a slightly complex question

indrayu

New member
I'ts getting late so I might not be putting ideas together well, but I read Daimona's and Ligeia's posts as saying that in Norway and Finland, "bellydance" came directly from Greece and the Middle East.
 

Aniseteph

New member
I think what is abundently clear, is the world wide development of 'belly dance' was actually from two places.. East or West Coast USA.

Fascinating.
Does anyone know about Germany?
I heard that belly dance was very big over there as a hobby (might be an interweb Wikitruth of course), and if it has been around a while, where might it have come from? US influence? Also in some places they have a big Turkish immigrant population...

Aha, just found this... BAUCHTANZ - Geschichte, Urspung, Entstehung, Historie des orientalischen Tanzes and the google translation points the finger at US military wives. Wow, this is fascinating...
 

Caroline_afifi

New member
I dont know about Germany.

Like I said in my first post, we had vashti and a few others who performed in the Arab clubs in London longe before the first belly dance classes took place. It was however still brought to the wider population by the US dancer Gail Smedley in the late 70's as America had classes etc. possibly 10 years before most countries in Europe.
 

Zumarrad

Member
I don't think we can say *categorically* that the US is the fount of all globalised belly dance *yet* because really intensive research has not been done; moreover as I've said and others have said there was significant Mediterranean influence in Australia, and in other countries ME migrants have played a very important part.

It's possible Hollywood has a bit to do with it though. The older dancers I spoke to said if they had any concept of BD beforehand it was from movies - either that or they saw it and went "wow! that's for me!" When you think about it, the oldest women I spoke to were late 60s-70, ie my mother's age, and there were *so* many films in the 40s and 50s with "oriental" themes. Not to mention stage shows. People were routinely putting on "Kismet" in the 50s apparently.
 

Caroline_afifi

New member
I don't think we can say *categorically* that the US is the fount of all globalised belly dance *yet* because really intensive research has not been done; moreover as I've said and others have said there was significant Mediterranean influence in Australia, and in other countries ME migrants have played a very important part.

It's possible Hollywood has a bit to do with it though. The older dancers I spoke to said if they had any concept of BD beforehand it was from movies - either that or they saw it and went "wow! that's for me!" When you think about it, the oldest women I spoke to were late 60s-70, ie my mother's age, and there were *so* many films in the 40s and 50s with "oriental" themes. Not to mention stage shows. People were routinely putting on "Kismet" in the 50s apparently.
Yes, thats true, we cant say for sure.

I dont think it is just ME migrants, I think alot of Greeks have been mentioned too. Certainly in London there was a real mix.

I am talking more specifically with regards to teaching and training and the belly dance 'hobby'.

Not all belly dancers taught by musicians in clubs went onto to teach.
This may seem to be the case in the USA, and may have happend in other places too, but the picture to me still looks like the USA were streets ahead in terms of bringing a version of this dance to the masses... as oppossed to patrons of belly dance clubs which were mostly Greek and Arab tourists.
 

Kashmir

New member
I dont know about Germany.
Germany has had belly dancer for quite a long time. Before WWII it had both Turkish and Egyptian dancers perfroming there.

As for organized schools I believe teh first was set up by Beata and Horacio. Horacio had discovered belly dance through the wife of his yoga teacher - Magana Baptiste while in California. After they married and they moved to Berlin, Beata opened the first studio for Oriental Dance in 1984.

There is also Dr Mo Geddawi, from Egypt, who had also moved to Berlin. In 1986 he created the Hathor dance troupe and Beata was the principal dancer for four years.
 

Caroline_afifi

New member
Thanks Kashmir,

Like Zummarad mentioned, it is still early days to draw a final conclusion, but it seems the dance was being practised in a very localised way in many countries but the wider teaching etc. seems to so far trace back to the States in some way.

It would be interesting to still hear from other people with regards to their own countries/communities etc.

Do people actually know how the dance began in their countries?

How about Poland, Russia, Belgium, Spain, Hong Kong, Japan, Portugal....????
 

Zumarrad

Member
but it seems the dance was being practised in a very localised way in many countries but the wider teaching etc. seems to so far trace back to the States in some way.
I think that is a pretty solid assumption. Paul Monty claimed he was the first in the US to organise belly dance seminars/workshops, and while he can't have known 100 percent since he didn't meet every person in the world ever, or even in the States, I think we can assume till we know differently that the idea of belly dance festivals etc has its genesis in the States.

What I think is tricky is that there's a definite connection between belly dance in the US in the 40s-50s and orientalist dance (Serena Wilson, student of Ruth St Denis, may in fact *be* that connection. She's certainly one.) Because there was this trend in English-speaking countries *at least* for dressing up as Salome or Isis or whoever and dancing around in the early 20th century, and because that led into people learning "oriental" dances at dancing schools that taught everything, it's hard to know whether it was all just made up stuff or whether in some instances, real ME input might have occurred earlier than the 40s-50s, both in and out of the US. I haven't looked very deeply into La Meri but she definitely studied *something* of "real" "ethnic" dances and her school ran till the late 50s. There may be German, French, Swiss, whatever equivalents to La Meri.
 

Ariadne

Well-known member
Like Zummarad mentioned, it is still early days to draw a final conclusion, but it seems the dance was being practised in a very localised way in many countries but the wider teaching etc. seems to so far trace back to the States in some way.
At the risk of sounding ethnocentric I will say that that seems to be fairly normal sort of thing. An ethnic group will immigrate to the US and bring with them their arts; dance, paint, calligraphy, music, food, etc. Then someone from outside their ethnicity becomes interested in it, learns as much as they can, and goes on to teach it to someone else wherever they happen to be (whatever country they happen to be in). That's what makes us what we are, we celebrate/treasure anything we find good no matter the origin. It's that multiculturalism that is our greatest strength just as it is when someone uses the differences to divide us that we are at our weakest.

ex. Halloween, Christmas, "Chinese" cooking, sushi, and yes, many types of dance.
 

Kashmir

New member
I haven't looked very deeply into La Meri but she definitely studied *something* of "real" "ethnic" dances and her school ran till the late 50s. There may be German, French, Swiss, whatever equivalents to La Meri.
I looked at La Meri briefly for my presentation and she didn't make the cut. Just a wee but too far off the radar. Leona Woods would have made it ahead of La Meri.
 

Zumarrad

Member
IMO a good example of that style still dancing today, that I have seen, would be Delilah. The footage *was* older - early/mid 90s - but I have no reason to believe she would have changed her style much.
 

Yshka

New member
I've heard dancers here describe their style as AmCab and am leaning towards the idea that it might actually be 'travelling', though I haven't seen Dutch dancers yet doing a 5 or 7 part show the American way. I also notice a lot of Salimpour influence in many dancers here, though it depends on the area. Still, a lot of Dutch dancers dance the Arabian/Egyptian way, but I'm seeing the term AmCab being used as a style in itself. Could that be the case? This has been drawing my attention for quite some time and I'm dying to ask around in our 'scene' to see what I come up with.

How is this in other countries? Is there a true market for AmCab, is it really done 'here' the way it is done in America, or do dancers just call what they are doing anywhere else 'AmCab' because it is similar in so many ways, but there seems to be no valid term for the evolution of cabaret style bellydance in their own region (like FranceCab or BritCab...:think: I've really had too much diet coke. It's off to bed with me.)
 

Mosaic

Super Moderator
I've heard dancers here describe their style as AmCab and am leaning towards the idea that it might actually be 'travelling', though I haven't seen Dutch dancers yet doing a 5 or 7 part show the American way. I also notice a lot of Salimpour influence in many dancers here, though it depends on the area. Still, a lot of Dutch dancers dance the Arabian/Egyptian way, but I'm seeing the term AmCab being used as a style in itself. Could that be the case? This has been drawing my attention for quite some time and I'm dying to ask around in our 'scene' to see what I come up with.

How is this in other countries? Is there a true market for AmCab, is it really done 'here' the way it is done in America, or do dancers just call what they are doing anywhere else 'AmCab' because it is similar in so many ways, but there seems to be no valid term for the evolution of cabaret style bellydance in their own region (like FranceCab or BritCab...:think: I've really had too much diet coke. It's off to bed with me.)
I don't recall ever having heard BD called Amcab here, generally it is Egyptian or turkish etc, or just Oriental BD"

I have heard it said some dancers way back when were 'influenced' by Amcab, but have gone on to develop an X style.

~Mosaic
 
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