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  1. #1
    Official BHUZzer shashadance's Avatar
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    What is arabic dance?

    I am so confused.

    I am only able to tell apart Eygptian, turkish and lebanese dance form.

    Recently, someone told me that she prefers to do Arabic and it is her style. What is Arabic dance form? Does dancing to arabic song means it is an arabic dance form?

    Then, I came to notice that people started to classify costume as Turkish, Eygptian and Arabic. So what is Arabic costume?

    Please advise!


  2. #2
    Ultimate BHUZzer meissoun's Avatar
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    "Arabic" is about the same as saying "European".... Very unspecific because it can refer to a large area with 100 different dances.

    I never encountered "Arabic" as a classification for a specific dance style or costume.

    MEISSOUN


  3. #3
    Mega BHUZzer kashmir's Avatar
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    I suspect they meant Arabic in preference to Western ie without Western additions or attitude. So, the dancer expressing the music (as opposed to being the star), no veil, no fusion, no tribal, etc


  4. #4
    Official BHUZzer shashadance's Avatar
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    Meissoun & Kashmir,

    Thank you! I went on youtube to look for arabic belly dance or arab belly dance-- I ended up with a varity of eygptian, turkish and lebanese. Could Arabic be just a general term for middle east or oriental?

    Or are the dances just mis-labelled?


  5. #5
    tamrahennatx
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    Arabic is a general term for Middle East or Oriental. If a dancer describes herself as "Arabic" rather than Egyptian or Lebanese, perhaps it's because her style encompasses a little from both Egyptian and Lebanese style and includes Khaleeji and other regional dances...


  6. #6
    Established BHUZzer kahaz's Avatar
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    I don't generally enjoy sticking names onto things; I get frustrated with al the discussions on-for instance-is it, Tribal, Tribal fusion, Tribaret, Cabaret, Egyptian influenced Am Cab et.

    However, when W got off a plane in Pakistan and referred to it as "an Arab democracy" I damn near lost it! ARGHHHHH!

    So, I object to "Arabic" as a general term for Middle East. Turks, Iranis, Israelis are NOT Arabic, but are certainly Middle Easterners.

    An aside addressing the original question: when I hear people say "Arabic" style, they generally seem to mean Egyptian and/or Lebanese but NOT Egyptian Cabaret. Which puts us back to my first comment.

    BTW, what is this supposed to be?..cr.:

    Kitty


  7. #7
    Master BHUZzer shems's Avatar
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    I've used the words Arabic, pan-Arabic, Arabic-American to describe the style of dancing I do. I use this language because I mix Egyptian, Lebanese, Gulf and North African dance vocabulary in my dancing, particularly Egyptian and Lebanese. But I don't feel I'm enough of one or the other to say I dance in a pure Egyptian style or a pure Lebanese style. I actually do integrate some of my American Jazz influence and Vintage Oriental (AmCab) style into my dancing as well. And I sometimes do, when appropriate, a little Turkish style (well a somewhat Arabic influenced Turkish style, sometimes I jokingly refer to my Turkish style as Araburkish or Turkabic.)

    In general it's often difficult to put an accurate label on things, but I feel that it's important to articulate what it is that you do, particularly if you are a professional and you want to represent yourself accurately to your clients or even just to help any audience that might see you get an idea of what they are seeing and where it's from.
    Last edited by shems; 11-11-2007 at 10:09 AM.


  8. #8
    tamrahennatx
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    Shems, that's exactly how I describe my own dancing (without the Turkish, as I don't have any experience with it).


  9. #9
    Mega BHUZzer elljay's Avatar
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    I'm in a pedantic mood today.

    "Arabic" is a language - I don't really see the term as an indicator of any type of geographical or cultural reference, or dance style. Technically.


  10. #10
    kamilia
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    There is a group of people called Arabs, so technically, you can use the term to refer to their culture, too.


  11. #11
    Master BHUZzer Monica's Avatar
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    Arabic is a language.
    Arab is a noun and and adjective.
    Arabian is the peninsula (and the horse, not the people!).


  12. #12
    Master BHUZzer shems's Avatar
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    I think of "Arabic" as being a linguistic, cultural and regional designation. There is the Arabic language. There are Arabic people. There are Arabic countries.

    To expand on that I think it's reasonable to define dances from Arabic countries, done by Arabic people who speak the Arabic language as Arabic dances. And if you do some combination of those dances from multiple Arabic regions and peoples, you can be considered an Arabic style dancer.

    Eh, well, labels like this are just meant to help inform. That way somebody can see that label and can reasonably expect to see a certain range of dance vocabulary, music and feeling which is Arabic and not American Tribal or Greek or Turkish or otherwise.

    When it comes right down to it, most of the famous belly dancers in the Middle East put on a sort of pan-Arabic show (or even pan-Middle Eastern in some cases) to add variety to their shows and cater to their audiences. That's why you see Lebanese dancers doing meleya and Egyptian dancers doing Khaliji and Turkish dancers attempting to do assaya as a part of their Oriental shows.

    As an American, I don't have the birth certificate to designate my style in it's diversity so I like to say, pan-Arabic or Arabic-American or sometimes Turkabic, depending on the show I do.

    Hi fellow pan-Arabic-American style dancer Tamrahenna. How many other dancers out there describe their style of dance this way as well? I'm curious... I'm sending a shout out! Represent, represent...


  13. #13
    Master BHUZzer shems's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monica View Post
    Arabic is a language.
    Arab is a noun and and adjective.
    Arabian is the peninsula (and the horse, not the people!).

    okay, I get it now. So what your saying is we really should be calling it Arab style dancing, not Arabic style dancing, right?

    I looked it up in the dictionary, "Arabic" can be used as an adjective too:

    Ar·a·bic (ār'ə-bĭk) Pronunciation Key
    adj. Of or relating to Arabia, the Arabs, their language, or their culture.

    arabic - Definitions from Dictionary.com

    I think we're doing alright with our usage.
    Last edited by shems; 11-11-2007 at 02:28 PM.


  14. #14
    Ultimate BHUZzer laura 2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shems View Post
    Hi fellow pan-Arabic-American style dancer Tamrahenna. How many other dancers out there describe their style of dance this way as well? I'm curious... I'm sending a shout out! Represent, represent...
    I really should, because it describes my style very well. I'm just afraid no one will know what the heck I'm talking about. And I worry that if I use the phrase "Arabic-American" to descibe my style, it might be miscontrued that I am claiming some kind of Arab-American heratage.


  15. #15
    Master BHUZzer shems's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by laura 2 View Post
    I really should, because it describes my style very well. I'm just afraid no one will know what the heck I'm talking about. And I worry that if I use the phrase "Arabic-American" to descibe my style, it might be miscontrued that I am claiming some kind of Arab-American heratage.
    I wouldn't worry too much, to the GP you are just a "belly dancer". Succinct style designations like this are really only useful among the dance community. For everybody else you have to spell it out a little more descriptively in a bio or something.


  16. #16
    Master BHUZzer Monica's Avatar
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    I agree in American English usage that the terms 'Arab' and 'Arabic' are used interchangeably when used as an adjective (though I know people who have alternated between being offended and amused at being called Arabian). I do believe that in terms of grammar what I wrote above is accurate. But I am more interested in being a (mostly lay-)linguist than a grammarian, so usage is extra important to me. :)

    All that said--I have been known to call my own style and dance interests pan-Arab as well! One of my early teachers used this term and it fit.

    My only (personal) quibble there is that Arab and Middle East are not interchangeable terms (as in all Middle Easterners are not Arab). So I like Middle Eastern non-Arab stuff, too. :)

    Generally I say Middle Eastern and North African dance (or Middle Eastern Belly Dance). It is really hard as the terms are cultural but also occasionally political and (multi-)national. I strive for accuracy in representation, and try for something that implies my main influences are from 'over there' while not denying that I am from 'over here'!


  17. #17
    Mega BHUZzer kashmir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elljay View Post
    I'm in a pedantic mood today.

    "Arabic" is a language - I don't really see the term as an indicator of any type of geographical or cultural reference, or dance style. Technically.
    My dictionary gives the first definition as the language; the second definition is an adjective referring to the language, Arabs or Arabia. So yes, "Arabic" can refer to dancing - as in dancing in the style of Arab people.


  18. #18
    Mega BHUZzer elljay's Avatar
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    Arabia is the Arabian peninsula - Kuwait, Quatar, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, etc. So I couldn't really call Raks Sharqi "Arabian" - Egypt is not part of Arabia. Nor is Turkey. Nor is Lebanon. Neither Turks nor Lebanese speak Arabic.

    I suppose if one defines an "Arab" as someone who speaks Arabic, then Egypt qualifies - but many Africans also speak Arabic, and there are many Asian countries where Arabic is spoken as well. And their dances are totally different. By the same token, (Wikipedia and my other encyclopedias are getting a lot of use today!) many Egyptians don't identify themselves as Arabic or Egypt as an Arab nation.

    I'm not trying to be argumentative, this is all really good learning for me -I've never really thought about this before! I'm not trying to be knit-picky, just trying to sort it out for myself.

    Going back to the original post, if someone told me they do "Arabic" dance, my first though would be of Saudi style Khaleegy. I'm really curious to know what she meant too!


  19. #19
    tamrahennatx
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    Elljay, what would you call it? Middle Eastern?

    Honestly, this is why I call myself a belly dancer. Most people (including Americans, Arabs of all persuasions, Egyptians, Persians, Turks, Indians, and Greeks) understand what is meant by this term.


  20. #20
    Ultimate BHUZzer *Shira*'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elljay View Post
    Neither Turks nor Lebanese speak Arabic.
    The Lebanese community that lives around here speaks Arabic.


  21. #21
    Mega BHUZzer kashmir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elljay View Post
    Arabia is the Arabian peninsula - Kuwait, Quatar, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, etc. So I couldn't really call Raks Sharqi "Arabian" - Egypt is not part of Arabia. Nor is Turkey. Nor is Lebanon. Neither Turks nor Lebanese speak Arabic.

    I suppose if one defines an "Arab" as someone who speaks Arabic, then Egypt qualifies - but many Africans also speak Arabic, and there are many Asian countries where Arabic is spoken as well. And their dances are totally different. By the same token, (Wikipedia and my other encyclopedias are getting a lot of use today!) many Egyptians don't identify themselves as Arabic or Egypt as an Arab nation.

    I'm not trying to be argumentative, this is all really good learning for me -I've never really thought about this before! I'm not trying to be knit-picky, just trying to sort it out for myself.

    Going back to the original post, if someone told me they do "Arabic" dance, my first though would be of Saudi style Khaleegy. I'm really curious to know what she meant too!
    The Arab World includes North Africa as well as the Arabic Penisula (there's a map on Arab world) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. According to Wikipedia "It consists of 23 countries and territories with a combined population of some 325 million people spanning two continents." The link is basically the language.

    However, I agree that most Egyptians are adamant that they are not "Arabs". But I disagree that Lebanese don't speak Arabic!


  22. #22
    Advanced BHUZzer habibiyaeini's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elljay View Post
    Neither Turks nor Lebanese speak Arabic.

    Just curious, if Lebanese people dont speak Arabic, what language do they speak?..c::


  23. #23
    Mega BHUZzer jessedan's Avatar
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    Lebanese DO speak arabic. There are certain words that are "Lebanese" but it's not a different language called Lebanese. It's Lebanese Arabic, for example a Leb and an Egyptian can understand each other quite well though their dialects are somewhat different.


    Regards
    Priscilla


    Quote Originally Posted by habibiyaeini View Post
    Just curious, if Lebanese people dont speak Arabic, what language do they speak?..c::


  24. #24
    Master BHUZzer Monica's Avatar
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    Some random tidbits to add

    I think you can argue that politically a country being 'Arab' is one thing, and that pan-Arabism is a complex historical political affiliation of a group of nation states (a grouping that was historically secular in focus, interestingly). For some individuals in member countries that affiliation will be important and positive personally, for others not so much.

    One of the more interesting conversations I have had was with a group of Egyptians and Lebanese who said they would never have been called 'Arab' or called themselves Arab until they immigrated to the US!

    Also the newspaper headlines in Egypt often comment on things like "the Arabs are coming" in regard to summer tourists from the Gulf countries.

    Finally, many of my more liberal Egyptian friends lament the Arabization of their country (meaning the Wahhabi and Saudi influence).


  25. #25
    Mega BHUZzer jessedan's Avatar
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    I have found that it's usually the Maronites who insist that they are "Phoenician" and not arabs. They also maintain that what they speak is called Lebanese and not arabic. Maronites feel that this somehow sets them apart from Lebanese muslims, who they consider to be arabs. This isn't meant as any sort of criticism towards Lebanese Maronites (my grandma was one) but they're usually the ones who balk at being called arabs.

    Edited to Add: Interestingly, in most of latin America, Syrians, Lebanese and Palestinians are incorrectly called "turks" This is because when many of them emigrated during the last century, their I.D. papers and documents were Turkish...due to the Ottoman occupation of these three countries.

    Regards
    Priscilla


    Quote Originally Posted by Monica View Post
    One of the more interesting conversations I have had was with a group of Egyptians and Lebanese who said they would never have been called 'Arab' or called themselves Arab until they immigrated to the US!
    Last edited by jessedan; 11-11-2007 at 06:57 PM.


  26. #26
    Master BHUZzer casbahdance's Avatar
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    We have something out here on the West Coast (and perhaps other places in the US) called "Old Style Arabic" -- it's essentially the dance style often seen in the US beginning in the 1960s or so . . . its other name is AmCab.

    "Old Style Arabic" will mix music from Turkey, Greece, Egypt, Lebanon, Armenia, Iran -- you name it, we'll use it -- together in one set; finger cymbals are played to meters such as 2/4, 4/4, 6/8 and 9/8; veil is used, as is sword; floor work is common.

    Deborah


  27. #27
    Established BHUZzer Elviza Isis's Avatar
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    My Palestinian and Jordanian friends call the people Arabs and the music Arabic (and the dancers belly dancers).


  28. #28
    Advanced BHUZzer NandaDncer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elljay View Post
    By the same token, many Egyptians don't identify themselves as Arabic or Egypt as an Arab nation.
    So true. I once unwittingly offended a family friend by calling him Arab, to which he responded "I'm not an Arab, I'm Egyptian!" ..l;,

    Egyptian culture 101: Egyptians are very proud of being Egyptian!


  29. #29
    Official BHUZzer shashadance's Avatar
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    Wow... my Q had turned into a history-geography-language lesson. Thanks for all your input!

    My confusion started cause I always had the impression that Arab is a very conservative community with women covering their faces. If so, how do you find Arabs doing bellydance then? How does the term arabic style then evolve?

    Then, I was further confused when they started classifying costumes as "arabic costume"-- how does an arabic costume look like?


  30. #30
    Ultimate BHUZzer laura 2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shashadance View Post
    My confusion started cause I always had the impression that Arab is a very conservative community with women covering their faces. If so, how do you find Arabs doing bellydance then? How does the term arabic style then evolve?
    Check out this great thread, started by Lauren. "Arabs" do not all hold the same customs and belief set.

    http://www.bhuz.com/forum/rest-belly...radiction.html


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