|As a teacher and coach, my passion is making even the most challenging movements
simple. Teaching for over 40 years, I have developed my famous DUH method
Do every movement with the same precision and Dance because you love it
Understand the music, culture and how to produce each kind of technique
Have the courage to savor the process and while perfecting your own personal skills
Honor your body & the integrity of this art form.
You can learn for fun and exercise. Taking it to a higher level takes
Patience, Determination, Direction and Strength.
I am originally from San Francisco where I studied with Jamila Salimpour, the
Mother of Oriental Dance in the United States. She created the format including
the finger cymbal patterns and step names that are used internationally today.
Bal Anat was the first Middle Eastern Dance Troop in the US and was the
beginning of what is now called the "Tribal" style.
In truth all belly dancing, like other forms of dance, consists of many levels of techniq
ue that are used to create a three dimensional image of the music. Whether
you are performing at an outdoor festival, a wedding or in an Arabic or Greek Club,
the only real difference is the costume you are wearing. The technique is the same.
You as the artist choose how you relate to the music.
Be kind to yourself and remember, when you start learning anything new that it
is a process that takes time, patience and repetition.
Whether you are training for the Olympics, working towards a Black Belt or becoming
a Belly Dancer, achieving your goal takes study and practice.
You will grow much faster if you dance because you love it.
I encourage anyone who is sincerely interested in "Belly Dancing" to take the time to
find a teacher who will give you a solid foundation in Arabic dance technique, music
and the culture. It is impossible to learn steps while you are learning a choreography.
First you must learn the steps. Once you can do them in any order, you have the
freedom to dance to any music you choose. Choreography is created by taking
steps you know and putting them into an order.
I have nothing against "fusion" but that being said, a Hawaiian wouldn't dance to
Polish music, a Native American to Greek music or a Flamenco dancer to Motown.
Belly Dancing is from the Middle East. First learn the dance with the steps and
music that people of the culture would recognize. Once you are proficient, then study
the other dance forms that interest you. Then and only then can you create "fusion"
with a responsible foundation. Remember, We are taking our "creative licence" into
another culture that has traditions.
We have created "ATS", "Gothic" and other "styles" that we freely call "Belly Dancing".
In many cases there are no steps or music that is even related to what we do. The only
thing in common are a few pieces of costuming. I live in the largest Arabic community
outside the Middle East. They find this confusing and very disturbing.
If you are wearing a Belly Dancing costume and are not doing Middle Eastern steps
or using Middle Eastern music why not call it "Gypsy Fusion" dancing?
You can be creative within the form, but it is important that you know the difference.
It is part of our responsibility as artists to preserve this ancient art
and to educate the general public.
Jamila use to say "Shut Up and Show Me"
You can see me on Youtube under Aida of San Francisco or Aida Al Adawi
While I am an "Old Timer" and Traditionalist, I believe we can all get along if we
respect and allow for our differences and share our love for this amazing dance
For more information on Jamila or Suhaila Salimpour or Aida Al Adawi google us!