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  1. #11
    Super Moderator gisela's Avatar
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    But do you think it shows? Does it show in a dancer if she learnt the dance in a very structured way? Does she dance more structured or stiff or too controlled?
    (I only talking about egyptian style in this post)
    Or is it possible to learn in a very structured way and still express the dance "flowy"?
    immer glimmer

  2. #12
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    I learned via the 1-2-3-4 method, and my dance reflects that. I'm working very hard to erase some of that look. But I'm not sure that I could have learned the basics any other way.

  3. #13
    V.I.P. Ariadne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gisela View Post
    cruel teacher

    Sometimes I actually have difficulties understanding a move when it's broken down. I can't see where it's going and doesn't make sense to me. I really need the flow to understand the whole. Usually nothing makes sense until the music is added.
    Ah, I didn't mind. I have never really been embarrassed by such things happening publicly... maybe because it happened so often... never thought of that.

    My friend is the same way. I would have to agree with it not really making sense until the music is added but it's a difference in how we get there.


    It seems to me that if a type of dance is very common in a culture then those who learn by watching will tend to be "natural"s and those who don't will tend to assume that they just can't dance unless someone is kind enough to take the time and explain how.


    As for our "western" culture, Jazz and Ballet tend to be very beat oriented. It all about hitting the mark in unison whatever the mark happens to be and less about personal expression. There is also (in the US at least) a cultural expectation of technical perfection rather then expression as well. It is recognized in art and as a result the first thing any art student is taught are exercises intended to get them to stop obsessing over it. It seems to me that if a teacher has a Jazz or Ballet background (or the student for that matter) it could be very easy for them to fall into that mindset. Even without that western dance mindset it could be easy for someone to obsess over technicalities coming from this culture. However....

    However... this obsession with technicalities is taught, we aren't born with it. Who of us didn't dance in the privacy of our own room at some point growing up? What child listening to music doesn't jump up and down, run in circles, or otherwise respond physically to what they hear? What is taught can also be untaught. Dance teachers can break those habits in their students the same way art teachers do or we can do it ourselves.


    I don't think the question is whether we are taught in a structured vs unstructured way but a technical vs expressive. Are we taught to hit the beat and follow along with exact even repetition or are we taught to use the moves to express the mood, lyrics, and what we feel from the music?


    I don't think that western dancers are necessarily going to be technical rather then expressive but I think it is hardly surprised that there are those that are.

  4. #14
    Member SmilingMarie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kashmir View Post
    Since teaching I have had to break things down for my students and sometimes the result is I completely lose it (I believe this is due to passing the control to the brain rather than the spinal reflexes).
    I am the same!

  5. #15
    Super Moderator Mosaic's Avatar
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    I like the follow, then have the breakdown - or we ask questions if we are having difficulty.
    ~Mosaic
    Dance is like glitter, it not only colours your life, it makes you sparkle, you find it everywhere and in everything and it's near impossible to get rid of. (unknown)


  6. #16
    Member Freddie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mosaic View Post
    I like the follow, then have the breakdown - or we ask questions if we are having difficulty.
    ~Mosaic
    That's exactly the order I like to learn in - see if I can follow first, then get a breakdown to "polish it off" or find out what I'm doing wrong.

    When I teach I take the same approach, because quite often the learners get it right off the bat - and if they don't the breakdown usually gets them there.

    My last class was the first in a series of new beginners classes and it's been a long time since I had 20+ brand newbies in a room. Only one had tried it before, and only for a few weeks. I was amazed at how inflexible/stiff most people are before they learn this dance - I'd forgotten. Mind you, most of that stiffness probably came from nerves.

  7. #17
    V.I.P. jenc's Avatar
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    the problem I have when steps are broken down is that all te components then have the same weight. When you speed up again, often one bit then almost disappears into a transition. Conversely, ccasionally, an extra little something appears in the finished version that wasn't there in the breakdown. I find it difficult to cope with breakdowns as my brain then tells me it's a completely different (new) step.

    I thought I was a visual learner in dance, but then I thought about how I am so much NOT a visual learner in everyday life. Can't do maps, can't do diagrammes. I even get lost after 30 years of living here cos I can't visualise what's at the end of the road I'm driving down!!!

    I categorise myself as a kinesthetic learner. Although I relate best to being bouncing but or demonstrations, I see details because I can relate them to my own body. Sometimes this will lead to me not getting a fairly simple move, because I can see and follow the line , the arms etc, the total picture, without zoning in on the essential. it can also slow me down in a new situation because I am suffering from sensory overload and can't rely on my brain to help out by recognising what I should be doing and taking over. for example, I can totally mess up the warmup for a workshop.

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by gisela View Post
    But do you think it shows? Does it show in a dancer if she learnt the dance in a very structured way? Does she dance more structured or stiff or too controlled?
    (I only talking about egyptian style in this post)
    Or is it possible to learn in a very structured way and still express the dance "flowy"?

    i think the possibility for this exists because the method of learning is more 'scientific' rather than a feeling thing. for me at least it began that way, because the focus was on getting the movement correct and that was it.
    it could happen when we associate a particular move with a particular rhythm, or a particular sound.

    once it becomes something you understand outside the context of getting the moves right, or breaking them down to the last 'where do i put my foot here and my hand here' (not saying that you are discounting the value of that), i think it tends to look more natural.
    it was the first thing i noticed when i started looking at videos of egyptian dancers...western dancers/non native egyptian dancers i had seen had big exaggerated movements, whereas the egyptian dancers were 'quieter' and more natural..it was way more appealing..they were enjoying the music on a different level..it wasn't just showy.

  9. #19
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    Default Learning Methods

    There has been a lot of research into how people learn best. I completed an anatomy class at college a couple of years ago and the teacher had done alot of research on learning methods. According to the research, people learn and retain a higher percentage of what they've learned if they do all three methods, visual, auditory and kinesthetic. I never danced until I was 48 and I spent years watching and following teachers and although I learned some, I didn't feel I learned as much as I could. It took me a long time to really get it. I was already a yoga teacher, so I was not stiff and I had a lot of muscle knowledge. I also found a lot of good dance teachers could do the moves but they couldn't explain it and they had a hard time trying to explain how to break it down. After eight years of classes, workshops and some performing, I decided to start teaching a small beginner class. I also decided to learn how to teach so people would learn quickly and effectively. I wanted to teach differently than I was taught and I wanted to teach the things I struggled with when I was learning. I have developed my method of teaching and I think it is very effective. I use all three methods, I make charts, lists. I teach what muscles are used, where they are. We work on feeling and using the correct muscles, getting in touch with them, knowing where they are and how you are using them. I give a lot of instruction and then we do the moves, in the mirror, away from the mirror, in different directions, with the eyes closed and feeling it. We do the moves large, small, quick, slow, in different directions and levels, with different timings, with different arms and different emotions. I also decided every move in bellydance is a geometric shape or a directional line and almost all the moves come from the core. That way I avoid that this teacher calls the move this and others teachers call it that. I also avoid trying to teach a particular ethnic style and having the argument as to whether that is authenic or not. Students can decide later to specialize in whatever style they want as long as they get a good foundation and can dance. My goal would be for people to learn to express themselves with good technique. Personally, in Egypt I think most of their culture women dance at festivals and in their homes and children grow up watching and imitating dancing. I don't think most of us in the West have that experience. Most of our children go to special ballet, tap or jazz classes and they don't usually see other adult family members dancing. If you go to most picnics or family outings that have music, you don't see many people dancing. Only at bars do you see dancing and many of those people are ingesting alcohol, so not much learning or muscle control. I personally need to understand the mechanics of the moves, internalize it and then get to the timing and the feeling and expression. Once you are comfortable with the movements, then the emotion and expression can come. This is my opinion and what has worked for me. I feel my dancing has grown by leaps and bounds since I developed my program.

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