it is a well known traditional song.

    This is where many 'Western' women try and carry on hip dropping etc. I have seen it many times.

    Where a pop song has a strong regional influence then the dance maybe adapted accordingly.

    Sometimes people are sensitive to flavours in pop music too. I personally believe there is much more room to move because it is pop music, but it does depend on other factors too.

    If the pop artist is Saaidi, he is wearing Saaidi clothes, the instruments are Saaidi and the video is set in upper Egypt then OK... a Saaidi style dance will probably break out on the dance floor.

    The video I selected was Tamer Hosny who I believe is from Cairo, the Lyrics are not about the Canal region and the video is a straight pop video.

    The regional influence for the music is the 'Canal', the simsimiya instrument and the 'Li li li' singing, but you would not be expected to dance this style when bopping in Cairo although if you did, this would be OK too.

    The dancing in the video is straight forward 'belly dance bop' and this video has been shown countless times throughout the Middle East without any form of protest.

    This has probably confused matter more.

    I am acknowledging what Maria has said and agree to a point, but I think it depends on the song etc.

  4. #34
    V.I.P. jenc's Avatar
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    Well as I think you will remember, I have been shot down in flames before now - when i said that the arrangement was 'pop' and the video the accompanying music was 'pop' and therefore I didn't see why it couldn't be used for non-authentic style.

    IMO criticism should come on how well do steps fit the music and how well does the style of dance fit to music. That is to use past example music was too fast and heavy for veil. I assume you are also saying that hip drops just don't work with Yemeni music?

    I also think it ironic that some people seem to regard the majority of western dancers as dancing fusion< by definition, and then complain that they are dancing inauthentically to some regional style music (even when it has been commercialised to the point where it is itself a form of fusion music)

    Would you expect a square dance to Red River Rock, a real example but one which shows my age so let's just say that we wouldn't expect a genuine folk dance to be obligatory for an updated rock version, although we might expect to see some dos y dos worked in among the standard disco stuff.

    Can't we just sometimes say "I enjoyed that (or didn't) before just getting fired up about authenticity. Then we could say IMO it is fusion and here is a link to the real thing for those who are interested.

    I personally don't understand why regional styles are totally no go for fusion?

  5. #35
    V.I.P. jenc's Avatar
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    On the other hand - there is so much i feel I need to learn that I have not been getting from bellydance lite to egyptian pop. The last 9 months have been fun and I learned a lot of useful skills - didn't know I could learn a choreo, following the bouncing butt etc. But i have a lot of personal learning to do moving of the lowest common denominator dance that comes from a large mixed ability class with little feedback.

  6. #36
    V.I.P. Caroline_afifi's Avatar
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    I have a dual relationship with Arab Culture and move between the two within minutes.

    I dont have to think too hard about it because I am surrounded by it daily.
    It is my family and my life, not a hobby.

    I dont get uptight about details because i do not live surrounded by people who are uptight about details (unless they are of political and historical importance)...especially when it is connected to pop music!

    I do believe in people having the correct info, and I do believe in people being culturally aware, but I also find that sometimes the discussion amongst dancers does become about 'splitting hairs'... not something you always find with Arabs as they instinctivley know whats what and are far more relaxed about the issue.

    I think it is different when you get into the convo with someone Arab, it can be very in depth, but two people in the same room can end up arguing about it.... and completely disagreeing with each other in details.

    lost count how many times i have seen this when I have asked an innocent question.

  7. #37
    V.I.P. jenc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caroline_afifi View Post
    I have a dual relationship with Arab Culture and move between the two within minutes.

    I dont have to think too hard about it because I am surrounded by it daily.
    It is my family and my life, not a hobby.

    I dont get uptight about details because i do not live surrounded by people who are uptight about details (unless they are of political and historical importance)...especially when it is connected to pop music!

    I do believe in people having the correct info, and I do believe in people being culturally aware, but I also find that sometimes the discussion amongst dancers does become about 'splitting hairs'... not something you always find with Arabs as they instinctivley know whats what and are far more relaxed about the issue.

    I think it is different when you get into the convo with someone Arab, it can be very in depth, but two people in the same room can end up arguing about it.... and completely disagreeing with each other in details.

    lost count how many times i have seen this when I have asked an innocent question.
    Sounds like A'isha and Tariq!

  8. #38
    Premium Member Aniseteph's Avatar
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    Eek, dancers' hair splitting, there's something a bunch of new beginners don't need - if you are really interested in belly dance it can be paralysing.
    (OMG I am trashing someone's culture by getting my sorry a$$ up here!!!!).

  9. #39
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    Shame on you, Aniseteph! I suggest you immediately give up belly dance in favor of leading a disco dance revival.

  10. #40
    Premium Member Aniseteph's Avatar
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    No, that would be worse, trust me. (anyway I always think of your classic 1970's disco as American )

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