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PHOTO CREDIT: Above photo by John Rickman Photography, San Jose, California.

From the Site

Arab Song Translations

By Lennie Clark


Helpful Tips When

You Are Dancing to a Song

by Osama el-Gohary


When you are dancing to a song, try to follow these tips.

Before Going On Stage

Before going to the stage you should be full of self-confidence. You have to feel that way. Don't act as if you have self-confidence: really feel it.

Instrumental Vs. Vocal Song Portions

Try to travel all over the stage when you are dancing to the instrumental portion of the song. However, when the singer starts singing, focus on the middle of the stage and use expressive movements instead of the fast movements.

Communication with the Audience

When you are dancing, try to communicate with the audience, rather than just dancing for yourself.

Try to keep in mind that you are dancing for the audience and think of them as one person. Imagine you are dancing for one person and you should stay in communication with that person all the time.

I don't mean that you should merely pay attention or care about your audience. I said "communicate", which means that you should have a silent conversation with your audience, involving them in your story, and attracting them to your world.

You must feel more powerful than your audience. You are the star and they are watching the beautiful light which comes from you. Remember, your communication with your audience is very important and will make you feel more powerful.

Imagine that you are the singer and you are talking to your boyfriend or husband.

PHOTO CREDIT: Photo by John Rickman Photography, San Jose, California.

Interpreting the Lyrics

[Lennie's note: the following tips apply to Osama's translation of the song "Haad Yensa Alboo", but as they also apply when dancing to other songs, I include them here.]

  • When the singer sings the word "Alboo", gesture to your heart.
  • When the singer sings the word "Rhyrak", try to gesture toward the audience, and "wag your finger" at the audience.
  • When the singer sings the word "Ahaboo", you have to show a feeling of love.
  • When the singer sings the word "haBYT", you have to show a deep feeling of love.
  • When you are dancing to this song, try to imagine that the audience is your lover and you are talking to them as one person.
  • Try to translate the meaning of every word using your facial features and your eyes.

This will require practice several times and every time you do, you will add to and change your dance until you feel satisfied. If you feel shy doing this, then it means you are not feeling the words yet. You still think you are dancing and there are people watching you, which is not right.


When you are performing you must feel the music, you must feel the words, and you have to forget that you are dancing and being watched. You have to live inside your own world and not think about anything else.

Dance is generally eighty percent feelings and twenty percent movement.




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About the Article

This insightful essay originally appeared as a message which Osama El-Gohary sent to the Middle East Dance "listserv", which was an e-mail-based forum for dancers, musicians, and others interested in Middle Eastern dance.

About the Author

Mr.Osama el-Gohary is an Egyptian musician and composer who lives in the Houston, Texas area. He plays piano, keyboards, and accordion. He plays traditional Middle Eastern music in a modern style.

Other articles on this web site by Osama el-Gohary include:

About the Source

This article originally appeared on Lennie Clark's web site, "Arabic Song Translations." Lennie created this web site in 2002 as a response to discussion on the Internet regarding incidents of dancers who performed inappropriate sensual dances to religious music. Lennie's web site resided on a free web hosting service known as Geocities.

When the planned October 2009 closure of the Geocities web hosting service was announced, Lennie and Shira agreed to move the contents of Lennie's site to To explore all the articles and song translations that once appeared on Lennie's Geocities site, visit Lennie's portal page here on

Lennie Clark



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