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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in bellydance
Cultural Appropriation or Creative Expession?

I opened up my Facebook account today and was greeted by a long discussion focusing on cultural appropriation, vis-a-vis belly dancing. It appeared to be based on a Salon article titled "Why I can't stand white belly dancers."

The first thing that struck me was the confrontational nature of the headline: It wasn't belly dancing performed by white people that the author couldn't stand, it was the belly dancers themselves. If this doesn't put people on the defensive, I don't know what will. Then again, it's part of the inflammatory nature of online "journalism" these days, which uses hot-button language to increase the number of hits. (Full disclosure: I'm white, but I'm no belly dancer, and belly dancing isn't something I go out of my way to watch.)

The author of the article describes an instance in which "a white woman came out in Arab drag — because that’s what that is, when a person who’s not Arab wears genie pants and a bra and heavy eye makeup and Arabic jewelry, or jewelry that is meant to read as 'Arabic' because it’s metallic and shiny and has squiggles of some kind — and began to belly-dance."

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  • valkyr dragonborn
    valkyr dragonborn says #
    as an amateur American "bellydancer" this article both astounds and disgusts me- noted professional Middle Eastern artists, musici
  • Literata
    Literata says #
    I appreciate your points about the impossibility of achieving purity. Like Carol Christ, though, I can also see the author's persp
  • Stifyn Emrys
    Stifyn Emrys says #
    I was intentionally careful with my wording on the parody point: I wrote that it was "one" key question rather than "the" key ques

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Dancing Crone

Dancing is a means of connecting with oneself and the goddess. Belly dancing, Chakra dance and temple style dance easily lend themselves to connection with ones higher self, all offer the chance to allow us to move freely, to flow in rhythm with the music, as we experience a falling away of self doubt and image conciseness. These forms allow women of all sizes and ages to come together without fearing judgement on their looks or weight or even any physical impairment that might hinder them from executing the gravity defying leaps and spins we so often see on TV program where the young and beautiful compete with each other to win money and fame.


I am a belly dancer and will turn 60 this Christmas. The style I've chosen to learn is the Tribal style, earthy and grounded, where the dancers stand more solidly rooted on both the balls and heels of their feet rather than elevated on the balls for the majority of the dance. Tribal does incorporate the Cabaret method as well as utilize other dances from various cultures. When we perform our Tribal Fusion dances we draw from bits of Jazz, Salsa, Bhangra, Temple, even country line dance if it fits the choreographed number for our performance.b2ap3_thumbnail_gallowayJanice.jpgOur costumes are bright for the Tribal style with large flowing 25 yard skirts that swirl and move with us in a cloud of gauzy cotton. Scarves and belts adorned with bells, heavy silver jewelry, or beaded patches bring an emphasis to our hips. And yes, we dance to accentuate our hips, not to hide them, Often our skirts are pulled up and tucked into the waistband creating ruffled layers at our sides, or bustled in the back, drawing the eye to our hips, to the part of our bodies that support our young as we carry our babies to term. Our hips are goddess-like, and our bellies, and our costumes allow the movement of both to be clearly seen.

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  • Joan M Gray
    Joan M Gray says #
    I have just started belly dancing. My motive is to stop back pain, which it is doing. I didn't know the history of belly dancing

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