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 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
Basic Egyptian Movements
(click on 'Techniques & Terminology' to left)
Middle Eastern Dance Movements
BellyDance Lessons Online
(click on 'Online Dance Lessons' on left)
Dancing with A Veil
The Veil and Oriental Dance
Ideas for Taqasim & Creating Combinations
Middle Eastern Music
Rhythm Classes with Osama El-Gohary
Rhythms of Oriental Music
Jas's Middle Eastern Rhythms FAQ
(for dumbec, doumbec, doumbek, arabic tabla, darabuka, tombak, zarb ...)
Articles, Interesting Websites,
and General Dance Links
Belly Dance Homepage (Oriental Dance links)
The Art of Middle Eastern Dance (shira.net)
Tribal Dance Web Ring
Narah's Tribal Bellydance Page
Dawn Devine Brown
Near and Middle Eastern Sites Worth Seeing
(site is sometimes down, but WORTH trying)
Belly Dance Web
Middle East Dance Webring
Asim's Middle Eastern Dance History Links
Dina's Bellydance Links
Caravan Survey of Turkic Dances
Ghawazee Middle Eastern Dance Troupe
Ethereal Keep Links
Yasmina's Joy of Belly Dancing
BellyDance in Manchester
(Britain's largest bellydance site)
Orienta (German Bellydance Site)
Elizabeth Artemis Mourat
(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
(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
Being a successful bellydance teacher
Silk Road Dance Company
The Inner Courtyard
Arabic Glossary for Dancers
Common Arabic Words and Dance Terms
Dancer History Archives - Oriental Belly Dance
Venus BellyDance Anatomical Terms
Venus BellyDance-Related Terms
Venus Bellydance Movement Vocabulary
Recommended Books & Resources
Good Books as References
(on Middle Eastern Dance)
Books on: Central Asian Tribes, History & Trade
(See the middle of the page for Middle Eastern Dance History & Belly Dancing Costume Books)
Aziza Sa'id's Mideastern Bellydance Booklist
Moroccan Dance Bibliography
Materials from The Middle East & Europe
Central Asia & Western Asia · A Dance Bibliography
Middle Eastern Dance Resources search database
Newsletters & Discussion Lists
DANCE-L Folk & Traditional Dance Mailing list
Stefan's Florilegium: Middle Eastern Dance Messages
(Medieval Arab World) newsletter
Discover BellyDance Magazine
|Middle Eastern Dance History
Brief History of Middle Eastern Dance
(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
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
Folk Dance History
About Middle Eastern Dance: Its History, Cultural Context, Styles
Mind your Ps & Qs in Medieval Ajerbaijan
About Arabic Dance -
Dance in the pre-Islamic Past
(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?
(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
(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
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
Male Belly Dance in Turkey
Dance Styles of Different Countries
A Primer on Middle Eastern Dance Styles
(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
(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).
(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?
(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
All About Belly Dance -Turkey
(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.
Kemence International Dance Ensemble Folk Dances
(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
(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
Robyn's World of Persian Dance
Guedra Dance of Morocco
Guedra: The FAQ
(Site Excerpt) The Guedra is the Tuareg Blessing dance.
The Zar Revisited
(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
(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)
(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
(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).
(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
(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.