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Thread: On having the basics in common.

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    Premium Member Aniseteph's Avatar
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    Default On having the basics in common.

    I've read so many times that all the different styles of what gets called bellydance are linked by having the basic movements in common. The music, the aethetic, the intention may have diverged, but the core is the same.

    How "the same" is it?

    I see different techniques, different movement vocabularies, different emphasis within the same movement. When you get geeky on how movements are generated, where the tensions and releases are, where energy is centred, is there a difference?

    In plain black leotards with no music, could you tell the difference between ATS/ITS, Egyptian orientale, TF, Turkish, American Orientale... if the dancer was just doing basic movements? Or do differences in body type and personal style override any of these divisions?

    If you have studied more than one style yourself in depth, is there a difference between the way YOU do/feel the basics?

    Thoughts?

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    Member Sophia Maria's Avatar
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    I think you actually can see a very basic difference in where (in terms of muscles) movements are coming from. In plain black practicewear I think sometimes the origin of really basic movements in Egyptian and American would look more similar...I suppose I do mostly an American Oriental style, with Egyptian inspirations, but I've also taken TF workshops which feels a lot different on the body.

    A lot of it also is different body types, too. For instance, I almost never do shoulder shimmies, because I just don't think they look good on me. I personally think everybody's shimmy is unique--no two shimmies alike! And this depends not only on body type (skinniness, curviness, etc) but also on personal style, because it seems to me each dancer puts a unique energy and emotion into their shimmy.

    i can't really speak for Turkish, I can't say that I've done much in the style.
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    V.I.P. Yame's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aniseteph View Post
    In plain black leotards with no music, could you tell the difference between ATS/ITS, Egyptian orientale, TF, Turkish, American Orientale... if the dancer was just doing basic movements?
    If there is no music and the person is just drilling basic movements, this is not dancing. It's drilling technique. Differences in style mostly come from the way music is interpreted, the different variations and emphases of the movements, facial expression and body language, usage of arms, etc.

    With that said, there are technique and postural variations even at the most basic level which do affect the aesthetic of the dance. So even basic technique can and does affect style, and yes, I could tell the difference between *some* (not all) of these styles if I watched someone drill basic movements without music or a fancy costume.

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    V.I.P. Yame's Avatar
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    Additionally, there are "basic movements" that are used very often in some styles but not as often in others, if at all.

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    Senior Member walladah's Avatar
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    Default I do not consider myself an expert, but I can say

    from the little i know that the basics are in common, esp. the traditional stuff in oriental dance.

    THe dances created for stage performance, particularly the modern styles, have several differentiations, but their core is still the same.

    I am talking about egyptian style (raq sharki, baladi style etc) lebanese style, turkish style, gypsy style, greek style - but i would say that even ATS and tribal fusion have kept more or less the same core.

    I can also say that i have seen, particularly in tribal fusion, reviving movements that exist in forgotten or disdained styles, like the greek tsifteteli. I mean, that for reasons i do not know, if you keep the core intact, the music might lead you again to routes that might have been forgotten the last decades.

    THen, i think that music is important - i think that it leads the body to continue repeating the basics.

    Moreover, the more one studies different styles, the more she finds out the connections between them. And this is normal because if people tend to find differences between styles, they just reaffirm commonalities (if of course you study in a systematic way), although very few teachers teach while knowing many styles to show the movement in different contexts.

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    Member LilithNoor's Avatar
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    I'd expect to see a difference between a cabaret style and ATS, because the general posture is different. When my class dance ATS, we are expected to hold our ribs higher, and to keep our elbows up more.

    I think I would also be able to make a guess based on the moves they used- a cab dancer would probably do a standard shimmy, whereas ATS dancers usually use a 3/4 shimmy. Cab mayas are done at any speed, ATS taxims are always veery slow.
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    Member Duvet's Avatar
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    I think if someone showed me a suficient variety of moves for each type, without costume or music, I could spot which one was Egyptian, Turkish, or Tribal as an overall idea.

    There are differences in technique, posture and use of the arms, and they would guide me. But there is overlap, and there are a number of different types of dancing within each of the three styles I'm familiar with which I might find harder to distinguish. For instance, I still get confused between Egyptian cabaret and Turkish, and I wouldn't be able to distinguish Black Sheep from original ATS, although I'd still know it was Tribal. But I think I'm aware of where I wouldn't be quite sure, and the reasons why.

    Perhaps someone could try it with their class?

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    V.I.P. Kashmir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aniseteph View Post
    In plain black leotards with no music, could you tell the difference between ATS/ITS, Egyptian orientale, TF, Turkish, American Orientale... if the dancer was just doing basic movements? Or do differences in body type and personal style override any of these divisions?
    Without music it isn't belly dancing - it's drills. It could be any of the above - or even jazz if the hands have been softened. That said, there may be some differences you could pick up. In general,
    • Heavy use of upper body isolations would rule out Egyptian style
    • Tight, isolated, down emphasized hips would rule out Turkish style
    • ATS posture is used in no other style that I am aware of
    • Drilling the standard slow moves or fast moves are a pointer to ATS

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    What if they were dancing to music that we could not hear? Would that make a difference?

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    Premium Member Aniseteph's Avatar
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    Once you give them music and they really dance I don't think it would be so hard, unless you gave them a very carefully selected combination of moves to do.

    I get it that if you take everything away it's just drills not dancing. Actually maybe I do mean just at the drilling it level . The black leotards thing was just trying to dissect out stylistic cues and cut to those basics-that-we-all-have-in-common. Or don't. I increasingly wonder... could you say we share some of those technical roots with a whole load of dance styles? Does the Egyptian style belly dancer's basic technique overlap with burlesque? with hiphop? with hula? with jazz? as much as with tribal fusion?

    Ach, spot the over analytical scientist. Note to self not to explore strange thoughts when running a temperature.

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