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Crash, Tinkle, Tinkle...

That's the sound of names dropping all around me...

misspotsitt was talking the other day about not wanting to be seen as a dancer who only knows about her own specific form, and is ignorant of all other styles. I'm totally in agreement with her on this.

I love love love Egyptian, but in my time I have taken workshops in Turkish (from a Turkish teacher, Melek), American Tribal (from Paulette Rees Denis of Gypsy Caravan), Tribal Fusion (from Rachel Brice), Gothic (from meddevi). I've also done workshops on North African dances with various teachers, including Leila Haddad and Amel Tafsout. Yeah, that's a fair bit of name-dropping, but it's to show that I've been to direct sources.

I never took those workshops with any intention of pursuing those styles much further, but with the wish to experience them, and gain some knowledge about them. I wouldn't dream of going out and performing them, or claiming any expertise in those styles, but I'm aware of them, and I'm aware of the differences between them and what I do.

I try to keep up to date with what's going on in those other styles. I try to be aware of local (or locallish) teachers teaching in those styles.

I'm never going to teach or perform anything other than Egyptian, but I hope no-one can accuse me of being ignorant of other styles.


( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 13th, 2011 10:17 am (UTC)
Maybe you should perform something in one of those other styles, just as an experiment, somewhere low stress? It might be fun? Just a thought

I know I'm in a different situation to you, I still totally consider myself a student, even though I'm teaching, and ellariaal sets me challenges/homework as she does the other (hense me actually doing something Egyptian at the weekend). I suspect I will always be mostly a tribal fusion dancer, but I refuse to teach fusion to newbies, so I have to at least know the basics of other bellydance styles and be able to demonstrate them to some degree.
Jul. 13th, 2011 10:41 am (UTC)
Oh I still consider myself a student, I just don't have a regular teacher. But Jo sets me challenges, and I set them myself.

I just don't like those styles enough to want to spend my time on them. I know about them, I don't need to *do* them. My own chosen style has many sub-styles and it's enough for me!
Jul. 13th, 2011 06:59 pm (UTC)
"I just don't like those styles enough to want to spend my time on them. I know about them, I don't need to *do* them. My own chosen style has many sub-styles and it's enough for me!"

That's exactly how I feel about everything that isn't Egyptian. Gothic for me is actually a personal substyle of my Egyptian training, though it is a never ending battle to get people to see it that way, since anything different is generally labeled "tribal fusion" around here, no matter what it actually might be. But back to the main point, I certainly enjoy watching other styles, I appreciate what goes into them, but I am not moved to try to do them myself, because I don't find personal fulfillment as an artist in them. That's a big reason I have never pursued the bellygram/general public market, because forcing myself to be all AmCab for that market (it's what would be expected) would really be a bit soul-crushing.
Jul. 14th, 2011 02:19 am (UTC)
I know I LOVE a lot of TF costuming. It is a constantly awkward thing for me, because I HEART it but I know my dance style is NOT TF and I have NO DESIRE to learn TF just so I can legitimately wear pants with groovy overskirts and 7000000 tonnes of silver.
Jul. 13th, 2011 01:01 pm (UTC)

Here's the thing, no matter what you say or how much you can clarify things, people are still going to be stupid/ignorant/reading comprehensive-challenged. You can cite these things in your bio (a good place I think), which can help expand people's minds, otherwise, I wouldn't worry about it - because YOU know - and that's what really matters.
Jul. 13th, 2011 01:14 pm (UTC)
I'm not worried. Sometimes I post stuff just because I think about it!
Jul. 13th, 2011 08:42 pm (UTC)
'I'm never going to teach or perform anything other than Egyptian, but I hope no-one can accuse me of being ignorant of other styles.'

Does make me wonder why any reputable dancer would conflate 'devoted to one style' with 'ignorant of all others'. I guess my mistake is in using the term 'reputable'!
Jul. 13th, 2011 08:56 pm (UTC)
Some dancers (and I regret to say, some teachers), do seem to studiously ignore any style of dance other than their own. Like sticking their fingers in their ears and singing la la la I'm not listening... LOL!

I try to make sure that if any of my students wants to know about any style that I don't cover myself, I know where to refer them, to get training in those styles I can't teach them myself.
Jul. 14th, 2011 02:22 am (UTC)
It's exceptionally common, though POSSIBLY a little less so now. When tribal first started here there was a very POWERFUL sense that if you were serious about tribal you forsook ALL OTHERS, and people who start with tribal and/or cleave to it very early have generally got minimal real knowledge of oriental dance. Why? In many cases it's because back when they started to study oriental dance there was PISS ALL INFORMATION AVAILABLE. So they're still living in 1999 when it comes to their understanding of oriental dance, seeing as how they have not done any more contemporary study, certainly not Egyptian study.

The whole "come to the dark side, where we can wear stripey armwarmers together and pretend we're not housewives man" thing appeals a lot too, and those dancers don't pursue ME dance at all. They love dancing TF to Katy Perry and why wouldn't they?
Jul. 14th, 2011 07:44 am (UTC)
I think the 'forsake all other styles' thing in Tribal is thankfully on the wane, at least in TF anyway. ATS is more tricksy, as (I don't know if this is the case but it certainly used to be) if you are a USA based ATS teacher and are certified by FCBD you aren't allowed to teach anything else, and that is a huge bar then to people approaching other forms of dance, as it costs a lot of money to get certified and it could be considered a waste. This isn't the case outside the USA, I like to think in part down to an online argument I had with Carolena Nericcio pointing out that it made no business sence in the UK in the early 2000s to only teach ATS as no fucker knew what it was.

That said, people do look at me funny sometimes for being a TF dancer who has also always studie oriental dance, and who still takes workshops with teachers who aren't TF dancers. I've even been pulled up on 'my cabaret background' by international teachers in workshops before. That said the same teachers admit to making an ass of themselves in workshops for not knowing anything about other dance forms.
Jul. 14th, 2011 12:56 pm (UTC)
See, that would make me bristle. Pulled up on your "cabaret background". Pulled up in a belly dance class for having studied belly dance. GAH. GAAAAAH.
Jul. 14th, 2011 01:20 pm (UTC)
I wasn' t too happy about it. It's like when I decided to dance to Enta Omri, I was really nervous as I was using ME music. I can't believe that it's a culture that makes bellydancers have to justify why they are dancing to middle eastern music.
Jul. 14th, 2011 01:25 pm (UTC)
Well, on the flip side of BD of course, there is a TON of pressure dancing to Enta Omri because it is a) Egyptian and b)OMG OM KHALSOUM OMG which means people will JUDGE your interpretation. Luckily there are a lot of great resources in the UK to help out with that - people who can help you get the Egyptian nuances far better than you can work out yourself. HOW I wish I had that!
Jul. 14th, 2011 01:55 pm (UTC)
This is true. This was one of my choregraphic projects from the last few years. I wanted to do a TF piece to more traditional music. However in order to do that, I had to do a tonne of research, listened to a variety of different versions of the full song, while reading the translated lyrics so I could work out what was going where (it was during this period I discovered that the ONLY music molly likes is Om Khalsoum), pick a bit, and alas edit it a bit to five minutes (which is part of the reason in the end I went for a Ramzy arrangements as they are a bit more soulless and easier to chop) and more importantly, in order to choreograph it in a TF way, I had to approach it in an Egyptian way first. It wasn't a clunky robotic piece either, a lot of TF isn't anymore, and i've never really been good at that.

However I appreciate that the very reason I was able to do that is because, being based in the UK, I've had access to good resources, and I have very knowledgeable teachers to help. I know that the same can be said of other people who performed in the same show, but they haven't all taken those same opportunities I guess. I am still pleased I have though, I could never think of it as a handicap, even if I can be a little bouncier than some would like.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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