Hello my sweet apple pies,
Thank you so much for the support on last weeks post. I never had that much views in a short amount of time before :). We’ve just finished our 2nd session of belly dance workshop Unraveling You. Each time, one session lasts 2 hours. And I always feel like I go home rejuvenated and learned something valuable. In last weeks post (read it here), I’ve talked about the 4 categories of movement as defined by Rudolf Laban: Shape, Effort, Space and Body.
This week we focused on Effort. This term gives meaning to the dance. You make an effort to put the right accents in your movement. How do you convey a feeling? It could be slow but with focus. It could also be quick with focus or even unfocused. Will it be an impulsive move or an impactive move? I’ll spare you the theory though :p… I’m sure I’m a bit confusing you.
It comes down to the fact that everything you do is a deliberate choice. You must be absolutely in the moment and do it with conviction, thus effort. I actually believe it doesn’t only apply to dancing. It should be about anything you do in life, like for example singing. Every sentence you sing with each breath you take, each soft or loud accent should be a choice. And that’s what’ll bring quality to your song. When you study each move you do and make a decision on how you wish it to be perceived by your audience, that’s where you’ll be able to put in emotion into the dance. My teacher noted though, that each person could feel different things then what you were trying to convey. But that’s absolutely okay, because it’s art. The important thing is that somehow it moves the audience.
While I thought I understood and lived by this theory, there was actually quite a difference between my dance before we started this lesson and after. You can see my progress here! I’d love to know what you think!
Belly dance lovers, you’ve guessed it right, this song is from Paul Dinletir, called Pharaonic Odyssey. When I first heard it, I didn’t think I could dance on it, because it sounds so epic and strong. But while making my choice for the actual song, I just knew it had to be this one… What can I say, I just love the drama.
What really is the most fun part about this workshop is that you get to share compliments and tips and tricks with your fellow students. I was pleasantly surprised that the message I wanted to convey came through. A fellow student said to me that my movements said more about my feelings than my facial expressions, which only depicted “focus”. I explained to her that often times, when I receive comments that hurt my feelings, I do not wish others to see that it got to me. Hence I’ve learned to live with a poker face. If I show you my feelings, it’s because it’s a deliberate decision. In my previous job, I often got the comment that my expression was unreadable. But seriously, if you stand there with 3 men nagging in my face about my incompetence, what do you hope to achieve? That I’ll break down and cry?!!! I’m unreadable, because my facial expression is the only thing I can maintain while I’m hurt, shocked and humiliated on the inside, while thinking that you’re absolutely, dead wrong about the shortsighted conclusions you’ve made. But because I’m powerless about that, I’m upset and angry, so I focus on keeping my face neutral… That’s my way of being polite and not react negatively. Because for example in the Vietnamese culture, it’s quite normal to say something like: “Wow, long time no see. You really got fat, you should do something about it”. Saying that in the Western culture, it’s pretty normal that you’d get upset. But in the Vietnamese culture, if I get upset for that, I’d be considered to be a grumpy, negative person. Though I’m obviously upset, I’ll just pretend I’m not so that people won’t notice that I care that much.
Thus it feels liberating to be able to put those unsaid emotions into movement, dancing, because it says so much more, than what I can put in words.
I’m excited for what’s still to come. We have 3 more lessons until the Belly Dance Festival! With the cold weather right now, this exotic event is what’s keeping me warm and fuzzy inside :D!
What keeps your heart warm during this cold winter?!
Have a lovely week folks!!