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I learned that I did better at
dance when I took notes. And when I began to teach, my
students asked for choreography notes, so I started to
standardize my dance notes when I wrote them down to make it
easier to understand later. Most of the time, it works, but
sometimes it is hard to understand even for me! But using
videos and notes together is almost perfect!
Here are several pages of
ideas for you to try, complete with glossary. You'll need a basic knowledge
of Middle Eastern Belly Dance basics to understand these
NOT meant to take the place of a real, live teacher! If you
can, always take class and get live feedback from an
My "Dance Tips" booklet also gives examples of mapping music with diagrams, and explains the actual structure of a single dance or full length show.
SECTION B: Slow tempo (Chifti-telli)
SECTION C: Taqasim; and Creating Your Own Combinations
SECTION D: Structured Group Improv Style Combinations
GLOSSARY or LIST of Abbreviations
F=Forward or Front
LOD=Line of Dance
o=Ball of the foot
t=Touch (not a 'weighted' step)
Details:*flat means 'flat as a pancake' (no lifting - parallel to the floor)
Add hip sways on cts. 1,2,3 with a slight torso twist so your sways are to the diagonal instead of side-to-side. (When starting with L foot/hip, torso face R diagonal through cts. 1,2,3, on the pause, you get ready to start the sequence on the other foot. Since this is a 3-step sequence, your feet go LRL(p), RLR(p), etc. Keep your heels down and your knees bent!)
One great variation is to insert a double-sway on the B Rock, so your sways are going single-double-single in each sequence; another is to do double-sways on cts. 1,2, and single on ct.3, so your sways are going double-double-single in each sequence!- Sequence 4 (a fast travel step done in a large CCW circle floor pattern)
Details:*a 'Rock' is placing the weight on the foot, then moving the weight to the other foot (it's an uncompleted step).
This works well with a diagonal arm position (L down by hip, R up).Repeat sequence to opp. side (everything will start R, and arms will be R down, L up; to make the transition smooth, change to the next arm position during the hip circle).
Sequence 6 (a repeating in-place move with a half-turn)Cts. 1,2: Torso undulation to LF corner (wght. L)
Details:*Cross your Left foot in Front of and to the Right of, your Right foot; lift your heels and pivot a half-circle CW (to your Right) to face the Back
Sequence 7 (travel step that goes "two steps forward, one step back")Cts. 1-4: (start left/travel in CW arc) 4-step* w/dbl.down shimmy EXCEPT for the first step (ct.1+, on which you do a hip down, up. All flat-footed.
Details:*4-step = LF, R-pl, LB, R-pl (except since we're trying to travel, move your 'place' steps forward a little bit!); twist your L hip when you step with the L (i.e., twist F when stepping F; twist B when stepping B), keeping the torso facing F, to give the hip move more definition.
(The next two were inspired by Kajira Djoumahna's American Tribal combinations!)
Sequence 8 (in-place step w/fast spin)Cts. 1-4: RS, L hip lift; LS, R hip lift.
Sequence 9 (variation of above)Cts. 1-6: RS, L hip lift; LS, R hip lift; RS, L hip lift.
Details:*when describing the direction a body part is moving to, spatial directions are referenced from YOUR body; that is, a "front hip twist" is the same move whether your body is facing the front or back of the stage.
Sequence 11 (a layered Oriental move)Cts. 1-4: Side Step-tog-Step to stage R (R L R), with a CW pelvic "1+1/2" circle. The pelvic circle is F on ct. 1 & 3, ends to the R side on ct. 4.
Sequence 12 (a "5-Step" combination with half-turns, good for any style)Cts. 1,2: LxF, R pl (when your Left foot steps across your Right, turn to face stage R; then rock back onto your Right, and face F.)
Details:Arms are out at the sides, PO. Transition during LRL: in to F, wrist flips (complete hand circles) on cts. 4+ as arms go back out to sides for the Repeat to the opposite side.
Sequence 13 (good for beledi or saidi with cane)Cts. 1,2,3,4: *fl-o-o-o (R flat, L ball, R ball, L ball)
*Details:The first pelvic B comes before the second ball step.