Egyptian vs 1970s Am Cab

Ahava_Melantha

New member
I was curious, for those who are primarily into Egyptian style, do you find 1970 American Caberet teachers and technique harder? Do you find the style to be a bit harder on the body? Just curious.

I got a dvd (will not name names ) and some of the stuff so far seems kind of hard on the body. I am viewing it right now. I have another by another dancer from the 70s n 80s generation, and some of her stuff seems hard on the body too.

any ideas ladies n gents?
 

Kashmir

New member
From what I have seen AmCab often moves the body to its extreme range - nothing subtle there. Much of the movement also seems to be generated with the legs so there is little core engagement and protection for the back. It also can include things like floorwork (okay if you are fit and flexible but red flagged for student walking off the street), sharp drops (including the dreaded flop-over and Turkish drops). All up - yes, I find much of the technique "potentially damaging" - and it would get a black mark if I used it while getting an assesssment in my dance certificate!

Ironically it is harder on the body - but easier to do than (modern) EGyptian technique. Just push it out there.
 

Ahava_Melantha

New member
thanx Kashmir. As always I find your replies very helpful. I was curious if it was just me or what. I have several dvds by different artists from 1970s era and their style seems fairly hard on the body, to me anyways.
 

Duvet

New member
My first regular teacher was more into the American Cabaret style. Comparing her to my later Egyptian style teacher, she was more regimental about technique and positioning, involved more extreme isolations, with back-bends, floor work, and a continuous high-energy performance. Some of that might just be due to differing teaching styles and personality, but the AmCab seemed more about being noticed and getting attention, while the Egyptian was more into connecting with and communicating through the music. (I'm sure that'll offend some people!) As a beginner the Cabaret was easier to do since it just involved uniform moves.

Both are darned hard, but each has its merits.
 

Salome

Administrator
I was curious, for those who are primarily into Egyptian style, do you find 1970 American Caberet teachers and technique harder? Do you find the style to be a bit harder on the body? Just curious.

any ideas ladies n gents?
I'm not a practitioner of Egyptian oriental though I've studied over the years. But my teacher was 70's / 80's era Am cab and that is the style I've carried on so I'd like to chime in from that side. American Oriental (though it has changed some over the years) demands more athletically of a dancer on a couple levels I think. The performance aspect is one of those. Egyptian can be informal, some dancing, some stopping to chat with an audience member, the singer, she might stop and sing... and I'm talking about native dancers. The musical tempo is generally low key in comparison. Having up tempo sections inside a song and a drum solo (that is worked with differently) the pace is over all medium and steady. In comparison.

In a classic Am cab routine structure you have at least two up tempo songs and a drum solo. And in the old school version you did a 9/8 after your drum solo!!! It is not an informal style, there is a performance orientated expectation, so you are physically engaging at a higher energy level.

Something that people often comment on is that Egyptian style works more intimately with the music. And it kind of infers that in other style this is not true. What I would say is that yes, Egyptian style does work harmoniously with its music. But so do the other styles. They are not the same, that is why there are styleS :lol: Turkish Oryantal responds perfectly WITH Turkish music. The music is different and the dancing is different, as it should be.

Am cab was heavily influenced by Turkish Oryantal, which is very high energy. And the music is dramatic and high energy. Fast spins, fast travelling steps, covering the stage space. The stylistic expression of the movement vocabulary is expressed in ways that demand physical strength, stamina, flexibility and so forth. Things like head flips, head rolls, knee turns on the floor, floor work, different drops to the floor etc. A good dancer understands how to move the energy around on her body, cycling it in, moving it internally and this is a very real part of Amcab. it's not all up and out and being shot into space, but in comparison to Egyptian there is more movement and energy going outward. I don't mean to leave out the fact that in Am cab and Turkish there are slow sections and the music goes there too.

I think Ruby Beh is a really good example of what I'm talking about.

Am cab is not hard on your body if your body is in condition to perform. There have been times in my life that I've been out of shape, or took a break and started back up and I use common sense and don't push myself past where ever I'm at athletically. Having done this style since I was a kid, I can tell you that I don't have any injuries as a result.
 

Ahava_Melantha

New member
oh ok. thank you. I am more into Egyptian style, but I do acknowledge that you can learn quite a bit from learning or dabbling in other styles.

and yes, I agree about Ruby Beh. Love her stuff.
 

Shanazel

Super Moderator
Well, I've been trying to decide how to counter some of the previous statements without being unduly harsh. (Nothing subtle? Just push it out there? Seriously, Kashmir?) Thank you, Salome, for stepping in and putting it beautifully.

By the way, I never did a Turkish drop or flop-over in forty years of dancing. ;)
 

Kashmir

New member
Well, I've been trying to decide how to counter some of the previous statements without being unduly harsh. (Nothing subtle? Just push it out there? Seriously, Kashmir?) Thank you, Salome, for stepping in and putting it beautifully.

By the way, I never did a Turkish drop or flop-over in forty years of dancing.;)
Didn't mean to be harsh - just how the dance appeared to me from videos of a similar time frame from the US and Egypt. (Yes, I realize this would only be a small sample of what was out there). The extreme movements are still seen by some US dancers - sorry it has never appealed.

Glad to hear you looked after your body. Ironically, I did used do Turkish drops when i first started.
 

Shanazel

Super Moderator
I am teasing you, dear. There are dreadful examples for every style. My original teachers (circa the mid-seventies) spent what I used to think was an undue amount of time emphasizing small movements and subtlety so I had to laugh at your comments.
 

Farasha Hanem

New member
I've neve done a Turkish Drop or The Dreaded Flop-Over, but I HAVE done an American Plummet-To-The-Floor once or twice during home practice! >.>;;
 

Shanazel

Super Moderator
Ooooo, and how about those wonderful impromptu plummets produced when one accidentally steps on a trailing veil and lands on the floor without quite intending to do floor work in a particular performance?
 

Ahava_Melantha

New member
can someone post a liink to a video with the flop over?I'm having a hard time picturing it. I remember when I'd slowly lower on to my knees and super slowly back bend my way untill i was laying down. I'd do arm movements and chest moves and hips and then with my arms, swoop my way back up
 

Kashmir

New member
No video - but picture this. Music builds to a crescendo with the dancer doing fast and furious. Single accent and silence then next track something like a ney taqsim. On the accent the dancer folds in half with her hair pooling around her feet. As the taqsim starts she slowly unfolds and starts a stndng taqsim.
 

BattyBaby

New member
When Middle Eastern dance came to America in the late 1800s, it was very very sensationalized. We had this whole trope about scandalous crazy bellydancers going to parties and sleeping with the guests etcetera. It receded into the burlesque scene for a while (before this Burlesque didn't involve much in the way of bumps and grinds, mostly kicks), and then when it came back it was very much an issue of performance and storytelling. The dancers of the seventies were more evoking a fantasy of the Middle East than anything else. This led to a lot of very showy movements that require intense technique.
Egyptian bellydance comes from mostly folk dance, but also takes heavily from jazz and ballroom due the Badia Masabni hiring western instructors for the dancers of her clubs. Due to the heavy Western influence, Egyptian bellydance is not quite solid folk dance and does have an element of showiness to it, but nonetheless it is much more relaxed and heavily rooted in folk.
So I do think that most forms of AmCab are going to be a little bit harder on the body than Egyptian.
 

Zorba

"The Veiled Male"
No video - but picture this. Music builds to a crescendo with the dancer doing fast and furious. Single accent and silence then next track something like a ney taqsim. On the accent the dancer folds in half with her hair pooling around her feet. As the taqsim starts she slowly unfolds and starts a stndng taqsim.
Ok, thanx for the clarification - I've seen this and done it once or twice. Its best of you work with your hair so it flies forward and down as you do it. Problem I had was keeping my necklace from rebounding and hitting me in the teeth. Better check your earrings ahead of time too!

I've only seen the Turkish Drop a few times - and of those times, I'd say I've only seen it done well exactly once. It is spectacular when its done right - but its ended the career of more than one dancer. One of my teachers was carried offstage on a stretcher after a 'Drop gone wrong years back.
 

Zorba

"The Veiled Male"
Ooooo, and how about those wonderful impromptu plummets produced when one accidentally steps on a trailing veil and lands on the floor without quite intending to do floor work in a particular performance?
Uh, yea. That's part of my veil workshop - impromptu drops - Turkish or otherwise, aren't pretty and most Belly Dance authorities consider them poor form! :lol:

Another tip is to NEVER do cane or other Sa'idi style dancing/movements - particularly those cutesy "flip back with the foot" moves when one is wearing a string or fringe skirt. The long fringe loves to tangle around one's toes - ask me how I know this... :redface::mad::lol:
 

Farasha Hanem

New member
Uh, yea. That's part of my veil workshop - impromptu drops - Turkish or otherwise, aren't pretty and most Belly Dance authorities consider them poor form! :lol:

Another tip is to NEVER do cane or other Sa'idi style dancing/movements - particularly those cutesy "flip back with the foot" moves when one is wearing a string or fringe skirt. The long fringe loves to tangle around one's toes - ask me how I know this... :redface::mad::lol:
How do you know this, Zorba? :D
 
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