BALADI BUILDING BLOCKS

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Develop Your Personal Baladi through
Ranya Renée's
BALADI BUILDING BLOCKS

If you love Egyptian baladi style dance... and if you want to immerse yourself in it, to feel more authentic when doing it... 
...then this is the program for you. 


I'm so glad to finally share Baladi Building Blocks with you! 


I began the work for Baladi Building Blocks ("BBB") in the 2020-2021 Baladi Coaching Series and filmed the video lessons in 2021 as part of that series. It is the culmination for me of more than twenty-five years of study on Egyptian baladi-style dance, and it is now available on demand.  

In BBB, I offer you deep instruction on baladi, as well as a broader cultural perspective, as a non-native who has studied Arabic language, music, and culture in depth. With this perspective I help provide a conceptual and practical bridge into Egyptian social dance and dance performance culture, while highlighting the nuances that are sometimes glossed over in other "mainstream" modern Egyptian dance workshops. 

BBB builds on material from my popular Baladi DVD (filmed in 2008) and online Baladi from the Ground Up (filmed in 2016). Since then I've developed the material, from deconstructing my own process in the baladi and interviewing students about theirs.

It's a culturally based, experiential, foundation-building approach to Egyptian dance, built on social dance fundamentals. It's based on research with Egyptian teachers and in-country in social situations, and I have asked myself at each stage: 

 
How can I create a learning experience that mimics the bodily learning process of social dance?

 


If you have studied baladi with me before, in person or using my Baladi DVD or Baladi from the Ground Up program, or with other non-native teachers, I think you'll find this to be a fresh approach, one that adds something different to your process.

 If you have studied with Egyptian teachers before, you'll find that this program fills in your knowledge, providing missing links to culturally, musically, and physically contextualize the movements and styling, and to tie it back to yourself, and your own self-confidence in showing up within your baladi.

What's in the Baladi Building Blocks program?

You'll learn more than just the moves in this program. 


 You'll develop greater confidence and learn to commit to yourself in the moment while you are dancing. 


 You'll learn to manage your energy in your dance: to stay supported and strong, and not to give it away all at once, or feel scattered or depleted. 


 You'll learn to coach yourself through the emotional challenges in showing up in your baladi. 

 So it will look and feel the way it's supposed to: natural, grounded, proud.


This is an on-demand program that can be taken on its own OR as part of a Baladi Coaching Series. 
It is a pre-requisite to joining any of my future Baladi Coaching Series... even if you have done the Baladi Coaching Series in the past. That's how important this material is.

Between this BBB program, my Baladi 2-DVD set, and Baladi from the Ground Up, you'll be in good shape with the fundamentals AND the deeper cultural awareness to chart your path to baladi success. 

In addition to the new material in BBB, the program guides you through my other programs (including the Baladi DVDs and my online baladi programs), so you can work through them in a comprehensive, integrated way. 

In BBB, you'll work not only on the movement drilling, but also on the mindset and confidence training that will help you root your dance more deeply in Egyptian cultural awareness.

And you'll also more deeply root yourself, in a way that you may observe extending into the rest of your life as well.


Connecting with the Baladi in Your Own Body - Build a bridge between yourself and Egyptian baladi, and bring it into your core - from the physical perspective (the gravity of it, earthiness, settled comfort in yourself) and the cultural perspective. We'll explore ways of using the feet, legs, pelvis, pelvic floor muscles, buttocks, and placement of weight, as well as the positional relationship of rib cage to pelvis to feet, to achieving a more baladi flavor in your body. These are the true building blocks of your baladi - along with your own self-acceptance and confidence. We'll also address use of arms and hands for a more natural, less "stagey" approach that is still full of confidence and dignity, and a way to get there creatively.

Balancing Yourself in Baladi

To be confident, you need to find your own balance. It's a process of calibrating what that means for your own body and mind, and what you want to share with your dance.

Some of us find our own "tuning" in relation to our surroundings, tuning from the outside structure and then settling inward, and some of us need to find it from the inside before working outward. 

Musical, physical, social, and energetic exploration to set the stage for your baladi.... Just as the musician builds an improvisation from solo taqasim in a particular maqam, we can build our dance from a strong foundation in our body, and apply an approach to our dance that mirrors the traditional development of the music in improvisation. This program addresses solo improvisation more from the social and energetic perspective: How we create a safe, shareable container for our expression, and how we can show up as a leader in our dance, to inspire ourselves and others.

Soheir Zaki sharing space with her hands.

Rhythms and the steps that go with them, direct from dance legends Informed by a social dance perspective, we observe how major Egyptian dance legends (Soheir, Fifi, Tahia, Mona, Dandash...) have brought the baladi into their shows and films. Using their work as inspiration, we'll work through the various rhythms of baladi, from slow to fast, and how to keep things deliciously simple (sounds easy but it can be a challenge!). Practice music drills from my Baladi DVD are recommended, with a goal of holding space for yourself in baladi... maybe in a way you have not tried before. It is almost a meditative experience, and 100 percent self-acceptance: distilling who you are in

this dance, inspired by the legends.

This program evolves through a deceptively simple approach to being present in the body,
to contain yourself, strip away the extra "fluff,"
and to center and ground yourself. 

Sensing yourself, seeing yourself, supporting yourself, and committing to yourself.
In running my previous baladi series, I've noted how hard it seems to be, to develop continuity that is strong, committed, and not overly complicated! We explore how to use the rhythm as cue to where your energy and visual focus should be - either bringing it in close or sending it out, or somewhere in between - for introverted vs. extroverted sections of baladi music. The approach in this program is to work with your mind as well as your body and breath, to settle yourself, in yourself.

INCLUDED: BALADI CHARACTERS

As part of the BBB program, we spend time with baladi personae/characters depicted in films, focusing on famous dancers in these roles:

Bint al balad - The baladi persona of the "bint al balad" (daughter/girl of the country/neighborhood): sweet, wholesome, honest, modest, polite, and maybe a little bit innocent! She holds the honor of her family, so she is reserved in public and especially in the presence of men.

Meallima  - The "boss lady" is one of the important female baladi characters, and it's not just in the movies! This is a real role that some baladi women inhabit in their working lives.

Homestyle seductress - using baladi dance as a temptation for that special someone...!

INCLUDED: BALADI MUSICAL CULTURE

As part of the BBB program, you'll learn more about some of the major figures in baladi music, and related artistic and social contexts:

Ahmed Adaweya  - King of baladi song, godfather of shaabi, and film star. Scenes from his films illustrate various cultural settings that give us a deeper appreciation of baladi culture and "farha" celebration contexts.

Hassan Abou el-Seoud - This famous accordionist and composer of "Shik Shak Shok" brought baladi into a modern popularity in his era.

Street wedding culture - Following the path from the street to the nightclub, to explore how social class has influenced the dance.

INCLUDED: YOUR DIALOGUE WITH EGYPTIAN CULTURE

As part of the BBB program, we address the "impostor syndrome" that many dancers feel in studying and performing the dance of another culture. How can we "own ourselves" in the dance, when it is not "ours" truly to own?

It IS possible to navigate the delicate balance between appreciation and appropriation, in working towards greater confidence and self-trust in this form.

"Baladi & Personality" talk - how to bring your own personality into your baladi, while still showing respect to Egyptian culture

"Baladi Challenging YOU" talk - Addressing the roots of the dance in Africa, and the decolonizing of the dance in our bodies, so we can truly experience the "enough-ness" of the baladi style

Baladi from the outside in, vs. from the inside out - Using our physical body to connect to the ground and create its own container, so we can let go of the idea of pleasing others and be more present in ourselves



Comments from past Baladi Coaching Series dancers,
on Ranya's teaching approach for Egyptian baladi


"The most important thing I came away with is a real muscular level technical difference that differentiates baladi and raks sharqi in a way that I've never seen or heard before.  It was absolutely transformative, after more than 15 years of dancing and performing baladi."

Eszter - Maura
Belgium/Hungary

"A lot of the tools and techniques Ranya has given have really had a very somatic effect on my body… Something as simple as focusing on the exhale: I noticed how my body would automatically respond to that and slow completely down… I’m focused on my body, there’s control, but it’s also given me the opportunity to work on my energy."

Dominique Moon
North Carolina

"Ranya always manages to give us a way to let our personality come through in our dance and to give us the tools we don't get in other dance classes, because even if we have the movements, the music, and the cultural understanding - there's still this missing thing.  How do I put all this out in a way that really can reach the audience.  The tools we get here for baladi, I have never seen them taught anywhere else."

Julia Eberling
Baden-Württemberg, Germany 

"It's just brilliant!!  It's so helpful, useful and worthwhile.  It's worth every penny!!"

Tammy Johnson 
Oakland, California


One more thought for you:

Even if you have worked with my Baladi DVD and Baladi from the Ground Up program, you'll find a lot that here that is new, about my approach in this program. 

Work through BBB, and you'll become more confident in your Egyptian dance (baladi as well as oriental/raqs sharqi), dance with greater authenticity, actually feel like you deserve to dance baladi, and that you are honoring the culture... connecting with the melody and rhythm... and that you can still bring your own unique personal qualities to your interpretation. 

 You’ll gain a better understanding of baladi dance as it is done traditionally, in homes and at street weddings, and be able to tap into that sense of familiarity in your own body...

...so your dance feels like baladi ...and also feels like YOU! 

 Join me on this journey of self-exploration through the lens of Egyptian baladi culture.

GET ACCESS TO BALADI BUILDING BLOCKS TODAY!

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Recommended: Add Breathwork & Baladi to your order

Just $15 with your BBB purchase (regularly $25)

If you don't have this already, you'll find it really useful, as you work through the drills on the Baladi DVD and in performing baladi live or online.
Click to add to your cart today.

This is my online video training on breathing well with different sections of the baladi for LIFETIME ACCESS on the Ginger City members’ website.
Dance-along practice drills and demonstrations/explanations of how to breathe for different rhythms so you can stay calm, oxygenated, and comfortable through your baladi, for more natural feeling, facial expression and presence.

The material in this compact 42-minute program applies not just to baladi, but to all your Egyptian dance breathing needs!  Breathing the right way can help you stay calm even while using your abdominal muscles and doing faster steps. You can't hear how the famous Egyptian dancers are breathing on their YouTube videos, but they are breathing, and they look relaxed even while doing complicated movements. This short program puts you on that path too. 

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