"The Odyssey of the Lizard Boy"

Aisha Azar

New member
Dance etc.

To be fair to the gut, I have seen much worse than him on a stage..

The setting for the clip looked like a 'real stage' to me, I wonder if it is normal for students to perform before each other on a real stage with lighting in Paris.

In the UK it tends to be in Church halls etc.

I hold an annual showcase in a really nice theatre.

Teachers in my area work ith students or perform themselves, on a few occasions in the past few years the standard has dropped.

People seem much less rehearsed than they used to and some teachers are putting forward people who are not ready. There is a much more casual approach to performing on a stage than there used to be.

Now it seems many people are hiring theatres for shows and performances etc. but because this i now the norm, people are treating it like a 'haflah' on stage.



Dear Caroline,
It IS hard to know how the dancer views him or herself. That is why I stated that IF he is passing himself off as a professional dancer, etc.
Also, many times the teacher has absolutely no control over what the student is going to do. A few years ago I had a student who thought she was ready to get out there and give it a go after just one year of training. There was no way I could have stopped her. Thank goodness this kind of thing does not happen very often, but it is just one reason why I don't subscribe to the "blame the teacher" attitude.
Regards,
A'isha
 

Tarik Sultan

New member
To be fair to the gut, I have seen much worse than him on a stage..

The setting for the clip looked like a 'real stage' to me, I wonder if it is normal for students to perform before each other on a real stage with lighting in Paris.

In the UK it tends to be in Church halls etc.

I hold an annual showcase in a really nice theatre.

Teachers in my area work ith students or perform themselves, on a few occasions in the past few years the standard has dropped.

People seem much less rehearsed than they used to and some teachers are putting forward people who are not ready. There is a much more casual approach to performing on a stage than there used to be.

Now it seems many people are hiring theatres for shows and performances etc. but because this i now the norm, people are treating it like a 'haflah' on stage.
And this is only one of the problems we have to deal with. Apparently there are a lot of students who gravitate to studios where they feel they will be given a chance to either get jobs or be featured in shows. It then becomes the business of attracting and keeping students.

I can't tell you how many people show up to my class and before you know it, they want to know where they can buy costumes, can I help them get jobs etc. I'm like, why are you worrying about that now? Get your foundation solidified and then think about all that. Then you never see them again. They go to other studios where they operate performance mills. This is the reason why there are too many dancers out there and the pay so low.

There was a teacher in my area who was notorious for going around to all the clubs and telling them she could get them dancers cheap. So it becomes a struggle for really skilled dancers to find a job and get paid what they're worth when a club owner knows he can have his pick of the litter of young attractive girls and he can pay them $50 or $75 AND keep their tips on top of it. I guess its just a symptom of our times. Everyone wants instant everything. No one wants to invest the time it takes to make something of quality the good old fashion way. Not in food, not in clothing, not in manufacturing and apparently not in dance either.
 

Tarik Sultan

New member
Dear Caroline,
It IS hard to know how the dancer views him or herself. That is why I stated that IF he is passing himself off as a professional dancer, etc.
Also, many times the teacher has absolutely no control over what the student is going to do. A few years ago I had a student who thought she was ready to get out there and give it a go after just one year of training. There was no way I could have stopped her. Thank goodness this kind of thing does not happen very often, but it is just one reason why I don't subscribe to the "blame the teacher" attitude.
Regards,
A'isha
This is true. It does happen and has happened to all of us. However, this does not negate the fact that there are teachers out there who do consciously produce students who are not qualified or prepared. As a teacher, you have no control over what a student does outside of your influence, but when you are the one putting on the show and choosing the performers you do and in that case, the blame does fall on us if we not only put them out there too soon, but do not give them realistic feedback as to where they actually are in their stage of development.

I had the owner of the cafe in my area approach one of my students. Out of no where, I see a POSTER, with her picture hanging up advertising a special show with my beginner student on it.

What happened is that the owner was infatuated with her and figured if he gave her a job, she would be inclined to date him. Of course she was eager to do it, and she figured, he's a real Egyptian, so if he thinks she can perform, she must be good enough. Lucky for me, one of my advanced students does dance there regularly and she was aware of what was happening. She stepped in and spoke to my student, luckily they are good friends. She explained to her that performing was not as easy as it seemed and although she had made a lot of improvement since studying with me, she was not ready to carry a 10 min show, let alone a 40 min show. She decided that what they would do is that the next time she was scheduled to perform, she would bring her and another more experienced dancer out. They would do a group number for 1/2 a song and then audience participation for the other half of the song. That way, she would only be out there by herself for 1 1/2 mins. The good news is that because of the intervention, it was easier for me to talk to her about the situation and why, for the sake of the art and having her be taken seriously as an artist, it was not good to go out there so soon. And that just because a club owner approaches you, it doesn't mean that he appreciates your level of skill, nor that he appreciates or understands the art. No matter where he's from. After the routine, she really understood.

My next step was to have a polite talk with the owner and tell him that I didn't appreciate him approaching my students. That they are not ready till I see that they have reached a certain level. He said to me all the other teachers do it. My reply, I'm not them. I'm Tarik Sultan and I will never put anything on a stage or bring him a performer that is not top quality.
 

Caroline_afifi

New member
This is true. It does happen and has happened to all of us. However, this does not negate the fact that there are teachers out there who do consciously produce students who are not qualified or prepared. As a teacher, you have no control over what a student does outside of your influence, but when you are the one putting on the show and choosing the performers you do and in that case, the blame does fall on us if we not only put them out there too soon, but do not give them realistic feedback as to where they actually are in their stage of development.
This is what i was going to say.

Also, my experience tells me that someone who has great moves in class does not always make a great performer.

People who dance well often think they are also good at everything else too... like teaching, performing, projecting, writing articles, public speaking etc. etc.

There are many who can do all this and more, but there are also plenty who think they can but really cant.

PS and there are far too many who think they have what it takes to put on a professional show.. stage manage and light it etc etc.
 

Tarik Sultan

New member
This is what i was going to say.

Also, my experience tells me that someone who has great moves in class does not always make a great performer.

People who dance well often think they are also good at everything else too... like teaching, performing, projecting, writing articles, public speaking etc. etc.

There are many who can do all this and more, but there are also plenty who think they can but really cant.

PS and there are far too many who think they have what it takes to put on a professional show.. stage manage and light it etc etc.
Exactly!
 

lizaj

New member
This is what i was going to say.

Also, my experience tells me that someone who has great moves in class does not always make a great performer.

People who dance well often think they are also good at everything else too... like teaching, performing, projecting, writing articles, public speaking etc. etc.

There are many who can do all this and more, but there are also plenty who think they can but really cant.

PS and there are far too many who think they have what it takes to put on a professional show.. stage manage and light it etc etc.
You forgive a dancer a lot if she or he has a personality to go along with their technique.
And OT completely..yes I need that discussion on belly dance in theatre.;)
 

Aisha Azar

New member
Dancers, etc.

This is what i was going to say.

Also, my experience tells me that someone who has great moves in class does not always make a great performer.

People who dance well often think they are also good at everything else too... like teaching, performing, projecting, writing articles, public speaking etc. etc.

There are many who can do all this and more, but there are also plenty who think they can but really cant.

PS and there are far too many who think they have what it takes to put on a professional show.. stage manage and light it etc etc.


Dear Caroline,
Of course there are teachers who let their students on the professional stage too early, but that is something we can not control either. We can only refuse to attend their shows, continue to teach our own students respect for the dance, etc. They surely are not going to listen to us, any more than club owners who are hiring girls for the casting couch will.
I think anyone who is being honest with themselves knows they do not know it all and are willing to say so if they want to be honest with others. I KNOW I am terrible at hair and make-up but good at costuming and directing, for example. And I would not dream of teaching or performing Turkish Roman at this stage of my education in that dance while I would consider myself "expert" at Egyptian belly dance. But I am one of the few professionals who is wiling to say I don't know it all. Most are busy setting the example to their students that they know how to do everything, teach every dance, etc. It took me awhile before I figured out that those who take credit for teaching and dancing way too many dances probably know a bit about all but have mastered very few.... just like me..... only they prefer not to say that out loud. Many of those students are following a very clear example, wrong, but clear!!
Regards,
A'isha
 

Tarik Sultan

New member
Dear Caroline,
Of course there are teachers who let their students on the professional stage too early, but that is something we can not control either. We can only refuse to attend their shows, continue to teach our own students respect for the dance, etc. They surely are not going to listen to us, any more than club owners who are hiring girls for the casting couch will.
I think anyone who is being honest with themselves knows they do not know it all and are willing to say so if they want to be honest with others. I KNOW I am terrible at hair and make-up but good at costuming and directing, for example. And I would not dream of teaching or performing Turkish Roman at this stage of my education in that dance while I would consider myself "expert" at Egyptian belly dance. But I am one of the few professionals who is wiling to say I don't know it all. Most are busy setting the example to their students that they know how to do everything, teach every dance, etc. It took me awhile before I figured out that those who take credit for teaching and dancing way too many dances probably know a bit about all but have mastered very few.... just like me..... only they prefer not to say that out loud. Many of those students are following a very clear example, wrong, but clear!!
Regards,
A'isha
Exactly. That's the problem and in the end all we have control over is what we do and hope that others will see the light and follow our example.
 

Pirika Repun

New member
Exactly. That's the problem and in the end all we have control over is what we do and hope that others will see the light and follow our example.
Yes. I hope so.

However, there is problems in both teachers and students side. I know a lady in late 20s who has been dancing for 3-4 years, and doesn't have any other dance background. She has been taking several teachers' classes, but now she mainly stick with 2 teachers who tell her she is good dancer and want her to perform for their shows or on their DVD.

So, she believes she has skills and she can perform, and she has been doing with them a couple of times. She dreaming become professional dancer and teacher near future. The reality is she is far away from professional or even intermediate level dancer. Her body is very stiff, can't relax her body, and always off the rhythm. She is very sweet girl but her techniques, express her emotions, music interpretation still need a lot of work. How come just a student like me can tell all these things, but her teachers don't tell her the truth? :think:

Actually, she took Tarik's class and other my teachers' classes a couple of times, but she couldn't keep it up with all of them. Every time she couldn't keep up in the class she always has excuses such as just came back from trip, it was too hot in the studio (hot day without A/C) or too busy at work. Then she says "I need take more (advanced) classes" but she really need is more basic or beginner classes to develop her techniques. But when some classes are available, she chose Int. or Advanced class than beginner class.

If she really serious about becomes professional, she has to realize which level she really belongs. However, because of her teachers or herslef or both, she doesn't want to get out from her comfort zone to try other teachers who honest with her and correct techniques such as Tarik and other my teachers.

It is hard for me to tell her because I'm not her teacher or professional dancer. If I say to her, maybe she'll think I'm jealous on her or something. Hey, I'm not in 20s any more:lol:, and my performance day is over long time ago, ;) and I know what I need to do to get better dancer. I don't know her case is her teachers make her believe she is better than what she really is, or she just blind herself to stay in comfort zone to stop progress herself. Either way, it is really sad to see.:(
 

Caroline_afifi

New member
You forgive a dancer a lot if she or he has a personality to go along with their technique.
And OT completely..yes I need that discussion on belly dance in theatre.;)
I will write the article... I am still thinking about how to present it really.

Because I have always used theatre, I dont want it to look like I can do it but no one else can.
It is more about how often people are for opting for theatre shows in the UK when they should be sticking to a church hall/community centre.

The surroundings does not make it professional and niether does the fact that someone is paid to teach.

As for the first part of your post, I prefer a dancer who may not be technically the best but has bags of personality, to someone who is a technically good cod fish.
 

Aisha Azar

New member
Theatre

I will write the article... I am still thinking about how to present it really.

Because I have always used theatre, I dont want it to look like I can do it but no one else can.
It is more about how often people are for opting for theatre shows in the UK when they should be sticking to a church hall/community centre.

The surroundings does not make it professional and niether does the fact that someone is paid to teach.

As for the first part of your post, I prefer a dancer who may not be technically the best but has bags of personality, to someone who is a technically good cod fish.

Dear CAroline,
I spent 7 years working in theatre as costume designer and I agree that having some background in theatre helps immensely. However, I am no lighting or make-up artist. As with dance, in theatre, people tend to have areas of expertise and not know it all. I can put a costume on stage and tell you very much what certain kinds of lighting are going to do to it, but I could not create that lighting. I can tell you what kind of set might compliment a production of Tartuffe in period costume, but I could not build that set. The costumes, yes, the set, no. I have small general theatrical knowledge but only one area of expertise.
I feel that when we put something on a theatrical stage, people are expecting an entirely different kind of production than they expect to see in the church hall. One psychologically says "professional" while the other says "amateur".
By far my favorite setting for Middle Eastern dance productions are intimate club settings. For me, the theatre stage is just too out of touch with the warmth of the dances and the closeness of the audience.
Regards,
A'isha
 

Caroline_afifi

New member
Dear CAroline,
I spent 7 years working in theatre as costume designer and I agree that having some background in theatre helps immensely. However, I am no lighting or make-up artist. As with dance, in theatre, people tend to have areas of expertise and not know it all. I can put a costume on stage and tell you very much what certain kinds of lighting are going to do to it, but I could not create that lighting.
These days, most theatre in the Uk have their own lighting technician.
The problem though depends on what they are used to..ie. somne do not know how to light dance and they do not consider the 'cosmetic' aspect of lighting.



I can tell you what kind of set might compliment a production of Tartuffe in period costume, but I could not build that set.
Set building I never get into unless it is some furniture etc. Black box is often the best as too much background and colours can seriously mess with moving images from afar.

The costumes, yes, the set, no. I have small general theatrical knowledge but only one area of expertise.
I think theatre background helps a great deal although it is it not rocket science.

I was with a theatre group called Yellow House for years. My dance theatre experience started with Wendy Buonaventura and a learned the skills of this before moving onto my own work. Wendy by the way always emplyed stage managers and lighting designers.
Realising this I made it my mission to learn the trade, I was actually more interested in these aspects than getting onto the stage itself.

I feel that when we put something on a theatrical stage, people are expecting an entirely different kind of production than they expect to see in the church hall. One psychologically says "professional" while the other says "amateur".
They are. This dance is not the best placed on a stage. I have worked with very good dancers who cannot deal with the stage and cannot deal with the isolation of the stage itself.
Many do not understand this when they put people on a stage to dance.

There is also the issue of space to be covered and projection. If you are a performer who absolutley depends on audience interaction then you are stuffed.

You cannot force a theatre audience to clap.


By far my favorite setting for Middle Eastern dance productions are intimate club settings. For me, the theatre stage is just too out of touch with the warmth of the dances and the closeness of the audience.
Regards,
A'isha
Yes I agree but it depends on the aims.

We use the 'performance space' at the Arab Arts festival and have a club night too.

Many people opt for the theatre setting because the sightlines are much clearer and there are less people moving about. Changeing facilities tend to be better and so does lighting.
Social clubs are a good setting but lighting is usually bad for costumes and seeing faces.

Dancefloors are generally not lit for performance.
 

Aisha Azar

New member
Venue, etc.

Yes I agree but it depends on the aims.

We use the 'performance space' at the Arab Arts festival and have a club night too.

Many people opt for the theatre setting because the sightlines are much clearer and there are less people moving about. Changeing facilities tend to be better and so does lighting.
Social clubs are a good setting but lighting is usually bad for costumes and seeing faces.

Dancefloors are generally not lit for performance.

Dear Caroline,
In theatre, it all seemed to be part of the whole. I conferred with lighting people, set people, directors, actors/dancer/orchestra, etc, in order for us all to build a cohesive show. I enjoyed working in theatre but after 7 years I discovered that I was just burned out on the politics, which are every bit as bad as dance, if not worse.
In most clubs I have dance in. They do have some lighting for the dance floor, though as you say, not necessarily a spot that follows the dancer, etc. I find that a combination of yellow and pink light with a white or two thrown in and aimed at floor ceiling and midrange usually gives adequate and warm lighting for a club floor so that the dancers actually show up and colors remain warm and true. It isn't perfect but it is doable! I inherited the lighting from the 2nd dance company I belonged to and that was nice. I am not sure who ended up with the sound system, but I WISH it had been me!!
Regards,
A'isha
 
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