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Created by Ranya Renee, New York City-based star performer and instructor of Arabic-style belly dance, The Baladi: Belly Dance Egyptian Style is a comprehensive program that will immerse you in the beautiful world of traditional Arabic dance music, soulful and spirited baladi improvisation, and delicious, dynamic moves!
This nearly 5-and-a-half-hour-long 2-DVD set (or instant worldwide streaming video) covers the structure, rhythms and musical flavors of typical baladi belly dance progressions, teaches the essential technique and dance vocabulary of baladi, and provides drills for developing your own improvisational practice.
The Baladi: Belly Dance Egyptian Style is the first program to combine instruction in core Egyptian dance technique with a wealth of detailed cultural information and tools for learning to interpret the music and for daily dance practice. The program is a valuable resource for bellydancers of all levels of experience as well as for dance instructors.
Baladi is the social dance style of the Egyptian people, often featured in a special section of the traditional bellydance show. This video focuses on the taqsim baladi — a style of improvisation that starts slow and gentle, building to a climax of exciting rhythms, faster steps and shimmies. During a live music demonstration of baladi progressions, Ranya analyzes the structure, common features and stylistic differences between men's style (tet) and women's style (awadi) baladi dancing, and offers a step-by-step explanation of what is happening at each transition in the music.
Master accordionist Nabawy provides an introduction to baladi music and explains the different melodic styles, and the drummers demonstrate some of key rhythms used in the baladi. You will also receive an introduction to the concept of maqamat, or Arabic musical modes, that are the source material for taqasim, the art of melodic improvisation.
The technique section is organized by style and type, so you can match the appropriate movements and traveling steps to each part of the baladi progression: From the slow, fluid taqsim, through the sekkat accent breaks, and on to the maqsoum-based rhythm sections and the fast ingerara section that transitions into the drum solo. This framework enables you to develop the instinct you need to select authentic movements that correctly match the music, recognizing the essential features of melody and rhythms. Ranya gives guidance for beginning or developing your improvisation practice, no matter your level of experience as a dancer.
With looped recorded music drills created specially for this program, Ranya gives you the tools for a rigorous baladi dance practice while simutaneously honing your listening skills. The format of the drills is an organic flow, preserving the improvisational nature of the baladi so you learn in the way Egyptians learn, by watching and following along. Absorbing the feeling of baladi naturally will help you to improvise with more confidence on your own. The looped music repetitions allow you to review key movements over and over as you build an intimate familiarity with the musical nuances, and condition your physical dance response to them. DVD options allow you either to dance through a full baladi piece or to work on isolated sections of a baladi, focusing on short portions of music to drill your steps. With all the drills, Ranya provides voiceover commentary to call your attention to melodic and rhythmic motifs, or to remind you of technique pointers.
The program also includes extensive sections on posture and muscle work for Egyptian dance, framing and transitions, arms and hands practice flow, and cooldown stretches.