Level One: Figure 8 Unit, Class 2
Updated: Feb 22
I mentioned the more traditional way of teaching this class. Western way of teaching and learning, with a very codified way of doing things is not traditional to how raqs sharki (Eastern dance, AKA bellydance) was learned. For centuries, professional dancers were from families of entertainers and so they learned from a very young age. I try to combine how Americans are comfortable learning with more traditional teaching styles, to prepare you to really appreciate how many native dancers prefer to teach. This article from Leila (an American who had a successful career in Cairo for many years) talks about how important it is to be able to learn in this way.
Regional Highlight This unit, we're focusing on North Africa. These regional highlights are meant to give a general orientation, and really only scratch the surfface of the diversity of arts in the MENAHT/SWANA area (Middle East, North Africa, Helene, & Turkey/SouthWest Asia & North Africa).
Continuing to highlight one region a week (so it doesn't get too overwhelming), Tunisia has many folk dances, and this is by no means exhaustive, but let's start with a sampling to begin to understand the diversity. Some of the dances performed in Tunisia include Juzur, fezzani, and Mezoued. I am not an expert in this region, so I will keep looking for Tunisian dancers who have shared resource on their dances.
In this clip, you can see how the hip belt worn for Tunsian styles accentuates the twisting motions. This is also where many folk-inspired pot dances done in the US came from.
This is Egyptian dancer Souheir Zaki (mentioned by Leila in the article above), showing that sweetness she was famous for. The song she is dancing to says "I'll make you forget rap and rock, let's dance beledi" before going into a traditional style of song.
No matter how wild the dance gets, bellydance is always the music translated into movement. Nadia Jamal was a major player in the development of Lebanese style. In this clip, she is dancing in an Indian movie.