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  1. #1
    Master BHUZzer aziyade's Avatar
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    How do you know if you're Lebanese ?

    Lebanese Style, that is. :)

    I'm becoming increasingly suspicious that the style I started learning, and maybe the style that is drawing my interest is what people keep calling "Lebanese style." I watched Aradia's dvd last night and contemplated this.

    Whenever we mention Lebanese style, the names Amani and Nadia Gamal come up -- and of course people say "oh they did their own thing; they're not really typical of Lebanese style." And then Dani Boustrous comes up, and footage of her is next to nonexistent.

    So who exactly is doing this "Lebanese style" dance, that I can compare what I've learned with?

    And apart from somewhat sweeping generalizations like "they dance in heels. their movements are bigger than Egyptian dancers" -- what can be said to typify Lebanese style? I KNOW we discussed this on the old Bhuz, but I have no links.

    ALSO -- musically, what is Lebanese style belly dance danced to? Who's the Mohammed Abdel Wahab for Lebanese? I would think available Lebanese dance music has to be more than just debke and Emad Sayah's compositions. ..

    If I just get Meissoun's dvd will that answer all these questions? :)


  2. #2
    Ultimate BHUZzer *Shira*'s Avatar
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    Re: How do you know if you're Lebanese ?

    Suha Azar comes to mind as a Lebanese dancer, but I don't know whether there is performance footage of her.

    I've been told that a number of the "Cocktail" videos sold by Pe-Ko feature Lebanese dancers, but I haven't watched any of them.


  3. #3
    Master BHUZzer Michelle75's Avatar
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    Re: How do you know if you're Lebanese ?

    What I have noticed when watching Lebanese dancers is alot of fast spins and large than life arms and the hip movements are more crisp than egyptian.

    I just heart Lebanese Dina Jamal:
    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9K3tOXG7Gos&feature=related"]YouTube - Lebanese Belly Dance - Dina Jamal[/ame]
    Last edited by Michelle75; 02-27-2008 at 01:19 PM.


  4. #4
    Ultimate BHUZzer latriamou's Avatar
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    Re: How do you know if you're Lebanese ?

    Lotus Niraja needs to weigh in on this thread, she teaches workshops on lebanese style and may be able to lend some additional information


  5. #5
    Master BHUZzer norma's Avatar
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    Re: How do you know if you're Lebanese ?

    There are tons of Lebanese dancers out there. The most famous are Amani, Nadia Gamal, Dani Boutrous, Samara, Wayda Hashim. The cocktail series features these dancers and many more.

    The more modern ones you can see in the Al Bab ya Shabab series.

    https://www.dahlal.com/default.aspx?...4&s1=1201&s2=0

    A good example of live Lebanese music is Belly Dance Nightclub.

    Basically Lebanese dancers dance to Lebanese music which tends to be faster than Egptian music. They wear high heels, they shimmy a lot more, there hands and arms tend to be not quite so graceful. In fact the wearing of heels tends to make them not as graceful.


  6. #6
    Advanced BHUZzer aamel_MirahAmmal's Avatar
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    Re: How do you know if you're Lebanese ?

    I have to admit...the title of this thread both intrigued and slightly worried me. I wondered if I was in for a geneology question/commentary (Hey! I have a little "so just what the heck was 'the old country' to grandpa, anyway?" action on in my family history, so I could see it....) or some kind of bad ethnic joke ("You might be Lebanese if....")

    I think several of the others have provided some really good responses...from what I've seen/noticed, yes--faster, maybe more shimmy, a little stiffer/tighter or at least less "relaxed" sometimes (perhaps because of the heels in part).... But these are broad generalizations. At one point, I'd have said the Lebanese dancers look more like they have western influence (like ballet etc.) but I don't know if that's as clear now (if you watch Dina or especially Randa). There's also a...more externally-focused quality in some of their movements (no matter what body part is moving, in Egyptian the energy flow seems to drive more from the body's core and the earth--less from the hips or extremities whereas Lebanese seems to be more pinging back and forth and all around the body...if that makes sense...I don't feel like I'm describing that well at all and will probably inadvertently twirk off some Lebanese-style dancer who misunderstands what I mean.... )


  7. #7
    Official BHUZzer Shaunte's Avatar
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    Re: How do you know if you're Lebanese ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michelle75 View Post
    What I have noticed when watching Lebanese dancers is alot of fast spins and large than life arms and the hip movements are more crisp than egyptian.

    I just heart Lebanese Dina Jamal:
    YouTube - Lebanese Belly Dance - Dina Jamal
    Dina Jamal is such a fabulous dancer, and after Lotus Niraja of course..g.: , she is my favorite Lebanese style dancer.

    Lebanese style is very exciting to watch. IMO (and this is only my opinion) whereas Egyptian style has beledi roots and feel to it (even in Oriental), I have always sensed a Latin vibe or influence in Lebanese style.....
    Last edited by Shaunte; 02-27-2008 at 03:21 PM.


  8. #8
    tamrahennatx
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    Re: How do you know if you're Lebanese ?

    I recently taught an intro to Lebanese Style Dance workshop, and as a teaching aid I compiled a list of Lebanese dance clips from youtube. Here's the link:

    YouTube - Broadcast Yourself.

    Honestly, if you don't understand what Lebanese style is, you may have tendencies towards a non-Egyptian interpretation of the music, but without studying the style and getting to understand it, you won't have a typically Lebanese feeling to your dancing either.


  9. #9
    Official BHUZzer Shaunte's Avatar
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    Re: How do you know if you're Lebanese ?

    Quote Originally Posted by aamel_MirahAmmal View Post
    IThere's also a...more externally-focused quality in some of their movements (no matter what body part is moving, in Egyptian the energy flow seems to drive more from the body's core and the earth--less from the hips or extremities whereas Lebanese seems to be more pinging back and forth and all around the body...if that makes sense...I don't feel like I'm describing that well at all and will probably inadvertently twirk off some Lebanese-style dancer who misunderstands what I mean.... )
    I was actually thinking something very close to this as well, but I could be wrong. I've seen a few Egyptian dancers perform and thought to myself that you couldn't truly appreciate how amazing that performance was unless you understood Egyptian style-Dandash comes to mind. Of course, Dandash is one end of the spectrum in Egyptian dance, but I thought it was a good example. She's a very internal dancer, and I could watch her all day. In all honesty, I don't know if I could say that before I knew anything about Egyptian dance. But with Lebanese style, many of the movements seem very animated, exciting, and you don't necessarily need to know a lot about the dance to really enjoy it


  10. #10
    Ultimate BHUZzer meissoun's Avatar
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    Re: How do you know if you're Lebanese ?

    So what if Nadia Gamal was not born in Lebanon and even to European parents.
    She is still THE dance icon in Lebanon and many dancers see her as their inspiration. Watch a young Amani... Even if she didn't take classes from Nadia and was only shortly in her folklore group, her early style reminds a lot of Nadia.

    Another famous "Lebanese" dancer is Samara from Iraq.

    Lebanon is a tiny country that has lived with outside influences through the millennia. And successful Lebanese dancers often work in other countries of the region too.

    So I would not limit "Lebanese style" to dancers born in Lebanon from Lebanese heritage and dancing in Lebanon only.

    And of course my DVD will answer your questions ..l;, At least some of them.

    Music: Sooooo many Lebanese dancers I have seen performed to Set El Hosn, you'd think it's like THE one piece everybody has to use. No matter if it was written for Nagwa Fuad.
    I admit, I don't hear the nuances because I was not musically trained enough but I have been told that Lebanese musicians will play an Egyptian piece slightly diffent.
    And of course you can never go wrong with Setrak!

    As for Suha: She told me personally (and proudly) that her style is "old fashion" raqs sharqi. So it's not what has been recently performed as Lebanese style (unfortunately I didn't have the chance to watch her dance, so I can't say any more).

    OK, so that's it for the moment, gotta sleep....

    MEISSOUN


  11. #11
    Master BHUZzer aziyade's Avatar
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    Re: How do you know if you're Lebanese ?

    LOVE these replies -- THANK YOU!!

    Let's see -- specific things:

    Cocktail videos -- I have several. I'll check these out more closely. Thanks Shira!

    Al Bab Ya Shabab -- um, would I get lynched if I said I wasn't all that into some of these dancers? They seem not quite ... well, just not quite what I expected. Are there a few who maybe aren't up to par, or am I just missing out on understanding Lebanese style?

    Tamrahenna -- thanks for the youtube list. I'm checking it out.

    I know around this area there was (supposedly) a teacher actually FROM Lebanon (Or Jordan. Or Syria -- depending on who you ask) so if she really WAS, then maybe that influenced the teachers around here. But that would have been in the 1970s.

    I do know the Lebanese college kids have made a point of "correcting" the way I dance -- the hip lift is more of a lifted twist, and the drop is less a drop than a twist and sit (if that makes ANY sense.)

    As for BEING a Lebanese style dancer, I know I'm not -- at least not yet, but I'm wondering if I had the beginnings of it. I'm still way more drawn to old Turkish music to ever abandon hopes of being Turkish Style :) but I had never really looked into Lebanese style that much since in my head it translated into "debke," which was fine, but not my favorite music. NOw I'm wondering if I dismissed it too quickly.

    Mirah and Shaunte -- that "external focus" description makes sense. Thanks!
    Last edited by aziyade; 02-27-2008 at 03:38 PM.


  12. #12
    tamrahennatx
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    Re: How do you know if you're Lebanese ?

    Quote Originally Posted by aziyade View Post
    LOVE these replies -- THANK YOU!!

    Let's see -- specific things:

    Cocktail videos -- I have several. I'll check these out more closely. Thanks Shira!

    Al Bab Ya Shabab -- um, would I get lynched if I said I wasn't all that into some of these dancers? They seem not quite ... well, just not quite what I expected. Are there a few who maybe aren't up to par, or am I just missing out on understanding Lebanese style?

    Tamrahenna -- thanks for the youtube list. I'm checking it out.

    I know around this area there was (supposedly) a teacher actually FROM Lebanon (Or Jordan. Or Syria -- depending on who you ask) so if she really WAS, then maybe that influenced the teachers around here. But that would have been in the 1970s.

    I do know the Lebanese college kids have made a point of "correcting" the way I dance -- the hip lift is more of a lifted twist, and the drop is less a drop than a twist and sit (if that makes ANY sense.)

    As for BEING a Lebanese style dancer, I know I'm not -- at least not yet, but I'm wondering if I had the beginnings of it. I'm still way more drawn to old Turkish music to ever abandon hopes of being Turkish Style :) but I had never really looked into Lebanese style that much since in my head it translated into "debke," which was fine, but not my favorite music. NOw I'm wondering if I dismissed it too quickly.

    Mirah and Shaunte -- that "external focus" description makes sense. Thanks!
    You're welcome - some of these dancers are from Al Bab Ya Shabab - you have to know which dancers are good - some of them really suck, frankly, but there are a few gems, one of which is Dina Jamal, another of which is Maya Abi Saad.

    You are also right on about the hip twist/hip drop - it is very much twisted and not straight up and down.

    My personal style is very Lebanese-influenced, and I can do straight Lebanese performances, but I also have an Egyptian influence and a Western accent, so the combination, hopefully, is my own individual style.

    Don't underestimate the influence of the debke on Lebanese-style dancing! As much as Egyptian folkloric is steeped in Saidi, Lebanese has elements of debke in the folkloric sections of their performances.


  13. #13
    Ultimate BHUZzer latriamou's Avatar
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    Re: How do you know if you're Lebanese ?

    Quote Originally Posted by norma View Post
    They wear high heels, they shimmy a lot more, there hands and arms tend to be not quite so graceful. In fact the wearing of heels tends to make them not as graceful.
    why would wearing heels affect their gracefulness? dancers of other styles: ballroom, etc wear high heels and their gracefulness amazes me

    not accusing, just curious as to where the conclusion came from.


  14. #14
    Official BHUZzer akashablue's Avatar
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    Re: How do you know if you're Lebanese ?

    Thank you for that link!!!

    tamrahennatx, since you taught the intro to Lebanese Style workshop and that's mostly your style, I wanted to ask you if you thought the Brazilian belly dancer Warda's style was Lebanese style. It seems that way to me, maybe a little bit, but just wondering :)

    I enjoy watching her performances especially her drum solo!!!

    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0tz62qVoYRk]YouTube - WARDA brazilian belly dancer[/ame]

    Quote Originally Posted by tamrahennatx View Post
    I recently taught an intro to Lebanese Style Dance workshop, and as a teaching aid I compiled a list of Lebanese dance clips from youtube. Here's the link:

    YouTube - Broadcast Yourself.

    Honestly, if you don't understand what Lebanese style is, you may have tendencies towards a non-Egyptian interpretation of the music, but without studying the style and getting to understand it, you won't have a typically Lebanese feeling to your dancing either.


  15. #15
    Master BHUZzer aziyade's Avatar
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    Re: How do you know if you're Lebanese ?

    Quote Originally Posted by meissoun View Post
    So what if Nadia Gamal was not born in Lebanon and even to European parents.
    She is still THE dance icon in Lebanon and many dancers see her as their inspiration. Watch a young Amani... Even if she didn't take classes from Nadia and was only shortly in her folklore group, her early style reminds a lot of Nadia.
    I don't think it has anything to do with where she was born -- I think the usual criticism is that she's not "typical" of the Lebanese style. I can't comment on the matter. But Amani is also referred to as "not typical."

    I'm not wanting to limit "Lebanese dance" based on geography, but rather a kind of generally accepted "oh this is super typical for Lebanese dancers." But you're the expert!! Don't YOU get to decide where the limitations should be :) I will get your dvd, btw. Thank you!


  16. #16
    tamrahennatx
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    Re: How do you know if you're Lebanese ?

    Quote Originally Posted by akashablue View Post
    Thank you for that link!!!

    tamrahennatx, since you taught the intro to Lebanese Style workshop and that's mostly your style, I wanted to ask you if you thought the Brazilian belly dancer Warda's style was Lebanese style. It seems that way to me, maybe a little bit, but just wondering :)

    I enjoy watching her performances especially her drum solo!!!

    YouTube - WARDA brazilian belly dancer
    Yes, I'd call her style Lebanese, from what I watched (I'm at work and only watched a couple minutes).


  17. #17
    Master BHUZzer norma's Avatar
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    Re: How do you know if you're Lebanese ?

    Most of those Al Bab Shabbab dancers aren't up to par. And they all look like they trained from the same person. There are a couple of girls who are okay. I heard that show was some sort of game show or something like that. Many of the clips from those videos are up on youtube.

    I have an old video of Lebanese dancers and one of them is of Amani. I thought for years she WAS Nadia Gamal. Her style and looks have really changed over the years.


  18. #18
    Master BHUZzer shems's Avatar
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    Re: How do you know if you're Lebanese ?

    This is an old clip of a Lebanese dancer.

    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ne8tIUkuo4o&feature=PlayList&p=B321478B37F B2794&index=13]YouTube - Classical Lebanese Belly Dance[/ame]

    I thought she belonged here on this thread.
    Last edited by shems; 02-27-2008 at 04:30 PM.


  19. #19
    Master BHUZzer shems's Avatar
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    Re: How do you know if you're Lebanese ?

    Seriously though, if you see some dance vocabulary you like from Lebanese dancers you should go ahead and learn it and use it. I know we like to name our stylistic influences, but at the end of the day it's just you dancing.


  20. #20
    tamrahennatx
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    Re: How do you know if you're Lebanese ?

    Quote Originally Posted by shems View Post
    Seriously though, if you see some dance vocabulary you like from Lebanese dancers you should go ahead and learn it and use it. I know we like to name our stylistic influences, but at the end of the day it's just you dancing.
    I totally agree with you here.


  21. #21
    Master BHUZzer Michelle75's Avatar
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    Re: How do you know if you're Lebanese ?

    Quote Originally Posted by shems View Post
    This is an old clip of a Lebanese dancer.

    YouTube - Classical Lebanese Belly Dance

    I thought she belonged here on this thread.
    I total thought this was an egyptian style dance. It looks like Nagwa style to me. (I know she ISN'T Nagwa) I wouldn't have picked this to be Lebanese at all...l;,


  22. #22
    tamrahennatx
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    Re: How do you know if you're Lebanese ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michelle75 View Post
    I total thought this was an egyptian style dance. It looks like Nagwa style to me. (I know she ISN'T Nagwa) I wouldn't have picked this to be Lebanese at all...l;,
    I call this classical style Arabic dance - I have a friend who dances very much like this, and her main teacher was a Syrian woman who teaches a very traditional style of dance.


  23. #23
    Advanced BHUZzer MelanieLA's Avatar
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    Re: How do you know if you're Lebanese ?

    Quote Originally Posted by aziyade View Post
    And then Dani Boustrous comes up, and footage of her is next to nonexistent.
    Dani Boustrous is featured for several minutes of footage on at least 2 different "Cocktail" vids: Belly Dance Trio along with Amani and Samara, she does a FANTASTIC cane dance and drum solo!
    and Cocktail #2 where she is misnamed in a cane dance in a grey beledi dress.

    TamraHenna, that's interesting how you compare Egyptian Saiidi with Lebanese Debke, it makes sense to put it that way. Lebanese dancers will dance cane to Debke, similar to Egyptian dancers sometimes dancing assaya to Saiidi.

    I love the look of heels, regardless of which style. Samia Gamal always looked very graceful in hers.


  24. #24
    Advanced BHUZzer joanneraks's Avatar
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    Re: How do you know if you're Lebanese ?

    Quote Originally Posted by melania View Post
    Dani Boustrous is featured for several minutes of footage on at least 2 different "Cocktail" vids: Belly Dance Trio along with Amani and Samara, she does a FANTASTIC cane dance and drum solo!
    and Cocktail #2 where she is misnamed in a cane dance in a grey beledi dress.

    TamraHenna, that's interesting how you compare Egyptian Saiidi with Lebanese Debke, it makes sense to put it that way. Lebanese dancers will dance cane to Debke, similar to Egyptian dancers sometimes dancing assaya to Saiidi.

    I love the look of heels, regardless of which style. Samia Gamal always looked very graceful in hers.
    Oh my goodness! Is that the one where Setrak is in the background and she dances with the mustache guy with the big drum who keeps "dueling" with her? Same drummer in a ton of Hwayda videos?.... I love that video!!! I also have a clip of her dancing to Kariet el Fingan in a beautiful blue costume.. I will be so excited if I finally have a name for this wonderful dancer!


  25. #25
    Advanced BHUZzer MelanieLA's Avatar
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    Re: How do you know if you're Lebanese ?

    Joanne, that sounds right, she is onstage with a few musicians, and one with a drum who follows her around a bit. I'll watch it tonight!


  26. #26
    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. Lauren_'s Avatar
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    Re: How do you know if you're Lebanese ?

    I had a couple of videos of Lebanese dancers, but didn't know their names. Besides the ludicrously high heels, one thing they all had in common was the nearly RIDICULOUS, awe-inspiring, head-touching-heels backbends they did. (Even Nadia Gamal puts backbends into her hip circles, so it's more of a head-go-round-the-booty circle, know what I mean?)

    Other than that, the music and dancing seemed to be generally very fast-paced. Energy, acrobatics, spinning and percussive hipwork seemed more valued than fluidity or grace (but that's just my observation, based on a very small sampling).


  27. #27
    tamrahennatx
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    Re: How do you know if you're Lebanese ?

    I think it's important to point out that it's more than size of movement or speed of the dance - there is a typically Lebanese way to execute movements and interpret the music. It's very important if you want to try to portray Lebanese style to watch a ton of videos and seek out instructors that can help you to discern the nuances of the style.

    Just doing big, fast movements and throwing in a backbend or two won't make you a Lebanese-style dancer.


  28. #28
    Ultimate BHUZzer meissoun's Avatar
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    Re: How do you know if you're Lebanese ?

    Quote Originally Posted by aziyade View Post
    I do know the Lebanese college kids have made a point of "correcting" the way I dance -- the hip lift is more of a lifted twist, and the drop is less a drop than a twist and sit (if that makes ANY sense.)
    !
    Yes, that's EXACTLY one of the things I had observed in Lebanese dancers!

    MEISSOUN


  29. #29
    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. anala's Avatar
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    Re: How do you know if you're Lebanese ?

    I just took a workshop with the wonderful, lusty and intelligent Margo Abdo O'Dell and she taught us a bit of Debke as well as some Nadia stylings. The major difference she taught was in the basic shimmy. Instead of the quad /glute driven shimmy, it was an extremly fast pelvic drop driven by the psoas. It looks and feels entirely different. The Nadia style combinations were big..really committed ...weight shifts with powerful undulations. It felt really theatrical and athletic.


  30. #30
    Master BHUZzer aziyade's Avatar
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    Re: How do you know if you're Lebanese ?

    Seriously though, if you see some dance vocabulary you like from Lebanese dancers you should go ahead and learn it and use it. I know we like to name our stylistic influences, but at the end of the day it's just you dancing.
    Quote Originally Posted by tamrahennatx View Post
    I totally agree with you here.

    This is what I WANT to believe, but I've had it beaten into my head by several vocal pundits that you can't call it "belly dance" unless it's Egyptian, Lebanese, or Turkish style -- and I won't feel comfortable saying what I do is ANY "ethnic" style until I've devoted years to studying and learning it.


    But thank you all SOOOOO much for these clips, and the discussion. This is IMMENSELY helpful!!


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