Weekly Challenge for 3-18-13
It’s Monday again! Time for this week’s challenge.
This is another video-watching challenge! So, what’s your style? That should be an easy question, but it’s one that perhaps not everyone can answer correctly, because not every teacher tells their students. My first teacher never told us what style she taught, and, as a baby dancer, I had no idea that there was more than one style of “belly dance.” Boy did I feel silly when someone asked me if I danced Lebanese or Egyptian and I had no answer for them. I just thought it was all belly dance, everywhere. I should have known better. Now I do! And so should you!
It’s time for you to discover what YOUR style is. Let me say this: it shouldn’t matter what style you do. One isn’t better than the other. Styles do go in and out of fashion, but there’s nothing wrong with carrying on in your style if that’s what you like and know. But it is important that you know what you are doing, and what the differences are.
Beginner: The most important thing for you to do this week if find out what style you are learning. Is it “Tribal” (meaning ITS) or Tribal fusion? Egyptian or Lebanese or Turkish? Does your teacher not know? That could be a problem, and one that you should work out with her or him. Once you know, start watching videos for this week. Write down what you notice about your style of dance. What do they do with the arms? Do the dancers travel around the stage a lot or stand in one place? Soft, gooey moves or sharp, back-breaking power moves? There are also some great blogs out there that discuss the differences in styles, so read those and figure out, does your dancing fit into the style? Watch at least one video each day, and write down what you notice.
If you don’t know your style, now is the time to learn! Sit down and have a talk with your teacher. If you didn’t know, go back and try the earlier challenge to acquaint yourself with your style. Otherwise, now it’s time to branch out! Watch videos from a style you don’t do, and write down what you notice. What’s different about your style and the one you are watching? Notice footwork, arm work, facial expression, how the hip moves are executed. Also look at costuming, since you probably know a little bit about costuming in your own style. Have fun, and see what you can discover about a different style!
Advanced: This is going to be just like the intermediate challenge, but, get up and dance too! Write down what you notice about the style you chose to view this week, and then try it out! You should be at a point where, even if you aren’t being explicitly taught a move by a teacher, you should be able to figure out how to do the movement safely and correctly. Where is their weight, what’s their center of gravity? Are the movements driven by the knees or the hips? Don’t forget about expression! Try out facial expressions, head movements, musical interpretations, whatever takes you out of your box!
Have fun, and happy dancing!