Authenticity discussion: I was teaching Serena Technique of belly dance which had Greek / Turkish heritage, in 1975-77. I had an Iranian student who went home to Teheran to visit her family. While she was there, they pressed her to dance for them bc they had heard she was taking lessons in America. When she was done, they told her she had a good teacher, and that she was learning the real thing. I have treasured this genuine compliment for many years.Something happened in the formatting. Let me try and fix this:
I can't speak to her teaching, but I'll keep your experience in mind if she comes back this way. I saw her do Persian most recently, but it's her older footage I'm referring to also.
Oh, I know But you know I will still call it bellydance. But we've been down that road before and we have to agree to disagree on that terminology.
Okay, I didn't know her from anybody when she came to Atlanta, so I guess I didn't have any preconceived notions about what she claimed to be teaching. Is your previous knowledge of what she claimed coloring your opinion of her dancing? Just curious.
I don't know if we're seeing the same performances! Part of what really drew me was her energy and how much she seemed to be completely enjoying herself, and that made ME enjoy myself, etc.
I'm NOT talking about the Superstars performances, because that's a different side of her. I don't think those performances or choreographies are nearly as complex as what she's actually capable of doing, but they don't belong to her, and I can see that I wouldn't want my soul sold on a work-for-hire basis.
wait, are you talking about Sahala or the Superstars?
I honestly can't fault her for doing Sahala group choreos. I LOVE the energy of dancing together with other women. It's an American thing, maybe, but I do enjoy it. And at least with the IAMED shows, it made a nice break between the solo performers. We could argue that Nagwa Fouad did with the dance things it was never supposed to be either -- but she knew what made good theatre.
I see what you're saying. And I know -- was it at the Giza awards, she was voted best Egyptian style dancer? I would not have agreed with that, either.
For a while I was trying to make a distinction between people who actually dance in the Egyptian style, and people who use Egyptian technique, as taught by either Raqia or Shareen. I mean, I use what I learned from Shareen, because it makes sense and it feels good. But it's not Egyptian style if I'm dancing to old Turkish music!
Fair 'nuff. But I guess what I was getting at is that Wahab missed the point of the hoedown music. But he appropriated it for his own ends, and turned it into something lovely. I sort of wanted to make the parallel between that and American Orientale.
And here's where I hit a brick wall in my understanding. The idea that there is one authentic ethnic bellydance. I just can't wrap my mind around that. Maybe it's just how we define it. I'm convinced the "authenticity" lies in the approach to the dance, and it's authentic Turkish if it takes a certain approach, authentic Lebanese if it takes another ... etc.
Defining that "approach" is where I'm having the difficulty.
BUT, I'm also being less restrictive in my definition of bellydance, which I'm basically considering SITA+ hipwork, like we've talked about before.
AND part of me wonders how long it takes to develop a sense of what is authentic ethnic bellydance. How many teachers have it? How many teachers will develop it? How long does it take for students to figure it out?
lots o questions, all the time....
Also when I was performing during that time, I danced for the middle easterners in town, and my imitators and competitors had to dance for the Americans. This was also a compliment I have treasured for many years.