Expression Through Music
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What does a performer's music say about who they are?
On the cover:
The Goblet Drum
The goblet drum (also chalice drum, tarabuka, darbuka, debuka, doumbek, dumbec, dumbeg, dumbelek, toumperleki, or table, Arabic: دربوكة / ALA-LC: darbūkah) is a single head membranophone with a goblet shaped body used mostly in the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia, and Eastern Europe. The African djembe-wassolou is also a goblet membranophone. This article focuses on the Eastern and North-African goblet drum.
Self-identity and Music Selection
Type of music can give you an overall impression of personality. Think of an upbeat song has cheerful music; these performers are often extroverts, feeling at home in crowds and have little trouble expressing themselves. Performers open to new experiences will often choose difficult and intricate music; with a lot of changes and shifts to artfully showcase a variety of combinations. More reserved performers may choose music that gradually builds or has a steady tempo to create a comfortable atmosphere.
Music preference is often shaped by how we view ourselves or how what we want to communicate to others. A loud and chaotic opening defiantly proclaims, “hey, I’m over here, watch this!” An unusual or creative piece reflects someone who sees themselves as unique and unconventional. I find a lot of performers who like conventional and traditional pieces have a more conservation self-view and often feel more comfortable in structured situations. Traditional and conventional pieces are often great for new dancers; it offers stability and reassurance while they perfect stage presence. Recently, many dancers are choosing tough and edgy metal and rock pieces; giving the audience a no-holds-barred performance. Drum solos and vigorous music allow the shimmy queens to display their athletic personality and stamina. There is also a definite burlesque, sassy dance movement; that enjoys fiercely proclaiming their sexuality and sensuality.
Cultural Environment also plays a huge role in music selection. Dancers are influenced by their family, instructors, and friends; we often choose music that is relevant to our culture and experience. Hip-hop and flamenco fusions reflective their respective training and past; traditional dancers choose music according to their style, etc. We select and reflect what we know and what we have mastered.
How a piece stimulates the dancer’s mind and mood is also relevant. Some dancers find traditional music too tedious and enjoy pieces with more modern pieces. Choosing and performing a piece is similar to Goldilocks choosing a bed. An overwhelming piece may inhibit creative energy and technique, flat music doesn’t offer enough challenge and excitement for a performer to sink their teeth into.
These are just a few considerations and observations of dancers and performance. Not every dancer will fit into these categories and I often see dancers challenge themselves by performing to music outside of their comfort zone. Every performer is unique and we can by no means place everyone in a box; as audience members and dancers we can try to connect with each other and find common ground. After all, dance is meant to unite and expression should be celebrated.
Bre Stangel, Contributor: Dance is passion, I found mine a tiny studio at a Senior Center in Vermont. American Tribal Style classes opened my mind to the beautiful world of belly dance. Soon, I was eating up every dance class and workshop within my reach and budget. I studied intensely, daily practice, yoga, drills, and performances whenever and wherever possible. I co-directed and award-winning dance duo and found myself performing across the North East. When I moved across the state for college; I took dance with me... (more...)