Belly Dance Musician Tribute 2/17/12: Brothers of the Baladi (Portland, OR) original Tweet 10/4/11, What is your favorite song by the Brothers of the Baladi?

Brothers1Belly Dance Musician Tribute 2/17/12: Brothers of the Baladi (Portland, OR) original Tweet 10/4/11

The 6 Degrees of Separation is a fun game to play.  It’s funny how our dance journeys are linked by time and space.  I remember when the music cassette, “Dance with Gladness” by the Brothers of the Baladi in 1982.  My favorite song on that tape was Ah Ya Zane, so I used that song to audition for a local dance show.  I loved the way the music was arranged for belly dance routines, so used the other songs on the tape for restaurant shows.  I also liked the font used on cassette, so I took a chance and wrote to the Brothers to find out which font they used.  And I was so surprised when I got a reply from Michael, giving the font name.  So I ended up using that same font on my belly dance business cards.

I liked the next 3 cassettes that came out too:  Food of Love, Beyond the Tenth and Further Journeys.  After Further Journeys, their music started coming out on CDs, so I went out and got those too.  My favorite song on Food of Love is Tamzara, so I created a 9/8 Karshlimar Tambourine Dance Choreography that looks awesome with 4 dancers.

The Brothers came to perform at one of my shows back in 1993, so it was a treat to have my dance troupe perform Tamzara “live” with the band.  I also created a solo choreography to Rampi Rampi from Beyond the Tenth.

It’s great when a musician is aware of the dancer’s needs and arranges their music in a format when you can play it straight through for a restaurant show; or use the individual songs for different purposes.

Here are some of the steps used in Tamzara.  We hit the tambourines on the hands and hips, like in most tambourine dances, but we also “drum” the tambourines overhead, which looks nice when you have hanging streamers on the tams:

Phrase #1
1. Intro about 8-10 cts.: The 4 Dancers Run to center stage with tambourine "jingle" in R hand–arm at low level to above head. Note: the dancers enter from opposite corner, but end up in front right, front left, back right, back left in square formation

2. Turn-inside of square, 6 cts. or 2X, (when drum start) tambourine starts at low level then up, low level then up (end up with L hip facing audience diagonally)

3. Soft hip thrusts-6 cts. or 2X, Tam in R hand goes up 3 cts., down 3 cts.,

Phrase #2
4. Basic Karshlimar step-4 times, L foot leads in front, R side, back, L side w/hop and/or hip shimmy (Tam in R hand hits L hand at chest level)

5. Basic Karshlimar-4 times, L foot leads in front, back, front, front w/hop and/or hip shimmy (Tam hits L hand-chest level to L side)

6. Hop-hop-hop/Shoulder shimmy to R-4 times, L foot leads w/Tam jingle-jingle-jingle/hit-hit-hit

7. Turn to L/hip U-D Tam hits R hip, turn to R/chest-chest, turn to L/hip U-D Tam hits R hip, turn to R/chest-chest (then change lead foot to R)

http://www.baladi.com/
http://www.myspace.com/brothersofthebaladi
http://www.amazon.com/Brothers-Of-The-Baladi/e/B000AQ1PEY
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Brothers-of-the-Baladi/147051151989369
http://www.last.fm/music/Brothers+Of+The+Baladi

For more Dance Gossip & Goodies, check out my book, "Learn to Belly Dance Textbook" available at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble :
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/learn-to-belly-dance-textbook-certification-program-shalimar-ali/1105014103?ean=9781465346582&itm=1&usri=9781465346582

I will be posting some of my original Dancer Tributes in WordPress, only the early ones that were in Twitter only, not WordPress.  Back when I first starting posting the dancer tributes on Twitter I only had 2 subscribers.  Now that I have more, I realized that a lot of people missed my early dancer tributes.  But as I am reposting those, I will also keep adding new content for topics like Dance Choreography, new Dancer tributes, etc.

Brothers2

Brothers3

Now is your time to Join the Conversation!  Comments, questions, concerns, controversy, rebuttals, tributes, etc., are all welcome!

What is your favorite song by the Brothers of the Baladi?

Belly Dancer Tribute 2/2/12: Lala Hakim (Egypt/Montreal, Canada) original Tweet 9/28/11, What is your favorite dance by Lala Hakim?

Lala1Belly Dancer Tribute 2/2/12: Lala Hakim (Egypt/Montreal, Canada) original Tweet 9/28/11

I first found out about Lala Hakim when she taught a workshop in St. Louis MO many years ago.  I LOVE the St. Louis Belly Dance community!  Lala was running a bit late for the workshop, so the St. Louis dancers asked me to fill in and teach a bit before arrived.  Wow!  Talk about an honor!

The real honor came when I first got a chance to study with Lala Hakim during her workshop.  She instantly became one of my FAVORITE dancers and I absolutely had to study more dance with her beyond that workshop.

Lucky me, she was planning a weekend workshop in Montreal.  I was so excited to be able to attend.  I LOVED Montreal!  It was like visiting France without a long plane ride.  I love seeing familiar American restaurants renamed in French, like Kentucky Fried Chicken was Poulet Frit Kentucky and Coca Cola was de Coca Cola.  I loved seeing the trademark pictures that I recognized but seeing a different language.

I learned many dances from Lala Hakim including Egyptian cabaret style, Saidi, Cane Dance at both the St. Louis Workshop and her weekend workshop.  I also got a chance to study with the fabulous Gamila Asfour at Lala’s workshop as well.

Lala Hakim was one of my absolute favorite dancers, so I also asked her to teach a dance workshop in my hometown as well.  That was so much fun!  We had live music at that show by Brothers of the Baladi.  And at first, Lala only wanted to perform her solo to her taped music.  But after she heard the band, she decided to do an impromptu free style dance with the band.  What a treat!

Lala Hakim provided music tapes when she taught workshops, and I really loved the music that I got from her.  I did a choreography to one song, not sure of the name, but I called it “Sahara City" because I have a different version of that song on one of my other albums that is named Sahara City:

11. a. Hip Thrusts L—2 cts.
b. Hip Thrusts R—2 cts. c. Turn 2-3/rib drop—3 cts.
Bounce step in place, for music transition
12. Hip Shimmy in big circle—16 cts.
Mamie Section
1. a. Hip Thrusts—2 cts. slow to L, face aud.
b. Hip Thrusts—2 cts. slow to R, " "
c. Hip Thrusts—2 cts. slow to L, " "
d. Hip Thrusts—2 cts. slow to R, " "
e. Turn—4 cts. f. Cissy—5 times (RL RLR)

I have a cousin who passed away, but what I sometimes do is take a regular step that I see someone dancing to, just regular dancing and use it in a Belly Dance routine.  I remember my cousin Mamie performing the “Cissy” many years ago (just told my age, didn’t I, LOL), and I loved her “attitude” when she danced it, so I named that section of the choreography after her.  My tribute to Lala Hakim is on page 196 of my book.

Here is the link to see Lala Hakim’s videos:

http://www.lalahakim.com/videos.htm
http://www.gildedserpent.com/cms/2010/11/26/marthyna-belly-dance-quebec/
http://www.lalahakim.com/
For more dance gossip & goodies, check out my book, "Learn to Belly Dance Textbook" available at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble :
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/learn-to-belly-dance-textbook-certification-program-shalimar-ali/1105014103?ean=9781465346582&itm=1&usri=9781465346582

I will be posting some of my original Dancer Tributes in WordPress, only the early ones that were in Twitter only, not WordPress.  Back when I first starting posting the dancer tributes on Twitter I only had 2 subscribers.  Now that I have more, I realized that a lot of people missed my early dancer tributes.  But as I am reposting those, I will also keep adding new content for topics like Dance Choreography, new Dancer tributes, etc.

Lala2

Gamila Asfour

Now is your time to Join the Conversation!  Comments, questions, concerns, controversy, rebuttals, tributes, etc., are all welcome!

What is your favorite dance by Lala Hakim?

Belly Dance Song Tribute 1/22/12: El Porompompero

Perom1Belly Dance Song Tribute 1/22/12: El Porompompero

When the Amayaguena cassette from the Trans Arabian Band came out, I was over the moon!  I already loved the music by the Trans Arabian Band and I also loved Amaya herself – what a match made in heaven!

The music from this album inspired me to create a belly dance Spanish fusion dance.  I loved the slow, majestic style of the title song “Amayaguena” so I decided to create a double veil dance to it.  This also opened an opportunity to create a new costume that matched the flavor of the music.  The original costume was Red and Black mixed together with a Black lace veil with red trim and a Red tissue lame veil with black trim.

I also happened to have the “Latin American Hits for Belly Dance” cassette by Hossam Ramzy & Pablo Carcamo, and that provided a perfect middle dance for my upcoming show.  The final dance routine consisted of:

  • Amayaguena (by Trans Arabian Band) entrance dance with double veil
  • El Porompompero (by Hossam Ramzy & Pablo Carcamo) stage dance with finger cymbals
  • La Isla Bonita (by Madonna) as the exit dance

I love the way the music is arranged in El Porompompero.  For the choreography, I divided the song into 8 sections:

  • Chorus
  • Sub-Chorus
  • Melody
  • Flute Section
  • Drum Solo
  • Chorus
  • Sub-Chorus
  • Melody

Having the 2nd part of the dance music match the first made it easy to simply repeat the same steps used:

A.) Chorus: (no zills on grapevines or turns; play zills only on drum accents) 1.) Reverse Grapevine1 to diagonal R back, lead with R foot RLRL, 4 cts.
Turn to R in place, RL, 2 cts.
Rib Drops, bring arms down, 2 cts, play zills, can be triple time (123, 123)
2.) Reverse Grapevine1 to diagonal L back, lead with L foot LRL, 4 cts.
Turn to L in place, LR, 2 cts.
Rib Circle, w/arms close to face, 2 cts, play zills, can be triple time (123, 123)
3.) Reverse Grapevine1 to diagonal R back, lead with R foot, RLRL, 4 cts.
Turn to R , in place, RL, 2 cts.
L Hip Drops, face R, LL, 2 cts, play zills, can be triple time (123, 123)

B.) Sub-Chorus: L Arms on hip thrusts, arms low on turns
1.) Hip Thrust front & Back LRLRLRLRLRLR, to Left, face Front, 12 cts.
Turn to L, 1 ¼ (end up facing F), 4 cts.
2.) Hip Thrust front & Back RLRLRLRLRLRL, to Right, face Front, 12 cts.
Turn to R, 1 1/2 (end up facing R), 4 cts.
3.) Hip Thrust front & Back LRLRLRLRLRLR, to Front, face R, 12 cts.
Turn to L, 1 ¼ (end up facing F), 4 cts.
C.) Melody: L Arms on grapevine, Karshlimar Arms

When I originally created the choreography, I danced to 3 different versions of the dance to get ideas for which dance steps to use and cymbal patterns.  Many talented artists have recorded this song both for belly dancers and just because it is a favorite Latin hit.  You can check YouTube for many other versions of this song.

El Porompompero can range from a slower to faster version.  The version by Hossam & Pablo is the fastest one I have.  I perform this dance off and on since I created it back in 1999.  But when I was rehearsing this dance a few weeks ago, I had a hard time keeping up with this fast version.  So what I did to make rehearsals easier was to record a slow, medium and normal version of this song using the features in Audacity:

http://audacity.sourceforge.net/

Audacity is a free program that you can use to record and edit the music you need for shows.  Also it is great to use when teaching to make those super fast songs easier to dance to at different speeds to get the steps and cymbals perfect gradually.

Listen to “El Porompompero” by Hossam Ramzy & Pablo Carcamo at Amazon.  There is a link to purchase:
http://www.amazon.com/Latin-American-Hits-for-Bellydance/dp/B003TX2CUG/ref=mb_oe_o

Listen to “El Porompompero” by Brothers of the Baladi at Amazon.  There is a link to purchase:
http://www.amazon.com/Just-Do-Whats-Right/dp/B0014LR85E/ref=sr_shvl_album_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1327276893&sr=301-3

Link to purchase “An Oriental Bouquet” from Harry Saroyan, contains “El Porompompero
http://dwp.bigplanet.com/saroyan/musiccds/

For more dance gossip & goodies, check out my book, "Learn to Belly Dance Textbook" available at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble :  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/learn-to-belly-dance-textbook-certification-program-shalimar-ali/1105014103?ean=9781465346582&itm=1&usri=9781465346582

Perom2

Perom4

Perom3

Now it’s your turn to share in the dance song fun:

CONVERSATION QUESTIONWhat is the name of your favorite Latin/Spanish Belly Dance song?  Comments & Posts are welcome.  Looking forward to hearing from you.  Happy Dancing!

Belly Dancer Tribute 12/26/11: Angelika Nemeth (Irvine, CA)

angelikasupine3When I watch Angelika Nemeth perform, 2 words come to mind:  POWER and INTENT!  Angelika is not afraid to use her power and show how powerful a dancer she is.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about someone not being feminine, which she is, but when you look at her performance, her strength and power stand out.  In particular I love one of her performances on the Dancing Live to Raja video.  She was doing a shimmy and did something very simple, but yet it was very powerful.  In the middle of the shimmy, she jumped and turned to face the other direction.  Simple, yet the way she did it was very powerful.  Intent – when you watch Angelika dance, she intends to do the movement!!!  I know that sounds simple, but yet it is very effective.  I have a saying in my classes about being a “stick dancer” or someone who simply does a movement without any personality, feeling or connection to the dance or the movement.  You can see intent or lack of in any performer, whether it’s a singer, dancer, actor, etc.  And I myself will admit that with some shows, I PHONE IT IN!  I’m there physically, and committed to do the show, by I’m not there in my mind, because I’m either dead tired, sick or had a bad day at work.  Well the show must go on, regardless.  Some times I can get away with phoning in a performance it and sometimes not.  It’s really hard to “phone in” a show with Live Music.  I used to sponsor large workshops with a guest instructor and bands like Raja Zahr  & John Bilezikjian, Brothers of the Baladi, Jazayer, Trans Arabian Sound Band, Sirocco, Oasis Band, etc.  As a workshop sponsor, I probably should not have committed to dance in my own shows, because I knew I would be too tired and too busy.  But hey, those bands were so great that I could not resist.  I tried to phone in the shows with Raja and Brothers of  the Baladi.  I think the musicians sensed it because Raja made me respond to him and Michael Beach from Brothers of the Baladi was drumming onstage next to me while I was dancing.  When you watch Angelika perform, she has “Intent” and passion in her movements.  She is all like, I MEANT to do this shimmy.  I’m not playing with the shimmy, I’m going to do it the best I can and so good that the audience feels like a part of that shimmy.  Intent!  She draws the audience in with power, intent, passion and feelings.  Check her out at: 

http://www.angelikanemeth.com/angelikabio.html

For more dance gossip & goodies, check out my book, "Learn to Belly Dance Textbook" available at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble : 

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005SFPN6I/ref=s9_simh_gw_p351_d0_g351_i1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=121QKD526S21XAKBP0T2&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=470938631&pf_rd_i=507846