Why You NEED to Learn Folklore Dance

Do you know where Raqs Sharqi originated from? How about Saidi? And, what’s with the cane?

Going to a class that is completely void of cultural explanation is a class that is severely lacking. I highly recommend asking your teacher questions, and if they don’t know, get recommendations for those who have the knowledge. A teacher is truly worth their salt depending on how deeply they study the dance outside of technique alone.

And that’s my two cents!

Raqs Sharqi (bellydance) is a dance that comes from a culture and people that continues to thrive and live. It’s not just a fun thing to do (which it totally is). There’s more to it. The majority of us dancing are merely visitors in this dance, and it’s up to our teachers to be knowledgable about it.

Learning folklore, character dances, and traditional dances is so important, even as a hobbyist dancer.

Here’s 3 reasons why you should be learning folklore dance.

Raqs Sharqi wasn’t always Raqs Sharqi

The bellydancing we see today isn’t what was done at the turn of the 20th century, and it certainly wasn’t done this way in anicent Egypt…. no matter WHAT people are telling you. This dance and art is constantly evolving. When you learn the folkloric dances, especially of the Ghawazee/Awalim, you can see how Raqs Sharqi evolved from that. It’s one of the bases for the dance we learn and perform today. There are still Ghawazee dancers, such as Khariyya Mazin, who is dancing and teaching online currently.

It’s Incredibly Fun to Dance and Perform

You may think that folkloric dances are too simple to be any sort of challenging dance form. I’m here to say no way! There is a challenge in the simplicity, which makes it incredibly fun to dance. Most folkloric and/or character dances are done in groups. There’s nothing more fun than dancing together in a group to Raqs Al Assaya or Ghawazee dance. Folkloric dances are a social dance. It’s a way to celebrate together, connect with others, and foster community.

Learn More About The Culture

By learning folkloric and traditional dances of the MENATH, you learn so much about a culture and the people. Many steps, gestures, and movements are based off of real-life. This is where you get real, deep cultural connections and can show your knowledge of this through dance. Who knows? You may even be so inspired by this that you take a deep dive into that area of the MENATH! And there’s nothing wrong with that!

As a teacher, performer, and visitor in this culture, I cannot stress enough how important it is for anyone learning Oriental dance to really connect with the culture by learning folkloric dances. You would be surprised how fun, engaging, and interesting these dances are!

Ariyana is a professional bellydancer located in Honolulu, HI. She specializes is Egyptian dance, folklore, and Khaleegi dance. Her virtual studio is open with on-demand Egyptian technique and combo class.

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