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  1. #1
    Senior Member Eshta's Avatar
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    Default Dancing at Arab weddings - help please!

    Hi ladies,

    I've been asked to dance at an Iraqi wedding, and have specifically been invited to dance shamadan! Getting hold of one and balancing it on my head, I'm pretty confident about. It's the cultural reference I need some help with. This ties in nicely as I will also be dancing at my best belly buddy's wedding next May, so the more wedding knowledge I have, the better!

    We've been asked to do a 45 minute set - myself, my dancer friend and a drummer, and a shamadan! Should I begin with the shamadan, finish with the shamadan, dance it halfway through....? Should I be wearing a 2 piece or a more covered look? The person who made the booking is 1/2 Iraqi, 1/2 English and seems quite happy with whatever I do, but I would like to try to do it as best as I can!

    Also what would be the difference(s) between an Iraqi and an Egyptian wedding traditionally? Would a typical Iraqi wedding have a 'zaffa'?

  2. #2
    V.I.P. Yasmine Bint Al Nubia's Avatar
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    Excellent question Eshta, I'm awaiting a reply as well!
    Yasmine

  3. #3
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    Heya,

    I just googled Iraqui wedding traditions. Some of this info may be helpful to you if you can weed out what you need. You might want to try googling just to find some helpful information. Good luck and Happy dancing.

    Iraqi Wedding Traditions, Iaqi Wedding Styles, Iraqi Wedding Cultures, Iraqi Wedding Traditions, Iaqi Wedding Styles, Iraqi Wedding Cultures, Iraqi Wedding Traditions, Iaqi Wedding Styles, Iraqi Wedding Cultures, Iraqi Wedding Traditions, Iaqi Weddin

  4. #4
    V.I.P. Lydia's Avatar
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    Hi there,i think the best thing to do is ask the bride and groom again 1 is arabic so ask what they want or perhaps the mothers from either...usely i start with Zaffa than i go to change my costume and come back for the show..I wear a tob for Zaffa not a badla...i also let the bride pick the costume she want me to where....the show go,s like this ...entrance like always is classical arabic music around 10 minutes..than veil around 3 minutes than a song that the geust can realate to easy ,so in your case Iraqi, than i would go again to change in to another costume ...so 2nd show start perhaps Shamadan or Saidy ,Khaleegy?? after that another populair song ,followed by Balady and solo tabla.....

  5. #5
    Member summerdance's Avatar
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    Default Dancing at Arab Weddings

    Hi Eshta,

    I am not sure if the same applies to Iraqi weddings. But my grandmother says that in Egypt, the Shamadan was actually used by the dancer to light the groom and bride in the wedding processional(Zaffa) this is is because there were no street lights back then, so the dancers actually used the lights from the shamadan to light the way for everyone. The dancers would be dancing in front with the shamadan and leading the way.

    I have seen dancers at weddings do the shamadan dance last in Egypt. I would suggest doing your normal songs that you selected for the wedding( check and see if the bride has a song she always wanted at her wedding) I think ending with the shamadan would be perfect and it would follow the egyptian customs. Again, I am not sure if it would be very different in Iraq.

    I hope this helps!

    summer!

  6. #6
    Senior Member Ranya's Avatar
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    Hi eshta,
    I think that you should either start or end the show with the shamadan.
    If the couple is going to enter with you, the start with the shamadan, if your show is going to be near the end of the wedding, then finish off with the shamadan, maybe "guiding" the couple out....just like summerdance said, the shamadan was used as a substitute to street lights. but I am not sure about the Iraqi version... I think (I am NOT sure though so please correct me) that the shamadan is pretty egyptian, so even if it is an iraqi wedding you might follow egyptian customs with the shamadan. again, I am not sure about this so excuse and correct me if I am wrong.

  7. #7
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    Hi,

    Shamadan dance is not a tradition at Iraqi weddnings. On the other hand everybody knows it from movies.
    There are different customs and there is quite different music in different areas of Iraq. Where are they from?

  8. #8
    Member Mark_Balahadia's Avatar
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    Pretty much all the Arab countries have particular Zeffa. I'm more familar with Egyptian and Lebanese zeffa but I think that Iraqi zeffa might have some similarities with their counterparts in the Khaleeji.

    Iraqis also have their own dances. They even have dabke but the basic step is a crossover step on the left followed by a left and a right knee lift...way different from Lebanese/Palestinian. Kurds have their own folkloric dances as well but I've only seen them performed and I don't know much about them. I know more about Kawliya, which I've heard is a Rom dance from Iraq. It's like Khaleeji but way more energetic and crazy. This dance is featured a lot in the "All Khaleeji" channel that I watched when I was Lebanon.

    There are a couple good songs for Oriental dance that are sung by Iraqi singers. A good song for an entrance piece is "Ashado" by Kathem el Sahir.

  9. #9
    V.I.P. Mya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark_Balahadia View Post
    Iraqis also have their own dances. They even have dabke but the basic step is a crossover step on the left followed by a left and a right knee lift...way different from Lebanese/Palestinian.
    That sounds alot like a debke move taught to my troupe by the Syrian-Lebanese Women's Group here....are you sure it isn't one that maybe crosses over?

  10. #10
    Member Mark_Balahadia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mya View Post
    That sounds alot like a debke move taught to my troupe by the Syrian-Lebanese Women's Group here....are you sure it isn't one that maybe crosses over?
    No. This basic step in Iraqi debke doesn't have a stomp at the end like the basic step for Lebanese dabke. Iraqi dabke is quite different in many ways to it's Levantine counterparts. The chobi, an elongated tabla is also used in Iraqi music.

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