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  1. #1
    Member ana_bat's Avatar
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    Default So what are some good starting points?

    I've dabbled in belly dance for 3 years now but mostly Tribal (and Tribal Fusion) and now I've decided to seriously study Oriental Dance. I'm horribly confused and I really feel like I need some leads as to where I can get reliable information to understand the various dance styles out there (to know the differences between them who some prominent dancer to check out are), the various styles of music that there are.

    One thing I noticed that came to mind, is how do I know if the moves I'm performing are appropriate to the music? I hear about so many different styles of dance and music what if I were to perform a lovely routine but to the wrong sort of music that was better sorted for veil or something?

    I sure hope I'm making a little bit of sense.

    Again. Horribly lost. I need help! I don't know when I'll be able to take classes regularly because of money. Maybe in the next few months.

    I greatly appreciate any tips and information!
    Thank you!


  2. #2
    Super Moderator Mosaic's Avatar
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    Here are some threads that may be off help
    http://www.bellydanceforums.net/danc...ing-types.html

    http://www.bellydanceforums.net/danc...lly-dance.html

    http://www.bellydanceforums.net/musi...r-teacher.html

    http://www.bellydanceforums.net/danc...ian-dance.html

    http://www.bellydanceforums.net/othe...lly-dance.html

    http://www.bellydanceforums.net/inst...onal-dvds.html

    I also added the instructional DVD sticky thread as you might like to buy yourself a couple of DVDs

    Also a very comprehensive website that you can check out for info is our very own Shira's website: All About Belly Dancing, By Shira
    ~Mosaic
    Dance is like glitter, it not only colours your life, it makes you sparkle, you find it everywhere and in everything and it's near impossible to get rid of. (unknown)


  3. #3
    V.I.P. Yame's Avatar
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    Honestly, I think the best starting point is to just start dancing, and to start watching a lot of videos. You can research as you learn... it'll all make a lot more sense when you are familiar with the concepts mentioned in the text, from having seen them and/or done them.

    If you don't belly dance at all, and don't watch enough belly dance, it's harder to understand what all these articles about styles are talking about, especially when there is just so much information out there.

    It might all seem overwhelming at first, so just remember there is no rush to learn everything. Just watch, pay attention, see what interests you, and then look for learning and reading material on those subjects. The information overload will get more manageable with time, but honestly, there will always be more to learn.

    5 years later I still find myself overwhelmed with all the things I don't know, but my problem at this point is that the stuff I don't know is harder to find information on, as opposed to having access to so much information that it's hard to know where to start.

  4. #4
    V.I.P. Aziyade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ana_bat View Post
    One thing I noticed that came to mind, is how do I know if the moves I'm performing are appropriate to the music?
    Keti Sharif's dvds cover what is sort of the "standard" way of interpreting the music in Egyptian style, but keep it firmly in mind that whatever "rule" you can discover, there are an infinite number of ways to break that rule, and every Egyptian dancer will break it in her own way.

    Ranya Renee's 2-disc set on the Baladi is a GREAT place to start for learning more traditional Egyptian interpretations.

    Karim Nagi's workshops on dancer musicality are a MUST once you know the basics. They explore the intricacies of Arab music.

    Also, read these 2 articles: Hossam Ramzy - Articles



    Some general suggestions that are STARTING POINTS and not rules:

    • The closer the instrument is to "sounding like the human voice," the greater its importance in Arab music, so the more close attention you pay to illustrating it.
    • Violin -- one of the highest regarded instruments. Often interpreted by the body making side-to-side movements, like the bowing of a violin. Vertical figure 8's, hip circles, sliding type of movements. (Again, this is a place to start, not a rule.)
    • Flute/Nay/Qawala -- airy sound, highly regarded. Dancers often use the flute to explore hand and arm movements, upper torso work. You can do hipwork too, but it should have a lighter, airy feel and not quite so earthy and grounded.
    • Accordion -- regarded highly, and can be interpreted the same way as the violin, or with more belly work, or undulating movements up and down. Accordion is very "beledi" and hipwork for accordion is usually very grounded and earthy.
    • Brass instruments and Saxophones can be interpreted like a violin or like an accordion, depending upon the "feel" of what that instrument is playing.
    • Oud/Qanoun/Guitar -- plucked quivery sounds often want a plucked, quivery dance response. Thus the "rule" that you "shimmy on the qanoun" but you will eventually start to understand when you want to shimmy and when you want to do something else.


    Again, these are generalizations or STARTING points. Not hard and fast rules. In general, what you're trying to do is be the visual representation of the music -- but you don't want to try and interpret it 100% directly, word for word (so to speak) or it can be a little uninspiring. Like Yame said, watch a lot of video of the "greats" in whatever genre (start with Egyptian and then move to American Oriental or Turkish Oriental to get a good idea of the differences) and see what they have in common and how they differ. Good video analysis is really valuable.

    Karim's workshop (and maybe his new dvd) cover the more complex issues like what to do during modulation and how to accent the lawazim, etc.

    Arab music is MUCH different from the music than most Tribal and TF dancers use. Listen to a lot of it to get the feel of it. You can get the original recordings of Oum Kalsoum singing, and I think listening to those are very helpful in understanding how the music progresses through a song.


    I hear about so many different styles of dance and music what if I were to perform a lovely routine but to the wrong sort of music that was better sorted for veil or something?
    Don't think about a song being tied to a particular prop. Saidi music will often make people WANT to dance with a stick, but you don't have to. I've seen a lot of stickless Saidi And you can certainly dance to a very flowing lyrical song with or without a veil. Egyptians aren't much into the veil, and won't make a whole song out of it, but I think Turkish and American dancers do.

    A folksy sounding song will want a folksy response -- but you will be able to pick up on that the more you listen to the music and watch dancers.

    If you can't make it to class, get Ranya's Baladi dvd set and really sit down and listen (and take notes) on the first disc, when she discusses the music. The 2nd disk has drills, and you can work with those once you have an understanding of how she moves to each instrument, and in regard to what the instrument is doing. I can't think of a better intro to Oriental dance than starting with the baladi, actually. Keep in mind that modern Oriental is more fancy and flourishing than baladi, but start with baladi and then you can work with Shareen el Safy's dvds, Ranya's modern Oriental dvd, and other dancers/choreographers.

    Good luck! It's going to be a fun journey!!

  5. #5
    Member ana_bat's Avatar
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    Wow just the answers I was looking for!

    Thank you ladies!

    Yes I agree you just gotta dance otherwise how else will you learn?
    I'm big on "watching" so currently I'm trying to make the shift.

  6. #6
    Premium Member Aniseteph's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aziyade View Post
    Arab music is MUCH different from the music than most Tribal and TF dancers use. Listen to a lot of it to get the feel of it.
    This.

    Personally I found it difficult to think about "rules" (and the idea that they can be broken sometimes... aaargh!) and apply them in the days when all the music sounded strange and foreign. Brain overload. It all makes a lot more sense when you have a feel for stylistic differences and the way the music works (instrumentation, structure, etc) - listening to lots gives you a structure to hang those rules on.

  7. #7
    Super Moderator Mosaic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aziyade View Post
    Keti Sharif's dvds cover what is sort of the "standard" way of interpreting the music in Egyptian style, but keep it firmly in mind that whatever "rule" you can discover, there are an infinite number of ways to break that rule, and every Egyptian dancer will break it in her own way.

    Ranya Renee's 2-disc set on the Baladi is a GREAT place to start for learning more traditional Egyptian interpretations.

    Karim Nagi's workshops on dancer musicality are a MUST once you know the basics. They explore the intricacies of Arab music.

    Also, read these 2 articles: Hossam Ramzy - Articles



    Some general suggestions that are STARTING POINTS and not rules:

    • The closer the instrument is to "sounding like the human voice," the greater its importance in Arab music, so the more close attention you pay to illustrating it.
    • Violin -- one of the highest regarded instruments. Often interpreted by the body making side-to-side movements, like the bowing of a violin. Vertical figure 8's, hip circles, sliding type of movements. (Again, this is a place to start, not a rule.)
    • Flute/Nay/Qawala -- airy sound, highly regarded. Dancers often use the flute to explore hand and arm movements, upper torso work. You can do hipwork too, but it should have a lighter, airy feel and not quite so earthy and grounded.
    • Accordion -- regarded highly, and can be interpreted the same way as the violin, or with more belly work, or undulating movements up and down. Accordion is very "beledi" and hipwork for accordion is usually very grounded and earthy.
    • Brass instruments and Saxophones can be interpreted like a violin or like an accordion, depending upon the "feel" of what that instrument is playing.
    • Oud/Qanoun/Guitar -- plucked quivery sounds often want a plucked, quivery dance response. Thus the "rule" that you "shimmy on the qanoun" but you will eventually start to understand when you want to shimmy and when you want to do something else.


    Again, these are generalizations or STARTING points. Not hard and fast rules. In general, what you're trying to do is be the visual representation of the music -- but you don't want to try and interpret it 100% directly, word for word (so to speak) or it can be a little uninspiring. Like Yame said, watch a lot of video of the "greats" in whatever genre (start with Egyptian and then move to American Oriental or Turkish Oriental to get a good idea of the differences) and see what they have in common and how they differ. Good video analysis is really valuable.

    Karim's workshop (and maybe his new dvd) cover the more complex issues like what to do during modulation and how to accent the lawazim, etc.

    Arab music is MUCH different from the music than most Tribal and TF dancers use. Listen to a lot of it to get the feel of it. You can get the original recordings of Oum Kalsoum singing, and I think listening to those are very helpful in understanding how the music progresses through a song.

    Don't think about a song being tied to a particular prop. Saidi music will often make people WANT to dance with a stick, but you don't have to. I've seen a lot of stickless Saidi And you can certainly dance to a very flowing lyrical song with or without a veil. Egyptians aren't much into the veil, and won't make a whole song out of it, but I think Turkish and American dancers do.

    A folksy sounding song will want a folksy response -- but you will be able to pick up on that the more you listen to the music and watch dancers.

    If you can't make it to class, get Ranya's Baladi dvd set and really sit down and listen (and take notes) on the first disc, when she discusses the music. The 2nd disk has drills, and you can work with those once you have an understanding of how she moves to each instrument, and in regard to what the instrument is doing. I can't think of a better intro to Oriental dance than starting with the baladi, actually. Keep in mind that modern Oriental is more fancy and flourishing than baladi, but start with baladi and then you can work with Shareen el Safy's dvds, Ranya's modern Oriental dvd, and other dancers/choreographers.

    Good luck! It's going to be a fun journey!!
    Aziyade, I'd rep you if I could that is a great post
    ~Mosaic
    Dance is like glitter, it not only colours your life, it makes you sparkle, you find it everywhere and in everything and it's near impossible to get rid of. (unknown)


  8. #8
    Moderator Darshiva's Avatar
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    I found the following rules a little simpler and they do correspond with the above rules, but they give you more 'breaking' room.

    Melodic: Upper body or feminine moves
    Rhythmic: Lower body or masculine moves
    Instruments played on the upper body = upper body moves
    Instruments played on the lower body = lower body moves

    Those four guidelines give new students a very basic understanding of how to interpret the music and most will end up going for a move that symbolises the texture (aka the rules above) of the instrument. The give wriggle room on how to break the rules without totally ignoring what the music is saying.

    I got the concept from Shemiran Ibrahim.

  9. #9
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    All good answers but rep to Darshiva for conciseness and Aziyade for thoroughness! Azi, your rep is spiritual since I have to spread it around before I can give you actual rep again.
    "Well, now that we have seen each other," said the unicorn " if you'll believe in me, I'll believe in you."

  10. #10
    V.I.P. Aziyade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darshiva View Post
    I found the following rules a little simpler and they do correspond with the above rules, but they give you more 'breaking' room.

    Melodic: Upper body or feminine moves
    Rhythmic: Lower body or masculine moves
    Instruments played on the upper body = upper body moves
    Instruments played on the lower body = lower body moves

    Those four guidelines give new students a very basic understanding of how to interpret the music and most will end up going for a move that symbolises the texture (aka the rules above) of the instrument. The give wriggle room on how to break the rules without totally ignoring what the music is saying.

    I got the concept from Shemiran Ibrahim.
    Ooh, I like that!! I think Amaya had suggested something similar -- upper body with melody line, feet and hips with drum line, and hitting accents and secondary melody with a contrasting body part.

    These are the typical suggestions for Egyptian --does anybody know if there is a different way of interpreting Turkish music?

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