Phoenix Belly Dance

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Researched Articles about Belly Dance

Tambourine in Belly Dance

By Rachel Aitken


The tambourine is a musical instrument of the percussion family consisting of a frame, often of wood with pairs of small metal cymbals...

Shamadan

By Suzanne Marsh

 

The Shamadan is a large candelabrum balanced on top of a dancer’s head, in a tradition unique to Egyptian dance. This beautiful dance prop is historically used in the Egyptian wedding procession, or zeffah...

Morrocan Tray Dancing (Raqs al Seniyaa or Seniyyadda)

By Melissa Gunn


A folkloric dance. This is dancing while balancing a tea tray –the tray can be removed and used as a prop (just as Saiidi canes are used as more than just a stick). This dance probably originates in Morocco...

Milaya Lef

The milaya lef (winding sheet) is large black cotton wrap (over 3m long) that used to be worn by bint il-beled in Alexandria or old Cairo over normal clothes often with the mandil and bur'a. The garment was used for modesty, warmth and protection. Groceries could be stored in its folded pockets and small children could cling to it...

Belly Dance Zills

By Carol Arnup


Zills or Zils are metallic cymbals used in Belly dancing. Zils is the Turkish name for them and Zagats is what they are called in Arabic. The history of the finger cymbals dates back to  around 1500BC. They were a sacred instrument taking their name from the Goddess Cybele. The Zils are used today as a percussion instrument and remains a integral part of the Oriental dance...

Tunisian Pot Dance

by Lynette Marchant


The Pot Dance comes from the south of Tunisia, the islands of Djerba and Kerkennah. Djerba is reputed to be the island known as "The Land of the Lotus Eaters" in the Odyssey. The dance celebrates...

Fifi Abdou


Fifi Abdou grew up in a village outside Cairo. She was determined to become a dancer and at the age of 12, she ran away from home with a neighbour’s daughter who was a dancer in a folklore troupe. She then became a soloist at the age of 13 and began dancing at weddings and performing at 5-star hotels. Fifi Abdou claims...

Tahia Carioca

by Rachel Boyle


Began dancing in Badia Masabni's Casino Opera troupe at the age of 14, after leaving home to escape her overbearing brothers. She learnt ballet and also a samba dance called Karioka, where she got her stage name. She was known for her stage presence...

Belly Dance

by Moira Ingham


Belly dance in its present form, is enjoyed throughout the world and is taught in almost every country.  Belly dance creates self-confidence as well as creating an instant community of women of all ages.  For many women, it is a journey of self discovery  and can be a great source of exercise as well as a means of socialisation. It is believed that Belly Dance was taken to America back in the late 1800’s...

Gypsy - League of Nations

by Kathy Gavin


Romani music often referred to as gypsy/gypsi music is the music of the Romani people who have their origins in Northern India but today live mostly in Europe. Typically nomadic, the Romani people acted as entertainers and tradesmen in the countries that they visited. They incorporated the influences of those countries that they visited namely, Greek, Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Serbian, Czech, Slavic...

Randa Kamel

by Caroline Judson


Randa Kamel is an Egyptian dancer. As a child at school she learned local folkloric dance and says that dance has always been in her blood. Since she was small, when she needs cheering up, she has put on some music and danced. At the age of 15, Randa joined the Reda Troupe. With the Reda Troupe, Randa travelled around the world....

Set el Hosn

by Kathy Gavin


The first thing that becomes apparent when researching this piece of music is the number of versions and performers who have interpreted and performed it. Literally, everyone and anyone who is involved in the belly dance world has sought to perform and interpret this piece of iconic music, introducing their own special flavour to it...

Tamra Henna

by Emma Proudley


This belly dance song comes from a 1957 Egyptian film of the same title. The movie is about a young Ghawazee dancer called Tamra Henna, played by the legendary Egyptian belly dancer Naima Akef (who starred in many classic Egyptian films). Tamra Henna is...

Leylet Hob

by Linda Taylor


Leylet hob is a traditional Arabic love song which explores the passion and emotions of an intense relationship. The lyrics are speaking of a male lover pinning over the absence of his love who is uncharacteristically late/absent from an arranged meeting...

Alf Leila wa Leila

by Jai Suri


Alf Leila wa Leila means 'A Thousand and One Nights'. As it is translated from Arabic letters and sounds, there are a number of alternate spellings for Alf Leila wa Leila. The song was composed in 1969 by Baligh Hamdi, with lyrics by Morsi Gamil Aziz. It is sung by...

Shik Shak Shok

by Shelley Halverston


Shik shak shok as far as I know are not Arabic words and have no meaning. They are similar to the verbal sounds one might make when imitating a drum beat like bing bang boom. You may have heard a tabla player refer and communicate their sounds to each other as...

Shaabi

by Melissa Gunn


A music and dance style originating in working class Cairo in the 1960s, Shaabi means ‘of the common people’, or working class. It developed into the ‘70s as people began to get cassette players and boom boxes in their houses, enabling the spread of counter-culture music. Since the originators of...

Aziza in New Zealand - Part 1

by Candice Frankland


I can remember sitting in the crowd at the Istanbul Tarazade festival opening gala in 2012 and Aziza glided out, she moved so fluidly, so transcendently, and she drew everyone right into her. There were moments where it felt like she was looking directly at me and saying, this is for you, just you! I knew then that she was different. The next day I found out not only was she the most captivating performer at the festival...

Aziza in New Zealand - Part 2

by Candice Frankland


There I was looking out onto the most stunning view of Lake Rotoiti from the cutest little bach I’d rented. A glass of wine in hand, that special person cooking me a delicious meal of nachos, looking forward to getting into the spa pool and reminiscing over the successful weekend retreat just passed. It was the most romantic moment I could imagine- it’s just too bad that my husband Martin couldn’t be there…