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Walk like an Egyptian. Egyptian dance is a theatrical and dramatic dance form that is related to belly dancing (although dancers are often more covered up). This style of dance involves both choreographed moves and improvisation, and can give you a good workout whilst allowing you to express your artistic side. Read on if you fancy being both toned and graceful (we know that we do)...
Classes begin with a warm up that may involve some yoga to loosen up the body and prepare for dance. During the warm up you may also be introduced to some gentle dance moves to give you a feel for what the class will include.
After your warm up, your teacher will show you how to do some basic dance moves, as well as helping you with improvisation. You will learn to isolate certain parts of your body as you dance and to use different muscles – meaning that your whole body will get a workout.
Make sure you wear something comfortable to dance in – leggings and a t-shirt are a good choice. You will also need a scarf to tie around your hips. Most teachers will expect you to dance barefoot, so there’s no need for special shoes.
Classes are tailored to different levels of ability, so whether you are a beginner or an advanced student of Egyptian dance, there will be a program to suit you. If you have previously studied other forms of Middle Eastern dance but not Egyptian dance, it is advisable to attend a beginners’ session, as dance styles can vary a lot.
If you have any injuries (in particular back or neck difficulties,) let your teacher know before you begin classes.
Egyptian dance is mostly performed by women, but there are forms that can be danced by men – so boys don’t need to feel left out.
Egyptian dance is also referred to as ‘Raqs Sharqi’ – ‘Raqs’ means ‘dance’ and ‘Sharqi’ means ‘East’.
Particularly beautiful examples of this dance can be found in Egyptian films from the 1950s.