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  1. #21
    Senior Member Eshta's Avatar
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    Great thread!

    So far I'm hearing generally negative and not a lot of positive, but I don't think it's all bad here, surely?

    Also, maybe you don't see teachers in workshops because they are going to private classes? I know I went through a phase were 90% of my learning was workshop based, and now it's about 90% private classes 10% workshops.

    I'm also curious - what aspects of the above impact the UK and not other countries? I know for example it costs money to go to workshops and classes but that's surely no different than other parts of the world?

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caroline_afifi View Post
    I am off to JOy and will train with Sara Farouk and Eman Zaki at the end of the month too... then I am off to Cairo for more.

    I hope to be able to crack nuts with my thighs by mid May!
    Or pick up hammers with your buttocks!!!

    for those of you who don't get that comment, there was a teacher in the UK who used to claim she tightened up her backside by picking objects up with her buttocks. When I asked her objects like what...credit cards? She said no, hammers.

  3. #23
    V.I.P. Caroline_afifi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eshta View Post
    Great thread!

    So far I'm hearing generally negative and not a lot of positive, but I don't think it's all bad here, surely?
    I dont think it is bad here at all. I think the teaching is hit and miss still but I am sure it is the same everywhere.

    I was just reading what Shira was saying about her teacher experiences and it sounds all too familiar.


    Also, maybe you don't see teachers in workshops because they are going to private classes?
    some definaetly, some definately not. I know quite a few who will readily admit they have not been to one for years.


    I know I went through a phase were 90% of my learning was workshop based, and now it's about 90% private classes 10% workshops.
    It is more about the recognition for continued learning as opposed to the attitide of 'I am teacher therefore I teach'.

    I'm also curious - what aspects of the above impact the UK and not other countries? I know for example it costs money to go to workshops and classes but that's surely no different than other parts of the world?
    Sure its the same.

    Plenty of people actually made comments to me about me being in classes. Many asked if I was teaching (because I did lasy year) and look astonished when I said I had come as a student.

    I began to feel a little self consious and cast my mind back to this thread... then Lorna Gow came to Khaleds 'Gesture and meaning class' and I smiled to myself and relaxed.

    The stupid thing is, there are lots of teachers in those classes, but we dont recognise each other because we are from all over the country.

    I was with at least four from my area alone!

  4. #24
    Senior Member Eshta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caroline_afifi View Post
    Sure its the same.

    Plenty of people actually made comments to me about me being in classes. Many asked if I was teaching (because I did lasy year) and look astonished when I said I had come as a student.

    I began to feel a little self consious and cast my mind back to this thread... then Lorna Gow came to Khaleds 'Gesture and meaning class' and I smiled to myself and relaxed.

    The stupid thing is, there are lots of teachers in those classes, but we dont recognise each other because we are from all over the country.

    I was with at least four from my area alone!
    I think 'hit and miss' describes it perfectly. More and more there appear to be good teachers emerging judging, although my current biggest worry for the at least the London scene is the rise of the 'instant belly dancer' wave. There appear to be a lot of pretty young things that have done four terms of 8 weeks and think they are a belly dancer because they learnt a choreography in each term and bought the costume to prove it, and then go on to start teaching !

    I am currently quite optimistic though as I get the sense that we've just been through a cycle with a flood of newcomers, followed by a lot of 'ooh look at the shiny double isis burlesque fusion bellynesion fans' and I may be being overly optimistic but am getting the sense we are heading down a 'there's got to be more to it than this!' phase...

  5. #25
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    At the JoY festival I did ask Khaled if us lot in the UK was getting any better at dancing & he said YES -
    Last edited by mandyt; 04-06-2009 at 10:02 PM.

  6. #26
    Senior Member Eshta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mandyt View Post
    At the JoY festival I did ask Khaled if us lot in the UK was getting any better at dancing & he said YES -
    See?! Not just me with the optimism then! Yay!

  7. #27
    V.I.P. Caroline_afifi's Avatar
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    The standard is way up now compared to years ago.

    Hopefully if the general standard of teaching is high then people might think twice about setting themselves up as a teacher.

    This is still a very complicated area in terms of who should teach and who should not etc. as far as I can remember it has always been a bone of contention.

    People like to be 'nice' on the whole and I have always felt that because of this they never really give people the feedback they need.

    Often the feedback comes from other students and friends so they end up thinking they are fantastic and ready to teach.

    Even some teachers completely misguide people into thinking they are much better than they actually are because they may be the best in their class.

    You have to look beyond the goldfish bowl and checkout the wider standard. People frequently miss this and judge everything on a very local standard.

  8. #28
    V.I.P. khanjar's Avatar
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    I think this dance will move forward in the UK, when all teachers and students adopt the understanding that the dance is open to all who wish to learn it, it is not a private club for one gender, but a learning opportunity for all.

    There is evidence in the originating countries that it can be a unisex art, so why the mentality in the UK that it is not.

    As for education, who is educating the people of Britain as to this being a female only thing, are we in the UK once again guilty of trying to rewrite history and other people's culture, is this a remenant of a colonnial mentality, if it is, it needs ditching and those educators educating.

    As for the parisitic press, they do enough damage as it is, but without the correct information, how can they consider changing their point of view.

    With the press, time and time again, I hear the same description of what BD is when it is being described, eroneous information akin to the danse du ventre and likenings to burlesque, the sleaze on which the press seems to thrive. They are educators of the masses, and they get it wrong.

    Integration, the world village, acceptance of other cultures and cultures away from their homeland, this can only be achieved with the correct education and there acceptance. People of originating countries, the arab world, due to recent happenings by an extreme minority, trust in the arab culture has waned, the normal brit when they hear the word describing those from a country of the mid east, or even followers of the Islamic faith, fear. They fear, because the press has placed fear in the masses. Britain has a new bogeyman, and it is not fair to the majority of people from those cultures, they also have to live here.

  9. #29
    V.I.P. Caroline_afifi's Avatar
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    Dear Khanjar,

    I did sit back for a while and wrestled with whether to respond or not.

    The reason being, that whilst I do fully understand your position, I do think there is another side which maybe considered.

    Firstly, I do not teach a weekly class but I do not exclude men. One is about to join my monthly dance development session.

    Some time back I used to teach dance at the Liverpool Arab Club which was predominantly Arabs and mixed Arab Background.

    Men were not allowed and in many of those aarb cultures, even wedding were seperated and I dance for an all female audience.

    There are cultural reasons why some sessions should be female only, even in the UK.

    The men also had their own dance group which was taught by a male.

    There are some women regardless of background who want to enjoy a male free environment for whatever reason. I dont judge people who feel this need despite the fact that I dont share these feelings.

    Our Equality policies state that in the Uk we can enjoy single gender activities.
    It is common practice in many youth centre and community groups and encourages inclusion on that level.

  10. #30
    V.I.P. khanjar's Avatar
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    For an Equality law to allow inequality, is not an equality law. I abhor anything which seeks to seperate people based upon something they had no say over, something they were born with. Of activities other than BD, where else does it exist genders are kept seperate, definately not in maternity classes, the root of any inequality issues.

    Fine, according to Arabic tradition, males are taught seperate from females, in that tradition, but how is a male to learn what he seeks if no males exist to teach. So somewhere in it all, this inequality/equality issue, there has to be a compromise. Inequality will be felt by males and females as long as old rules are adhered to. As the world changes, then so must we to move forward, cultures that clash can compromise and through compromise comes understanding, something we are in dire need of in this world.

    But as for minority cultures in the majority cultures of another land, it is for that minority culture to adapt to that of the majority and where laws exist for the majority, they exist for the minority too. To set up a distinction, a seperate community within another community invites suspicion and where there is suspicion there is the other things of envy, hate, dislike, distrust,fear etc, all the negatives that are placed, but are misplaced by the lack of understanding.

    I lived in a Expatriate community within an Islamic country where I noticed things I came to dislike about my countrymen. The dislike caused by the isolation of the communities the result being a colonial attitude where the nationals were regarded and discussed as natives and natives in need of western superiority. The community was set up in the desert by the authorities of that land, no doubt to keep western influence from tainting the nationals, but to my mind they were wrong, as it is my belief that when in another country, I am subject to the laws, customs and ideals of that country, and as a guest in that country, I will comply. As to the things the west is blatant about, in such states the same happens, but behind closed doors and not in the eye of the public or the religious authorities. People will be people we are the same the world over, it is just we have to learn to accept and adapt to move forward in understanding.

    Where there is inequality, there will be no understanding and where people seek to be unequal, they could find their needs sated in other lands, the west is supposed to be the lands of the free, we would all do well to remember that.

    If your heart is free, your personage follows.

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