- Lisa Lumina
Level One: Infinities Unit, Class 3
Updated: Feb 23
I wanted to take a second to talk about the ways bellydance can be therapeutic, of course it can also be just plain fun ^_^
Regional Highlights This unit, we're focusing on the Arabian Peninsula and Levant. These regional highlights are meant to give a general orientation, and really only scratch the surface of the diversity of arts in the MENAHT/SWANA area (Middle East, North Africa, Helene, & Turkey/SouthWest Asia & North Africa).
The Gulf (I am not going to wade into the "Arabic vs Persian Gulf" debate!) countries of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Oman contributed to the popularity of a distinct hair tossing dance and 2 count rhythm showing up in raqs sharki shows. Especially during the 1980s Saudi tourists frequented Cairo and even NYC nightclubs, and referencing their dances was a good way to get more tips. We're talking stacks of $100s.
As usual, we are only scratching the surface, sword dances and other folk dances are also done by people, and the popular dance moves change with trends as anywhere else.
The dance bellydancers know as khalegy was also influenced by Nubian workers who came to Gulf countries. There is a similarity in groove and 2 step style, but they are otherwise quite distinct.
This is a place holder until I can upload a clip of the teaching scene from my DVD of this movie. The teacher explains that she cannot show Lola how to be herself, that she must show her own feeling in her dance. In the movie, she also learns the hard way about the stigma against being a performer.
A benefit to breaking taboos is getting to have fun, performing bellydancers bring joy, and also get to play with the audience.