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  1. #51
    V.I.P. Aziyade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gearsinger View Post
    As a newbie myself, I wanted to share a bit of perspective with the board.

    The belly dance community seems very insular. Coming from the outside, as I have, it's very intimidating to see these arguments about authenticity.
    ALL communities of people who whatever it is they do on more than a superficial level can be viewed as "insular."

    Because they know more about about it, have studied it in depth, have seen it all before, and can respect TRUE artistic variation and not half-ass "fusion," they are viewed as kill-joys when they point out the Emperor's nudity.

    I'm involved in a number of those communities -- in the handspinning community, I'm a total noob, and not experienced at all. So I don't try to argue that my crappy yarn (and it IS crappy, because it's the result of an inexperienced spinner) is somehow just as valid an Art as the Master Spinner's work.

    I sing in the shower. But I have sense enough to know I'm not American Idol material. If I WERE to hang around professional singers and argue that my "raw" voice was just as wonderful as the classical trained vocalist, and therefore I should be able to perform professional with their choir .... well, I would EXPECT to be shunned a bit.

    Thing is, we've ALL been newbies at either this or some other art or craft. What separates a noob from an experienced dancer is her EDUCATION and EXPERIENCE. As the noob learns more about the music and dance, the noob realizes her spurious arguments about "art evolving" and "fusion justification" were arguments based in a lack of education and understanding.

    It's kind of like Momma used to say -- you don't know what you don't know -- until you start telling everybody what you DO know, and then they will set you straight on what you DON'T. (A little convoluted, but it makes a good point.)

    The best way to learn about something is to NOT look for people to agree with you. Find the people who tell you, "No, you're wrong about that," and spend a great deal of time talking to them. You don't have to argue, but you do have to listen and be prepared re-evaluate what you THINK you know.


  2. #52
    Senior Member Eshta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gearsinger View Post
    As a newbie myself, I wanted to share a bit of perspective with the board.

    The belly dance community seems very insular. Coming from the outside, as I have, it's very intimidating to see these arguments about authenticity.
    Welcome Gearsinger
    I can understand that it can seem intimidating, I can remember being a newbie and thinking "sheesh, lighten up will ya?!" But I'm really glad people did push me on the right road. It breaks my heart when I see something done in the name of the artform that I love through lack of understanding.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gearsinger View Post
    I have seen these sort of discussion in many other communities, so I did not allow myself to be scared away. To someone who has no such experience, though, it would be very off putting.

    When I find myself becoming angry about misinformation newcomers to the activities I have been involved in, I try to remind myself that their enthusiasm should be encouraged. Yes, it's important to present the facts, but try to do it nicely.
    I couldn't agree more. Reading back over the responses I don't think anyone has been mean spirited, perhaps a few answers could be more sugar coated for the very fragile but the sentiment has been good natured. The problem comes when there is a situation like this one, where a number of people are trying to give good advice but it goes against what some people want to hear.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gearsinger View Post
    Without new participants, any art form will stagnate. Scaring away that new blood is a disservice to the dance.
    Yes. But also not explaining the boundaries to the newcomers also does the dance a disservice. I haven't yet noticed a decline in numbers due to people being scared away, but I have noticed the rise in a lot of cr@p that's being passed off as belly dance due to a lack of understanding of the fundamentals. Seems to me we need to be MORE protective Lol, joking!

    Most dancers will agree that at the outset, the dance looks relatively simple to master once you discover how to mobilise your hips and yet the more you delve the more complex and the deeper the layers become. It's not jealousy or bitchiness that creates this seemingly insular community (well, not most of the time I hope!) but a certain protectiveness to promote the richness of this art and not have it stripped down to its parts where it loses its.... essence.

  3. #53
    V.I.P. jenc's Avatar
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    So the consensus is - you can call Shakira a bellydancer if you wish (she certainly uses bellydance moves, but with a vey modern twist- but don't be surprised if others don't agree.

    If she is a bellydancer - she comes in under fusion and definately not under Egyptian style.

  4. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eshta View Post
    Yes. But also not explaining the boundaries to the newcomers also does the dance a disservice. I haven't yet noticed a decline in numbers due to people being scared away, but I have noticed the rise in a lot of cr@p that's being passed off as belly dance due to a lack of understanding of the fundamentals. Seems to me we need to be MORE protective Lol, joking!

    Most dancers will agree that at the outset, the dance looks relatively simple to master once you discover how to mobilise your hips and yet the more you delve the more complex and the deeper the layers become. It's not jealousy or bitchiness that creates this seemingly insular community (well, not most of the time I hope!) but a certain protectiveness to promote the richness of this art and not have it stripped down to its parts where it loses its.... essence.
    Well said!!!

  5. #55
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cathy View Post
    I agree there is no reason to scare anyone away....but why is this so big an objection in dance (or at least this dance) as opposed to other disciplines? If someone went into a karate class and started throwing in fingernail scratching or boxing techniques into sparring, or someone went to a poetry writing class and wrote in complete sentences and paragraphs, or someone took a course on Japanese tea ceremony and wanted to serve potato chips as part of it, these "fusions" would be immediately pointed out as not part of the core tradition by the instructor.

    Cathy
    Tried to give you official rep, Cathy, but couldn't. Consider youself spiritually repped instead!

  6. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eshta View Post
    The problem comes when there is a situation like this one, where a number of people are trying to give good advice but it goes against what some people want to hear.
    I am a newbie (been dancing nearly a year) and this is exactly how I perceived this thead. No one was trying to be nasty and it certainly doesn't scare me off. It strikes me that this poster came here as more of a Shakira fan than a belly dance fan - the interest seems to lie in being like Shakira. This is fine if that's what the poster wants but the thread was labelled as 'Egyptian style question' which is misleading.

    No one is knocking Shakira's talent overall, people have just been stating their OPINIONS (key word). That's what forums are for. I like her music and she is a great dancer but I don't think of her as a belly dance artist. That's just my opinion though, doesn't mean I'm right.


    Quote Originally Posted by Eshta View Post
    not explaining the boundaries to the newcomers also does the dance a disservice. I haven't yet noticed a decline in numbers due to people being scared away, but I have noticed the rise in a lot of cr@p that's being passed off as belly dance due to a lack of understanding of the fundamentals.
    I completely agree with this. I came into belly dancing not knowing much but I had an open mind and I have been learning so much and I hope that I continue to do so for many years to come. I am lucky to have a great teacher and I have bought books and researched the dance. But if people who had been dancing years and developed a great understanding of the dance did not pass on their knowledge then how would new blood even gain entry and understanding of belly dance? I know so many people who have completely the wrong idea about what belly dance is and I believe that the people here who know what they are talking about are trying to stop disservices being done to the dance form that they love.



    Quote Originally Posted by Eshta View Post
    It's not jealousy or bitchiness that creates this seemingly insular community (well, not most of the time I hope!) but a certain protectiveness to promote the richness of this art and not have it stripped down to its parts where it loses its.... essence.
    This I agree with as well. I haven't met jealous or bitchy dancers, I find the community to be very friendly and welcoming. I am glad that there are dancers who are protective of the roots of the dance and don't want to see it get diluted or ruined.

  7. #57
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    often it doesn't help the people who don't know what you are doing at all that the best Egyptian style dancers do it so well that it looks relaxed and easy and its NOT!!

  8. #58
    V.I.P. Aziyade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by candi View Post
    often it doesn't help the people who don't know what you are doing at all that the best Egyptian style dancers do it so well that it looks relaxed and easy and its NOT!!
    EXACTLY!!!

    I grew up with American Cabaret style, and "converting" to Egyptian style and understanding Egyptian music has been one of the hardest things for me to accomplish. I'm still not there, but I think I'm in the ballpark

  9. #59
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    Roll  Eyes Helloo!!!???

    Well, in my opinion Shakira is very far away from being a belly dancer. She uses Belly Dance movements.By the way, those movements she uses are beginner movements, sometimes, with very bad arm work.

    ALMOST every woman in Latin America or Africa can shake the butt like that, believe me. But that doesn't mean that we all can dance like an egiptian belly dancer. I have been dancing for years and I still do not consider myself a professional belly dancer.

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