Every Shade of Belly Dance

Have you ever had that moment where you’ve spent an hour or two composing something, and then technology fails you and all your work is lost? Yeah, I had one of those nights yesterday. So, here’s take two – let’s hope I can actually manage to post this!

I added a few more hobbies to my list while I’ve been away: designing a role playing adventure (I know; I’m the epitome of cool, hehe) and learning American Sign Language.

Role Playing

From The Art of Writing wordpress blog

From The Art of Writing wordpress blog

This was my first time GMing a serious campaign. I’ve been having a few sleepless nights recently, just due to the fact that my mind is on overdrive, but the result was great! Today the players (my family) tried it out, and they had a lot of fun. Apparently, I do monsters very well. Not so much with the people, but it’s early days yet. I’ll get better with practice. In case you happen to be a role player as well: I’m basing my campaign off of the Legend of Zelda series. None of my friends/family have ever tried turning a video game into a tabletop RPG. My dad wasn’t sure it would work, but after playing it, he said I managed to make it feel like a real world. He was impressed! My stepmom also liked how the quest was nonlinear, which is different from how video games usually work, but was very nice when roleplaying.

American Sign Language

The ABC Family TV series

The ABC Family TV series

As for ASL, I’ve been learning that through a combination of instructional videos — which seem to be my thing these days — and watching Switched at Birth. It’s basically a soap opera with both hearing and Deaf people. (You capitalize the “D” if you’re talking about culturally Deaf rather than just physically deaf people. As in, you know the language, you identify as Deaf, etc.) It’s a great show, if you love oodles of drama. It’s almost too much drama for me. That’s another thing keeping me up nights. Really shouldn’t watch it before bed.

But enough about those hobbies! Without further ado, let’s get back to belly dance!

Belly Dance

Photo from WildCard BellyDance

Photo from WildCard BellyDance

This week I’m going to discuss all the different styles of belly dance. At least, all the ones I’ve read about thus far. They add up to ten different styles, which is such a nice number for a blog post. Thank you, belly dance!

So you remember way back in my second post or so when I mentioned the Khaleeji dance? I’m going to do something similar here, where I’ll give you a brief intro and then show you a video clip, because you really gotta watch the professionals at work to get the style. It took me over an hour just to find all the best videos, and now I gotta do it all over again… But they’re worth it. Some of them, I watched them and got chills, or even a little overwhelmed at how much I love this dance (but that may just be me).

Alright. Here we go. You’ll notice that different styles will have different kinds of music, costumes, and typical moves. Let’s kick this off with the Western styles:

1. Classic American / Cabaret

If even I’ve heard of this style before, and I really haven’t been practicing that long at all, you know it’s got to be common! You’re going to run into this style a lot looking for belly dance videos.

2. Tribal

This one that gave me chills. The music, the lighting, the dancing — it’s all fantastic. I was enthralled.

3. Gypsy

It’s really hard to find decent videos of this style. Either the video quality is poor, or it’s a group dance, which isn’t what I want to show you if this is your first foray into gypsy belly dance. Group choreography is always going to be different than solo acts.

4. Goddess / Spiritual

Now, this style… Oh, man. Try typing “goddess belly dance” into YouTube. Pretty much all you get are ladies touting themselves as sexy goddesses of belly dance. You don’t get an actual unique style of belly dance. I found this one video with excellent music. Its description says the dance is sacred, and the performer is using a sword! So, why not?

5. Fusion

How is one supposed to find a video typical of the “fusion” style? By its very definition, I mean, you can fuse any styles of dance together. There can’t be some archetypal dance. For this one, I just chose something really entertaining that claims it’s fusion.

This is actually one of my favorite videos in this post. It’s creative, the music is soothing but intriguing, and the video quality is pretty darn good compared to some of the others you’ll find out there.

6. Fitness

This style is less about dance than it is about weight loss. Not my favorite category, but in this video, the teacher actually performs a piece at the end so you can see what she’s ultimately trying to teach you. Or, you know, just to show off.

Now, the Eastern styles:

7. Egyptian / Raks Sharqi

Another really common style you’ll hear about. In this one, Alexandra kicks off her routine with a bit of veil work. Don’t think I’ve shown that to you yet! Also, her costume is this silky white: luxurious, comfortable, and performance ready.

8. Turkish / Oryantal Dansi

This woman is adorable. She walks onstage with this huge grin on her face, then tears up the dance floor. Music is fun, too. Costume a snazzy black with silver details. Love it.

9. Lebanese

Speaking of cute! This routine’s got attitude. A duet this time by two lovely Lebanese-style dancers.

10. East Indian / Bollywood

The only full-on group video I’m going to show you today. It seems appropriate for Bollywood. Or should I say…”Bellywood”? (No, no I really shouldn’t.) The red and gold flowing costumes plus the fantastic choreography — not a video to miss!

Phew. So there are all the styles for today. I’m expecting to find more. If there are Algerian and Moroccan shimmies, there have to be Algerian and Moroccan styles of belly dance, am I right? A question for another day.

So, which videos were your favorites?

Countdown to Belly Dance Mastery: 9,986 hours

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