March 8, 2004

East Grinstead on Saturday

We ventured out of the City and into East Grinstead this past Saturday. East Grinstead is about an hour train-ride South of London and minutes away from Gatwick.

Two observations:
1. The taxi driver knew about the house we were going to and said it was some music school.
2. The houses there are not numbered; they are named. Each house has a clearly labeled sign next to the door. So, if you house is called "Lightfoot" and you live on "Chamomile Street", your address wouuld be "Lightfoot, Chamomile Street".

I had scheduled a private class with the world famous Serena Ramzy (wife of Hossam Ramzy). She came highly recommended by friends and instructors in Austin who know her. Her fees are high, and, like I said before, it takes me an hour train-ride to get to her home... but let me tell you, it is worth it!

She has a wealth of knowledge about dance, music, and rhythms. Her experience in giving workshops has made her an excellent instructor. I danced for her one song. Then we talked about the song, broke it up into phrases and by instruments. She explained that when an instrument is having a solo, like the trumpet , the flute, or the accordian, you must acknowledge that instrument's solo and stay in place. It is important to demonstrate the contrast between an instrument's solo and the entire orchestra.

Next, I danced a drum solo for her. She was most impressed with my "vocabulary". The main thing I needed to improve on was the delivery. For big pops, give it a little preparation, but don't make it too forceful. Most importantly, it is better to keep things simple. It's ok to do 8 counts of one thing. I think that is hard for lots of dancers because we're afriad of our dance becoming too boring. It won't as long as you're enjoying it!

Points taken from class:
1. melodic instruments and styles
- the flute is spiritual. on sections of music where the flute solos, grow tall and use flowy arms. the flute is typically played slowly, so move slow.
- the accordion is earthy. use low hip movements. hands should be down and close to hips. the accordion could be fast or slow, so move accordingly.
- the violin is more contemporary. combine both tall flowy arms with big hip movements.
- hanoun is a multi-string instrument. one stroke causes many strings to sound. so shimmy, shimmy, shimmy.
- in Hossam's Source of Fire, each track solos a different instrument. this is a good practice cd to help train your body to match the type of movement to the instrument.

2. tabla solos
- when the phrase is steady, do something steady, like side pops... but take a chance and stick in something different if the phrase is long.
- other than side-to-side hip moves, there is also forward and back. doing hip pops side to side is different when you have your knees bent.
- when you bend your knees a little and start a little to the opposite side (or what I call the preparation), scoop down and up, then your side hip pops give the illusion of a much bigger pop.
- stop when the music stops.
- in Hossam's Sabla Tolo CD's, the inside booklet contains the breakdown of the music. he has the names, count, time of the rhythm, etc.

I'm glad she was impressed with my dance because I am extremely impressed with her dance style, grace, and ability to explain the knowledge well enough for me to write this! She is so genuine and beautiful. I feel very lucky to have had a class with her. Hope you are as lucky as me. - Lily

Posted by oneray at March 8, 2004 5:50 AM