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  1. #1
    V.I.P. lizaj's Avatar
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    Default How far does belly dance live up to its promises?

    I am thinking Western student /teacher perspective here.
    We promote this as a dance for all?
    Do it fulfill that? All body types, all ages, both genders?
    We promote it as safe exercise?
    Is it perfectly?
    We promote it as a cure-all?
    How does it help with physical and mental health? What can't it do?
    We tell students they will all look good doing this dance?
    Do we hold out false promise?
    We tell them it's fun?
    But then they have to work hard!!!!!
    Your comments experiences..and additions.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Marya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lizaj View Post
    I am thinking Western student /teacher perspective here.
    We promote this as a dance for all?
    Do it fulfill that? All body types, all ages, both genders?
    We promote it as safe exercise?
    Is it perfectly?
    We promote it as a cure-all?
    How does it help with physical and mental health? What can't it do?
    We tell students they will all look good doing this dance?
    Do we hold out false promise?
    We tell them it's fun?
    But then they have to work hard!!!!!
    Your comments experiences..and additions.
    Hi Lizaj,

    my what a lot of questions so early in the morning. I think if we eliminate the performance aspect of BD we can promise most of what you question. My senior class is having a ball, I am going easy on them and not insisting on perfect technique, nevertheless, they are working hard, but still having fun. I have all body types and ages run from 50's thru late 70's. One of the ladies immediately went on line to purchase coin belts for everybody.

    I can't say for sure if BD helps with mental and physical health for everybody but it certainly does for me. Maybe it is just endorphins making me feel good, so any exercise would do the same, but music has certainly been shown to have many positive benefits as well. For me anyway, I am more likely to dance for an hour practicing for a performance than I am to exercise to an aerobics video, so without BD I would not be getting enough exercise anyway.

    I don't promise anybody that they will look good. If we are performing i will harangue them about makeup so they will look good. Out where I live not very many ladies wear makeup so getting them to put enough on is tough.

    I also teach safely, no turkish drops, no jumps, splits or fancy stuff. If they want that they can go to a work shop, or find a younger teacher. LOL.
    We also warm up, stretch after class and stretch slowly.

    Marya

  3. #3
    V.I.P. da Sage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lizaj View Post
    I am thinking Western student /teacher perspective here.
    We promote this as a dance for all?
    Do it fulfill that? All body types, all ages, both genders?
    We promote it as safe exercise?
    Is it perfectly?
    We promote it as a cure-all?
    How does it help with physical and mental health? What can't it do?
    We tell students they will all look good doing this dance?
    Do we hold out false promise?
    We tell them it's fun?
    But then they have to work hard!!!!!
    Your comments experiences..and additions.
    I've recently told a friend carrying on about how bellydancing will get her midsection back into shape (after having a baby, no less!), that it definitely helps, but doesn't make huge changes, offering up my 3x/week classes and still flabby belly experience as proof. I think that traditional exercise works better for many people (such as myself). She turned around and implied that I must be dancing with bad technique if I didn't get great belly results. Well, she is finishing up her class, and is still bemoaning her mommy figure. I feel kind of evil for feeling happy about being proven right.

    I think if it works for you, it works. But bellydance is not all things to all people. Just as running or ballet might not work for some people.

  4. #4
    Member SmilingMarie's Avatar
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    "I am thinking Western student /teacher perspective here.
    We promote this as a dance for all?
    Do it fulfill that? All body types, all ages, both genders?"

    Well, I teach 'regular classes', 'mother-daughter' classes and a class for large ladies. I've thought about an all male class but don't think my town is big enough!
    "We promote it as safe exercise?
    Is it perfectly?"

    Well, if the teacher knows what he/she is doing it is! It should be just as safe as any other type of instructor-led exercise

    "We promote it as a cure-all?
    How does it help with physical and mental health? What can't it do?"

    No, I dont think it cures all... But I think it has been proven that dancing (of any kind) helps your mood - and that a positive attitude and good mood is generally better for you than the opposite. It obviously can't cure cancer or manic depression - but I think that it can keep you happy whilst trying to fight it! (and keeping active is beneficial for people with mental issues)

    "We tell students they will all look good doing this dance?
    Do we hold out false promise?"

    Well, if dancing can make people feel generally more happy and also happier about their bodies then THEY are going to think they look good - and I think that is what it is all about for all of those dancers out there who are not pros and have no intentions of ever charging (I think there is a thread here about what you can expect of a pro dancer with regards to looks etc)... Well, and the makeup and sequins always help, I think!

    "We tell them it's fun?
    But then they have to work hard!!!!!!"

    I think alot of people are surprised at how difficult bellydancing is - and how good exercise it is. And I know I do my best to keep my students entertained - I am known to pull funny faces and make sound effects whilst teaching - I find it helps!

  5. #5
    Senior Member eden eyes's Avatar
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    I think alot of people are surprised at how difficult bellydancing is - and how good exercise it is. And I know I do my best to keep my students entertained - I am known to pull funny faces and make sound effects whilst teaching - I find it helps!
    glad to know i'm not the only one!

  6. #6
    V.I.P. jenc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by da Sage View Post
    I've recently told a friend carrying on about how bellydancing will get her midsection back into shape (after having a baby, no less!), that it definitely helps, but doesn't make huge changes, offering up my 3x/week classes and still flabby belly experience as proof. I think that traditional exercise works better for many people (such as myself). She turned around and implied that I must be dancing with bad technique if I didn't get great belly results. Well, she is finishing up her class, and is still bemoaning her mommy figure. I feel kind of evil for feeling happy about being proven right.

    I think if it works for you, it works. But bellydance is not all things to all people. Just as running or ballet might not work for some people.
    I have just transformed my belly. BUT I danced/worked out for at least an hour every day!!

  7. #7
    Senior Member Eshta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jenc View Post
    I have just transformed my belly. BUT I danced/worked out for at least an hour every day!!
    I don't think we emphasise enough that you get out what you put in. Rocking up to class once a week does not a belly dancer make.

    Yes, it can have all these positive benefits but not without hard work, dedication and being dragged kicking and screaming out of your comfort zone on a regular basis and being humble enough to acknowledge when someone has something you can learn from. Ultimately I think I am a better person thanks to belly dance, but like with anything you are passionate about, I've shed enough tears over it too!

    Psst, but don't tell the newbies, how will we fill our beginner classes if we start telling them that this is difficult and requires some effort?! Best to reel them in and let the sparklies work their magic !

  8. #8
    Member SmilingMarie's Avatar
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    Eshta, you're right.

    In order to become a good dancer you have to be comfortable with being outside your comfort zone at times.

    And you have to really work on yourself through the dance - and I dont think all students are ready for it. It can be really tough getting constructive criticism on the way you were exposing your soul and your emotion in your dance - but you need it to improve!

    It is also really difficult as a teacher to give such feedback as you never really know how it will be received (even if it was requested).

  9. #9
    V.I.P. Caroline_afifi's Avatar
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    I think expecting to earn money from this dance is a big issue.

    I was reading some comments on a thread on Bhuz about people who do Tribal not getting gigs in restaurants, and there being less work available for Tribal in general.

    Making money from this dance is not easy.

    If you want to open a business and make money then do something else.
    Not every aspect of this dance is going to turn into $$$$$...

    I am always amazed at how people expect to always earn money from this...

    If you do then you are lucky but people should not have this expectation when going into this dance.

    So, that is an aspect of this dance where it may not meet someones expectations.

  10. #10
    V.I.P. da Sage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jenc View Post
    I have just transformed my belly. BUT I danced/worked out for at least an hour every day!!
    So how much of that was dancing, how much was conditioning techniques from dance training, and how much was a traditional workout?

    Adding the workout part to the dance is a big deal, and changes the whole assumption that "bellydance will get you in shape". It helps, but for most people supplemental workouts are necessary.

    See, I know a local pro dancer/teacher who recovered amazingly well from childbirth...at the same time she still had a belly. I am pretty sure she dances an hour a day or more (classes here runs for 1.5 or 2 hours), and I think she teaches figure skating, too. She recently mentioned that she's gotten great results from a certain workout video...obviously bellydance alone wasn't doing everything she wanted!

    I think results depend on the individual's body, as well as activity type, and time committed.

    Gotta tell you, I am SO SICK of people assuming that I never work out/don't know how to work out because I am fat! I know I could be doing more (I have set goals, sometimes I surpass them, sometimes I fall short), but I am more active than many slender people I know. I never eat hamburgers or sugared pop, and I only eat chips at parties - so back off! (not you, jenc, people in general)

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