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Thread: Arm movement

  1. #1
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    Default Arm movement

    So i have been thinking about that thread, in which the OP spoke about the black belly dancer having poor arms.

    i figured instead of dwelling on the negative connotation of her post, I began to wonder, what makes for good arm movement in raqs sharqi?

    are there examples out there that we can share with each other, explaining what makes the example so good IYO?

    what exercises do you suggest for improvement of arm movments?

    is there a similiarity to the 5 positions used in ballet? is it similar to Asian (indian) dance movments?

    from my observations, i have noted that the hands are used to frame and guide the movement..in some cases, it is used when instruments such as the nay, or the oud are prominent in a piece of music.

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    Senior Member maria_harlequin's Avatar
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    My teacher makes us go through the 5 arm positions every once in awhile and we incorporate a lot of it in our dance. She's Suhaila-trained and mainly teaches American-Cabaret.

    My Egyptian teacher emphasized on having "pretty arms" (no droopy elbows) and the arms are almost always "moving" along with the body. It's a lot more casual than ballet arms and it doesn't look a thing like Indian dance.

    I guess for good arm movement, the arms should always appear graceful and full of energy - but that doesn't necessarily mean flailing it about wildly during a hip twist. It should always be complimenting and never stiff - even if you're holding it still.

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    Administrator Salome's Avatar
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    I began to wonder, what makes for good arm movement in raqs sharqi?
    To me that varies depending on the style. For an Egyptian dancer I'd say great arms are largly about a good clean basic line. They are graceful but not overly balletic! The range is a bit closer instead of hard core extension. They are predominately 'quiet', just supporting and flowing along with the body and are 'worked in', or accent every so often.

    For American Oriental the arms play a larger or more active role. They should hold and flow, through extensions, they should frame simply, they should also be used in very stylized frames and actions, they should accent, be quiet, and they should be the focal point of movement all by themselves.

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    For me, arms should be as natural as possible. Arm movements start at the breastbone, the collarbone, the shoulder, the upper arm, the forearm and then last, the hands. I hate overly big or stiff arms....but then I have ballet training, so this has stuck with me and held me in good stead for arms and hands. Arms are often last part of the body to be controlled when learning this dance.

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    V.I.P. Reen.Blom's Avatar
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    I have noticed, that its very important to 'create' beautiful lines with the arms, meaning 'training' the elbows to avoid 'chicken' arms, always making sure there is some space betwen the upper arm and body (as someone said imagining you hold and egg under your arm...lol) Also having relaxed but beautiful hand placement.

    I think too many people focus on moving the arms into all sorts of positions and executing moves and accents without first learning to present the arms beautifully.

    Also one thing that I have learned is to engage the shoulder blade in wide arm movement, and not just move from the upper arm.

    Hope anything of that makes sense...
    Last edited by Reen.Blom; 05-08-2009 at 08:56 PM.

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    V.I.P. Kashmir's Avatar
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    "Good" arms are like a good black and white movie. Any one frame looks beautiful. The arms move from one position to the next "naturally" - usually slower than feet or hips. They always are energised and the journey is as significant as the destination.

    "Bad" arms flail or hang limply or try and take over the dance.

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