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.

Love Belly Dance? 2 ways to prove it!

After the wonderful results of Danielle’s University backed study on Belly Dance and Body Image, it seems that we have a new crop of research being done on this ancient art form.

Jade Belly Dance members on couch

Belly Dancers come in all shapes and sizes (and ages!)

For years people have said belly dance is good for this and good for that. If we all keep participating and encouraging researchers then we can prove it! Could you imagine a world where belly dance is a medically prescribed therapy for women with body image issues and for birth preparation??? A world where Belly dance is taken seriously and everyone knows its not just about shimmies and strategically placed sequins? I think it would be a much better place. The 2 ways we can help this manifest this is to help these researchers with their work. If you are or have been a belly dancer please join in on these surveys.

1) URGENT SURVEY – Aussie’s needed to fill out this week!

The first one is being run by Emily, an honours year psychology student at Flinders University. She is a belly dancer from Adelaide (that’s in South Australia, for overseas readers) that is  learning both Tribal and Traditional Belly. The survey is entirely confidential, anonymous and voluntary. It doesn’t take long to fill out the short online multiple choice survey about body image. She has decided at this point to limit the entries to Australian Dancers only – so overseas readers are off the hook!
This is the link

2) Bellydance Health Benefits Survey – for dancers the world over

This one is being run by Kerry Stewart in association with the Sydney Middle Eastern Dance Festival. Again it is all confidential and for statistical purposes only. It takes about 10mins to fill out. The deadline on this is November, while the results are set to be published by the festival in 2013. (But why wait? Fill it out now and its done) or via the Sydney Middle Eastern dance festival site

Kerry Stewart can be contacted via

Gorgeous readers from across the seas, are there any online studies you know of being run? Surely its not only the Aussie woman that are getting curious about just how great belly dance is. If you have know of a study please comment below with a link. Are there any studies that have already been completed that you know of? It would be awesome if you could share the details below.

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