Technology for Belly Dancers


Your smart phone can be the gateway to improve your bellydancing!

Your smart phone can be the gateway to improve your bellydancing!

The world of technology is increasing at such a rapid rate. Even us belly dancers have not been left out! I started my online classes three years ago and it was considered quite “daring”, and yes there were (and still are) few other belly dance teachers instructing their students through this method, however learning online is gaining popularity.

Another technology that is gaining popularity are “apps” or applications for smartphones and tablet devices. I thought I would let you know of some apps I have found out about which are very helpful for belly dancers.

A Darabuka is the key to many of the technology apps for belly dancers

A Darabuka is the key to many of the technology apps for belly dancers

Shazam (listens to a song then tells you name and artist if it is in its database
Dum Tek contains over 30 Middle Eastern rhythms (or variations thereof) with notation and play at different speeds. Note these are drum rhythms, not zill rhythms.
RhythmID – like Dum Tek with 15 rhythms, you can also record your own rhythms.
ZillOPhone: plays Maqsoum/ Masmoudi Saghir (filled with bridge)/Baladi rhythm does not actually seem to be played with live zills, more like an electronic version.

A website version of Shazam which I have found extremely helpful as it has helped my find the title and artist of some (really) old pieces of music I had on cassette tape:

Hope this helps! Enjoy your explorations of technology with belly dance!

The secret of Shakira’s hips is out!

Shakira's hips don't lie when the music is right!

Shakira’s hips don’t lie when the music is right!

We all know that Shakira’s “hips don’t lie” but until now, we did not know what she meant! I always took it to be about body shape and enjoying the curves, however in an article published in March 2014 by Women’s Health Magazine with Shakira on the cover, she reveals the true secret behind the lyrics: It’s all in the music. She says that when she is in the studio recording, she knows when a song isn’t right or finished if her hips aren’t moving, in other words – she is not feeling it in her body. When her hips start to move along with the music, then she knows it is ready. (read more on what she says)

I am often telling women to listen to their bodies when dancing and to get the brain out of the way. Often a move is over-analysed and critiqued. Shut the thoughts off (especially the negative ones) and let your body feel the music and the rhythm will flow. The hips don’t lie!

Watch her feel the music live on stage!

She thinks white belly dancers should be banned?!?

Charni of Belly Dance Lessons Online should not be dancing or teaching belly dance as she is not arabic, according to Randa Jarrar.

Charni of Belly Dance Lessons Online should not be dancing or teaching belly dance as she is not arabic, according to Randa Jarrar.

There has been a furor in the media recently over an article written by Randa Jarrar called “Why I can’t stand white belly dancers” she states that she feels it is “appropriation”, that this dance form is originally danced by arabic women and should remain so. Hmmmmm.

She refers to a white belly dancer as being dressed in “arabic drag” as  “that’s what that is, when a person who’s not Arab wears genie pants and a bra and heavy eye makeup and Arabic jewelry, or jewelry that is meant to read as “Arabic” because it’s metallic and shiny and has squiggles of some kind”. Ms Jarrar, I feel that it is a form of flattery, and is spreading the dance around the world. Also, as a side note, which seems to contradict Ms Jarrar’s points, belly dancing is a highly unacceptable dance form for Arabic women in Egypt, and most of the professionals in Cairo, are, in fact, not Arabic at all. And those who are, are actually shunned by their families.

There has been a tongue-in-cheek rebuttal from Sam Doloncot called “Yes, White Belly Dancing Is Inexcusable Cultural Appropriation”. He points out that, going by Ms Jarrar’s arguments, no-one of non-Chinese ethnicity should eat at a Chinese restaurant, and someone “who suffers a serious but non-permanent physically debilitating injury shouldn’t be allowed the use of a wheelchair, as this is an ableist appropriation of differently abled culture”, and other (quite amusing) comparisons.

I would also like to point out that Randa Jarrar is half Palestinian, half American, educated in the USA. So can she really speak on behalf of all Arabic women? Do I wish I had an arabic heritage? Yes, in many ways, I feel there are parts of the dance and culture I am not understanding properly; plus, as I don’t speak Arabic, I can only go by translations I am given of songs I am dancing to. However, to change my heritage would change me, a child of immigrant parents from the UK to Australia. And it was only a few generations ago, one side of my family immigrated to the UK from Italy, does this mean it is okay for me to eat pasta and pizza without feeling I am taking inappropriate cultural liberties?

Is it culturally disrespectful for me to belly dance or an homage?

Karim Nagi actually discussed this topic (in a reasoned and logical manner) in a panel discussion in the Diwan 2009 conference at The Arab American National Museum in Deerborn Michigan, USA. The audience consisted of Arab artists from various fields. Karim, an Arabic musician, discusses the Americanisation of Arab dance in America, and how Arabs can reintegrate into the developement of their own art forms.

What do you think?

They said what about me?

I have just come across a review of my site! I didn’t even know this existed, but now I do, I wanted to give him a big thumbs up for having great taste! LOL

Then you have the lovely Emma Nutrition who actually contacted me before writing about my eClasses: in a previous post)
And another one who actually made an effort:
and an actual genuine review of my teaching:
and this genuine one too (though a little out of date)

Charni from Belly Dance Lessons Online gets reviewed! - Or does she?

Charni from Belly Dance Lessons Online gets reviewed! – Or does she?

Then I found a few “dodgy reviews” not dodgy of me, but obviously have a set text that they just use across all the products they “review” or just do a straight copy and paste of text from my site. Sigh. Some of them are quite complimentary, but go on about it being an e-book which is odd… I am not even going to bother doing a hyperlink to them, but the link is there if you want to see dodgy reviews!

This one uses a picture of somebody else – how’s that for due diligence! Unfortunately not the only one, I found a few who use somebody elses video as a preview!

Or they just give the bare minimum info, which is not what I would call a review!

So here is a call out to all reviewers: If you want people to take you seriously – do a bit of research! Actually LOOK at what you are reviewing, the public are not stupid, they can tell what is genuine and what is not!

Okay rant over and out!
PS – please feel free to do a GENUINE review and send me the link!