Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Belly Dance Glossary

Here's  great  information... A Belly Dance Glossary: Keti Sharif’s MIDDLE EASTERN DANCE & MUSIC
                       GLOSSARY OF TERMS Keti Sharif’s

Almeh - Egyptian colloquial term for a learned woman,
principal dancer

Andalusian - Spanish/Moorish inspired dance with
sweeping movements, half moon poses and usually
performed in pale coloured dress with long sleeves and
turban. Also known as Mutashahat.

Arghul - Arabic twin reed pipe played as a flute

Assyut - Egyptian town known for its famous silver embossed fabric Assyuti

Aswan - southern Egypt, also known as Upper Egypt

Ayoub (rhythm) - also called the Zaar, is a simple yet spiritually powerful rhythm with a
hypnotic, mesmerizing feel. Ayoub is a single dom followed by a single tak, then another,
with a tiny delay just a single sixteenth note, between that first dom and the next tak. So
the rhythm comes out as dom!tak-dom tak, dom!tak-dom tak. Ayoub is most often
associated with the trance dances of the dervishes, who whirled themselves into a religious
ecstasy using the energy of the pounding doms and trance-inducing hypnotic feel of the
rhythm. The same rhythm, generally played more slowly and called the
Zaar, is used in Egypt and Northern Africa to drive away evil spirits.

baladi - Egyptian term meaning 'native' or 'of the country'. Robust yet
sensual earthy urban folkloric style, more refined than folk, but deep
seated and earthier than classical dance. Usually performed in a kaftan      
or dress with a hip scarf and/or head scarf. Aissuit dress (black with
silver embossing) is popular attire for baladi. Downward hip moves are

Bambi - Arabic for the colour pink, also refers to a style of coquettish
baladi dance

Bazouki - Greek lute Bint al balad - Egyptian term meaning 'girl of the country'


  bourka - full face veil worn in the Middle east - made    
from either netting or opaque fabric. It is worn by
Bedouin women, the women of the Western desert and
even in the traditional dance of Alexandria, the Eskenderaya. The Eskendereya version is made of net, and does not cover the face. Here is a picture of a dancer wearing a Rhinestone version.

 Call-and-Response - a musical term for conversation between instruments

Cengi - Turkish term for gypsy

Chiftetelli (dance) - Greek and Turkish style of bellydancing. Sensual
to fast rhythmic patterns known as chiftetelli usually performed in two
piece costume (author's costume @ top). Focus on undulations and pelvic tilts upwards.
chiftetelli (rhythm) - Turkish rhythm marked by a distinctive rest on
the final beat, which gives the rhythm a very soft and relaxed feel. It is often used as the
underlying rhythm for taqsim segments of songs, allowing the other musicians to solo freely
over the softly flowing Chiftetelli rhythm. In terms of dancing, fluid moves as snake arms
work well, and when the drummer and dancer both freeze for that final eighth beat, with an
exciting ‘momentarily suspended’ effect.

Dabke - Arabic men's or men and women's folkloric group dance performed with group
linking arms and using heavy footwork in sync with each other. Traditional attire is a dress
with pantaloons. Also performed in Syria and Jordan.

Danse du ventre - French term for bellydance – literally translates to “dance of the belly”

Darbuka - Turkish or Arabic drum made from clay or metal                                  

darj - Iranian dance 6/8rhythm
djinn - Arabic name for spirits
dof - Arabic tambourine minus the cymbals
doholla - largest of the Egyptian tablas (drums)
dom - the name given to the bass sound produced when striking the tabla
darbuka or Middle Eastern drum
dumbek - Turkish brass drum
Eskendereya - dance from the city of Alexandria in northern Egypt. Flirty
Alexandrian dance with a milaya, or heavy veil, formerly used as a fashion
accessory in the 40s. Dancer wears a bourka - netted face veil, and a frilly
mid-knee length dress.
Fayoum Oasis - province in north west Egypt              
fellaha - Egyptian farm girl derived from fellahin (Egyptian farmers)                                    
fellahi - Festive shimmy and fast-paced celebration dance of the farmers. Uses pots or
doffs (tambourine) whilst dancing in village dress - sometimes floral print with head piece
lined with pom-poms.
figure-eights - bellydance hip move that traces a shape like a curvy number eight
guedra - Earthy blessing ritual performed by Berber tribes, includes dancing on knees and
flicking moves of hands and wrist.ghawazee - Gypsies, from the term 'invaders of the heart'. Also a
vibrant gypsy dance with finger cymbals and focus on hip moves. A
kaftan or shirt that is tight fitting on top, with wide skirts and
ghawazee - Gypsies, from the term 'invaders of the heart'. Also a                            
vibrant gypsy dance with finger cymbals and focus on hip moves. A
kaftan or shirt that is tight fitting on top, with wide skirts and
hafla - Arabic term for party or celebration
hagalla - Festive dance of the Western Desert, performed in dresses
(see Farida Fahmy opposite) from Marsa Matruh region or heavy
black kaftans and woven face veils from other regions. Tribal and
earthy with mostly hip moves.
head slide - The main head movement used in bellydance is the head slide (a gentle
continuous move from right to left, the head slides horizontally). It is very much used in
Persian dance, Turkish and Egyptian folklore.
henna - decorative red, brown or black tattoo design lasting
approximately three weeks, derived from the henna plant. Often used for weddings and Arabic celebrations      
hip drop – an Egyptian signature move, it is a deep seated downward
hip move. Again make sure the whole body doesn't 'drop' when the hip
does - isolation is important.
hip lift - the hip lifts upward whilst the rest of the body remains quite
still. Isolation is important for effective fast hip moves. Turkish,
Lebanese, Persian and Ghawazee (Egyptian Gypsy dance) incorporates
many hip lifts.
karsilama - Turkish folkdance in a 9/8 rhythm with syncopated steps, done in a group. Folk
style costume with pantaloons, and zills played.
kawala - Turkish reed flute, originally a shepherd's pastoral calling instrument also known
as kavala in Arabic
khaleegee - Dance from the Arabian Gulf performed in an
ultra long gold-embroidered kaftan which is held in the
hands whilst dancing. Includes refined, rhythmic footwork,
hand gestures and hair flicking moves.
khawals - gypsy men who would dress as and impersonate
female dancers. A derogatory term these days in the Middle
lakoum - term for the desert Turkish delight, also a bellydance move
malemma - head village woman
malfuf (rhythm) - fast Arabic rhythm for the dancer's entrance, often played as an intro
for classical orchestral compositions especially created for Oriental dance. Malfuf is
commonly used when a dancer enters or exits the stage. Like Ayoub, it is a two-beat
rhythm, but it has only one dom instead of Ayoub's driving two doms. The quickness of the
two-beat rhythm and the lightness of having only one dom give Malfuf a lively yet relaxed
and rolling feel. Its energetic enough to capture the audience's attention when the dancer
enters, but still leaves them wanting more.masmoudi (rhythm) - The Masmoud are a Berber tribe of northern Africa, and the 'i'
ending indicates something from or to do with the Masmoud. Musically speaking, Masmoudi
is interesting in that it is 8 counts long and partially symmetric. The first half consists of two
doms and one set of taks, while the second half consists of one dom and two sets of taks.
The length of the rhythm, its asymmetry and the combination of strong doms and light taks
give the dancer lots of opportunity to interpret this rhythm in various creative ways.
Mata Hari - infamous Dutch dancer and spy known for her exotic
bellydance style costumes and dance
maqsoum (rhythm) - Sprightly Egyptian rhythm widely
considered the basic baladi rhythm, and the most common rhythm
used in today's bellydancing music. The word maqsoum itself means
half or halved. One theory is that the name and the rhythm come
from halving (in the sense of playing half as fast) the very fast and
very basic fellahi rhythm.
mastika - Literally meaning 'drinking song' this is a rather parodied version of fast Turkish
dance, with many pelvic tilts upward and hip lifts.
maya - an outward figure of eight bellydance move that means 'water' in Arabic
mazhar - large tambourine with cymbals
                          mervlana - Turkish term for the whirling derwish also known as tanoura in
   Egypt. Islamic ance of spiritual nirvana through constant turning movement,                   of Sufi origin.

milaya il'laff - a type of large veil used for an Egyptian dance from  Alexandria      Azzizia dances beautifully with the veil.

mizmar - Arabic horn played at festivals
ney - reed flute
Nubian - Sprightly folkdance from Nubia with African overtones, usually performed in a
white cotton kaftan with colourful embroidery.
oriental - term for the classical style of Arabic bellydance.
Classical bellydance, usually in two piece costume with more
armwork, ballet inspired turns and refined hip work. Dramatic and
sensual, with many changing moods, often danced to orchestral
orientalism - genre of art, poetry and imagery that was inspired
by a somewhat fictitious romanticism of the exotic East; its dance,
music and mysterious allure
oud - Arabic lute, literally meaning
'flexible stick'. Fretless instrument played in the tahkt or wooden
instrument band or acoustic Arabic ensemble.
Ouled Nail - dancers on the Algerian fringe who fascinated travelers in the 1900's. Earthy
yet poised dance from the Ouled Nail tribeswomen. Highly decorated tribal costume with
heavy skirts, layered, and coins.
Persian motreb - Elegant Iranian dance with a hanky, dressed in kaftan with flowing
sleeves. Refined footwork and concentrated hip moves.

qanoon - Arabic zither made of walnut with 48 strings

rababa - ancient Arabic string instrument made from
a  coconut shell, similar to a violin                                                                             
rababa - coconut shell instrument played similarly
to a violin, but resting on the ground, and held
rakkass - Turkish term for dance. Flamboyant cabaret bellydance done in two piece
costume with a lot of hip work, especially hip lifts and shimmies.
rakkassa - Turkish term for dancer
raqs sharqi - Arabic term meaning 'dance of the East'
req - small tambourine with skin and cymbals
rompi - Turkish style of Gypsy dance sometimes called rompi-rompi
with many colloquialisms and hand symbols

sagat - Arabic term for finder cymbals (zills in Turkish)      

Shimmy – a distinctive controlled quivering of the flesh on the hips
and bottom. You must relax your knees and build up a constant
vibration from the knees to the thighs. The move can range from
subtle to exuberant.
Saiidi (dance) - traditionally a men's cane dance from El Saiid, Upper Egypt. Stealthy cane
dance, where men in kaftans dance a sprightly martial arts like dance with heavy canes.
The Raqs al Tahtib or men's stick dance upon which the Raqs al Assaya or women's cane
dance is performed to a strong and lively Saiidi rhythm accompanying
the fierce and powerful movements of the dance's ritualized combat.
Saiidi (rhythm) – The Saiidi                                                                      
rhythm originating in the Upper
Egypt regions of Aswan and Luxor,
is based on three strong doms,
with a single dom at the very start,
and then driving forward with two
doms in the middle. It is a
traditional rhythm but has been
applied to Egyptian pop or sha’abi
music.santoor - zither similar to the qanoon
saz - Turkish version of the lute, with a longer, slimmer neck and smaller body
sha'abi - modern style of Egyptian street dancing. Fun, modern form of urban 'street
dance' or 'dance of the people', similar to baladi, but danced to more up-tempo music.
shamadan - Dance with lit candelabra balanced on head, classical
movements usually performed in a dress. Especially popular at
weddings as the fire “drives away evil spirits”.
shamadan - Dance with lit candelabra balanced on head, classical
movements usually performed in a dress. Especially popular at
weddings as the fire “drives away evil spirits”.
shikhat - Festive tribal women's dance with many moves mimicking
birth ritual and was a former 'wedding night' dance.
shoulder shimmy - a rapid, relaxed vibrating move in the shoulders.
Hands remain still while the shoulders shimmy.
snake arms - slow, mesmerizing move done with arms out to the side,
alternating levels, ie: lift one arm up while the other is down low and
then smoothly, swap. Maintain some poise in the arms. You can do this
by focusing on the elbows lifting the arms up and down.
tabul - large double sided drum
tak - the name given to the treble sound produced when striking the
tabla (drum)
takht - woodwind and strings ensemble
taktib - the name of the heavy staff (wooden fighting stick) and the
men's cane dance of Upper Egypt
tanoura - Egyptian whirling derwish (see mervlana)
taqsim - improvised dance to emotive melodies
toura - extra large finger cymbals played in the orchestra
tremolando - quivering note with a vibrating quality, especially hear with strings
tribal - a style of dance with elements of Berber, Ouled
Nail and Ghawazee dance movements and costume.
Emphasis on the 'tribe' or connected group dancing.                                    
Tuareg - a tribe of Moroccan Berbers
also known as the 'blue people' because
the indigo in their face veils and turbans
would stain their skin.
undulation - a sinewy swaying motion of
the spine and belly. First move the
weight of the body forward and then
'pulling back' with the abs and pelvis, like
a wave.wahda el'kebira - spacious rhythm literally meaning the 'large one'
wahda wa noss - Arabic rhythm with two distinct parts meaning 'one and a half' used in
Egyptian baladi dance
Waheda - One of the first words you learn in Arabic is wahid meaning one. The name is
perfectly appropriate in that waheda comprises one dom on the first count, followed by
three counts worth of taks. With just one (wahid) heavy dom and a whole series of lighter
taks, this rhythm has a very light and flowing feel and is thus particularly well suited to
softer movements such as hip circles or camel.
zaafen - Yemeni group dance featured at weddings and celebrations. When performed by
men, very sprightly steps in a group similar to dabke, but with athletic squats - like Cossac
dance. Women perform a gentler version.
zaar - Egyptian trance dance and spiritual cleansing ritual that involves shaking the body
and flicking the hair. Borkhul (incense) is sometimes brought out by the dancer in a brass
holder, and the dance begins slowly, building up to a frenzied trance state, with hair
zaffa - Arabic term for wedding, also, a characteristic rhythm for a wedding procession,
usually with many drummers and mizmar players with a folkloric dance group in the centre
of the festivities.
zills - Turkish term for brass finger cymbals

Glossary from !Bellydance" book by Keti Sharif  Available via Keti"s website or
See many free articles and downloads for bellydancers!  

NOTE: I took the liberty of changing - adding a few pictures for my blog. The original wouldn't copy.

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