Urban Gypsy Folkloric?

Ariadne

Well-known member
So I was on Amazon and I stumbled across an instructional DVD called "Urban Gypsy Folkloric Combinations Belly Dance" by Sahira


And with a search I also found her website


What I didn't find was any reviews on her or the DVD. Has anyone heard of her and/or what kind of dance this really is?
 

Tourbeau

Active member
I watched a number of her clips. At first I thought she was trying to define a style representing the idea that the Ghawazee influenced the dancing of the people in Southern Egypt, and then many of those Southern Egyptians migrated to the urban areas in the 20th Century, where they influenced the dance scenes there, but the more I got into her material, the more it seemed that she was trying to work an Egyptian-ish lane parallel to Dalia Carella and her Dunyavi Gypsy style (folk-influenced fusion), or perhaps what Ava Fleming promoted as Tribaret (cabaret style performed with the structure of ATS--I can't quite tell if Sahira's RaksLatino project was structured as cued combos or choreography). I think "Urban Gypsy Folkloric" is supposed to be a loose Egyptian flavor of fusion that synthesizes a number of diverse but authentic pieces into a contemporary style that isn't strictly ethnohistoric.

From the clips I watched, Sahira seems like an entertaining performer and a thoughtful teacher. I don't think I would mistake her for a native dancer (her dancing seems more AmCab than Egyptian to me), and I am a little concerned with the way she chose to describe her style. I'm not understanding what is particularly "urban" or "folkloric" about it, since it doesn't seem to be heavily influenced by what most dancers would recognize as one of the sha'abi or baladi substyles, much less the general methodologies of the Reda and Koumeyya Troupes. I also question why she would select a word as controversial as "Gypsy" when she doesn't seem to be specifically promoting ethnic Ghawazee or Turkish Roma dance.

If you like Egyptian-influenced AmCab (perhaps with some Latin flavor thrown in) and you are not looking for hardcore ethnic or historical instruction, I think you might enjoy her video lessons. Like every teacher, you weigh what she says against how others teach, but without having done more than briefly surf her web site and YouTube channel, I can't commit further.
 

Ariadne

Well-known member
That's already very helpful, thank you. I didn't find her channel so I'm glad you did.

I'm not into Egyptian influenced AmCab just Vintage, Turkish, and Romani so it sounds like it's not for me but it's good to know what is is anyway.
 

Jeanne

Member
I've taken a few of Sahira's online classes--things that came in the Belly Dance Bundle. I basically like her, but I'm also doubtful about the Urban Gypsy thing, especially the use of the word Gypsy.

Urban Gypsy appears to be the name of her tribal troupe (http://urbangypsy.cc/urban_gypsy.html). I'm on her mailing list, and this is from an email that came today:

So back when I started studying tribal style belly dance, the source and largest influence in the style was most certainly FatChanceBellyDance in California. Fast-forward twenty years later and there is a huge variety of tribal and fusion styles to be found both here in the US and all over the world. I am so inspired and amazed by what a quickly growing and evolving art form our dance is!​
When I founded Urban Gypsy in 2003, we were heavily based in the Domba format (an amazing troupe of tribal and West African fusion dancers that used to perform in Arizona.) Along the way over the last 17 years we've played with a bunch of fusion ideas - Indian, Spanish, Goth (don't ask... but there were a lot of fishnet stockings and yarn dreadlocks involved! 😱)​
Today we are most known for fusing belly dance with... well, belly dance. To be more specific, folkloric belly dance that captured my heart and my hips when Urban Gypsy travelled to Egypt back in 2005 to teach at the Ahlan Wa Sahlan Festival in Cairo.

These clips were included:
 

Ariadne

Well-known member
That was very informative, thank you. I also enjoyed the clips.

Took me awhile to get the reading your post, for that I'm sorry.
 

Zorba

"The Veiled Male"
How did I miss this? What fun! Tassels and Asuit. I was in the very long running west coast folkloric troupe, "Dancers of the Crescent Moon", now defunct unfortunately. But they had a good run - I'm guessing 25 years or more!
 

Shanazel

Super Moderator
I missed it, too. The shenanigans was a lot of fun. I never did any tribal style, never regarded it as belly dance, but admire it as an original "inspired by" offshoot that deserves to be appreciated in its own right.
 

Ariadne

Well-known member
Well I read this because I was finally catching up on all the posts from those two weeks when I was sick at the beginning of the month, so I know why I missed it. ;)
 
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