Bhuz is dead? Are we the last survivor?

Salome

Administrator
So, curious how bhuz is faring in the dearth of forums, I just popped over to see where they are at and bhuz is no longer. This is not new news to those of you who also participated there... but I am a little shocked to be honest. Jennifer James created Bhuz (late '90's?) and operated it for many years. She is a fellow Oregonian, I've known her and her mother for 20 something years... My forum and site were not yet a twinkle in my eye when Jennifer was getting Bhuz going. I remember her creating threads and trying to post in them and get people to join. Years later when she wanted to sell it I contemplated the purchase. OD.net was newish and I thought about merging. Are there any belly dance forums left besides us?
 

Shanazel

Super Moderator
Hi, Salome.

A few forae came up when I checked including Fat Chance but none of the ones I looked at seem to be very active. I'm off to a RenFaire with my students in five minutes but I'll wander around the internet a bit when I get back home. Curiosity drives me.
 

Zorba

"The Veiled Male"
I really don't understand the "why" of the death of BD fora. I have a lot of interests, and I participate in a LOT of fora - ALL of which are thriving, except for Belly Dance. I know BD is in one of its "valleys" of popularity right now, but I don't think that's the all of it as far as fora go... *shrug*
 

Shanazel

Super Moderator
My theory of the moment is that the late big wave of BD fora was driven by people who didn't know a lot or care a lot about middle eastern dance beyond dressing up in fanciful costumes, expressing themselves to inappropriate music, and assuming that any choreography that included a hip articulation could be called belly dance. Newbie dancers have always pushed the limits of BD but this last wave took off into the realm of the absurd (flaming balls on cords and ten inch steel nails) and downright offensive (coffee table dance, anyone?).

Maybe it all boils down to: the bigger they are, the harder they fall. Bhuzz was so many things to so many people that it collapsed under its own weight. OD was and is a more conservative belly dance site with a high proportion of longtime members believing that belly dance actually has parameters and a serious learning curve. A narrower tolerance for terpsichorean self-indulgence meant fewer platforms for the same and fewer people interested in those platforms to begin with.

We're beginning to see dancers wander back in after months or years of serious reflection on where they as dancers want to go next. Others are expressing dissatisfaction with current paths and looking to renew themselves and their dedication to belly dance. These are signs of rebirth and renewal and the next wave of belly dance.

And that's my quarter's worth of dance philosophy for this evening. ;)
 

Zorba

"The Veiled Male"
I have often felt that BD goes through the cycles it does because of skanky and/or bad dancing. Or just trying to fuse or incorporate other styles. A troupe I was involved with self-destructed partly due to a couple of members wanting to do burly and couldn't understand why they couldn't do it under the aegis of BD. Sigh...
 

Mosaic

Super Moderator
Gosh that is a bit of a shock (that Bhuz has gone) I haven't visited for a couple of years though. I stopped going when it became more of a costumes for sale site, maybe that changed, but I didn't stop by to find out. To me it seemed more geared to US dancers. OD is more international and IMO more welcoming to all.
~Mosaic
 

Zorba

"The Veiled Male"
Its been gone for quite a while! I was a Bhuzaholic, but it gradually slowed down and eventually stopped dead in the water.
 

Aniseteph

New member
Zorba's post back there about trends in belly dance popularity reminded me; I recently heard talk of teachers who don't like hobbyists here. I don't know the truth of that one way of the other, but it made me wonder whether events that are more focused on professional or wannabe pro dancers, bringing in international teachers who don't understand us amateurs quite the way that UK teachers might, the rise of competitions etc., all has the potential to alienate dancers who don't fit that mould. Who wants to feel like an embarrassing also-ran, especially if you are paying for the privilege? That's not going to do much for for the ongoing popularity of BD.
 

Shanazel

Super Moderator
Contests in fields from rodeo to embroidery are divided into amateur and professional divisions. There is nothing wrong with professional level belly dance classes or a preference for teaching professional classes over hobbyists classes. There's also nothing wrong with guiding underprepared students to more appropriate classes. However, any teacher who allows a student to pay for class time, expertise, and decent lessons then proceeds to make that student feel like "an embarrassing also-ran" needs to be smacked repeatedly with something wet and unpleasantly squishy.
 
On the subject of teachers not wanting to teach amateurs, we've just moved to Melbourne and discovered a new trend. We're experienced ballroom dancers and naturally want to join a ballroom dancing school.

The schools we've approached won't let us simply join and attend classes. We have to come to the studio for a "consultation" so our standard can be assessed, and then we can sign up for a "package", which will include a mix of private lessons and group classes as appropriate to our ability. They don't allow students to join their group classes unless you also do private lessons.

As older dancers who are never going to do medal tests or enter competitions, we can't justify the cost of private lessons - we just want to enjoy dancing. But what worries me more is that this setup would also discourage new dancers who would like to learn dancing for fun, but are not serious enough to pay for private lessons.

I can understand teachers getting tired of teaching hobbyists - but let's face it, where do serious students come from? They don't often spring out of the blue, having simply read a book about it. Serious students often start out by coming along for a bit of exercise, and then they get hooked.

I can't help feeling that teachers who decide they'll only deal with the serious student, and let other teachers do the work of attracting new recruits, aren't helping to perpetuate the art form.
 

Darshiva

Moderator
Maybe they're just being realistic about their own needs as people and as teachers. I had to make a decision in Nhill not to teach a 'just for fun' class because if I had done another term of it, I'd have quit dancing altogether. And it's the same thing, really.

I have a lot of respect for the teachers who are honest enough about what they want out of teaching to limiit themselves to a very specific market despite the financial hit. I'm with these teachers. I'm in it for the serious students, but I've approached it differently. My lesson plan gives the curious a way to play with it without me having the stress of having to coddle them instead of the students who are there with more focus on study. If I lived in a metro area, my approach might be similar to the ballroom teachers. Who knows.
 

Zorba

"The Veiled Male"
My Thursday nite teacher came out of retirement to teach - and her class is intermediate/advanced only. There are plenty of schools in the area that will teach beginners, so she doesn't.
 

Shanazel

Super Moderator
On the other hand, the Melbourne ballroom dancing schools needs as people and teachers may simply translate as, "We can make more money by selling packages."

Teaching the frivolous who want to have a couple of glasses of wine before coming to class to giggle and wiggle isn't particularly fulfilling. Fortunately, gigglers don't last long in a regular class. I don't mind doing special workshops for these folks with the usual stiff surcharge for the clueless. I can stand almost anything for ninety minutes if the check is large enough and written prior to class commencement. ;)
 

Darshiva

Moderator
On the other hand, the Melbourne ballroom dancing schools needs as people and teachers may simply translate as, "We can make more money by selling packages."

Teaching the frivolous who want to have a couple of glasses of wine before coming to class to giggle and wiggle isn't particularly fulfilling. Fortunately, gigglers don't last long in a regular class. I don't mind doing special workshops for these folks with the usual stiff surcharge for the clueless. I can stand almost anything for ninety minutes if the check is large enough and written prior to class commencement. ;)
In my experience these are the people who want a refund because they are bored or changed their mind. :rolleyes:
 

Shanazel

Super Moderator
Yep. Mind changers are definitely an unwelcome part of the overhead. Thinning these folks out of regular classes is exactly the reason I occasionally offer "taste of belly dance" evenings. One shot, no refund. :)
 

Aniseteph

New member
I have written posts and deleted them a lot of times.

I've no problem with teachers who prefer to teach a particular type of student, especially in a thriving dance scene where someone else is happy to cater for the students they don't prefer. In a less thriving scene then as Bellydance Oz said, a teacher might want to think about where serious advanced students are coming from, but still, it's your choice.

The thing that left a nasty taste for me was that the message filtering down seemed like a negative opinion of hobbyists in general. Don't want to teach us - your choice. Don't rate what some of us do at haflas or out in public - well, yes, I see where you are coming from and I tend to agree. There is some very off topic stuff going on. (hmmm, how could one possibly tackle that... :think:)

But we are the people who turn up to local classes, go to workshops, organise and support and entertain each other at haflas, who have supported your shows and events. Disrespecting the love and commitment that generates that is pretty snotty, IMHO. It's like the ballroom teacher who does the medals thing openly slagging off the social dancers who are in it for fun and a bit of learning something new. The nicest gloss you can put on it is that the teacher just doesn't get what the social dancers are all about.

Caveat: I have no idea of the original truth of who said what or if anyone has been grossly misrepresented on account of other people's baggage, but even so, less than supportive attitudes filtering on down isn't pretty.

OTOH lots of love going out for the awesome teachers who do get it and encourage us and teach informative and fun workshops. You rock.
 

Darshiva

Moderator
See, the thing is that one can be a serious dancer and a hobbyist - hello, prime example right here typing this message. The distinction for me is whether or not a student will treat the classroom respectfully, or if she thinks it's okay to dance in her lingerie just because she's overheating or if he thinks it's okay for him to sit in the back watching everyone else dance. I know that some teachers are okay with that, but for the rest of us - regardless of where we live and teach - it is okay for us to be selective in our target market. Yes, even if that means that we lose money and yes, even if that means that somebody isn't going to be able to do bellydance. Because if they're serious about dancing, they will find a way. If not, they won't bother. And you know what? That's their decision to make, not mine. As a teacher, I am entitled to a healthful workplace. I don't get paid NEARLY enough for teaching dance to put up with people who aren't going to respect me, their fellow students, or the dance.
 
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