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24925Re: [WarOf1812] Bellydance

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  • ray hobbs
    May 2, 2005
    • 0 Attachment
      I'll throw my two cents' worth in here. This for a couple of reasons,
      [1] as an historian and [2] as the father of a daughter who takes
      bellydancing lessons. She has no intention of performing it, but what
      she has learned has dispelled some of the mythology of the craft.

      First - it is quite possible, even probable that in the Regency period
      oriental dancing became popular in places like Vauxhall Gardens. As
      several have already pointed out, things "Turkish", or "Mohammetan"
      were very popular at this time. There is even a famous print of two
      "Mohammetans" visiting Vauxhall Gardens in the late 18th century, but
      as visitors, not performers.
      Second - equally as probable is that this art was exploited by the
      clubs and gangs of "Young Turks" (note the epithet) which were
      sprinkled throughout the London and Brighton society of the day.
      Third - whether there was public display in military encampments is
      another matter. Looking at the schedule for the day of the average
      British encamped soldier, I think it highly unlikely that such things
      would be allowed, even by the most liberal-minded commanding officer
      (and they were few!)
      Fourth - as for the officers' mess, as the popular saying has it "What
      happens there, stays there". However, I have read a few first-hand
      descriptions of mess antics, and they seem to me to be rather boring.
      The cost of having such entertainment would probably be prohibitive.
      After all, how many such dancers would there be in Canada, or the US at
      the time?
      Fifth - I have every support for someone who wants to explore all
      aspects of Regency society as an aid to improving our impression. The
      more research the better. However, I have the sneaking feeling that at
      the current state of our knowledge this falls into the category of "If
      it was available, they'd have done it".
      Sixth - Military encampments and barracks were not town fairs.
      Seventh - now whether the Methodists of Ancaster or Saltfleet engaged
      in such entertainment is another matter. After all, they did distill
      some of the best whisky in the Province :-) Come to think of it, Isaac
      Brock thought that Methodist preaching was a "threat to public order
      and safety", Lord knows what he would have thought of belly-dancers.
      Yrs etc.
      Ray Hobbs
      41st Regt.

      On Monday, May 2, 2005, at 04:49 PM, PEGGY Mathews wrote:

      > And let us not forget the influence of those coming from or going to
      > India.�
      > Exotic/erotic dance was imported from there, though not necessarily for
      > "polite" society.� I'm thinking of the demure Becky Sharpe(?) from
      > Vanity
      > Fair as an example.� ;-)� Been too long since I read the book, but the
      > movie
      > certainly had an entertaining dance sequence.
      > Michael Mathews
      > "The opportunity for brotherhood presents itself every time you meet a
      > human
      > being." - Jane Wyman
      > >From: <suthren@...>
      > >Reply-To: WarOf1812@yahoogroups.com
      > >To: <WarOf1812@yahoogroups.com>
      > >Subject: Re: [WarOf1812] Bellydance
      > >Date: Mon, 2 May 2005 16:13:29 -0400
      > >
      > >Dear Angela
      > >
      > >With respect to prudishness in the neoclassical era, I think if
      > anything it
      > >was a far more libertine era than the stifling Victorian era which
      > >followed,
      > >in which grandparents who had lived much more freely (in relative
      > terms) in
      > >the Revolutionary/Napoleonic/Regency era were forced to live with a
      > sense
      > >of
      > >nostalgia and enforced guilt amidst far more restrained, prudish and
      > >inhibited children and grandchildren. You might recall it was as well
      > the
      > >era of Emma Hamilton and her 'attitudes' in thin Grecian drapery, and
      > the
      > >charming Empire gowns that shocked later Victorians with their
      > revealing
      > >styles. As mentioned, your persona could likely be either a
      > >Turkish/Levantine woman attached to a musician, or indeed a European
      > woman
      > >having involuntarily experienced Middle Eastern culture; either way, I
      > >would
      > >think it would be a charming addition to the encampments, adding
      > grace and
      > >a
      > >touch of the color and romance which always has been part of our
      > >Napoleonic,
      > >recreated world....
      > >
      > >Vic Suthren
      > >----- Original Message -----
      > >From: "Angela" <deedle_momof3@...>
      > >To: <WarOf1812@yahoogroups.com>
      > >Sent: Monday, May 02, 2005 3:18 PM
      > >Subject: RE: [WarOf1812] Bellydance
      > >
      > >
      > > > That was one of my first concerns, Angela - an one I'd like to
      > learn
      > >more
      > >about.
      > > >
      > > > Costuming can be made as demure as entire coverage from collar
      > bone to
      > >ankle, or even just the eyes, hands and feet exposed; dance styles
      > vary
      > >from
      > >sensuous to energetic and geared towards all members of the family.
      > > >
      > > > I'd really love to check out some resources if available on the
      > subject.
      > >If bellydance would be appropriate - in which form? Where? When? What
      > style
      > >of costuming, exactly? I could make educated assumptions on the
      > topic, but
      > >I'd really rather not assume.
      > > >
      > > > I guess I'm thinking that if it was appropriate in the Cavalier
      > period
      > >(let's remember those Victorian era "prudes")!... it'd make sense
      > that it
      > >"may" be suitable to our re-enactments in some form or another as
      > well.
      > > >
      > > > Where to start! I haven't a clue...
      > > >
      > > > Cheers,
      > > > Angela Bourbonnais
      > > >
      > (snip)
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