As a celebration of women and feminine mysteries, belly dancing is rapidly becoming a popular means of artistic expression, as well as a fun activity to help women (and men!) stay in shape today. Chances are that you’ve seen belly dance classes offered at your community center or at a local dance studio, or maybe you’ve even been invited to a Hafla or a belly dance performance in a restaurant, festival or other dance showcase. Belly dancers come in all shapes and sizes and dance different styles from Egyptian or Turkish to American Tribal Style, or anywhere in between. Belly dancing is a complex and creative style of dance that has evolved from many different cultures and folkloric traditions, including the instruments used to create the music and inspire the dancers themselves.
Middle Eastern rhythms are typically played on a Doumbek, a goblet-shaped drum of ancient origins. The Doumbek is played with a soft, fingertip-type touch that is much lighter when compared to hand drums such as the djembe. There are many different rhythms within Middle Eastern music that lend themselves to belly dancing, including the well-known Baladi rhythm.
Haflas and other dance events are fantastic ways to show your own instrumental skills and have a chance to watch and be part of an incredible style of dance. Many belly dancers or troupes are eager to incorporate live drumming into their performances and welcome the opportunity to practice or perform with drummers and other musicians. All you need is a drum and the rhythm to keep the beat moving with the shimmies and spins around you.