Learn bellydance with a cartoon character

Farasha Hanem

New member
Well, to be fair, I realize the person's YouTube channel has only two videos, and there are probably more to come. That being said, I already see some problems:

It might be inspiring for kids, but I prefer having a human teacher, myself. Secondly, bellydance is so much more than simply breaking down the raw movements. It's all about the music: taking those movements, putting them together, making them flow, and interpreting the music with them. The music used in the videos is definitely not bellydance music. This is one of the problems I have with Neon: not using ME music to teach bellydance, not even "Westernized" or pop ME.
 

Darshiva

Moderator
To be fair, it's tribal fusion music and styling in the cartoon practice gear. I think the concept is quite clever, although I definitely teach snake arms in a different way (that doesn't result in ears & shoulders meeting) I wonder if it's a stylistic difference between oriental styles and tribal fusion.

Bookmarking for later - this is really cute and the abstract nature of a cartoon character helps to remove the 'my body doesn't move like yours' thing. I don't think it would work for anything BUT tf though because tf is so accented in styling. :)
 

Farasha Hanem

New member
To be fair, it's tribal fusion music and styling in the cartoon practice gear. I think the concept is quite clever, although I definitely teach snake arms in a different way (that doesn't result in ears & shoulders meeting) I wonder if it's a stylistic difference between oriental styles and tribal fusion.

Bookmarking for later - this is really cute and the abstract nature of a cartoon character helps to remove the 'my body doesn't move like yours' thing. I don't think it would work for anything BUT tf though because tf is so accented in styling. :)

I thought so; this reminded me of tribal style. I only wished that it was explained in the description. I'm afraid it might confuse some people who are unfamiliar with bellydance styles.
 

flowerrose

New member
Hi all,
Thanks for your precious comments.
Three more videos have been added now: shimmy, maya, reverse maya
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mAA9Mk0rt9Y
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qnjsi4DLBpY
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AB6bo0szCo0
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MezUTagz5zU
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYAFI_bR0Zw

I totally agree that the music is not a real bellydance music. The reason is the copyright problems when creating a video on youtube. The musics are usually selected from the free audio library of youtube to avoid complications.
Regarding the style, it looks more like tribal fusion style. The reason is that the movements are too much isolated for instructional purposes. However, the breakdown is the same as other styles, only that in some styles like the oriental style, they are not done very isolated. An example, as you mentioned, is the snake arm. In tribal fusion, the snake arms is done exactly as Susi does (keeping the middle finger tip in place), but in oriental style the middle finger moves.
Thanks again!
 

Darshiva

Moderator
Oooooooooookay then. I have been taught things WRONG by master teachers. I have been teaching my students WRONG. Must. Obey. flowerrose. *twitch*


Okay, now that that's out of my system, let me just say that for about a decade I've studied various styles of bellydance with master teachers and a dvd collection that rivals major schools (to be honest I have a habit of buying the collections of major schools when they downsize/close). flowerrose, you are very very wrong about the differences between tribal, tribal fusion and oriental styles of bellydance. Can I suggest maybe studying outside of your chosen genre for a few years before telling people how it is? Otherwise you risk insulting the people you're trying to impress.
 

flowerrose

New member
I didn't intend to insult anyone, dear Darshiva.
I just introduced a channel for learning bellydance basic moves with a cute cartoon character. The channel is of course for beginners only, at least for now. Then you talked about styles, which is the next step for bellydancers to major in, and I gave my personal opinion. I have been dancing egyptian and tribal fusion.
You are free to discuss and correct my opinion and I appreciate it.
 

Darshiva

Moderator
I didn't intend to insult anyone, dear Darshiva.
I just introduced a channel for learning bellydance basic moves with a cute cartoon character. The channel is of course for beginners only, at least for now. Then you talked about styles, which is the next step for bellydancers to major in, and I gave my personal opinion. I have been dancing egyptian and tribal fusion.
You are free to discuss and correct my opinion and I appreciate it.
Interesting. I could have sworn you said this:

Regarding the style, it looks more like tribal fusion style. The reason is that the movements are too much isolated for instructional purposes. However, the breakdown is the same as other styles, only that in some styles like the oriental style, they are not done very isolated. An example, as you mentioned, is the snake arm. In tribal fusion, the snake arms is done exactly as Susi does (keeping the middle finger tip in place), but in oriental style the middle finger moves.
Thanks again!
 

flowerrose

New member
Yes I said. This is my personal opinion but I am willing to hear others opinions and correct.
The channel doesnt intend to teach a particular style, but basic moves only. However, the way she does the snake arm looks more like tribal fusion considering the clean isolations, focusing, level of arms...
I am not expert in other styles but in both tribal fusion and egyptian I have been taught to lift shoulder elbow wrist fingers for a snake arm. So the basic is the same.
 

Roshanna

New member
Yes I said. This is my personal opinion but I am willing to hear others opinions and correct.
The channel doesnt intend to teach a particular style, but basic moves only. However, the way she does the snake arm looks more like tribal fusion considering the clean isolations, focusing, level of arms...
I am not expert in other styles but in both tribal fusion and egyptian I have been taught to lift shoulder elbow wrist fingers for a snake arm. So the basic is the same.
It's a nice idea for a video making project, I suppose, but I can't see these being useful to beginners as they are.

The 'arm waving' video does not depict a bellydance movement at all. This movement is literally never used in Middle Eastern dance. It does turn up in fusion dances sometimes, but it comes from the 'other' part of the fusion, not the 'bellydance' part.

The snake arms one, I can at least see what it's trying to indicate, I suppose.

The hip movement ones are unclear and confusing, and I don't think anyone would be able to learn from them. For one, they don't show or explain how the knees are moving, and secondly, the 'breakdown' isn't clear at all. It just comes out looking like random jerking.

I do think that animated drawings which illustrated the shapes that students were aiming to create with their bodies could be useful as a teaching resource or as an aid memoire, but I wouldn't recommend these to students at the moment.

The music choice is also a problem. I appreciate the difficulty of finding royalty-free middle eastern music, but I would never recommend that a student of mine use a video which did not use middle eastern music. It encourages the idea that bellydance is 'just moves', rather than a complex cultural artform based on musical interpretation. It also distances the dance from the Middle East, which I am not comfortable with. I would suggest asking permission from a musician to use one of their recordings, or searching for 'royalty free music', which you can pay a small one-off fee to use for noncommercial purposes.
 

Farasha Hanem

New member
It's a nice idea for a video making project, I suppose, but I can't see these being useful to beginners as they are.

The 'arm waving' video does not depict a bellydance movement at all. This movement is literally never used in Middle Eastern dance. It does turn up in fusion dances sometimes, but it comes from the 'other' part of the fusion, not the 'bellydance' part.

The snake arms one, I can at least see what it's trying to indicate, I suppose.

The hip movement ones are unclear and confusing, and I don't think anyone would be able to learn from them. For one, they don't show or explain how the knees are moving, and secondly, the 'breakdown' isn't clear at all. It just comes out looking like random jerking.

I do think that animated drawings which illustrated the shapes that students were aiming to create with their bodies could be useful as a teaching resource or as an aid memoire, but I wouldn't recommend these to students at the moment.

The music choice is also a problem. I appreciate the difficulty of finding royalty-free middle eastern music, but I would never recommend that a student of mine use a video which did not use middle eastern music. It encourages the idea that bellydance is 'just moves', rather than a complex cultural artform based on musical interpretation. It also distances the dance from the Middle East, which I am not comfortable with. I would suggest asking permission from a musician to use one of their recordings, or searching for 'royalty free music', which you can pay a small one-off fee to use for noncommercial purposes.
The points about the music were what I was going for. Thank you for explaining it better than I did, Roshanna.

I'm perfectly fine with using Middle Eastern pop as an introduction to ME music for beginners who are unfamiliar with the genre; my first exposure was with the BDSS anthologies. And yes, it's a pain finding royalty-free Arabic music. However, a beginner series of bellydance lessons should be grounded in the music of the culture, before introducing music used in other styles.

The idea of using cartoons has potential, but the artist should make sure the renderings are not only accurate, but also easy to understand and follow, otherwise the beginner might end up learning wrong, and even potentially injure himself/herself.
 
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Kashmir

New member
Sorry - I'm going to get picky. The moves selected I suspect are the ones which are easiest to animate. Arm Waves and Snake Arms come way, way down the list of things to teach to a beginner. For a start, they are NOT a basic part of a belly dancers movement vocabulary - defined as you can be a good belly dancer and never use them. Next, teaching shimmy without teaching HOW to get the hips to move up and down? Just do it? (And this is ONE shimmy) No mention that shimmies are relaxed and in time with the music.

But I am most concerned about the Mayas - again not a beginner move - and this was pushed as "for beginners". But unlike Snake Arms which would just be a waste of time (unless you had shoulder impingement issues), Mayas can do some nasty things to people who have poor posture, hypermobile lower backs, or do not have good automatic ab control.
 

Darshiva

Moderator
But I am most concerned about the Mayas - again not a beginner move - and this was pushed as "for beginners". But unlike Snake Arms which would just be a waste of time (unless you had shoulder impingement issues), Mayas can do some nasty things to people who have poor posture, hypermobile lower backs, or do not have good automatic ab control.
I have to agree about the figure 8s. I lost a really excited student due to the damage she did to her back running ahead and doing mayas, etc from a dvd before she was ready. It was a real shame to lose her, and a real shame about her back too. But this is why I do ab articulation from day 1 in my classes - that way they've at least got some conditioning before we decide whether or not to tackle the figure 8s.
 

flowerrose

New member
Thank you all for your comments and suggestions.
Yes, although the current videos do not cover very beginning moves in bellydance, they are those moves which a beginner bellydancer has to finally learn but she or he may find it very difficult. Of course, no one will try to learn the simple hip slide, hip lift or drop ...from a cartoon character, while there are vast real resources everwhere. I remember when I started bellydance, I was disperately looking for videos of snake arm, arm waving, hoping that one of them might have explained it in a different language so that I could get the move. So the reason of starting the channel with such difficult animations is to focus on difficult but basic moves to attract more people. In the future the rest easy animated moves can be easily added to complete the resourse.
Thanks for your other constructive comments as well.
 

Daimona

Moderator
It is a nice idea to demonstrate simple moves with a cartoon and I would like them to be even more detailed. One possibility is to also show the moves from the side to become more aware of posture etc. You could also add pointers etc for things the watcher need to be aware of.

If music is a challenge, is it possible for you to just use (or program) a rhythm or record an arabic folk song on a simple flute or something like that?

If you'd be willing to license your work under the CC license and not doing this for commercial purposes, I'm sure you can find things online that is usable. When I've made videos previously (not dancing, though), I've used music from www.jamendo.com and http://freemusicarchive.org as well as other similar sites. I haven't searched for Arabic music at these sites, but you might find something usable there as well.
 

flowerrose

New member
Hi again,
New videos have been added to Susi bellydancer channel:
How to do a muscular belly roll and reverse it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ywnz3jAmex0
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCm2_Ct8HnU

I tried to show the profile view and zoom in the belly to be more visible.
I am sorry that the music is still kind of tribal fusion style. I tried arabic rhythms but they don't match the varying speed of belly roll which is for instructional purposes.
enjoy!
 
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