Hi! I'm Chris, known in the Society for Creative Anachronism as Katja.
I'm better known there as a cook and a decent amateur authority on food of the Middle Ages... but I've also been trying to learn Middle Eastern dance for the last five years.
I am very much a student of this lovely form of dance.  I've never had any formal lessons, so this is all tips and hints I've picked up from SCA classes, dance instruction tapes, internet research, and friends who teach. Much of it is still rather modern bellydancing, understandably, but I am slowly focusing on and seeking out information about period dancing.


Researchers note:
Please know that I don't have a lot of documentation yet on Middle Eastern or Oriental dancing during the SCA's period of study. Many of the movements described in the papers & links below are folkloric (200-300 years old) or modern Egyptian.  In the apparent absence of an actual Medieval manual on this form of dance (where's Arbeau when you need him??) I look at depictions of the dance in period artwork (such as Turkish & Persian court scenes) and descriptions of dance in literature and poetry.  I will post my research, but in the meantime please do not consider these notes authoritative...yet! <smile>

My Middle Eastern Dance Class Notes
My class on Simple Group Middle Eastern Dance Combinations
Hip Drop Dance (a simple choreography)
Middle Eastern Dance 101 (focusing on the hips and moving)
Notes from Pennsic War XXIX Classes I attended
Notes from
Pennsic War XXX Classes I attended
Notes from
Pennsic War XXXI Classes I attended
Notes from other
AEthelmearc classes I've taken
Notes from
Gulf Wars X classes I attended
Notes from
modern bellydance DVDs/videos I own

Oriental Dance Class Notes
Lakshmi's Links
Lakshmi's class on
Classical Indian Dance
Lakshmi's class on
Hindu Temple Dance
Lakshmi's
Choli, Stories, and Dance Instruction
Katja's Middle Eastern Dance Webpage
Photos of me as Katja
See my links to online
merchants who sell dance garb and/or  jewelry
See my links for research on Middle Eastern garb, specifically Turkic/Khazar clothing
Back to Chris' webpage...
visitors since August 2001
Online Dance Instructions!

Aziza's Online Dance Lessons
http://www.zilltech.com/OnLineLessons.html

Basic Egyptian Movements
http://www.bellydanceuk.co.uk/
(click on 'Techniques & Terminology' to left)

Middle Eastern Dance Movements
http://www.middleeasterndance.homestead.com
/Movements.html


BellyDance Lessons Online
http://www.aleena.com/miramar/
(click on 'Online Dance Lessons' on left)

Dancing with A Veil
http://www.naharisv.com/dance.html

The Veil and Oriental Dance
http://www.shira.net/veilhistory.htm

Ideas for Taqasim & Creating Combinations
http://www.kawakib.com/page-30.html

Isolations
http://www.raqs.co.nz/moves.html
   **************************************


Middle Eastern Music

Rhythm Classes with Osama El-Gohary
http://www.zilltech.com/OsamaRhythm.html

Rhythms of Oriental Music

http://venusbellydance.com/rhythms.htm

Jas's Middle Eastern Rhythms FAQ
(for dumbec, doumbec, doumbek, arabic tabla, darabuka, tombak, zarb ...)
http://www.khafif.com/rhy/rhythm.html#history

Zill Tips
http://www.bdancer.com/med-guide/suppl/zill.html

     **********************************


Articles, Interesting Websites,
and General Dance Links


Belly Dance Homepage (Oriental Dance links)
http://www.bdancer.com/

The Art of Middle Eastern Dance (shira.net)
http://www.shira.net/

Tribal Dance Web Ring
http://www.geocities.com/tribaldancering/

Narah's Tribal Bellydance Page
http://www.narahbintdurr.com/index.asp

Dawn Devine Brown
http://www.davina.org

Near and Middle Eastern Sites Worth Seeing
http://www.draknet.com/lilinah
(site is sometimes down, but WORTH trying)

Aisha Ali
http://www.aisha-ali.com/

Aziza Said
http://www.belly-dance.com/


Belly Dance Web
http://www.bellydanceweb.com/

Middle East Dance Webring
http://www.bdancer.com/med-ring/

Asim's Middle Eastern Dance History Links
http://asim.cedant.com/history.html

Dina's Bellydance Links
http://www.costumegoddess.com/links.htm

Caravan Survey of Turkic Dances
http://www.helene-eriksen.de/

Ghawazee Middle Eastern Dance Troupe
http://www.ghawazee.org/links.html

Morocco's Meanderings
http://www.casbahdance.org/

Khafif
http://www.khafif.com/khafif.html


Ethereal Keep Links
http://staff.haas.berkeley.edu/tmiller/med_
cost.htm

Yasmina's Joy of Belly Dancing
http://www.joyofbellydancing.com/bdhistory2
.html

BellyDance in Manchester
(Britain's largest bellydance site)
http://www.zehara.co.uk/index.htm

Orienta (German Bellydance Site)
http://www.orienta.de/Start/Englishpages/
WelcomeOrienta.htm

Arabesque Dance
http://arab-esque.org/

Zanbaka's Links
http://www.zanbaka.com/links.htm

Elizabeth Artemis Mourat
http://www.mozuna.com/artemis.htm

Dance No-No's
http://www.jalilahsahar.com/dancenonos.html
(Site Excerpt) There is little difference in the public's mind between that of Raks Sharqi and stripping. But for the presence of heavy costuming, the audience may perceive these movements as lewd, solicitous, and just plain offensive, if, that is, they are executed improperly and with carelessness. One of the risks with being an American "Raks Sharqi" dancer is that we must always struggle to push ourselves beyond the borders of America in terms of authenticity, etc. with our art.

The B.S. In Belly Dance
http://www.jasminjahal.com/articles/98_09.html
(Site Excerpt) Yes, Habibi, there really is a lot of "B.S." in the world of Belly Dance - that is to say, "B" as in Baladi and "S" as in Saidi!

Javarah's Bellydance FAQs
http://www.javarah.com/

Being a successful bellydance teacher
http://www.gildedserpent.com/articles20/
aerobicbdancemichelle.htm

Silk Road Dance Company
http://www.silkroaddance.com/

The Inner Courtyard
http://www.witch.drak.net/lilinah/courtyard.html

Fringe Elements
http://www.fringeelements.com/index2.html

    ***********************************

Terminology

Arabic Glossary for Dancers
http://jasminjahal.com/articles/art_arab_
glossary.html

Common Arabic Words and Dance Terms
http://www.raqs.co.nz/me/common.html

Dancer History Archives - Oriental Belly Dance
http://www.streetswing.com/histmain/z3belly.htm

Venus BellyDance Anatomical Terms
http://venusbellydance.com/anaterms.htm

Venus BellyDance-Related Terms
http://venusbellydance.com/dictionary.htm

Venus Bellydance Movement Vocabulary
http://venusbellydance.com/vocabulary.htm
   
    *******************************

Recommended Books & Resources

Good Books as References
(on Middle Eastern Dance)
http://jasminjahal.com/articles/art_good_books.html

Books on: Central Asian Tribes, History & Trade
http://www.tribalmax.com/amazonlinks.html
(See the middle of the page for Middle Eastern Dance History & Belly Dancing Costume Books)

Aziza Sa'id's Mideastern Bellydance Booklist
http://www.zilltech.com/BookStoreHistory.html
http://www.zilltech.com/BookStore.html

Moroccan Dance Bibliography
http://www.arab-esque.org/library/moroccobiblio.html

Materials from The Middle East & Europe
http://www.saradistribution.com/mecollection.htm

Central Asia & Western Asia A Dance Bibliography
http://www.arab-esque.org/library/cwabiblio.html

Middle Eastern Dance Resources search database
http://eres.geneseo.edu/farrellk/web/

     *******************************

Newsletters & Discussion Lists

DANCE-L Folk & Traditional Dance Mailing list
http://www-hfml.sci.kun.nl/lijnis/Danslist.html

Stefan's Florilegium: Middle Eastern Dance Messages
http://www.florilegium.org/files/DANCE/ME-dance-msg.html

al-musta'rib
(Medieval Arab World) newsletter
http://users.lazerlink.com/~dwarph/al-musta'rib.html

Bhuz Magazine
http://www.bhuz.com/

Habibi Magazine
http://www.habibimagazine.com/

Discover BellyDance Magazine
http://www.discoverbellydance.com/

Gilded Serpent
http://www.gildedserpent.com/index.html
Middle Eastern Dance History

Brief History of Middle Eastern Dance
http://www.khaalida.com/history.htm
(Site Excerpt) "When anyone hears that a belly dancer is going to preform in most cases, the first thing that comes to mind is all the cliches about sexuality and sensuality for the benefit of male provacation. The dancer was originally anything but that.

Origins of Oriental Dance
http://www.bdancer.com/history/
Part 1: What is Belly Dance?
Part 2a: Greece/Macedonia/Bible/India
Part 2b: Ancient/Medieval Egypt & Ghawazee
Part 2c: Turkey/Ottoman/Persia/Spain/Gypsies
Part 2d: Islamic Persian Prohibitions/ Zar
Part 3: Costuming


The World's Oldest Dance - A History of Bellydance
http://www.dancers-archive.com/med-dance/belly-dance-history.txt

Folk Dance History
http://www.webspan.net/~hgpklm/Pages
/dancehistory_body.html


About Middle Eastern Dance: Its History, Cultural Context, Styles
http://www.shira.net/about.htm

Mind your Ps & Qs in Medieval Ajerbaijan
http://www.azeri.org/Azeri/az_latin/manuscripts
/etiquette/english/etiquette_english.html


About Arabic Dance -
Dance in the pre-Islamic Past
http://www.wiggle.org.uk/about.htm
(Site Excerpt) There is also much evidence of dance in ancient Syria, Turkey and other countries. Some aspects of this dance was simply a form of entertainment, but it was also related to the worship of various fertility goddesses, such as Hathor in Egypt, Aphrodite in Greece and Ishtar in Babylon. Ancient writers record these dances as being based on movements of the hips, circling, swaying and shaking of the body.

Exactly What Is Middle Eastern Dance?
http://www.pbm.com/~lindahl/lod/vol5/
middle_eastern.html

(Site Excerpt) Many people equate Middle Eastern Dance with Belly Dance. They completely forget or are ignorant of the fact that Belly Dance is a post-period term that was applied by Western Europeans to only one type or style of Middle Eastern Dance.

Secular Middle Eastern Music during the Middle Ages
http://www.sfusd.k12.ca.us/schwww/sch618/
Music/Music2.html
(
Site excerpt) Music was important to the people of the Middle East. It was popular with common people in folk songs and dances which were part of their traditional culture. Court music and dance were popular with the rich and musicians were supported by the royalty. Islam did control some types of musical entertainment.
(Note: This page contains some period illustrations of male and some female garb including female musicians in what looks like ghawazi coats).


Folk Dancing, Court Entertainment, and Sufi Religious Dancing
http://www.sfusd.k12.ca.us/schwww/sch618
/Music/Dance.html
This page contains some Persian and Turkish illustrations form our period of history of dancers in mid-dance.

The History of Why Women Have Danced Through the Ages
http://jasminjahal.com/articles/juliearticle.html

Male Belly Dance in Turkey
http://jasminjahal.com/articles/02_02_male_
belly_d.html

      *****************************

Dance Styles of Different Countries

A Primer on Middle Eastern Dance Styles
http://www.bdancer.com/styles.html
(Site Excerpt) Beginners are often confused about the many dance styles in Middle Eastern dance. Our dance comes from many countries, so there is great variety. The wide range of choices is one of the charms. There are general characteristics in each style, however, which differentiate them.

Naming The Dance
http://www.amaradances.com/article_4.html
(Site Excerpt) In the Middle East, there are several genres and styles of dance. Today, the professional solo female dance is called in Arabic Raks al-Sharki (Dance of the East/Orient) and, or Raks al-Arabi (Arabic Dance).

Chiftetelli
http://venusbellydance.com/chiftitelli.htm
(Site Excerpt) The chiftitelli is the slow, sensuous segment of the oriental dance, performed to the Turkish/Greek rhythm also called chiftitelli. It is the most readily recognizable rhythm for the beginning dancer.

Baladi or Beledi?
http://www.venusbellydance.com/beledi.htm
(Site Excerpt) The word baladi, as translated from Arabic, means "of the country". It implies story telling and folklore or the expression of a people about their culture and their everyday life. The term, raks baladi or baladi dance, refers to the folkloric style of Egyptian group or solo dance. This encompasses the fellahin, bambootia and saidi dances, using fellahy, baladi and saidi rhythms.

Turkish Folkloric Dance
http://interactive.m2.org/Dans/geyvan.html

All About Belly Dance -Turkey
http://www.zehara.co.uk/bdfactsturkey.htm
(Site Excerpt) Turkish dances developed on two different planes, and in two cultural settings: that of Istanbul the capital of the Ottoman empire, a few other large cities, and that of the village.

Turkish Dances
http://www.rembetiko.gr/essay/rebetik6.htm

Kemence International Dance Ensemble Folk Dances
http://photon.bu.edu/kemence/dances.html
(Site Excerpt) Turkish folk dances, while remarkably diverse in character and origin, may nevertheless be classified into six broad categories, according to their geographic boundaries, which may overlap. They are: Halay, Horon, Hora (Karsilama), Bar, Zeybek, and Kasik. These represent different dance styles found in the country's numerous ethnic provinces.

The Exquisite Art of Persian Classical Dance
http://home.earthlink.net/~rcfriend/

Persian Dance
http://jasminjahal.com/articles/01_11_persian
_dance.html
(Site Excerpt) Whenever I have seen good Persian dance, I have often wondered about the history behind it and how its performance style and costuming developed. Clearly, it is quite different from the standard belly dance. The beauty and femininity of Persian dance is not often a topic in dance seminars.

Persian Dance and It's Forgotten History
http://www.artira.com/nimakiann/history/
history.htm

Robyn's World of Persian Dance
http://home.earthlink.net/~rcfriend/

Guedra Dance of Morocco
http://jasminjahal.com/articles/01_12_guedra.html

Guedra: The FAQ
http://www.bdancer.com/GuedraFAQ.html
(Site Excerpt) The Guedra is the Tuareg Blessing dance.

The Zar Revisited
http://www.bdancer.com/zarrevis.html
(Site Excerpt) Despite the fact that the Zar, which is the trance ceremony of North Africa and the Middle East is technically prohibited by Islam, it continues to be an essential part of these cultures.

Greek Dancing Through the Centuries
http://www.annaswebart.com/culture/
dancehistory/introduction.html
(Site Excerpt) Dance has played an important role in the life of Greeks all through their history. In the ancient Greek societies, dance was held in high regard. In fact, in his writings, Plato expresses his belief in the virtue of dancing, by saying that a man who can not dance is uneducated and unrefined.

Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi
(Whirling Dervish Dance Site)
http://www.mevlana.net/
(Site excerpt) The "dance" of the Whirling Dervishes is called Sema. Sema is a part of the inspiration of Mevlana as well as part of the Turkish custom, history, beliefs and culture. Sema represents a mystical journey of man's spiritual ascent through mind and love to "Perfect."

Religious Dancing of the Sufi Muslims
http://www.sfusd.k12.ca.us/schwww/sch618
/Music/Dance2.html
(Site Excerpt) There is a special section on
Women's sufi dancing, period illustrations of male and female Sufi dancers, and an explanation of how modern "belly dancing" grew out of the dancing tradition).

Uzbek Dance
http://home.earthlink.net/~gulistan/uzbek.html
(Site excerpt) "Hearts respond to the strings! Hands respond to the drums! At the first sound of strings and drums, two sleeves were raised. Like whirling snow, so graceful, revolving in the opulent dance!"

Uzbek Dance and Culture Society- About the Dance: History & Styles
http://www.uzbekdance.org/about/index.asp
(Site Excerpt) The dance traditions of present-day Uzbekistan have been enriched by numerous cultures over the centuries because the country's central location on the Silk Road, the ancient trade routes which linked China with the Mediterranenan.

Armenian Dance
http://www.dance.demon.co.uk/AGC/Articles
/ArmenianDance.html