Follow up to the previous post.
First of all, I love reading everyone’s responses to my blog posts. ESPECIALLY when people respectfully disagree. I am not set in my opinions, and I love hearing different perspectives.
I do want to encourage dancers to find Middle Eastern music that they like, even if it’s a few songs or just one style.
One of the things that came up in the responses to the last blog is the idea that dancers want to perform to music that is culturally more familiar to them than Middle Eastern music. I completely understand. BUT I want to add that one can become acclimated to, appreciate, and learn to understand music that is initially unfamiliar. Chapter 8, “My Favorite Things: Why Do We Like the Music We Like” in Daniel Levitin’s amazing book This is Your Brain on Music speaks about this very concept. I’d give you some excerpts here, but a friend is currently borrowing my copy.
I remember the first time I heard Venetian Snares’ crazy breakcore. I was overwhelmed. I didn’t know how to listen to it. But the more I listened to it, the more I appreciated it… and then I decided to dance to it. I think one can do the same with Middle Eastern music.
Also, I am hardly a member of the “Ethnic Police”. Seriously. I dressed up as H.R. Giger’s Alien and danced to Autechre’s “Second Bad Vilbel”; how could I EVER say that one should only dance to Middle Eastern music? I’d be a raging hypocrite! I do, however, aim to educate. Part of my job as an instructor is to bring up issues that might be uncomfortable, so that my students and readers can continue to learn and educate themselves. There are so many dancers out there without mentors, and I strive to be a little beacon of light for those dancers who might not have someone of which to ask questions.