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 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

The Simsimiyya Music of Port Said: Evoking a Sense of Place

In this post, I explore the sense of place that music can evoke. When I listen to Middle Eastern belly dance music, I don’t usually think too hard about the locality it comes from. But in this YouTube video of musicians from Port Said playing on the beach, I feel a strong sense of place. Continue reading The Simsimiyya Music of Port Said: Evoking a Sense of Place