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Drum Solo in Belly Dance

The gorgeous and wonderful Sadie performing one of her “Wait… how did that just…what?” (I bet I am not the only one that has had that expression while watching her!). This is the very first belly dance performance I ever saw, many years ago.  

I am in love with the sounds of drums, especially coming from the darbukka. I find truly hypnotizing how the body imitates and follows so closely the music... the connection a dancer must have to the beat is unique. When dancing, whether you are just starting or have been doing it for a long time, you are in a constant “re-discovery” state; I believe you get to rediscover not only your own body, but your rawness inside as well, your reactions, your instincts. In my opinion, a drum solo in belly dance perfectly represents that state of rediscovery. For the length of the song, you devote yourself to the music, to your intuition, and let the joy flow out of your body, just in time to catch the upcoming "Dum" or "Tak".



Also known as doumbek, dombak, tablah (from the Arabic word “tabl” which means drum), among others. This Arabic hourglass-shaped drum is the instrument used for a drum solo in belly dance.


Back in the day, they were made up of ceramic, while the head of the drum was made up of either fish skin or goatskin. Nowadays, however, the heads tend to be synthetic, and the body is sometimes metallic.

The “Dum” sound is produced when striking the center of the drum, while the “Tak” sound (high-pitched) comes out of knocking the edge of the drum.


Dancing to a Drum Solo:

Pops, locks and shimmies tend to predominate in a drum solo performance. The layering moves (isolating the body) attempts to reflect the rhythms played on the drum. It is considered very challenging given that the dancer needs to have a great control of her technique in order to achieve sharp movements. The dance tends to be very energetic, and tends to be playful as well.

Originally, the drummer will perform a song never heard before by the dancer. It is why some people refer to it as an “Ask-Answer” interaction, given that the drummer is initiating the “conversation” by introducing a certain rhythm, and the dancer dances to it, hence “answering” to his call. Over the years, drum solo songs have been recorded, edited and dancers now also choreograph to them.

In 2013, I went to the worldwide recognized festival "Belly Dancer of the Universe" in Long Beach, California. It was such an inspiring weekend, full of emotions and beautiful talent from all over the world! I was honored by having the opportunity of dancing at the Opening Ceremony, next to Sadie and other four beautiful artists from different parts of the world. It was also a true gift to have danced that piece with live music by the one and only Amir Sofi! Although it was a choreographed piece (by Sadie), we were all asked to improvise for a while at the middle of the song. When dancing to live music, even though the dancer and the musician may have agreed on a song beforehand, the song will never be exactly the same. You have to be ready to improvise, go with your guts, and give your best at all times - and that includes not only a clean beautiful technique, but a great smile to the audience. Sadie made us feel so comfortable we hardly felt nervous by the improvisation part. We all let our bodies follow the beat of the drums.

                                                                           Amir Sofi, Rosa and Sadie.

                                                                          Amir Sofi, Rosa and Sadie.


This drum solo was my first winning performance. First Place "Ultimate Belly Dancer" (2012)


Another drum solo piece, performed in Peru, Dec 2013.



Videos :

I want to share with you some drum solo performances (from all styles) I personally find very beautiful.


JILLINA (USA): Her dedication to this art form is inspiring. And so is her talent.

AMANI (Lebanon): I fell in love with Lebanese Style through this amazing bellydancer.

SADIE (USA): The Queen of Drum solos; Can’t miss watching her.

AALIAH y SHAHDANA (Argentina): This is a wonderful piece. I had the chance to meet and dance next to Aaliah in 2011. Her creativity is outstanding, and I feel this video shows it clearly.

SHAHDANA (Argentina): I watched this Tap Derbake a while ago and truly think is amazing.

DARIYA MITSKEVICH (Ukraine): Beautiful piece.

AIDA (Russia): Aida's style is amusing to me. Such delicacy!

SONIA OCHOA (USA): This piece by Sonia, one of the Belly Dance Superstars is just gorgeous.


And what is your favorite drum solo performance?