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From belly to heart - Egyptian beledi dance

One of the most popular styles of oriental dance (belly dance) in the world is the soft, feminine and authentic Egyptian belly dance.

Belédi literally means "my country, my land" in Arabic. The word beledi can be used to describe everything that belongs to the Arab, in our case Egyptian, culture. This word is usually used to refer to several concepts:

1. Anything that belongs to the culture native to Egyptians: for example, fustan beledi - a folk dress, hubz beledi or eish - bread baked according to a traditional recipe, bint beledi - a girl of my country, a fellow countryman.

2 . Musical rhythm. A rhythmic pattern characteristic of Egypt. Another professional name for the masmudi is sahir or small masmudi.

3. Traditional Egyptian dance. The popular form of belly dancing is raks beledi, i.e. the dance of my land. This is also a musical form used for belly dancing in the belédi style. It usually has 3 components.

At the beginning there is a taxim, a long solo of an accordion or an Arabic flute - nai, nei, sometimes mizmar, also a wind instrument. To this solo, the dancer performs soft, serpentine movements of the abdomen, waves, figure-eights with the hips, bends and tilts of the body, and plastic movements of the arms.

In the second part, the Arabian drum tabla (darbuka) joins the solo instrument, and the rhythm of beledis and a traditional melody sound. The dancer uses both plastic movements and sharp accents with her hips and abdomen, steps and turns.

At the end, the tempo speeds up, sometimes the rhythmic pattern changes, and another rhythm, the ayub, appears. Often, at the end, a tabla solo (Arabic drum solo) sounds. The dancer "beats out" the rhythmic pattern with her hips, chest and abdomen, performs shimmy (vibrations with her hips, abdomen and shoulders) to the drum beat, the dynamics of the dance increases, the dancer fires up the audience more and more. And finally, a loud final drumbeat and a spectacular pose of the performer, sincere applause and vivid emotions of the audience cover the master with a heavy rain!

The dance is usually spontaneous, improvised and requires a lot of skill from the performer. During the performance, the dancer contacts the audience with her eyes, gestures, flirts and plays along with the audience.

Costume for belly dancing

Traditionally, beledi dancers use folk costumes, although a classic belly dance costume (embroidered bodice and belt with a skirt) is also acceptable. If you want to emphasise the authenticity of your oriental dance, an Egyptian dress - a galabeya tied with a scarf or a belt with coins - is a good choice. You can tie a headscarf on your head, which will perfectly match massive Egyptian-style earrings. Hands and feet should be decorated with bracelets.

During the dance, the performer can accompany herself with sagatas (metal musical cymbals worn on the fingers).

The character of the Beledi folk dance is plastic, relaxed, cat-like, soft and playful at the same time; it does not have dynamic movements on the stage, choreographic turns and ballet elements.

Recently, modern beledi has become popular as a modern, stage form of oriental dance. It is distinguished from the folk dance beledi by its greater intensity of movements, exaggerated body bends, beautiful arabesques and movements borrowed from other dance styles, as well as a large number of turns and a pretentious stage manner of performance. In terms of vocabulary, it is more like a raks sharki, and in terms of music, it is a belly dance. Although this style of dance does not convey the folk Egyptian flavour, it is dynamic and spectacular, and looks great at concerts and oriental dance competitions. Despite the beledi rhythm in the music, it is mostly performed in the classical oriental dance category.

Despite its traditionality, beledi dance is still relevant, interesting and has a large number of fans all over the world.

Egyptian beledi performed by Egyptian dancer Fifi Abdou

Сучасний баладі (modern baladi) у виконанні професійної танцівниці Аміри Абді

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