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The dance form known as Raqs Sharqi, or Oriental dance, has evolved over the past century, blending native elements of Egyptian baladi music and dance with Western artistic influences. Modern Oriental dance is shaped by many international influences, absorbing techniques from ballroom and Latin dance, ballet, jazz, even hip-hop. And yet, there still remains the feeling of Egypt at the heart of the dance: the openhearted emotion, the response to the music.
Modern Oriental dance is characterized by powerful technique, step combinations, floor patterns and a focus on choreography, as well as a contemporary musical sensibility. In this program, Ranya Renee, New York-based star performer and instructor of Egyptian style belly dance, teaches two Modern Oriental choreographies – a beginner version and a longer intermediate/advanced version – as the focus of this video program. Each choreography is broken into combinations that are taught step-by-step, with practice drills to get the movements of the choreographies into your body.
The two drills sections - beginner and intermediate/advanced – enable you to repeat step combinations, built gradually so that you can climb the steps to mastery of a wide array of variations. A special section of the program gives you helpful hints on learning step combinations, so that you can build confidence as you learn more complex step sequences and integrate them into your muscle memory.
A vital part of Ranya's teaching method is its emphasis on musicality and on understanding the structure of Oriental dance music. Ranya points out important melodic and rhythmic features of the music accompanying each combination, helping you to sharpen your listening and counting skills, and learn how particular dance movements can express typical turns of melody and rhythm. You'll learn what to listen for, so you can respond to the music with feeling.
Ranya’s holistic approach, focused on freeing your breath as you develop your physicality, will help you build connections between the music, your body, and your expression as a dancer. Special tips for performers are interspersed throughout, to coach you in relating to an audience, while executing the steps with a sense of drama and fun.
As part of the program, Ranya offers guidance in developing a strong dance posture and sense of alignment as a base for solid muscular support of new movements. Technique is described “from the inside out,” for a better understanding of how to fit the movements on your body, and to feel them in your core. A special technique review flow guides you through sequences of key belly dance vocabulary, classic warmup stretches, and exercises to condition the muscle groups used in Egyptian Oriental dance.