Nuances dancing to music with Debbie Smith

Nuances of belly dancing to Arabic music with Debbie Smith


We invited Debbie Smith back as our inaugural remote guest to talk with Karen about the nuances of belly dancing to live Arabic music without looking contrived.

A dear friend and Project Band member, Debbie is one of the few American belly dancers who knows Arabic and translates the words from the music as part of her process.

During this episode of the Baby Boomer Belly Dancer, we talk about:

00:00  Inaugural remote guest podcast with Debbie Smith
00:56  GBDAC2021 and what comes first… mastery or mystery?
03:02  Expression and sincerity in a dancer’s performance
07:27  The opposite of effort…
09:32  Letting the music tell you what to do
11:35  Ways to increase your improv skills outside of class
14:25  What can look ingenuine
16:28  Looking for depth and reasons to do certain expressions
21:35  The process of taking in the music and putting it out in the form of movement
24:24  Dancers looking to deepen expression
25:56  Using translations to know how to feel about the music
34:02  When Westerners are mouthing the words to a song
36:12  Mapping a song out

Ultimately, context is everything!


With over 40 years in her chosen craft of belly dancing, Karavan Studio owner and professional belly dancer, Karen Barbee Adkisson, has been teaching students the art of belly dance techniques for more than 30 years and is dedicated to keeping live music performances as part of this artful cultural dance.

Join us as Karen’s inquisitive mind and unique perspective on a wide array of topics inspire, educate, and even entertain your sensibilities… because everything comes back to belly dance.

You can also subscribe to her YouTube channel and/or the Baby Boomer Belly Dancer podcast.