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Links: ME Dance

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  • Lis
    Hi everyone. This week s links post is a killer. I apologise for the length, but there was so very much valuable information on the web, once I was educated to
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 2, 2003
      Hi everyone. This week's links post is a killer. I apologise for the length,
      but there was so very much valuable information on the web, once I was
      educated to the proper search terms. I couldn't possibly cut any of it out,
      since I had several requests for this type of search. I've divided it into
      two posts to make it less bounce-able for various list serves.

      I'd like to thank the newly-elevated Mistress Katja Davida Orlova etc.... of
      Aethlemearc, Companion of the Pelican and dancer extrordinaire, for helping
      me with the search terms. You see, I can do a great many things gracefully,
      but dancing isn't one of them!

      I hope you enjoy this week's Links list, and as always feel free to share
      wherever you find an interested audience.



      Bulent Aksoy
      (Site Excerpt) In Ottoman society, which was composed of various religious
      and ethnic communities, several different cultures existed side by side,
      each community having its own way of life, traditions, customs and mores.
      These cultures continued to exist for many centuries influencing each
      other and having been influenced by one another. This social structure is
      often described as a mosaic of cultures. Musical conventions of various
      ethnic and religious communities in the Ottoman empire whose territory
      spread over three continents, also co-existed. Each community preserved its
      religious music in its place of worship and its folk music within its
      traditions as a product of the folk culture.

      Part IV: Secular Middle Eastern Music during the Middle Ages
      (Site excerpt) Introduction: Music was important to the people of the Middle
      East. It was popular with common people in folk songs and dances which were
      part of their traditional culture. Court music and dance were popular with
      the rich and musicians were supported by the royalty (kings and princes).
      Islam did control some types of musical entertainment. (Ed. Note: This page
      contains some period illustrations of male and some female garb incl. female
      musicians in what looks like gawazi coats).

      Part VII: Dance - Folk Dancing, Court Entertainment, and Sufi Religious
      (Site Excerpt) Introduction: Just as with music, there are different views
      that Muslims have about dancing. To some, there should be no dancing at all.
      They see music and dancing as moving toward sin. To others, folk dancing
      just between men or just between women is fine, but not between mixed
      couples or in front of the opposite sex. They also would criticise dancing
      as is popular with youth in the United States, for example, as very wrong
      and too sexy. Others have no objection to watching professional dancers, but
      "good Muslims" would not do that. And in contrast, some Muslims saw music
      and dancing as a way to become closer to Allah. Throughout the history of
      Islam, there have been times of greater acceptance or rejection of dance.
      (Ed. Note: This page contains some Persian and Turkish illustrations form
      our period of history of Dancers in mid-dance).

      C. Religious Dancing of the Sufi Muslims
      (Site Excerpt) Sufis were Muslims who tried to connect with God through
      experiences such as dance, music, prayer, poetry, meditation, fasting, and
      some even through pain of self-flagellation (beating oneself). Their founder
      was Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi, a poet and mystic who lived from 1207 - 1273.
      Sufis brought Islam to the common person in many of the areas that had been
      conquered or whose rulers had been converted. It was especially popular with
      both literate and illiterate people in Turkey, Persia, India, and North
      Africa. Sufis preached that there could be a personal and direct
      relationship with God, not just through studying of written works and
      through scholarship. (Ed. Note: There is a special section on Women's sufi
      dancing, period illustrations of male and female Sufi dancers, and an
      explanation of how modern "belly dancing" grew out of the dancing

      - in alphabetical order of the languages -
      A list of books about Mid-East culture (use these for an inter-library
      search, if you can read the titles. Some in English, some not).

      Geyvan McMillen
      Mimar Sinan University
      (Site Excerpt) HISTORY
      Anatolia that has long been viewed as the bridge over which the great
      cultures crossed, possesses a rich and splendid vocabulary of gestures and
      movements of dances. Writing about Turkish dance, one should first research
      the wealth of the Turkish Folkloric Dance before going into the subject of
      dance in the Western sense. Each region has a different characteristic that
      distinguishes its dances from the others. This is because of the folklore of
      Turkey that has consisted of so many heterogeneous elements never lost the
      ability to embrace new components. These dances have been created by the
      separate traditions and ultimate blending of five great cultural trends over
      a period of 900 years according to Prof. Dr. Metin And who researched
      extensively on the subject.

      Origins of Oriental Dance
      (Site Excerpt) The Turks came from Central Asia and settled in the Central
      Anatolian plateau. They were there for centuries before they gained
      possession of other parts of Anatolia, captured Istanbul and advanced into
      Europe, Africa and Asia to create an empire. The Anatolian peninsula is the
      bridge between Asia and Europe and many major migrants have travelled its
      path. Over a period of more than two thousand years it has been inhabited by
      representatives of various civilizations - Hittites, Greeks Phrygians,
      Lydians, Isaurians, Cappodocians and Byzantines to mention only a few.
      Although there is no one Turkish national dance, there are several thousand
      folk dances which incorporate elements from many of these cultures. Islamic
      prohibitions against dancing mainly affected the city dwellers, and not the
      peasants in isolated villages.

      Origins of Dance
      (Site Excerpt) Nudity was very much a part of Egyptian society. In the Old
      Kingdom and Middle Kingdom, women frequently wore very short skirts and
      danced bare breasted. They often danced quite nude, except for the hip belts
      and perhaps jewelry. Henna was used to stain the hands and nails for beauty,
      and for its medicinal and magical properties. This custom has also survived:
      The traditional Turkish wedding ceremony still contains a Henna ceremony for
      the new bride the night before the wedding.

      Dancer History Archives by Streetswing.com
      Belly Dance or Raks Sharki Main Page
      This brief article is not copy permissable, but gives a few good sources for
      historical ME dance.

      About Arabic Dance.
      Dance in the pre-Islamic past
      (Site Excerpt) There is also much evidence of dance in ancient Syria, Turkey
      and other countries. Some aspects of this dance was simply a form of
      entertainment, but it was also related to the worship of various fertility
      goddesses, such as Hathor in Egypt, Aphrodite in Greece and Ishtar in
      Babylon. Ancient writers record these dances as being based on movements of
      the hips, circling, swaying and shaking of the body. The female worshippers
      often danced themselves into an ecstatic frenzy where they felt they were
      linked to the power of the goddess.

      Naming The Dance
      By Laura Osweiler (Amara)
      (Site Excerpt) In the Middle East, there are several genres and styles of
      dance. Today, the professional solo female dance is called in Arabic Raks
      al-Sharki (Dance of the East/Orient) and, or Raks al-Arabi (Arabic Dance).
      The dancer may wear costumes including the bedlah (two-piece outfit), gowns,
      and beledi (one-piece folkloric outfit) and performs in many venues such as
      concerts, clubs, restaurants, parties, weddings, and mawalid (Saint's Day
      Festivals). Raks al-Sharki, often employed by Americans when using a native
      term, is controversial in itself as it represents the compliance by the East
      to use Western markers to define themselves.


      Baladi or Beledi
      By HADIA
      (Site Excerpt) The word baladi, as translated from Arabic, means "of the
      country". It implies story telling and folklore or the expression of a
      people about their culture and their everyday life. The term, raks baladi or
      baladi dance, refers to the folkloric style of Egyptian group or solo dance.
      This encompasses the fellahin, bambootia and saidi dances, using fellahy,
      baladi and saidi rhythms. The saidi style has its roots in the raks tahhtyb,
      which is a men's combat dance performed with a large stick. This evolved
      into the woman's raks assaya, or cane dance, which is more delicate and
      coquettish than the male counterpart but does not hesitate to occasionally
      imitate it's macho quality.

      Common Arabic Words and Dance Terms
      (Site Excerpt) There are a number of common Arabic words and phrases you
      will come across after a while. Here is a selection.You will find a number
      of different spellings for many words. This is mainly due to assumptions in
      transliteration of the Arabic script that normally does not show short
      vowels. It also can be due to regional variations. For instance, for "town",
      the Hippocrene dictionary gives the spelling "balad" for Syrian Arabic and
      "beled" for the Egyptian version. (Note Egyptian Arabic is often quite
      different from standard Arabic in both pronunciation and vocabulary).

      Dance No-No's
      The "Naughty Nine" and a Few of Their Friends
      By Jalilah Sahar
      (Site Excerpt) There is little difference in the public's mind between that
      of Raks Sharqi and stripping. But for the presence of heavy costuming, the
      audience may perceive these movements as lewd, solicitous, and just plain
      offensive, if, that is, they are executed improperly and with carelessness.
      One of the risks with being an American "Raks Sharqi" dancer is that we must
      always struggle to push ourselves beyond the borders of America in terms of
      authenticity, etc. with our art. This means that we must deal with the cards
      we are dealt and structure our dance so it is as authentic and respectful as
      possible; not an easy thing when so far removed from the original source.
      Therefore, in order to maintain the cultural dignity of Raks Sharqi, we must
      maintain a sense of "restraint" when planning our approach to choreography,
      practice and presentation.

      Sensual, erotic and an inseparable
      feature of Turkish tradition for centuries
      Belly Dancing
      I'm not going to quote any part of this article, since it's for sale. Youc
      an read it online, however.

      The World's Oldest Dance- A History of Bellydance (Revised)
      by Karol Henderson Harding, a.k.a. "The Joyful Dancer"
      (Site Excerpt) The largest contribution of Turkish culture to belly dance is
      a rhythmic one. Turkish
      finger snapping (a special two-handed finger snap) is common to both Gypsies
      and Eastern dance
      in general. Turkey has a history of the manufacture of metal cymbals of all
      sizes. The cymbal
      was used with warlike effect by those feared mercenaries, the Janissaries.
      Mr. And also notes that
      both the dancing boys and girls marked time with finger snapping, with the
      calpara clapper
      sticks, or metal finger castanets called 'zil'. At some point small finger
      cymbals were played with
      a pair on each hand in the modern manner by dancers and entertainers.

      All About Belly Dance
      (Site Excerpt) Turkish dances developed on two different planes, and in two
      cultural settings: that of Istanbul the capital of the Ottoman empire, a few
      other large cities, and that of the village. Mr And maintains that the
      geographic isolation of remote villages has helped to preserved over a
      thousand folk dances. These peasants are the pastoral unsettled fragments of
      the nomad hordes who strayed into Asia Minor in the Middle Ages, some of
      whom are still semi-nomadic. The second level of development was the court
      influence at the time of the Ottoman empire. The slightest event at court
      could effect the entire populace such as the birth of a new prince, the
      circumcision ceremony, a marriage the accession of a new ruler, or merely
      the girding on of the sultan's sword. All entailed the need for a public

      Kemence International Dance Ensemble Folk Dances
      (Site Excerpt) There are four general subjects in Turkish folk dance: man's
      labors; real or mythical events; man's relationship with nature; and
      religion. There is no single national style of Turkish dance. Although
      attempts have been made to popularize certain dances on a wide scale, each
      region, even each village, maintains its own dances. Turkish folk dances,
      while remarkably diverse in character and origin, may nevertheless be
      classified into six broad categories, according to their geographic
      boundaries, which may overlap. They are: Halay, Horon, Hora (Karsilama),
      Bar, Zeybek, and Kasik. These represent different dance styles found in the
      country's numerous ethnic provinces.

      Belly Dance Museum Frame Drums

      by Jasmin Jahal, September 1998
      (Site Excerpt) Yes, Habibi, there really is a lot of "B.S." in the world of
      Belly Dance - that is to say, "B" as in Baladi and "S" as in Saidi! (Hey!
      What did you think I meant?!) ......Baladi literally means "of the country".
      So, Egyptian Baladi means dance from the country of Egypt. If you study and
      perform Egyptian style oriental dance, then technically, you can be called a
      Baladi dancer. Also, there is a traditional rhythm known as baladi. It is in
      four counts (or 4/4), and it is a variation of the maksoum rhythm (another
      story, another time!). Dancers gave the baladi rhythm its name because they
      connect a distinct country or folk style of movement to this beat. Baladi is
      performed as a lively, happy dance, on its own or as a part of a long
      routine. The dancer is very interactive with the audience. At the very
      least, she claps her hands to get the audience to clap along.

      Persian Dance and It's Forgotten History
      (Site Excerpt) Iranian dance history is characterized by many fascinating
      and also tragic incidents. It seems to be completely unknown to the outside
      world, partly because of the present political situation of the country
      has toned down the interest for a profound research effort. The other
      is the current archaeological discoveries and excavations in Iran, during
      the past thirty years. They have made it possible to have access to
      and evidence for the origin of Persian dance, ever since the appearance of
      the cult of Mithra about two thousand years before our calendar.

      Six Samples of Folk and Classical Persian Dance Videos
      (Site Excerpt: DVD for Sale)Please note, in most cases we have reduced the
      quality of Graphics and Sound by 75% for Internet viewers with slow link.
      remind you the Graphics, Video and Audio quality on CD-ROM are far better
      than samples you see.

      Persian Dance
      by Jasmin Jahal, November 2001
      (Site Excerpt) For those of us who study modern day belly dance, it is
      interesting to investigate the contributions of different areas of the
      Middle East. Whenever I have seen good Persian dance, I have often
      about the history behind it and how its performance style and costuming
      developed. Clearly, it is quite different from the standard belly dance.
      The beauty and femininity of Persian dance is not often a topic in dance
      seminars. Indeed, finding any performance of Persian dance is rare.
      Research relieves that dance from Persia is rooted in one very small place,
      the Fars Province in southwest modern Iran. In its time, the Persian
      was vast and ruled over numerous nations, from Egypt to India. It was
      considered the world's first religiously tolerated empire. It consisted of
      a multitude of different languages, races, religions and cultures. One can
      see professional dancers depicted in artwork dating back to 2500 B.C.

      Male Belly Dance in Turkey
      by Jasmin Jahal, February 2002
      (Site Excerpt) It has become all the rage in Istanbul for nightclubs to
      feature young, handsome male belly dancers. They are called rakkas from the
      word raks, which means dance. They dress in sparkling costumes and perform
      nearly every night of the week. While conservatives object to male belly
      dancing, the practice actually ha a very long history, particularly in
      Turkey.The Ottoman Empire was an era that was named for a Muslim prince
      called Osman I. The golden age of the Empire was during the reign of
      Suleyman the Magnificent (1520-66). Throughout the reigns of several
      sultans, the Ottoman Empire lasted from 1345 until 1922, when the sultanate
      was abolished and Turkey became a republic.
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