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Posts Tagged ‘traditional dance’

http://www.berlin-orientalischer-tanz.de

It is said that when we dance to Baladi (the Blues of Egyptian music) we dance the archetypes of women’s experience.  However what does this really mean? It is a subject which continues to fascinate me, and is an exploration I will be returning to again and again in workshops throughout 2018. 

In traditional Egyptian dance these archetypes roughly speaking are understood as

1)The Young Woman or girl, perhaps unmarried or without the responsibilities of married life. 

2)The Mature Self Possessed Woman, often the boss of an undertaking in Egyptian society.

3)The Wise Woman who has suffered yet survived the travails of life and learned from them.

As dancers we must be careful not to dance these archetypes just as an idea (See ** below).  The beauty of Baladi music is that it is nuanced and in order for us to express it we have to respond ‘in the moment’ as that music evokes our changing motions.  Much as a poet uses her skill in the art of poetry so the dancer uses the language of her dance form to instinctively express joy, sadness, strength, playfulness and other feelings in all their shades and depths.

Dance 23 Oct15 14

Despite this the core of Baladi is its essential simplicity and stability, and is therefore ideal for the less experienced. These characteristics of simplicity and stability give an earthiness and grace and ‘hold’ us as dancers, and we return to them constantly.

For the more experienced, stability and simplicity give a self confidence and foundation.  Once they are established we can explore with freedom and curiosity the many rich layers to be found in this very Egyptian urban art.

**  I am writing here more about improvised rather than choreographed Baladi. However even when dancing a choreography we need to feel the feelings that arise with the music authentically and not put the emphasis too much on perfecting choreography and technique. 

 

Baladi is a wonderfully rich form of music and traditional Egyptian dance which evolved in the 50s and 60s and earlier.  Then as today country people left their villages to find work in the jostling teeming streets of Egypt’s cities. For respite and to further business opportunities they spent time in crowded smokey cafes.  Travellers too and musicians from other parts of both the Middle East and from much further beyond would gather to be entertained and to make music, often with a dancer.  For music and dancers in cross-cultural exchange this was a platform to experiment and find new freedoms of expression. Whereas much village music and its instruments had remained unchanged over the centuries now non traditional instruments were introduced and integrated into an evolving music often of emotional complexity.  It requires of the dancer to reflect that.

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reda-stickdance-detail

FREE TAHTIB WORKSHOP FOR MEN 

THE GOLD ROOM, CENTRE FOR SCIENCE AND ART, 13 LANSDOWN, STROUD, GL5 1BB

SUNDAY 1 NOVEMBER 2-4PM 

Funded by Stroud Festival and part of the Stroud Dance Festival  15 October – 1 November 2015 this is an opportunity FOR MEN TO TASTE FOR FREE the exhilaration of dancing with the stick in the ancient ritualised combat dance of TAHTIB from Egypt .

The several years training in both Karate and Tai Chi gave me insights into the basic concepts of many martial arts – relaxed but focused attention, a low centre of gravity, balance, centredness and a peaceful attitude.  During my long experience as a dancer and in my teaching and study visits to Luxor I came to understand how these elements are the basis for the improvised dance form, the TAHTIB, and how it is highly relevant to the dance shy men of the West.  We will use large sticks and evocative music played on instruments unchanged over centuries to explore an art which goes back to pharaonic times.

The workshop is non contact and suitable for all men.  You do not have to be especially fit, nor have experience in dance or in the martial arts, just an open and curious mind, and a willingness to have fun.  Sticks will be provided.

PLACES ARE LIMITED.  PLEASE BOOK BY CONTACTING ME.  CLICK ON contact.  Thank you.

See stroudartsfestival.org for the dance programme

 

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