It's been not tooooo long since my last post. I don't know I felt that I should write something. Not sure what but I'm going to write so here it goes! :)
I'm trying to figure out the whole picture and video stuff to include in my blog posts. There's a video at the bottom of the post. But need to figure out how to put pics "in" my posts.
I'll figure it out at some point. :) Oh yeah. that's me in the picture. Photo taken by Jack Gordon.
I stated in my previous post that I would start learning from a new belly dance teacher. Well she's not new...my studies with her are new. it's been an interesting experience. It would be too easy to say I suck but no I don't...it is a COMPLETE different style and technique from my previous teacher Suhaila Salimpour. It saddens me the class is only once a week because I feel that I need a little more class time. But it is what it is...
I know I won't ever be a Classical Egyptian Cabaret style dancer. However, I will incorporate elements of it in my dance. I've always said that it is important to study the source of each style and dance to make you a better rounded dancer especially if you do fusion.....which is what I do. I don't believe in trying to copy movements here and there from videos or from taking 1 or 2 classes and then fusing it in your work. I'm a firm believer and a practitioner in studying the root style/technique extensively before fusing styles. Walk the Talk. I'm not saying to become a master...well that would be ideal..but that arguably takes a lifetime to become a master....and when I'm 80 years old....I don't think my body will be able to do what it use to do....now i can't do the things I was able to do when i was 18! :)
I believe in" understanding" where each art form comes from. I started my studies in Flamenco and Bellydance at the exact same time about 4-5 years ago. At that time I did not see the relationship between Bellydance and Middle Eastern music in general with Flamenco. (btw, once you trully deepen your studies you realize that Flamenco is directly related to Bellydance and the Arab world...but another discussion.) Flamenco and Bellydance both called for my spirit at the exact same time and now knowing the history of both...I see why I was drawn to both at the same time.
I started Flamenco dance technique from an amazing teacher, Genoveva, who was my first and only teacher until a couple of weeks ago when I added a new flamenco teacher, Anna Menendez to my studies. I studied extensively under Genoveva for about 3 years and realized I needed to further my studies to understand the beautiful beast that is Flamenco...and not just through baile/ dance...but the music. :)
The rhythms of Flamenco are very intricate...The melody musicality on another level. Thus I began my studies in Flamenco music and theory with Marija Temo. I've been with Marija for almost 3 years now. Then I went to Madrid last year to study intensively the dance/baile and cante at the world famous Flamenco dance school--the mecca of Flamenco dance studies, Amor De Dios.
My belly dance studies began with Marta Vizueta who introduced me to American Tribal Style, and Suhaila and Jamila Salimpour. I finally branched out and started my studies in Classical Egyptian Oriental style with Yasmin. I comb through youtube to learn of other styles in Belly dance and different dancers. There are many dancers that inspire me and and I am drawn to...another blog post. :)
I am gearing up to start learning from another respected Belly dance instructor but through Skype...yes Skype...they don't live here but that is becoming the norm....now especially with master teachers who are teaching via skype and I will begin studying with 2 more other notable belly dancers in the DC area in the next couple of months. MONEY!!!
This does not include the fact that I've studied Jazz dance technique, Hip Hop, ballet, and more for years and danced professionally in those areas. And my cultural background comes into play.
Anyhow what i'm trying to say is that it is IMPORTANT to study the roots of the dances if you will fuse. I did not go into any of my studies thinking I would fuse my dances. Never did it ever cross my mind actually. but once I started to dance, I realized that I naturally fused different elements without thinking about it. I believe it may be from my cultural background which I'll talk about in about 2 paragrahs.. :) and my stint as a dancer in NYC and LA. Jazz and Hiphop are fused constantly along with other styles. So it is very common to learn from teachers where those elements are combined...actually it's the norm but arguably that is due to the teachers being cross trained and the industry requiring that to stay alive as a working dancer.
It wasn't until another artist pointed out to me what I do in my search in each art form I study. They stated that i take a wholelistic approach by trying to understand the philosophy, the background, the theory, the spirit......That is what I naturally do. (SEE sometimes it's good to hear what people say about you.... :) Again, i don't go in a new artform and intentionally think that I must study music, the history, the dance etc. it's just natural to me to want to do that. and i do that with many aspects of my life.....
My dance/music is a reflection of who I am. I mix styles due to my extensive exposure to each. In addition, my parents are immigrants. I was born and raised in New York City. I grew up fusing the different cultures of my parents and the "American" culture in everything I did...something that many "first generations" understand....always playing the balancing act culturally. I grew up playing classical piano and violin for years, listened to pop/rock/hip hop on the radio, dancing to jamaican Dancehall and Soca, listened to my mom's records by ABBA, Miriam Makeba, Julio Iglesias, Mireille Matthieu, my dad's Haitian music in particular Skah Shah...the legendary Haitian music group my father founded and produced for many years....(I remember as a little girl sleeping in the recording studio as they rehearsed and recorded), and listened along side to various Merengue from the Dominican Republic (where part of my mother's family is from), Vallenato from Colombia and other latin artists such as Tito Puente and the amazing Gloriz Estefan! So fusing is just something that is ingrained in me. Honestly, I find it DIFFICULT to do a piece focused on 1 style.
Fusing is great but i would like to emphasize to please understand what you are fusing. Give each artform its integrity....give your spirit its integrity. Fusing will become the norm as the world is becoming smaller and smaller and people are exposed to other cultures. However, I don't believe in fusing simply you think it's cool. If you do not naturally fuse there is nothing wrong with that and vice versa. Being true to yourself and identity is the key and most important thing. Because when you perform...you are showcasing your spirit......or you should be.... :)
Needless to say I can't wait till next year when i step out as a performer...well i have before, just that now i'm going full force. :)
Go to my facebook page to keep up with me, my antics, my inspirations on a daily basis :)
Top Photo by www.jackontheroad.com
Post Process by Lucienne Francois
P.S. here's Chris Brown with his new song and video.....I'm rooting for you Chris... :)