I just went to buy a felafel sandwich: the Middle Eastern dance experience of six Australians
AffiliationMelbourne Graduate School of Education
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Document TypeMasters Research thesis
Access StatusNo attached file available
Master of Education
This research uses qualitative research methods to illuminate the Middle Eastern dance experience of six Australians. Each dancer is interviewed about their experience of the dance and five of the six dancers have their dance movements observed from videotaped performances. The interview gathers information about the dancer's perception of their dance experience including: • The attraction of the dance; • The perceived effect of the dance form on the physical body; • Emotional changes experienced when dancing or after dancing; • The dance movements found most enjoyable; • The dancer's experience of the dance. Movement observations from videotaped recordings further assist to explore the dancer's experience of Middle Eastern style. Laban Movement Analysis is used by the researcher to record and analyse the dancer's movements. Findings indicate that many of the dancers were initially attracted to learn Middle Eastern dance in their early twenties. Their involvement was often through a chance meeting or seeing someone else perform the dance form and not because of a life-long interest in the dance form. The research outlines the dancers' discoveries about themselves and the workings of their own bodies as a result of undertaking Middle Eastern dance and compares this to relevant research in the area of dance and movement. All the dancers in the study identified that Middle Eastern dance impacted upon both their physique and their awareness and understanding of their body and body parts. Further they indicated that a strong reason for continuing with the dance was the positive social interaction they had with other dancers. Drawing upon the dancers' experience of Middle Eastern dance and the research regarding dance movement therapy, this research links the use of Middle Eastern dance with movement therapy and identifies it as an appropriate vehicle for improved body part awareness, mobility, social interaction and increased confidence. Two forms of Middle Eastern dance style are studied: Belly dance and Raks Sharqi dance. Movement observations identify the specific application of the Middle Eastern movements and through the medium of Laban Movement Analysis, the specific dance experience of individual dancers is analysed. Although many of the dancers learnt the dance from the same teacher, it is clear that application of the movements is very much an individual process with subtle differences observed in each dancers approach contributing to the dancers' unique style. Further, the findings from the movement observation process support the use of Laban Movement Analysis as a tool for this type of research, which frequently needs to move from subjective, aesthetically based impressions to precise observation, supported by a consistent vocabulary. This study identifies opportunities for further research including a more indepth analysis between Raks Sharqi and Belly dance from a movement perspective, a long-term study to track and identify the changes and learnings of the dancers over time, research into the effect of Middle Eastern dance on the dancer when undertaken within a therapeutic context and the place of dance in relation to the community.
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