Art/ Dance Academy

  Keep the Culture in Arabic Dance. Open Borders for ALL Movement!


NOW! What Is Ethnic Dance

Posted by [email protected] on March 7, 2019 at 10:50 AM

NOW WHAT IS ETHNIC DANCE - As Americans we are made up of a combination of cultures and nations. With the dance you can visit the culture without leaving your home town. Deciding what class to take is often much easier than finding a good teacher. Most cultures in a community have ethnic festivals. Go to the local Greek festival or Lebanese Festival etc. Some are run through Colleges and Universities. Others are run through the local churches. Everyone wants to run an International Festival. In New England every Lebanese church runs one and in San Diego we are lucky enough to have the Houses of Nations at Balboa Park. Every weekend another House is represented and there is often wonderful entertainment. Some polite inquiries could easily provide you with the names of instructors etc. The local Tourist center might be a place to check also.

Bedouin Performers Lebanon

Ethnic restaurants can also be a good source. If they have entertainment, ask the dancer who her teacher is and where she/he is located? Musicians are a good source for finding teachers as they work with them. Good, working musicians are at a premium. This is a great idea if you are in a big city that has ethnic clubs with good music. Everybody knows everybody in this business that is for sure. Then of course, let us not forget, the internet. Google Belly Dance Teacher in your city or area. That should come up with some leads. If all else fails contact me and I will help you. I know just about everyone in this business.


Fadi el Saadi. Ranin CD


MORE QUALIFICATIONS – Ethnic dance is much more than just learning steps and movements. You cannot take the history out of the dance, nor can you take the dance out of the history. The class should be so much more than just movement. The instructor has to be knowledgeable in much more than steps but also as to the origin and significance to the culture. The history and the ritual behind each dance is what gives it uniqueness and substance that needs to be passed on during instruction from teacher to student is a priceless legacy.


Folklore Scene San Diego C

Authentic costuming should be introduced. The real thing if possible! If not, then at least by pictures and DVDs or other visual aids. Musical instruments need to be recognized for the sound and the look. In the Boston area it was easy to get people to go to the local restaurant or club to see and hear the instrumentation. But in Southern CA and Eastern TennesseeI have had to resort to other means. Now a word about props Finger cymbals should be learned. I wait about six weeks to introduce them. Before that people have enough to grasp the steps to straight 4/4 music. If you wait longer it gets too hard to add them as they are locked in to what they are doing. Right now finger cymbals or zills are not so much in vogue. That does not mean you should not learn how to use them. Not only are they added to a show but they help with rhythm and counting. The same goes for castanets for Flamenco or Ipo gourds etc fro Polynesian. Plus a few weeks down the road you will be introduced to the different rhythms that make up belly dancing. Other props that can be used are scarves, shawls, veils, canes Isis wings, shamadan ( candelabrum) swords (American idea)and various other props come into play


On stage in Beirut Lebanon Amani in Druze costume


As for music, let me say. The instructor should make every attempt to use native music for their classes. It is plentiful and beautiful. Something for everyone! Of course, the music must relate to the dance being covered. Commercial Arabic music is great for warm-ups and fun stuff but not for a full solo performance. You need something with more structure and fullness

So now you have an idea as to what to look for. Now go out there and dance! Enjoy and learn all you can about the dance of the Middle and Near East countries or any other country you are interested in.



Morwenna Southern CA


Categories: Dance History, Dance

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