Top security experts say senators behind anti-encryption bill are ‘woefully ignorant’: “On a weekly basis we see gigabytes of that information dumped to the Internet. This is the whole problem that encryption is intended to solve.” via /r/technology
Top security experts say senators behind anti-encryption bill are ‘woefully ignorant’: “On a weekly basis we see gigabytes of that information dumped to the Internet. This is the whole problem that encryption is intended to solve.”
Abstract: In attempts to find appropriate and authentic materials for students who are developing their academic writing skills, instructors often turn to works written by professional academics. However, genres such as published research articles and textbooks in specific disciplines may not be the most suitable models for what first year composition writers are expected to produce. This article suggests using a corpus of successful student writing across disciplines as a more appropriate and more realistic model for lower-level writing students. It describes a first year reading and writing course (taught at an American liberal arts college by the first author of this article) that incorporates the Michigan Corpus of Upper-level Student Papers (MICUSP) in helping students become ethnographers of disciplines and genres. As lower-level university students explore disciplines and narrow down their desired fields of study, MICUSP is used as a source of data from which students can (1) conduct linguistic research, (2) write subsequent research papers, and (3) become familiar with potential target academic discourse communities. Using a pedagogy of writing about writing, this process helped students raise their awareness of disciplinary practices. The article gives an overview of the course, focusing on class activities and including student evaluations of these activities. It demonstrates how a corpus like MICUSP can function as a useful and relevant tool in a discipline-specific, genre-based reading and writing course.
Concern among writing teachers that first year university students are not developing the writing skills necessary for success in higher education is not a new issue. Early surveys of university writing teachers revealed that, among other shortcomings, first year composition (FYC) students were not able to organize information effectively and failed to use transitions between ideas (Newkirk, Cameron and Selfe, 1977). More recently, Defazio and others (2010) noted that FYC students lack awareness of academic writing conventions. Composition teachers, the broader university faculty, and researchers alike are certainly interested in continuing the conversation about how best to serve first year writing students.
The movement toward discipline-specific writing in colleges, both for native and non-native speakers of English, is one response to the task of developing academic writing skills among undergraduate students. Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) and Writing in the Disciplines (WID) programs encourage students to practice writing not only in courses designated for this skill, but also in various disciplinary courses. This kind of practice allows students to examine the writing tasks and writing conventions that are common across the university.
Early in the WAC movement, first year courses were implemented in which freshman writers were exposed to reading and writing tasks from different disciplines, and sometimes wrote in areas related to their other courses. This approach has been largely abandoned, as writing scholars noted that there is “a set of very large skills that are discipline- and genre-specific and that need to be taught within the context of these activity systems” (Perelman, 2011). Perelman describes that as a response to this need to foster more awareness of writing conventions in specific disciplines, upper-level courses within academic majors were designated as writing intensive. Finally, in the “stand-alone” upper-division model, courses like Writing for Arts and Humanities have been taught by instructors from English departments.
As has been shown in the work of genre theorists (e.g., Beaufort, 2007; Devitt, Reiff, & Bawarshi, 2004; Johns, 1997, 2002), however, such disciplinary-specific instruction has become useful in the FYC setting. Researchers and educators who specialize in examining the practices of various disciplines are able to examine and see through what Russell (1990, 1991) has described as disciplinary transparency when it comes to writing: that writing is seen in many disciplines to be a static and generalizable practice that can be acquired outside of a given discipline.
Although WAC and WID provide pedagogical advantages, they are not without challenges for instructors and students. For example, much research has shown that there is no singular universal “academic discourse”. Instead, students must adjust their writing to various academic discourse communities, across and within disciplines, depending on their audience and task (Hyland, 2004, 2012). It may thus behoove students to learn about how to study writing, rather than to be taught specific practices (Downs & Wardle, 2007).
Another challenge to discipline-specific writing instruction is that instructors in disciplines other than those that study writing and literacy may struggle with what exactly to teach about writing in their own discipline. Thus, they may not be aware of the needs of students whose writing competency is still in development. This may be also true for instructors who teach writing practices of disciplines which are not their own. In other words, as Spack (1988) contends, writing instructors may not be well versed in the practices and expectations of their peers in other disciplines. Therefore, there is a schism between “content” instructors who may lack expertise in literacy practices and instruction, and composition instructors, who may be equally ignorant to those disciplines.
In this article, we explore the possibilities for and advantages of using a corpus (a large electronic text collection) of advanced student writing collected from multiple disciplines to help FYC students and teachers explore context-specific writing. This tool helps to incorporate disciplinary practices even in a first year course of students with a number of academic goals and trajectories. As we describe in the remainder of the article, it is our hope that using such types of corpora will alleviate some of the challenges described by Spack (1988). Authentic, appropriate models of writing in the disciplines should help instructors, both composition teachers and those teaching writing in their own disciplines, to supply their students with tools for investigating disciplinary writing. In other words, a corpus of student writing can be used as a valuable tool to investigate and to write about writing. In what follows, we present an overview of the Michigan Corpus of Upper-level Student Papers (MICUSP) and describe how this resource was used in one first year writing course taught at a 2-year American liberal arts college.
Using a Corpus in the Composition Classroom
A corpus (plural corpora) can be defined as an electronic collection of texts from spoken and/or written sources that is used in language-related scholarship. Such a text collection may include conversation or interview transcripts, newspaper texts, journal articles, blogs, and a variety of other language samples. Corpus applications range from linguistic research for dictionary making to literary analysis and language teaching. Corpus analysis refers to the ways in which corpora are accessed as sources of data in research and teaching. A growing body of literature on corpus analysis and its pedagogical applications (see Flowerdew (2012) and Römer (2011) for overviews) provides evidence for the value of corpora in teaching contexts, including the teaching of academic writing. Among other things, corpora provide frequency information that guides instructors or materials designers in deciding what to include in a course, and information on collocations (words that frequently co-occur with one another) and language patterns that give insights into central meanings created in a specific type of language. In the context of teaching writing, a corpus, as a large repository of authentic text samples, is a valuable tool that may offer answers to student questions about how a text is organized and which types of phrases it commonly contains.
Corpora have been used as teaching and learning tools inside and outside the classroom for almost three decades now. Tim Johns pioneered pedagogical corpus applications in grammar and vocabulary classes for international students at the University of Birmingham (UK) in the 1980s and suggested to “confront the learner as directly as possible with the data, and to make the learner a linguistic researcher” (Johns, 2002, p. 108). Learners interact with the corpus through a computer interface (or access corpus-derived materials provided by their instructors) and explore vocabulary co-selections, language structures, or textual patterns in an autonomous fashion. This method is now widely knows under the label “data-driven learning” (DDL; see Johns, 1986; 1994).
Inspired by Johns’ work, a number of applied linguists and language teachers have discussed ways in which corpora and corpus-derived materials can be used by language learners. Bernardini (2002), for example, has described the positive effects of what she calls “corpus-aided discovery learning” with the British National Corpus, and referred to corpora as “rich sources of autonomous learning activities of a serendipitous kind” (p. 165). Kettemann (1995) has also stressed the exploratory aspect of DDL and considered corpus work in the language teaching classroom “motivating and highly experiential” for the learner (p. 30). Further advantages of corpus use with learners have been suggested by scholars like Sinclair (1997), who noted that, for the learner, “[c]orpora will clarify, give priorities, reduce exceptions and liberate the creative spirit” (p. 38). The effectiveness of DDL and its awareness-raising potential has been demonstrated in a range of studies in applied corpus linguistics (for examples see Boulton, 2009; Cresswell, 2007; Granath, 2009; Yoon, 2008). As Yoon (2008) observed in a study on the influence of corpora use on learner academic writing, “students assumed more responsibility for their writing and became more independent writers” (p. 31).
Echoing these researchers’ thoughts on the value of corpus use in pedagogical contexts, we would like to argue that DDL is not just beneficial for language learners who study English as a second or foreign language, but also for native speakers of English who wish to familiarize themselves with novel contexts and genres. We believe that access to the right types of corpora can help students, independent of whether they are native or non-native speakers, in discovering important conventions in academic writing and in acquiring unfamiliar practices in a chosen discipline.
As the case study discussed below demonstrates, a corpus of advanced student writing across multiple disciplines can help students in a FYC course explore central aspects of academic writing and develop context- and discipline-specific writing skills. This is in direct response to the call of Downs and Wardle (2007) who conclude that there are few appropriate resources (e.g., textbooks) available for FYC students. Instead, we would conclude that in addition to existing resources designed more for second language users (e.g., Swales and Feak, 2012), corpora of student writing can be a valuable tool for students to not only write about writing, but to scientifically analyze and then write about writing.
The corpus that the students in our case study had access to is the Michigan Corpus of Upper-level Student Papers (MICUSP). We believe that, because of its coverage and availability, MICUSP can be a very useful resource to composition teachers and their students. MICUSP is an electronic collection of 829 A-graded papers written by final year undergraduate and first, second, and third year graduate students at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor (O’Donnell & Römer, 2012; Römer & O’Donnell, 2011). MICUSP is freely available to teachers, students and researchers through the user-friendly online search and browse interface “MICUSP Simple”.
The corpus was designed to provide a global snapshot of high-quality student writing assignments from a large American research university. The papers in MICUSP come from different disciplines, ranging from Humanities and Arts over Social Sciences to Physical Sciences, and together make up about 2.6 million words. The sixteen disciplines included in MICUSP are, in alphabetical order: Biology (BIO), Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE), Economics (ECO), Education (EDU), English (ENG), History and Classical Studies (HIS), Industrial and Operations Engineering (IOE), Linguistics (LIN), Mechanical Engineering (MEC), Natural Resources and Environment (NRE), Nursing (NUR), Philosophy (PHI), Physics (PHY), Political Science (POL), Psychology (PSY), and Sociology (SOC). MICUSP texts do not just span a range of disciplines, they also capture a variety of different paper types: argumentative essays, creative writing samples, critiques or evaluations, reports, research papers, research proposals, and response papers.
The corpus, the first of its kind in North America, enables teachers and writing researchers to investigate the written discourse of proficient, advanced-level native- and non-native speaker student writers. It also provides students with a wide selection of successful writing samples that may serve as models for their own academic writing. We recognize, however, that such samples may not be appropriate models of writing for every context, academic or otherwise.
Providing Students Access to Successful Writing Samples from Hundreds of Peers
The MICUSP Simple interface, accessible at http://search-micusp.elicorpora.info/, allows students, instructors and writing researchers to browse papers by type (e.g. report, argumentative essay) and discipline (e.g. Biology, English), and to search for words and phrases in the entire corpus (or in subsets of it). The interface turns the corpus into a 2.6 million-word tutoring tool that helps students learn how to write, guided by examples from hundreds of peers. As our case study below shows, MICUSP Simple can be beneficial to students in learning more about their target disciplines and in developing discipline-specific writing skills.
In MICUSP Simple, the 829 papers in the corpus are organized by academic discipline, student level, student nativeness status, and paper type. MICUSP papers have also been labeled for whether or not they contain any of the following eight textual features: abstract, definitions, discussion of results, literature review, methodology section, problem-solution pattern, reference to sources, and tables, graphs or figures. The selection of these textual features was inspired by conversations the MICUSP compilers had with experienced writing instructors at the University of Michigan who were looking to identify suitable examples of papers that illustrated the features in our list for use in their writing classes.
Let us take a look at the core features and functions of MICUSP Simple. Figure 1 provides a screen capture of the MICUSP Simple website. The bar chart in the middle and the pie chart to the right illustrate how the 829 papers in the corpus are distributed across the 16 disciplines and 7 paper types. We see that there are particularly large numbers of papers from English and Psychology students and that the most common paper types in the set are report and argumentative essay. The user can interact with these charts by clicking on a bar or a pie slice and hence narrow down the set of papers that is displayed in a table right underneath the charts. If we click on the “ENG” bar and the “Argumentative Essay” pie slice label, for example, the page automatically updates and shows us only those papers that are argumentative essays written by students in the English department. Of the papers in MICUSP, 65 fall in this group. The table at the center of the screen lists all 65 papers (including their titles, and discipline and paper type labels) and allows users to access the full text of each paper by clicking on the paper ID in the leftmost column.
“Okay,” she laughed after three complicated cocktails. “Now, you, sir . . .”
“You, sir . . . Now . . . I am . . . Okay. I feel like we’ve only talked about me. But I don’t know anything about you. Other than that you’re very, um, charming and, well, very cute, of course. Ha, don’t let that go to your head! Shouldn’t have said that.”
“But I feel—okay, if this is my—well. Okay: what do you do?”
“What do I do? You mean what is my job?”
“Sorry, I hate that question, too. It’s like, is this a date or an interview, right?”
He finished his bite of sauce-soaked broccolini and answered, but she didn’t hear him clearly.
“Hmmmmmmmmmm? All I heard was ‘lord.’ ”
“Ooh! Okay, this is fun. Are you a . . . landlord? Because I do not have the best history getting along with landlords. My first apartment—”
“I’m not a landlord.”
“Are you . . . a . . . drug lord?” Julie said, stroke-poking the side of his face with her finger. ” ‘Cause that could be a problem.”
“You’re not . . . the Lord, are you? Because I haven’t gone to temple since my Bat Mitzvah. Ha, don’t tell my grandma!”
He laughed politely. She could tell he was laughing just to be nice—and she liked that more than if he had laughed from finding her funny. A nice guy: now that would be a real change of pace for her.
“Then what kind of lord are you, anyways, eh?” she asked with an old-timey “what’s the big idea” accent. God, she was a bit tipsy, wasn’t she?
“I’m a warlord.”
“In-ter-est-ing! Now, I don’t know exactly what this is. But I want to learn. So: what exactly . . . is . . . a warlord?” Julie asked, her chin now resting playfully on a V of two upturned palms. “Educate meeeee.”
“Okay. Can you picture where the Congo is on a map?”
“Kinda,” she exaggerated.
“This is Africa,” he said, pointing to an imaginary map in the air between them. “This is the Indian Ocean. This is the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This is just regular Congo.”
“What? Hold up—”
“I know—that’s just how it is. I didn’t name them,” the warlord laughed. “Anyway.This? All this, here? This is what I control.”
“So you’re like . . . the governor of it?”
“No. There are areas of the world where it will show up on your map as a certain country. But in reality, no government is in control of that region, in any real way. They cannot collect taxes. They cannot enforce laws. Do you follow?”
Yes, nodded Julie.
The people that are in charge are the warlords. They—we—bribe, kidnap, indoctrinate, torture, and . . . what am I forgeting? What’s the fifth one? Oh, kill—ha, that’s weird that I forgot that one—the population of any region that falls above a certain threshold of natural resources but below a certain threshold of government protection. It’s not exactlythat simple, Julie, but, basically, that determines where I’m based. Once those conditions reach that level, me and my team, we show up and terrorize that area until the entire population is either dead, subdued, or, ideally, one of our soldiers. Ideally ideally, dream scenario? A child soldier.”
“That does not sound legal,” said Julie, trying to stall for time so that she could object properly and intelligently, which was going to take a second, because she had had a couple of drinks already and had not anticipated having to debate a hot-button topic like this at the top of her intelligence—especially not with someone who did it for a living.
“No, it isn’t legal at all—have you been listening?” Julie blushed and rotated her fork on her napkin in a four-point turn so she would have something to focus on besides her embarrassment. “This is a show of force outside the ability of any government to enforce its laws.”
He went on and on. The words “rape” and “limbs” came up more than on any other date she could remember.
“What about, like, the international community?” asked Julie, hoping this was a smart question. Usually this was something she was good at on dates, but tonight she was having more trouble. “Don’t they ever pressure you to stop? Or,” she added, thinking there might be something else there, “or something?”
“Yes,” said the warlord. “Sure! For example, there was this thing about me on Twitter a while ago—are you on Twitter?” She said she was but didn’t check it often. “Same here!” he laughed. “I have an account, but I can never figure out if it’s a thing I do or not. Anyway. I was ‘trending.’ You know what that is?” She did. “I’ll be honest, it weirded me out. I got into this pattern where I was checking my name every two seconds, and there were like forty-five new mentions of me. All negative!”
“You can’t let yourself fall into that,” said Julie.
“Exactly. Anyway, it passed,” said the warlord. “You know Twitter—before long everyone’s on to the next thing.”
“What about,” asked Julie, downing the last sip of her cocktail as she felt a premature ripple of seriousness returning, “the ethics of it? How do you feel about that? Doesn’t that trouble you?”
The warlord gestured to Julie with his fork. “That top you’re wearing. Anthropologie?”
“H&M,” said Julie, “but thank you.”
“Even better,” said the warlord. “Do you know the conditions in the factories that made that top you’re wearing? Do you ever think about that?”
“Yeah, okay, no. That’s not—nice try. Just because . . . No. And yes, I know, thisphone, right here, that I use every day—but, no. No! You can’t . . . It doesn’t help anything to equate . . . Look,” said Julie. “There’s no excuse. But that also does not mean—”
“Just in case you’re thinking about dessert,” whispered the waitress, dropping off two stiff sheets of artisan paper in front of Julie and the warlord.
“Remember when they used to ask first if you wanted to see a dessert menu?” asked the warlord. “Now everyone just ambushes you with a dessert menu without asking. When did that start?”
“I know!” said Julie. “Everyone started doing that at the same time, too! How does stuff like that happen? Everywhere, just”—she snapped—”changing their policy at the exact same time?”
“Get Malcolm Gladwell on that,” said the warlord.
“I know, right?”
They both scanned the menus, each pair of eyes starting in the unhelpful middle of the dessert menu for some no-reason, then tipsily circling around and around until most of the important words had been absorbed.
“I have never understood ‘flourless chocolate cake,'” stated the warlord, finally. “Is flour such a bad thing? I mean, compared to the other things in chocolate cake?”
“You want to split that?” said Julie.
“Flour is probably the least unhealthy thing I can think of in chocolate cake,” the warlord continued. Is that supposed to be the point? That the whole cake is just all eggs and sugar and butter? And anyway, who cares? It’s chocolate cake. We know it’s not a health food. Use whatever ingredients you want. All it has to do is taste good. We don’t need to know how you did it—just make it.”
“You want to maybe split that?” said Julie again.
“We will split the flourless chocolate cake,” declared the warlord.
“Great!” said the waitress, disappearing again.
“So, do you get to travel a lot?” asked Julie.
“Not as much as I’d like. Now and then well reach some cease-fire, after some especially big massacre, and things get quiet for a bit. That’s what allowed me to take some time off. travel, meet you, stuff like that. Oh, I meant to say: you look even better in person than in your profile picture.”
“Oh . . . Thank you.”
“Yeah, I’ve been meaning to tell you that. Nice surprise. Rare it goes in that direction.”
“Ha. Well, thanks. Um, same. Don’t let that go to your head.”
“Thanks. So . . . Lost my train of thought.”
“Right! So, you know cease-fires—they never stick.”
“Yes, I think I saw something about that on Jon Stewart. That must be frustrating.”
“It is! Thank you, Julie. That’s exactly the right word,” said the warlord. “It’s very frustrating!”
“Flourless chocolate cake,” said the waitress.
“Thank you,” said Julie and the warlord at the same time.
“Can I get you anything else? Another drink?”
“I really shouldn’t,” said Julie. “Are you okay to drive, by the way?”
“I have a driver,” said the warlord.
Julie ordered a fourth and final cocktail.
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ICC T20 World Cup 2016 Schedule, Time Table, Fixtures, Teams, ICC T20 WC Live Streaming Score- T20 World Cup is scheduled from 8th March and will continue till 3rd April in India. On 3rd April, grand finale will be played at Eden Gardens, Kolkata whereas first match will be played on 8th March at Nagpur. On 11th December, Friday ICC announced the complete ICC World Cup 2016 Schedule which included Women’s and Men’s Schedule. Here we will share detailed groups and schedule. First round matches is scheduled from 8th Match to 13th March. After first round matches, on 15th March India will host New Zealand in Super 10 matches. Semi Finals are scheduled on 30 and 31st March.
ICC T20 World Cup 2016 Teams & Groups
First round (group winners to progress to second round)
Group A – Bangladesh, Netherlands, Ireland and Oman
Group B – Zimbabwe, Scotland, Hong Kong and Afghanistan
Second round groups
|Group A||Group B|
|winner group B (Q1B)||winner group A (Q1A)|
|3rd March 2016||HIMACHAL XI V ZIMBABWE||15:00 IST
|4th March 2016||NETHERLANDS V AFGHANISTAN||
|5th March 2016||IRELAND V ZIMBABWE||15:00 IST
|6th March 2016||SCOTLAND V NETHERLANDS||
|10th March 2016||NEW ZEALAND V SRI LANKA
INDIA V WEST INDIES
|12th March 2016||NEW ZEALAND V ENGLAND
LOCAL TEAM V PAKISTAN
SOUTH AFRICA V INDIA
|13th March 2016||AUSTRALIA V WEST INDIES||19:30 IST|
|14th March 2016||
ENGLAND V LOCAL TEAM
PAKISTAN V SRI LANKA
|15th March 2016||SOUTH AFRICA V LOCAL TEAM||15:00 IST|
ICC T20 World Cup Schedule | T20 World Cup 2016 Qualifiers Time Table | Fixtures
|1||8th March 2016,
|Zimbabwe v Hong Kong||Nagpur||PM|
|2||8th March 2016,Tuesday||Scotland v Afghanistan||Nagpur||EVE|
|3||9th March 2016, Wednesday||Bangladesh v Netherlands||Dharamsala||PM|
|4||9th March 2016, Wednesday||Ireland v Oman||Dharamsala||EVE|
|5||10th March 2016, Thursday||Scotland v Zimbabwe||Nagpur||PM|
|6||10th March 2016, Thursday||Hong Kong v Afghanistan||Nagpur||EVE|
|7||11th March 2016, Friday||Netherlands v Oman||Dharamsala||PM|
|8||11th March 2016, Friday||Bangladesh v Ireland||Dharamsala||EVE|
|9||12th March 2016, Saturday||Zimbabwe v Afghanistan||Nagpur||PM|
|10||12th March 2016, Saturday||Scotland v Hong Kong||Nagpur||EVE|
|11||13th March 2016, Sunday||Netherlands v Ireland||Dharamsala||PM|
|12||13th March 2016, Sunday||Bangladesh v Oman||Dharamsala||EVE|
|13||15th March 2016, Tuesday||New Zealand v India||Nagpur||EVE|
|14||16th March 2016, Wednesday||West Indies v England||Mumbai||PM|
|15||16th March 2016, Wednesday||Pakistan v Q1A||Kolkata||EVE|
|16||17th March 2016, Thursday||Sri Lanka v Q1B||Kolkata||EVE|
|17||18th March 2016, Friday||Australia v New Zealand||Dharamsala||PM|
|18||18th March 2016, Friday||South Africa v England||Mumbai||EVE|
|19||19th March 2016, Saturday||India v Pakistan||Dharamsala||EVE|
|20||20th March 2016, Sunday||South Africa v Q1B||Mumbai||PM|
|21||20th March 2016, Sunday||Sri Lanka v West Indies||Bengaluru||EVE|
|22||21st March 2016, Monday||Australia v Q1A||Bengaluru||EVE|
|23||22nd March 2016, Tuesday||New Zealand v Pakistan||Mohali||EVE|
|24||23rd March 2016, Wednesday||England v Q1B||New Delhi||PM|
|25||23rd March 2016, Wednesday||India v Q1A||Bengaluru||EVE|
|26||25th March 2016, Friday||Pakistan v Australia||Mohali||PM|
|27||25th March 2016, Friday||South Africa v West Indies||Nagpur||EVE|
|28||26th March 2016, Saturday||Q1A v New Zealand||Kolkata||PM|
|29||26th March 2016, Saturday||England v Sri Lanka||New Delhi||EVE|
|30||27th March 2016, Sunday||India v Australia||Mohali||EVE|
|31||27th March 2016, Sunday||Q1B v West Indies||Nagpur||PM|
|32||28th March 2016, Monday||South Africa v Sri Lanka||New Delhi||EVE|
|29th March 2016, Tuesday||Rest / Travel Day|
|33||30th March 2016, Wednesday||Men’s semi-final (Super 10 Group 1 2nd v Super 10 Group 2 1st)||New Delhi||EVE|
|34||31st March 2016, Thursday||Men’s semi-final (Super 10 Group 1 2nd v Super 10 Group 2 1st)||Mumbai||EVE|
|35||3rd April 2016, Sunday||Final||Kolkata||EVE|
First Round matches will be played from 8th March to 13th March and top two teams from 8 will qualify for Super 10 Stage. Top 8 sides which include Australia, India, South Africa, England, Pakistan, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and West Indies have already made it to Super 10 Stage.
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Belly dance is a Western-coined name for a type of Middle Eastern dance. Originally a “solo, improvised dance involving torso articulation,” belly dance takes many different forms depending on the country and region, both in costume and dance style, and new styles have evolved in the West as its popularity has spread globally.
Belly dance is primarily a torso-driven dance, with an emphasis on articulations of the hips. Unlike many Western dance forms, the focus of the dance is on relaxed, natural isolations of the torso muscles, rather than on movements of the limbs through space. Although some of these isolations appear superficially similar to the isolations used in jazz ballet, they are sometimes driven differently and have a different feeling or emphasis.
In common with most folk dances, there is no universally codified naming scheme for belly dance movements. Some dancers and dance schools have developed their own naming schemes, but none of these are universally recognised.
Movements found in belly dance
Many of the movements characteristic of belly dance can be grouped into the following categories:
Percussive movements – Staccato movements, most commonly of the hips, which can be used to punctuate the music or accent a beat. Typical movements in this group include hip drops, vertical hip rocks, outwards hip hits, hip lifts and hip twists. Percussive movements using other parts of the body can include lifts or drops of the ribcage and shoulder accents.
Fluid movements – Flowing, sinuous movements in which the body is in continuous motion, which may be used to interpret melodic lines and lyrical sections in the music, or modulated to express complex instrumental improvisations, as well as being performed in a rhythmic manner. These movements require a great deal of abdominal muscle control. Typical movements include horizontal and vertical figures of 8 or infinity loops with the hips, horizontal or tilting hip circles, and undulations of the hips and abdomen. These basic shapes may be varied, combined and embellished to create an infinite variety of complex, textured movements.
Shimmies, shivers and vibrations – Small, fast, continuous movements of the hips or ribcage, which create an impression of texture and depth of movement. Shimmies are commonly layered over other movements, and are often used to interpret rolls on the tablah or riq or fast strumming of the oud or qanun (instrument). There are many types of shimmy, varying in size and method of generation. Some common shimmies include relaxed, up and down hip shimmies, straight-legged knee-driven shimmies, fast, tiny hip vibrations, twisting hip shimmies, bouncing ‘earthquake’ shimmies, and relaxed shoulder or ribcage shimmies.
In addition to these torso movements, dancers in many styles will use level changes, travelling steps, turns and spins. The arms are used to frame and accentuate movements of the hips, for dramatic gestures, and to create beautiful lines and shapes with the body, particularly in the more balletic, Westernised styles. Other movements may be used as occasional accents, such as low kicks and arabesques, backbends, and head tosses.
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