Weekly Challenge for 4-21-14

It’s Monday again! Time for this week’s belly dance challenge.

Combos to the Rhythm

Do you remember that challenge we did two weeks ago? And how about last week? (Tough challenge…how did that one go for you? My day job interfered in a big way and I didn’t have much time for even just regular practice, so I didn’t do so great. I may have to revisit that challenge!)

We’re going to combine those two challenges for this week!

If you didn’t try either of those challenges, not to worry. If you know at least one Middle Eastern rhythm, you can do this challenge. (Here’s a good resource; I also used this page’s notation below.)

So what’s this week’s challenge? Let’s make combos to one of the rhythms you learned!

Especially in “traditional” belly dance, it is important to move with the rhythm, whether it be traveling or hip movements or other accents. And by rhythm, I mean the rhythm pattern of the drum, not just the beat. We can dance to beledi (or any other Middle Eastern rhythm). For fusion dancers, this can also help with dancing to complex synthesized drum patterns, whether or not they are actually Middle Eastern.

Here’s an example: if I learned the beledi rhythm two weeks ago, I’m going to make a short combo, using that rhythm as the basis for my steps and movements. Beledi has a pattern like this:


The D notations are the “doums,” the heavy hit on the drum that can be clearly heard in most rhythms, and, at least for me, makes it easy to identify. I want to make a combo to that, so maybe for the first two doums, which are close together, I will do two heavy hip drops, then move through the silence (or the filled rhythm, which would be the tkT portion, depending on what song you are using or what drummer you have) and hit the third doum with a hip push to one side. Or maybe I can do two quick steps on the first two doums, a dramatic pause, and then a hip pop on the third.

Play with the rhythm (or one of the rhythms) you learned in the previous challenge and see what fun combos you can come up with. This is a fantastic way to start building drum solos, or to start getting ready to dance to live music. If you have a bunch of combos under your (coin) belt, then you can easily dance to music you don’t know well, as long as you can identify the rhythm. Don’t worry if you’re not ready to dance to live music, or even in front of people, yet. Getting practice in dancing to the rhythm (and not just the beat) will help you in the long run!

How many combos can you come up with? Let me know!


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About Kamrah

Kamrah is a belly dancer in Chicago, IL. They started belly dance as an exercise routine but it turned into a passion for dance that has not lessened, even after more than a decade. They have a powerful presence on the stage, and is particularly known for their amazing shimmies. Kamrah is also known as a very versatile belly dancer, and audiences have come to expect the unexpected from them. Performances can be anything from traditional Egyptian, to tribal fusion, to fantasy cosplay (costume play) pieces.

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