Level One:Undulations Unit, Class 2
Updated: Jun 6
Raqs sharki has, for as long as we know, existed under patriarchy. And if you REALLY want to dive into an academic discussion of how THAT has worked out, click here (I mean it, that is a very extra-credit article, feel free to skip it or save it for later ^_~). For the real reading this week, let's look at the role bellydance can play in healing from patriarchy, particularly our relationships with ourselves and with women. This article is by Yamê.
Regional Highlights This unit, we're focusing on Anatolia and Iran. These regional highlights are meant to give a general orientation, and really only scratch the surface of the diversity of people and arts in the MENAHT/SWANA area (Middle East, North Africa, Helene, & Turkey/SouthWest Asia & North Africa).
Greeks living in Turkey (Anatolian Greeks) and in Egypt (primarily in Alexandria) have made a big contribution to raqs/dans*. In addition to being performers in these countries, the diaspora that came to the US following persecution by the Turkish government helped to found the American Nightclub style. (Just don't let anyone tell you they invented kimonos and bellydance ^_~)
Of course there are many many different folk dances around Turkey and Greece, but we're here for an introduction right now.
*(dance, in Arabic and Turkish)
This clip includes Greek bellydancers, plus a sample of one type of line dance indigenous to Greece. In another week, we'll see clips of Katy (a Greek-Alexandrian star of Egyptian cinema) & Nadia Gamal (Greek & Egyptian parents, she naturalized to Lebanon and came to define the Lebanese style for a time).
You can also use bellydance to show strength in a creative (as opposed to violent or destructive) way. In this video at 2min 26seconds, Ruby does the forward-back shimmy we did in class. Turkish style is known for haughtiness and sassy-sauciness.
Softness doesn’t preclude confidence or power, and bellydance is a medium that lends its self well to the balance of all these aspects of your selves. It’s also a great way to practice having faith in yourself, and trusting that even if things go wrong you can go with the flow and make it work.