Percussion and Oriental dance: the perfect combination

Thanks Nicolas Derolin, teacher and percussionist who accompanied famous French and international oriental dancers, to tell us about the interest for a Bellydancer to know, understand, and master oriental percussion.

You are well known in the world of Bellydance in France, how important is it for an oriental dancer to learn percussion?

Learning oriental percussion is important for a Bellydancer because it allows you to understand better what you are dancing.
I’ve been teaching oriental percussion for several years and it is interesting to understand the basic rhythms, the sounds which fit in with the dance movements and steps.
Understanding concepts such as the tempo, bar, times, allows the percussionist and the oriental dancer to have the same vocabulary, and converse.

You recently offered a workshop dedicated to Bellydancers, what points did you cover?

During this workshop, we broached the learning of more than 10 Egyptian rhythms, the sole Drum analysis, some examples of solo sentences, and the dialogue between a percussionist and dancer.
In the next workshops, we will study the rhythms of the Middle East such as Irak, as well as the Khaliji Style, or also the rhythms of Maghreb.

How do you adapt your teaching to this specific audience of oriental dancers and their particular expectations?

To teach Bellydancers, I do not go into the technical aspect of the darbuka (decorations, techniques...) unless I am asked. In this case, I can then explain the different sounds and decorations which fit in with the movements.
I mainly give the essential points which are similar to the dance vocabulary; I create the link with the oriental dance steps such as the Omi, vibrations, the 8 forward/back, the twist...

What do you enjoy by working with Bellydancers?

What interests me at first is how to interpret the movement, the relationship between a sound and an accent.
The oriental dancer draws the movement and as "percussionists", we color it.

What is your background in the world of music globally and can you give us some highlights of your career?

I started by playing the piano at 9 years old then the oriental percussions, self- taught at the age of 14. I improve thanks to the teaching and meetings with well-known musicians including, among others:  Adel Shams el Din, Ibrahim el Miniawy (Egypt), Bashar Deghlawi (Syria), Issam Houshan (Syria/Los Angeles), Zohar Fresco (Israel).

I also accompanied many oriental dancers from around the world: Jillina (Los Angeles),Virginia (Miami), Sadie Marquart (Denver), Orit Maftsir (Israel), Shanan, Mario Kirlis (Argentina) Anasma (New York/France), Mohamed el sayed (Egypt/Spain), Suraya Hilal (Italy), Isabel Alama (Switzerland), Kareem Gad (Egypt/France), Zomzom (Morocco/France), Leila Haddad, Assia Guemra, Lolie, Alexia Martin, Yaël Zarca, Ciya, Taly, Shiraz.

I was lucky to being scheduled in several venues and festivals in France and abroad:
Bloomsbury Theatre in London, Festival Stelle D’oriente in Turin, Fundación Tres Culturas del Mediterráneo in Seville, Institut Français in Abdijan, Algiers Opera House, Arab World Institute, Unesco, Bercy, as well as the opening act of groups like Idir, Natacha Atlas, Orchestre National de Barbes, Grand corps malade, Trio Chemirani.

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