Styles of Belly Dance

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-20-2007
Styles of Belly Dance
11
Thu, 08-25-2011 - 1:06am

For me, belly dancing is about connecting with the Earth Mother, with all women and with my spirituality. What I really love about the dance form is that it can be danced by all women, of all shapes and sizes and cultures. There are so many styles to choose from that it can be difficult to choose which style to dance. I thought that I'd share the various styles of dance with y'all.

When Westerners traveled to the Mideast and North Africa in the late 1800s and early 1900s they became fascinated with two different cultures. One was the Ghawazee. This is the nomadic tribe of Egypt and probably where we get the word "gypsy." The other tribe was the Ouled Nail, which is a tribe in Algeria. It's interesting that that many of the dancing girls that they photographed were actually boys in drag. Here are examples of the dances of the Ghawazee and the Ouled Nail:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mI0FEF9r3CQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dG1F__IKje0&feature=related

The heyday of belly dance was in the movies of Egypt from the 1930s and 1940s. One of the most famous dancers of that era was Samia Gamal. She epitomizes what people think of when they hear the words "belly dance":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lEs1kZPRGK4&feature=related

Another great innovator of belly dance in the US was Jamila Salimpour. She had a dance troupe called Bal Anat, that performed a lot at Renaissance faires in the 1960s and 1970s. She helped to bring tribal dancing to the world of belly dance that had been dominated by the cabaret style of Egypt:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5gMMKlsGlA8&feature=related

The next big innovator was Carolena Nericcio, who has been dancing since she was 14 (she's now 50 and still dancing). She and her troupe Fat Chance Belly Dance created the American Tribal Style. Here is her dancing solo and with her troupe:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=faull0pefP0&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lIQH8XtUyx4&feature=related

Here are two of my favorite tribal style dancers, Rachel Brice and Zoe Jakes:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uv31hKngR00

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1nl4DtUZSmM

Here is a fun video of Petite Jamila, who is a wonderful veil dancer:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UcaRK148GPk

The newest style in belly dance is Gothic style. This can be done in a couple of ways. You can wear belly dance costumes and dance to Goth music. You can wear Goth clothes and dance to belly dance music. You can do a combination of both. While cabaret and tribal style is more interested in showing off style, Goth is more interested in telling a story. The dance can be dark and brooding or playful and whimsical. Most Goth dancers wear all black, though I have seen them wear a variety of colors, though nothing brightly hued like in cabaret style. Right now the Goth style is probably my favorite style. I'm going to list a variety of videos of Goth style:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIAXtWcfyE0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ElU0REs3bKw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ajDTIf3o41o

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJ9TJxeA3RU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lHen5WHwxiA&feature=related

Just in case you think that belly dance is strictly a woman's dance, these men will change your mind:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c29HV9aFCaM&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0D8WwXbTu-4&feature=related

One last dance. This woman is incredible and just gorgeous, which shows that belly dance doesn't discrimnate when it comes to size:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pJRgUQVra8




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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Thu, 08-25-2011 - 3:26pm

That was very cool! I was one of those that stereotyped belly dancing and thought there was only one style. The Goth was actually very cool. I have to admit I didnt generally care for belly dancing only because I found the egyptian style music rather grating on my nerves, but its awesome to know there are different styles and types of music.

Thanks for sharing!

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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-12-2003
Sun, 08-28-2011 - 2:03am

Hi Sisterhoney,

First of all--- thank you for posting this!

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-20-2007
Sun, 08-28-2011 - 9:50pm

Tribal style usually is with groups, but belly dance in the Middle East and North Africa is done within the community, at weddings, at holiday feasts, at the birth of a baby, etc. And dancing occurs whenever women get together as a group. However, each woman dances in her own way. Yes, they'll dance in a group, but not with a group, if you get my meaning. It's not practiced and staged. The women just get up and dance for the simple joy of dancing. So that's how I see tribal style. Rachel Brice uses a lot of yoga movements in her dance, which is what distinguishes her from a lot of other tribal dancers.

I've been dancing for about 10 years. I mainly dance at home.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-12-2003
Mon, 08-29-2011 - 1:35am

Hello Sisterhoney,

I did not know that belly dancing was so pervasive in the Middle East and North Africa to be performed at so many gatherings... how beautiful.... :)

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-20-2007
Tue, 08-30-2011 - 12:23am

I have a couple of instructional DVDs that I use. One is from Fat Chance Belly Dance and the other is by Tempest. My dancing has changed in the sense that it's becoming more Goth. When I dance at home I usually just wear a sports bra and either my skirt or my harem pants. It's when I go to the Renaissance faire that I go all out. I wear red slipper shoes and red harem pants, then I add my black ten yard skirt. Over that I have my hip shawl (it's colors are brown, gold and red). Then on top I wear a long sleeved black choli, with a silver coined bra over that. I also wear a wreath on my head that is made up of flowers and leaves. I also wear red lace fingerless gloves.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-12-2003
Tue, 08-30-2011 - 1:15am

Hi Sisterhoney.....

Thanks for describing your life with belly dance.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-20-2007
Tue, 08-30-2011 - 2:14am

I dance to a lot of Goth music, though I still dance to Middle Eastern music as well.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-12-2003
Tue, 08-30-2011 - 5:21am

Hi Sisterhoney,

Oh, that's cool!

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-20-2007
Tue, 08-30-2011 - 6:03pm

Thanks for that video! I've seen photos of Little Egypt, but I'd never seen video of it and this was so cool!

As for Goth music, there is a lot that I can recommend. I love different styles of Goth and so here are the bands that I really like:

Diary of Dreams, a band from Germany (a lot of my favorite bands are from Germany, BTW):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kocctvP0Azo&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AaIdTiRYrtQ

Another German band, Blutengel:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=saNoXJn_Jtc&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ADdiNjyduW4&feature=related

Arcana, a band from Sweden:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cW3iws7jm-s

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RC1mxcSsl3I&feature=related

Dark Sanctuary, a French band:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ltHnfQeGznA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zb65xngC6m0&feature=related

Eisbrecher, another German band:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhaxesH2Qic&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fa2TIXrwWbo&feature=related

E Nomine, another German band:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ylwH0w0GhA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ccDpjSR_7Zs&feature=related

Ego Likeness, a band from Maryland:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uAUbeggGmiU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0stKJJ64fCA

Switchblade Symphony, a band from San Francisco:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gl6S4r5z6d4&feature=fvst

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OIbB0rQH-Bc&feature=related

Another favorite band is Cruxshadows from Florida:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYffQwFX-L0&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVNjx4k8mWk

Another favorite band, Fields of the Nephilim, from the UK:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYYy862KFyE&feature=artist

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ME2-gntRcAQ&feature=related

If you're looking for classic Goth music, you can't get much better than the Sisters of Mercy:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IuezNswtRfo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evu3I0ZoERc



iVillage Member
Registered: 09-20-2007
Tue, 08-30-2011 - 6:14pm

I forgot to add that if you want to listen to a variety of music go Last FM and you can hear just about anything you like. You can go by genre or by performer. The site is free, the only problem is that after a bit you have to click on that you want to continue listening to the music. They also will have a commercial while you loading up your station and sometimes a bit later. But that hasn't really been a problem for me.

http://www.last.fm/listen

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