Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Old Timers and Top Hats
The day after traveling always finds me taking the easiest road for at least a day until I recooperate/get my bearings. Today that meant rolling out of bed, getting the kids to school, and spending the better part of two hours catching up on The Guilded Serpent articles. Lord, what an example of what I am talking about! Just go on there and you will find the old school-out of the seventies dancers telling you why bellydance today is a mere shadow of what it once was, you will find fusion people telling you why their dance is valid and anti-fusion people why it isn't. If you find an article/author you agree with, you can comment and hurrah right along with them, or if you find an opinion to be offensive to you, then, well, there is place for that, too.
But here is the thing. We all have what we THINK. I have my own very distinct opinions about bellydance and what it should and shouldn't be. But do I act on that? NO. Do I treat others differently based on how they choose to intrepret this thing we call bellydance? Why would anyone do that? The Old Timers are so afraid that the dance they know and love will be lost forever to some chick wearing a tiny top hat and garter belts. The Fusion people get indignant and work hard to say that no matter what, what they are doing is every bit as valid as what the Old Timers are doing. Different but valid. The truth is, it doesn't really matter because for every ten chicks in tiny top hats dancing steampunk style there will be ten who resonate with the 25 minute formal set of the "olden days". And guess what, folks, there are ten more who resonate with neither who are out there creating yet another variation of bellydance that will manage to TRY to divide us yet again.
So yes I have my opinions. Yes I teach my classes a certain way, and yes I see a lot that I think doesn't belong. But I still have and practice respect for those "other folks" ( we are all the "other folks", depends which side you are facing). When it comes to my opinion about other dance styles I TRY ( the operative word here is TRY) to either keep my mouth shut or tone it down a bit. I tell my students when I am expressing an opinion, " Hey, this is just my opinion about this particular form. You might try it and love it, so don't hold too much stock in what is just an opinion".
When it comes right down to it, dance, like any other art, WILL EVOLVE. It will. Don't try and stop it. Art that doesn't evolve, dies.
The other constant is that myself, you, and others will have an opinion about it. I am not ashamed of my opinion. I am not all floaty-rainbows I love-everything-non-opinion, but I do try to keep in perspective that in this giant world full of millions of experiences/mindsets/different people, that my tiny brain is just a small part.
and for now, that tiny brain will never ever have a tiny top hat on it. ( ha ha I couldn't resist). :)