Dancing to The Taqsim – Why What and How

Dancing to The Taqsim – Why What and How

Taqsim is a musical concept common in West Asian countries or the Middle East. It is described as a melodic progression or melodic instrument improvisation that is traditional to the performances of Turkish, Arabic, Middle Eastern, and even Greek music and their compositions. Understanding and appreciating this aspect of Turkish and Arabic music is very beneficial to dancers. Dancing to Taqsim requires effort and practice as this melodic progression has no usual rhythms except for that introduced by percussion instruments even though, rhythm is a less central element to Middle Eastern music than melody. Taqsim can be identified by dancers when paying attention to the tones of a maqam or a particular melodic mode characteristic of Arabian music. The Taqsim is often in the lower sets of the maqam and can last from one minute to fifteen minutes.

How to Dance to Taqsim

One of the essential things to remember when dancing to Taqsim is to be acquainted with Arabian music. To make dancing to Taqsim less challenging, spend some time listening to examples and varieties of Arabian music that you might be using in your dance performances. Like learning to appreciate other forms of music, it might take some time for dancers to find the beauty in the slow and meditative music of the Middle East.

If you are a beginner dancer in Arabian dances and more used to western-style dances, it might be hard to get out of the instinct to move to every rhythm or beat of the music. Dance movements accompanying Middle Eastern music and dancing to Taqsim need the dancers to reflect the characteristics of the music itself – that is, slow and meditative. There are several adjectives that can help illustrate how to dance to the Taqsim. Dancing to Taqsim is a  relaxed, improvised, internal, and reflective process. It is traditional to dance on the spot with slow and relaxed movements. These movements should be determined by the tone and the emotion in the music. For the dance to fit with the melody, use fluid movements like circular, figure-eight motions or soft undulations.

Other Tips and Advantages on Dancing to Taqsim

Practicing Taqsim, because of its relaxed nature, can be used as a warm-up and even as a cool down during dance practices. Although dancers are majorly concerned with the elegance and grace of the body when performing movements, it is recommended that dancing to Taqsim be done without mirrors. The focus has to be on the dancer’s abilities to interpret music based on emotion, tone, and melody. That is why dancing in this form of music can also be a great way to improve dancers’ improvisation skills. To do this well, the music must be varied between several kinds of instruments featured in Arabian music. Dancing to Taqsim is very beneficial to professional dancers or dance enthusiasts. Other than honing improvisational skills, dancers’ interpretation of music and emotions through specific dance movements can also be improved. Because of the meditative aspect of the dance, dancers can also grow in focus and concentration.

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