National Center for Biotechnology Information, US National Medical Library 8600 Rockville Pike, Bethesda MD, 20894 US Much of our knowledge of belly dancing comes from Hollywood where it has to screened and exported to its places of origin in the Middle East and India, with revealing costumes and a decent image. In Egypt, it is called oriental dance and in Arabic sharqi or eastern dance and can go back to its roots at least 6,000 years ago, when it was linked To rites of fertility.
But in the 1970s, in an Arab basement nightclub at Grosvenor Square in London, she was witness to belly dancing for the first time "All of this Was terribly exciting, "she says. "We went down a few stairs, knocked on the door and a doorman let you into this underworld, filled with orchestras, belly dancers and singers. The exotic atmosphere was remarkable. The club was called the Impératrice and was part of a number that flourished in the 1970s and 1980s serving the Arab communities.
Women often danced with other women, in private spaces, so that this dance was for the other. When they danced at parties at home with present men, the dynamic changed. When women were dancing for single women, there was a different type of erism, maybe more powerful, a lot more fun, or maybe it was like that. Was, child and adolescent, distrust of men's intentions. At weddings, the dance was festive and charming, something a professional dancer would do, and something that everyone would continue to do.
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Maybe belly dancing has evolved over the past 50 years, or maybe we just are not going to the right places, but I'd like to see the style we have seen in ancient times. Since I was a kid, that's the way I know you're tipping the belly dancers. I do not think it's suspicious or strange or anything like strip club shows. I tipped Al Jamal's men's bellydancer. He could perfectly make this ripple movement and of course, traditionally in the Ottoman era, it was the norm to have male dancers, called zenne.
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