BellyDance Figure 8 vs. Ballroom Fig. 8
I am an ''interdisciplinary dancer'' curiously interested in why different dances teach what are (essentially) the same movements in totally unique ways.
The essential movement of the figure 8 in Belly dance is the exact same as it is in the salsa, rumba, and ballroom world (ie simply tracing a figure 8 horizontally with your hip). But they look totally different!
I guess it's the probing of why these two dances grew over time to display the figure 8 in different ways that fascinates me.
Anyways, my question is: Does anyone know of the reason why Raqs Sharqi developed over time to pride most of it's movement (such as the Figure 8) in being parallel to the floor and on straight legs as opposed to Ballroom's more bent-knee, hip-tilting version?
Last edited by achilles007; 04-04-2016 at 09:33 PM.
There is nothing in raqs sharqi that says you can't do a tilted figure 8 while dancing, socially or on stage.
Originally Posted by achilles007
From my POV they look different because they are executed differently and have different purposes. A latin dance figure 8 will give the dancer more flow and juicyness but the figure 8 itselft isn't the main movement. In raqs sharqi, maybe you stand still while it is being executed and it gets most of the attention.
Technically speaking, I would guess that maybe the clean and crisp flat figure 8 parallell to the floor developed as a tool of teaching a figure 8.
If you bend your knees too much, it is harder to get the figure 8 flat, when this is your goal so it has been taught with straighter legs as it takes more muscle control to do it while knees are more bent. Then you may add a tilt and other variations, and voilá you are able to do several versions of figure 8s which you may vary depending on the music and however you interprete the music when dancing.
(Does this makes sense? It is getting rather late in my part of the world, and I'm getting pretty tired and probably should've waited to post this reply until tomorrow after sleep...)
Oh thank you for this reply!
Originally Posted by Daimona
That is a very good point that keeping the hips level is more a tool of teaching the figure 8 more than anything else.
I had no idea that doing the figure 8 without the hips needing to be level was considered perfectly fine in Raks Sharqi.
Every time I was taught the figure 8 -- the instructor(s) always stressed the importance of the hips needing to remain level-- so overtime I must have gotten confused and assumed this must be a Raqs Sharqi ''thing'' endemic of all of their movement.
Thanks for the correction!
Can you explain what you mean by the figure 8 not being the main movement in latin dance like it is in bellydancing?
There are lots of different figure eights. I start teaching the horizontal version because there is so much useful technique with them - and they are safer. To get them level, for instance requires use of the obliques. The free for all, three dimensional social dancing style is more leg driven. Aiming for flat let's you find your abs. Also the oblique slide helps improve flexibility. Finally, having a perfectly flat one means you can contrast it strongly with vertical eights and all those (deliberately) three dimeninal ones.