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Thread: Handed Mission

  1. #1
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    Default Handed Mission

    Hello Everyone!

    I've decided to begin a thread specifically about hands in belly dance (I'm with you, Gisela, on wanting to understand technique.) I adore my classes, but it seems like there's all this focus on chest and hip isolations, but there little to NO mention of hands! Sometimes when I watch dancers perform, the real heart breaker (in some instances heart palpitator) for me are their hands with their arms. It is SO beautiful to me ! To ignore hands in belly dancing is like having an amazing designer outfit prepared and then deciding to wear flip flops. When I watch tribal dancers, I'm as amazed and mesmerized by their movements and undulations as I am by their beckoning-like fingers. I think Rachel Brice describes hand placement as "climbing the sky," which I totally agree with. I look at Ansuya and I see her hands are very dramatic compared to yet another dancer whose hands are nice, but not as expressive. In my Mind's Eye, I imagine undulating belly dance hands to be similar to Flamenco hands which also have the same effect on me . What you think? For those who are instructors, what IS the technique?

    edavis2

  2. #2
    Senior Member Marya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by edavis2 View Post
    Hello Everyone!

    I've decided to begin a thread specifically about hands in belly dance (I'm with you, Gisela, on wanting to understand technique.) I adore my classes, but it seems like there's all this focus on chest and hip isolations, but there little to NO mention of hands! Sometimes when I watch dancers perform, the real heart breaker (in some instances heart palpitator) for me are their hands with their arms. It is SO beautiful to me ! To ignore hands in belly dancing is like having an amazing designer outfit prepared and then deciding to wear flip flops. When I watch tribal dancers, I'm as amazed and mesmerized by their movements and undulations as I am by their beckoning-like fingers. I think Rachel Brice describes hand placement as "climbing the sky," which I totally agree with. I look at Ansuya and I see her hands are very dramatic compared to yet another dancer whose hands are nice, but not as expressive. In my Mind's Eye, I imagine undulating belly dance hands to be similar to Flamenco hands which also have the same effect on me . What you think? For those who are instructors, what IS the technique?edavis2
    What hands should be doing in dance depends on the style. Egyptian Style does not focus on hands very much and some well known Egyptian dancers do not have dramatic hands. Their hands are very natural and relaxed. When I teach Egyptian Style dance I work on having students be aware of where their arms and hands are in space with relaxed fingers and wrists. the relaxed wrists is perhaps the most important aspect. Wrist circles, finger stretches are all helpful. One exercise that might help is to imagine you are washing out a gallon jar and having to circle all around the inside of the jar.

    Many students simply are not accustomed to being aware of their arms and hands and this is what causes droopy elbows and fingers splaying out. It takes time to develop this awareness and using video is helpful for training.

    I had to see several videos of myself with droopy elbows before I could focus on where my arms and hands were in space.

    Now, Central Asian, Persian, Armenian, Indian Dance is different. Arms are extremely important. I just learned a Bukharan Wedding dance that is nearly all hand movements, very little leg or foot action. Again, it is practice, using a mirror and or video to train the mind and body to work together so that the arms and hands will do what you want them to.

    It really is no different that learning shoulder shimmies. Most Westerners are not accustomed to making theirs shoulders move in this way and some people take a very long time to learn them.

    Marya
    Last edited by Marya; 08-31-2008 at 01:54 PM.

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