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Fresh take on a TEDTalk – impulses

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Two months ago, I posted a TEDTalk which featured Benjamin Zander talking about getting modern audiences to love classical music.  I didn’t tie it into anything dancey, I just really was moved by the video and wanted to share.

Today I was trolling Blogrolls for some new dancey blogs to read, and I came across “The Tribal Way“, written by a gal named Chella. She watched the same video a month later, and had a brilliant observation to make connecting Zander’s discussion of “impulses” to learning and refining tribal bellydance.

“Zander notes how the learning of a skill progresses. The novice puts an impulse, an emphasis or concentration if you will, on every key. They have to think about each note as a separate entity. As their skill increases, they don’t have to think so much about each note – their fingers know where to go and the emphasis is on fewer notes. Finally they become so proficient that they place even emphasis on an entire phrase of notes – one impulse for an entire stretch of music. This is where the magic happens! The notes are smooth, beautifully running into one another with no hesitation.

This idea of impulses can be applied to dance as well. A beginner concentrates on each facet of each move, and you can see it in their bodies – the concentration as they move between each motion. There’s nothing wrong of course, this is just the start and I’m sure we all looked a little jerky and robotic in the very beginning. However, when you look at a professional dancer – Carolena Nericcio, Rachel Brice, etc – you will see no impulse, no jerky hesitant movements. Their motions run gracefully together in a stream of dance.

You can see this easily when you watch videos of Fat Chance Belly Dance, and other extremely skilled troupes as well. Why do they seem so graceful? So in sync and smooth?  Other troupes may do the exact same movements, but you cannot deny the certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ that FCBD possesses. Well, now you do know what – they have so few impulses. Their skill has grown so great that they are playing their instrument with only one impulse.”

The rest of her excellent post is HERE. Enjoy!

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Shay Moore is the director and primary instructor at Deep Roots Dance in Seattle, WA. She loves writing, movies, costuming, knitting, cooking, and bellydance to the moon and back again; and loves her amazing husband and doggies even more than that.

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