Bhuz is dead? Are we the last survivor?

Farasha Hanem

New member
:think: Perhaps labeling is the problem. Maybe we can make a distinction between the hobbyist, and the not-so-serious, disrespectful student? Maybe that's what the latter should be called---disrespectful.
 
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Aniseteph

New member
Good point. To me a hobby is something you do fairly long term, so I don't mean the casual sort (aka jerks ;)) who give it a go for a giggle for a couple of weeks, or disrupt classes, or disrespect teachers and then disappear. The quicker they flutter off to the next thing the better. Hats off to teachers for a) putting up with them and b) finding ways to fend them off wherever possible.

I mean the usual suspects who turn up regularly over the years, don't have any great ambitions dance-wise but like to dance and learn a bit and be social and maybe perform once in a while at appropriate events.
 

Shanazel

Super Moderator
Of course, some "serious" dancers fall into the jerk category as well: those who look down their noses at anyone who Isn't Serious, for example.

Most of my gigglers have been nice women who were out of their element and felt either a bit silly or a bit risque about being in a belly dance class and who exited it PDQ. They usually arrive in pairs or trios. I don't mind them and occasionally one sneaks back into class on her own to give it a better try. One of the most disruptive students I ever had was a long time dancer who should've had better manners. Though I expressed regret when she dropped class due to her busy schedule, I was secretly delighted when she took her cartwheels and bursts of clogging out of my classroom.
 

Roshanna

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.
I'm so sorry you've been made to feel that way, Aniseteph.

IMO the bellydance world would be a much better place if more people studied the dance as a labour of love, and not a potential route to success/fame/money/validation. I'm on the fence in the hobbyist/pro divide thing because I'm sort of an amateur (I have a full time day job) but also sort of professional (occasional paid gigs and the odd bit of teaching). With my teacher hat on, I'm selective about who I want to teach, but not along wannabe pro/hobbyist lines - I want to teach people who are genuinely interested and curious, and who like the music. Beyond that, I'd rather teach someone with no desire to perform in public but who genuinely loves Arabic music and enjoys learning about the culture, than a dancer with professional ambitions who sees learning about the music as a chore and thinks classic Egyptian dancers are boring or is dismissive of Arab culture. I do get a bit frustrated by people who have been involved with the dance for decades but still have very little background knowledge, because I just cannot get into the mindset of someone who would stick with a hobby for so long and never feel any curiosity about it at all... But that's a different matter.

I did feel a bit down after studying with an Egyptian teacher recently, when he was talking to some of the others in our group about how English dancers didn't have good technique compared to Europeans because they didn't go to enough classes, and went on to opine that we should all be going to class several nights a week if we wanted to be as good as dancers in other countries. I would love to go to a challenging class several nights a week like he says, but there is no such thing here and the only way this town is going to have classes above a beginner level any time soon is if I teach them myself...
 
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Shanazel

Super Moderator
I'd love going to a challenging class several nights a week, too, but even if they existed here, the funding for me to attend does not.

That comment about English dancers is borderline jerk-dom and may have actually toppled over into that realm depending on whether or not the speaker has a mental disorder that precludes any ability to manifest good manners toward students who have just paid for his services.

I don't care how long a teacher has taught, how competent the teacher is, or where the teacher is from: disparaging one's students and leaving them to feel "a bit down" is counterproductive and worse, tacky.
 

Aniseteph

New member
I'm so sorry you've been made to feel that way, Aniseteph.
Aww, thanks. It's sounding way more personal written down than it actually is; none of it makes me sob into my tea on my own account, it just hacks me off that anyone would be less than encouraging to people who are showing interest and commitment. Especially if the net result is that it puts people off and contributes to bellydance's popularity dropping off.

It's a good point about people who still have very little knowledge after years. Some people won't want to get out of their little boxes, but surely the way to spread knowledge is by making events as inclusive as possible so the messages get out there and people want to carry on and learn mor. Not making them feel like they aren't serious enough to be there.

I did feel a bit down after studying with an Egyptian teacher recently, when he was talking to some of the others in our group about how English dancers didn't have good technique compared to Europeans because they didn't go to enough classes, and went on to opine that we should all be going to class several nights a week if we wanted to be as good as dancers in other countries. I would love to go to a challenging class several nights a week like he says, but there is no such thing here and the only way this town is going to have classes above a beginner level any time soon is if I teach them myself...
I suspect that this and the talk that sparked my comments are not unrelated. Either it's the same teacher or it's a shared attitude. (I am not jumping up and down at this point saying yes! this! see? I told you so, etc etc.. Hardly at all.)

There's nothing wrong with facing facts about levels of technique relating to hours of classes put in. As possibly over-generalised chitchat over a coffee it's fine and maybe a cue for an interesting discussion of whether there are European students who don't manage to do all those extra classes too, and if so where are they - do they not go to festivals and events over there? Are we a uniquely deprived/ undedicated demographic in England?

OTOH in the context of after a workshop full of choreography and challenging technique it can read as discouraging with a big dash of WTH were you doing here anyway, lightweight? to anyone who had difficulties :confused: :(. Personally speaking I'm a 50 something with other commitments, the usual limited access to classes, and a chronic injury. I suspect that investing in my belly dance career to that extent is a) just not going to pan out for me and b) might take the fun edge off it. It is what it is, now take my belly dance money and teach me, or make it clear you're not interested and I'll take it elsewhere..

@ Shanazel - cartwheels and clogging!? yeah, that could get annoying, and a bit weird.
 

Kashmir

New member
It maybe a downer to tell students they aren't doing enough study but unfortunately for most it is true. An hour a week of class - even with several hours of working on your own - simply is not enough to get past basics. That most people don't have the time, money or opportunity to do more classes is also true. For these, if they enjoy being a hobbist - no problem. I've embraced that for years. But if, while doing only a class a week, they imagine they are on top of the game - or worse advertise as such then they are fooling themselves and doing the dance a dis-service.
 
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."
I regret to advise that you are probably right. I'm also looking for work in Melbourne, and I came across an ad by both studios for ballroom dance teachers. I had no intention of applying as I'm only an amateur ballroom dancer but I couldn't resist reading the ad. Then I came to these words:

"No previous dance experience is required as full training will be provided".

I suspect now that both studios are run by the same company although their websites and business names are totally different. And obviously, far from wanting to teach at a high level, they're just seeking to milk their students for what they can get.

Why they'd imagine ballroom dancing is a cash cow I can't imagine. Maybe it's a good thing belly dance isn't surging in popularity - it protects us from idiots like this!
 
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Shanazel

Super Moderator
Maybe it's an ancient backlash from the movie Strictly Ballroom. Hmm. Now that I think of it, I wonder if I can find it on dvd. I'd like to see it again.
 
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