The Best way for Westerners to get used to different Eastern Rhythms

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Listen…

Just listen to the music,

Often…

I like to play various rhythms, such as Beledi, Chiftitelli, Masmoudi, Sayyadii, & Karsilama repeatedly. That’s before I even think about dancing. I get the songs in my soul & simultaneously visualize movements to them. Next I start improvising to the music.

If you only stick to one type of rhythm, such as Beledi, you may be at a lost on how to dance to diverse sounds & timing patterns are played.

Purchase Arabic dance albums with various artists on the tracks, in addition to a single artist’s album. This will give you a wide variety of rhythmic tunes to practice to.

How do you perfect your ears to eastern rhythms?

 

*picture from Pinterest

How to Effectively Mix Dance Styles

We’ve all seen how famous dancers throughout the years visit other countries, come back to their own and blend foreign styles with their traditional ones. Samia Gamal added Latin dance to her Belly dance routines, Denishawn complemented their modern pieces with Indian & Oriental dances, and I like to mix Popping with my Oriental dance…

But how do you blend different styles with it looking like it gels together?

I discovered three main keys to mixing up different dance styles so that it doesn’t look like a dance fit on the floor.
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Match the pace~
Different styles of dance are signified by their specific timing of their movements. If you work with two styles, you will need to slow one down or speed one up and match to other. This makes a nice blend with put side by side.
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Look for coherency~
Try to match songs and dances that intermingle well. Although I don’t see Whacking and Ballet being easily done together in the same routine & tune, I wont be surprise if someone pulls it off. Instead, look for styles that can easily pivot off of one another like Hula & Belly or Tinkling & Indian Classical.

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Listen to song changes~
There are key places in the music of the rhythm that change, especially in middle eastern songs. At this transition would be a good time to switch the dance styles. It will look intentional & cohesive.
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Have you blending any dance styles lately, and if so which ones?

Cross Training for Belly Dance

Why should you cross train?

It’s important that as sensual athletes, we don’t allow ourselves to over use the same muscles or muscles groups. We need to vary our muscle group use, especially if some are often neglected during our training, rehearing, & performing of our dance. It helps us not over extend any muscles and continuously use every muscle our body has. In addition, varying your workouts can also enhance your belly dancing.

What are the best options & why?

You have a slew of options available to you to choose from! You can go skiing, running, rock climbing, & jumping; there is no limit to how you can vary your training. I would suggest to best options for belly dancers are exercises that strengthen your core, give you cardio endurance, and heighten your movements. That could be weight lifting, aerobics, and/or a completely different dance form. These will all give your dancing an edge as you will be able to dance longer without quickly tiring, do amazing things with the seeming imbalancing & gravity defying of your body, because you control it from the core, and improve movement uniqueness because you studied more than one art form.

How should I schedule this?

I believe the optimum plan, in addition to you current belly practices, would be to include cross training twice a week for at least 30 minutes each time. For my own personal cross training, I choose a different music genre, which changes the tempo, & rhythm, which alters my movement patterns. This helps me get an entirely new workout and use other muscle groups at that time.

If you cross train, what do you do, why, & what it your schedule for it?

What Type of Dance did Miriam really do?

As previous posts alluded to this fact, Old Testament figures living approximately around 1-2000 BC did not do Jazz or Hip Hop, which are modern creations around 1-2000 AD.  So these dances are new and not typical of traditional dances that the people of God,  the Israelites, danced.

So what dances did they dance?

To discover the answer to this complex question, we must look at historical documents, references, and vernacular of that time. These things will give us insight into how Miriam and her peers moved to celebrate their victory in escaping from the Egyptians by God’s hand drowning them in the Red Sea.

Exodus 15:20 says ~

“And Miriam the prophetess the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances”

First,  let’s frame the historical year,  for this sets the precedence over all forms of dance we have today. Since there are numerous calendars and ambiguous dates and slightly different references according to each civilization’s understanding of time,  we surmise the Exodus occurred around 1200-1500 BC.

Second, let’s clarify some of the vocabulary of that era:

Timbrel,  pictured below,  looks like a modern day tambourine.

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Biblical dancing as described in Hebrew & Aramaic  suggests these particular motions of the body:

Machol ~ to whirl the body

Hhalaeem ~ jewels or also, tremble, writhe

These movements are both classic to Oriental dance or known as Middle Eastern dance.

Today these dances are known as Belly Dance , with distinctions by country or by type: Turkish belly dance, Egyptian belly dance, Lebanese belly dance, Cabaret, Tribal/Gothic belly dance, and Classic American belly dance.

Third, examine this information I found on the website “thebestofhabibi.com”,  which refers to authors Meyer Gruber & Carlos Suares,  on the dance of the Shulamite woman  in the book of Song Of Solomon:

“‘the curve of your hips seem to torment themselves.. [using] curves as circular movements..making skillful circular rotations of the hips.. [they are] trembling or writhing’…which are all movements basic to belly dance”.

From these words of witness, we can deduce Miriam and the other women with her, probably BELLY DANCED. They belly danced  to mark their freedom from slavery, their new relationship with the Lord, and their new journey to a promise land. And God didn’t seem to disapprove. The Bible records numerous times when the Lord spoke His disapproval when He felt it. Yet this was recorded as an example of praise to God, not something to be hidden.

The Bible, one of the oldest religious documents found on earth, was written around 1000 BC through 500 BC, according to allabouttruth.com. The Word of God is the first to record this type of dance for the Lord. In comparison with other major religious works, the Koran was written in 650 AD, the Veda circa 500 BC & after, the Tao-te-ching around 600 BC, and the Bahagavad Gita between 200 BC to 200 AD.

So why aren’t we belly dancing in the church today? It belongs to Him and His people as clearly shown in His Word. And why is this beautiful precious dance more acceptable for worldly performances that for godly worship?

Hmmm…Something to think about.