Level One: Infinities Unit, Class 2
Updated: Feb 23
I want you all to find your own voice. Shems articulates well how all this movement vocabulary fits into learning how to dance and I hope it makes it clearer why I teach things in parts, so you can assemble them in a way that expresses yourself
Regional Highlights This unit, we're focusing on the Arabian Peninsula and Levant. These regional highlights are meant to give a general orientation, and really only scratch the surface of the diversity of arts in the MENAHT/SWANA area (Middle East, North Africa, Helene, & Turkey/SouthWest Asia & North Africa).
Diaspora from Iraq have been increasing, for obvious reasons. With more Iraqi folks in audiences, references to Iraqi folk dances have increased in bellydance shows. One of the most popular with foreign bellydancers is kawliya. Be aware of who you watch doing this dance, since foreigners can sometimes dance an acrobatic caricature of this dance.
Of course, this is not the only dance done in Iraq, dances similar to the Khalegy style we'll cover next week are also found, and a dabke-like line dance called chobi, among others.
Assala Ibrahim is an Iraqi woman living in Europe who teaches Iraqi dances. One important note about this dance: the dancers are part of a persecuted minority in their home country. It's important to understand this context, and to celebrate the people with their dance.
Drum solos do a great job of showing how raqs sharki dance translates the music into movement, something the Turkish dancer Didem is excellent at.
One of the things that has happened over the years is that, as bellydance has spread, different styles developed. Lotus Niraja’s style is influenced by Egyptian and Lebanese, what I love her for is how her personality shines through and her creative and precise gestures.