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Teaching Melaya to my regular students

Oh we had such fun today!

I had promised them Melaya after half term, because even though I've taught tons of workshops on it, to other students, I've never actually taught it to my very own students. Something of an oversight really!

Today it was just a gentle introduction, what it's all about, how to put the thing on (the easy way and the rather more complicated way), and how to strut about in it. Several of them have *really* taken to it. Next week, we'll throw the melaya about a bit more, so that it's less static, and then build up to how you'd put together a whole number by the end of term.

I've promised them some video footage, and what I'd like to be able to show them is some old movie footage of women actually wearing melaya, and to be able to show them the body language of wearing one. That will require a fair amount of research among my limited dvd collection, and films on YT. If anyone's got any recommendations, I'd be delighted to hear them.

One of the reasons I love to teach melaya is to dispel some of the myths, and also to bring the Egyptian back to bellydance. It's good to be teaching the real stuff!



( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 2nd, 2015 10:17 pm (UTC)
Wish I could teleport to you for lessons! I've had all of one short workshop on Melaya which was fun and gave me an appreciation and basic understanding for the style I didn't have before. I just don't know enough about it to feel comfortable teaching anything about it or even dancing it.
Jun. 3rd, 2015 09:46 am (UTC)
Sounds cool!

This scene is really mannered, obviously, but it does have a fair bit of time where Nagwa wanders around with it on, and you can see how it restricts her movements to some degree:


And this is a play, ostensibly about Raya and Sakina but it all seems a bit *lolarious* for that:

About 20min into this clip from a TV series about them, there is quite a lot of melaya-wearing skullduggery (and I expect there will be other clips of women wearing melayas in this show since it's set in Ye Olden Days).I found this for some reason a while back and remember being rather charmed by the way they put the bur'a back on the top of their head when they want to chat indoors. Check it out!!

Jun. 3rd, 2015 10:36 pm (UTC)
You hero! I will be a-watching!
Jun. 3rd, 2015 03:15 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the youtube research, suzycat!

Bea, good idea on teaching melaya 'at home'. I had the same realisation, that I sometimes prepare stuff for a workshop biut don't teach it in class. I now have two classes in the 15 weeks that are planned like a workshop, to make sure I won't forget.

Wish I could take your workshop!
Jun. 3rd, 2015 05:02 pm (UTC)
I have to admit that the only thing I "know" about melaya is that the dance form may have been entirely invented by Reda. True or false?
Jun. 3rd, 2015 10:36 pm (UTC)
Difficult to say for sure. Reda definitely invented the "Melaya Tableau" as a theatrical concept, and that's kind of what we do nowadays with Melaya. Having said that, though, Nadia Hamdi, who is pretty much our "bellydance" source for Melaya, got it from her mother and possibly her grandmother before her. I don't know the exact timeframes. There's always the possibility that the same thing was being done by people who were working entirely independently. Reda gets the props, because his work is more documented, but I don't know that his is the only Original Source.
Jun. 7th, 2015 08:20 pm (UTC)

and if you can find the film Al Bou'assa, it seems there is a scene in it, but the link I had was removed for copyright violation (boo!).
As I learned it from Sahra Kent, it was not a Reda original as there are dances done by Tahia and Samia Gamal in the 50s depicting the melaya style. She told us it came from Alexandria, and the sellers I know who sold the dresses refer to them as "'Skandarani" which also means Alexandria.
Jun. 7th, 2015 10:32 pm (UTC)
The Egyptian version of Les Miserables? I've been through briefly and couldn't spot any serious melaya action, although there's a cracking bit of Nabaweya Mustafa (I'm guessing it's her, because of the hip action and costume choice) at the wedding at the end.
Jun. 8th, 2015 02:22 am (UTC)
Drives me nuts to not be able to find it now, but heya, I did come across this one:

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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