Learn Belly Dance Styles: Egyptian Baladi

By Vintagemode - March 05, 2020

Among belly dance styles, the Baladi style from Egypt is one of the most famous. The word “Baladi” literarily means “my country.” It is simply about how people in Egypt express their joy and excitement upon hearing great news right from the olden days. Mentioning the word Baladi generates specific positive feelings among the Baladi people of Cairo in particular. The reason is that it translates to heartfelt and genuine emotion.

Baladi dance style doesn’t follow particular rules or steps; the joyful improvisation of the style makes it unique and exciting to watch. Rather than a stage performance, Baladi is a social dance. However, don’t be surprised to see women entertaining one another with generous shimmies and rolling of the tummy in a party, most notably the wedding. In this article, we’ll be discussing the vital aspect of belly dance style, known as Baladi. Kindly read to the end.

Baladi Dance Style: Commonly Used Part of the Body

1. Arms: Baladi dancers often use the arms to hold position rather than moving or flowing it.
2. Upper body: During the dance, the large upward ribcage will pop as the shoulder and ribcage shimmy.
3. Foot: The legs are used to perform bouncy and earthy footwork – not gliding or mincing styles.
4. Pelvis or Hips: As the dance shimmies, the pelvic will undulates; the hip will drop while the sideways accent with massive shifts. Before long, the hip will start making big circles.
5. Abdomen: Dancers use the abdomen, pelvis, and ribcage to perform locks, twist, pops, and undulating movements.
6. Others: The lyrics and emotions of the song are often displayed through facial expressions and hand gestures. During the performance, you can see the dancer with finger cymbals or a cane.

Baladi Dance Style: Music

Traditional and improvised music developed by the Baladi musicians in Cairo during the 20th century is referred to as Baladi Progression, otherwise known as Baladi Taksim or Tet Baladi. The music often begins with an improvised solo using one instrument. As the music starts, it will rise in speed and intensity. Other Baladi songs include Bint il Balad and Tahtil Shibbak. Both songs are earthy and folksy songs for the Baladi dance.

However, generally, Baladi music usually goes through four sections. Firstly, the music will begin using a primary melodic instrument to produce a solo without any rhythm. Secondly, a call and response between drums and melody will follow. Next, a slow and steady rhythm will be performed, while the last section is when the melody becomes faster and accompanied by a fast drum beating. Eventually, the music will develop to a drum solo. Remember that, in some cases, the sections may not be in order as the structure can vary from one song to another. Again, Baladi is an improvised dance, and so is its music.

Baladi Dance Style: Costumes

The traditional costume often influences the dance style. Typically, Baladi women adorn galabeya with a narrow scarf around their hips for the dance. Within this dress, dancers need to make large swerves to make the movement evident in the loose-fitting clothing. The dancer will be tempted to move the hip in circles, drops, and shimmies with the scarf tied to the hip.

Most professional dancers usually wear a stretch galabeya, assuit dress, or conventional galabeya. Regardless of dress choice, it is often matched with a scarf tied to the hips. A popular designer known as Eman Zaki made galabeyas with matching bras, which slightly stretch out of the low-cut necklines. Also, performing Baladi with white men’s galabeya, gold bangle bracelets, colour headscarf, and hip-scarf becomes popular through Fifi Abdo.

Baladi is not only a legendary belly dance style but an exciting way to shimmy confidently. With a few practices, you should become a regular Baladi dancer within a short time.

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