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Thread: Belly Bullies - article from Gilded Serpant




  1. #1
    I could get used to this! thussell's Avatar
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    Belly Bullies - article from Gilded Serpant

    After a long couple of weeks preparing for a show and dealing with diva attitudes, this article really made my day! It's a must read for everyone!

    Gilded Serpent, Belly Dance News & Events , » Bully for You!


  2. #2
    Advanced BHUZzer MellyBelly's Avatar
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    Re: Belly Bullies - article from Gilded Serpant

    um... that article confused me ??? So if I create a DVD I have no more spirit in my dance and I'm just out to control people and make money.

    to me that article read like a rant for the bellydancer who is bitter that she could't make it as a successful professional. (I'm not saying the author isn't successful/professional etc. I'm just saying that that is the vibe I got from reading it).

    just me? did I read it wrong?
    please don't attack me for my opinion, but I'm wondering what others thought?
    Last edited by MellyBelly; 02-02-2012 at 02:35 PM.
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    Ultimate BHUZzer tahiradancer's Avatar
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    Re: Belly Bullies - article from Gilded Serpant

    While it was an interesting rant, I am going to agree with Melly - I have no idea what her point was and yes, she does seem to be very bitter. Had she actually given concrete examples of what she was talking about, and her POV as to why she believes that streamlining this dance form via certification courses and DVD's is wrong, maybe we would be able to get on board with her or at least find some common ground. But this really just felt like so much gobblety gook!

    {{{HUGS}}}
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    Advanced BHUZzer Khalilah Samah's Avatar
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    Re: Belly Bullies - article from Gilded Serpant

    Like pretty much everything I read online or elsewhere, especially opinion pieces, I try to keep in mind that the opinion or view being stated, unless expressly written as "all dancers do this/say this/are this..." is most likely referring to certain instances or experiences. I know the author very well and have discussed this topic in many contexts over the years with her...she is not bitter in the least. Unfortunate that it read that way to some. Just something to consider.

    When she first showed me this latest piece as a working project, I had a feeling it would likely rub some readers the wrong way. Fortunate for us, she does not concern herself too much with how people may or may not respond, but has the cajones to say/write her experiences and opinions. And I say fortunate because it makes us all stop and think, at least a little or start a thoughtful discussion, about something(s) that probably affect us all at some point in our dance journeys.
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    Advanced BHUZzer MellyBelly's Avatar
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    Re: Belly Bullies - article from Gilded Serpant

    I agree, I just don't think it was as clearly written as it could have been - but there are certainly good points in there. Again I'll express that I am not attacking the author, just having a discussion about the points raised in the article and how it made me feel.

    I think the article title is off base and maybe that is why I was confused. While teachers who say "I'm the only" this and "in the blood" that are often bullies, I think her real beef might be the commodification of bellydance and those people trying to make a cheap buck rather then actually enhancing a students/audience members dance experience.

    I guess it was just too generalized, as I know of many more fabulous dancers/teachers who sell DVDs and do Workshops (with certification of completion) who aren't trying to swindle students, but just make an honest living out of their own hard earned experience.
    Last edited by MellyBelly; 02-02-2012 at 03:09 PM.
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    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. Lauren_'s Avatar
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    Re: Belly Bullies - article from Gilded Serpant

    I wasn't rubbed the wrong way by the article. In fact, I couldn't tell you whether I agree or disagree with what the author was saying because I never figured out what she was trying to say. I found the page really vague and difficult to follow.

    I couldn't figure out what it was about, and the sentences felt long and awkwardly worded to me. I tried hard to follow for a few paragraphs, then skimmed it to see if it got more specific/readable, then wandered off to read something I could make sense out of.

    My apologies to the author and those who are friends with her, but that was my honest response to the article.


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    Advanced BHUZzer Khalilah Samah's Avatar
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    Re: Belly Bullies - article from Gilded Serpant

    Quote Originally Posted by MellyBelly View Post
    I agree, I just don't think it was as clearly written as it could have been - but there are certainly good points in there. Again I'll express that I am not attacking the author, just having a discussion about the points raised in the article.

    I think the article title is off base and maybe that is why I was confused. While teachers who say "I'm the only" this and "in the blood" that are often bullies, I think her real beef might be the commodification of bellydance and those people trying to make a cheap buck rather then actually enhancing a students/audience members dance experience.

    I guess it was just too generalized, as I know of many more fabulous dancers/teachers who sell DVDs and do Workshops (with certification of completion) who aren't trying to swindle students, but just make an honest living out of their own hard earned experience.
    Agree - through my own knowledge, the "bullying" mostly referred to the section that mentions public shaming and trying to get other performers to more or less fall into line under one dancer's voiced standards.

    I completely understand how the title could be confusing or controversial to the content.
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    Advanced BHUZzer MellyBelly's Avatar
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    Re: Belly Bullies - article from Gilded Serpant

    Quote Originally Posted by Khalilah View Post
    Agree - through my own knowledge, the "bullying" mostly referred to the section that mentions public shaming and trying to get other performers to more or less fall into line under one dancer's voiced standards.

    I completely understand how the title could be confusing or controversial to the content.
    I think that was what I was having a hard time with in the article. While I agree that we shouldn't just take the word of one or 2 loud dancers and follow them just because they say "this is right" I also think understanding what being a professional means and holding yourself to certain standards is important and so easily forgotten these days. as in: we shouldn't just be able to do ANYTHING we want and expect people to accept it as art
    Last edited by MellyBelly; 02-02-2012 at 10:10 PM.
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    I could get used to this! philoclea's Avatar
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    Re: Belly Bullies - article from Gilded Serpant

    I read the article as being very much pointed to "standardizations" and certifications like Suhaila's. The DVD issue seemed minimal to me... and I must confess that years ago, when I looked at Suhaila's then-website and saw what it cost to be certified, the entire practice seemed like madness to me. What do I care if a dancer has a certificate? It takes me less than 30 seconds of watching, say, Ranya Renee, to know that she's a gorgeous dancer and someone I want to learn from.

    I really liked:

    What does the instructor gain from the transaction beyond the currency? (Dance instruction does not generate “big bucks” even for the most famous of Belly dance teachers; so, you can pretty well suppose that instructors are not just teaching for the money alone!) If your answer is in part that she or he gains control over where, how, when, and if you dance, and whether or not you are qualified to dance at all, that instructor is attempting to at least contain your ultimate achievements through dance as well as invalidating the decision of the person who seeks to hire a dancer.

    This spoke to me because earlier today, I was watching Michelle Joyce's "Secrets of the Stage," and the section on simplicity was actually very empowering. That's the kind of DVD that gives you tools and also points out that it's not about using every move in the book. But there are DVDs that make me feel I can't dance unless I can do party tricks with my pelvis. (Or butt cheeks!) So I think this is wise advice... not that every DVD producer is bad, but that DVDs can be empowering or not, as can workshops, etc.
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    Official BHUZzer Ariadne_Eleni's Avatar
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    Re: Belly Bullies - article from Gilded Serpant

    I didn't really find it confusing. I did find it a very long winded way of saying "my dance is ART and anyone who criticizes/disagrees is trying to control my personal expression!" I'm afraid I can't agree with that point of view since dance, all dance, is a visual art form and the standards of visual art forms are determined by a combination of the artists peers and customers. Complaining both because you don't like criticism from your peers and because they have successfully built a customer base different from yours is irrelevant and unrealistic. Calling them "bullies" for it is even more so.
    "He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool." — Brigham Young


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    Advanced BHUZzer BELLA_BELLA's Avatar
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    Re: Belly Bullies - article from Gilded Serpant

    I found it interesting. It did seem to start out on one point (belly bullies) and then move to another (the certification craze), but it said many of the same things I've noticed myself.


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    Advanced BHUZzer carpediem's Avatar
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    Re: Belly Bullies - article from Gilded Serpant

    IDK, I thought it was about certain un-named prominent belly personalities trying to push "their way" onto others in order to make lots of money (is that possible in this business?) and feed their egos. I am not "in the know" enough to know who it was truly about except for as someone mentioned, perhaps Suhalia. One could make the same types of observations about some in the fitness industry.


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    Advanced BHUZzer MellyBelly's Avatar
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    Re: Belly Bullies - article from Gilded Serpant

    Quote Originally Posted by Ariadne_Eleni View Post
    I didn't really find it confusing. I did find it a very long winded way of saying "my dance is ART and anyone who criticizes/disagrees is trying to control my personal expression!" I'm afraid I can't agree with that point of view since dance, all dance, is a visual art form and the standards of visual art forms are determined by a combination of the artists peers and customers. Complaining both because you don't like criticism from your peers and because they have successfully built a customer base different from yours is irrelevant and unrealistic. Calling them "bullies" for it is even more so.
    yes, I think that was what I was feeling too but couldn't put into words!
    Melissa Gamal - Arabesque, Toronto Canada


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    Advanced BHUZzer MellyBelly's Avatar
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    Re: Belly Bullies - article from Gilded Serpant

    Quote Originally Posted by philoclea View Post
    I read the article as being very much pointed to "standardizations" and certifications like Suhaila's. The DVD issue seemed minimal to me... and I must confess that years ago, when I looked at Suhaila's then-website and saw what it cost to be certified, the entire practice seemed like madness to me. What do I care if a dancer has a certificate? It takes me less than 30 seconds of watching, say, Ranya Renee, to know that she's a gorgeous dancer and someone I want to learn from.

    My original comment about the DVD thing was just to simplify my feelings on the article and try to be a bit funny. :) I do realize there are bigger issues.
    Melissa Gamal - Arabesque, Toronto Canada


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    Ultimate BHUZzer ssipes's Avatar
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    Re: Belly Bullies - article from Gilded Serpant

    I also could not really figure out the points the author was trying to make. It seemed as though she may have been talking about some very specific people/situations, but was unwilling to name them or be specific, so instead just wrote vagaries.
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    Ultimate BHUZzer steffib's Avatar
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    Re: Belly Bullies - article from Gilded Serpant

    Hm, I am sitting here scratching my head - I can not quite figure out what point the author tried to make, what I should learn from the article and why the Gilded Serpent decided to publish this incomprehensible rant. Certainly, she is upset about something, but a very badly written article with opaque references is only going to waste the time of a lot of people. And, I am surprised that an editor would not return an article like this to the author for revision.


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    I could get used to this! briceashta's Avatar
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    Re: Belly Bullies - article from Gilded Serpant

    I'm trying to be respectful and not add to the echo chamber, but yeah, I'm not fond of this article and a lot of what's expressed in it...

    The premise is bullying and then it turned into a rant about people making money off of the art. If you're trying to push across your way and destroy other people in the process, then you're a bully, but the article didn't really narrow it down to that.

    Hijack:

    Coincidentally, she's released a lot of material in a similar vein and also posted this: Najia's Column 8-99, for the Gilded Serpent

    That article has a similar structure and seems to argue that a standard name for a move is a slippery slope to cultural imperialism, which I disagree with. I guess I see some point there, but having to cycle through four names for something (gooshies, reverse mayas, taxims, and of course vertical hip figure 8s down to up) is not preventing anything other than immediate understanding.


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    Advanced BHUZzer caroline_afifi's Avatar
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    Re: Belly Bullies - article from Gilded Serpant

    You could have a field day just reading the other titles of this disgruntled authors articles on Gilded Serpent!! LOL... she definately appears to have an un-identified axe to grind.
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    Ultimate BHUZzer Tourbeau's Avatar
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    Re: Belly Bullies - article from Gilded Serpant

    The article definitely could have benefited from the guidance of a content editor to help tighten the focus. Najia's writings have generated controversy before, and it can be difficult to sort the undercurrent of her dissatisfaction over the state of the current BD community from the valid points she is making.

    Honestly, I never know how much I am supposed to be able to read between the lines on her articles. There are often really important ideas expressed--too many teachers prioritize mechanics over developing students as performers, marketing ability can take precedence over quality, most dancers will never have the opportunity to work with a competent personal mentor, and so on--but they just get lost in a cloud of not-specific-enough-to-be-juicy-gossip ranting.
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    Advanced BHUZzer Khalilah Samah's Avatar
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    Re: Belly Bullies - article from Gilded Serpant

    I think it's partly about dancers (with some obviously thinly-veiled references to certain personalities) trying to "own" the dance in various ways - not just their own dancing, but others' as well. From trying to dictate who may or may not perform, according to nothing more than a very narrow and specific set of standards, to wanting to control the rates of other dancers (going beyond supporting a healthy standard and helping those who need guidance in professional rates), to copyrighting the dance that has existing since long before and that they put out in a public forum.
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    I could get used to this! thussell's Avatar
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    Re: Belly Bullies - article from Gilded Serpant

    I must have missed something in the middle of that article. I was looking at mostly the bottom section about insecure dancers trying to attack others. It hit really close to home for me because I just had to deal with a dancer from Turkey (who’s never taken any dance class of any sort) who has recently started teaching in my hometown. She threw a fit because her picture wasn’t on the main flyer for the event and proceeded to tell me that since she’s from Turkey, bellydance is in her blood and the rest of the performers had no idea what authentic bellydance was. Obviously she was a perfect example of what the article mentioned as an insecure belly-bully.


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    Advanced BHUZzer Khalilah Samah's Avatar
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    Re: Belly Bullies - article from Gilded Serpant

    Quote Originally Posted by thussell View Post
    I must have missed something in the middle of that article. I was looking at mostly the bottom section about insecure dancers trying to attack others. It hit really close to home for me because I just had to deal with a dancer from Turkey (who’s never taken any dance class of any sort) who has recently started teaching in my hometown. She threw a fit because her picture wasn’t on the main flyer for the event and proceeded to tell me that since she’s from Turkey, bellydance is in her blood and the rest of the performers had no idea what authentic bellydance was. Obviously she was a perfect example of what the article mentioned as an insecure belly-bully.
    This too. Though I love meeting new people, hearing their stories and forging friendships, when it comes to performance and establishing oneself as a professional/non-professional dancer, it's what you put on the stage that will ultimately define you as a performer. Shout all you want about where you came from, who your parents are/were, your ethnicity, whatever...can you dance in a way that captures your audience? Or is it more akin to holding them hostage?

    I learned this when I was a music major in college, and long before discovering belly dance: Get all the certificates, copyrighting, marketing, etc. that you want. Your daddy was Mozart? Cool! If someone is simply better than you, they are more likely to get the job or the love of the crowd, regardless of their resume.

    As dancers and artists (whichever term you prefer) I think we should be more focused on our individual journeys (with the support and inspiration of those you are able to forge friendships, personal and/or professional, with) and worry less about all the inevitable noise. Dancers who are true individuals, put their own personality in their dance (and not focus on doing someone else's trade-marked style), have a unique story to tell and are far more interesting to watch IMO. I believe those dancers who instead get louder and more insistent on pushing their point of view on others rather than focusing on the eternal development and growth of their own art, run the risk of coming off as a "bully."
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    Advanced BHUZzer yameyameyame's Avatar
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    Re: Belly Bullies - article from Gilded Serpant

    Quote Originally Posted by steffib View Post
    Hm, I am sitting here scratching my head - I can not quite figure out what point the author tried to make, what I should learn from the article and why the Gilded Serpent decided to publish this incomprehensible rant. Certainly, she is upset about something, but a very badly written article with opaque references is only going to waste the time of a lot of people. And, I am surprised that an editor would not return an article like this to the author for revision.
    To be perfectly honest with you, a lot of GS articles read to me exactly like this one. Except for a couple of exceptions, they're either substanceless fluff that could have been written as an essay by a middle schooler, or rants from dancers who have beef with other dancers and want to vent off without naming names.

    Nothing wrong with either of these two, I just don't think they're the sort of thing that should be published in a "Journal of Record for Middle Eastern Music, Dance, and Belly Dance." But then again, what do I know, I am just a jealous hater and a bully.
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    I could get used to this! briceashta's Avatar
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    Re: Belly Bullies - article from Gilded Serpant

    Quote Originally Posted by yameyameyame View Post
    To be perfectly honest with you, a lot of GS articles read to me exactly like this one. Except for a couple of exceptions, they're either substanceless fluff that could have been written as an essay by a middle schooler, or rants from dancers who have beef with other dancers and want to vent off without naming names.

    Nothing wrong with either of these two, I just don't think they're the sort of thing that should be published in a "Journal of Record for Middle Eastern Music, Dance, and Belly Dance." But then again, what do I know, I am just a jealous hater and a bully.
    No amount of sarcasm will ever convince me that you're a bully. And your sentiment about GS is fairly common - I usually wait until other people comment about an article so that I know whether to read it as serious information/hard-hitting journalism or just another rant. I get mean when things don't meet my bully-standards.

    I was thinking about this and the point of this article (?) seemed to be to get people to stop pushing their own way/opinions/whatever onto others... isn't this article doing the very thing it is so firmly against, in some capacity?


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    I could get used to this! PracticalDancer's Avatar
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    Re: Belly Bullies - article from Gilded Serpant

    Frankly, threads like this justify articles like that -- the article, despite its wants, got us thinking and discussing. And that is the good thing.

    So, yes, one can get a bit distracted by trying to figure out, "Who is she talking about?"

    One section would appear to be about Suhaila. Thinking about it over my morning cup of coffee, there are other dancers with this business model. Lots of other dancers. So, to that, I think she is asking us to really look at what comes with that certificate. Is it comparable to certificates in other industries that demonstrate competency, comprehension of material, skill; or, do they just demonstrate that you paid? Evaluate what you really get with that piece of paper.

    The bullying aspect was a stronger thread through the article, for me at least. I have been to enough workshops now that I can say I have heard an "expert" declare both sides of every issue.

    "Always step on the 'dum' to stay on beat." vs. "Step on the beat, each beat!"
    "This dance is rooted in ancient India!" vs. "It came from California in the 80's."
    "Every move should come from your . . . " "Knees!" "Thighs!" "Glutes!" "Goddess fabric!"
    "Lean back!" vs. "Stay centered!"
    "I studied with [name] and she is far more an expert than [name]!"
    "NO ONE in [country] would EVER do THAT!"

    Oy. My head hurts just remembering how many times I have been yelled at, subjected to barrages of expletives, and told to bow to authorities at such events.

    And, for every nationally known instructor like these, there are the locals who are like that. The ones who host the workshops, love the guest instructor before the event, then (after being subjected to the barrage) pull their students aside and say, "Don't listen to her. Just remember what I told you in class!"

    And, of course, those particular locals may never want you to join their troupe, gig out, or teach, because it turns you from being a paying student to an equal, or, worse yet, a competitor.

    And, I think here is the crux of it: the difference between advice and control is the spirit and manner in which it is offered and the expectation of what is to be done with it. The "business" of dance requires a transaction; one that starts with "You pay me for this." Other teachers (in public schools, colleges, etc.) fully expect students to complete the course and move on, using their knowledge to make their own way. But, some dance teachers have really lost sight of this, treating students more like junkies. "You will come to me and get your fix. You will pay me every time. And, you must keep doing this, or else."

    Perhaps that is what she was trying to say?


  26. #26
    Master BHUZzer aziyade's Avatar
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    Re: Belly Bullies - article from Gilded Serpant

    Quote Originally Posted by AnalaVA View Post
    One section would appear to be about Suhaila. Thinking about it over my morning cup of coffee, there are other dancers with this business model. Lots of other dancers. So, to that, I think she is asking us to really look at what comes with that certificate. Is it comparable to certificates in other industries that demonstrate competency, comprehension of material, skill; or, do they just demonstrate that you paid? Evaluate what you really get with that piece of paper.
    Suhaila is simply responding to market demand. A LOT of students respond very well to a structured syllabus with "homework" and key points to master for evaluating personal "improvement." When she originally created the certification system she said she had three goals:

    1. To "own" her name. (Jamila insisted upon this, since there are about 1500 teachers on the planet allegedly teaching "Jamila Salimpour technique" that really aren't.)
    2. To make sure all students in a class together were at the same technical level.
    3. To supply students who wanted structure with a very specific and attainable list of things to "master" in order to gauge their own improvement and ability.

    Point number three often gets glossed over a lot, but it's a major factor in why many people do opt in to her program. She likens it to the belt system in martial arts, which is equally as arbitrary as some of the "levels" other dance teachers have for their classes.

    Do some of Suhaila's students believe her certification is something like a college degree? Or that they need that certification in order to perform or even to dance for fun? Probably. Do most? I doubt it. Most of the level 4 and 5 students of hers that I have met say they pursued the certification for the challenge or for the fitness benefits (or because they wanted to be authorized teachers of a technical method they appreciate and which works for them).

    In the world there exist people whose sole motivation to participate in a marathon is to get the medal or ribbon for completing it. Does their motivation negate the health benefits of running a marathon? Does such a motivation denigrate the positive benefits of persistence and training and trying to achieve a personal best?


    just thinkin'...


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    Advanced BHUZzer showtime's Avatar
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    Re: Belly Bullies - article from Gilded Serpant

    Quote Originally Posted by aziyade View Post
    Suhaila is simply responding to market demand. A LOT of students respond very well to a structured syllabus with "homework" and key points to master for evaluating personal "improvement." When she originally created the certification system she said she had three goals:

    1. To "own" her name. (Jamila insisted upon this, since there are about 1500 teachers on the planet allegedly teaching "Jamila Salimpour technique" that really aren't.)
    2. To make sure all students in a class together were at the same technical level.
    3. To supply students who wanted structure with a very specific and attainable list of things to "master" in order to gauge their own improvement and ability.

    Point number three often gets glossed over a lot, but it's a major factor in why many people do opt in to her program. She likens it to the belt system in martial arts, which is equally as arbitrary as some of the "levels" other dance teachers have for their classes.

    Do some of Suhaila's students believe her certification is something like a college degree? Or that they need that certification in order to perform or even to dance for fun? Probably. Do most? I doubt it. Most of the level 4 and 5 students of hers that I have met say they pursued the certification for the challenge or for the fitness benefits (or because they wanted to be authorized teachers of a technical method they appreciate and which works for them).

    In the world there exist people whose sole motivation to participate in a marathon is to get the medal or ribbon for completing it. Does their motivation negate the health benefits of running a marathon? Does such a motivation denigrate the positive benefits of persistence and training and trying to achieve a personal best?


    just thinkin'...

    Well said. Thought provoking. I am grateful for the continuing education I have via Bhuz.
    yameyameyame likes this.


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    I could get used to this! philoclea's Avatar
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    Re: Belly Bullies - article from Gilded Serpant

    Quote Originally Posted by aziyade View Post
    In the world there exist people whose sole motivation to participate in a marathon is to get the medal or ribbon for completing it. Does their motivation negate the health benefits of running a marathon? Does such a motivation denigrate the positive benefits of persistence and training and trying to achieve a personal best?
    Before responding, I'd like to say two things: first, I'm also glad to have this input (I learn a lot from Bhuz too!), and second, I don't really have a horse in this race. That said...

    The comparison to running a marathon is really interesting, apt, and goes to the heart of what I found so strange about the Suhaila system when I was reading about it. I think the health benefits are neither here nor there. The point about a marathon is that however you choose to train for it, the measure of success is clear and standard: if you finish, you succeeded, if you don't, you didn't. Furthermore, if you finish faster than another person, you did better than that person. You won. They might have had a spiritual experience while they did it that you didn't, but objectively, you performed at a higher level. And your training needs to get you to that.

    In that sense, I think it's an apt metaphor for a standardized system -- you progress up the steps, learn to control the right muscles, master a body of knowledge and movement, and so on. You know what level you're at. But is that your experience of dance? Either of doing it or watching it? It certainly isn't mine.

    Okay, I have a bias towards simplicity in bellydance, when it goes hand-in-hand with a certain fluidity, gooeyness, soulfulness, or grace. I'd rather watch Shamira's hands move like butterflies through the air while she does three hip drops on one side followed by one hip drop on the other than Sadie performing a complicated drum solo. I just get more pleasure from it. And I'm sure other lovers of the dance perceive things differently. But that's the point -- dance is not a marathon, and there isn't one clear and objective standard of excellence. And one of the things I adore about bellydance is that it's not ballet -- that a professional's working career is not limited to a few years, that it's not restricted to one kind of body, that you don't have to be on pointe to do it at a high level -- in sum, that you can give your audience a really delicious viewing experience even if you cannot move your butt cheeks independently of each other. (Though I do thank Suhaila for the fact that I now can. It keeps me amused when I wait in long lines.) So I do find a system in which some dancers are labelled better than others based on a checklist of skills limiting and strange.
    Aniseteph likes this.
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  29. #29
    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. Zumarrad's Avatar
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    Re: Belly Bullies - article from Gilded Serpant

    I just had to deal with a dancer from Turkey (who’s never taken any dance class of any sort) who has recently started teaching in my hometown. She threw a fit because her picture wasn’t on the main flyer for the event and proceeded to tell me that since she’s from Turkey, bellydance is in her blood and the rest of the performers had no idea what authentic bellydance was. Obviously she was a perfect example of what the article mentioned as an insecure belly-bully.
    I don't see that sort of behaviour as bullying at all. Divaish and unpleasant, yes. It's not bullying in my view. How can someone new with no power in your dance scene have the ability to bully?
    Driving Bhuzzers away with her awfulness since 2001!


  30. #30
    I could get used to this! PracticalDancer's Avatar
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    Re: Belly Bullies - article from Gilded Serpant

    Quote Originally Posted by aziyade View Post
    Suhaila is simply responding to market demand. A LOT of students respond very well to a structured syllabus with "homework" and key points to master for evaluating personal "improvement." (snip)

    Do some of Suhaila's students believe her certification is something like a college degree? Or that they need that certification in order to perform or even to dance for fun? Probably. Do most? I doubt it. Most of the level 4 and 5 students of hers that I have met say they pursued the certification for the challenge or for the fitness benefits (or because they wanted to be authorized teachers of a technical method they appreciate and which works for them).

    In the world there exist people whose sole motivation to participate in a marathon is to get the medal or ribbon for completing it. Does their motivation negate the health benefits of running a marathon? Does such a motivation denigrate the positive benefits of persistence and training and trying to achieve a personal best?
    I wasn't trying to slam Suhaila. There are those who have learned, increased skill and competency, and demonstrated growth from her classes. I have, however, never met a "graduate," only those in the continuing education program, so to speak.

    My point (which perhaps I did not articulate as well as I had hoped), is that the certificate itself should never be the goal. The marathon example is apt: Yes, you finished; but, did you injure yourself along the way? Yes, you can say you "survived" it (ok, that WAS a dig), but did you improve any skill other than acceptance of pain? Now, Suhaila's classes seem more like the marathon training program than the marathon itself. There is a method, is a vocabulary, are standards, etc. That constitutes a good program.

    But, the certificate business model, in general, is one I question. 5 years in the car business got me more certs than I could shake a stick at, and all were the equivalent of "showed up and stayed the time." No skills, just money exchanged. I have seen a few similar ones in this industry, and as those in that model discover the revenue stream, more will appear.

    So, on it's own, the certificate itself is not evil. But, the danger is if there is nothing behind it. My advice is to examine what is behind it and make the decision that only YOU can make: Does it give you what YOU need to grow, or does it just grow what is in the teacher's wallet?


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