Beledi, Baladi, how do you define it?

I've just moved to a new town and a new teacher. She tells me that she only teaches Beledi.

This has got me thinking - do I really know what it is? I know it means the dance of everyday people rather than performance dance, but what does that really mean in terms of style? And if it's everyday, where is the line drawn between baladi and shaabi?

I think I've heard it said that the hands never go above the head in baladi, yet I've seen videos where they do. I know there's a "baladi dress" (I have one), but again, I've seen videos labelled baladi which are danced in a bedleh. And how do I identify baladi music?
 

Farasha Hanem

New member
[video=youtube_share;QOo9JnojhIk]https://youtu.be/QOo9JnojhIk[/video]

Hi, Bellydance Oz! You have some really good questions (I'm wondering some of the same things you are). When it comes to the music, sometimes we can identify it by the rhythm. Below is an explaination of the baladi rhythm. I hope this video helps:
 
Last edited:

Kashmir

New member
Beledi Dance has nothing to do with the (mis-named) rhythm all to do with the music. (Unless your teacher is Hilal School in which case no rules apply - all pretty much made up)

Strictly raqs beledi is ANY local dance - sa`iidi is beledi; fellahi is beledi; according to some even raqs sharqi is beledi as it was born in Egypt and expresses the spirit of the people.

However, it is most often used wrt urban dance - often called Urban Beledi. Moreover, usually the stage version of the urban style. In which case it is a representation of a pre-raqs sharqi style - or home/social style.

There are several sub-styles - depending on the music. Old styles with very simple music have a very restricted movement vocabulary. Dancing to a Beledi Progression (post WW2) has more western elements.

Generally speaking - low arms (although you can raise them above the shoulders, it is infrequent AND YOU DON'T DANCE WITH YOUR ARMS - if the music calls for it though you can lift them above your head); little or no rib work; limited use of stage - ie little or no travelling; no arabesques, mayas, pops, locks or gymnastics; wear a dress - and most important - use improvisation.

(I have a video scheduled for April on this - but it is short. No URL yet the channel is https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNjnFAcPbEy6nS6rBeydjcw)
 

Farasha Hanem

New member
Thank you so much for the information, Kashmir. I didn't know that, but I have learned more than what I did before! :D
 

Zumarrad

Member
Ranya Renee's Baladi DVD is an invaluable resource, and she is now teaching an online course that develops and refines what she knew/thought at the time she made it. That DVD will teach you a lot about music and movement quality. It's a great base for baladi exploration.
 

Kashmir

New member
Ranya Renee's Baladi DVD is an invaluable resource, and she is now teaching an online course that develops and refines what she knew/thought at the time she made it. That DVD will teach you a lot about music and movement quality. It's a great base for baladi exploration.
Fantastic video - and good value about 3 hours I think. Good coverage of theory, music and drills. But only covers beledi progression - the "modern" style.
 
Thanks Kashmir, I think that's one of the things that confused me. I did a term on beledi progression and in the choreography we learned, all but the final section seemed quite balletic, lots of arabesques, turns and travelling.
 

Zumarrad

Member
Well that's not baladi.

ETA I am literally wracking my brains trying to work out how someone would put a load of arabesques and travelling steps into the BEGINNING of a baladi progression. Even if the dance style isn't baladi that wouldn't make sense.
 
Last edited:

Kashmir

New member
Thanks Kashmir, I think that's one of the things that confused me. I did a term on beledi progression and in the choreography we learned, all but the final section seemed quite balletic, lots of arabesques, turns and travelling.
Was your teacher influence by Suraya Hilal? Not that she did that with her beledi - but often did with her raqs sharqi.
 

Aniseteph

New member
Well that's not baladi.

ETA I am literally wracking my brains trying to work out how someone would put a load of arabesques and travelling steps into the BEGINNING of a baladi progression. Even if the dance style isn't baladi that wouldn't make sense.
Ditto on the wracking. I suppose it's possible that the music wasn't a baladi progression either.
 

Roshanna

New member
IMO if it's choreographed, it's automatically not really baladi - at best, baladi-inspired or 'stagified' baladi. Baladi is hard to define, it's more of a 'I know it when I see it' thing, but what it's *not* is a formal stage performance dance, it is not balletic, it is not discernably influenced by Western classical dance (though depending on style it may be influenced by hip hop, music video dancing, etc). It's casual, social, improvised, for fun... And yes, there is no clear boundary between baladi and shaabi, they are flavours of the same thing, which is social dance done by ordinary people. The baladi/shaabi distinction is really an arbitrary thing imposed by Western dancers, which doesn't accurately represent the actual division of music/dance genres in Egypt. E.g. you could just as reasonably describe the music of Ahmed Adaweyya as old-school shaabi or as baladi, but what you call it makes no meaningful difference to how you'd dance to it.
 
Top