By Penni Al Zayer

Introduces the heritage, spiritual importance, nationwide types, and uncomplicated steps of conventional dance from the center East and North Africa, and discusses stomach dancing by way of expert entertainers and comparable dances via males.

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Additional resources for Middle Eastern Dance (World of Dance)

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The music of the Sufis, like all sacred music, should be treated with respect. GUEDRA One of the most fascinating dances of the Middle East is a joyful kneeling trance dance called the guedra that is attributed to the Blue People of the nomadic Taureg Berber tribes of southwest Morocco. They are known as the Blue People because, as desert dwellers, they are unable to bathe regularly, and the powdered dye used for their shiny blue robes stains their skin and makes them appear blue. The blue tint serves as a cosmetic, as it is considered to be attractive, but the dye is also a natural moisturizer and sunscreen.

Much of the character of belly dancing as we know it today has probably come to us from the Ghawazee. The Mazin family of Luxor, Egypt, are recognized to be their legitimate descendants. Known as Banat Mazin (“the daughters of Mazin”), they call their dance raqs sha’abi, meaning “folk dance,” as opposed to the more familiar raqs sharqi, which translates to “dance of the East/Orient,” but widely understood to mean belly dancing. However, it has often been observed that belly dancers move around more than Ghawazee, using a greater variety of movements (particularly of the arms), and that they perform to a more varied and classical form of Middle Eastern music.

Chelebi is said to have wept for joy and begged him to continue with his writing. Jalaluddin agreed that if his friend would be his scribe, he would recite for him. Sometimes the recitations came rapidly for days at a time, and other times they stopped completely for as long as two years. As each section was completed, Chelebi would read it back to the poet so that he could correct any mistakes. Some say that the Mathnawi is the greatest spiritual masterpiece ever written by a single human being.

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