WHAT IS BELLY BOLLY?

“To dance is to give yourself up to the rhythms of all life.”
Dr. Maya V. Patel

 

Close up of Seef saffah peformance hipbelt, bright pinkWhat is Belly Bolly?  Well, ladies, the best thing to do is come along and have a go at the dancing, to see and feel for yourself.  Then you’ll know if it’s for you!  Words and pictures can describe and give impressions, but experience is personal.

 

Sharon and Catherine dancing Egyptian
The Belly aspect of Belly Bolly dance includes styles from Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco as well as Middle Eastern Arabic dances from places like Turkey.  People tend to think of belly dance as dead slinky and overtly sexy, as what you see in James Bond movies: all ‘titillating’, provocative and showing lots of flesh!  Not so. This is only the cabaret style: it’s not all like that. You don’t have to bare your body!  Many dances have layers that cover from head to toe.
Bollywood dance with Seef Saffah on St Michaels Mount
The Bolly side of Belly Bolly dance looks and feels different. It covers the Indian styles of Bollywood and Bhangra. These have their own rhythms, moods and moves: exuberant and lyrical, using beautiful arms and hands to tell stories through movement.

Then there’s  the fusion: blends of styles like Afro-Cuban-Arabic, Andalusian (Spanish-Arabic), jazz-Arabic, Greek belly dance, even the Charleston (that includes Arabic moves!) and, of course, belly dance and Bollywood.
Mixing and matching dance styles is fun while still respecting their roots and the integrity of their moves.
Seef Saffah perform an Afro-Cuban Arabic dance with fanSome Belly Bolly dances go back many thousands of years, others are fresh from, say, the streets of Cairo.  There are dance styles for solo, duets, trios and groups. Some are slow and sinuous, others are chunky, earthy folk dances that are for cheerful groups and then there are sassy street dances, still evolving. Belly Bolly dances are alive and kicking!
You can dance with veils, scarves, fans, sticks (yes, upside down ‘walking sticks’, like shepherds’ crooks!) ‘Isis Wings’, melayas (massive wraps) and finger cymbals.  I keep varying the Belly Bolly dance styles, so that you get a taste of them all and can appreciate the range of their similarities and differences.