PERFORMING ARTS

A Tree with many Branches.

I liken Oriental or Arabic dance to a huge, old tree with a vast amount of branches because there are many theories about the meaning of and the origins of “Belly Dance” none of which involve provocatively gyrating and shimmying for a male dominated audience. Unfortunately this is a modern concept and you do see a number of so called “Belly dancers” today performing primarily for the whit woos and wolf whistling of sexually aroused men, like Sophie Mei’s disgraceful dance display on ‘Britain’s got talent’ in comparison to Sonia Ochoa who through meticulous study and constant practise tries to keep the beauty and grace of the dance alive as she performs in America.

And so this is my attempt to shine light upon this misunderstood dance form and to show that it was originally a dance for the female gaze and not the male gaze.

It was and still can be (depending on the integrity of the woman) a dance that embodied innocent sensuality with the wisdom and power of the earth. It is not meant to be sleazy and erotic or for a cheap flirtation. Tiazza Rose, A Professional Belly Dancer and teacher explains “I think this idea is mostly wide spread in the west. Everyone in the Arab world knows it’s not aimed at men because that’s not how it’s done in the Arab world. Women in the Arab culture only dance for other women and in the presence of other women only. Parties are usually segregated to separate groups for men and women, so men hardly ever get to see a women belly dancing!” She goes on to say  “I think the movie industry started spreading this image of harems and belly dancers dancing for men and so there goes the reality today….”
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(Above Left: Sophie Mei’s disturbing performance. Above right: Sonia Ochoa is a delight)

“Belly dance” is a misnomer and is a translation of the French “danse du ventre” which was a term applied to the dance in the Victorian era however the most featured and expressive part of the dance is actually the hip shimmy and has nothing to do with the belly yet when it arrived in Britain during the Victorian period, noble men and women were shocked at the exposure of the midriff on a woman’s body hence ‘Belly Dance” was born.

Original terminologies are “Oriental Dance”, “Raqs Sharqi” meaning dance of the near East, Tsifteteli which is a Greco-Turkish folkloric dance and Raqs Baladi which means “Dance of the country” again another folkloric dance in the middle east.

Women do not need a “Belly” to Belly Dance. It’s all in the hips deary and so any woman can enjoy learning this dance and enjoy the curves of her body and know she is beautiful. This dance enables a woman to radiate her beauty from within because it is a very powerful earthy dance with movements related to pregnancy and childbirth. It is hypnotic and exudes sensuality and grace if danced properly and with the respect it deserves.

Katie Ness Bellydance article

(Vintage belly dance photographs from the Victorian Era)

The history of the dance is hazy because it is one of the oldest, most primal dance forms in the world. And it takes on a variety of forms and styles depending on the country and region the costumes and dance technique has roots in. Most ancient cultures around the world have their own version of this dance form, from Africa, the Middle East, to India and Hawaii to name but a few.

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(Vintage photos of an African dancer and of an Indian girl doing Odissi gestures)

Katie Ness Bellydance article

(Traditional Hawaiian hula dancing-see the similarities it has to Raqs Sharqi?)

One theory is that the dance originated from Odissi movements in 16th century India. Odissi is a ritualistic and sensual dance performance where the dancer tells a story-usually about love, sex and life through specific movements and hand gestures called “Mudras”. This dance was performed barefoot in elaborate costumes and the dancer would be decorated with numerous jewels, chains and wear ankle bells to make music with her feet to emphasise her presence on stage. These hand gestures and movements of Odissi were a way of attempting to understand ourselves because in the past we did not have science, we did not have books and the written word.

In ancient India the elite courtesans called “The Devadasi” translation “Servants of the Gods” would dance Odissi during holy days and festivals through out the year to bring about the rain, good fortune, wealth and fertility of the earth and bring blessings upon marriage and child birth. These women were the equivalent to the Japanese Geisha yet they were dedicated to a deity at a young age and were trained in the art of dance, singing, music, poetry, yoga, reading and writing and the Kama Sutra (Kama meaning “Love and Sutra meaning “lessons”-again another thing bastardised by the west and turned into a book of sex positions.) These women were treated like the personification of Goddesses and therefore enjoyed high social status and were well respected in their community. “ In early history, Arabic dance movements were seen as a pagan ritual” Suggests Nicola Hardman who is a British Performance artist “Dancing for the love God ‘Wadd’ presumably for promoting fertility. It makes sense to me that this type of ritual would then naturally involve sexual/sensual movements not for a ‘burlesque show’ but for honest desire to be able to reproduce – human nature.”

Katie Ness Bellydance article

(Traditional Odissi was performed in temples and for holy days to worship the gods)

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(Here are two more examples of Odissi Postures, each gesture tells part of a story.)

You still see references of Odissi movements and technique in Belly Dance, bollywood style hip shimmying and in the Flamenco as you see the use of bare feet and the swirling hand gestures in most folkloric dances around the world for example in Greece, Morocco, Turkey, Russia and Spain. So from the very beginning, at its core, this dance was a dance of fertility and a celebration of life and a way of expressing what it feels like to be a woman, to be human and to be a part of this vast chaotic world of unpredictable weather, animals and plants. Many other dance forms soon after adopted Odissi Postures yet from research I believe Oriental or “Belly Dance” is a direct descendant from it simply because India is probably one of the most ancient civilizations in the world (except China) and geographically it boarders a number of middle eastern/African regions that would later grow into rich and colourful cultures in their own right whilst borrowing and adapting a lot of Indian traditions like dance, music and food along the way.

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(Flamenco adopts the Odissi hand gestures and the hip shimmying in bollywood films is a move present in both Odissi and Belly Dance.)

I personally like to believe there are older, more ancient “Belly Dance” related dances. In the times when we lived in caves, painted stories about hunting on cave walls, made stone carvings and instruments out of wood of which a dancer would shimmy in animal skin to the beat of a drum around a fire and under the stars, celebrating the magic of birth, death, seasons and the weather and in that moment of undulations that personify earthquakes, arms that represent snakes and the swishing of her long hair that resembles the wind she evokes a goddess and becomes one with that deity to bring fortune to her tribes people.

Katie Ness Bellydance article

(The cave paintings at Raco dels Moros at El Cogul, Lerida.
Prehistoric man since about 7000BC has used the cave. This scene presumably is a dance of 8 women and one man- possibly a fertility rite or preparation for a hunt.)

So, going back to the evolution of the dance and as I stated earlier it is suggested that it originated from ancient India and then through the Romanys it began to travel from the deserts of Rajasthan and Punjab regions of Northern India with the “Gyspy Rom” tribes into Middle Eastern countries like Egypt. Here the style changed slightly and introduced the coin belt (instead of bells on the ankles in Odissi) so that the women can put on shows to earn money for their families by making music with the extraordinary hip movements and the jingle of the coins. Here the dance became faster, and more seductive but at its core it was still a dance for women to exercise their bodies for maternity, for femininity and for relating to each other and the elements of life.

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(Vintage photograph of a Spanish gypsy performing and a colour photograph of a Rajasthani Gypsy dancer showcasing traditional attire.)

Belly dance fast became a traditional dance in Egypt for women by women only. It was meant to show another woman what it feels like to be a woman through movement and not by saying it. It was traditionally done when a girl got engaged at a very young age and the dancer would show her what it was like to have a baby inside her stomach with demonstrations of the hip shimmy, this simulates a baby kicking. They would demonstrate a torso undulation to show her how important it is to have a strong core for pregnancy, a shoulder shimmy would shake the dancer’s breasts to show the young girl how important it is to breast feed and a figure eight would show her how curvaceous her body would become as the baby grows inside her. Do you not think this is an excellent and fun way to teach young girls about subjects like this without frightening her with horror stories of intercourse and the changes of her body as she grows into a woman? “I love the classical Egyptian style” Tiazza says “Because it’s very expressive and it focuses on the melody and the poetry of the song instead of just being on the beat which most belly dancers focus on. Unfortunately most western belly dancers could not be as expressive as Arab belly dancers with this style because they usually don’t speak Arabic and don’t understand the words of the song to be expressive.” This relates back to the times of ancient India and through Odissi movements and hand gestures the women could express the meanings of the songs they danced to.

Katie Ness Bellydance article

(Egyptian styled costume and belly dancer)

Now in the 21st century Belly Dance has taken on even more forms and has evolved so much since the times of Odissi and Ritualistic performances. Which in my opinion I believe is perfectly healthy, everything in this world evolves, if it didn’t we’d still be living in caves and mud huts. Which is why I slightly disagree with traditionalists who are adamant that a dancer must stick to wearing the traditional costume and dance to the Darbuka? If you, as a dancer prefer to go down that path then that’s your choice but we no long need to always use the Arabic drum as a belly dancers main method of background music. Sounds and music has evolved so much and women over the years have been given more freedom to express their own creativity and personality so why not create your own costume that is tailored to you? And why not be inspired by different sounds and dance forms from around the world? I myself as an Oriental Dancer for ten years have foundations in traditional movements, which are required knowledge for any belly dancer, but as an artist I am inspired by many genres of music, films, dance and theatre and even National Geographic! I am inspired by the world of Geisha, of Kabuki theatre and of the comics of David Mack, I am inspired by “Pina” and “La La La Human steps” which are both unique dance companies.  Even though I have two traditional Egyptian costumes and one Indian outfit I also have two tribal costumes-one of which is finished and represents summer and the other one is currently being made and represents that transition between Winter moving into Spring. I was inspired by mythology and stories describing Snow Queens and Winter Goddesses and I am of Romani descent so it makes sense to me to look more ethnic and earthy. In my dancing I fuse Mudras and Odissi postures in between shimmies, I dramatize my movements to incorporate my alter ego into the dancing and I tell a story through my eyes and facial expressions. It is integral that I turn the dance into a performance because belly dance is much more to me than being a pretty dancer being objectified by the male gaze. I want my dancing to be captivating and ethereal.

One Oriental dance company that inspires me is “Desert Sin” and they fuse traditional belly dance with theatre. They create performances that harness innovative medias together like an umbrella, telling stories through collaborations with puppeteers, aerial artists, method dancers, and theatre. These types of dancers of the alternative gothic and poetic world are frowned upon by traditionalists who believe a belly dancer should be showgirl entertainment rather than a unique young woman. If anything I could argue that traditionalists are wrong because Belly Dancers that are attempting to branch out and work with other artistic expressions are actually bringing back the old ways in which the dance was a performance that told stories about the gods and the chaos of life and not to be some voiceless pretty object that shimmies past spectators as they eat their cuisine.

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(two sample images of “Desert Sin” an oriental dance company that uses theatre to tell stories. In picture one the girls are doing a performance about the Goddess Kali and in picture two they are doing a performance about Mermaids.)

The confusion is that long ago it was a powerful dance yet when it came to Hollywood all that changed and it became a side show act, it was devalued and portrayed as something glitzy and superficial which for a long time the whole world believed that to be how a traditional Belly Dancer should be- everyone likes to copy America’s fads unfortunately. For example Did you know even the veil used in routines is a Western invention that was adopted in the Middle East and has now become a traditional belly dance prop in Middle Eastern cultures? The traditional costume that resonates with folkloric gypsy, Odissi and Flamenco dresses was changed into a two-piece instead of one piece with a coin belt tied around the waist. Hollywood wanted more skin and so that became the new traditional costume.  Nicola Hardman argues,  “I don’t think you need a genius to tell you that sexual plus sensual teamed together with talent and performance make this style of dance an extremely sexy one! This does not however mean that it is only for men in my opinion!! Some people say that originally it was a dance by women for women… but as it was practiced societies saw it as a shocking and uncouth practice that lead to women being arrested in some cases. I think that as it has traveled through different cultures and time it has been realized that this type of dance will (obviously) have a huge market to make money because if you take the stereotypical heterosexual perspective that society inflicts; I think the fact is – men will pay to watch women perform this type of dance. Therefore some women who practice this dance will view it more as a way to make a financial gain rather than for an artistic exploration. I personally think that the invention of “Cabaret belly dance” in circus acts and burlesque bars really did not help to paint a healthy picture of Arabic dance.” Tiazza agrees “I think belly dancers themselves contribute to spreading this image by performing for men and trying to be overly sexual in their performance. I think if belly dancers focus on treating this as any other dance, the public image of it will also change. We don’t see ballet dancers or jazz dancers perform in restaurants and bars and yet we think it’s acceptable for belly dancers to do so? I refuse to dance anywhere but on stage when I perform for the public because that’s where all the other dances display their art.”

Everything evolves and that involves conflicting ideas of how things are represented and Belly dance is no exception. Everything in this world needs to evolve but with that comes misconception and the change is not always for the better. Even today in Arabic countries like Turkey, still adopt that “Hollywood” look and it has become part of their culture. Now you see Turkish Belly Dancers with blond hair, provocative dance moves and more skin showing. Their costumes are glittery, with bold colours and are overtly sequined. Their skirts have long slits up the side of one leg and the women are caked in glamorous make-up. Some cabaret dancers have no shame and allow men to tuck money in their bra tops and hip belts just like a lap dancer. The difference is respect. If you are a dancer that is more inclined to wear the cabaret styled attire then go ahead, it is a beautiful style of dancing in its own right but as a woman and a performer you need respect for your body because no one else will. Some dancers go too far and boarder on erotic and overtly sexual, which gives Belly Dance a bad name. I always say that Belly Dancers are actually more covered up than any other mainstream dance because all that is showing is the midriff and arms to accentuate movement. Most costumes from other dance forms are skin tight and flimsy leaving every nook and cranny on display for the audience to ogle at. At least with Belly dance the concentration is directed towards the belly and hips.

“For me, I think that at the end of the day Arabic dance is something that should be recognized for its beauty – because it was originally formed with the intent to be creative and unite women (and sometimes men) together” Conveys Nicola Hardman. “I think that if you are interested in anything, it is very important to actually do some research about it because naturally things shift and change with time. We are constantly discovering new things and adding to them in every profession and ultimately that is a how new thing and theories are born. I really feel that in performance, art, music and writing, are that there are proxies shared and developed all the time. Not only that but they are combined together and through the improvisation process you have a new form. Arabic dance for me is definitely an important part of discovery and performance because it engages with your entire body and allows you to move in a way that we are not used to in every day life.”

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(Image one shows a traditional one-piece belly dance costume, very similar to Odissi dancers who wear a costume that covers up their entire body yet adds jewels or hip belt to accentuate movements. Image two shows Didem an amazing Turkish Belly Dancer wearing the blonde hair and very revealing cabaret two piece costume inspired by Holly Wood glamour.)

Now the west are trying to bring back quality and power to women and the dance through tribal fusion yet unfortunately the world has forgotten its ancient past and its root meanings and across the globe it is now portrayed as sexual entertainment. I do believe though there has been a slow change of understanding, more and more women are beginning to see it as a fun way to keep fit and feel beautiful which I whole-heartedly encourage. However they take lessons with mediocre teachers who guide them to become that silly showgirl dancer with very little knowledge of proper dance moves and techniques other than the basic shimmy and hip drop. These teachers treat their women like nameless cattle and their students all learn the same routine and perform it like a bunch of sheep with no personality and with cliché names like “moon flowers of the sacred desert”. If you did your research and trained under a real professional Belly Dance instructor she will guide her class to know proper belly dance movements and to allow each dancer find her own individuality. So basically the west did mess up the perception of Belly Dance between the Victorian Era and the rise of Holly Wood but now in the 21st Century many Oriental Dancers are trying to bring back its original integrity.

Tribal Belly dance is a beautiful art form that integrates dances like Gypsy and Flamenco into its routines alongside Theatre, method, mime, and venetians masks as well as hip hop, martial arts, traditional Thai dance and many more. Its costumes are unusual that they have the style of appearing old when essentially it’s actually quite a new dance. However as I explained earlier I do believe tribal belly dancers are without realising bringing back ancient traditions of making your own costume through finding bits of old junk and material and from turning the dance performance into a story about emotion, life and the gods just like the ancient Odissi and Rajasthani gypsy tribes of Northern India. Way back then dancers did not have fabric shops and glitzy things lying around. They made their costumes from what they found because they lived in the desert and travelled extensively. And so modern Tribal dancers are actually evoking that old way of life. I myself collect old and broken pieces of Jewellery and torn fabric to sew onto my costume, it is a form of recycling and the bits and pieces get to live again! And tribal belly dance is adopting ancient ritualistic dance routines from around the world. So in conclusion I believe that the traditionalists’ perception of Western belly dancers warping Oriental dance is unfair since there is a want for artistic growth and fusion from both sides of the pond in the past and in the future. As Nicola Hardman Suggests “I love the fact that Arabic dance is one of the oldest dance techniques in the world – so I have a lot of interest and respect for authentic Arabian movements and forms as that is where it is rooted. Having said this, I love watching and practicing a more tribal fusion style, because I feel it focuses on using the traditional movements, but within a more theatrical art form. I like the fact that there seems to be more of a relationship between the dance/movement and the accompanying music – especially in an improvised dance (as it usually is) as I feel it instantly creates a theatrical atmosphere and then the viewers are more able to realize that it is an art in itself.”

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And so I end where I began. With Respect and knowledge. As an Oriental dancer you can perform to any style you want as long as you have respect for yourself and others, alongside a good amount of knowledge (and practise) as your foundations. As Rachel Brice’s tattoo (A Yoga Sutra in Sanskrit) suggests “Practice becomes firmly grounded when continued for a long time, without interruption and with reverent devotion.”

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You will get the odd wolf whistle or crude remark because some people are just animals but that does not mean a belly dancer needs to provoke such a reaction? “I simply think of one word: ignorance. I do however understand that this particular style of movement and dance is a very alluring one.” Nicola Hardman explains. “And I can understand how some people narrow mindedly view it as a sexual dance form because the nature of Arabic dance involves some traditional moves which tend to make up parts of the dance – including the sexual gyrating of the hips and hip flicks. It also uses very sensual movements such as “shimmying” (especially the hips) and liquid like movements that isolate all different parts of the body… yet as I stated earlier I think it was once upon a time an honest interpretation of sex and reproduction rather than a cheap wiggle for sexual entertainment. It used to be a desire to understand the female form through dance.” Hopefully it still can be because not all Belly Dancers portray themselves as tacky sideshow acts.

For the future there needs to be harmony for this wonderful dance form, both the West and the East can learn and grow from one another and Cabaret is no better than Tribal and any one can dance Belly Dance regardless of culture, shape and sex. We are at a time where it is ok to borrow from each other; the world needs to share more in all aspects of life. At the end of the day it is all relative and as long as you are true to yourself as a performing artist and have respect for other cultures and customs you can’t go wrong.

Katie Ness Bellydance article

I believe with all my heart that Belly Dance is good for your health and well-being. It has helped me fight Depression in my late teens and also bring confidence to my otherwise reserved persona. I have been told in the past I am too skinny to Belly Dance however take a look at professional Belly Dancers like Rachel Brice and Didem-both have a slim, petite frames. You do not need a “Belly” to Belly Dance. All women are beautiful as they are whether you are slim or very curvaceous and Belly Dance allows a woman to see how beautiful her body is when she shakes that stuff around! Tiazza believes also “Belly dance as any other dance is a great physical activity. What makes it great is that not only it’s moderate but also fun. It’s a physical activity that most people won’t look at it as a workout. The music is great; the moves are challenging and beautiful. I think the combination of it all makes it a very fun appealing exercise.”

I actually overcame my weight problem through Belly Dance and Yoga because it is such a fun dance you can dance for hours without realising you have given yourself a good work out. I have secretly always wanted to be a dancer yet my parents could not afford to send me to dance lessons. When I turned 15 my mum took me to Turkey and that is when I found Belly Dance and I’d practise for hours at home everyday and still do. I am now 26 and still Belly Dancing whilst fusing it with Yoga and people are amazed at my figure and flexibility. Nicola Hardman States, “Arabic dance uses the entire body. It focuses on core muscles mainly in your stomach and back – because the main focus of it is being able to isolate all the different parts of your body. Some of the moves actually enable the dancer to exercise and strengthen the spinal column and abdominal muscles. Movement equals exercise, which promotes good health because you are bringing oxygen to your muscles and keeping them flexible but in a very gentle way. “

Here is a personal story to reflect such statements. A few years back I had my first colposcopy experience and the head nurse inserted the dreaded speculum. To calm my nerves she told a joke and made me laugh so hard the speculum rocketed across the room and in her astonishment she said “By heck girl don’t you have strong pelvic muscles!” and “Asa nurse for 14 years I have never witnessed such a thing!” which relates back to ideas that belly dance is beneficial to pregnant women and child birth because it helps the woman learn how to use the correct muscles and breathing techniques. It is also excellent at calming your abdominal muscles during menstruation. As Tiazza Rose states “I think dancing in general makes me happy and free and gives me a chance to live this secret person inside of me that normally would not act the same way I would on stage. It’s like having a chance to be 2 people at once…`’ and Nicola Hardman agrees “The thing I love the most about this type of dancing is that it is not only dancing – I see it more as a way of expressing emotion and creative desire, so when I dance I feel extremely happy and very focused on listening to my creative voices.” And as for me, like the whirling Dervish, I enjoy lifting my arms up to the sky and keeping my feet firmly grounded as I Belly Dance. It is a great feeling of balancing energies and polar opposites that come together in harmonious shimmies within my solar plexus (The solar plexus is located in the stomach ‘Belly region’).

This is a beautiful yet misunderstood dance form and I hope that my random meandering thoughts with the help of Tiazza and Nicola have given you a little bit more background information and cleared away any negativity that is crushing its prestige?

 

Katie Ness Bellydance article

Katie Ness is a mixed media artist and professional Oriental Dancer. She has an honours Degree in “Fine Art” of which her 3rd year concentrated primarily on exploring her alter-ego through performance art and dance. She currently resides in Devon and has aspirations to become an art/movement therapist. Her first performance in the South West will be in Bristol at the Cube Cinema in June 2012. She is of Romani Descent, a yoga enthusiast and hopes to teach combined Yoga and belly dance evening classes in the future. Here are her links:

 www.sunflowerteeth.com

 http://www.youtube.com/user/katiewitch .

Katie Ness Bellydance article

Tiazza Rose is a professional Belly dance teacher and fitness instructor. She is also a certified personal trainer and sports nutritionist. She is from Medford Oregon in America and is of Moroccan heritage. Tiazza enjoys sky diving, travelling and modelling. She teaches Belly Dance online and in classes and has over one million hits on youtube. Here are her links: www.bellydancevideoblog.com,

http://tiazza.com/,

http://www.tiazzarose.blogspot.com/,

http://www.youtube.com/user/tiazzabellydance .

Katie Ness Bellydance article

Nicola Hardman is a professional performance artist with an honours degree in Acting. She travels the UK running theatre workshops and working on collaborative video and stage pieces with British artists, she has also worked with Pan Theatre. She is also an interdisciplinary musician; sound artist and Belly Dance enthusiast of whom she playfully coins it “belly wiggling.” Here are her links:

 http://www.castingcallpro.com/uk/view.php?uid=147969

http://www.myspace.com/nicolahardman/music

Here are some good links of Belly Dancers, teachers and companies I love and recommend!

Rachel Brice: http://www.rachelbrice.com/rb/Welcome.html

Didem: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iyy_E6QPbco

Cara BELLY DANCE UK: http://www.bellydanceschool.co.uk/

Vagabond Princess: http://www.vagabondprincess.com/

Desert Sin: http://desertsin.com/

Beats Antique: http://www.beatsantique.com/

Morgana: http://www.morgan-website.com/

Moria Chappell: http://www.moriachappell.com/

Lydia Tzigame: http://www.youtube.com/user/bleuamber

Jacqui Spiers: http://www.letsshimmy.co.uk/

World Belly Dance Day: http://www.worldbellydanceday.com/

 

 

By Katie Ness, 14th February 2012.

Bibliography:

Images:

  • 1) Sophie Mei Britain’s got talent: The Sun.co.uk
  • 2) Sonia Ochao by Sonia Ochao Myspace
  • 3) Vintage Belly Dance Postcard: Source unknown Google images.
  • 4) Vintage African Dancer: source unknown Google images.
  • 5) Vintage Odissi Dancer: Indian points blogspot.com
  • 6) Hula Dancer: source unknown Google images
  • 7) KamaSutra a tale of Love film still: Director Mira Nair.
  • 8) Subhalaxmi Samal: Odissi Blogspot.com
  • 9) Odissi Dance performance: http://priyalasya.blogspot.com
  • 10) Flamenco Dancer: http://natbals.wordpress.com/2010/06/29/andalusias-ethnicity-flamenco/
  • 11) Bollywood Dancer: http://www.bollykings.com
  • 12) Roca dels Moros, El Cogul cave “fertility dance” by Marialuisa Wittlin
  • 13) Spanish Gypsy dance, source unknown, Google images
  • 14) Rajasthani Gypsy dancer, source unknown, Google images.
  • 15) Egyptian styled belly dance: source unknown, Google images.
  • 16) Desert Sin “The dance of Kali”: Gilded serpent.com
  • 17) Desert Sin Mermaid performance: chovexani.com
  • 18) traditional one piece folkloric costume: Sharifwear.com
  • 19) Didem Turkish belly dancer: Mensfame.com
  • 20) Morgana: Morgan-website.com
  • 21) Rachel Brice: source unknown, Google images
  • 22) Rachel Brice: Tribal Fest video still
  • 23) Rachel Brice, Zoe Jakes, Mardi Love by the naked artisan.

 

I apologize for being unable to find the sources to some of the images, if anyone finds them for me in the future please do not hesitate to contact me and I shall correct the information. Thank you.

 

2 Comments

  • April 15, 2015 - 16:29 | Permalink

    HI Nicole, I am intrigued by your website, and I am glad you have linked the dances of India to raks sharki or baladi. I know I am being pedantic in the extreme, but the photo you labeled as Odissi, is from Mira Nair,s Kama Sutra. There are also two other photos which accompany the one from the film. The one on the left is, of course, Odissi, and the one on the right is Kuchipudi, another classical dance, from Andhra Pradesh, south of Orissa, where Odissi originated. They are quite different in execution. The Odissi photo shows the typical Odissi interpretation of tribhangi, or the division of the body in three parts, the torso, the hips and the knees. The Kuchipudi photo, shows how it interprets the notion of tribhangi, and as you can see, they are quite different. I also think that the Odissi torso movements are quite different from Baladi, as the dancer in Odissi slowly undulates the torso from side to side or from the rib cage to the hips. Baladi torso movements are quite percussive, and are therefore executed to the beat of the drums, whereas Odissi torso movements occur before the feet are stamped.

  • April 15, 2015 - 20:06 | Permalink

    Hi Lance Desker…This was written quite a while back and whilst I am no expert on absolutely every thing on every dance in the world I was merely someone who is passionate about world dances as a whole and that they have similarities, that is all. And because I am just a dancer who enjoys learning about this subject in my free time, I am no historian so obviously I am not going to get it 100% correct considering this is just a short article not a a huge book describing every detail about every classical dance and it needed to be general or basic for readers to get an idea of how certain dance forms can influence each other and have done. I hope in the future I can visit India and other countries and learn all about the different dances. Thank you for the extra information though, it will go in my research.
    Katie

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