Hello everyone! I’ve been trying to decide what to talk about on my blog, and many friends of mine have asked me about why I haven’t recorded a choreography video to my CD, Raqsat Katya. So, I thought I would share my thoughts with you about this new dance video culture we have found ourselves in this Metamodern era of bellydance. Looking at the history of how we got to where we are I’ve decided to come full circle and put the reins back into YOUR hands! When you listen to my music I don’t want you to have ideas in your mind about how I dance to it; it sets it in stone, and locks me into a pattern, and you, too. And guess what?? Every time I dance to my music it changes! I don’t want to be known for a certain choreography; I want to be known for the music and giving you the canvas, so you can apply your own paint.
As a performer I’ve always preferred improvisation with live music over choreography with recorded music, as it allows for more creative and emotional expression. I love to practice choreography in the studio, and for stage shows it always looks better if you’ve planned some of your dance. When I first began bellydancing in 1989 there were hardly any good choreography videos out, and the ones that were out were on VHS and were $50 each. As bellydance has always been disrespected by mainstream dance, i.e. ballet and modern, we thought we could achieve respect by behaving like them and choreographing everything, even though true oriental dance is improvised. This created a disconnect with the traditional culture and music. Also, when I started dancing there was no American Tribal Bellydance, which I also think helped to fuel the dance video culture. Imagine in 1989 the bellydance workshop shows had several dancers dancing for 20-30 minutes restaurant style, and it was all improvisation!! These shows would drag on for hours, and finally we said enough is enough, you’ve got 5 minutes on stage, so you’d better make it count! What we have from that shift my friends is the explosion of the dance video culture today.
I love to watch all of the dance videos online these days, it’s fun and I appreciate the inspiration. What I love about how many dancers there are around the world now is that everyone has something different to bring to the dance. Even in this world of copycat artists I am finding diamonds in the rough that are giving me hope. Just make sure you don’t get sucked into the phenomenon of repeating a pattern by watching yourself too much. Take a break from your videotaping routine and give your mind a chance to wander and your body to respond differently to the music. When we released my CD I was beginning to get sick, and consequently had to have a surgery. I used old video footage of myself over my new music, and guess what?? It matched! I thought, you know what, maybe I’ll just focus on the music, and let others have a clean slate to work from. There are so many great video dancers out there, I don’t need to be one of them. I have written choreographies to several of my songs on my CD, but it’s just for teaching. It’s fun to teach, and students need something concrete to hold onto when learning. There are parts in the choreography that I leave open for them to choose what they like, option A, option B, etc. That way the students feel like they are helping to create the dance, and when they process their emotions with the learning they remember the dance better.
So, I offer my music to you as a canvas for you to paint your dance dream upon! If you have used my music for your dancing, please show me, as I am going to showcase dancers on my channel who have done this! Let’s have some fun and get creative 🙂