By Tevec's student of 4 years - Liv Johannesson
Extroverted and introverted personality types are widely accepted nowadays.
Cartoonish images of social, adventurous, loud extroverts versus bookish, shy, homebody introverts skew our understanding of what this really means.
If you want to understand it better, I warmly recommend reading Quiet by Susan Cain. What can it mean as a dancer to be an introvert or to have introverts in your class when you’re teaching?
Let me try to paint you a picture.
First, let’s punch a hole in the perception that introverts are shy. Some are, some extroverts are too, but an introvert personality and shyness don’t equal each other.
According to my mother I didn’t even reply when spoken to as a child, but I have never been shy. While a shy person fears but perhaps wishes to take centre stage, an introvert simply prefers to stay away from the attention.
To quote Susan Cain: ‘Shyness is the fear of negative judgement, and introversion is a preference for quiet, minimally stimulating environments.
An introverts tendency for inner thought and feeling makes expressing what they dance a challenge. We do not express outwards but inwards and often prefer the small gestures to the dramatic moments.
Personally, I must connect with the music emotionally before I can express something outwards. That can mean hearing the song until I know it backwards and practising the dance moves until my muscles hurt. It also means that even when I do express outwards my expression might seem big to me but look reserved to those looking on.
Introverts are not group-people. We need alone time, and although we can be very sociable, our preference is for one-to-one interactions.
This means that already in class, often a larger group, you have put me out of my comfort zone. The smaller the group and the better I know my fellow dancers the more I’m also comfortable but it isn’t a natural environment for me and it might take years in the same group to get to a reasonable level of comfort.
One of the aspects I struggle the most with in Belly dance is the preference and need to improvise.
Introverts prefer to work focused, methodically and often slowly. We do our research, we analyse and practise….and practise, and would happily practise some more.
Improvisation is the opposite of that.
My brain cannot work fast enough to do what it naturally does which often renders improvising doing the same move over and over or not being able to move at all. This often leaves me feeling that I failed the exercise. One thing for teacher to understand is that this analytical brain isn’t possible to merely turn off which is why the advice to ‘just go for it’ isn’t working.
Introverts tend to be fairy immune to wealth and fame. This may not tie in so closely to dance courses but we simply do not have a need to be seen and heard. We often actively choose to be the wallflower out of a preference to go unnoticed, and only go for the spotlight if there are other incentives, deeper motives to be fulfilled.
I love to dance, even perform, and have been taking dance classes and done performances since I was a child but as I have grown older I have also realised that the challenges I meet are not the obvious ones.
I struggle much more with finding my way to learn and improve in a way that suits me while in an environment that isn’t built to fit my needs. Simple things, like ‘just dance to this song you never heard before’ when you could happily practise the same move for an hour or getting the kick of your life doing the dress rehearsal, not during the performance when everyone else is having their adrenaline kicks.
Sometimes it’s as simple as finding the motivation why you would do a performance at all, when you’re happiest learning for the sake of knowing.
I felt proud to represent the Turkish National Football Team for UEFA (football association). This is UEFA’s international promotion video for the upcoming football matches. This video will be rolled out across the world 🌍.
This video represents years of hard work, research, training and absolute love for my culture and what I do. This is the ultimate reward for my work so far. This isn’t even about belly dance. This goes deeper. This is about art, nationality, my heritage, my family, friends, connection with Turkey and Turkish culture.
I’m so humbled to have been given this opportunity. Good luck Turkey 🇹🇷 as always I’ll be rooting for you. I hope you win the match. You have my support! Watch the video below.
Bu gün çok güzel bir gün. Benim için bir hediye 🎁. UEFA Futbol Organizasyona Türkiye Futbol milli takım için reklam. Türkiye ile Rusya maçı için dünya boyu reklam çıkacak. 🌍 Gerçekten çok mutluyum ve memnun oldum. Çok şükür 🙏. Hadi Türkiye, yenebilirsiniz.
This time I thought I would talk about what I am currently up to. As normal I'm teaching, performing and dancing across England and Europe. In the summer of 2017, I was selected to be the #faceofMOVEIT2018. My friends seem to think that this is quite a cool achievement and want to know more after it was announced on social media. Seeing as my friends think it's exciting, I thought maybe my readers would be interested too.
What exactly is #faceofMOVEIT2018 I hear you say?
If you don't know, MOVE IT is the UK's biggest dance event with over 25,000 people visiting in 2017. Dancers from all disciplines participate from ballet, jazz, contemporary to Latin, ballroom and dancehall. It is a 3 day dance extravaganza taking place in ExCel, London on 16-18 March 2018. The likes of Strictly Come Dancing stars, Flawless, Michael Flatley Lord of the Rings, Urdang, Jenifer Ellison, Darcey Bussell, the Royal Ballet, Kimberley Wyatt, Capezio, Bloch, Dance Moms attend. It is one hot dance event.
For this year’s campaign MOVE IT were on the lookout for 6 dancers from different dance styles to be the face of the show for 2018. I was selected from hundreds of applicants to represent belly dance along with 5 other dancers.
What does being the #faceofMOVEIT2018 entail?
I get to respectfully represent belly dance as a serious dance form on the same platform as ballet, jazz and contemporary to a vast dance audience not just a belly dance audience. For me this is a big deal and a responsibility that I don't take lightly. I'm here to represent my Turkish background and Middle Eastern dance culture.
I know that there are probably some misconceptions about the dance and I'm here to definitely challenge them. Although the people I have met so far have been very encouraging and keen to learn about the dance.
On a more fun note, myself, the 5 dancers and the MOVE IT team participated in a two day photoshoot. One day on location and one day in a photography studio.
It was great to work alongside other dancers and find out about their experience. We were photographed by Virtuoso Imaging who has photographed so many famous dancers. The other 5 dancers represent ballet and jazz, Bollywood, street, hip hop and commercial dance styles. It's so incredible to see how they work in their own way.
Each day was 7 hours of shooting in different outfits and concepts. Which sounds easy but after the initial 3 hours outdoors in your 4th outfit of the day in London weather - steam tends to run out and it becomes difficult to smile/pose for the 500th shot.
I thought I'd share some tips with you about being on set all day. This might come in handy for those who want to refresh their portfolio or if it’s your first time being photographed professionally.
What did I learn from the photo shoot?
Other perks involve being on all of MOVE IT's event posters, literature, promo materials on and offline. In addition, we were interviewed by MOVE IT and all of us six dancers will be at the event.
My aim is to be at the forefront of Turkish belly dance in the UK and improve knowledge of Turkish belly dance in the U.K. This role will definitely help spread the word about Turkey’s rich culture and history.
I will be teaching at MOVE IT on Saturday 17 March 2018. It would be great to see you there. Also, watch out for me at a few different festivals in the UK.
Photos courtesy of Virtuoso Imaging
Last year I had the pleasure of performing for Sabrina and her husband on their special day. The day was beautifully captured by Mark Barnes Photography. Check out his lovely pics for some wedding inspiration...you might even spot someone that you recognise ;) (me)
Read the blog by Mark Barnes
My most recent TV appearance was for Britain's Got Talent on ITV. I filmed for the show's TV promo last year and it has finally aired on BGT on ITV.
I am really honoured to represent Belly Dance in the UK on this prime time television talent contest. It's a good start to 2017 so far. Watch the short clip below.
When I was growing up as a teenager kina gece or henna parties on a large scale within the Turkish London/UK community were deemed as 'old fashioned'. It is really nice to see that the kina gece has done a 180 and is popular once again. I have had the pleasure of performing at wonderful henna parties. The brides and organisers are getting really creative.
Personally, I love performing belly dance at a kina gece. It celebrates, women, community and love - three things that I value dearly. I love to see everyone enjoying themselves, young and old dancing together - even that aunty or Teyze who has the 'knee problems'. Without the men around, I really feel that women can let go and enjoy the night fully.
Planning a kina gece party? Here are my top 5 kina gece essentials.
1. A good venue
Make sure your venue is well organised, the space flows well and they can work with you to fulfil your needs and wants. Don't necessarily go for the cheapest option. People always remember food and space. Check that if you do go for the cheaper option will it sacrifice the level of service? Will you end up having to buy it from else where? Think about convenience x cost x time. Perhaps you could have smaller flower arrangements and spend your budget on food or less guests but more included in your package... Weigh up your priorities and work with your venue.
Depending on what your music taste and budget is, take time to research DJ's/music. There are traditional Turkish kina gece songs. You can play these from youtube or buy them on iTunes if you don't have a DJ. One of my personal favourite songs is 'kınayı getir aney'.
3. Your outfit
Their are so many beautiful Gelin kina outfits. Instagram has lots of inspiration. Here are some of my top accounts to follow for inspiration:
Koko Kina Organizasonu
Kina Organizasonu Anatolia
White Love Kina
4. Turkish Belly Dancer/Musicians
Make sure you hire a Turkish Belly Dancer or Musicians who understand the traditions and culture. It is so important, especially if you have older family members or a Turkish guest list. Get in touch with Tevec for your belly dance requirements.
Seems obvious. Who's going to carry it, prepare it, serve it. Does your venue have somewhere that you can prepare it? Do you want a professional henna drawing artist? Do you want to hand out little pieces of kina? Don't forget your kina at your kina gece...
6. One more for luck...
Think about your back drop. What colour, theme do you want? Will you have chairs, a swing, table, chaise longe? What suits your style? Do you want to sit with everyone else? Who do you want with you on your 'head table' or stage?
Nisan Tespileri London (for favours and table pieces)
Regency Banqueting Suite
Wishing you a memorable kina gece. Have fun!
Images below courtesy of:
When talking about Turkish musical styles, let's start with the fundamentals - instruments. Below I have listed the main instruments typically included within a Turkish band for oryantal dance and some instruments used for regional folk dance compositions. Comment below if you think that I've missed any.
String Instruments -
Saz, (most popular lute like instrument - see image below) Baglama, Kanun (played on the lap), Violin
Bow Instruments -
Kabak Kemane, Karadeniz Kemencesi (Black Sea folk musical instrument)
Wind Instruments -
Zurna (commonly played with the Davul), Kaval, Ney, Clarinet (all flute style instruments), Tulum (bagpipe)
Davul, (large drum played using sticks) Nagara (small hand played drum), Tef, (tambourine) Kasik (spoon). Tabla, Darbuka,
Zill (finger cymbal)
Hello Belly Dance Lovers!
Belly Dancing is harder than it looks but it's so much fun! You don't even realise that you're working out :)
I look forward to dancing with you in 2017.
You've got the footwork and the timing. Woohoo! You've nailed the dance right? Then you watch it back on video you're like...why doesn't it look right?
Dancers don't just dance. It takes years to master the flavours and ingredients that make a good dancer. There's so much to think about and it takes a lot of effort to practice the different elements.
I love this infographic which shows characteristics that dancers have to think about - in order to achieve greatness. It's tough work to make it look so effortless...
....Oh and don't forget to breathe :D
Infogrpahic courtesy of: http://riotandfrolic.typepad.com/blog/2014/03/a-little-explanation-of-judges-marks-characteristics-of-the-dance.html
Elegance within belly dance stems from good posture. Without good posture you won't be able to achieve elegance. Below is a great infographic of how to improve your posture and what good posture looks like.
Image courtesy of: http://www.dancerhangout.com/content.php?r=496-Permanently-Correcting-Your-Own-Posture
Award-winning Turkish Oriental and Theatrical Fusion performer and teacher.