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!
I'm writing another instalment of my review series. This time I focus on the '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!
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!
Are there different belly dance styles? I thought it was all 'belly dance'! In this post, you will learn about the different styles of belly dance and how they relate to each other. I hope this will help you as a student inform which styles of belly dance you would like to learn.
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.
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.
In this post, you will learn seven iqaat (rhythmic modes) commonly found in Middle Eastern belly dance music: maqsoum, saiidi, masmoudi saghir (baladi), fellahi, masmoudi kabir, malfuf, and chiftetelli. This should help you recognise the rhythms as dance to belly dance music.
Being able to pick apart and understand belly dance music makes it easier to interpret as a dancer. In this post, you will learn how to listen to the rich texture of belly dance music formed by musical layers.