Movement Differences...help!

Dani

New member
I've heard that American Tribal style is more snakey and flowy, Egyptian/Oriental/Raqs Sharqi uses more precise movements, with the hips always under the rib cage, and that Cabaret style has more of a flemenco form.

How true are these?

Also, what are some movement differences between the styles?

I've done some belly dance choreographing, but I'm not sure what style it is because I can't find the movement differences anywhere. I'm basically just doing whatever moves make me happy, which is what contemporary ballet teaches you to do, but I realize that many dance styles are more disciplined than that.

Right now the only differences I know are between the music styles, clothing styles, and histories. I just need to know the overall dance differences, even if you can only tell me about your individual style. Please and thank you!
 

Kashmir

New member
I've heard that American Tribal style is more snakey and flowy, Egyptian/Oriental/Raqs Sharqi uses more precise movements, with the hips always under the rib cage, and that Cabaret style has more of a flemenco form.

How true are these?
I think we are talking a couple of days of workshops! Seriously, the best way to learn a style is to do it - with several different experienced teachers of the style. Then try a different style.

But from my observation. ATS has never struck me as "more snakey and flowy" - rather it appears more constrained - after all you have to move so everyone can follow. Tribal Fusion - which is completely different - do have some styles within it that heavily pull on yoga and modern - these are quite "more snakey and flowy".

American belly dance, generally, seems to have a strong Turkish influence so uses more upper body work than Egyptian. There are also things like belly rolls and flutters which are far more likely to be found in American styles.

There are dozens of Egyptian styles. Modern Egyptian (which goes back to the 90s) does tend to be precise and have ribs over the pelvis - and an emphasis on hip work over torso work. If you look at the root styles - Egyptian folk - there is practically no upper body work - just the chest heave and shoulder and chest shimmies.

Not sure what you mean by "cabaret". But if it's AmCab I'd put the influence more with Turkey than Spain. ATS, however, does draw from flamenco - along with a number of other dance styles outside MENA.
 

Roshanna

New member
I've heard that American Tribal style is more snakey and flowy, Egyptian/Oriental/Raqs Sharqi uses more precise movements, with the hips always under the rib cage, and that Cabaret style has more of a flemenco form.

How true are these?
They are not very helpful descriptions at all, to be honest.

American Tribal Style (ATS) is easiest to define, as it is a very specific format, trademarked by Carolena Nericcio of California. There are also some other 'Improvisational Tribal Style' (ITS) formats. All of these styles are made up of set combinations of movements which dancers learn, and then dance together in a 'follow the leader' style. The movements are primarily influenced by the format of Jamila Salimpour, i.e. old-school American Oriental, but also include some arms, turns, etc. taken from flamenco, and a few things influenced by Indian classical dance. Once you've watched a few examples, you will easily recognise it when you see it. I would not describe it as 'more snakey and flowy', however, it does tend to have a sense of continuous movement.

Egyptian Oriental (Raqs Sharqi), and Egyptian social/folk-style dance (Raqs Baladi) are much harder to define. Technique-wise, they are more hip than upper body focused, and do usually have the upright posture you mentioned. There are some technical differences between Sharqi and Baladi, especially in use of arms, use of space, and footwork, but both use a similar range of torso movements. Understanding what defines these styles takes years of study, and watching a lot of dance. Most of it is about cultural background knowledge, and how the dancer relates to the music, rather than just about using specific movements. For examples of Egyptian dancers through the years, look up e.g. Taheyya Carioca, Naima Akef, Fifi Abdou, Soheir Zaki, Mona Said, Dina, Randa Kamel, Camellia...

'Cabaret' is not a useful term - tribal dancers have historically used it to refer to 'everything that isn't tribal', but it is kind of meaningless on its own. It is most likely to refer to the style known as American Cabaret/American Oriental, or Vintage Orientale (the older style of American Oriental). I'm no expert on these styles, since I'm not American, but they tend to have more Turkish influence in dance and costuming, and to include extended floorwork and veil sections. There is no relationship to flamenco in any of these.

This article is an excellent introduction to the different styles: http://www.shemsdance.com/articles/different-styles-of-oriental-dance/
 

Roshanna

New member
I've done some belly dance choreographing, but I'm not sure what style it is because I can't find the movement differences anywhere. I'm basically just doing whatever moves make me happy, which is what contemporary ballet teaches you to do, but I realize that many dance styles are more disciplined than that.
Yes, bellydance is certainly one of the dance styles where it's... not exactly more disciplined, but there's more to it than just fitting moves to music. There's a lot of nuance in learning to hear and interpret Arabic music, and if your interpretation is wildly off the mark, it will look strange to an educated audience. The styles are also far more intimately related to the music used than Western theatre dance styles tend to be.

In order to dance convincingly in a Middle Eastern style (i.e. not tribal or fusion), in my opinion it's also essential to be able to improvise well, even if you still choreograph or semi-choreograph for stage. This is because it's only through improvisation that you can learn to interpret the music in a characteristically Egyptian/Turkish/Lebanese way - these dance styles are traditionally improvised, and often still are improvised, and that affects how they look. Arabic music is also traditionally improvisational in nature.
 

Zorba

"The Veiled Male"
Pretty much what others have said. I'll only add that as a "American Cabaret" dancer, I've seen snaky and flowy - and poppy/locky both under the AmCab umbrella. I also take a "Gothic Tribal Fusion" class, the instructress is VERY snakey and flowy. It kind of depends on the dancer and who she's studied under. My personal style is more flowy than anything, but not so snakey!
 
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