Introduction to Baladi
As a beginner student you may often wonder about foreign phrases that your teacher refers to during your lessons. It may all seems complicated and overwhelming at first but these phrases are essential communication tools that are widely acceptable and used among musicians and belly dance artists particularly due to their meaning in Middle Eastern art.
When you start belly dancing you usually pay more attention to the move itself to execute it correctly but each move that you do has a meaning and it is rooted in the tradition of belly dance and getting to know the meaning of each move will definitely enrich your belly dance experience even more.
Today I would like to first introduce everyone to Baladi and here are few facts about it:
Takasim Baladi does not have structure per say however the music is usually divided into sections that sets the communication between the dancer and musicians that starts with usuallytakasim- soft and improvised solo played by accordion or saxophone which is then joined by tabla. The table sets series of rhythmic hits –Sawal Jawab like a call and answer between tabla and accordion, a musical conversation between two instruments after which both progress into faster beat Masmoudi Saghir.
Example of the beginning Baladi Ashra set played by Guy Shalom.
After Masmoudi Saghir there is series of Tet’s call and answer by tabla and accordion which takes the melody into saidi rhythm and then faster fallahi. Sometimes there can be also little drum solo added as well which then sets into finale.
The costume often includes traditional long dresses known as galabeya with matching hip scarf. Today galabeyas have also matching bra that is worn underneath and decorated in various beads or coins although used to it was a simple long dress cover with a scarf.
Baladi is usually earthy but soft at the same time, grounded and playful that is characterized by big lower body movements, soft undulations, pelvis movements and relaxed hands.
Baladi is like storytelling to your audience through movement, you are convening the message with your body to the audience through different rhythms and melodies. Baladi is usually improvised but it helps a lot to listen to the song before hand to familiarize yourself with the feeling and the meaning of that song.
Baladi can be also divided into Oriental Baladi which from the musical point has the same structure but it has lighter feel with oriental hands movements in very upright and fixed position and also lots of Arabesques and upper body transitions
You can buy Baladi music from Guy Shalom here and from Hossam Ramzy here
Hiring a belly dancer for an event whether it’s a birthday party or a wedding can definitely bring a wonderful and memorable experience for you and your guests. There is however always few things to remember before going ahead and booking a belly dancer and these tips will ensure that both you the organizer and the performer can enjoy working together to create a bespoke and memorable experience for everyone involved.
Sarasvati Dance London based teacher and performer.