Do certain instruments encourage the same belly dance moves in all dancers?

As a scientist and a belly dancer I am always interested in the latest dance related studies and surveys.

Have you ever wondered if certain sounds illicit the same motivations to move for all dancers? I am sure you have noticed that big, deep drum beats tend to get big, juicy, earthy moves from most people. I guess Keti Sharif was wondering this too as she recently added a pdf on her survey on this very topic. She had the aim

 “to observe any recurring patterns of natural movement response to each instrument, to establish predominant music-movement relationships and characteristics of movement value”.

To read the complete findings, you can easily obtain a copy through the lovely Keti Sharif’s website.does the music effect the dance?

But here is a little taste of what was discovered from the 836 participants:-

Ney elicited an overwhelming preference for upper body movement and arms at shoulder level or above head.

Oud tended to elicit lower body responses  with rolling and vibrating movements interspersed, and the arms were moving between chest and hip level – possibly as a response to scale.

“The survey demonstrates that in many cases, the area of the body and movement of the musician to hold instrument and create sound (eg: strumming, stroking, wavering or plucking types of movement), is often reflected intuitively through dance, in the same, or at least a close or nearby area of the dancer’s body.”

This is a very cool bit of insight into human nature and sound. I thank all participants and the Keti for putting this together. It is worth a look for all sorts of reasons but could be particularly valuable to teachers, those interested in dancing to live music or those that have trouble with improvisation.

Do you know of any other studies on dance or belly dance that you have found useful? Please share the links below.

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