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Must-Know Song for Belly Dance: “Taht Il Shibbak”

We are moving on to #10 from the “Must Know Songs for Bellydancers” list with “Taht Il Shibbak” – a real favorite of mine!

Who, What and When?

This song first appeared in the Egyptian movie “Laabet el Sitt” (The Lady’s Puppet) in 1946.  The music was composed by Asis Osman and they lyrics were written by Badeh Khairy.  Taheya Karioca dances to “Taht Il Shibbak” in the movie, accompanied by an ensemble that includes Osman singing and playing the oud. You can watch this performance in the video at the end of this post.

What is “Taht Il Shibbak” about?

“Taht Il Shibbak” means “Below My Window.” This song is from the point of view of a girl looking out her window, seeing a gorgeous man walking on the street. She is flirting with him – either in her imagination or in reality . Here’s a little taste of the lyrics from a very cheeky translation. You can find more of the lyrics here. Being a folksy song with a long history, different versions have different verses – some may not have even been in the original.

Below my window I caught sight of you, you (stud).
What’s up with you? Talk to me (hot stuff)

Your eyelashes kill me
Protect me from yourself (sweetcheeks)

About dancing to “Taht Il Shibbak”…

This is such a fun song to dance to! Now that you know what it’s about, you can really get your innocently flirty attitude on when you perform to it. An Arab audience would definitely enjoy and appreciate that! “Taht Il Shibbak” is one of Dina’s signature songs. This song is in a beladi style, meaning it has a laid back, casual feel, but is not strictly in the “beladi progression” musically in many recorded versions.

The recording is my favorite for performance.

The Original Version

Tahia Carioca in the 1946 movie, “Labaat el Sitt”

But this is my favorite performance ever to this great song!

Do you perform to this song? Do you love it? Do you think it’s overdone?  Tell us in the comments below…

February 15, 2015 4 Comments
psoas

Belly Dance Anatomy: 8 Facts About the Trendiest Muscle in Belly Dance

The psoas seems to have become the trendiest muscle in belly dance over the past few years.  Now, I’m not saying that dancers are only now using it – but they sure do talk about it a lot more in the past 5 years. If you asked Souhair Zaki where the “psoas” was, she may well have pointed in the direction of a shipping canal, even though she used it extensively for all those juicy, deep pelvic movements so characteristic of  Egyptian style raqs sharqi. No less than four times in the past two years, I’ve been in” big-name” workshops where there the location and/or the action of the psoas was incorrectly identified.  If we’re going to share anatomical information in a class or workshop, we better be getting it right – especially if the workshop is filled with local instructors who will be eager to pass on what they learned to their own classes.  So, let’s cover some basic psoas facts…. Continue Reading →

October 13, 2012 8 Comments

Under the (Beladi) Influence

I love beladi music. I love the way my ears are seduced by the first strains of accordion, then my hips are playfully poked by the scattered drum beats. I am willfully led down the garden path by the growing steadiness and energy till I am whirled like a dust devil in the final bars and released. Ahhhh.

Beladi music sucks me in body, mind and soul like no other kind of Middle Eastern music – and I enjoy it all, from classical to shaabi to pop. When I’m driving, it’s either NPR or my iPod coming through the speakers. If it’s my iPod it is most likely Middle Eastern music – but not Beladi.  I can’t drive while listening to – it’s dangerous. It goes kind of like this…

Police officer: “Ma’am, do you know you were going 20 mph on this here freeway?”

Me: “Was I, really? I was just listening to this song – I guess I didn’t notice…  I looove that slow part…”

(No, that didn’t really happen – but it could and would!)

Dancing to beladi music is like being voluntarily possessed. You let the rhythm and melody inside you and carry it in your torso. I picture it trying to get out and my torso is a stretchy bag that contains it. The melody snakes to the right and takes my hip with it, then throws a beat to the side and there I go!

My personal dance credo is “in the ears, through the heart, out the hips” and this is never more true than in beladi style. Because of the immediate and reactive nature of this dance form, it’s very awkward to teach through drills, combos and choreography. It requires some switching of tactics to intense listening and developing a vocabulary of expressive punctuation, texture and flow that can be accessed instantly as the music demands.

Beladi isn’t big and flashy with layer upon layer of complicated technique. It is not over-the-top in “Superstars” style. The general public is seeing more and more of the Big & Flashy brand of bellydance these days. I worry that they are being desensitized and should they come across a beautiful, subtle, soulful and succulent beladi performance, they will fail to appreciate it.

I appreciate it. I adore it. I just can’t drive to it, so be warned if you hear Mario Kirlis’ “Little Beladi” coming from my open window…. I may be D.U. (B.) I.

August 18, 2010 0 Comments
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