Sha‘abi

Earthiness and strength

Sha’abi is the arabic word for “dances of the people” or „folk dances“ that are still danced today by women and men in the whole of the oriental world. It is the dance of the farmers, gypsies, stick and combatitive dancers from Upper Egypt as well as the Nubiens too. Learning the Sha’abi is the fundamental preparation for the study of Raqs Sharqi.

Baladi

Delicate and expressive

At the beginning of the 20th century, many people moved from the countryside to the big cities, such as Cairo. As a result of this urban migration, a new form of Sha’abi dance evolved: Baladi. Baladi means ‚my land’ or ‚my home’ in arabic. With time, the countryside music began to mix with the urban music. Western style music such as the blues and jazz, and their corresponding instruments, such as the saxophone and accordeon also began to influence the traditional music and, as a consequence, also influenced the traditonal dance. It is exactly this fusion of traditional and modern that makes this music and dance style so unique.

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