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  • Lisa Lumina

Level Two: 1.6 Clarinet, Review, and Sword

Updated: Mar 20, 2022

Class Review

One type of musical phrase is the tremolo. This is different from a drum roll, but also evokes a ramping up of energy. It shows up as a cue to the end of a song, or to the music speeding up. Listen for it in your favorite songs during this week.


Instrument of the Week

This week's instrument was the clarinet, more popular in Greek and Turkish than Egyptian/Arabic music, but a lovely instrument to dance to. Since I'm sure you all know what a clarinet looks like, here's a Greek dancer and a Turkish dancer performing to it, one dancing to a composed song and one to a takeem.

Take some time to review the instruments we've covered so far. Repetition is where the learning happens ^_^


Prop of the Week

This week, it's time to talk about "s" words-- I mean, swords. While there are Middle Eastern dance traditions that use a sword, they are not used the way bellydancers use them. My understanding is that West Coast dancers learned jug dances from Tunisian patrons in the 60s/70s and then used that concept to dance with a sword (my source here is the DVD "American Bellydance Legends"). The balancing and posing method of dancing with swords in firmly a fantasy element, although it may have been inspired by real traditions, it is pretty removed from them. Here's some info from about some inspirations for sword dances, and some advice from Princess Farhana about picking out a sword.

A first generation Am Cab dancer using it in her set

A modern dancer, continuing the Am Cab tradition.

A Brazilian dancer, sword props have spread all over. One note, is to never grab the "sharp" edge of the blade.

Tava uses funky music for this sword piece

Mariyah, doing a theatrical number

West Coast dancers of the Salimpour School, continuing to innovate with sword


Yasmina performs a sword dance inspired by Gulf style dances.

Giselle was a Latin American dancer who had a career in Lebanon.


Sword is also a popular prop for ITS, which grew from those same west coast experiments.

Dancers continue to find new and amazing ways to use swords,

and sword innovations can pay homage to the circus roots of many early American dancers.


Here's a small sample of traditional ways of dancing with a sword. You'll notice these are all men.

Lebanese entertainers evoke a Bedouin style.

A Saudi dance with swords is well known.

The Beja live between Egypt's Eastern Desert and Sudan

Well, they're ALMOST all men! Here is Assala Ibrahim performing an Iraqi daggar dance.


Song of the Week

Hebena (Habina, Habeena, etc) is a Farid al-Atrache song from 1975. Here is the translation and the playlist.

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