Dun tek. Dun dun tek.
One of my favorite props in Bellydance is the cane, or assaya. Last week, my Sunday Master class began to learn a cane choreography for the upcoming dance show in Aprilâ€”exciting since Iâ€™ve only had one previous opportunity to perform a cane dance, over two years ago now. The cane is a traditional prop of saidi, the folk dance native to upper Egypt. Men dance with canes in choreographies that resemble stick fighting; when women perform the dance, twirling and thwacking the canes on the ground, we are essentially parodying the men. The movements of saidi dance are more earthy and bouncy than cabaret-style Bellydance, executed with pride and a splash of sassiness. Saidi is a dance of the country, of farmers and harvests. Dun tek, dun dun tek is its signature rhythm.
I love saidi dancing not only because itâ€™s pure fun to twirl a cane and smack it on the ground now and then, but because the dance isnâ€™t typically what Westerners expect when they think of â€śBellydance.â€ť Yet the cane is a far more traditional prop than say, the sword, for example, and poses as many challenges (on more than one practice session, Iâ€™ve sent my cane whirling like a helicopter to the corner of the roomâ€”this is bound to happen sooner or later). Saidi dancing serves as an apt reminder that what we in the West term â€śBellydanceâ€ť is derived from folk dancing, and shares roots with Greek, flamenco, Romani, etc.â€”all brought by the Roma people as they dispersed throughout the Middle East and Europe. ( Read more )