THE BELEDI FORM OF AUTHENTIC EGYPTIAN BELLY DANCE

Egyptian belly-dance was originally, called 'Beledi', which translates as `native dance'. Some of the oldest hieroglyphics in the great pyramids of Egypt, dating as far as 3000 BC, portray women In traditional. Beledi poses. The Egyptians created the dance form, and surrounding countires like Greece and Sicily adopted it. The original belly-dance was highly organised, combining hip, shoulder and walking movements. The `tummy rolls' were added the Turks, while the Arabs added the 'shimmy'. The Greeks contributed the zills, the finger cymbals that belly dancers use. Since its inception, belly-dance has been linked with Middle Eastern music - It's virtually Impossible to perform without it! Some of the traditional Instruments that create this hypnotic sound are the 'def', an Egyptian tambourine, the 'kemanche', a three-stringed violin, the 'tabla' or 'dumbeki', a conical drum, and the 'bazooki', a Greek stringed instrument. Unlike other dance forms, the belly-dancer does not dance on the beat, but rather just behind it to accentuate the rhythm.

  The Beledi form of belly dance is divided into four basic classes: Abdomen (belly rolls and flutters); Lower abdomen (hip jerks, figure eights and circles); Isolations (rib cage movements and head cracking); and Poses (stance, arching, arm positions and turning). A dance sequence combines many different elements from these four classes. Each position or pose is an Egyptian archetype and must be kept pure in style and form. Arching or bending backwards is the most important ingredient. Although it takes time to learn, small degrees of arching are possible an the first attempt. Perhaps the most spectacular movement is the hip left, which is nearly always executed in pairs or triplets.
The basic movement is the hip circle and the hip figure-eight, both of which usually produce a mesmerising effect on those watching. A great belly-dancer will usually perform a floor mount towards the end of her dance. This is executed In two stages, starting from an arch, then leaning backwards to reach the floor. As an art-form, Beledi is technically described as 'Arabesque', from the French ballet meaning 'bent-legged position'. A belly-dancer will ride her heels at times, then mount her toes, but the back leg is nearly always hidden and/or bent, either in costume or 'Arabesque'. The hips are the centre of gravity, not the navel, and hip circles and figure-eights are made by tipping the body weight, using the outstretched arms for balance. More than any other dance form, Beledi uses weight manipulation - little muscle strength is required. When a dancer has a fall grasp of the basics of Beledi, her costume will be the next consideration. Styles have remained the same through time: there is the bikini style, with bra and a full skirt attached to a belt; the full dress, usually sequined; the ethnic 'bathrobe', or Aba; and the well-known `harem pants'. All the costumes should be accessoried with plenty of veils and coins or seqeins, while zills should be used to heighted the mood of the dance.

About the video

The Enchanted dance is a film about Egyptian BellyDance, in two parts, essentially a learn to Belly Dance video, running time is 90 minutes and it is available on NTSC VHS (USA version) & PAL VHS (Australian version). A soundtrack accompanies the video and a small leaflet on Costume Design comes with the video as well.

About the Dancer

Estelle is a highly experienced Belly Dancer from Australia, who studied many different versions of the dance, she has danced in seven countries, and has appeared on many television shows, from The Midday Show in Sydney to The Beat Takashi show in Japan, she has also appeared in feature films and danced on the some of the best stages in the world today.

Health & Fitness

Egyptian belly-dance is one of the best ways to loose weight and attain a high degree of health and fitness without straining the body. It may look as though only the lower half of the body is getting a workout, but in fact the whole body and internal organs all benefit. Estelle says this massaging of internal organs has a rejuvenating effect, increasing the secretion of hormones, expelling toxins and helping to replace dead cells. Belly dancing utilises body fat faster than any other execise.

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