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  1. #1
    I could get used to this! Meredith's Avatar
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    Help! I don't hate my dance videos - Spinoff

    Help, I need outside perspective! Does anyone have tips on how to effectively learn from and critique your own video? Can you fairly judge your own dancing or is unbaised critique the only way to go?

    I just finished reading the thread about taping your videos and realizing they suck, and realized I might be in a minority that doesn't cringe at watching a video of thier performance. But having only been belly dancing for 2 years ......I feel like I should be watching through my fingers....but I don't.... and maybe I am not being critical enough of my dancing.

    So I am putting my last performance video here for a critique and notes comparison with what I saw that needs improvement. Though generally positive, I am feeling on a plateau with dance right now anyway. Maybe what I need is a good swift kick(critique) in the pants!..g.:

    Thanks!
    Meredith

    <object width="425" height="350"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/vmyc8tPFf4w"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/vmyc8tPFf4w" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="425" height="350"></embed></object>



    PS- This dance is "structured".... not choreographed. I love and prefer improv. But am not good enough yet to totally improv.


  2. #2
    I could get used to this! Meredith's Avatar
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    Re: Help! I don't hate my dance videos - Spinoff

    Hmmmm....I have not figured out the art of embedding. Here is the link!
    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vmyc8tPFf4w]YouTube - Bellydance - Ayousha[/ame]


  3. #3
    Advanced BHUZzer mrsnj20's Avatar
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    Re: Help! I don't hate my dance videos - Spinoff

    Here are my suggestions. although, I am by no means an expert, just some things i noticed....
    Try to project more life through your fingertips and maybe use more varied moves because a lot of them seem to happen too many times. Also counter-balanced stances make it more interesting. It would give the audience something they dont expect.
    You are very good for 2 years!


  4. #4
    Advanced BHUZzer mrsnj20's Avatar
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    Re: Help! I don't hate my dance videos - Spinoff

    oh, i forgot, as to watching my own video and thinking it sucked, I try to compare it to someone who is professional and try to get it to look that graceful, or at least that I'm not hesistating when Im dancing.
    The last hafla, i performed at, I noticed my arms needed more work so I have really been working on that.


  5. #5
    Advanced BHUZzer NandaDncer's Avatar
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    Re: Help! I don't hate my dance videos - Spinoff

    You've done very well for 2 yrs :-) This would be a good point to pursue some private lessons, focussing on problem areas, especially if you're feeling like you've hit a plateau. There is nothing wrong with not being overly critical of yourself but in can be as unproductive as being too critical, getting live feedback from a good teacher would be best 'cos us (bhuz) telling you what we think you should work on still may not help you see it your self. I can give you a quick critique but it's really just surface stuff...

    What I liked:
    You have a good range of movement in your hips
    You have lovely fluidity in your taqsim
    Your stationary torso isolations are nice a crisp

    What I think you could work on:
    - Try working on some arm positions, holding them and transitioning through them, also work on controlling the energy through your hands, it was breaking a bit at the wrists and here was the occasional dreaded "flap"
    - During traveling steps you are losing your timing and it's muddying your movements. It looks like your stepping to the melody and running over the underlying rhythm. I would be interested to know if you see that in the video?
    - Not really a critique but... your technique really stood out during the more complex parts of the music, perhaps you need more or a challenge in that direction to open up your movement repertoire


  6. #6
    Master BHUZzer Jaseena's Avatar
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    Re: Help! I don't hate my dance videos - Spinoff

    Quote Originally Posted by mrsnj20 View Post
    Try to project more life through your fingertips ...
    Curious, I just wonder what you meant by the above statement. Do you mean move the hand through to the fingers, like picking up an imaginary grape and letting go exercise?


    This is great info. Thanks Meredith, for being so brave as to ask for help and posting your video.
    Last edited by Jaseena; 07-05-2008 at 07:48 PM.


  7. #7
    Advanced BHUZzer mrsnj20's Avatar
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    Re: Help! I don't hate my dance videos - Spinoff

    Quote Originally Posted by jasani View Post
    Curious, I just wonder what you meant by the above statement. Do you mean move the hand through to the fingers, like picking up an imaginary grape and letting go exercise?


    This is great info. Thanks Meredith, for being so brave as to ask for help and posting your video.
    i meant project energy all the through the hand and fingers so they don't look floppy when the rest of the body is so graceful.


  8. #8
    Master BHUZzer Bahtya's Avatar
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    Re: Help! I don't hate my dance videos - Spinoff

    Yes I wondered about that too. Expand?


  9. #9
    Master BHUZzer Bahtya's Avatar
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    Re: Help! I don't hate my dance videos - Spinoff

    Meredith,

    I am a beginner with only two workshops and endless dvd practcing under my belt so from where I sit, I am going "Holy Cow, could I move like that in a year?" If I were sitting in that audience not being as experienced as most women on this board are I would notice that you were having a good time and that your torso was fluid.

    I hesitate to even add any constructive criticism because not only did you actually get your butt up there and dance but looked pretty good at it too, and let's face it What do I know? So keep in mind this is just a perspective from a novice dancer. More varied moves would be a great thing to add though. I'll bet that's hard since you like improve and 5 minutes is a long time to dance.

    As for timing, I'll leave that to the experts here because I don't know much (yet..g.: ) But YOU GO GIRL!


  10. #10
    Advanced BHUZzer mrsnj20's Avatar
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    Re: Help! I don't hate my dance videos - Spinoff

    Quote Originally Posted by HOOKEDNOVICE View Post
    Yes I wondered about that too. Expand?
    nanda said pretty much the same thing, just worded differently:
    "Try working on some arm positions, holding them and transitioning through them, also work on controlling the energy through your hands, it was breaking a bit at the wrists and here was the occasional dreaded "flap""


  11. #11
    I could get used to this! Meredith's Avatar
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    Re: Help! I don't hate my dance videos - Spinoff

    Thank you so much to everyone who has posted, this is so helpful!

    yeah... the arms/hands.....my constant struggle! That and the loss of coordination/rhythm in a couple spots were some of my biggest issues with it. On the issue of repetitiveness... I was actually trying to keep this sweet and simple. Didn't realize it step into repetitive. Does anyone have other suggestions on how I could keep it simple without being so repetitive? Other movements you would have thrown in there? Where it went wrong?

    Quote Originally Posted by NandaDncer View Post
    - During traveling steps you are losing your timing and it's muddying your movements. It looks like your stepping to the melody and running over the underlying rhythm. I would be interested to know if you see that in the video?
    Nanda,
    With the exception of two phrases, I know I am dancing almost entirely to the melody. Practicing I kept getting off beat on some of those traveling phrase. But, totally did not connect the two! Is stepping to the melody contributing to that? Thank you very much for your comments. I am currently in search of private instruction!

    A very thankful,
    Meredith


  12. #12
    Master BHUZzer nasila's Avatar
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    Re: Help! I don't hate my dance videos - Spinoff

    Quote Originally Posted by Meredith View Post
    Does anyone have other suggestions on how I could keep it simple without being so repetitive?
    Use direction changes so the moves you're doing look different. Maybe try making more patterns on the floor; change the perspective for the audience.

    Quite lovely for a 2-year old. :)


  13. #13
    Established BHUZzer katja's Avatar
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    Re: Help! I don't hate my dance videos - Spinoff

    Quote Originally Posted by nasila View Post
    Use direction changes so the moves you're doing look different. Maybe try making more patterns on the floor; change the perspective for the audience.

    Quite lovely for a 2-year old. :)

    I agree with Nasila, more patterns and direction changes. And I also would have liked a bit of change in tempo and temperament. You have really good stage persona and energy, but I would have liked a bit more variation, both in your face and the rest of the body. Try playing with oppsites like big-small sharp-smooth etc.

    but for 2 years, I take my hat of!


  14. #14
    Advanced BHUZzer NandaDncer's Avatar
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    Re: Help! I don't hate my dance videos - Spinoff

    Quote Originally Posted by Meredith View Post
    Nanda,
    With the exception of two phrases, I know I am dancing almost entirely to the melody. Practicing I kept getting off beat on some of those traveling phrase. But, totally did not connect the two! Is stepping to the melody contributing to that?
    Aahh, it does make sense now :-)

    Ok, the melodic phrasing is following the underlying rhythmic structure and you have a nice steady 4/4 there. So while the melodic phrasing might span 2 groups 8 counts or 4 groups of 4 counts or 3 groups of 8 counts (or whatever it works out at) it will always correspond with a group of rhythm measures.

    Even "dancing to the melody" you should still be in time to the music. You could be stepping in time (though not necessarily on every beat) to the music and it is your choice of movements and timing of accents that compliment the featured instrument.
    Last edited by NandaDncer; 07-06-2008 at 03:08 AM.


  15. #15
    Master BHUZzer Lesgemini_Zafirah's Avatar
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    Re: Help! I don't hate my dance videos - Spinoff

    Quote Originally Posted by jasani View Post
    Curious, I just wonder what you meant by the above statement. Do you mean move the hand through to the fingers, like picking up an imaginary grape and letting go exercise?
    May I know a bit more detail about this please?


  16. #16
    Ultimate BHUZzer laura 2's Avatar
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    Re: Help! I don't hate my dance videos - Spinoff

    Quote Originally Posted by katja View Post
    I agree with Nasila, more patterns and direction changes. And I also would have liked a bit of change in tempo and temperament. You have really good stage persona and energy, but I would have liked a bit more variation, both in your face and the rest of the body. Try playing with oppsites like big-small sharp-smooth etc.

    but for 2 years, I take my hat of!
    I'm in agreement as well. The things that Nasila and Katja have mentioned above give dancing the texture and depth that take performances to the next level. These are exactly the sort of things I have been working on extensively in privates over the past year (and continue to), and while I've still got a ways to go, I've been much happier with my performances and have received great feedback on the improvement.

    I would recommend privates with an excellent instructor if you can manage it.
    IMO there are really worth the money and time. I actually think the better you get, the more valuable one-on-one time with a fab teacher is.

    I think you're a lovely dancer, especially considering the short time you've been dancing!


  17. #17
    Mega BHUZzer aazura's Avatar
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    Re: Help! I don't hate my dance videos - Spinoff

    I'll just echo what a lot of people have already touched on. You have lovely isolations, but I would like to see you work on your arm positioning to compliment them better. Think of creating line. This could also help with the repetitiveness issue--even if you're repeating movements, you can make them look different with a different line of the arms.

    As for dancing to the melody and being off beat, you should be stepping to the rhythm. I heard one dancer put it this way (wish I could remember who said this, but I think it sums it up well): The feet dance (step) to the beat, the body dances to the melody.

    Also, I would like to see you make some of those lovely isolations bigger and juicier. You have nice technique and have mastered them well... now push them to the next level!

    All in all, a lovely performance. Great job!!


  18. #18
    Ultimate BHUZzer mish_mish's Avatar
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    Re: Help! I don't hate my dance videos - Spinoff

    You are well on your way and I think it's great that you can be so objective about your performance videos. This is probably why you are so graceful after such a short period!

    What I noticed is that you have excellent hip work--very fluid and beautiful. I'd like to see you use a song with some more drama and variation for you to play with to vary your energy. You also let your hands "dance" for you too much--I can totally related--after 5 years, I do this a lot and I am working to stop. I am actually embracing some choreography to help keep me in line a bit. I am not imaginative with my arms, so you might look at some performance vids and/or talk to your instructor about how to quiet your hands a bit. Again, I mean this as a fellow dancer with these issues--and they aren't resolved!!!

    Overall, I know if I went to a performance and watched you, I'd enjoy your performance. I'd much rather see a dancer keep it simple (and maybe a little repetitive) rather than the person who does a lot of trick moves.


  19. #19
    Master BHUZzer casbahdance's Avatar
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    Re: Help! I don't hate my dance videos - Spinoff

    I don't think you have any reason to hate your dance videos -- you definitely don't suck!

    Is there room for improvement? Of course! As there is for all of us! I agree with most of the other posters as far as what needs work, but I have seen very few students able to do what you did after 2 years -- more like 5 or 6, if ever.

    I agree with Mish Mish . . . I enjoyed the performance. The only thing that really threw me was the out-of-time traveling. What I liked especially was how you transitioned from the ooey-gooeyest part of the taxim into the rest of it: ended taxim in a position that allowed you to start the next section subtley and in place; after doing several bars in place, you started to move, then be in place again, etc; finally did a lot of traveling at the end. I think your interpretation was spot on and you are to be commended for such a command of the music, that is, the dance grew as the music grew, which is exactly what we're supposed to do!

    As to being your own best critic (objective and all that), I'll second what mrsnj.20 posted: "I try to compare it to someone who is professional and try to get it to look that graceful ..." Private instruction with someone who will tear you apart and DVDs for practice at home are two fabulous ways to keep us honest, too!

    Keep up the good work!

    Deborah


  20. #20
    Established BHUZzer Mayliz's Avatar
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    Re: Help! I don't hate my dance videos - Spinoff

    Meredith,

    What I love about your performance is that I can see how much you enjoyed dancing this routine. It's all in your face. You were graceful and you did a simple routine practical for your level. You involved your audience. And your playfully, natural personality came through, even in a video.

    Isn't that what it's all about? You want your audience to know a little bit about you by the end of the routine. I think these qualities will get you farther than any tricks.

    You don't have to hate watching your own video.

    Now, my compliment by no means should encourage you to think you got it all and don't need to learn more.


  21. #21
    I could get used to this! Meredith's Avatar
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    Re: Help! I don't hate my dance videos - Spinoff

    Quote Originally Posted by Mayliz View Post
    Meredith,

    Now, my compliment by no means should encourage you to think you got it all and don't need to learn more.
    No risk of that, I assure you

    After posting this and getting the feedback I realized that is exactly why i don't hate them. Instilled in me by my stellar instructors, I have a good comprehension of the years and decades it can take to be decent dancer. I know I'm not there, and will not be for a looooong time, if ever. But it doesn't bother me cause I LOVE the dancing! I only compare my dancing to the masters and more experienced dancers as places I would like to be. I felt good, and still do after reading these comments, about the progress I have made in 2 years. Maybe after progress has slowed or stopped.....I will begin to get frustrated and feel bad about them. But hopefully with enough practice and a little enouragement from time to time that will never happen!

    Thanks to everyone who take the time to lend some advise and the compliments! Feeling very motivated......must go work on stuff!

    Meredith


  22. #22
    Ultimate BHUZzer mish_mish's Avatar
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    Re: Help! I don't hate my dance videos - Spinoff

    You have a wonderful and healthy attitude! I love it!


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