Choreography Vs. Improvisation In Belly Dance (1)

Choreography Vs. Improvisation

Most belly dancers can clearly state their favorite form of expression – they either like to study and perform choreographies or they love to improvise. Whichever we prefer, we will benefit from choosing the masters of these skills as our teachers.

Thanks to the fact that the internet gives us free access to a multitude of videos, we can use it as our classroom when it comes to improving our dance. I like to be inspired by watching the performances of the belly dance legends.

One of the teachers I choose for my studies is famous Egyptian belly dance star Nagua Fouad, a wonderful artist who was famous for her incredible stage shows in the 1970s. She reached a peak in her career in 1976 when the renowned Egyptian composer Mohammed Abdel Wahab dedicated his work “The 14th Moon” to her.

Nagua reinvented the traditional belly dance world by introducing yearly stage shows where she performed along with an ensemble of dancers and a big orchestra. She is known and admired for the way she blends feminine power with elegance and adds dramatic and passionate elements to her dance.

I want to point your attention to a video that shows Nagua Fouad at her best – presenting a choreographed lavish spectacle.



For further studies replay the video and focus your attention on a different layer of the performance every time you replay it.

  • Notice the steps and the footwork Nagua uses to accent the music. Practice some of the steps and pay special attention to walking on tippy-toes. Dance along with the video.
  • Concentrate on the hip movements and how they are combined with the footwork. Practice by following along with the video.
  • Model Nagua’s posture. Check your positions: feet – legs – pelvis – upper body – head – face.
  • Follow her arm movements and find how they synchronize with hips and feet. Select three of her arm positions and practice these.
  • Recap in your mind what you have learned from the video and visualize how you can incorporate some of it in your dance. Create a choreography in your mind.

Tell me about your experiences by leaving a comment!

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