What's So Great About Ranya Renee?

Aziyade

Well-known member
Like the first thread, I'd like to introduce some extremely popular dancers to the forum and ask everyone why they think that dancer has earned his/her popularity.

So Ranya Renee is one of the most popular American dancers of Egyptian style. She created the wildly popular "Balady" instructional dvd, teaches workshops around the planet, and co-organizes the Theatrical Bellydance Conference in New York.

Let's discuss her as a dancer, not as a teacher. We have another thread about her dvd and her teaching.

What is it about Ranya's performances that make her so popular? What's her "it" factor? Why do you think people go so crazy over her dancing? What positive things about your own dancing can you learn from her performances?
 

Yame

New member
I don't think we can really separate the performer from the teacher, in this case. As much as Ranya Renee is a great performer, I think a lot of her popularity comes from the way she teaches, how she explains concepts in ways that connect with people, both in her DVDs and in person. Also, she has made herself a top American source of authentic Egyptian dance, as a teacher and as a performer.

Since I did fall in love with her as a performer before I ever tried her as a teacher, I can tell you that what made me fall in love with her was her unique, creative, theatrical approach. She did this parody piece at Rakkasah where she started a classical Egyptian piece that was halted by a fake costume malfunction, she then stripped down to a burlesque number, then moved onto tribal and then gothic belly dance... I went through so many emotions watching that, from mortification and sympathy at the moment I really thought her bra had snapped off, to thinking "what the hell is she doing???" when she was "stripping," to laughing my ass off by the time she was on the ground, holding a candle, in tears, amongst miles of red and black fabric. I don't think I ever felt so much, just watching one performance!

Of course, she has a lot of appeal when she isn't doing comedy, too. Egyptian style seems very popular in the US right now, and she displays a lot of the characteristics that Egyptian style fans look for in a dancer. Her moves are gooey and internal and look effortless, she has great musicality and displays emotion very well on her face and projects energy very well towards her audience.

And personally, I also happen to love her hair!
 

Shanazel

Super Moderator
She's classic. I can as easily imagine her dancing in an old time Egyptian film as I can imagine her dancing in the most modern setting available. She's also versatile. Each of the dances I've seen her do has its own personality. She doesn't have a single dance with a dozen different sauces, if you know what I mean.
 

Mosaic

Super Moderator
I can only go by Ranya's DVDs & youtube, but for me Ranya has that essence I would love to find within myself. She is very comfortable within her own body and is very much in tune with the music, as Yame said she makes every move look effortless. Ranya is like another instrument, she portrays the movement & emotion of the music - the visual part of the music, she is the story teller bringing the music to life. She draws you in and you want to jump up and join her, to feel the music as she does. Watching Ranya Dance has me smiling for hours afterwards.
~Mosaic
 

Greek Bonfire

Well-known member
She has one of the best and brightest smiles of any performer that I have ever seen. In fact, she could be the role model on how to use your face when performing.
 

MissVega

New member
I have seen her perform live and she is really lovely. And I am pretty sure you could be blindfolded and know that it is Ranya simply from her breathing/sighing. It's unique and so her.

My fav thing about her is her fluidity from one move to the next, especially when dancing baladi. It's like seamless fabric... Ohh so smooth and fluid looking. To me she is one of those performers who you can't help but like, she has a nice presence about her. And of course beautiful, soft technique.

I haven't had the pleasure of taking a workshop with her but I have heard fabulous things from those who have.
 

Marya

Member
She is educated, she knows the music, the history, the language and has the ability to dance several styles, American as well as Egyptian. She has no BS crap about Goddesses, ancient rituals etc.

Marya
 

nightdancer

New member
Yame,

I saw that performance, too. Did you hear the whole crowd take that sharp breath in when her strap "broke"? It was an awesome show.

My favorite part of her dancing? Ranya is one of those people that embodies all the great quotes. She's one of those people that truly are a dancer.

"Dancing with the feet is one thing, but dancing with the heart is another.~Author Unknown"

I don't want people who want to dance, I want people who have to dance. ~George Balanchine

Dancing can reveal all the mystery that music conceals. ~Charles Baudelaire

Stifling an urge to dance is bad for your health - it rusts your spirit and your hips. ~Terri Guillemets

"If I could tell you that, I wouldn't have to dance it." Isadora Duncan,
 

adiemus

New member
I've only watched her on YouTube and the two DVD's - and read her interactions on here. For me she has that effortless, less-is-more dance quality that brings the music alive. Her sense of being 'with' the music is something I so want to emulate. She doesn't seem to try 'too hard' to do what she does. And her dancing involves her whole self rather than just legs and torso and arms - if you know what I mean! She breathes the music through her body. She seems such a generous dancer - her movements are full and real and gooey and earthy.

In terms of her DVD's, I love having the theory explained along with the movements - to me this helps me put it all together.
 

Darshiva

Moderator
What is it about Ranya's performances that make her so popular? What's her "it" factor? Why do you think people go so crazy over her dancing? What positive things about your own dancing can you learn from her performances?
Every decent dancer understands the music, so whilst this is a big factor in what I love about her, it's not the driving force. For me it's her passion. My goal, where I attempt to emulate her, is in finding that same passion within myself and allowing it to shine through in my dance.

There is something about the way she dances that says 'I love this dance so much I'll die if I don't do it.' She lives and breathes dance and it comes through in every move she makes on stage.
 

Caroline_afifi

New member
I have not seen Ranya live like I have Sadie.

her baladi clip is relaxed, she moves beautifully and has great presence.

she captures the baladi essence perfectly.
 

Aziyade

Well-known member
I've seen her live and I have one of her performance dvds, as well as her instructional ones where she demonstrates dancing.

While I agree with all that's been said, I also really enjoy the feeling she gives you that each performance is spontaneous and organic, like it just flows out of her "from the moment." Now I would chalk this up to her being a a fantastic improv dancer, but I get the same feeling when I see her dancing something I know is an obvious choreography (like because she just taught it! lol)

Something I've noticed when I was analyzing her performances is that although at first she doesn't seem to what I would consider a "technical" dancer, but when I was trying to break apart what she was doing and describe it, she is really doing A LOT that requires a lot of muscle control and strength. It's not so in-your-face poppy and locky, so her style is more to my taste. I guess it's one of those "great dancers make it look easy" moments.

I've never seen any of her comedy or experimental pieces, but my friend and I are hoping to get to the Theatrical Bellydance Conference next year, which I'm really excited about. !
 

Greek Bonfire

Well-known member
Yes and no. I have seen plenty of accomplished dancers who follow the music SO faithfully and leave me cold.
And I've also seen dancers who are not so accomplished but have such passion that it really doesn't matter all that much.
 
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