Simple Group Middle Eastern Dances

The Honorable Lady Katja Davidova Orlova Khazarina


This is beginner/intermediate level - so sharing knowledge is welcome!

Stretch! (Key words here are "gently" and "slowly")

    1. Neck rolls – forward, back, left, right, circle around, then look over right/left shoulders
    2. Lift and extend arms over head toward ceiling (alternating sides)
    3. Extend arms out to sides and reach OUT
    4. Bend to L and twist upper body/touch floor, repeat on R
    5. Wrap arms around your chest and hug your shoulder blades
    6. Arms straight out front, then swing slowly to back and clasp behind (bend over, if you can)
    7. Stand up, arms overhead, then slowly bend over and roll down to floor
    8. Stand up, huge/slow hip circles
    9. Lift up one foot, reach behind and grab it; repeat on other side
    10. Wrist circles/figure 8s, drumroll fingers

Proper Stance

Stand up straight!!! (shoulders back, chest up, pelvis tucked slightly under, knees slightly bent)

Circle Dance (from Folk Dance for Groups, Gulf War 10) {music: Dead Can Dance, Saldek}

    1. Stand in a circle, holding hands out to sides
    2. Singles - step L, R, L, R (bouncy steps)
    3. Point L foot into the circle while bending forward and swooping arms out front
    4. Step back on L foot while raising arms up (put weight on L foot)
    5. Rock R/rock L/rock R

Shifting Sands (Peach Curry, Dancing with the Infidels) {Shifting Sands}

    1. All form a single file line, like a bunny hop line.
    2. Place L hand at L shoulder, put R hand in L hand of person in front of you.
    3. R step
    4. L step on toe, then heel (accent: hip pop and drop?)
    5. R step
    6. L sway out to L and return/step (accent: half of an Anatolian hip figure 8)
    7. R step
    8. L step
    9. Pause
    10. Repeat whole sequence as you will, winding line like a Tangle Bransle

"Stonie" Wedding Dance (Peach Curry, variation of Turkish Wedding Dance) {Uskudar}

    1. All form a circle, arms up in a V, palms held against the palms of dancer next to you.
    2. The dance has 4 sections, 8 counts each. Each section starts with a grapevine step.
    3. Grapevine: step R, cross L behind R, step R, close together.
    4. Section 1/Heels: R, cross, R, close, touch R heel forward into circle then back. Repeat 4x.
    5. Section 2/Hips: R, cross, R, close, 2 horizontal clockwise hip circles. Repeat 4x.
    6. Section 3/Hops: R, cross, R, close, hop into circle once, hop back to place. Repeat 4x.
    7. Section 4/Hooters: R, cross, R, close, chest slide L, chest slide R. Repeat 4x.

(NOTE: can alternate circle facing in for first section, then out for second, etc.)

Box Step I (Moving with the Basics, Pennsic 30) {Lisa Gerrard, Shadow Magnet}

  1. Four people stand in a box formation, all four facing inward
  2. Step twice to the left, right arm overhead/left out to side
  3. Pivot on left foot to second side of the box, switch arms, and step twice to the right
  4. Pivot again, and repeat along third side of the box, etc.
  5. Additions: hip bumps, shimmies, horizontal circles, fig 8s, undulations, etc.
  6. Variations: alternate two people facing in/two facing out
      1. Combo steps: step together, step, bump opposite hip; circles with bumps, etc.
      2. Vary looking in the direction you’re going/looking straight out into audience/to partners
      3. Go back and forth on same side of the box
      4. Do dance with two (back to back), three (triangle), or more people (circle)

Box Step II (Beginning Tribal Dance, Pennsic 30) {Loreena McKennitt, Mystic's Dream}

  1. Stand in place, shimmying, hands crossed at chest level or chin level, left foot on toe
  2. Step forward on left foot, step back, turn 1/4 to your left
  3. Flick the wrists and palms outward as you step forward, then return to chest as you step back
  4. Step "forward" 3 more times (turning left 1/4, left 1/4, left 1/4) in a box around yourself
  5. Turn left 1/2 to the back, turn left 1/2 to the front
  6. Stand with right foot on toe, shift left arm overhead/right bent across tummy
  7. Pop R hip out/up, turn to your left in a circle around yourself 8x
  8. Stand, still on right toe, switch arms
  9. Pop and "inch-walk" 8x forward into center of firepit/box/circle of other dancers
  10. Place backs of hands against each other, hip bump/walk around the circle to the R for 8
  11. Switch arms, pivot and hip bump/walk to the L for 8

Hip Shimmy Combo (Layering Your Basic Moves, Pennsic 31) {Loreena McKennitt, Marco Polo}

    1. Stand side by side in a long line
    2. (Stand on toes and rock from side to side to get feel for the movement)
    3. Hip-drop L hip
    4. Shimmy 3x across back L>center>R (raising and lowering from toes to heels)
    5. Hip drop R hip
    6. Repeat, switching from side to side
    7. Now add walking forward!
    8. Variations: add arm movements - snaking, posing with sun/moon, temple, etc.
      1. Try forward and backward hip pops/shimmies!


College of Three Ravens, 2/2/2002

Chris P. Adler