Finally decided: Baladi is it for me! Training?
After thinking about and going back over the answers and videos many of the wonderful posters and moderators posted in my last threads and getting a lot of clarity, I have gone from fearing Egyptian to becoming completely entranced by it. But especially Baladi... I really really really just want to be a Baladi dancer. I thought Tribal was what I was after, because similar to Baladi, Tribal doesn't travel much and instead stays in one spot doing its isolations.
But after just finishing my private lesson for the first time with a Tribal Fusion teacher, I was taken aback to find out that most of the Tribal''technique'' came from the glutes! There was also lots of yoga, strength, stretching and conditioning!
I enjoyed the experience but ultimately missed the look of the isolations that come from the abs/obliques instead:
Now I am all the way in the Egyptian camp with laser-beam focus on Baladi the way Ranya Renee showcases it here as a wonderful, wonderful poster in another thread shared with me (Credits to her):
My questions are:
1.) Is it okay that I as a male want to dance Baladi only?
I understand that the tradition is to show tribute to the dance by wearing the Baladi dress whenever dancing it, and I dont want to offend any Egyptians, teachers, or anyone else by the thought of me in their traditional woman's skirt.
2.) And besides buying her dvd what else should I do or learn in order to prepare myself for this style of belly dance?
You all have been great.
Last edited by achilles007; 10-02-2015 at 01:00 AM.
That dvd will keep you going for the next five years. Also, on it you will find recommendations to help you find yourself a good teacher. So go for the dvd as the first port of call, but be prepared to be overwhelmed. I've been working on it on & off for the last 4 or 5 years and I've still only scratched the surface.
Yes. Nobody expects you to cross-dress. Besides, traditionally also men wore/wear a long shirt/gallibeya in Egypt.
The costume won't be an issue unless you decide to perform. Find yourself males performing baladi and look at what they wear.
Be patient. Remember, you don't have to hit the music at every little ornamentation or drum beat, just relax and breathe.
Other physical products from Ranya Renee you might find useful are the Taqasim DVD and Egyptian Music Appreciation and Practice for Bellydancers by George Dimitri Sawa.
Beledi is the traditional dance style of men and women. Not only women dance beledi!!!! As a man, I'd suggest you wear a (man's) gallebaya - such as Tito wears. Do NOT cross dress - I don't think it'd be beledi any more if you did.
Ranya Renee's DVD is excellent - months (if not years) of work in it. Avoid anything with Hilal beledi - that is a completely different style of dance. Best bet would be to seek out Egyptian dancers performing in this style - they are hard to find. Most will also do Orientale. Fifi Abdou is known as The bint il beled. Some of Aida Nour's work shows beledi too.
You've been given good advice already. However, I wanted to pick up on something else you said - about Tribal being all about the glutes.
All you can really say is that one particular Tribal Fusion teacher favours the glutes. There are many different kinds of Tribal. In fact, one of the things I like about ATS (American Tribal Style) is that the teachers do demand you use the core and abdominal muscles, whereas a lot of the Oriental teachers in my part of the world (Sydney) teach little or nothing about them.
I do agree that Tribal teachers often use yoga as a warm up and to build flexibility and strength. You may find that tedious - but if you're serious about any kind of dancing, I don't think it's enough to "just dance". You will get quicker results if you identify your physical strengths and weaknesses and work on them with specific exercises, which might involve yoga or weight training or stretching or ballet or ...you get the picture.
Last edited by Bellydance Oz; 10-09-2015 at 08:15 PM.
But if I go (and pay for) a belly dance class I would want to be taught belly dance - not yoga. If yoga is part of my dance cross training then I would go to a Yoga class. Also, the main purpose of Yoga is NOT flexibility. People do it a disservice treating it as such - and they also short change their students because it is not the best way to improve flexibility. Further, Yoga is not a warm-up! A warm-up should involve cardio to increase internal muscle temperature - and that is what dance teachers should start their classes with.
Originally Posted by Bellydance Oz
You're right, I meant to suggest it as cross-training rather than as part of a bellydance class. And I'm very aware that yoga is not a warm-up - I have a Rachel Brice video and I use her yoga exercises but not at the beginning of the class!
Originally Posted by Kashmir
I just reacquainted myself with your warm-up:
Last edited by Bellydance Oz; 10-10-2015 at 11:45 AM.
Yes to everything Daimona and Kashmir said!
Also, a word of caution - it's great that you love baladi style so much but it would be counterproductive to restrict your training to *only* baladi, IMO. This is because Egyptian baladi and Egyptian raqs sharqi are two sides of the same coin, and there is no clear dividing line between them, it is more like a continuum. Baladi, in a performance context, is often performed by dancers who also dance raqs sharqi as part of the same show. And ordinary people dancing baladi socially will have been inspired by raqs sharqi performers they've seen, either in real life or on TV/in films, as well as by learning from friends and family. And both have a relationship to other folkloric dances, too. So I think what you're really looking for is solid Egyptian style, including sharqi, baladi, and shaabi. They are all intertwined, and when done well, they all share a certain special something.
You might also enjoy watching some non-bellydance Egyptian folklore - this stuff kind of bleeds into the sharqi and baladi as cultural references, and it's also a lot of fun in itself. Here's a video with short clips of lots of different styles -
Just to add some more on #2:
If you don't get what you are looking for in your current dance school, there are also other teachers in the Miami area that may have a stylization and specialization that is closer to what you are looking for.
The first place I would go to search for teachers is Shira's teacher directory:
There are also other teacher and dancer directories out there such as this one: