Egyptian vs 1970s Am Cab


"The Veiled Male"
How do you know this, Zorba? :D
Because it happened to me - TWICE. Just in case someone didn't see this wondrous display of beauty and grace the first time - I turned around, faced the other way, and DID IT AGAIN. One must always demonstrate a move from multiple angles and both sides! Hopping around on one foot while dis-entangling myself with one hand and holding a cane in the other!

Of course, it happened at a "small performance venue" where there was hardly anybody there to see me on the tiny stage. Yea, uh-huh.


I'm *SO* over fringe/string skirts! Mutter, mutter, grumble, grumble... :mad::mad:
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Still, you might like to read some historical information about them. Check out Women's Work: the First 20,000 Years. Women, Cloth, and Society in Early Times by Elizabeth Wayland Barber. She discusses string skirts in some detail.


Don't know how I missed seeing this thread until now. I have the perspective of both because my first training (lo these many years ago) was in AmCab, which was pretty much what everyone was doing back then. Now I study mainly Egyptian because to its depth of interaction with the music is what speaks to me the most. I do still like to sample bits of everything now and then, though.

I think that both styles have their own, different, sets of demands on the body. As others have pointed out, some of the demands found in AmCab are more extreme, such as the Turkish drop. I can't think of anything analogous in Egyptian style. However, it's always been the case that not everyone does those moves. In the old days i belonged to a pretty big troupe with some really good dancers, and I can only think of one person who ever did Turkish drops (who left the group before I joined, so I never even saw it :().
I hate to admit it, but it took me years to become aware there were any significant differences in style. I knew Turkish was more flamboyant, but otherwise I thought I was dancing Egyptian.

It's only in the last couple of years I've become aware I'm not dancing Egyptian at all. I suppose I'm dancing Australian, which from the sound of it is more like AmCab. When I finally saw someone dance in true Egyptian style, I actually didn't like it - it was s-o-o-o-o restrained and quiet.


That's not unusual; most folks don't come across the subject of style variations until they do a little research beyond their first few dance classes at the local rec center. I didn't have a clue in the beginning, either, but one has to learn arithmetic long before one ever even hears of calculus, hmm? ;)


New member
Most new dancers don't even realize there are multiple styles. I make a point in the first 8 weeks to show my students videos of different styles. When we are learning technique I also point out which belong where and variations in moves. No, they don't become style experts but their minds are opened to seeing belly dance as very nuanced.


That is so true that beginning students are unaware of different styles -- most people who have no more than superficial exposure to belly dance think of it as some kind of monolithic entity with no variations. Kashmir, I think your method of introducing styles early on is a very good teaching practice.
That's not unusual; most folks don't come across the subject of style variations until they do a little research beyond their first few dance classes at the local rec center.

Ah, but I had done far more than a few dances at the local rec centre - I had been dancing for five or six years with three different teachers. May be a reflection on the state of Sydney dance teaching?


Active member
I'm no specialist on Australian BD history but it's my understanding that the US influence was minimal at first. Older Australian dancers I've spoken to have suggested they learned to do what the musicians told them to do. What's Australia? Greek, Lebanese, Turkish... so if Australian BD is like Am Cab it's like Am Cab because Lebanese and Turkish are like Am Cab, at least that's my take on it. There are plenty of Egyptophiles there these days.

The internet has had a profound impact on how much dancers and dance teachers get exposed to and what information they're able to share. I think we can be unfair on past teachers sometimes. They didn't know what they didn't know. It was not like now.