What is Bellydance?
Known as Raqs Sharqi in Egypt, Danse Orytantal in Turkey, and American Tribal Style in San Francisco, this diverse art comes from many backgrounds and the simple question “what is bellydance” takes on a whole new mission. My mission. To explore the heritage, enrich the artform, and enchant those who seek into the discipline of a lifetime.
Some words that come to mind are elegant, refined, delightful, and traditional. This style generally refers to an Egyptian born dance done in a cabaret atmosphere with attention to detail but not so much so that it cannot be adaptable to the staging conditions including a band on stage with you, enthusiastic audience members, and a full range of other variables. This style has roots in Folk dances of the Baladi, Ghawazee, Saidi, and Ballet. Costume is one or two piece and dressed to the fashion. Sagat, veil, cane, and candelabra are popular props.
Some words to describe this dance include outgoing, bold, aggressive, flirtatious, and earthy. This style, also known as Turkish Oriental Dance has many roots but the deepest are in the Romany people from Turkey, Balkans, Greece, and Egypt with an emphasis from the Turkish Roma. “Turkish Oriental” was greatly encouraged behind closed doors in the court dances to amuse the Upper Class folk. Many girls and boys were sold into slavery with the intention of training them in the musical and physical arts so as to entertain and entrance guests more thoroughly. At the turn of the century in Turkey it came into style to modernize and keep up with the European and American civilizations. This encouraged the end of slavery, the display of dancers and musicians in public places, and an acceptance to modern style of dress and music. Costumes today can be quite revealing in a cabaret atmosphere. Veils, Zills, wooden spoons are props used in the Turkish Oriental.
American Tribal Style…
Bold, Dark, Serpentine, Meditative, and controlled. Carolena Nericcio is credited to be the creator of the modern style American Tribal Style. Inspired by “Folkloric dances of the Middle East and India. ATS is a method of improvisational choreography, using vocabulary of natural movements and cues allowing the dancers to communicate…” Carolina tries to set a high standard for this new artform and places value on attention to detail, elaborate costuming, and music selection, maintaining the illusion of an “old” dance art. ATS has taken off around America, Europe, and Australia and a demand for solo dancers has given birth to some amazing ATS Fusion dancers such as Rachel Brice, Mardi Love, and Zoe Jakes. Costumes are generally earthy in whole with vibrant colors in the decoration, jewelry, and hair design. Lots of emphasis on the hips.
Folk VS. Classical
Folk dance is a dance style born of the people. It’s steps are born into existence so normal people can express themselves through spirituality, extreme feeling both happy and sad, and as a way of social intercourse. The concern of the dance does not lie in mastering the technique or bending over backwards but in expressing a commonality between people who exist in day to day life together. This includes everything such as fetching water, displaying an elaborate feature or beauty, in celebration of a wedding, segregation and persecution. Some examples include Romany dance and Debke.
Classical Dance is given to those dance styles that are fully studied and broken down and taught to preserve a high standard. These styles usually exist to be presented. It is a matter of decency that the utmost care be given to the training for everything from technique to choreography to the body on which each dance is presented. Make-up, costuming, every detail is considered to make the most remarkable presentation of dance possible. Such styles include “Ballet and Bharatanatyam.”
There is much that comes in between these two descriptions and that is what Ruric-Amari Dance is all about. This includes dance arts such as…Bellydance and Bollywood.