“Hyperarousal Trance, Belly Dance and Creativity”

I have been asked by some people, and some of them belly dancers to repost this blog entry from a while ago.

They have their reasons for asking, and I am only pleased to oblige.

Lady Nyo/ Teela

Hyperarousal Trance, Belly Dance and General Creativity

I have been asked to explain what my experiences have been with Hyperarousal Trance and how it has effected my creativity as a dancer and a writer.

I can only ‘tease’ here because I am just becoming more aware of the issue of ‘how it works’.  I never really thought about it because it just seemed to appear when it was needed, whether I was conscious or not of its ‘need’.

Perhaps it would be better for me to start with an attempt to explain H.T. and why I started using it.

Two years ago I came across an article somewhere on the web about the ‘ayoub’ rhythm and the Zar trance dance in Egypt and parts of Africa.  Being a belly dancer, I was interested and read as much about the Zar trance dance as I could. Actually there was not that much information at that time. Later there was more written.

I found there was a common element in this Zar dance, wherever it was utilized.  It was this consistent  2/4 rhythm of the ‘ayoub’ or ayyoub (or zaar) rhythm.

It is hard for me to explain, but the dumbeks  (the drums) used beat out this rhythm like this: Dum…tek!, Dum tek/Dum..tek!, Dum tek.

Sort of like a dotted quarter note on the first Dum…followed by an eighth note tek, but the next Dum tek is evenly beat.

Repeat until trance ensues.

And it does.  Now, everything I write here will be contradicted, because it seems that each country where the Zar trance ritual is practiced has their own rhythms used. Some are particular to the demons entrenched within.

Oh, yes, the Zar ritual.  I can’t make any assumptions here.

The Zar ritual is a healing exorcism used to shake up a demon residing in a woman.  You don’t exactly evict a Zar (demon)….you give them new marching orders.

There are many issues about this, and I won’t go into them except to say that this is a highly controversial cultural issue and I for one, am remaining open to it all.

However, I will speak on my own experiences here with the Zaar rhythm (or ayoub).  And I will try to link how this experience of listening closely to the ayoub rhythm changed points of creativity in my own life.

As much as I can understand this.  I haven’t really closely examined it before, just took its presence in my life as natural.  It is tied with my belly dancing, or perhaps it is more correct to say that I first became aware of the transforming and trance making behaviors of the ayoub rhythm in my belly dancing.  I would find that I was going into a trance, and this was when I wasn’t attempting any set choreography.

Choreography  seemed to interfere WITH the ability to fall into trance.

My belly dancing brings me into an altered state. This is very common to many dancers but I believe is disrupted when we are doing choreography.  Set patterns, which we practice to take into ‘muscle memory’ still makes us conscious of our movements and somehow takes us out of the free-fall of trance.

The constant beat of the ayoub transforms consciousness.  Some where I read it’s like a ‘horse’ that is carrying you inward and upward somehow.  Perhaps the connection is a universal heartbeat, I don’t know really, but I do know ‘something’ happens to me.  If it’s an altered state of consciousness, it has it’s reoccurring points: time disappears and something definitely shifts.

We do know through brain studies that there are many physical functions that are effected by Hyperarousal Trance.  Blood pressure lowers, the heart beat slows, the body temperature changes.  Now, I am not sure that this exactly applies to belly dancing, which can be quite vigorous.  But rhythmic stimulation does change brain waves.

We also know that there are definite issues with Hyperarousal Trance in heightened endorphins, boosted immune system (even temporary) and accentuated energy…and an overall feeling of ‘high’ or ‘good’.  These probably are no different than exercise highs. Another issue is that pain seems to be lessened with the trance state.

However, there is already a lot of evidence piling up that shows the brain issues (waves, etc) are different in H.T. than in hypnosis, or self-hypnosis.  It’s a deeper effect on the brain in some way than these above.

I do find that listening to the ayoub rhythm beat out on drums or picked up in the background of music, effects me fast.  I also drum on dumbeks, and this practice has allowed me to access the trance as much as listening or dancing does.

Somewhere I read that “Theta” brainwaves is the ‘set’ of Hyperarousal Trance, but I am still investigating this.

This entry is a work in progress.  I have other things to say about Hyperarousal Trance, specifically to it’s relationship to subspace (another altered space) hypnosis, etc.

Generally the issue for me is creativity.  I have realized over the past two years that H.T. is somehow very much bound up in my ability to ‘tap into’ different cultural issues, and to write about them. It seems that research is much smoother, easier and the writing, when I consciously strive to place myself in H.T. flows to where things reveal themselves and blossom.
At times, and these are not as rare as they would seem, I can access this trance almost without effort.  That is a good day of activities, and especially writing.

I am researching DNA and mysticism and have come across writings were it is proposed that everyone is capable of psychic powers, heightened intuition, clairvoyance, etc.  Perhaps with a relaxed and then again…directed mind, you can tap into the prime DNA alphabet soup for transport into a heightened  highway of the mind and the cosmos.

Anything is possible out there…and in here.

Lady Nyo

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2 Responses to ““Hyperarousal Trance, Belly Dance and Creativity””

  1. Tom Says:

    Hi thanks for this article. y surname is Iyoob but that is the american version as my family came from lebanon & syria in the early 1900’s. Our name was spelled Ayoub and was changed at Ellis Island. I have beeb doing rescearch on our family name and came across the rhythm. I would be interested in anything I could read about it’s origin.


  2. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Tom!
    Thank you for reading and commenting.

    I know a couple of Lebanese people with the surname Ayoub. Many names were changed at Ellis Island.

    I will try to post some more soon about Hyperarousal Trance and the Ayoub beat.

    Promise! From what I know it is very used in Africa, Middle East and areas…some things are just so universal that they spread…from the heart.

    Try googling “Zar Dance” and see what you come up with. And contact me with whatever you do. I am collecting some more material for later articles.


    Lady Nyo (who dances under the name: Teela)


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