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    V.I.P. janaki's Avatar
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    Default Appropriate gestures and postures in bellydance

    Hi all,

    Many culture have gestures that mean something. How about we all share ONE something we know about the gestures and postures...the don and don't when you belly dance. It helps if you can explain the gesture.... a picture reference would be nice too. One of our memebers Sultan has the same querie as well. Hope we can can learn something from this thread. Experts pls help to correct!!!

    My contribution - I was told in arab world doing ribcage/chest lifts drops are considered very sexual....doing them in moderation with good taste was recommended to me.


    Cheers
    Janaki

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    I am curious about the chest movements as well. I have seen Arabic dancers use chest drops (including an ex teacher of mine and I am sure I have seen it on videos of Egyptian dancers). I had heard the same, but have also heard from others that it is chest/upper body undulations that have the more sexual connotations. Does anyone know? Or is it one of those urban myths of bellydance?

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    Member Outi's Avatar
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    I never heard of this at all.
    But: In America some of the teachers insist shoulder and ribcage movements and want to separate them from breasts. In Egypt it's about breasts, being a woman. That's sexy and even flirty, which is not bad at all.

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    Premium Member Aniseteph's Avatar
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    That's interesting Donya. I've been taught shoulder shimmies should be shoulders not breasts, and read similar on this forum. But I recently went to an Aida Nour workshop and there was a shoulder shimmy in the routine, and it was very clearly pointed out what should be shimmying, and it was NOT the shoulders! I've been wondering if it was an Egyptian thing....

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    Senior Member taheya's Avatar
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    Yes thanks for that donya...really interesting, seems like we try to beat out the sexuality of the dance with all our might!! I have always been taught it was the shoulders too...

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    I've considered the same. But I will say those upper body movements that I was told are considered "too sexual" by Egyptians (and possibly others) are used extensively in American Oriental/American Caberet as well as American Tribal and Tribal Fusion styles.

    Some of the teachers who said this, suggested one should not to do upper body undulations when dancing a more pure Arabian or Egyptian style, but they do it when dancing American or Turkish inspired styles. I think they are talking about rib circles and the undulations that are like an upper body camel. Someone else told me the same about chest lift/drops, but I believe they were mistaken since there are hundreds of obvious examples of Egyptian dancers doing chest drops.

    I am not sure whether I believe this information to be "true", I have found there are a lot of "rules" passed on as gospel from very respectful and experienced dancers. My guess is often that they are passing on what their trusted teachers told them in the past. I would like to learn whether there is any truth to this statement.

    Quote Originally Posted by Donya View Post
    I never heard of this at all.
    But: In America some of the teachers insist shoulder and ribcage movements and want to separate them from breasts. In Egypt it's about breasts, being a woman. That's sexy and even flirty, which is not bad at all.

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    My first post didn't even consider shoulder shimmies. As someone who has had about 8 regular teachers over the years in this style of dance, I had developed a lot of confusion about the "shoulder shimmy/chest shimmy".

    I have noticed a lot of Egyptian and Arabian dancers seem to use a much more relaxed "shoulder shimmy technique" where they don't mind if there is natural sympathetic movement in the breasts. A couple people (workshop teachers but not any of my mentioned regular teachers) have also taught a more vigorus chest shimmy that looks like a *very* loose shoulder shimmy (with lots of chest movement). I have to admit I have not observed this too much in performance, and personally find this uncomfortable unless I am wearing a very supportive bra.

    Probably half of my ex-teachers have taught a more stiff, "shoulders only" approach. And some claim that is the authentic and appropriate technique (as opposed to their personal style preference). I am guessing that is what they were taught. I wonder how much of that comes from a desire to "beat the sexuality out of the dance" that a previous poster mentioned. Though I think in many cases, the dancer believes she/he is being respectful to root cultures and what she/he is doing is the "correct" way.

    I imagine there ae many examples like this about "appropriate gestures and postures in bellydance". Any information to clarify this is appreciated. The challenge is how does a dancer sort the accurate cultural information from the "urban myths"?

    Quote Originally Posted by taheya View Post
    Yes thanks for that donya...really interesting, seems like we try to beat out the sexuality of the dance with all our might!! I have always been taught it was the shoulders too...

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    When I took workshops with Mona Said a few months ago she said that she used shoulders as an accent and her upper body shimmies were always bust shimmies.

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    V.I.P. janaki's Avatar
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    I have seen egyptian dancers do this.

    1. Put their hand under the left breast (like cupping ) just momentarily. I asked one my teachers and she siad it means to express love. I have always thought it got to be true becuase the heart is on the left side.

    2. I have seen dancers poiting to their eyes from time to time. Does this have a special meaning or are they just simply interpreting the lyrics?

    3. I have also seen egyptian dancers placing the hand/plam on the stomach. I was told many thing like love/affection/feeling/mood etc., etc.,

    Pls keep adding on ladies and gents!!!

    Cheers
    Janaki

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    V.I.P. Reen.Blom's Avatar
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    Wow this is a very interesting thread!! I ahve always wanted to know if there are "meaningful" gestures in Belly dance

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