Middle Eastern Dance Styles

Styles of Middle Eastern Dance

There are many different styles of dances from the Middle and Near East. The following is some information about some of the styles performed by the Rising Phoenix Dancers:
Raqs Sharqi
Literally, "Dance of the East," an Arabic term for what we in the USA commonly call "belly dance." Also sometimes called "Oriental Dance" or "Danse Orientale" or spelled as "Raks Sharki".
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We do various sorts of fusion, including bits of Balkan and Greek folk dance, Romani and Domari dance, dance from India, Flamenco, Latin dance, Hip Hop, and more, according to how the music inspires us. Sometimes the result might be a lively Hollywood fantasy "Esmerelda" style, with big swirling skirts and tamborines. Or it might be a theatrical piece that tells a story, perhaps dramatic, or perhaps humorous.
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The word "Andalusian" refers to the historical crossover between Spain and Arabic North Africa during Ottoman times. Each of the affected countries has its own style of Andalusian dances, most of which reflect court dances performed by professional entertainers.
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The Ghawazee are dancers and musicians from upper Egypt. We've attempted to recreate their more "funky" style costume from the 70s-80s, with small changes to make it a bit less tedious to bead :-)
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This is a blessing ritual performed by the "Blue People" of Morocco.
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At women's parties in Saudi Arabia and other countries of the Gulf region, the women dance to show off their beautiful long hair and their beautiful dresses called thobe nashal.
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This dance is in the style of the people of Upper Egypt, from the area of the Aswan Dam.
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Persia is the old name for the area now known as Iran. There are many different Persian dance styles, from classical to the contemporary, from folkloric to urban.
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This style is intended to represent ancient Egypt, based on images from tomb paintings and hieroglyphics. Because we have no videos of dances from that time, this style is necessarily interpretive.
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Raks Assaya
This is the "cane dance" associated with the Saidi part of Egypt. The men do a dance called tahtib, much like a martial art, with large sticks. The women dance with smaller sticks or canes, just for fun.
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The Schikhatt are the professional dancers of Morocco. Literally translated, the word means "wise women".
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Other places to look for information on different dance styles are Morocco's Casbah Dance Experience site, as well as Shira's site.

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