All Music Is Belly Dance Music
Over the last 8 years, a lot of my students have asked me where they can find great “belly dance music”. My answer is “on your favourite playlist”.
Confused? They usually are, too. But my point is simple — All music is belly dance music.
Let me explain. Over centuries, thousands of artists have created millions of different songs and compositions. And as they created, society ended up typecasting different genres of sound. Terms like ‘pop’, ‘rock’, ‘R&B’, etc. were born. In parallel, artists who performed to these musical compositions were compartmentalised as well. Certain moves came to be associated with certain kinds of music, and it became almost set in stone.
And like most other things in our lives — faith, language, fashion — human beings created rules that harnessed art, encasing it neatly in compartments, made to adhere to man-made rules. Anything straying from these rules was either labelled ‘bad’, ‘incorrect’, or ‘fusion’ — the latter a word almost spat out with contempt by purists who believed that set definitions safeguarded the purity of the form.
Now personally, I disagree with that approach. I think a real dancer, a true artist, can dance to any music. They aren’t bound by genre, or by a beat. Their body feels the rhythm and responds. That’s all there is to it. And that’s what dance truly is. It’s a conversation between the music and the body. And who are we to interrupt, or say that they aren’t allowed to speak to each other?
The “fusion” of art forms is beautiful. It’s lines blurring. It’s borders being crossed, even erased. It’s every art form befriending every other, and creating something greater.
Because just like human beings, art was not meant to be divided by borders, or definitions.
This is why I dance to all sorts of music. While most belly dance classes are set to drum solos and Arabic tunes, I prefer to dance to popular tracks across genres. So in one of my classes, you’re likely to hear rock, pop, EDM, and even Bhangra! Because I want you to be able to step into a club and show off those moves, no matter what the DJ plays, not simply dance in front of your mirror at home.
So pick a song. Any song.
Don’t worry about what ‘dance form’. Just let your body moves as it feels.