Ballet and Jazz influence?

Zumarrad

Active member
She often turns on her heels though. It's not something I can do - for all that the western dance training I have is at a hobbyist level (I never took more than one ballet class a week when I was a kid, same now with ballet), my body just REFUSES to countenance the clear lunacy of putting its weight back when turning. It thinks I am confused and making a mistake. HA.

I also think really high releve is not always that useful in bellydance. My releve is actually ridiculous. I like it a great deal, but being all the way up is sometimes counterproductive.

But ballet certainly does work the whole body and if I could get someone to take it for me every day (for I am lazy) I'd happily do barre every day. It's not as "wrong" and "antibellydance" as a lot of people think. There are a lot of benefits to doing some ballet, even if only to determine what is different about Them and Us.
 

Roshanna

New member
There are a lot of cut-and-paste combinations being offered by teachers these days. I spot dancers dropping cut-and-paste combinations into their choreography and it always stands out because it generally does not quite match the music. I don't even have to know the combination myself to recognize where one has been dropped in. Is this a by product of ballet philosophy or no? It's mostly western trained dancers offering these snippets. I see combinations as a way to look at transitions in a different way and more of a general concept or jumping off point for my own creative process. Some of these combinations are being taught by counts and not matching melody or anchoring movement firmly in any specific song. I'm seeing a very different theory here than teaching a whole choreography set to specific music. So is this a ballet thing or something new altogether?

Interestingly, this idea came up in a class I was in last weekend on Reda-style floor patterns and footwork. I don't know a whole lot about Reda style, but we were told, and the clips I've watched tend to support the idea, that Reda tended to use patterns of footwork that didn't necessarily match everything the music did but instead flowed across it. This might be unrelated to the trend in American dancers though. I love Aziza, but as far as I'm aware she uses pre-rehearsed combinations a lot when improvising, which I am personally not that keen on doing (I suppose I prefer my internalised sequences to come in shorter chunks so I can fiddle around with them more on the fly to interpret the music). I've also encountered some UK teachers teaching quite long combinations (several bars) with the intention that we memorise them and then use them when improvising to music with the same underlying rhythm. It just doesn't really work for me.
 

Zumarrad

Active member
That is definitely true with Reda, I think. Though I was in a workshop with him where he was really insistent that we had to listen to the music to tell us how to do the steps. But he definitely has certain patterns he likes and uses, and slots together, and he used to drill his dancers in them extensively so that when the time came to learn a choreo it was very easy.
 

Shanazel

Moderator
One of the benefits of growing up in warm country was going barefoot all the time. I still don't wear shoes except when necessary and believe that has given me stronger feet than if I'd been properly and constantly shod all my life. Arthritis has become an occasional problem but even so dancing on the balls of my feet is as comfortable and natural as dancing flat-footed. That's good since it is a stylistic thing for old style AmCab. :)
 

Jane

New member
I'm wondering if the pretty feet lines aesthetic is a new thing. When I was in class with my first teacher, she actually told us that how our feet looked was unimportant because you never see them under the big poofy harem pants and skirts. That teacher was an American Oriental/AmCab 70s era dancer. Egyptian style became all the rage and then the skirt style changed. Now that our costumes show the feet and people are more likely to be seen on a stage from a distance (rather than up close and personal) could be reasons we are focusing on them more. Or maybe I just had a lazy teacher :think: I've never had a teacher comment on my foot line until DaVid. My ankles roll both in and out, it doesn't hurt or physically bother me, I'm hyper flexible and have to be more aware. It's not easy to unlearn things you've done for years.
 

Shanazel

Moderator
My seventies AmCab teachers corrected line and feet; the skirts I wore featured a half circle in front and a full circle in back with plenty of leg and feet on view via the front openings. Perhaps it was because their background included ballet? Never thought about it before.
 

Yame

New member
What are sickled feet? :think:

an extreme example
http://www.lifeskate.com/photos/uncategorized/2008/09/26/ballet_for_figure_skaters1_7.jpg

a less extreme example
http://www.cbear.org/images/foot_sickle.jpg

a more subtle example
http://www.lifeskate.com/photos/uncategorized/2008/09/26/ballet_for_figure_skaters2.jpg

Sickling doesn't just happen when you're on the balls of your feet, you could be just standing on both (flat) feet, or standing on one and pointing the other. A lot of people with no dance background, if you tell them to point their foot, they'll do it in a way that looks like one of the photos above.

But even some people who aren't prone to sickling on flat or when pointing the foot still end up sickling on relevé because it's harder to maintain that alignment once you have all your weight on two much smaller areas, trying to maintain your balance on top of everything else you need to focus on.
 

Jane

New member
As far as foot sickling goes, I don't think you need ballet perfect feet for belly dance. You need safe joint alignment for belly dance movement. If your feet look noticeably wonky I can see fixing them so they aren't distracting from what your hips are doing. Belly dance is not hyper focused on feet/ankles IMO because we don't need to go on pointe.
 

Shanazel

Moderator
it's harder to maintain that alignment once you have all your weight on two much smaller areas, trying to maintain your balance on top of everything else you need to focus on.

Maybe that's why nature gave some of us size ten feet. :D
 

Zumarrad

Active member
As far as foot sickling goes, I don't think you need ballet perfect feet for belly dance. You need safe joint alignment for belly dance movement. If your feet look noticeably wonky I can see fixing them so they aren't distracting from what your hips are doing. Belly dance is not hyper focused on feet/ankles IMO because we don't need to go on pointe.

Yes and also, until comparatively recently, bellydance was not getting presented often on proscenium stages where the full length of you is more noticeable. When you are at the same level, or only a little bit raised above, your audience, they don't look at your feet to see how prettily, or otherwise, they are held.
 

Aziyade

Well-known member
I love Aziza, but as far as I'm aware she uses pre-rehearsed combinations a lot when improvising, which I am personally not that keen on doing (I suppose I prefer my internalised sequences to come in shorter chunks so I can fiddle around with them more on the fly to interpret the music).

Ha! Different strokes for different folks. :) The pre-rehearsed combos, for me, are working GREAT in my improv! I never thought they would but I've been playing with that for about 6 months now and they really are making a difference. BUT, I "fiddle around with them on the fly" a LOT -- dragging one movement out to fit the phrase, or doubling one section or whatever.

BUT-- I don't like just dancing to the rhythm (prefer the melody) so dragging out one "maqsoum" combo after another is not exciting to me at all, and probably I'd resist it in my practice.
 
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