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August 30, 2015


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george sawa

You and the Egyptians are right Yasmina in saying: "Every dance artist, teacher, musician I come in contact with in Egypt says the same thing; the dance is about the music and how to feel the music." There are two important issues here: 1) It is so crucial for dancers to understand and feel the music, and I have to thank you for the years you trusted me to teach music to dancers in your school; 2) The healing powers of music are outstanding, especially music that is married to tarab (my glossary has 495 entries on tarab alone), so it follows that dances performed to tarab music will have healing powers too. Thank you Yasmina for posting this blog.

Deborah Shaw

I understand Yasmina, I see so many postings on FB about the young dancers in competitions. I have never admitted to anyone that after the first 2 I don't watch them anymore. Not out of disrespect but because I often wonder do they actually want to do it, is it fun for them, do they enjoy it. I do read what people have written about haw great they are, wonderful technique, the costumes. But are they feeling the music, are they dancing because they must or because some parent has put a lot of money into their lessons and costumes. I feel the same way about young musicians. It is so easy to fall in line with what your parents want, the attention you are getting and the glamour but so hard to eventually say no and walk away. I worry that they are being exploited. When you see Egyptian children dancing it's not a show, or a competition, they are doing it for the fun and love of it. At least that is my take on it.

Atisheh / Irina

Thank you so much for this, Yasmina! The frustration you speak of is one a lot of people feel. And I also have that funny feeling when I see a child doing a polished and mechanical choreo.

I'd be interested to hear more about George Sawa's theories regarding healing music. I recently wrote an essay about how bellydance helped me get through postpartum depression (it will be published soon), and I only thought about the movement. I didn't think about the music at all!

Dahab Sahar

thank you!
this was also just the topic of the german bellydance magazin chorika (magazin of the german association for oriental dance on which I am a boardmember and editor).
thx for going into that discussion and I hope to get this in touch with all the young dancers who have still the opportunity to get into that dance while using the perfect technique and additionally living the spirit of womanhood which is the haert of our dance.

greets from Germany
Dahab Sahar

Victoria Lammers

Dear Yasmina,

Thank you so much for this heartfelt post. Many years ago when I started out, a musician said to me, "you are a good dancer, but you don't FEEL the music".

I really didn't understand that comment and I was rather hurt by it. Years later I understood and really appreciated his input. When I finally realized what he meant it was one of the biggest AHA moments of my life. It changed the way I danced and how I felt about the dance.

Keep doing what you do best, educating, bringing passion and deep respect to an art form as old as time.

With much love and respect
Victoria Lammers (Jamila)

Karen MacNaull

Oh thank you, Yasmina! I feel really badly for the young dancers learning today, they are being pulled and short changed by this particular emphasis placed on "belly dance" today.

I watch these posts of these slick or overly sexualized dances by little girls and I feel very sad.

I am a great believer in the healing power of the dance and have used the basics in a therapeutic manner. I firmly believe it is both the physical reconnection and proper mechanical movement of the body as well as the emotional aspects of the music and interpretation that has a healing effect on a person. Emotionally, the dancer has to make peace with his/her body and communicate internally as well. Many issues must be confronted in order to dance and dance well.

I have been very interested in pursuing this research but have faced significant health problems (heart) the last several years. I hope you inspire someone to pursue this line of inquiry.

Thank you for being the voice of reason.

Karen MacNaull

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