Belly Dance

Mass Construction

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The Walking Code

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Social Dancing Crash Course – Ballroom dancing for absolute beginners

Product Name: Social Dancing Crash Course – Ballroom dancing for absolute beginners

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Social Dancing Crash Course – Ballroom dancing for absolute beginners is backed with a 60 Day No Questions Asked Money Back Guarantee. If within the first 60 days of receipt you are not satisfied with Wake Up Lean™, you can request a refund by sending an email to the address given inside the product and we will immediately refund your entire purchase price, with no questions asked.

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Goddesses of Belly dance vol 2


The Goddesses of Bellydance: vol. 258


Happy Thursday dear friends! What does say we start the weekend a little early? With that in mind, please welcome: ZsóFIA Bá nhidi (Hungary); Lissa Kamal …


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The Different Kinds of Poetry

Belly Dance Grace And Beauty

For nearly as long as man has known how to read and write, poetry has been thriving. It has been the solace of lovers, the most ardent form of expression of royal flattery, and a welcome distraction to book lovers. In fact, some of the most ancient literary works are all written in a poetic manner. One of the most ancient pieces of poetry is an old Sumerian poem, the Epic of Gilgamesh. It narrates the story of an Emperor who resisted the advances of a Goddess and set out on an adventure in his quest for attaining immortality. Since then, poetry has evolved into a number of popular art forms. Let us learn of some of the most popular forms of poetry –

• Haiku – A Haiku is a Japanese form of poetry that typically consists of three lines and seventeen syllables. These syllables are so distributed that the first line has five of them, the second has seven, and the third and last has five again.

• Echo verses – These are written in such a way that the last syllable (or word) of a line is repeated in the next one to form a set of rhyming lines. It is because of this exact repetition of the previous line’s last syllable that the name echo verse originated.

• Ballad – A ballad is one of the oldest forms of poetry, and it is used to narrate a poetic tale, often of love. Rhyme is a prominent feature of ballads.

• Epic poems – An epic poem is easy to understand from its very name. It is a lengthy verse that narrates heroic tales and epics, and may or may not rhyme. It has no strict structure, and the distinguishing feature of an epic poem is the epic itself.

• Limericks – Limericks are funny poems that have a sense of rhythm in them. They are almost often composed in a light-hearted vein, and sometimes do not even make sense. These limericks are meant to be read in jest.

• Ode – The ode traces its origin back to Greece, where this form of lyrical poetry was composed to honor or address a person, a thing, or an abstract concept.

Famous odes include Ode to the West Wind, Ode to Autumn, and Odeon Solitude.

• Sonnets – A sonnet is a poem of fourteen lines, each of which is ten syllables long. It follows distinct rhyming patterns and was first popularized in the Shakespearean

Origami: The Japanese Renowned Form of Paper Craft

Papercraft is the craft of transforming a single piece of paper into an aesthetically pleasing, three-dimensional piece. This creation of several forms and shapes with a paper by folding, opening, and bending of a flat sheet of paper is a Japanese art form called Origami. The term ‘Origami’ means ‘folded paper’. The fact is that the origin of Origami is unknown. However, it can be traced back to ancient times in Japan when formal documents were intricately folded. It is thought that it was during the Edo period that spans between 1603-1867 were when Origami gained root as a leisure activity. The technique has been handed down from one generation to the other. Parents imparted the skill to their children and they also did likewise explaining why the art form is prospering.

There are two main classifications of Origami. They are the Traditional Origami and the Creative Origami. The traditional origami deals with the use of paper creating simple forms, shapes, and animals such as frogs, boats, balloons, insects, and plants. On the other hand, creative origami involves the creation of very complex and elaborate designs with paper such as buildings, cars, airplanes, dinosaurs, etc. Many professional fields such as architecture and engineering have applied the principles of origami in producing prototype models of their architectural structures and automobiles before building the actual products. Health providers and clinical psychologists have used origami as an art activity for the elderly, handicapped and mentally deranged persons as an effective rehabilitation tool.

To produce an origami piece, the artist needs to remember these essential points:

1. The paper to be used for producing the piece should be square.

2. No adhesive or cutting is needed in origami.

3. The paper to be used may be colorful to increase the aesthetic appeal of the final work.

4. The artist should put these two essential qualities to play thus tolerance and patience.

5. The artist must strictly follow the rules that govern the folding of the paper such as:

a. Corners and edges of the paper should match precisely.

b. The folds created must be tight.

c. In creating a triangle, hold the two diagonal corners together firmly and exactly between your thumb and first finger and then fold the base with your other hand.

d. Some shapes require that the paper be folded and unfolded producing a crease in preparation of the next step. The paper is at times curled, pleated, rolled over, pinched, pushed in, blown open, or turned over to create the shapes.

Virtually all types of paper can be used for producing items in origami. These include newspapers, wrapping paper, bond papers, etc. It should be noted that the attractiveness and beauty of the final work is not dependent only on the folding technique but also the type of paper used. The popular Japanese handmade paper used for origami is called Washi. Other tools and materials that can be used for origami or general papercraft include knives, scissors, metal rule, brushes, punches, bone folder, pencil, spray diffuser, adhesives, eyelets, threads, etc.

The Psychology of Art

On the need to differentiate between the structural and functional aspects of the psychology of art…

The psychology of art is a complex topic and this description serves only as an introduction to a ‘developing’ field of study. Psychology forms the basis of many aspects of life and art or expression of art in any form and especially through sculpture and painting is also based on psychological theories and understanding. The relation between psychology and art is almost inevitable; there can be no art without psychology and vice versa. The artist begins with a blank canvas on which he/ she projects his or her own psychological being and art remains as the medium of such projection. Thus art can best be defined as a medium through which an artist or creative individual projects his or her feelings and frustrations and deeper psychological necessities. This way art is intricately linked to psychology. Yet the psychology of art as a formal discipline has not found extensive recognition and has only very recently gained popularity in western universities.

The psychology of art is, however, a fascinating field of study as it analyzes the core of creativity and provides an explanation for the mental processes of the artist in particular and the creative individual in general. Yet interestingly, the psychology of art is not just limited to understanding the mental processes of the artist but also the mental processes involved in perceiving the art. Thus psychology of art provides explanation and understanding of the phenomena of creativity, the mental processes of the artist, as well as the thought processes of the perceiver. It is comprehensive in its approach not only because of its range of explanation but also because art psychology involves explanations from different branches of psychology such as Gestalt psychology of perception, psychology of form and function/order and complexity, Jungian psychoanalysis, the psychology of attention and Experimental psychology as well as Freudian symbolism.

The psychology of art is interdisciplinary, successfully integrating art, architecture, philosophy (metaphysics and phenomenology), aesthetics, the study of consciousness, visual perception, and psychoanalysis. From philosopher John Dewey to psychoanalyst Carl Gustav Jung, intellectuals of the 20th century influenced the emergence of psychology of art that seemed to have moved beyond the mental processes of the artist to include the process of creation and also its perception examining art from biological, social, psychological and philosophical perspectives. Dewey and Jung both influenced the study of art within social and cultural contexts and are largely responsible for the understanding of art in its present form.

Art is obviously a creative process and is thus a deep psychological process as well. Art could well be explained with the theory of perception and as a cognitive process. The Gestalt theory of visual perception would offer one of the foremost explanations of art creation and perception. The Gestalt theorists were the 20th-century psychologists who systematically studied perceptual processes in humans and some of the famous Gestaltists were Wolfgang Köhler, Kurt Koffka, Max Wertheimer, and Kurt Lewin. The principles of perception as given in Gestalt psychology focused on proximity or contiguity, similarity, continuity, closure, area/symmetry and figure and ground.

Thus Gestalists described perception as a process that involved not just the object but also the context as the perception of objects is affected by what surrounds these objects so to Gestaltists, things are always ‘more than the sum of their parts’. As art is also primarily about perception, our perception of any art object would depend on these Gestalt principles as well and we tend to see continuity or closure or even perceive movement in static objects. Gestalt psychology has been used extensively to describe and understand ‘visual illusions’. For example, objects which are situated closer to each other will be perceived as forming a group. If you’ve seen some of these pictures that explain the principles of Gestalt, you’ll quickly understand that there is more to art than simple brush strokes; art is as much a process of perception (including illusion) as it is a process of creation. If an artist successfully creates a visual illusion, he is almost like a magician. Yet art has several dimensions in its study and explanation and from Gestalt understanding of form and structure that provides a ‘structural’ explanation of the organizational principles of art, we have to understand the ‘functional’ features of art as well. This, in turn, is provided by psychoanalysis and symbolism.

In the early 20th century Sigmund Freud pioneered the study of art in its psychoanalytic form by considering the artist as essentially a neurotic who deals with his psychic pressures and conflicts through his creative impulses. Freud was interested in the ‘content’ or subject matter of art that reflected the inner conflicts and repressed wishes of the artist and art to Freud as to any psychoanalyst today is considered as essentially a projection of the artist’s mind and thought process. Freud believed that unconscious desires and fantasies of the artist makes way from the internal and manifests as the external on canvas through art. Thus if an artist fantasizes about beautiful virtuous women, he paints angels in heaven as a sort of ‘sublimation’ of his deeper wish. Thus any art work is directly related to the artist’s inner world and his unconscious regions of the mind.

One school of art that was directly influenced by the Freudian theory and directly manifests the unconscious is Surrealism which began in the early 20th century, initially as an offshoot of a cultural movement, Dadaism. Surrealism emphasizes on the integration of art and life and with psychoanalytic influences focuses on the unconscious desires. From the psychology of Jacques Lacan to the philosophy of Hegel, Surrealism was largely shaped by philosophy, psychology, and cultural changes and has been one of the most revolutionary movements in the history of art.

Some of its famous proponents were André Breton and more recently Salvador Dali. In fact, Dali’s work could be seen as almost a visual representation of Freud’s emphasis on dream analysis, unconscious desires as well as hallucinations and free association. Sexual symbolism, an important part of the Freudian analysis has been extensively used by surrealists. Freud and surrealism highlighted a closer link between madness, sexuality, and art but this sort of portrayal met with some opposition as well. On the other hand, Carl Jung’s psychoanalysis and emphasis on art as a form of cultural expression were more acceptable to some artists and Jung remains as the most influential psychoanalyst in art history with his optimistic and constructive portrayal of art. According to Jung, art and other forms of creative endeavor could access the ‘collective unconscious’ and provide considerable insights on not just the process of creativity but also the cultural elements in the mind that are carried across generations. In Jungian psychology art as a psychological process would be an assimilation of the cultural experiences of the artist so it is accessible to a wider community.

Thus the psychology of art as it develops to a major discipline and area of study could be considered as having two distinct branches –

o Structural Psychology of Art – that which emphasizes on the ‘structural’ aspects of perceiving art through form, organization as understood with Gestalt principles and general emphasis on structure, also with the principles of physiology and visual perception

o Functional Psychology of Art – that which emphasizes on art as a creative process representing the ‘functional’ aspects or mental dynamics of the artist, the content rather than the form and could be understood with the insights of psychoanalysis and phenomenology.

The structural branch relates mainly to the perceiver and the process of perception of art and the functional branch relates to the artist and the process of creation of art. Both these dimensions would be equally important and complement each other in comprehensive conceptual psychology of art.

Art, Gender, and Domination in Middlemarch and "My Last Duchess"

George Eliot’s Middlemarch and Robert Browning’s “My Last Duchess” are two Victorian-era works that delve into the world of bad relationships. (In case you were wondering why they’re both so long.) Interestingly, both pieces of literature also rely heavily on descriptions of paintings and sculptures to explore a skewed male-female dynamic. This technique of using one art form to portray a second art form (ex. painting a statue or writing about a photo) is what high-fallutin’ academic types call “ekphrasis,” which comes from the ancient Greek for “art-on-art action.” Remember that 130-line description of the carvings on Achilles’s shield in The Iliad? Yea baby, that’s the stuff.

Most of the ekphrasis used in Middlemarch involves our upstanding young heroine, Dorothea Brooke, who is constantly described in terms of portraits and sculptures. These artsy comparisons are usually drawn by the novel’s male characters, who – torn between her extreme piety and dark beauty – can’t seem to decide whether she looks more like a painting of a nun or a statue of a goddess. In their attempts to understand Dorothea, these men repeatedly reduce her to a variety of inanimate and, *ahem,* purely visual art forms. Thankfully, the dapper Will Ladislaw eventually steps in to criticize these “representations of women” for being unable to convey any real depth. So what does all this have to do with power struggles between the genders? By symbolically aligning the men’s perceptions of Dorothea with objects that can only be looked at, Middlemarch implicitly brings the concept of the “male gaze” into the mix. And according to feminist theory, the male gaze is inherently degrading because it relegates women to the status of objects. (Objects like paintings and statues? Boy howdy!)

Of course, the truth is that everyone uses gaze to reduce other people into tidy little bundles, not just the men of Middlemarch. In fact, we’re practically incapable of reserving our superficial snap judgments about the strangers we see passing by – a phenomenon which the fashion industry couldn’t be more grateful for. (Lens-less black frames, a cardigan, and jeans that look like they need to be surgically removed at the end of the day? Hipster. Baggy clothes, a baseball cap, and a jewel-encrusted platinum grill? Gangster. Second- or third-hand jeans, a stained shirt, and maybe not the cleanest hair? Hobo. Or a college student.) The point is, imagining that you can successfully size someone up based on immediate empirical evidence is, at best, a feeble attempt to feel comfortable in the face of the unknown, and, at worst, a mechanism for exerting control over another person.

Which brings us to “My Last Duchess,” a creepy poem recounting a dramatic monologue about a painting. (Ekphrasis squared?) The poem’s narrator, whom we cleverly deduce is a duke, starts off by describing a portrait of his (most likely murdered) ex-wife, which he always keeps hidden under a curtain. (Very normal, very healthy.) He overeagerly brings up the fact that she is happy and blushing, explaining that he can just tell by people’s faces that they’re always dying to ask about it. (Smiling in a portrait? What madness is this!) The narrator becomes increasingly fixated on how she used to look whenever a “spot of joy” spread over her face. Critically, he continues: “She had / A heart – how shall I say? – too soon made glad,” insisting that her perpetually sunny disposition was merely evidence of her lax morals. (Yeah, we hate her already.) Very clearly projecting his own neuroses onto an unfortunate wife, the duke chooses to interpret everything he sees as subversion. And what better reason to get into a battle of gazes than the fact that his wife “liked whate’er / She looked on, and her looks went everywhere.” (Eyes off, tootz!) Finally, the narrator admits that to put an end to this insufferable and inexplicable smiling, he issued “commands” of some sort, causing all the smiles to stop. (He probably could have just told one of his stories.) Now he keeps her image hidden under a piece of cloth. The significance? Ultimate control: only the duke can decide who gets to look at her – and when her image can look back.

Did I mention that all this happens during what is supposed to be a discussion about his upcoming marriage? (You smoothtalker, you!) Don’t worry, though; the duke promises that, although he expects a hefty dowry from his future father-in-law, the lovely daughter is his only true “object.” (Let’s hope this doesn’t involve a taxidermist.)