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  1. #21
    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    Default Dance etc.

    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.

    Dear Donya,
    That is also my take on what I have learned from Arabs and from Egyptian dancers and good American dancers who dance the style. This dance is sexy, flirty asnd it is indeed okay to use upper body movements. What in the world could possibly BE more sexy than some of the pelvic stuff belly dancers do??
    Another American myth I have heard is indeed about not touching the body. Egyptian dancers do it all the time, as some of the videos here show.When Dina brings her hand to her "stomach" it is not really the stomach, but sort of under the left breast, and often it is two hands that you will see the dancer use, one over the other, meaning that they are feeling something very deeply and it is "heartfelt". Another myth is something along the lines of "Don't touch your hands to your hair too much because it is considered too sexy". What do they think this dance is about, trying out for Catholic nun status??? Hair is considered sexy and that is precisely why many Egyptian dancers use theirs as part of the dance.
    Regards,
    A'isha
    Last edited by Aisha Azar; 05-14-2007 at 07:27 PM.

  2. #22
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    Thanks Aisha! I always enjoy reading you insights on this subject particularly when it comes to the "sexy" in Oriental dance.

    I agree this is another example of what some dancers from Western countries (not just the US) state that is confusing. It is also one where what you see dancers from root countries doing doing does not match what some Western dancers tell you is appropriate. The only time I was told not to touch my hair was by an instructor in the UK, so it is not strictly an "American myth". (Although other dancers in the area do touch their hair so I am not sure her opinion is widespread). I guess I am fortunate in that altough I have seen this come up on forums very often, none of my American teachers have ever stated that it is forbiden to touch the hair or body while dancing. Some of my teachers have cautioned about touching oneself too excessively dancing, but that is a little different than saying it is forbidden.

    Quote Originally Posted by A'isha Azar View Post
    Dear Donya,
    Another American myth I have heard is indeed about not touching the body. Egyptian dancers do it all the time, as some of the videos here show.When inas brings her hand to her "stomach" it is not really the stomack, but sort of under the left breast,a nd often it is two hands that you will see the dancer use, one over te other, meaning that thy are feeling something very deeply and it is "heartfelt". Another myth is something along the lines of "Don't touch your hands to your hair too much because it is considered too sexy". What do they think this dance is about, trying out for Catholic nun status??? Hair is considered sexy and that is precisely why many Egyptian dancers use theirs as part of the dance.
    Regards,
    A'isha

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donya View Post
    The big upper body undulation just is not Egyptian style. It's American. So Egyptians don't do it.

    As for the upper body: Many dancers do the movements too high. The movement comes from the spine, exactly from the point where women has the hooks of the bra (or even inch lower). This way it will look more effortless, natural. And it will keep better posture.
    Thanks for confirming that Donya! Since I don't recall seeing an Egyptian dancer do large upper body undulations and it fits with what I have been told that makes sense.

    It does seem like a lot of Egyptian dancers do a nice little sway or follow through with their hip movements in their upper body. I really like the relaxed look of it. I tried copying some of the moves using your tip about bra hook level and it does feel more natural. Of course I don't know how it looks, but I'll keep that in mind. Thanks!

  4. #24
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    I have a question about a gesture. I don't have a picture of it, but I believe I have seen Dina as well as other Egyptian dancers do this.

    The dancer puts a finger next to the nose. I believe it was right hand to the left side of the nose pointing up towards the left eye. It has been a while snce I have seen it but always wonder about it. I was once told she was gesturing that she is "shy or embarrassed". Does anyone know about this gesture? I apologize that I probably haven't explained it well.

  5. #25
    V.I.P. janaki's Avatar
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    Samsied, I was going to ask the same question about touching the nose!!!

    Cheers
    Janaki

  6. #26
    Senior Member sedoniaraqs's Avatar
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    RE: upper body involvement in undulations

    I agree that the American style "camel" is very different than the Egyptian undulation. However, I do not think the Egyptian undulation is without upper body involvement. Its just more internalized and different.

    Watch Fifi at around 1:00 into this clip, and elsewhere. When she does undulations, or the Egyptian figure 8 which is layered with an undulation, her chest rises and falls dramatically. This is not just passive movement stemming from the lower body muscles. One has to use the core muscles above the navel to make that happen. The difference is that most of the time the Egyptians are not pushing forward with the chest to start the undulation, as dancers in the American style often do. But the chest is lifted in a small internalized pulse. There are many Egyptian style moves that involve a stretching of the torso followed by a release.

    O.K. Fifi has exaggerated upper body movement plus a long torso that shows these movements off. But it is not just Fifi, you can see other Egyptian dancers as well with much energy and dynamics in the upper body.

    Anyway here is Fifi doing what I am trying to explain:

  7. #27
    Senior Member sedoniaraqs's Avatar
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    I also think that the upper body lift or pulse is very evident in Soheir's undulations:


  8. #28
    Junior Member kalila_raks's Avatar
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    My instructor told me that the touching the nose thing was a sign of affection toward the person you are looking at. Placing the finger on the side of the chin is milder version of this.

  9. #29
    Member nicknack's Avatar
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    Undulation question:

    Would you start an Egyptian style undulation by contracting the diaphragm and just letting it flow down? If that makes any sense at all.

    I've never been taught any style specific undulation except for an American style (chest heavy ones), so I've had to experiment, and play around to find different methods.

  10. #30
    Member summerdance's Avatar
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    Default belly dance moves

    this is a great post guys.

    I can clear up some things from the Egyptian point of view.

    1- pointing to the eyes usually occurs in conjunction with the songs. In most Arab countries, the eyes are considered one of the great indicators of beauty. Many songs refer to eyes ( al ayoon al sud, literally means the black eyes, the dark eyes.) Eyes are especially admired by both poets and singers alike. You will find many references to eyes in BD music. so when a dancer points to her eyes, it's emphasizing the songs admiration of the female eye. I've also had some of my tunisian friends tell me that eyes also refer to a soul- to soul connection so that sometimes a dancer wants to emphasize her connections with both the audience and the lyrics.

    2- chest shimmies/shoulder shimmies are considered fine in arab cultures, as long as they are not forward shimmies. dipping forward implies an offering of the breasts. This is highly inappropriate and frowned upon in arabic cultures. this of course, is my experience based on audience reactions to things i've seen. Of course someone may have witnessed different things. The dancers I've seen have been in big events, mostly, and polite audiences disapproved of this. Maybe in a Sh'abbi ( street or simple performance) things may be diff.

    3- BTW I've also heard of dancers who were chased out of some places because they did floor routines in egyptian dances. As I understand it, the dancer is regal and getting on the floor debases her.

    The cupping thing is more of the hand cupping in front of the breast as an offering of her heart to the audience. Dina does this a lot. If you watch closely, she never cups the breast.

    Regards!







    Quote Originally Posted by janaki View Post
    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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