Do we know Belly dance history

Amanda (was Aziyade)

Well-known member
Yes there is evidence if you really study into it, but you see I'm not talking only about the west after all who would only listen to the west when they would be the first to take something and clam it as thier own as if they made it... let's not get into that ;)


Please cite your sources for this.

We are a board full of both professional and armchair researchers, and we have always supplied board members with our bibliographies, citations, and reference material. Thanks!
 

Tarik Sultan

New member
But you see it's not a point as to "as far as I'm concerned" This is how so many think it seems and in that so many care not to learn these days. does anyone know the term "Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it" I for one wish to learn all I can about the things I do in life.

Look all I am saying is how does no one see the importance here and also do we just give up on learning because it's hard? I for one say no.

I have an example; I am native american and I'm sure most know my peoples history, yet there maybe ones that don't, let's say the way to learn about native americans history was by watching Cowboy movies :shok: everyone would start to believe the way the movies show and not the true history but pieces of it, and the people who were learning said well "as far as I'm concerned this is how it was" even thou there was hidden truth that it may not be. So should the true history of something be thrown away or only half looked at because we like it like it is now and thats all there should be?

Either way I hope the people who are in this art give a care to all it's history even more so when teaching someone. If it comes down to no one will ever know for sure then thats the way it must be, but let that be for the reason that we gave it a try.:pray:

I undrrstand your point and I agree. But there are just going to be certain limitations because of the nature of the thing. I assume that we are all on the same page as far as this being a theatricalized dance based on the foundation of a local social folk dance. The theatrical side is well known. Its the origins of the social folk dance that causes debate. What I am saying is that we acknowledge the fact that it came from the people right there and not give credit to it to someone else. Being a person of African descent from the part of the world that took the first hit of colonialism, I know where your coming from and that is where I'm coming from too, (my native ancestors only live on in my genes, not as a distinct tangible people and culture. Your people at lest can look to the sky and call their name thank god). Just as it would be a terrible thing to have your history depicted by cowboy movies, so too do I feel it deeply when Orientalist fantasy created by racist colonialist are propagated about a people and their heritage. Even worse, we rob those people of their heritage. Its no different to me than growing up all my life being told by segments in the dominant culture that my history began with slavery and we had nothing before Europeans came. The foundation of this dance is native to the African continent and the people living in the north east corner of the continent. It is their native dance and to suggest that it came from somewhere else is the same as claiming that other Africans had no civilization till it was brought to them by outsiders.

Having said all this though, we are limited in our knowledge as to exactly how old it is because these things were not recorded and can't be known. Its like trying to figure out who made the first piece of pita bread. We will never be able to do more than guess. All we can say for certain is they've been expressing themselves in this way for longer than anyone can recall. However, given the fact that it is related to similar expressions found in nearby countries, we can say that it is indeed very ancient.
 

Tarik Sultan

New member
I strongly agree. I like Andrea Deagon's S.I.T.A. idea. A lot of the time I just think of "belly dance" as being the umbrella term, but it's not very accurate really.



Agreed. It's drawing the line historically, culturally, and geographically that makes it so difficult.



True. I need to start using that SITA term, unless there is a better phrase for the Oriental torso/hip based dance family.



No arguments on that from me.



I agree that age does not equal validation. Raqs Sharqi is not a valid art form because of it's age: it is a valid art form because it's communication of emotion from the artist to the audience. It's fine just as it is. No argument there.

I don't agree that the heritage or roots of Raqs Sharpi is "of little importance". Discussion and serious research of the heritage of our modern dance form combats misinformation. Let's face it: it's rampant and breeds misunderstanding, and IMHO, a lot of it is racist orientalism propagated by dancers capitalizing on fantasy and ignorance for marketing. Even when we admit we don't know all the answers, it's better than some dancers who make up nonsense or ignore the roots of the dance. I know you aren't one of those Tarik, so maybe I misunderstood your meaning.

That's exactly my point.
 

Tarik Sultan

New member
I agree with Tarik that the movements that make up the foundation of SITA do appear to have more in common with South and East African dances than those of Central Asia or Asia Minor.

Scott Marcus makes an interesting comment about Saidi music, however, in that the musicians use a lot of Turkish (or Turkic language) words to describe their instruments and some kinds of music. Apparently there are quite a few loan words from Turkish in the Arab musician's vocabulary.

I'm not sure that can be considered evidence in proving any point, but it's an interesting observation.


Before you judge him too harshly, Tarik has seen dozens and dozens of very long-winded arguments on the specific origins of bellydance. When you've heard all the arguments, and you've seen how off-track things can get, you can understand his reluctance to engage in a big debate on the prehistoric origins. We're not teaching or performing pre-historic bellydance; we're teaching a modern, post-Casino Opera version of it. So I can understand him saying the history "doesn't matter" -- for theoretical debate it does, but for the practical application of the dance today, it does not.

Exactly. Its not so much that the pre-history isn't important as its that there is no way we will ever be able to know exactly what it looked like and how it changed over the years. It is definately an African varient, but exactly what it looked like 5,000yrs ago, if it was the same as what we see in the villages of Egypt today, when and how the music changed and what impact that had on how they resond to it are unknowable details. These are things that happened in the lives and homes of the ordinary people, they were not documented, nor were they deemed important to record. Therefore, we need to just be honest about what we do and don't know instead of trying to make stuff up.

People want to speculate about sacred dances etc..... weeell. Okay, yes, there were ritualistic dances, but there is no evidence that any of them were related to this dance. I am a follower of my ancestral african spiritual practice. We have dances that we do as part of ritual practice. Each manifestation of the deity has a specific pattern of steps and the end of the event has a specific pattern as well. What people do when they dance socially in the country of origin is very different. Further more, the nature of Egyptian social dance is very different from sacred dance. Egyptian dance is about personal emotional expression to the music. When you look at sacred movement in Egypt today, Ziker, you see a very different thing.

you can skip to 4:00mins

I understand the need to know the history, but a major part of that is taking the time to familiarize ourselves with the people and their culture and not just brush it aside.
 
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goddessyasaman

New member
The foundation of this dance is native to the African continent and the people living in the north east corner of the continent. It is their native dance and to suggest that it came from somewhere else is the same as claiming that other Africans had no civilization till it was brought to them by outsiders.

Having said all this though, we are limited in our knowledge as to exactly how old it is because these things were not recorded and can't be known. Its like trying to figure out who made the first piece of pita bread. We will never be able to do more than guess. All we can say for certain is they've been expressing themselves in this way for longer than anyone can recall. However, given the fact that it is related to similar expressions found in nearby countries, we can say that it is indeed very ancient.

I was using my peoples history as an example nothing more, everyones culture is different I don't wish to get into that really, because you see the reason I used Native american peoples history for my example would be because, the United states of america was once the land of my people, it was taken and most of my people killed and now even to this day they mostly live on reservations , so my point was if people learned our history from a cowboy movie which infact in most of those the cowboys are the good guys LOL and the native americans "savages" and people did not care for what was true about how america came to be then we would all live here and say " Well things are modern and I like it the way it is so the history does not matter since everyone else is fine with it and we can't find out anyway" I'm sorry I care to know for sure, how do we know that it did not come from asia or somewhere else, I will keep studying because the truth is always out there. And like I said if it did come from egypt then at least I would know for sure.
 

Ariadne

Well-known member
First off Tarik, did you ever ever get through to Cairo?

Second...
I think it does far better to speak of Raks Sharki as a theatrical dance developed from the local Egyptian dance in the 20th century and to acknowledge that that in turn created dance forms in the USA and Europe that were inspired by it and variations that also developed in Turkey in the 20th century.

Concerning Raqs Sharqi I will agree but I am going to switch your statement around just slightly.

I think it does far better to speak of "bellydance" as a theatrical dance developed from the local Egyptian dance and variations that also developed in Turkey in the 20th century and to acknowledge that they in turn created dance forms in the USA and Europe that were inspired by them.​

I switched it to illustrate the difference between a regional origin and an Egyptcentric one (you may not have meant it that way but I have seen statements like yours used that way). The problem with an Egyptcentric view without recognition of the other concurrent developments in other countries (ie. only Raqs Sharki=bellydance) is that it then denies those other concurrent creations their own origins ("Turkey only has bellydance because it was influenced by Egypt") in the same way that giving credit to the "gypsies" denies Egypt its origins. When taken to excess that argument is even used to delegitimize any other form of bellydance; ie. "Turkish/Am Cab dance is not bellydance" (yes I really have heard both of those).

That is the most accurate and honest answer that there is and quite honestly, we don't need to go delving into the unknown depths of history to validate it.

I would agree, modern dance etc doesn't have any links to gypsies or goddess worship so WHY would we need them? You want Egypt to be given it's proper credit and with all the disinformation out there I wish you the best of luck in that. I am just asking that other foundations of bellydance be given their credit as well. That we recognize that it is a regional and not a city specific development.
 

Jane

New member
Scott Marcus makes an interesting comment about Saidi music, however, in that the musicians use a lot of Turkish (or Turkic language) words to describe their instruments and some kinds of music. Apparently there are quite a few loan words from Turkish in the Arab musician's vocabulary.

The Ottomans had control of Egypt from 1517-1867. Not surprising that there was sharing going on of many things over that amount of time.

Before you judge him too harshly, Tarik has seen dozens and dozens of very long-winded arguments on the specific origins of bellydance.

Yes I know. Many of us have.

We're not teaching or performing pre-historic bellydance; we're teaching a modern, post-Casino Opera version of it. So I can understand him saying the history "doesn't matter" -- for theoretical debate it does, but for the practical application of the dance today, it does not.

This is a strange assumption. There are many dancers, ethnographers, and teachers learning and teaching folk dance and attempting to re-create historical SITA dance forms. Alexandria and the Near Eastern Dance Company, Helene Eriksen, Aisha Ali, etc. There is also a large contingent of people, like me, in Medieval and Renaissance re-creation groups. Pharonic belly dance seems to have fallen out of fashion lately. Used to be quite popular in shows.

The degree of quality re-search and success of these endeavors varies. There is no denying there is stuff happening and people are genuinely interested :)
 

Tarik Sultan

New member
I was using my peoples history as an example nothing more, everyones culture is different I don't wish to get into that really, because you see the reason I used Native american peoples history for my example would be because, the United states of america was once the land of my people, it was taken and most of my people killed and now even to this day they mostly live on reservations , so my point was if people learned our history from a cowboy movie which infact in most of those the cowboys are the good guys LOL and the native americans "savages" and people did not care for what was true about how america came to be then we would all live here and say " Well things are modern and I like it the way it is so the history does not matter since everyone else is fine with it and we can't find out anyway" I'm sorry I care to know for sure, how do we know that it did not come from asia or somewhere else, I will keep studying because the truth is always out there. And like I said if it did come from egypt then at least I would know for sure.

And once again, my question is why is it so hard to accept that the dance in that country was not organically created in that country? I ask because honestly, I don't see any other dance being treated in that manner. I don't see any heated discussions about where Irish folk dancing came from or who brought it to Ireland. It just seems to me that when it comes to the folk expressions of other countries, people have no problem accepting that it organically evolved from the lives and experiences of the people in those countries. But with Egypt, somehow, there is this obsession to "dig deeper" for an explanation. Again, why is that? Why this need to disect it, stick it under a microscope and define it in a way that makes sense to us? Are people attempting to dig up the ancient roots of Bollywood Dance? No. They simply accept it as a theatrical phenominon that grew out of the folk dances of India. Is anyone suggesting that Indian dance must have come from somewhere else? No. We just accept it as the product of its own people. But with Egypt, no, couldn't be. Must have come from somewhere else, we have to investigate to find the real truth.... again, why do we feel the need to scrutinize it and suggest it was a foreign import? That's what I'm trying to get at. I keep hearing vague references to "evidence it came from somewhere else", but no actual evidence, so I am perplexed.
 

Amanda (was Aziyade)

Well-known member
But with Egypt, no, couldn't be. Must have come from somewhere else, we have to investigate to find the real truth.... again, why do we feel the need to scrutinize it and suggest it was a foreign import? That's what I'm trying to get at. I keep hearing vague references to "evidence it came from somewhere else", but no actual evidence, so I am perplexed.

Inherent racism, maybe? Although that doesn't QUITE track because we readily acknowledge the African roots of Afro-Cuban music.
 

Amanda (was Aziyade)

Well-known member
Re: the Gypsies

This from Garland, about Turkish "mizmar bands"

The most widespread instrumental ensemble consists of the davul, a large double-headed drum; and the zurna, a double-reed oboe (figure 9). These two instruments always appear together, sometimes in two pairs, and are usually played by Gypsies. The main accents are played with a heavy stick on the right head of the drum, while the left head is struck with a light stick to mark rhythmic subdivisions. The zurna player uses circular breathing in order to execute long uninterrupted passages.

Davul and zurna players appear at important celebrations, especially weddings and circumcisions, where they accompany open-air male dances. Different versions of this ensemble are found all over Turkey and beyond: from the Near East to India and China and to the south across North Africa.


This is about the only evidence I've seen used for the "Gypsies brought it to Egypt" argument, and which could be interpreted in a dozen different ways.


Re the Turkish loan words -- I thought it made sense for classical Arab musicians to use foreign words because of their association with Ottoman musicians, but it seemed odd to me that the class associated with mizmar bands would adopt them. Maybe that's my own "class-ism" prejudice showing through, though.
 

Tarik Sultan

New member
Inherent racism, maybe? Although that doesn't QUITE track because we readily acknowledge the African roots of Afro-Cuban music.

I think you've hit a nail on the head. Now by saying that I'm not implying that anyone on this forum is racist. However, I think often times we innocently pick up on trains of thought or perspectives without realizing the the undercurrents that gave birth to them. With Afro Cuban music... well it would be hard to deny since A: African slavery ended there within memory, and everyone in Cuba can trace their origins to African groups, Europeans, or combinations of the two. Its relatively young history makes it hard to deny its origins.
 

Tarik Sultan

New member
First off Tarik, did you ever ever get through to Cairo?

Second...


Concerning Raqs Sharqi I will agree but I am going to switch your statement around just slightly.

I think it does far better to speak of "bellydance" as a theatrical dance developed from the local Egyptian dance and variations that also developed in Turkey in the 20th century and to acknowledge that they in turn created dance forms in the USA and Europe that were inspired by them.​

I switched it to illustrate the difference between a regional origin and an Egyptcentric one (you may not have meant it that way but I have seen statements like yours used that way). The problem with an Egyptcentric view without recognition of the other concurrent developments in other countries (ie. only Raqs Sharki=bellydance) is that it then denies those other concurrent creations their own origins ("Turkey only has bellydance because it was influenced by Egypt") in the same way that giving credit to the "gypsies" denies Egypt its origins. When taken to excess that argument is even used to delegitimize any other form of bellydance; ie. "Turkish/Am Cab dance is not bellydance" (yes I really have heard both of those).



I would agree, modern dance etc doesn't have any links to gypsies or goddess worship so WHY would we need them? You want Egypt to be given it's proper credit and with all the disinformation out there I wish you the best of luck in that. I am just asking that other foundations of bellydance be given their credit as well. That we recognize that it is a regional and not a city specific development.

Hi sweetie:
Yes I got through this morning and my student is fine. Today was much calmer. Thank god the world is watching.

Concerning topic at hand. I have no objection to what you've said. My only amendment would be to say "what we call Belly Dance in the west is...."

With regards to the question of whether or not Turkey's version is home grown or Egyptian influenced... Well I'd say that the nightclub version most likely was. Egypt was the entertainment capital of the region, so i don't doubt that they saw the trend and followed along similar lines. However, Turkish Oriental is unique in its own way and is a reflection of its Turkish context. Once again, I think its important to see all of these dances in their own right and not lump them all together.

As for the origins of the folk expression... My opinion that it was introduced into Anatolia is based on the fact that it stands out so sharply from all the other Turkish folk dances. However, this in my opinion doesn't make it any less Turkish and I wouldn't event care to hazzard a guess as to the when and how. It really is a reflection of their culture and is not an Egyptian immitation at all. Regardless of where it may or may not have come from, it is 100% Turkish
 
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goddessyasaman

New member
All said yet the history incomplete

Belly dance history is still to this day incomplete, everyone has a thory it seems, rather they say "Belly dance" (not the true name) is from Egypt, turkey, india, Iraq, lebonone, china, traveling Gypies, and even as far back 24,000 bc, even with people saying we should even not lump them all together, and what does it really matter in todays world.

I say it's worth a true study, I think it should be known, and to say that we should not lump all of the different versions of belly dance together, how will that work as in martial arts there are many styles a lot more then belly dance and yet they are all know as martial arts. Different styles are great but still belly dance either way.

I will do my best in this study even if no one else cares to learn just because they are fine with what was told to them. And it is not the point to take it from eygpt as has been said the point is no one knows for sure if it came from where and all I wish to know is where and what was it's culture.

Let the study begin.
 

Amanda (was Aziyade)

Well-known member
SITA = Solo, Improvised Torso Articulation.

Andrea Deagon coined it in an article she wrote for Habibi a long time ago (I'm thinking late 80s early 90s - ?)
 

Amanda (was Aziyade)

Well-known member
I say it's worth a true study,

People have been already studying it since the 50s with a lot of the most serious research done in the 80s and 90s.

You've already said the evidence is out there -- meaning you've run across it in your own studies. So please cite your sources.


I think it should be known, and to say that we should not lump all of the different versions of belly dance together,

The first thing to do is define the exact borders of the term "belly dance" for the purpose of your argument. If you're trying to include, for instance, Bandari or Persian classical dance inside your umbrella term of "bellydance" then you're going to an even larger and less focused topic.

Second, it's very important we address the MUSIC because music guides the form a dance takes. So you have to take a hard look at what constitutes Turkish music and its many varieties, what makes up the Egyptian genres of music, where the African music began to take on characteristics of the Arabian tradition, etc.

Next you look at historical geopolitical boundaries and the changes in those boundaries, and you look at what groups remained in rural areas, where they were less affected by urban trends.

Then you get to hunt for source material and evaluate the quality of that material.

A lot of this has already been done, and the bibliographies (and sometimes the final papers) published on the internet. If you haven't already studied with them or read their material, you might check our Sahra (Saeeda) Kent and Habiba of Philly. Andrea Deagon has done a lot of Origins research, and her articles are available in old issues of Habibi magazine. Phyllis Saretta (Phaedra) is working archaeologist and her research on ancient Egypt and the ancient Near East is available in back issues of Arabesque.


I will do my best in this study even if no one else cares to learn just because they are fine with what was told to them.

I don't know if you intended for that to be snide, but it came across that way. Take a step back and pay attention to what people here are actually saying.

You happen to be posting on the ONE message board on this planet where NOBODY accepts anything another person says without an entire thesis behind them. And then we've even argued over source material.

Just because you don't like the answer you get doesn't mean that answer is wrong. Do your own research -- we all would encourage that. Just don't waltz back into this forum after reading Serpent of the Nile and Curt Sachs' history book and think you've got it all figured out.


And it is not the point to take it from eygpt as has been said the point is no one knows for sure if it came from where and all I wish to know is where and what was it's culture.

You're already falling into the trap of assuming a single origin.

Who invented calculus?
Who discovered the concept of natural selection?
Why are there pyramids in South America and also in Egypt?

Let the study begin.
Well it's been going strong for something like 40 years, but have fun.
 

Tarik Sultan

New member
Belly dance history is still to this day incomplete, everyone has a thory it seems, rather they say "Belly dance" (not the true name) is from Egypt, turkey, india, Iraq, lebonone, china, traveling Gypies, and even as far back 24,000 bc, even with people saying we should even not lump them all together, and what does it really matter in todays world.

I say it's worth a true study, I think it should be known, and to say that we should not lump all of the different versions of belly dance together, how will that work as in martial arts there are many styles a lot more then belly dance and yet they are all know as martial arts. Different styles are great but still belly dance either way.

I will do my best in this study even if no one else cares to learn just because they are fine with what was told to them. And it is not the point to take it from eygpt as has been said the point is no one knows for sure if it came from where and all I wish to know is where and what was it's culture.

Let the study begin.

There is nothing incomplete about it. That's the point. Why do we feel that somehow there's something wrong with it and we need to fix it. What I'm trying to explain to you is that we will never be able to say exactly when and how it started because this was something that was born organically by the ordinary people. Look to your own culture for an example. With the exception of certain competition dance styles can anyone say exactly when the various Native American folk dances were born or how they've changed over time in the past 10,000yrs? No. Do Ethiopians know exactly when and how old their dances are and how it has changed over time? No.

What I'm trying to communicate here is that part of the problem is that you are unfamiliar with the cultures in question and therefore, as an outsider, you look for things that do not exist nor matter to the people whom these dances actually belong to. Nor are you aware of the nuances that give the dances their cultural identities because all you can perceive are the external movements and not what's under the surface.

There is a worlds of difference between what we have created here in the west that we call Belly Dance and what has arisen organically in their native lands. The first thing to do is as I and others have suggested, is to not lump all these dances together, but to look at them individually in their own contexts. It would be as if a group of people from China, for whatever reason, developed a love for what they called "Indian Dance" but instead of recognizing that A: Those people are not really Indians, B: They are not all the same, C: They have their individual identities cultures and dances; they just lumped all their dances together. They started moshing Fancy dance with Hoop dance, and Hopi Rain Dance, sometimes even to contemporary Chinese pop music. Then they decided that the history of Indian Dance must be known, studdied, preserved.

You're not going to find any real histories because they dont exist and they don't exist because this thing that we are calling Belly DAnce is for the most part a western invention inspired by performance dances from Egyot and Turkey but with a heavy dose of western fantasy about what life was like in those ancient lands waaay back when. Therefore any notion of finding a "history" is going to be flawed. Yes I know there are tons of opinions out there, but none of them are based in fact or any real scholarship. These were all explanations created by American and European enthusiasts for marketing purposes. It is us attempting to project our perspectives/fantasies onto the past where they don't belong.

DAnce is not something you study intellectually, its something you do. If you want to understand it, then you have to emerse yourself in the various cultures from which these dances come from and understand them in their social contexts. That is something you're not going to find in dusty old books, its something you must experience to understand. What needs to change is not the "view of its histroy", but our perspectives.
 

Amanda (was Aziyade)

Well-known member
DAnce is not something you study intellectually, its something you do. If you want to understand it, then you have to emerse yourself in the various cultures from which these dances come from and understand them in their social contexts.

I think you can study it academically, but if you want to BE a dancer, there are limitations to what academic study will offer you.

Honestly, I never really "got" some of the nuances of Fifi Abdo until I read Balady Women of Cairo. Then I talked to my teacher about what I read and she was able to put it into proper context for me. That helped me understand and appreciate a whole new category of music and dance style.


What I was getting at earlier is that to BE a dancer and to really get the most of this dance, you don't study the history. You study the music. You study the other dancers. You study the people who live in that culture -- whether it's Egyptian, Lebanese, Turkish, or American style.

I'm not saying history isn't important. But it's an entirely different avenue of study from the dance itself.
 

Tarik Sultan

New member
I think you can study it academically, but if you want to BE a dancer, there are limitations to what academic study will offer you.

Honestly, I never really "got" some of the nuances of Fifi Abdo until I read Balady Women of Cairo. Then I talked to my teacher about what I read and she was able to put it into proper context for me. That helped me understand and appreciate a whole new category of music and dance style.

Your statement offers some very imortant insights. Yes of course there is a place for academia, but we have to be honest about the limitations with regards to th actual experience of the dance as well as being honest about the very real limitations of our ability capture it and place it in definate historical timelines.

I think your example of reading Balady Women of Cairo offers a valuable insight into this discussion. That is, that we are outsiders and because of that we need to be informed about things that for Egyptians living in that culture do now. They don't need to read and study the history of Baladi women because they are Baladi women. It would be like me reading a book on how to be a Jamaican person of African descent living in urban 21st century America..... uhhhm, not really neccessary.... but it may make interesting reading to see what others think, how much they got right, how much they got wrong


What I was getting at earlier is that to BE a dancer and to really get the most of this dance, you don't study the history. You study the music. You study the other dancers. You study the people who live in that culture -- whether it's Egyptian, Lebanese, Turkish, or American style.

Exactly! It we are talking about the Eastern Mediterranean and North African countries then we have to realize that these are living traditions. Therefore, whether we are focusing on the folk or theatrical aspects of those dances, we have to imerse ourselves in those cultures and resist the urge to impose our "expertise" and just watch, listen and learn. Its only in the last few years of abandoning my self delusions that I was some sort of expert, that I've been able to learn and realize how far off target I'd been for so long. This is something that every western dancer who went to Egypt to pursue a career as an Oriental Dancer has had to come to grips with.

There may be people who think my statements about belly dance being largely an American/western phenominon, as a slam, but its not. I think that we have created an amazing array of artistic expressions and they are incerdibly amazing. Just as Modern Danceneeds no ancient pedigree in order to assert its validity as a legitimate artform, neither do we. Nor do we need to pretend that they are based in some ancient culture or practices. Its enough to admit that we were inspired and influenced by the various folk and theatrical dances of Egypt, Turkey, Lebanon, Morocco etc, but it is for the most part exactly that, inspiered by. That is really enough and quite honestly I think high time that we own and take pride in our own home grown creativity.

I'm not saying history isn't important. But it's an entirely different avenue of study from the dance itself.

Bingo!
 

goddessyasaman

New member
People have been already studying it since the 50s with a lot of the most serious research done in the 80s and 90s.

You've already said the evidence is out there -- meaning you've run across it in your own studies. So please cite your sources.




The first thing to do is define the exact borders of the term "belly dance" for the purpose of your argument. If you're trying to include, for instance, Bandari or Persian classical dance inside your umbrella term of "bellydance" then you're going to an even larger and less focused topic.

Second, it's very important we address the MUSIC because music guides the form a dance takes. So you have to take a hard look at what constitutes Turkish music and its many varieties, what makes up the Egyptian genres of music, where the African music began to take on characteristics of the Arabian tradition, etc.

Next you look at historical geopolitical boundaries and the changes in those boundaries, and you look at what groups remained in rural areas, where they were less affected by urban trends.

Then you get to hunt for source material and evaluate the quality of that material.

A lot of this has already been done, and the bibliographies (and sometimes the final papers) published on the internet. If you haven't already studied with them or read their material, you might check our Sahra (Saeeda) Kent and Habiba of Philly. Andrea Deagon has done a lot of Origins research, and her articles are available in old issues of Habibi magazine. Phyllis Saretta (Phaedra) is working archaeologist and her research on ancient Egypt and the ancient Near East is available in back issues of Arabesque.




I don't know if you intended for that to be snide, but it came across that way. Take a step back and pay attention to what people here are actually saying.

You happen to be posting on the ONE message board on this planet where NOBODY accepts anything another person says without an entire thesis behind them. And then we've even argued over source material.

Just because you don't like the answer you get doesn't mean that answer is wrong. Do your own research -- we all would encourage that. Just don't waltz back into this forum after reading Serpent of the Nile and Curt Sachs' history book and think you've got it all figured out.




You're already falling into the trap of assuming a single origin.

Who invented calculus?
Who discovered the concept of natural selection?
Why are there pyramids in South America and also in Egypt?


Well it's been going strong for something like 40 years, but have fun.



snide, If i wished to say something I would come right out and say it not beat around the bush, so no.

Look it's like this I'm not going to give anyone any sources as I can see it will do no good from what I have heard here, I don't give sources until I have learned it all, the internet is not the only source in the world, they still have books, they can not be changed by a person at the click of a button.


"Just don't waltz back into this forum after reading Serpent of the Nile and Curt Sachs' history book and think you've got it all figured out."


This is funny as if I would read one or two books and think to know it all :lol:
This is not how one does research, but thanks for the...advice.


I'm sure everyone knows that they have yet to know where "Belly dance" came from for sure, and this is why I wish to know, if there is doubt in history, then the research should go on no?

I'm really not going to sit here and re-qoute all that you said as it still will not get across what I am saying. I have no issue with what others believe after all everyone thinks what they will as you can see. There really is no need to get upset if this is what I believe, it will hurt no one to study, and just because others have yet to locate the start of this style does not mean they never will, some give up and others do not.

and thank you I will have fun as I take this serious.

it was still nice to hear what others thought, I'm glade I got to hear what some of the people of "Belly dance" think on this topic, oh and I don't recall who said it but she was right "What a can of worm this was:D
 
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