Belly Dance Arabesque

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2 Responses

  1. Rachel Bond says:

    You are right, there are so many variations of this beautiful step. I was actually taught the arabesque (in belly dance – I have never studied ballet) as being with a pointed toe and straight raised leg, by at least 2 reputable Sydney teachers. Both of them consider a bent knee to be an optional (and intentional, not lazy or accidental) variation.
    It’s worth noting that straight doesn’t mean locked, though – this may be different from ballet’s “straight”. My knees don’t hyperextend, so even when they’re as straight as they can go, they look a little bent.
    Also, while it’s true that arabesques in bellydance are commonly done with the lead-up steps and a rotation of 90-360 degrees, this is not necessarily the case. Mahmoud Reda uses consecutive arabesques, with no walking steps in between; and also “double” arabesques. I have also done arabesques and contra-arabesques without rotation (I’m recalling for instance an Andalusian choreography with Aida Nour). So if you want to keep that leg straight, go right ahead – it looks beautiful and elegant!

    • Thea says:

      Yes Rachel, I think it’s the degree of straightness that’s the difference. When a ballet dancer “points her toe”, she’s thinking of pointing her whole leg, all the way from the upper thigh. That does create a straighter line than I see on most belly dancers. The other thing to consider is that most belly dance teachers are the product of more than one dance style, and many different influences, and it can be hard to work out what’s “authentic” and what’s introduced.

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