Monday, March 05, 2007

A Blog history of bellydance…….Part 5

part 5- Linking Ballet and Bellydance

It has to be said- I have written about many of the far flung flavours which have gone into the mixing bowl of bellydance… yet there is another very influential dance style involved, this time from Europe which has also changed the image and status of bellydance in Egypt. Ballet.

Arabic dance and ballet inter-relate- with the arm & hand movements of ballet come from Mideastern/Persian dance, brought back by Crusaders & travelers.

In Egypt in the 1940's many famous dancers evolved, for example, Samia Gamal and Naema Akef. Samia's ballet teacher gave her a veil to use to improve arm posture which is how veils became popular to dance with around this time- from ballet!

In 1959 Egypt's national dance troupe- the Reda Troupe was founded. The idea was helping promote the local dance steps, styles and traditions but also to help make them more socially acceptable as an art form by being ballet based and holding performances in theatres rather than nightclubs and hotels.

Even today many of the top bellydancers in Egypt are also ballet trained. I, personally, have found that ballet lessons have improved my posture, arm movements, balance and strength. So ballet is still affecting the way bellydance is performed in Cairo today!

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