Egyptian Stick Dancing - From Folk Dance to Stage Performance

Hello Dancers!

Since we are doing Saidi style dance in class this week (in Intermediate/Advanced), I wanted to share a few videos that show where Egyptian stick dancing (Tahtib) comes from and how it is adapted for the stage by both folkloric dancers as well as belly dancers doing cabaret style nightclub shows.

As the first, more traditional style folkloric clips below show, this is a dance that evolved from a martial art and that was originally done by men. When belly dancers do it as part of their show, they are almost doing a play on it. At the same time, it has become a beloved part of a belly dance show and many famous dancers have put their spin on it. I hope you will love Fifi Abdo doing her version. She is famous for it (among other things).

The last clip is of the Egyptian belly dancer Randa Kamel doing her version of Saidi in performance at a belly dance festival in Greece. Notice her head movements at certain parts! This is exactly what we talked about it class last week. Notice too something very important for all performers and especially belly dancers - her ATTITUDE!! She loses her hip scarf part of the way through her performance and she just jiggles it off and throws it out of her way and KEEPS GOING. She laughs and smiles. She doesn’t worry about it! This is the spirit of live belly dance, its all about going with whatever happens in the moment and enjoying yourself so that your audience can enjoy themselves too.

I hope you enjoy these clips even if you can just watch couple minutes of each one.

This 1976 video is published with the permission of Dr Magda Saleh. Rayyes Hassan and Rayyes Mahmoud. This video was taken in the region of SOHAG, at Sheikh Shebl.

Tahtib (Egyptian Arabic: تحطيب taḥṭīb) is the Modern Egyptian term for a stick fighting martial art originally named Fan A'Nazaha Wa-Tahtib (the Art of being straight and honest through the use of stick). The martial version of Tahtib also evolved into a traditional form of Egyptian folk dance involving a wooden stick, also known as "stick dance" or "cane dance".

Fifi Abdo Egyptian Cane (Saidi) style Dance

Remember too that I shared another really cute YouTube of Egyptian belly dance star Lucy doing her take on Saidi last week - be sure to catch that one if you haven’t!

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Carnival of Stars is this weekend! Two days packed full of belly dance, with performances on two stages, live music, shopping and food. It’s a wonderful experience if you can make it. I am performing on Saturday, July 20th at 4:50 PM to live music by Pangia on the Cafe Stage and again on Sunday, July 21st on the Main Stage at 1:20 PM. But you will see great performances any time you go. Be sure to get a program so you can know who is performing when. Let me know if you have any questions about this fantastic festival!

Alisa will be performing at Carnival of Stars!

Alisa will be performing at Carnival of Stars!

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I will also be performing in live music bellydance shows at El Morocco in Pleasant Hill on July 28th and at Tannourine Restaurant in San Mateo on August 2nd. Details on my Shows page :).

Have a great week!