Millennia ago, man was just learning to communicate, but there was already a language of dance. Through gestures and movements, a person told how he sees the world around him, what he feels.
The dance itself has always been associated with the life of a person, his people. It is no coincidence that every dance is associated with the character of the tribe in which it originated.
Oriental dance stands apart from everyone. He is called both charming, and seductive, fragrant, affectionate, sometimes cruel, sometimes fabulous.
The technique of oriental dance is unique, he himself embodies the life itself, the movements of the dancers reveal the mysterious secrets. In the West, his name is “belly dance”, but this name is incorrect.
About eastern dances, various myths develop, explaining how these or other elements and movements appeared. But beautiful legends about beautiful dances are not always truthful, so let’s look at the details of where these or other techniques, movements, suits came from and debunk the basic myths.
All dancers must wear jewelry at the navel.
The idea of decorating the navel actually appeared only in the 30s of the 20th century in Hollywood. This is how Oriental dance was conceived by local producers and directors. In the East, dancers do not have such jewelry.
Belly dance uses a cane as a symbol of a shepherd’s staff, which women once used to graze sheep.
Dance with a cane from southern Egypt. Traditionally, all the men in that area carried long staves with them, which they used as weapons. Gradually, even arose a whole military art of wielding a staff, arose and the dance depicts the struggle with the help of this weapon. After some time, women began to dance with a cane, playfully playing men’s fun, eventually, and took shape “raks al Assaya” – dance with staffs.
In military campaigns, the women accompanied the men, at night amusing them with dances.
This was the basis for the appearance of the dance with the juggling of the sword on his head. There are no facts that would confirm this myth. Moreover, the dance itself with juggling by sword is not widespread in the Middle East. Researchers believe that the use of the sword, as a folk instrument in the dance pushed the picture of the artist Jean-Leon Jerome in the 19th century. His painting and became a catalyst for the creativity of dancers around the world. It can be assumed that the model posing for the artist did perform such a dance, it was also possible for her fellow tribesmen, but such a device has never been generally accepted. In Egypt, there is a similar dance when a man makes movements with a sword in his hand, committing aggressive acts. But even in such a dance there is no balancing of the sword, neither on the body, nor on the head.
Belly dance was used in the harem to attract the attention of the Sultan.
Of the dancers, the ruler chose the best. This error is the most common, but the facts easily refute it. Elements of dance passed from generation to generation, it is believed that it is based on techniques that allowed a woman to prepare the abdominal muscles for childbirth. Even today, such movements are present in rituals in the Middle East and North Africa. Women surround their girlfriend who is preparing to give birth, and begin to make circular movements with her hips, preparing her for the coming. In the harem, there was no such that the sultan walked and thoughtfully chose from himself a passion for dancing dancers. Wives generally rarely saw the Sultan in large harems. The decision about who exactly from the young wives will belong this night to her husband was taken either by his mother or by his elder wife. Therefore, the energy of young girls was not aimed at learning the dance and mastering the skill, but in winning the favor of older and influential women. Although it is possible that the girls danced for each other, brightening up the sad days. Today in the Middle East, women often dance for other women – it can be neighbors, girlfriends, cousins, sisters, aunts.Dance is entertainment, a pleasant pastime in anticipation of the spouse. Dances can be found on family holidays, weddings and even on some men’s holidays.
The purpose of belly dancing was traditionally the seduction of a man.
As it was said above, in the East women dance mainly for each other, such tradition developed over the centuries. Of course, one of the beauties used this technique to seduce the beloved man behind closed doors, but this is an unconventional exception for the culture of the East. For people who grew up in such an environment, there is no such thing as seduction dance, this does not teach well-mannered daughters.
In the Middle East, there is a traditional dance of the Seven Voices.
It is based on the legend of how the goddess Ishtar descended into the underworld, leaving about each of the seven gates on one of her veils. And this story is just a beautiful myth. There is a biblical account of a woman who danced for Herod, touching his heart. However, no details of this action are mentioned anywhere. But the name “Dance of the Seven Voices” emerged only in the 19th century in the play of Oscar Wilde. On the basis of it, Strauss’ opera “Salome” was staged, in which the image of the girl who was filming one shawl after another appeared until she remained naked before the king Herod.
Belly dance was brought to the Middle East by the gypsies.
This myth is completely difficult to refute, since it is unlikely that this Oriental dance has a single origin. Today, you can find dances in Africa that use and use hip movements long before the migration of the Roma to the West. Yes, and Turkey, undulating movements appeared before the arrival of the Gypsies. Although you can not exclude their influence on dancing and music. Gradually, with the penetration of the gypsies, the dances and music mingled, the gypsies brought in something of their own, adopting and transmitting elements of other cultures. So there was that belly dance that we know and love today.
Gypsies loved to dance around fires, adoring night romance.
In fact, the life of the Roma was very difficult. When the European public was indignant at the situation of slaves in America in Romania, Roma (as the Roma call themselves) lived in a similar situation. During the Second World War, the position of this people became particularly difficult, most of their European history the Roma were driven by the indigenous population, they were expelled from their habitats. So the nomadic life is not due to romance, but to the fact that often people did not have their own homes.
Middle Eastern dancers had an outfit that consisted of a bodice and a belt that were decorated with coins or a belt of tassels.
It’s difficult to imagine a dancer without such elements today. In fact, coins have been coined by the dancers in the United States. Many at the same time point to the designer of the costumes for Hollywood Bob Mackie. Belt with tassels, or choli, was traditionally worn under the sari by the Indians. But its use as an element of dance was also invented in America, in traditional clothing in the East and Africa such an element was not used. In the East such brushes were decorated with pack animals, and even then on special occasions. There is no evidence that the Turks or Arabs used belts of fluffy brushes during the dance. But on the dancers, such accessories immediately began to look good, it’s no wonder that this “American” style quickly spread. Women with coins and tassels look exotic, but do not take such clothes as ethnic for the peoples of the East.
The name of belly dance dance (bellydance) comes from the spoiled Arabic word “balady”, which means homeland and means “dance of the Egyptians”.
In 1893, American producer Bloom came up with this name for the dance in order to warm up interest in his exhibition “Streets of Cairo” at the World Fair in Chicago.In his biography, at any rate, he claimed, although many believe that the name of the dance is due to the French “le dans du vantras”, which was a dance of the North African nationalities with movements of the abdomen. In fact, there are significant differences between the two dances. Bloom himself did not really think about the name, its similarity with anyone. He bet on the word “stomach”. In those days, women were mostly tightened in corsets, naturally the attention of people attracted dancers, denuding the stomach. The phonetic similarity with the word “balady” was noticed recently, it has no profound meaning.