Belly dancing is a tradition of many Eastern countries. It can take many forms, but all of them have one thing in common, they look absolutely fantastic. If you want to light up your event by adding this exotic performance, you’ll need to know what to consider when looking for belly dancers for hire in Toronto.
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3 Strong Reasons to Hire Egyptian Belly Dancers in Toronto
Belly dancing is becoming more and more popular around the world because of its beauty and inner power. Among several established traditions, the most popular ones are Turkish and Egyptian. Egyptian oriental dance stands out as a unique style with authentic movements.
Styles of Belly Dancing in Toronto
An experienced dancing troupe will be able to come up with the best type of show based on the requirements of your event. Due to the extreme versatility of belly dancing styles, it’s possible to develop a performance that will meet the exact needs of any audience.
Who Should Hire a Belly Dancer for a Party?
You may need to rent a belly dancer if:
- You are planning an oriental-style event.
Introducing professional dancers will make it more authentic and impressive.
- You want to make your party special and original.
Our belly dancers for hire can provide shows that will truly stun the audience. This effect can be achieved by using props, creative costumes, and other elements that enhance the performance (music, lighting, etc.)
- You need to impress your business partners.
A grand show with a team of belly dancers as its highlight will make an impression on anyone. You may even request the troupe to include some of the guests in their performance to ‘enhance’ the entertainment.
- You wish to learn some dancing tricks from a pro.
Hiring a belly dancer for a hen party will make the celebration not only fun but also educational as you can include a dancing lesson in the program of the evening.
What Does a Professional Belly Dancer Costume Look Like?
How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Belly Dancer in Toronto?
The exact cost of the show depends on many factors, including the length and complexity of the performance, number of dancers, special requirements, etc. Be sure to provide the dancing company with all details in order to get a correct quote.
The popularity of belly dancing among American women since 1970s was sparked by the women’s yearning to creatively express themselves and get into a community of other women who are looking for a creative way to show their capabilities without inhibitions. A study in 2010, looked at how American belly dancers are creating their own “new exotic Self.”
One common misconception about belly dancing is that only women with a flat abdomen will have the confidence to perform belly dancing. It was thought by some that the size of the belly of the person matters in belly dancing. However, there is no standard shape or size for belly dancers.
Belly dancing even became a leisure and provided older American women with a space to break stereotypes of the limitations of older women’s bodies. In another study, belly dancing was seen to have given older women the way to boost their mobility, get social support, and redefine their sensuality.
The Origin of Belly Dancing
Belly dance came from the French Danse du ventre or “dance of the vent” (belly). It was in 1893 when belly dance was performed at the Chicago World’s Fair. During that time, the world was fascinated with the art from the East, known as the period of Orientalist era. European writers and artists who were traveling were exposed to the art forms from the Orient, hence Danse du Ventre was the name they called the dance which they saw in the fair.
The dances that showed a similar style dated back to the Egyptian’s Ghawazi dance in the 19th century and the Raqs Sharqi in the 20th century.
Raqs Sharqi and Its Different Forms
Raks Sharqi means “dance of the east” or “Oriental dance” and used to refer to belly dancing by some. However, some critics recommend not to use the term belly dance and Raks Sharqi interchangeably to avoid misconceptions. Dance in the Middle East is part of the socialization of women during gatherings including weddings and other special occasions.
There are different forms of Raqs Sharqi - the Sha’abi or folk dance from Egypt; the Baladi or urban folk, and the Sharqi or classical Egyptian dance.
- Sha’abi - The term refers to the music and dance that are rural or “folk” in origin. Sha’abi dances exude a joyful and natural feel. It is vibrant and rhythmic with dancers believing that their performance using the flat of their foot makes them grounded and gives them natural beauty. Their arms movements are also simple and relaxed.
- Baladi - The word Baladi translates to “my country”. The word is also spelled as Balady, Beledi o Beledy. It has strong roots from the countryside fused with urban flavors. Around the 1930s, several villagers worked in the urban centers in Cairo where the folk and urban music merged to create a new form called Baladi. The dance is more of a social performance on a special occasion.
- Raqs Sharqi - The classical Egyptian dance called Raqs Sharqi expresses the rich cultural tradition of Egyptian music. The music’s mood, rhythm, and melody are translated into movements by the dancers. There are two forms of this dance, namely, the traditional and the modern.
- Traditional Sharqi uses Egyptian classical music played by trained musicians as a form of a private entertainment of the wealthy families. Performances could last for several hours.
- Modern Sharqi is danced using music composed during the mid-20th century. The music is usually played by an orchestra and sometimes include cello and double bass. Like the traditional one, the dance of the modern Sharqi reflects the music’s rhythm.
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How do belly dancers do it?
Here are ways how belly dancers perform with confidence in front of a crowd:
- Belly dancers practice almost daily in front of a mirror to roll their abdomen by contracting them in sequence. Usually, it begins from top to bottom and some belly dancers practice the sequence by lying face down on the floor. They lean on their elbows while they look down in while practicing the abs muscle contraction. In this way, they isolate the muscles needed for belly dance.
- Sometimes, belly dancers practice by tracing the figure eight through hip movements. They bring left hips forward, take it out to the side and move it around the back before taking it back to the center. They repeat the same process with their right hips. All their movements are lead with their hips. Belly dancers need to practice adopting a good posture, too, to avoid injuries.
- Belly dancing is not confined to those who are young or skinny. Even women who feel negative with their body image learn to feel proud of their bodies once they take up belly dancing. It helps dancers develop strong abs.
- Like all dancers do, belly dancers express their own personality and emotions through belly dancing. Belly dancers also get a sense of community and support in classes as women celebrating their bodies through dance and music gather.
- Belly dancers also need to practice their arm movement to add to their graceful movements. As some traditional arm movements need constant practice, dancers practice each move and choose an arm shape first to make it look more natural for them in their performances. They add more movements as they get more skilled as dancers.
- Hip shimmies and complicated moves sometimes make it hard to concentrate on dancers. To make difficult steps possible, belly dancers don’t hold their breaths, but they keep a regular breathing pattern which also takes practice.
Belly dance has come a long way in fusing the eastern and western culture. Its choreography has definitely changed over time. There are now different choreography like Russian belly dance, Brazilian belly dance, Indian belly dance, Middle Eastern belly dance, Persian belly dance and Arab belly dance.
But there are dance steps and techniques that give belly dancing its own character. Most of the dance movements are from the hip and the pelvic region. Here are the classic steps of belly dancing:
- Shimmies - Shimmies are done by vibrating the hips using the muscles at the lower back. Dancers sway from side to side and front to back to do shimmies.
- Undulations - The flowing movement from the chest to the twist of the hips and stomach highlights a belly dancer’s bodily rhythm.
- Hip pulsations - Quick and sharp hip movements are created by alternately pulsing the weight of the legs to swing the pelvis.
Learning the Belly Dance
If you want to learn belly dancing, a lot of workshops and dance studios offer belly dance classes. But you can never go wrong in watching professional belly dancers who perform for an audience to learn.
If you are preparing to join a class, you may start practicing on your own by watching performances online. Here are some tips on practicing the belly dance:
- Stand in the correct posture. Keep your feet flat and arms on your side. Ensure that your hips are at the same level and your legs are under your hip bones. Slightly bend your knee while keeping your chest lifted. Engage your core by tucking in your lower abdominal muscles. This will strengthen your abs and allow you to move easily.
- Do a shimmy or hip lift by raising your hip while bending both knees. Straighten your right leg slowly and lift your right hip. Keep both heels flat as you do the hip lifts. Make sure you do not move your upper body. Bring your hip down to the center and repeat the same action on the other side. Straighten your left leg and lift your left hip just like what you did with the right.
- Do these steps at a faster pace without the pause at the middle to make your hips swing and vibrate creating shimmies.
- Do the hip drop with your right foot flat on the ground. Your left foot should be a few inches in front with your left heel lifted, while both knees are bent. Make sure your arms are out and your chest is up. Straighten your left leg while raising your left hip. Release the hip to the level of the right hip and keep your right leg bent. Repeat these movements faster.
- Do the belly roll with your feet flat on the ground and your upper body lifted. Relax your arms on the side and bend your knees. Contract the upper part of your abdominal muscles by drawing them into your spine. Next, contract the lower part of your abs by pulling them inward. Belly roll is done by pushing out your upper abdominal muscles and pushing in your lower abs. Try these movements without pauses.
- Do the chest lift by lifting your rib cage all the way up and letting your shoulder blades slide down your back. Release the rib cage back down. Contract your abs below your chest bones as you raise up and release them as you come back down.
The Ghawazee, a tribe who traveled and performed dances in Egypt in the 18th century. They went to perform in Upper Egypt and later in the Middle East and in Europe. Their dancing was often called “Oriental” dancing by European artists and authors. The female members of the tribe are called Ghazeeyeh and the men are Ghazee, but the term Ghawazee generally applies to the women in the tribe.
They performed without a veil in the public. Their dances were characterized by hips swinging and vibrating from side to side. They wore dresses similar to clothes worn by middle-class women in Egypt. They also wear various ornaments and their eyes are darkened by kohl (black collyrium). They also have henna markings on their hands, feet, and toes.
The Ghawazee dancers are accompanied by musicians in their tribe with instruments such as the kemen’geh, darabukkeh with the zummarah, or the rabab with the tar.