Exploring the magic world of Middle Eastern Dance!

E-Newsletters 2013

Hello Dance Friends!

The next few newsletters will address some technique issues that come up in class. I’m providing written descriptions of some things here to reinforce what we do & talk about in class.    Obviously words are not sufficient to teach movement- it is important to actually see demonstrations of what I am saying- so if you have missed the classes relating to these explanations,  feel free to ask me about anything you read here when you are in class, and I will be happy to demonstrate for you!

JANUARY 2013: Slow infinity technique

Recently in class we’ve been working on our slow moves:  the quality of the expression, the control that assists the expression, the relationship with the music, and the relaxation that is necessary for fluidity.  Transitioning from one move to the other is also one of the skills we are building.

But underlying all of this is a  major focus on the horizontal side to side hip slide, and it’s fundamental importance to many of the middle eastern movements.  Mastery of the side to side slide enhances the clarity and beauty of all the infinity movements, as well as the hip circle. This is because the side to side slide develops the flexibility for increased range of motion as well as more finite muscle control. It also allows the dancer, when movements are very slow, to stretch them out deliciously, languorously, so they match the expression of the note that’s being drawn out in the music. An added bonus is that the benefits are also evident in fast hipwork, when the movements are necessarily smaller. With natural upper body counter motion, when movements are that distinct, the smaller movements actually appear larger than they are.

The pure side to side hip slide is executed with no tilting of the hips (as when we do the sit-sit-sit, RLR, LRL).  The hips remain level to the ground as they slide from side to side.  The exercise in our warmup which appears to be a side stretch is, when properly executed, in fact a hip stretch.  Sliding that hip out while leaning to the side lengthens and tones the muscles that will help you slide your hips side to side without tilting.  So if you want to work on your flexibility at home, the hip stretch is the move to practice.

Of course, the hip movements engage much more than the side to side slide to form the various movements – in fact, most infinities are a combination of slide and tilt, but it is the slide that will build your flexibility to maximize your ability to interpret them.

Check out Samia Gamal:  Note her exquisite side to side range of motion in her hips, and how that enhances all her hip movements:

USED FOR Jan 2013 e-News

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