Why Is Dance Underrepresented in European and North American Arts and Scholarship?

It feels like people perceive dance as a ‘lesser’ art. This is despite dance being an essential aspect of human culture. In this blog post, you will learn about the history of dance in European culture. And how this history has informed the modern European and North American view of dance as a ‘lesser’ art, excepting ballet as the ‘highest’ dance art. Why does this matter? There are so many other forms of dance out there. One is not ‘better’ than the other. Go out into the world and try them! Continue reading Why Is Dance Underrepresented in European and North American Arts and Scholarship?

The Origins of Belly Dance: A Review of ‘Egyptian Belly Dance in Transition’ by Heather Ward

In this post I review Egyptian Belly Dance in Transition: The Raqs Sharqi Revolution, 1890-1930 by Heather Ward. I recommend it to any belly dance enthusiast who is interested in learning about the roots of belly dance. This post will give you an overview of how belly dance came to be ‘belly dance’. I hope it will whet your appetite for reading the full book! Continue reading The Origins of Belly Dance: A Review of ‘Egyptian Belly Dance in Transition’ by Heather Ward

Belly Dance Training: Review of the JWAAD ‘Understanding Music’ Course

I’m writing another instalment of my review series. This time I focus on the JWAAD Belly Dance Training ‘Understanding Music’ course. I hope that by sharing my experience, you will be inspired to learn more about the fascinating world of belly dance music! Continue reading Belly Dance Training: Review of the JWAAD ‘Understanding Music’ Course

Who Is Umm Kulthum and Why Is She Important for Belly Dance?

Have you heard of Umm Kulthum (Oum Kalthoum) before? She was a very famous Egyptian singer active between the 1920s to 1970s. She is remembered for her extraordinary voice and unique musical style. But what does she have to do with belly dance? You’ll find out in this article. Spoiler: lots of the most well known belly dance tunes were originally sung by Umm Kulthum! Continue reading Who Is Umm Kulthum and Why Is She Important for Belly Dance?

A Guide to Belly Dance Movement Categories

In this blog post I classify common belly dance moves based on which shape you draw with your body. These are lifts and drops, slides, shimmies, twists, circles, figure 8’s and undulations. Knowing how you use various bits of your body to produce belly dance moves will help you recall and reproduce the moves you learn in class or see in a video. Knowing how you use various bits of your body to produce belly dance moves will help you recall and reproduce the moves you learn in class or see in a video. You can improve your movement isolation by knowing which body part you are supposed to move. And then keeping the movement only in that body part. This is so important in belly dance. Continue reading A Guide to Belly Dance Movement Categories

Video: Jen’s Performance to Habibi Ya Eyni (‘Darling, Oh My Eyes’)

I first performed to this classic belly dance song at a local hafla last February. I’ve been polishing it on and off at home since then. I put on a dance costume for the first time in months today to film it. I hope this will inspire you to put on some of your favourite music and dance. Enjoy! Continue reading Video: Jen’s Performance to Habibi Ya Eyni (‘Darling, Oh My Eyes’)

How to Practice Dance: A Review of ‘Effortless Mastery’ by Kenny Werner

Effortless Mastery is a book written by Kenny Werner, an American jazz pianist and educator. It’s about overcoming dysfunctional fear-based practising and playing to achieve effortless mastery. So what can a book about music teach us about dance? In this blog post, you will learn practical strategies from Warner’s book to build your personal dance practice. You can apply this to start your journey towards ‘effortless mastery’ in dance. Continue reading How to Practice Dance: A Review of ‘Effortless Mastery’ by Kenny Werner

A Guide to Musical Instruments in Middle Eastern Belly Dance Music

What instruments are commonly used in belly dance music? There are lots of them! In this post, I give common Middle Eastern examples of each of the three types of instruments (winds, strings, and percussion). Plus a sample video clip so you can hear what it sounds like and see how it’s played. I hope this will help you better hear the instruments as you dance. And that you can use this to deepen your belly dance music interpretation. Continue reading A Guide to Musical Instruments in Middle Eastern Belly Dance Music