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  1. #11
    V.I.P. lizaj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lizaj View Post
    We are talking American Bellydance here. I don't think Burlesque ever happened in Egypt?


    Brea isn't talking about the geographic Egypt; she's talking about a dancer who called herself "Little Egypt." She performed at the Chicago World's Fair in 1893.

    Brea, I have the same book, and agree that the authors do take the whole goddess thing too far, but it does have some delicious recipes at the end, doesn't it?

    Sorry, belly_dancer, I just now noticed your post. You are right---there were many imitators who came after Little Egypt, who took the dance and made it so raunchy, that even she began to complain about the vulgarity of her imitators.
    Yes I know about Chicago and the dancers there and the subsequent little Egypts. What I was trying to point out that for those of us NOT in the USA and in Egypt, Turkey and Europe where the dance is now danced there is no connection with burlesque. I also believe (Suheir?) made a post on this forum that burlesque has earlier beginnings than 1893 so there might be less of a connection from that origin. I had always assumed it that burley and BD in the uSA grew from the dancers at the world fair ( who I believe didn't call themselves Little Egypt at the time but did so later on), it was what I had been told and read but then I haven't read enough on the subject...as yet. I am here to be told where to look!
    Last edited by Viv; 11-11-2007 at 03:15 AM. Reason: fixed quote markers

  2. #12
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    All right, to risk being even more offensive:

    I was not claiming bellydance originated with burlesque. I was claiming that STRIPTEASE originated from BELLYDANCE because of its inclusions in burlesque. There was so much competition between different shows that they started to have their 'cooch' dancers (that is, bellydancers) take clothing off. At least, that is what the book reports. It would also explain why everyone seems to have a vague association of bellydance and stripping. I was saying they may be right because of that. There is no denying, however, that there were and are bellydancers in burlesque shows, regardless of whether or not *the* Little Egypt was the Little Egypt that starred in one of those shows. Originally burlesque was not as risque, it was just a variety show, and that must be remembered as well...someone who wanted to dance for a living then didn't have a great deal of choice if their dance was something as exotic as bellydance.

    And yes, that book is ridiculous- no footnotes or endnotes to prove where they get their information, of which a great deal is inaccurate just from a historical standpoint. You see, I feel I need to research before I make absolutely sure that they are wrong on the points I think they are...apparently they don't have that built-in historian's mind, because we all know that every time you make a claim you need some proof from another document....

    -Brea Morgiane

  3. #13
    Premium Member Aniseteph's Avatar
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    Hey, where's A'isha when you need her?

    Even if striptease came from one of those remove-the- clothes-to-find-the flea/bee dances that was purported to be oriental (hmmmmm....) it would have surely quickly have lost that connection and striptease would have been used in other types of dance. Unless those burlesque house managers were really slow to spot an opportunity.... (naah).

    I don't think it's that complicated. I wonder if it's just that belly dance/dance du ventre/ hootchie cootchie or whatever you want to call it was just plain too suggestive to Western eyes so it ended up being performed in the same kind of venue where they did the other naughty stuff ie stripping, and there's the connection in people's minds. Or maybe it was part of pushing the envelope of what you could get away with (doesn't count as quite so naughty if you can think it's foreign culture ), and stripping was just the next step.

  4. #14
    V.I.P. lizaj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aniseteph View Post
    Hey, where's A'isha when you need her?

    Even if striptease came from one of those remove-the- clothes-to-find-the flea/bee dances that was purported to be oriental (hmmmmm....) it would have surely quickly have lost that connection and striptease would have been used in other types of dance. Unless those burlesque house managers were really slow to spot an opportunity.... (naah).

    I don't think it's that complicated. I wonder if it's just that belly dance/dance du ventre/ hootchie cootchie or whatever you want to call it was just plain too suggestive to Western eyes so it ended up being performed in the same kind of venue where they did the other naughty stuff ie stripping, and there's the connection in people's minds. Or maybe it was part of pushing the envelope of what you could get away with (doesn't count as quite so naughty if you can think it's foreign culture ), and stripping was just the next step.
    Yes Indeed The venue would set a scene and belly dancing with or without clothes seems naughty.oooerr..and sensual (well we won't argue there) so if you see it in a vaudeville theatre or a night club it might seem more risque certainly than in a family restaurant.
    Mind you I attended such last night and after seeing a very tasteful professional dancer, a client dressed in bedlah and chiffon skirt and high heels jumped up, wiggled around the dance floor to much encouragement, got rather p***ed and proceeded to do it at (all too) frequent intervals, wriggling down onto any available male knee. That's what she ( and some of the clientele ) seemed to assume bellydancing was all about .She also tried to edge a friend and I off the dance floor after we had got up to dance to a tabla player but he kept repositioning himself to give her the cold shoulder...yeaahhhh and she gave up and sat on the first available (male) knee!

  5. #15
    Premium Member Aniseteph's Avatar
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    Drunk ignorant people, dontchajust love 'em?

  6. #16
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    I do not know the full history of burlesque or belly dance, so I'm speculating here. I'm wondering if the "belly dance" they refer to was just a name to attract people without any real "belly dance" being done. Kind of like Shakira or some of the "experts" on you tube. Remember sex has always sold. Is it possible the term striptease came from strippers who teased with a hint but didn't actually go naked?
    From what my father says about early burlesque, it was the tease, not the nudity that made it popular. Many performers did not strip completely and nudity kind of worked its way in as views changed. It was sort of a transition from vaudville to the girly shows. The transition to full nudity was gradual from what I understand. I could ask my father more about it when I next speak to him as he is in his 80's.
    So is it possible the two remained separate but due to the percieved nature of the public, the two types of dancing were thrown into the same pot?
    Just things to think about

  7. #17
    Member TribalDancer's Avatar
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    Read "Looking for Little Egypt". There wasn't really one Little Egypt as we like to imagine. It's a great read, with info from SOl Bloom in it, to boot.

  8. #18
    Senior Member Venefica's Avatar
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    I often wonder how to dispel the goddess myth, as so many people nowadays tend to see the Goddess everywhere, even where she wasn't (such as Ireland or Scotland).
    Very few nations if any have had just a Goddess, however there are strong Goddess figures in Celtic myths. Very many see the Goddess as one being, so any Goddess is a part of Her. And do the same whit Gods. Every God is a part of Him. If one look at it that way there definitive is a presence for the Goddess in Ireland and Scotland.

    For me I see the Gods and the Divine in every thing I do. They are a part of all to me. They are all.

  9. #19
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    Venefica-

    I do not object to people seeing whatever they want or believing whatever they want. When they start claiming it is the accurate history of a place or thing (such as Scotland, Ireland, and bellydance, three things that are paramount in my life as a historian) then it makes me very angry. I cannot tell you how many people assume that there was, in Celtic or Scottish mythology, a single overarching mother figure. There were female gods (possibly) but it's rather difficult to know as their ancient religions did not keep written records and so it's impossible to know what they worshipped. The remnants today are usually monsters or fairies. Anyway.

    I understand that the tease was the important part back in the day but if bellydance did originate the idea of striptease as a show....so what? I mean, why does it matter so much if it did? I can certainly see the possibility.

    -Brea Morgiane

  10. #20
    V.I.P. Aziyade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brea View Post
    According to this book, and other sources I have read, Little Egypt was the beginning of bellydance being involved in burlesque. At that time the dance was called the 'cooch' or 'hoochie-coochie'.
    What was really getting the crowd aroused was the dancing in the French Pavillion -- the can can. Sol's dancers were getting very little attention. What the wives group wanted to close down was the French dance show, whose dancers were kicking and stepping in such a fashion that you could see their underwear. This was MUCH more offensive than anything Sol's dancers could dream of doing. Keep in mind too, what those girls were doing was only "bellydance" by our widest definition of the term.

    Eventually with all the competing acts it started to become more raunchy and less variety show, and then the shows started having their 'cooch' dancers or bellydancers start taking clothes off. So basically according to this book bellydance is the forerunner of the striptease, much like vaudeville burlesque was the forerunner of the strip show.
    This is inconsistent with many other works on the Expo, carnival history, and the history of what would in the 30s be called Cooch shows.

    When carnival acts included a "bellydancer" it would have been in setting only. Stick a cardboard palm tree on the stage, and put her in a Cleopatra wig, the girl was a bellydancer. Put up a cardboard cherry tree, put the girl in white makeup and suddenly she's a geisha dancer. Same dance, just different "mystique."

    Not all cooch shows were "strip" shows either. Many were just nude dancers parading around and posing.


    I often wonder how to dispel the goddess myth, as so many people nowadays tend to see the Goddess everywhere, even where she wasn't (such as Ireland or Scotland). In fact there are allegedly no cultures that are truly 'goddess' based...many pantheons but no one female deity.
    It begins with archaeologist Marija Gimbutas's pictorial atlas of neolithic symbology "The Language of the Goddess" and her interpretations of those symbols and those of her followers. Linguistics as an archaeological science was still developing, and what was then understood about the history of Indo-European peoples helped her interpretations gain a certain amount of respectability -- but never without high controversy among her peers.

    The Goddess Movement is based on Marija's interpretations of art and symbols. And frankly, I've read a LOT of her critics and I still find it JUST as hard to believe that certain of the little goddess figurines are "dolls" and "toys" as is argued -- especially given the locations in which they're found. They may not be representations of the One Mother Goddess, but I think to dismiss them as toys isn't looking very academically at the entire archaeological record. Plus, there is no evidence that ancient peoples weren't capable of pictorial-SYMBOLIC thought! That just BUGS ME!!!!

    BUT, even among the ancient Egyptians, I don't think it's possible to rule out entirely the idea of a over-arching Goddess (in one sense) -- although by "classical" times, the Egyptians developed a strong sense of duality and male/female balance in their religion. Isis (Ist) is the throne, and reanimates Osiris (Wsr) PLUS, she's the only one who knows Ra's true name, which when you know the name of something it meant you had power over it. We can argue this all day, though, and I see your point. ;P

    Anyway, like we've noticed before, bellydance itself has gotten pulled into the neo-pagan culture in the US, and most neo-pagans seem to include some kind of Goddess worship or acknowledgement. Wendy's book doesn't help dispell the myth, and practically every week there's an article in SOME magazine about how bellydance was part of some ancient ritual. Dispel the myth? More power to you! But I don't think that's ever going to happen - at least in my lifetime.


    Anyway I'd really like to know how to dispel this myth with bellydance as well as with the Celtic and Pictish histories if anyone has any suggestions.
    When people start in on the goddess thing, I usually say "It's a matter of interpretation, and frankly we don't have enough evidence to say for certain. These are interesting ideas, but they're not necessarily historical facts. But if it's part of your spiritual system to acknowledge a mother goddess, then by all means take this dance and incorporate it into your religious ritual." For people who REALLY want to know, that will spark them into asking questions. For people who want to maintain their own ignorance, it will tick them off and they won't speak to you. Either way, problem solved. LOL.


    I'm also curious to know what everyone thinks of the history of bellydance as it relates to striptease...this may be why so many people assume we are strippers, or similar.
    I think the reason we're equated with strippers (or rather dancers at the XXX Adult Theatres) can be EASILY seen on YouTube. "Watch me shake my sexy thang cuz I'm a bellydancer." Nuff said.

    But really, it's a holdover from Victorian times when they were so sexed up but weren't allowed to talk about it in polite company. It's Orientalist fantasy played out. It's political -- those nasty heathens over there doing that filthy dance (allows us to occupy their lands without guilt.) It's the fantasy of the dancing girl. Strippers wore pasties. So did bellydancers -- BECAUSE the strippers wore them, and because nightclub owners wanted to have an exotic and slightly "naughty" feel without worrying about indecency laws and paying off local politicians.

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