Healing Your Life with Bellydance

 

Expressive Dance Therapy

 

Belly dance has been used for people to overcome from daily stress and even depressive disorders. Over the years, most people with any form of depression indicate significant improvement from dancing activities. Indeed, this thought of body movement as called “dance therapy” is what therapists promote to the general public in order to improve emotional, cognitive, social, behavioral and physical conditions. Belly dance in particular, allows space for women to use their body in self-defined ways that facilitate creative exploration and build their inner self-image upon the idea of “how the perfect body should be”. Back to the point as addressed, belly dance is the way in which helps people to exercise connections between body and mind.

How Does Dance Connect with Brain?

            According to the research from Harvard University. There are some reigns of brain that contributes to physical movement. Such as, motor cortex (planning, control, and execution of voluntary movement), somatosensory cortex (eye-hand coordination), basal ganglia (smoothly coordinate movement), and cerebellum (planning of fine and complex motor actions).

Free Your Emotion and Your Mind

            “Keeping our feelings hidden” is the common conception surrounding around Asian regions. However, this conception leads to tensions of our body as well as restricts the freedom to express who we are. In this term, when we are “keeping our feelings hidden”, we are in return actually denying our spiritual purpose and unconsciously forcing ourselves “to be accepted” passively. Yet, belly dance is what allows you to enjoy the true you in regards to body expression and self-body joyful involvement.

With practicing belly dance. You are experiencing the mind being free leaded by your body movement. Hence, you will become more aware of the unity of the spirit and body. It can be a creative outlet based on the person’s own judgment, but it also allows women to tune into refreshing, relaxing and exhilarating from the natural movements of the body. So why wait?

 

Written by: Shi Xiaolong

MEDA Team Member

Editor: Nilu Bakhshy

 

Related articles:

https://georgannespruce.com/2012/02/01/dancing-to-free-our-emotions/

http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.822.3204&rep=rep1&type=pdf

https://www.rochesterinternationaldance.com/sadiya/tutorials/essay/health-benefits-of-belly-dance-stress-reduction/

http://neuro.hms.harvard.edu/harvard-mahoney-neuroscience-institute/brain-newsletter/and-brain-series/dancing-and-brain

https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2017/04/02/malaysians-will-suffer-from-mental-health-issues-in-their-lifetime/

https://s3.amazonaws.com/academia.edu.documents/5538861/Koch_Joydance_AIP829.pdf?

AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAIWOWYYGZ2Y53UL3A&Expires=1511685680&Signature=5pIwetbOFzLRo%2FGKaMZ%2BmeK8zqY%3D&response-content-disposition=inline%3B%20filename%3DThe_joy_dance_Specific_effects_of_a_sing.pdf

 

Inappropriate Dance Portrayal in Bellydance

MEDA Exam 2017

With the growing evolution and popularity of belly dance, most females have begun to join this practice globally. However, regarding to the expressions of belly dance (in the point of showing the part of body).  “Many people naturally perceive belly dance through their own biases”. Indeed, it happens that the view of professionalism may become left behind, and perhaps instead replaced by sexual attractions. Also, the inappropriate or what we call ‘EXTRA’ movements of the belly dancer could play a main role in affecting how people perceive this career. For example, the belly dancer is not performing in bellydance but acting sexual expressions intentionally. Furthermore, among the problems left over by history, females are mostly treated differently.

Sadly, their professions in self-manifestation always been defined to pleasure males. So, let’s start to remove the colored glasses by understanding and respecting what belly dance truly is, an art.

Belly dance is professional and it is a form of art. In similarity to other styles of dancing, belly dance has been researched in benefiting people in both psychologically and physically. Such as, increase in self-esteem and physical fitness training. According to the professionalism of the art, belly dance must follow the DOs and DONTs.

These very guidelines of the DOs and DONTs are also the ethics that are implemented by belly dancers in today’s generation. For instance, “don’t touch yourself when you dance, make sure your costume fits properly, don’t simulate orgasm on stage, maintain personal space and be very careful about touching people.”.

Sexism have been always been present, even in today’s world. It is definitely hard to change and it is deeply rooted with culture, religions and status quo. Nevertheless, by treating belly dance and the belly dancer professionally and respectfully, the perceptions of people will be changed soon through knowledge and awareness. As a belly dancer, to be professional and respectful are the most important foundations to standing stable and going further in this career path.

 

Written by: Shi Xiaolong

MEDA Team Member 

Editor: Nilu Bakhshy 

 

Related articles:

Is belly dance indented to serve men?

http://www.shira.net/advice/lifestyle/servingmen.htm

Belly Dance Don’ts.

http://thebellydancetrainer.com/belly-dance-donts/

Bellydance Tips & Tricks!

There are generally two types of live shows:

  • Stage performances – dance is choreographed.
  • Interactive – freestyle dancing with audience interaction.

Belly dance is a unique style of dance because it is social – it allows you to dance close to the audience. As a dancer you can weave your way between tables and invite people to get up and dance with you. You can show off your moves and even ‘teach’ some to the audience so they can enjoy dancing with you.

Every type of dance performance is made up of three main components:

 

Dancer

  1. Expression - Show confidence, happiness and excitement on your face, NOT sadness, fear or shock that you’ve made a mistake.
    This is the most important component of a live performance. An attractive and inviting expression on the dancer’s face will affect and reflect on the mood of the audience.
    Remember, the audience is there to be entertained by you and to enjoy your dancing. They don’t want to be disappointed by a bored dancer.
    If you’ve made a mistake, don’t let it show on your face or in your body language. Most of the time the audience won’t even notice, especially if you’re freestyling. Laugh it off and they will laugh with you.
    Enjoy yourself. If the dancer does not enjoy her own dance, how can she expect the audience to enjoy watching it?
  2. Eye contact - Look at the audience, not the floor.
    The dancer must look at the audience and acknowledge them – you are dancing for them after all. Don’t look at the floor or up into the sky.
    If you are doing an interactive show, go up to the audience member, look them in the eye, and show off your moves.
    Go as close as you feel comfortable but not too close – belly dance is sensual and seductive, not sleazy!
    If the audience member is not giving you the reaction you want, just smile and move on to the next one.
  3. Variety - Don’t repeat the same movements over and over again.
    Repeating the same movement over and over again will bore the audience, and yourself. Put many different movements into your dance so that you allow the audience to be constantly surprised and entertained by your skills.
    Even if you have a sequence that combines different movements, don’t repeat the same sequence again and again. By the fifth time you do a hip drop-shimmy-undulation combination, the audience will have noticed and will be wondering if you know how to do anything else.
    Don’t be boring! Belly dance is exciting and celebratory, which is why the audience is there to watch you dance.
  4. Attention - Keep the audience’s attention and make sure everyone can see you.
    Remember, as soon as you are on the stage or out among the audience, people are watching you all the time. Dance for the audience – grab their attention and insist that it stays on you. Don’t dance internally and just for yourself; you are not the only person in the room!
    Just because you are not facing someone doesn’t mean they can’t see you. Keep in mind that you are being watched from every angle, especially if you are dancing interactively. You are performing on a 360o stage.

 

Music

  1. Knowledge - Listen to Middle Eastern and belly dance music. Listen to the different types of Middle Eastern and belly dance music that’s out there:
    • Arabic
    • Turkish
    • Persian
    • African

    Get familiar with the different types of music. This will help you figure out what kind of music you like best, and build your repertoire of songs.

  2. Choice - Choose the right kind of song to set the right mood.
    Always choose happy beats, unless of course you are doing a stage performance with a specific theme.
    For interactive shows, slow love songs, especially sad ones, are not good. Here, the audience wants happy social dancing, not a theatrical show.
  3. Familiarity - Know the music you’ve chosen and how to dance to it.
    There are always certain parts or beats in a song that fit certain movements (shimmy or hip drops, for example). Know the song so that you can use movements that match the beats. This way you won’t look out of sync with the music and the audience will be impressed.
    In interactive shows, an advantage of knowing the song is that you will know when it ends. You won’t be surprised and you’ll be able to build up to a great finish.
  4. Space - Match your music to the space you are dancing in.
    Know how long your songs are. In interactive dancing, if the space you are dancing in is small you may need to dance to only one song to cover the whole space. If the space is very big, you may need to dance three songs to cover the whole space until everyone has seen you.

 

Space

  1. Utilisation - Use all the space.
    Move around and use all the space you have.
    On a stage, don’t stay in the middle. Come to the front and acknowledge the audience, move to the left and right of the stage so that your dance doesn’t become static.
    In an interactive show, try to dance for every person there. Move and dance in between tables and people, and cover the whole space so that everyone has a chance to see you.
  2. Planning - Know where to enter and exit.
    Study your space and plan where the best place will be to make your entrance, and where you would like to be when you finish your dance. This works for both stage and interactive.
  3. Finishing - You can end your dance anywhere in the space.
    In an interactive show, don’t panic if the song is finished and you are in the middle of the space surrounded by people and tables. In this kind of show you can finish anywhere as long as it is where people can see you. Remember to smile and acknowledge the audience when you finish!

 

Do you need a belly to bellydance?

The frequently asked question in this industry is “Do you need a belly to bellydance?” What defines a healthy body is to first begin with the right state of mind. We as women have the social pressure of maintaining our appearance whether this be in school, university or the workplace environment. As the bellydance industry is growing gradually people have started to change their appearances due to hard criticism from the audience and clients. Well its true, if you are a professional dancer, we will laugh if you have said you have never got cristicsm whether it be your dance or your appearance. The key to this? Be true to yourself. At the end of the night these people are not going to care or be with you till day light comes. In MEDA we want you to reach a healthy body appearance as well as be true to yourself. Lets face it! There’s none like you in the world ;)

 

This topic is of serious concern because their are lots of problems such as anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorders that are heightening in malaysia that can cause problems to what girls perceive as beautiful. In psychology they say that we should take 5 small meals, three cups of green tea and four mental breaks in order to keep a healthy body and mind. Remember what you do is impacting younger girls looking up to you so do make sure to strive for a healthy body image according to BMI (body max index) you can find this out and maintain that weight and health.

Lets even bring to the forefront about scars, deformations and other physical problems. Let just put it out there – own it like —- Winnie Harlow (the model)! People will always judge especially when they first see you and thats a common fact that everyone goes though. So what do we do when people can’t keep their opinions to themselves?

Ignorance is bliss. 

Kindly smile and walk away with your head held high knowing that they are ugly for making such a comment and you are beautiful in any light even though they can’t necessarily see it.

On a lighter note we want to also thank this commentator for writing a beautiful testimony on our blog so we will post it here:

I’d like to thank you for the efforts you’ve
put in penning this site. I really hope to view the same
high-grade content from you later on as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has motivated me to get my own website now ;)

Shimming out -MEDA Team

 

Samba Bellydance! What??!!

Yes Ladies!

When Modern meets Traditional!

You heard right! Samba Bellydance!! Samba is from Brazil and Bellydance is from Persian, Egypt and Turkey also short for The Middle East! What better way than to infuse these two crazy hip shaking dance styles together? But do you want to know the secret behind all this? Can you keep a secret??

They both come from the legs! The legs are the secret behind the butt shaking! Who knew?? ;)

The reason why we bring this topic to our attention is because Mandy Bakhshy is starting to teach this in our advance class and it has become a great challenge but really attractive and colourful! She learned it from Marcela Valentim from Brazil, a great teacher who has left us! It’s really interesting how the traditional meets modern! It is not an easy fusion to master but “Everything is first difficult before it becomes easy” always remember that!

It is really lovely to share our knowledge of dance together in Malaysia. Learning from each other and growing. We need to in-still this in our community. It really feels like worlds are coming together. Especially in this picture below.

 

Are you a Pro?

This is a question that everyone asks, different people have different perceptions of what it takes to become a professional bellydancer and as a reader the first thing I would like you to do after you have read everything is to question this write-up and give your opinions and feedback. In MEDA we may have a different practice compared to other practice’s that link to this very question.

This can also be greatly attached to this question as well – What is Bellydance? According to Wikipeida: Belly dance or bellydance is a western-coined name for “solo, improvised dances based on torso articulation” originating from the Middle East.

The very first step every dancer must learn is improvisation or social dancing because that is part of the Middle Eastern Culture. It is about community building and joining together to celebrate and admire feminine beauty as a whole and that is one of the main factors.

What is the criteria of a professional bellydancer in MEDA?

I can easily say this: Facial Expression, Choreography, Costume, Posture, Hand Movements but that won’t cover the main criteria’s.

The most important is the knowledge of the dance. You must research continuously and also always ask your instructor what your learning about and what the story behind everything is? how did it come about? How do I give the Middle Eastern “flavour” inside my dance?

In Middle East dance, every style has a story background, to better express yourself in your dance – you must know what your dancing and how to project the emotions. This also heavily connects to culture, just as Indian dance has a story behind every look and hand movement, so does every style of the Middle East.

The Middle Eastern Flavour is very important in your dance – a great example is this one right here, Randa Kamel one of the famous Egyptian Dancers. As you watch the whole video, you can see that its not about choreography perfection. It’s the joyful expressions, the communication with her audience that makes her stand out.

Randa Kamal Bellydance Video

Another is creating a sisterhood environment in your class, whenever you step into a classroom you have to make yourself as a team with other students – you must help each other by taking constructive criticism no matter their dance level, every criticism is important for you – the very same type of people can be found in your audience when you perform, an audience doesn’t know anything yet they can judge if you’re good or not.

Same goes with a classroom – it does not differ who knows more but how you can improve and if what your saying is reasonable and is backed up by understanding – everyone should be heard in a classroom and you must not put people down in their dance purposely. Putting someone down in their dance is like killing their confidence as a student. As a student you must learn to also share your knowledge and bring up the confidence of your fellow dance partners – a classroom is a time to learn not to show who’s better this also heavily connects to group choreography.

Another point to know as bellydancer who wants to become better in your dance. When you look at youtube video’s what do you see? “A sea of similarity”. It’s like a copy after another copy. You as a dancer should never copy your instructor when your in an advance level. You should present your own style and flavour and even choreography, even as a group everything should be your own. You must learn to choreograph on your own – an important step from beginning to end – you must sit by yourself and brainstorm ideas and become creative, that is what makes it an art after all. Look at this way in the end everyone wants to see what you can do not what your instructor can do for you.

This is what you can do as a professional – you can be inspired by something and put it in your dance but make sure it’s not in your whole entire choreography.

These are the main things every professional dancer must think about – extemporisation, choreography – as a solo and as a troupe and taking constructive criticism.

Interview with MEDA Students

Have you ever thought of joining The Middle East Dance Academy (MEDA) but didn’t think you could do it? Have you ever had desires of joining Bellydance but always made excuses? Have you ever wondered what will Bellydance bring for you both internally and externally as a person? How does Bellydance benefit you in the long run? Well this time in our blog post you can get inside the experiences and feedback from our students. Here is what they’ve got to say:

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Miyako Uchiyama (Japan), Works at Tokio Marine 

Advance MEDA Student, Since June 2006 (7 years)

Why did you join MEDA?

Because I love Middle Eastern Dance and Music.

What was the best memory you’ve had since joining?

Ooooh … there are a lot but the best memory so far would be when I performed alone in Al-Amar for the first time because it was one of my ultimate goal to perform in one of the most famous Arabic Restaurants in Kuala Lumpur. Overall, every moment I’ve made in MEDA is still my best memories. When we perform as a group, when we practice as a group and chit chat during lunch time is what I will always cherish.

What was the scariest moment you’ve faced in this journey?

When Nanccy got mad in class during dance practice and argued with her two daughters. lol

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Malarvizy Perumal (Malaysia), Works as a Baker

Intermediate to Advance MEDA Student, Since Feb 2009 (4 years)

What can people expect when they join MEDA?

Great Teachers, Excellent Choreography, Support, Motivation, Sisterhood, Family, Fun, Variety, Opportunity, Sharing Knowledge & Ideas, Exposure and they never compromise the very Art of Belly Dancing!!

What has MEDA made you overcome?

MEDA has made me overcome certain percentage of my “Shyness” and that has given me self-confidence and they are not stopping until I am 100% out of it

What is your favorite Middle Eastern dance style and why?

MEDA has exposed me to many types of music because they made me understand that the style comes from the type of music you dance to and frankly I love them all because you get to do different things in different types of music

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Darlene Mirawaty (Indonesia), Mother of 4 kids

Intermediate to Advance MEDA Student, 1 year

What can people expect when they join MEDA? 

I think this really depends on the individual; it depends on how much you’re willing to invest as a student. From my experience, MEDA specializes in building community through quality dance instruction and performance opportunities.

What has MEDA made you overcome? 

Learning under MEDA has given me the opportunity to overcome my own shyness and build friendships with many lovely women. Bellydance instruction has also helped me in my journey towards a positive body image, and given me an art medium with which to spread my vision for redefining feminine health and beauty.

What is your favourite Middle Eastern dance style and why? 

Anything slow & smooth, or visually sharp. I’m not very good at shimmies or multiple/layered movements, so I love folk dances like Baba Karam & Bari Baakh. Actually, I love any of the folk dances that aren’t necessarily categorized as classic or modern ‘raqs sharqi’. My personal (albeit meager) dance background is in folk, so I prefer the ‘earthy’ cultural foundations of folk dance.

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 Valerie Tan (Malaysia), Account Executive

Advance MEDA Student, 1 year plus

What is the scariest moment you’ve faced in MEDA?

The scariest moment is the improvisation time. My mind is BLANK!!!

What was the best memory you’ve had since joining?

The best memory is performing in Hollywood Bellydance Hafla. The Hafla was amazing. I found that the event get all the MEDA members close to each other.

What advice would you give to your fellow new bellydance peers?

Belly dance maybe difficult but if we practice more, we also can dance better than we expect. Practice makes perfect!

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Nabella Malinka (Maldives), Works as a School Teacher

Beginner MEDA Student, 5 months

What can people expect when they join MEDA?

It has a fun, loving environment and great teachers.

What has MEDA made you overcome?

It has made me more aware of my posture and understand the importance of body language.

In your opinion what do you think it takes to become a professional bellydancer?

Lots of training and commitment as a student is crucial.

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Zunaira Sa (Malaysia), Currently studying her PhD 

Beginner MEDA Student, 10 months

What was the best memory you’ve had since joining?

The Hafla show at SEGI University Campus, where everyone was a family and everyone helped each other selflessly.

In your opinion what do you think it takes to become a professional bellydancer?

I think it takes time, effort, patience, hard work but also it takes someone that coaches you, to pay attention to you so you can become even better at it.

The Middle Eastern Touch

This write up is going to be based on “The Hollywood Bellydance Hafla 2013″ held in SEGI University, Multi-Purpose Hall Malaysia followed by Workshops by “Hanan Abboud and Mandy Bakhshy” held in The Middle East Dance Academy Studio.

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Picture as seen above is “The Opening Gambit Performance” done by 25 MEDA Students practicing since the month of January for this number, Choreographed by Nanccy Bakhshy.

The Hollywood Bellydance Hafla 2013 idea was created by Nilu Bakhshy, inspired by Makiko Kimura who introduced Hanan Abboud to her, she decided that this night should be about Middle Eastern Culture and the unity of Malaysian Bellydancers. Her idea evolved as she came across a friend and dance partner Fatin Abdul Malik. Nilu was searching for a Venue at the moment and without hesitation Fatin insisted we do it at SEGI University, Nilu thought it was a fantastic idea! Let’s just say it wasn’t as easy to get Dato’ Prof. Dr. Jamalaudin Mohaidin to accept our proposal at first, but after explaining to him that this night will be about “Middle Eastern Culture” he decided to pursue it as he thought it would be educational and follow the SEGI International Student Society’s tagline “Bringing Cultures Together”.

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Above is the token of appreciation given to The Middle East Dance Academy by SEGI International Student Society.

We would also like to add the people behind all the event details not including Nanccy, Nilu Bakhshy and the MEDA Students:

Major Dolly Head of Student Affairs

Paramartha Sanjjana SEGI International Student Society (SISS) President

Fatin Abdul Malik SEGI Student Society Member

Preety Kaur Decorations

Zameer Ameerden Poster and Flyers Designer

Not forgetting the SEGI Crew for all their help and efforts. Thank you very much.

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Above is the custom made costume worn by Mandy Bakhshy, Designed by Nabella Malinka, an MEDA sister and friend. You can also find more of her work in her facebook page “The Art of Nabura“.

We all were happy and anxious to make this night unforgettable so Nilu Bakhshy brought in everyone she could think of to help her. All teachers from different schools such as Nanccy Bakhshy from The Middle East Dance Academy, Sherlyn Koh from Sirocco Secrets, Brancy Nekavapil from BellyFusion, Aiza from Aiza’s Studio, Zoe Choomchor, May Tan and Chin Wei from Klang, Malaysia, Nurul Huda from Singapore, Kevy and Sophia, Anahita Dancers, Tribal Bellydancer Beatrice Flowers and much more. To Nilu’s delight they accepted her invitation and they truly worked hard on their part with all the annoying facebook messages she sent regularly everyday. haha She truly wants to thank them for their participation and helpful hands.

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So to continue our adventure, the Dato’ requested that this night should not only be about Bellydance so Nilu Bakhshy made sure every performer brought something new and fresh to the table. Not forgetting the added line up of performances and entertainment Mahdi Moudini “The Doctor of Magic”, TraxxFM Celebrity EMCEE “The Flying Singh“, DJ Derealshit (Ashish Khilnani), SEGI “L-O-L Crew” (Hip Hop Fusion), Mast Millennium Dancers (Bollywood) and much more. The line up involved so many different styles from The Middle East and here is to list a few, Raqs Sharki, Modern Bellydance, Fusion Bellydance (Hip Hop, Flamenco), Azeri from Azarbaijan (North of Iran), Baba Karam from Iran, Raks Assaya (Eygpt), Melaya (Alexandria, Eygpt), Fallahi, Tribal Bellydance and much more.

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The highlight performances that night was done by Hanan Abboud from Lebanon, flying all the way from Australia, Adelaide with Makiko Kimura from Japan just for that night. Following after is Mandy Bakhshy from Iran/Turkey doing a Candle and Double Cane Performance. Another one of the last minute added performances was The SEGI Singer Marissa Singing in Arabic, this lovely girl has previous experiences singing in Hebrew and other languages so the audience was really wowed by her voice. Marissa was not alone! Mandy Bakhshy and Azim Riaz from The Mast Millenium Dancers were also executing a theatrical emotive showcase together with her to better express the song she was singing.

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Above is a picture of Nabella Malinka – Mandy Bakhshy’s Custom made Costume Desginer for the Hafla.

There were about 400 guests that night and if you were there you would have noticed how truly academic this night was, the EMCEE was giving descriptions of each performance style to educate SEGI University Students about Bellydance and the misconception that we all have. Flyers and Booklets were on every table that night to explain briefly about Bellydance and Middle Eastern Dance, Bellydance is truly an ancient and spiritual art that should be enjoyed by everyone.

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As we go on, the preparations for this night was simply a difficult task but to Nilu’s surprise everything was imperfectly perfect, it was great for a first one and that was a satisfaction no price can be put on. Nilu wasn’t looking for perfection for this night, she is pursuing her Degree in Mass Communication, Majoring in PR and Event management, this was basically practice for her and she really enjoyed and learned so much from this rare opportunity her mother has bestowed upon her.

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Her mother, Nanccy Bakhshy was the one behind it all. Let’s just say without her mother she wouldn’t have had the strength to do this at all. Nilu Bakhshy has always looked up to her mother even at a small age and has always dreamed that she could be half the women she is, lets hope in that night she proved, just maybe, she could be. Nanccy Bakhshy is the Principal of The Middle East Dance Academy (MEDA) and the Manager and Main Choreographer for the MEDA Dancers. To read up more about her just check out our website or google her on articles about her previous achievements.

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To follow up with the great night we had our Hanan and Mandy Workshops. The workshops were held in the MEDA Studio and different styles were thought in those days, the one that really stood out the most was the Oum Kouloumthum by Hanan. It was heart felt and soul grabbing improvised choreography, so touching that 3 of our students came out in tears when she performed a private number for them after the workshop. It was only then did the students really understand the cheering of the Arabs that was done in the Hafla. Hanan style is very folkloric and cultural just like Nanccy Bakhshy’s styles, thats why alot of people have now proclaimed them as “The Long Lost Twins“. Her workshops were truly extra-ordinary because she could tell us the meanings behind the words, music and dance. She did a tremendous job in her short visit in Kuala Lumpur and she really enjoyed every moment as we did hers, hopefully we will be honoured to have her in our company once again in Malaysia in the near future.

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Some the quotes by people who attended the Hafla and Workshops:

“it was interesting. I like the lady from Aussie. Her dance was very artistic.”

– Andrea Mathew (Guest in the Hafla)

“Eye opening workshop with teacher Hanan”

– Gabrielle Hee (MEDA Student)

“Hanan & Mandana Workshop – 2 days 15 hours worth of absolutely awesome knowledge on Belly Dancing and meeting new people. I can’t express enough on the workshops but everything was well worth it. Hanan is “AMAZING” and her partner Makiko. Hanan she is like twin Nancy then comes Mandana who showed us you can do fusion but still keeping it real – she is very talented. Thank you so much Nancy and Nilu for giving me this opportunity to participate, feeding all of us and pushing me to the stage.”

– Malarvizy Perumal (MEDA Student)

“One of a kind of a show I attended today. People from near and far, aged from 3 years old to their oldies, all kinds of people from all kinds of nations that are different races. I learnt and experienced a whole new culture of belly dancing. Thank you and congratulations to you all for your efforts and dedication. I was amazed and enjoyed it. Hip HIp HOORAY! I hope another hafla night comes around the corner for those who missed out.”

– Shari Ann Dawson (SEGI Student Guest in the Hafla)

“The event was FAN-TAS-TIC !! I discovered how much inventive the various dancers were, each bringing something fresh and new. And it was quite fun with a lot of variety. Great evening indeed! Loved it !!!”

– Jean-Pierre Lantieri from France (Guest in the Hafla)

“It was a great great event! Well done!! Enjoyed the night and ALL the performances!”

– May Tan (Invited Performer)

All photography in this blog was done by Mahshid Kerdar

More pictures can be found HERE.

Official Hollywood Bellydance Hafla Flyer HERE.

Official Hollywood Bellydance Hafla Teaser HERE.

5 Do’s for MEDA RaksFit!

Hello Readers!

Interested in Raksfit? Here are 5 do’s for RaksFit to get you started!

 

1. Do wear fitted but comfortable (i.e. stretch material) clothing. It’s important to see & be aware of your own posture at all times in order to maximize your workout and protect your spine; a fitted exercise outfit will greatly help you in this way. I would recommend yoga or ‘gaucho’ pants and a tank-top for maximum comfort.

 

2. Do invest in a coined hip scarf. Belly dance is all about isolated movements, and a jiggling hip scarf will help to heighten your body awareness — particularly for those famous shimmies! Your hip scarf doesn’t have to be fancy to be effective. Whether you acquire one through MEDA Studio or elsewhere: a coined hip scarf should be part of your exercise outfit.

 

3. Do protect your back at all times. Even with amazing undulations, arches, and lifts a trained belly dancer will never relax her abdominal muscles; beautiful movement is all about core strength. To maintain proper posture: 1.) keep your abdominal muscles fired at all times and 2.) curve your pelvic bone slightly forward to protect your spine. It may take some time to train your body to move and stand this way, but your back will thank you for it!

 

4. Do move with intention. Professional belly dancers make their art look natural, fluid, and carefree because each isolated body movement has become an instinct to them. This will happen for you over time, but it all begins with careful and intentional movement. Above all, you do not want to risk injuring yourself by moving carelessly!

 

5. Do make a positive body image your long-term goal. Belly dance is for all female body shapes and sizes, and the art was created to enhance feminine beauty. Remember: in belly dance, youth is not glorified; instead, female sensuality is celebrated. With RaksFit you will not only whittle down inches and strengthen your core, but also learn to love your curves — whether generous or gentle — and use them to enhance your feminine beauty. So do take time to reshape your definition of health and beauty!

 

Redefine health and beauty with RaksFit @ MEDA.

Written by Darlene

What is Khaleegy?

This write up is going to be based on The Middle East Dance Academy Nanccy Bakhshy’s Advance Bellydance Class.

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In the months that are ahead of us, Nanccy Bakhshy will be teaching the MEDA Advance Class “Khaleegy” which stems from the Arabian and Persian Gulf Region. The three main parts that the Khaleegy Dance came from is Iran, Dubai and Saudi, there is many different styles from many different parts of the middle east and all of them have different clothing style and names for it. For example the persian style is better known as the “Bandari“.

This is a great link that further explains about Khaleegy. Click Here

Another link that is also helpful in your research. Click Here.

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Khaleegy Dance is all about the hair flip, the feet is similar to a “needle machine”, one leg is the needle and the other is a flat foot. Khaleegy is a village or tribe dance style most commonly done in a circle formation as well as on the knees. Usually performed in weddings or party ceremonies in the middle east. Bandari is the persian version of the Khaleegy dance style which involves more hand movements in them, the Bandari Dance came from Bandar Abbas which is located in the south of Iran. The roots are brought about from fishermen in the village areas from the Persian Gulf region.

Here is a great example of the Persian Khaleegy (Bandari) done by a famous Iranian choreographer Mohammad Khordadian.

Persian Khaleegy Video

Here is another video on Khaleegy Dance, as you can see it is better done in a group.

Group Khaleegy Dance Video

In our next post we will visit other dance styles from the Middle East.