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’)

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

How to Apply Laban’s Planes of Movement to Improve Belly Dance Movement Isolation

What do Laban’s planes of movement have to do with belly dance? Let’s start with the general (Cartesian co-ordinates) and then make it more specific to the human body (anatomical planes). And then apply it to dance (Laban’s planes of movement). By applying these concepts to your belly dance practice, you can improve your movement isolation, a key feature of belly dance. Continue reading How to Apply Laban’s Planes of Movement to Improve Belly Dance Movement Isolation

Belly Dance Teacher Training: Review of the JWAAD ‘Safe Delivery of Belly Dance Classes’ Course

Have you ever thought about belly dance teacher training? In this review, I share my experience of the JWAAD Belly Dance Training “Understanding Safety” course which helped me take my first steps towards teaching belly dance. I hope that by sharing my experience, it might inspire you to consider your first steps into dance teaching! Continue reading Belly Dance Teacher Training: Review of the JWAAD ‘Safe Delivery of Belly Dance Classes’ Course