Do certain instruments encourage the same belly dance moves in all dancers?

As a scientist and a belly dancer I am always interested in the latest dance related studies and surveys.

Have you ever wondered if certain sounds illicit the same motivations to move for all dancers? I am sure you have noticed that big, deep drum beats tend to get big, juicy, earthy moves from most people. I guess Keti Sharif was wondering this too as she recently added a pdf on her survey on this very topic. She had the aim

 “to observe any recurring patterns of natural movement response to each instrument, to establish predominant music-movement relationships and characteristics of movement value”.

To read the complete findings, you can easily obtain a copy through the lovely Keti Sharif’s website.does the music effect the dance?

But here is a little taste of what was discovered from the 836 participants:-

Ney elicited an overwhelming preference for upper body movement and arms at shoulder level or above head.

Oud tended to elicit lower body responses  with rolling and vibrating movements interspersed, and the arms were moving between chest and hip level – possibly as a response to scale.

“The survey demonstrates that in many cases, the area of the body and movement of the musician to hold instrument and create sound (eg: strumming, stroking, wavering or plucking types of movement), is often reflected intuitively through dance, in the same, or at least a close or nearby area of the dancer’s body.”

This is a very cool bit of insight into human nature and sound. I thank all participants and the Keti for putting this together. It is worth a look for all sorts of reasons but could be particularly valuable to teachers, those interested in dancing to live music or those that have trouble with improvisation.

Do you know of any other studies on dance or belly dance that you have found useful? Please share the links below.

How to make a simple steampunk gun for an awesome dance!

Some lovely friends of mine run a steampunk festival in Dorrigo, NSW. Previously I have performed at it and this year I brought a few other dancers to join me. Despite battling nasty coughs, we all had a marvellous time doing some fusion dance pieces. We steampunked our costumes a bit (this year had a gypsy theme) and decided to add a steampunk touch to a shaabi dance with some guns worn on our thighs… we then did a bit of a Charlie’s Angels thing. It got some giggles 😉

Anyway, it was a new years resolution of mine to get better at using video. I am still a way off yet but here is my first attempt at a ‘how to’ video. It is instructions on a super easy steampunk for a cap gun to make something suitable for a dance performance. I had to make 4 guns and (surprisingly) for such a simple concept there was a bit of trial and error before I got a good effect, so I thought I would share the knowledge to save anyone else doing the same thing some time.

4 dancers at steampunked gypsy night

Before performance pose 😉 photo by Evonne Clough

The main learning points were:-

  • Make sure your metallic paint is metallic !!
  • Undercoat in an opaque light colour before using silver and gold acrylic (could be white, cream, or whatever you have handy).
  • I made some fake cogs to save money and show you how to do it in the video.
  • Beware of modern watches!
  • Superglue is not strong enough for cap guns but I found something that works.


If you found the video useful, please like and share.

Have you ever made a how to video? Or maybe danced for a steampunk event? Please tell me about it below.

Copyright and Costumes. Do you own that look? Can you be sued?

As artists it is always one of those perplexing questions – how much of what I create do I own?

WARNING!! An Australian belly dancer just told me via facebook of her intention of getting rich by suing other dancers if they copied a costume element she recently performed with!!! She wrote that she had the ‘copywrite’ (sic) for it.

OUCH! So much for the sisterhood.

In this piece I will let you know what is the copyright standard for costumes in Australia. It may vary for other countries and is not to be taken as legal advice just a guideline. For more details see http://www.copyright.org.au/find-an-answer/browse-by-what-you-do/fashion-costume-designers/

This post is inspired by the most bizarre exchange a few days ago where the afore mentioned comment was made. I was shocked to say the least and it made me wonder –Mine

Exactly how much of your home made costume do you own?  Can you protect it?

“Key points

• One-off fashion garments, costumes and jewellery pieces are likely to be protected by copyright.

• You will generally only be able to rely on copyright protection if what you want to protect is a “work of artistic craftsmanship” (such as a one-off garment or necklace) or a design for an item you have not yet started to exploit commercially.

• If you intend to make multiple copies of items you have designed (such as a design for readyto-wear clothes), you will need to look at your options under design law, not copyright law, and you will need to do this before you start marketing or manufacturing the items.” (Australian Copyright Council, 2012, p1)

“Copyright is free and applies automatically: there is no registration system for copyright and no fees to pay.” (Australian Copyright Council, 2012, p3)

If you make something inspired by something you see in a show or online – can someone sue you? 

Copyright does not protect styles, techniques, information or ideas or concepts. 

Eg. “A particular style of clothing such as peasant-inspired clothing would not be protected by copyright, although a particular item of clothing in that style may be.” (Australian Copyright Council, 2012, p3)

So over all it seems – don’t copy anyone’s costumes exactly or without their permission – which is just common sense really. The copyright information sheet goes on to recommend getting someones permission in writing. (Australian Copyright Council, 2012, p4). If you really like something, either buy it from the original designer or put your own unique twist on it.

It is OK to publish photos of copyright protected works if it was the purpose of making a critique, review or reporting news (Australian Copyright Council, 2012, p5).

I fully support the rights of designers and artists in all genres, and have never attempted to make a copy of anyones costume. However, I never thought we would get to the point of people wanting to sue each other over costume elements in Belly dance that have been available in various styles for years. It made me very sad indeed.

How do you feel about your costumes? Would you try and sue someone if they made something similar? Where do you think the line of ownership should be drawn? Comment below.

(For those enjoying the hints on costume shopping in Cairo, the continuing parts of it are still coming. I posted this piece in between as it is quite topical.)

Reference

Australian Copyright Council (2012). Fashion & Costume Designers Information Sheet. Retrieved from http://www.copyright.org.au/find-an-answer/browse-by-what-you-do/fashion-costume-designers/

© Jade Belly Dance 2014  😉

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