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  1. #1
    V.I.P. Caroline_afifi's Avatar
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    Default Meaning and Gestures in MED

    I am currently working on a workshop structure exploring meaning and gesture.
    Various dancers use non verbal communications whilst expressing the music/dance.
    Some are 'old' gestures and some are unique to the performer.
    It is something that I have been studying/interested in for sometime and I am wanting to know what others think/understand about this.
    Have you seen dancers make a gesture and not understand it?
    Have you been taught this in class etc? are there any you like/dislike?
    Do you include any in your own dance? etc. etc.

    I look forward to hearing your views and thoughts. x

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    I don't know whether to call some of these "gestures" or something else, artistic license, stylizations, cuteness or sexiness, but these are some things I wonder about:


    hair grabbing or hair tossing (not Zar, but put into Oriental)
    back of hand to forehead, sometimes known as "Lebanese headache"
    hand cupped around back of ear stylization
    grabbing armpit dramatically (yes I have seen this!)
    grabbing or holding just under one breast (supposed to be heart maybe?)
    flicking motion with hand/fingers
    kicks from the knee (sometimes I wonder if this is what people mean by "horsey step")
    leg lifts from the hip (ballet?)
    reaching down and miming grabbing something from the floor
    reaching up as if grabbing something from the air, making a fist, then pulling it into the chest in dramatic fashion
    the whole "imaginary string" thing, liking pretending to pull your hip up

    I figure some of these have to do with interpreting lyrics, that I cannot understand. But then I think sometimes a dancer will see someone do one of these, and then copy it without understanding that it was only appropriate in that particular point in that particular song.

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    V.I.P. Caroline_afifi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cathy View Post
    I don't know whether to call some of these "gestures" or something else, artistic license, stylizations, cuteness or sexiness, but these are some things I wonder about:


    hair grabbing or hair tossing (not Zar, but put into Oriental)
    back of hand to forehead, sometimes known as "Lebanese headache"
    hand cupped around back of ear stylization
    grabbing armpit dramatically (yes I have seen this!)
    grabbing or holding just under one breast (supposed to be heart maybe?)
    flicking motion with hand/fingers
    kicks from the knee (sometimes I wonder if this is what people mean by "horsey step")
    leg lifts from the hip (ballet?)
    reaching down and miming grabbing something from the floor
    reaching up as if grabbing something from the air, making a fist, then pulling it into the chest in dramatic fashion
    the whole "imaginary string" thing, liking pretending to pull your hip up

    I figure some of these have to do with interpreting lyrics, that I cannot understand. But then I think sometimes a dancer will see someone do one of these, and then copy it without understanding that it was only appropriate in that particular point in that particular song.
    Thanks Cathy,
    There are some different and interesting ones for me in there. I will ask about them next week when I am in Cairo and see how many interpretations I can get!

    The armpit? new one for me! perhaps it relates to me Helawa story on another thread

    I have seen the flapping of the skirt whilst bending over and a 'puffing' expression like my '**(*& is on fire) again, it was a local nightclub. Not to be repeated!

    Please let me know if you can think of any others.

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    V.I.P. karena's Avatar
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    Head to temple wave thing, like a floaty military salute if that makes sense. Looks alot nicer than that description
    The finger flick thing with the first fingers, and hands bunched together which I think looks like a gun (what is with the military reference points for me I'm concerned!)
    Brushing things off upper arm (no military analogy here )

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    V.I.P. Caroline_afifi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by karena View Post
    Head to temple wave thing, like a floaty military salute if that makes sense. Looks alot nicer than that description
    The finger flick thing with the first fingers, and hands bunched together which I think looks like a gun (what is with the military reference points for me I'm concerned!)
    Brushing things off upper arm (no military analogy here )
    Yes, I know the one you mean. the hand to the temple is a kind of 'hello' salute in the Raqs Sharqi school.
    Do you know what these gestures mean, or any other?

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    V.I.P. karena's Avatar
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    Well I've been told "hello" too.
    Then it's like clicking fingers I think, so kind of clicking in time to the music I think. Like clapping along but more 'egyptian'
    And the last was for something like 'it's no good'. That's not quite the right phrase but I forget what it is.
    Oh and finger to the nose, like a cheeky thing, to recognise when you're being cheeky but making it cheeky rather than more suggestive.

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    V.I.P. Caroline_afifi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by karena View Post
    Well I've been told "hello" too.
    Then it's like clicking fingers I think, so kind of clicking in time to the music I think. Like clapping along but more 'egyptian'
    And the last was for something like 'it's no good'. That's not quite the right phrase but I forget what it is.
    Oh and finger to the nose, like a cheeky thing, to recognise when you're being cheeky but making it cheeky rather than more suggestive.
    Thanks Karena,
    I know the ones you mean.

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    V.I.P. karena's Avatar
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    I'm glad you do from those ridiculous descriptions

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    V.I.P. Kashmir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by karena View Post
    Head to temple wave thing, like a floaty military salute if that makes sense. Looks alot nicer than that description
    The finger flick thing with the first fingers, and hands bunched together which I think looks like a gun (what is with the military reference points for me I'm concerned!)
    Brushing things off upper arm (no military analogy here )
    Don't worry - it isn't military. The "salute" is the Egyptian gesture with as salem alikum - ie "hello" (Saudi's touch their chests I think)

    (There's a related gesture as the hand slips back for "listen to the music")

    The finger flick is the Arabic finger snap. The palms create a sounding board and the fingers feed the percussive sound to be amplified. I rarely can get it to work in the heat of the moment, so just mime it.

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    V.I.P. khanjar's Avatar
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    Of any use ?

    arabic gestures

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