The Laws of BellyDynamics
Over the years, we hear and observe some things
so often, they seem like Universal Truths.
Other things we may hear only once, but immediately
recognize their Truth.
We've collected a number of these Truths into
what we call the "Laws of BellyDynamics".
- The Golden Rule of Middle Eastern Dance:
You are a musician, and your body is your instrument.
(Or, to phrase it another way,
"Do as the music does unto you.")
- The Law of Conservation and Equalization of Muscle Mass:
The sum of the movements of the dominant side
must be balanced by an equal number of moves on the
- Rule of Conservation of Dance Momentum:
If you do a move faster, you also have to make it smaller.
If you double the tempo, it has to get half the size.
Fahtiem's Rule of Magic:
There are no magic steps that will make you a great dancer,
there is only the magic you put in each and every step!
Hossam Ramzy's Admonition:
Do not do more than the sound that is coming out at you dictates.
And of course, don't do less.
Beata's Application of the
Law of Gravity:
Every chest lift must be accompanied by a pelvic drop.
- Horacio's Rule:
When in doubt, spin.
- Cassandra's Theory of Relativity:
It's always faster with the music.
- Ibrahim Farrah's Certainty Principle:
- Egyptian Uncertainty Principle:
- The Choreographic Time-Space Continuum:
The dance always gets shorter once you know the steps.
- Beata's Multidimensional Slide Rule:
If you slide your hips, wrists, and head to the left,
you have to slide your ribs to the right, or else
you'll fall over.
Karen Barbee's Observation:
For some reason, it's harder to do rib movements when your arms
are raised over your head.
- Aelura's First Law:
Safety pins are a belly dancer's best friend.
- Aelura's Second Law:
If you make a mistake, do it again.
[Ed. note: This appears similar to a
Law of Acting.]
- Hossam Ramzy's Rule of Four:
Whatever you do, do it four times.
- Bert Balladine's Entrance Rule:
If a dancer is very good, when she enters
she will proudly walk onstage and walk in a large circle around the stage
to greet her audience before she starts to dance. If she is very, very
good, she will do it TWICE.
Jamila Salimpour's Advice:
You only get one chance to make a first impression.
Dance is emotion in motion.
Aziza Sa'id's Rules:
No matter what you do, if you do it with 100% commitment, the
audience will get it.
No matter how 'right' what you do is, if you don't believe in
it and commit to it, the audience will know.
Leila Gamal's Rule:
In movement, don't be afraid of nothin'.
Always leave them wanting more.
Never leave them wanting less.
Saqra's Theory of Quality Relativity:
You can be a pretty great dancer by
having moderately strong levels of any two of these three factors:
appearance, technical skill, or audience entertainment ability. Strengthen
your strongest and weakest factors for the best results.
Closest thing to an Absolute Rule:
Never look into your own armpit.
Shakira's Wry Observation:
The more a dancer's publicity writings make her sound like God's supreme
gift to dance,
the more likely she is not to live up to them in person.
Whoever tells you there is only one right way,
has something to gain by having you adopt that way.
Marta Schill's Motto:
You never know...which is a great reason not to ever say you do!
Other Relevant Laws
These are some "laws" which were originally developed
for other fields, but which also have special
significance in Middle Eastern dance:
The following aren't really of the same type as the preceding. They're
more prescriptive than descriptive, but they're too
good to omit.
Laurel Victoria Gray's Prayer:
- May our dance always be a bridge to understanding.
- May our dance always be a celebration of diversity.
- May our dance always be an instrument for peace.
Thanks to Joani, Shira,
Aszmara, Shanna, and Saqra
for their contributions!
We welcome suggestions for more "laws"!
Contact Sherezzah at
Rising Phoenix Dancers Home