Middle East Instrumentals And Vocals (13 tracks / 51:25)
dancing is an ancient art. When danced to the rhythms of Middle Eastern
music, it is a whole series of sensuous undulating move-ments that are
very graceful, supple and fluid. The isolated body movements will take
inches off your waist, abdomen, hips and thighs. It will tone up flabby
and sagging muscles. It is an excellent form of exercising that will
also help you to relax phys-ically and mentally from the tensions of
everyday living. Begin by keeping in mind that your body must be
completely relaxed at all times. Keep your back straight unless
otherwise stated. The basic foot movements are danced in even rhythm,
4/4 time, with three steps to a measure pausing on the fourth beat as
you bring your foot forward to begin all over again. You may begin on
either foot, keeping each step fully in contact with the ground.
hands are rotated in a complete circle to the exact timing of the
music. Bend them at the wrists slightly, flexing your fingers, similar
to that of a Spanish dancer. (See Photo #1). The arms are bent at the
elbows at all times. They are moved in all directions; both up over your
head; down by your sides; one up over your head and one down in front
of your navel; and out to your sides. The arm ripple is done by bringing
your arms out to the side in a horizontal position. Raise one arm up
bringing the other arm down at the same time in a rippling manner, to
the rhythm of the music. If you push your shoulder forward slightly
during this movement, you will get a beaut-iful effect similar to the
movement of a snake. (See Photo #
Belly Roll — Position your body
by bringing your pelvis forward with your abdominal muscles pushed out.
Bend back slightly at the waist in a cantilever fashion. (See Photo
Gradually start pulling your abdominal muscles in as you
push your pelvis down, bending at the knees (the small of your back near
your waist should be straight in this second position).(See Photo #4).
Rock your pelvis backward relaxing your abdominal mus-cles as you bend slightly forward at the waist. (See Photo #5).
these three basic belly roll move-ments continuously, rocking forward
and back-ward until it resembles a waving motion. A com-plete belly roll
movement is done to the count of four beats. All hip movements should
be done in a can-tilever position in which the hips are brought for-ward
as you bend back slightly from the waist up. This is very important. It
will help you to move easier as well as give a beautiful effect. (See
Horizontal Hip Movements—Sway your hips from side to
side in a horizontal figure eight by first pushing up on the ball of
your right foot, then sway to the left and vice versa. Repeat about
three or four times to the rhythm of the music. Hip Shaking — Bend your
right knee, keeping your left knee straight and vice versa. Start off
slowly, gradually increasing your movements into a shimmy-shake. This
can be done in a stationary position as well as in a fast walking
movement. Lateral Neck Movements—To move your head from side to side,
keep your head and body completely straight and move only your neck
muscles, first to the right and then to the left. (See Photo #7).
you have mastered this movement, you can easily rotate your head on its
axis. Shoulder Shaking — Keep your body straight, re-laxing your
shoulders completely. Bring your right shoulder forward and the left
shoulder back at the same time in one movement. Move them con-tinuously
in a graceful quivering manner to the rhythm of the music.
Bend — A back bend should be included with any floor work that you
should do. Do this gradually to prevent straining yourself. It is a
beautiful movement and is an excellent exercise for strengthening your
spine and firming your ab-dominal muscles and waistline. (See Photo #8).
Finger Cymbals (Zils) — The finger cymbals are the most
difficult to master. Although they are played to the beat of the music,
they are not played to the same timing of the hands and feet. They are a
very important and necessary part of the dance. Place one cymbal on
your thumb and one on the second finger of each hand. (See Photo # I).
Hit them strongly together and release them quickly to get a ringing
sound. You may also get a clapping sound, which is equally as effective,
by placing your first three fingers over each cymbal. Hit them together
on your right hand and then on your left hand, repeating continuously
to every beat of the music. If you find this too difficult, you can hit
them twice on one hand and once on the other hand to the rhythm of the
music. Note the positions of the arms and hands in all photos.
you have mastered the movements listed, try to put them all together in
an organized routine. The shimmying should be done during the drum
solos; snake-like movements during the oboe solos; belly rolls and back
bends are more effec-tive in the slower tempos. Be as graceful as you
can in all your movements, dance lightly and more fluidly. A true
professional is noted for the ease with which she dances. Use your
imagination as much as possible, always keeping in mind the basic
movements. This is truly a classical and artistic type of dancing when
performed in the proper manner. Good Luck.
Article properties: George Abdo: The Art Of Belly Dancing (CD)