Dear Students, Dancers, and Teachers,
I have recently been posed with a challenging question: Can people learn belly dance from a book?
The following web pages are created from my book notes. Its an active work-in-process that Im sharing with fellow dancers in Web Club #303. It is my hope dancers will give me their feedback and help me to strengthen my work. Its one thing to write about dance history and ones experience of belly dance, but quite another to teach remotely the movements in a written and still picture medium. Eventually, there will be photos to accompany the text. For now, please use your imagination. These pages reflect my current and ongoing research, experimentation, and development toward fully understanding belly dance and my lifelong commitment to teach and be in service to the dance. It is my goal to pursue its expression and teaching in nontraditional western terms.
These pages are in transition, and may change from day to day. I am choosing to share my work with the alumni of Web Club #303 as an added benefit to your learning.These pages are my property, so please do not share them with students or friends.
These pages grew from the writing of two books. The first is a simple, boiled down book on the how and why of belly dance a book I wass asked to write by a publisher to spark interest in belly dance for those who might not discover it otherwise. It was due to be published in 2004-5 if I could keep it shallow enough (which I may not be able to do. I really think video is a better method than the writen word). The second is a book more in line with my lifelong mission to express the more esoteric rewards and the wisdom of my experience of belly dance. This one is due to be finished many years from now. . . These pages reflect ideas and experiments only. My books will be fully edited by professionals. What you find here may be wordy and awkward at times. Forgive me. I have a lot of ideas, but.. . .Well, let's just say, as often as I've been told I'm a graceful dancer, I'm not so elegant with the written word. (It MUST be that right brain effect; see below.).
Belly dance offers to women a different, less intimidating opportunity to know movement in their bodies. I feel there is enough Western classical influence in the world of dance at the moment. Its wonderful if you dedicate your life to dance at an early age, but it can be downright intimidating for most. I feel its an act of liberation to resist the Western model whenever possible, because that model locks the mind and body into a strict way of acting and thinking that, frankly, needs an overhaul, especially when it affects a womans self image. I feel it leads to superficial modes of authority in regard to art forms as well as restricting access to the general population in experiencing said art for themselves.To depart from the rigid methods emphasizes a woman's sense of freedom in her body. I am more concerned with process over product,; however, I am confident that my teachings aid the novice and the professional alike. More importantly, I believe they aid the well being of the individual and the community.
In these pages, I talk about right brain versus left brain. I want to acknowledge, up front, that the science of right brain/left brain study is far from concrete. Some say out dated, but, because of its popularity in the last 25 years, it has fostered a layman's understanding of two bodies of thought processes.These qualities cant help but also take on gender characteristics.
analytical - masculine - left brain - word
creative - feminine - right brain - body
They do seem to line up on one side of the fence or the other whether you attribute them to a particular side of your brain, or not. Each of us incorporates both qualities in life, whether male or female, analytical or creative. But in our modern world we have allied ourselves with the analytical mode of thought, more than the creative. There is an overall sense in society that we are in drastic need of more balance. I am convinced that it is through creativity that people find the most joy and fulfillment in life!
War, politics, passivity, obesity, feelings of powerlessness, greed, and a disregard for the environment, the poor and the misfortuned are all signs we are out of sorts. As a culture and a society, we are in deep need of making changes in our approach to many things. As I said in the opening statement on the front page of the Visionary Dance web site, Dance is a metaphor for our life. So, it is my hope that if we approach dance differently perhaps we will begin to approach life differently. Perhaps we bellydancers, and most of us are women, can begin to find our own identity, power and voice. Many of us have a sense of it, but the next step is to recognize it fully, and be fearless enough to use it to influence our world dance!
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