History & Culture

How to Make Braids for Folkloric Egyptian Costumes

1) 1 skein of yarn in a colour to match your hair or black, your artistic choice. 2) These instructions are for braids 1.25″ (inches) thick. For this thickness, cut 120 strands that are approx 2 yards long. Keep them in one long bunch. You can adjust thickness by having more or fewer strands in your bunch. This length, your braids will hang [approx] down to your hips. Strands may need to be longer if you are taller. If you are…

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Origins of Oriental Dance in America

Oriental dance aka “belly dance” or “Raqs Sharqi” in Arabic, is considered one of the oldest dance forms on Earth, but no one knows for sure where it came from. Over the last few decades, archaeological, societal, and cultural discoveries, regarding the Middle East, dance historians have more information resources concerning the dance’s origins more than ever before. Currently, there are two “historical” schools of thought about where the dance may have originated. The first proposes that the dance may…

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Resistance is Futile: How to Assimilate Dance Stylization

When we begin our dance journey, we spend a lot of time building a particular dance technique, usually the technique of our teachers or the general style of the genre we like the most.  Once that technique is “hard set” in our bodies, we tend to approach new related dance forms with the same technique without first “clearing our cup” of what we currently know. We don’t always understand when we begin dancing that it’s so much more than muscular…

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Fabulous Folkloric

Raqs Sharqi was born in Egypt, but did you know there are other styles of Egyptian dance, beyond the hustle and bustle of Cairo. Let’s take a journey down the Nile, into the desert, to the Mediterranean, and into Upper Egypt to witness the fun folkloric dances of Egypt. We will take a look at Ghawazee, Bedouin (Hagallah), Melaya Leff, Fellahin, and Nubian. Below is a list of YouTube Playlists that I have created for you to explore these dances…

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Must-Have History of Oriental Dance Books Featured Image

Must-Have Oriental Dance History Books

You dance geeks have been asking for my top belly dance history book recommendations. Well, your wait is over. Here are my favorite history reads! Be sure to click on the titles to be transported to Amazon where you can conveniently purchase these books. Enjoy! Disclaimer: Making these awesome resources takes a lot of time and effort. When you use the links below to make a purchase, Ahlam Academy gets a small percentage of the sale.  Every bit helps support Ahlam Academy’s…

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Belly Dancers of Egypt’s Golden Era

The term “Golden Era” is often used to refer to the period of Egyptian cinema beginning in the early-mid through the middle of the 20th century. During this period, many actresses/dancers became popular, not only in Egypt and the Middle East but around the world. Many of these dancers are still recognized as the best of the best and are still a source for inspiration for belly dance enthusiasts today. The list below is certainly not inclusive of all Golden…

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