Level One: Infinities Unit, Class 5
The topic for this unit’s Music genre was going to be folkloric songs, but that is such a broad topic that I think we are better introduced to through the weekly regional highlights, so instead, let’s talk about fusion songs. There is a lot to unpack when it comes to respectful fusion, but the bottom line is to know each dance one wants to fuse thoroughly in their home contexts before creating a blend of them. Because raqs sharki is the music translated into movement, any dance that includes raqs sharki as one of the elements should be to music that also fuses bellydance music with elements of the music that goes with the dance it is being fused with.
This is a handy way to teach your body to distinguish between different dance styles: practice each to the music that they go with. You'll build natural associations so that when you hear a certain kind of music you body will feel like doing the appropriate matching sort of movement.
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).
This week are regions that I do not know much about, but also did not want to leave out. Yemen, Eritrea, and Sudan.
SharQuí founder, Oreet is a better resource for Yemeni dance. What I can add to your education about this region is that while Europe was going through "the dark ages", the rest of the world, including southern Arabia and East Africa, were plugged into thriving trade! Time to learn about the Monsoon Marketplace!
This clip includes a few of the dances done by the folks who manage herds in Eritrea, Sudan, and Eastern Egypt.
When the music is a fusion, the dance should be as well. Likewise, if the dance is a fusion, the music should include the same elements.
Raqs sharki is the music made visible, but don’t mistake that for the music bossing you around. Just as we can’t control what life throws at us but can control how we react, you are free to interpret the music as you experience it. Majida is a fusion dancer in Atlanta.