Expanding on the “Does Music Make the Dancer” post the other day, fellow dancer and student, Meissa, posted this on the Shira.net tribe earlier this year:
“I have been told “you can bellydance to anything you want” more times than I can count True, but, I also crashed and burned so very hard on my last solo of 2009 (which was a total trainwreck and a huge pain to watch-I can’t believe I subjected people to THAT kind of self-indulgence), and preparing my first solo of 2010, cause I didn’t learn from my 2009 mistake.
I was so hellbent on dancing to that obscure music no one had danced to before, and putting on that pretty costume that no one else had, that I forgot what I really wanted to do: BELLYDANCE.
I was so very proud of myself when I danced solo to a traditional piece for the first time. I forgot about all the trinketry and the jewelry and just allowed myself to open up and feel the music.”
I simply adored these sentiments from Meissa!
My thoughts in response, here:
“It is interesting what Meissa said about when she dances to Middle Eastern music she experiences an “opening up” to the music. It’s true that “authentic” bellydance music really does drive your dancing. I find that the movements that come into my mind and body when listening to Middle Eastern music is just different than when I dance to a driving techno beat. As it should be! The music *informs* our movement, and as A’isha is fond of saying, the “essence” of the dance.
So what happens when we feed our dance a steady diet of non-ME music? Our movement becomes less and less a reflection of that music, and it stands to reason it becomes less and less “bellydance” in nature. It doesn’t mean the dancing is bad, and it doesn’t mean the dancer is weak, it’s just that the movement which naturally pairs with, and is supported by, Western music is very different than that which is supported by Middle Eastern music.
I just want to be clear that I totally get it that maybe M.E. music doesn’t resonate with everyone. But I would argue that if you aren’t at all inspired to move by M.E. music, then maybe bellydance isn’t the dance you are seeking in your heart and soul. I would NEVER make that determination FOR someone else, and so am not at all saying “you’re not a bellydancer!’ That would be pretty presumptuous of me or anyone to try and say. But I think the question is an important one for a dance where the music is so intrinsic to the development of its aesthetics. And I would encourage anyone who fits that bill to try and develop greater appreciation for M.E. music–work with it more, and see how it informs your dancing. Think of it as adding a vitamin supplement to your dance diet to increase the ‘energy and health’ of your dance self!”