Meaning and Gestures in MED

Caroline_afifi

New member
I am currently working on a workshop structure exploring meaning and gesture.
Various dancers use non verbal communications whilst expressing the music/dance.
Some are 'old' gestures and some are unique to the performer.
It is something that I have been studying/interested in for sometime and I am wanting to know what others think/understand about this.
Have you seen dancers make a gesture and not understand it?
Have you been taught this in class etc? are there any you like/dislike?
Do you include any in your own dance? etc. etc.

I look forward to hearing your views and thoughts. x
 

cathy

New member
I don't know whether to call some of these "gestures" or something else, artistic license, stylizations, cuteness or sexiness, but these are some things I wonder about:


hair grabbing or hair tossing (not Zar, but put into Oriental)
back of hand to forehead, sometimes known as "Lebanese headache"
hand cupped around back of ear stylization
grabbing armpit dramatically (yes I have seen this!)
grabbing or holding just under one breast (supposed to be heart maybe?)
flicking motion with hand/fingers
kicks from the knee (sometimes I wonder if this is what people mean by "horsey step")
leg lifts from the hip (ballet?)
reaching down and miming grabbing something from the floor
reaching up as if grabbing something from the air, making a fist, then pulling it into the chest in dramatic fashion
the whole "imaginary string" thing, liking pretending to pull your hip up

I figure some of these have to do with interpreting lyrics, that I cannot understand. But then I think sometimes a dancer will see someone do one of these, and then copy it without understanding that it was only appropriate in that particular point in that particular song.
 

Caroline_afifi

New member
I don't know whether to call some of these "gestures" or something else, artistic license, stylizations, cuteness or sexiness, but these are some things I wonder about:


hair grabbing or hair tossing (not Zar, but put into Oriental)
back of hand to forehead, sometimes known as "Lebanese headache"
hand cupped around back of ear stylization
grabbing armpit dramatically (yes I have seen this!)
grabbing or holding just under one breast (supposed to be heart maybe?)
flicking motion with hand/fingers
kicks from the knee (sometimes I wonder if this is what people mean by "horsey step")
leg lifts from the hip (ballet?)
reaching down and miming grabbing something from the floor
reaching up as if grabbing something from the air, making a fist, then pulling it into the chest in dramatic fashion
the whole "imaginary string" thing, liking pretending to pull your hip up

I figure some of these have to do with interpreting lyrics, that I cannot understand. But then I think sometimes a dancer will see someone do one of these, and then copy it without understanding that it was only appropriate in that particular point in that particular song.
Thanks Cathy,
There are some different and interesting ones for me in there. I will ask about them next week when I am in Cairo and see how many interpretations I can get! :lol:

The armpit? :think: new one for me! perhaps it relates to me Helawa story on another thread :lol:

I have seen the flapping of the skirt whilst bending over and a 'puffing' expression like my '**(*& is on fire) again, it was a local nightclub. Not to be repeated! :shok:

Please let me know if you can think of any others. :D
 

karena

New member
Head to temple wave thing, like a floaty military salute if that makes sense. Looks alot nicer than that description :lol:
The finger flick thing with the first fingers, and hands bunched together which I think looks like a gun (what is with the military reference points for me :think: I'm concerned!)
Brushing things off upper arm (no military analogy here :dance:)
 

Caroline_afifi

New member
Head to temple wave thing, like a floaty military salute if that makes sense. Looks alot nicer than that description :lol:
The finger flick thing with the first fingers, and hands bunched together which I think looks like a gun (what is with the military reference points for me :think: I'm concerned!)
Brushing things off upper arm (no military analogy here :dance:)
Yes, I know the one you mean. the hand to the temple is a kind of 'hello' salute in the Raqs Sharqi school.
Do you know what these gestures mean, or any other?
 

karena

New member
Well I've been told "hello" too.
Then it's like clicking fingers I think, so kind of clicking in time to the music I think. Like clapping along but more 'egyptian'
And the last was for something like 'it's no good'. That's not quite the right phrase but I forget what it is.
Oh and finger to the nose, like a cheeky thing, to recognise when you're being cheeky but making it cheeky rather than more suggestive.
 

Caroline_afifi

New member
Well I've been told "hello" too.
Then it's like clicking fingers I think, so kind of clicking in time to the music I think. Like clapping along but more 'egyptian'
And the last was for something like 'it's no good'. That's not quite the right phrase but I forget what it is.
Oh and finger to the nose, like a cheeky thing, to recognise when you're being cheeky but making it cheeky rather than more suggestive.
Thanks Karena,
I know the ones you mean. :lol:
 

Kashmir

New member
Head to temple wave thing, like a floaty military salute if that makes sense. Looks alot nicer than that description :lol:
The finger flick thing with the first fingers, and hands bunched together which I think looks like a gun (what is with the military reference points for me :think: I'm concerned!)
Brushing things off upper arm (no military analogy here :dance:)
Don't worry - it isn't military. The "salute" is the Egyptian gesture with as salem alikum - ie "hello" (Saudi's touch their chests I think)

(There's a related gesture as the hand slips back for "listen to the music")

The finger flick is the Arabic finger snap. The palms create a sounding board and the fingers feed the percussive sound to be amplified. I rarely can get it to work in the heat of the moment, so just mime it.
 

maylynn

New member
One that I have wondered about is the 'spice grinding' motion with the hands: when one hand is flat, palm up, and the other hand is in a fist oriented vertically, and the fist 'grinds' small circles onto the surface of the palm, as if grinding spices in a mortar & pestle.

I've been told that this means literally 'spicy', as in a cheeky non-verbal exclamation when a tricky/impressive movement is being done, but when an egyptologist friend of mine saw it done in a dance her eyebrows went sky-high and she said 'doesn't that indicate sex??'
I would like to know!
 

Caroline_afifi

New member
One that I have wondered about is the 'spice grinding' motion with the hands: when one hand is flat, palm up, and the other hand is in a fist oriented vertically, and the fist 'grinds' small circles onto the surface of the palm, as if grinding spices in a mortar & pestle.

I've been told that this means literally 'spicy', as in a cheeky non-verbal exclamation when a tricky/impressive movement is being done, but when an egyptologist friend of mine saw it done in a dance her eyebrows went sky-high and she said 'doesn't that indicate sex??'
I would like to know!
Yes, this gesture is called Du'a meaning like a spice mix. The actual gesture is more like 'rubbing it in when you get one over on someone'
like when your friends football team loses and yours wins.

I dont know about the indication of sex, only as Du'a.
 

gypsy8522

New member
Yes, this gesture is called Du'a meaning like a spice mix.
:think:

The spice mix gesture doesn't really have a name but we sometimes say things like felfel-shatta, meaning chilli and pepper.. or kabsa (not the dish), it means to grind.

Du'a is something completely different, it means prayer.
 

maylynn

New member
:think:

The spice mix gesture doesn't really have a name but we sometimes say things like felfel-shatta, meaning chilli and pepper.. or kabsa (not the dish), it means to grind.

Du'a is something completely different, it means prayer.
Thank you both for the info, I have wondered for awhile!

So would you say that the movement is appropriate to use in dance, or is it completely out of context and not make any sense?
 

Caroline_afifi

New member
:think:

The spice mix gesture doesn't really have a name but we sometimes say things like felfel-shatta, meaning chilli and pepper.. or kabsa (not the dish), it means to grind.

Du'a is something completely different, it means prayer.
so what do you call the mix that is added to Molokhiya? we cal it Du'a.
Perhaps it is the way I spelt it?
I just asked Sherif and he said they always called it Du'a meaning spice mix and the gesture was reffered to as the same.
See, this is the situation for most things!! :lol:

PS Tahia Carioca said this and made the gesture in a film.
What about if i spell it Doqa?
I will try to remember the film..
 
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cathy

New member
spritzing self?

Lately whenever I go to shows in New York I have been seeing a dancer do this specific gesture, kind of like he is spritzing himself with some kind or perfume or something? In fact I saw this just last night at Tagine!

I think it may just be an inside joke between me and one of my teachers ....who knows though maybe it will catch on in Cairo :lol:
 

Caroline_afifi

New member
Lately whenever I go to shows in New York I have been seeing a dancer do this specific gesture, kind of like he is spritzing himself with some kind or perfume or something? In fact I saw this just last night at Tagine!

I think it may just be an inside joke between me and one of my teachers ....who knows though maybe it will catch on in Cairo :lol:
Do you think he is implying he is hot or smelly? lol
 

Kashmir

New member
Yes, this gesture is called Du'a meaning like a spice mix. The actual gesture is more like 'rubbing it in when you get one over on someone'
like when your friends football team loses and yours wins.

I dont know about the indication of sex, only as Du'a.
Yes, Aida Nour And Dr Mo both gave this explanation (separately) and have used it in choreographies.
 
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