France - what was the first school or teacher?
Belly dance has a long history in France - and I believe there is a huge scene there. Anyone know when it started more recently?
Hi there, lurker here, I see this is an older post but since it has no replies thought I'd chime in since I live in France. I don't know what the first school was but there most definitely is a HUGE danse orientale scene here. I imagine part of the reason is the country's large Arabic population (the largest in Europe, I believe) and that the south of the country is on the Mediterranean. Some current well-known dancers here include:
This is just a small list off the top of my head, there are so many more. Sorry, no time to add links but you'll find information easily enough with a Google search. I hope this helps.
ETA: Looks like Leila Haddad is a pioneer, she started the first oriental dance class in Paris in the mid-1980s.
Last edited by LaVanessa; 07-03-2014 at 12:15 AM.
Reason: extra info
I suspect there would have had belly dance before the 1980s, since they have a large Arabic population there (who immigrated in the 60s) like in other European countries. I'm from Holland and the first belly dancers were seen there in the 1960s, they might have been from the immigrant populations. However lots of people claim belly dance only got to Holland in the 1980s, which isn't true. It's a very hard thing to pinpoint, because there wasn't an established belly dance community that can remember those earlier times.
(got more information) Sandra Kahloun in Nice has been teaching in France for about 30 years now. Another teacher who's been around about as long is Mayodi. They both began teaching in Paris.
Living in France as well! I first took classes here from a woman named Luna, lovely dancer. I don't know if she's still teaching, but I took classes with her in the North West of France. I have had the opportunity to take classes with Bina and Hakim as well and they are great.
Yes, I think it is due to France having a large arab population for a while. I think it also due to France having a big colonial presence in Arab countries, especially Algeria. A fair few French citizens actually were born and lived in the colonies until their independences, so some older French people consider North Africa their home...Since being here, I have also seen North African folkloric dances at shows fairly frequently, which is not as common in the States--usually we throw in a little Saidi or Dabke.