also called "cabarét" or "sharqi". This is the style that most people recognize as bellydance. The style is an entertaining dance that developed in Cairo, Egypt, during the 1920'ies. The costume is generally a two piece, consisting of a bra and belt with a skirt, leaving the stomach uncovered. This is called a bedla. The costumes are embellished with pearls, beads,gems and sequense. In Egypt they usually cover the stomach with fishnet, to be more covered, as it has been prohibited to performed with an uncovered stomach. They also perform with a complete dress, called a tob, resembling an embellished evening gown. In Turkey most dancers perform without the net, higt splits in the skirts revealing the entire leg, and platform shoes. The oriental can be devided into two categories, classic (mostly an egyptian style) and pop.
© Photo: Roar Vestad, Dancer: Helene Skaugen
the dance of the people, and traditionally the womans solo dance. This dance has strong roots in the egyptian folklore, and the music is known as the blues of Cairo. The accordion is one of the most common solo instuments. The essence of the balady is improvisation and the ability to communicate emotion through the dance. Both musicians and the dancer improvise around a theme. The balady is mainly performed in a full straight dress with a belt on the hip, called a galabeia, or in a tob.
canedance from the Said-region in Upper Egypt. Men perform the "tahtib" which includes many elements from martial arts and selvdefence. The canes are used as weapons and different defence techniques and impressing control is demonstrated.
"Raqs al assaya" er the term used on the female form of this dance. This is a more playful imitation of the mens tahtib. The canes used by women are shaped as a candy cane. The characteristic footwork generally represents the dance of an arab horse, while the movements of the upper body represent a saiidi man.
© Dancer: Helene Skaugen
a form of dance originating from the area around the Persian Gulf/Arabian peninsula (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, United Emirates and Oman).
The costume is an extremely long wide dress with lots of embellishment. The dress is semi see-through and is worn over festive clothes or other costumes. It's so long it rests on the floor, and part of the tirck is to be able to dance without tripping or getting stuck in the material. Some characteristic moves of this dance is the tossing of hair from side to side.
Tribal Dance is a fusion of many different styles combined with fantasy. This is a modern dance that developed in USA and the expression is mainly dramatic and mysterious. It's generally an imrovised groupdance, where one member leads the group, The groupmembers take turn leading during the performance. It can also be performed solo, but is mainly a groupdance.
Tribal kan be performed with finger cymbals (zills), swords veils and other props. The costume is dramatic including a turban, big skirts with tassells, big jewlery and characteristic make-up like black marks on the chin and painted tattoos.
Egyptian form of dance that originates from the Ghawazee people (ghazia i singular, also known as the egyptian gypsies). This dance was percieved as vulgar and unacceptable, and the Ghawazee were banned from Cairo in 1834 after which they settled in southern Egypt. The word means "inruder of the heart" in Egyptian and today it refers to any dancer who performs outdoors in Egypt. The dance is not choreographed, and the women often imitate the mens tahtib in a playful manner. They often dance in group consisting of family members, and take turn dancing in pairs, solo and in group.
"Shaaby" is workingclass popmusic that people dance to on the streets of Cairo. The movements are generally tha same a in Oriental but are executed in a rawer, heavier, earthy and vulgar matter. The style is quite flirtatious and with a sence of humour. Without the humour you loose the feel of the style, as you're left with a tacky, over the top expression. This style has also been brought to the stage, but a stage perfomance does not always resemble the dance seem on the streets. The costume is random, varying from whatever you happen to be wearing at the time to more calculated costumes for the stage. These costumes are nor nearly as elegant as the cabarèet costume. "Shaabi" mean polular in arabic.
Among the popular shaaby singers are Hassan El Asmar, Shaaban Abdel Raheem, Adaweya, Magdy Talaat and Hakim.
© Danser: Helene Skaugen
The Melaya is a big garment which originally was designed to cover the womans figure and protect her from unwanted attention.
It was quickly discovered that the melaya as well as cover the figure, was equally able to show off one's curves. The melaya is used in a dance which shows the flirtatious game between a man and a woman, the Eskanderani. Originally this dance started in Alexandria and has a good deal flirtation and humour in the expression. A Cairo style of the Melaya Leff has also evolved. This style is often a bit faster, with more influences from ballett, and the melaya is normally smaller.
The woman wears a fitted, colorful dress simular to the dress illustrating shaaby above, only longer. As the malaya is unwrapped, the colorful dress is eventually revealed.
Egyptian folkdance performed by women with wide colorful skirts or dresses, a headscarf and water pots. The dance showes how it was the womens job to fetch water from the stream, and how this was a part of their everyday routine. Fellahin means farmer, and the dance represents the farmers everyday life.
dance that originated from the Roman people in Turkey who emigrated from Romania during the Ottoman Empire and setteled mainly in the wastern part of Turkey. Characteristic for this style is the 9/8 rythm, called karshilama. This is a social dance joined by both sexes of all ages. The people are renowned for not being able to sit still when they hear music, and the dance has a carefree spirit. Performances are made in grous, pairs and solo.
© Photo: Aina Sprauten, Dancer: Helene Skaugen
Çiftetelli is a word with many references. In Greece it1s equal to their form of bellydance (tsiftetelli), while in Turkey it refers to old wedding folkmusic. It1a an old folkdance performed by women in the harem as a group dance. The Turkish çiftetelli has a special melody in the slow section, where the solo dancer often does floorwork. This rythm, og melody, is now integrated in many old Turkish compositions meant for oriental dance, and is also used in arabic music.
The faster çiftetelli is more exclusive to Turkey and the rythms vary from region to region.
© Photo: Private collection, Dancers: Helene Skaugen and Mina Shamal