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Belly Dance History

CLICK-Surfin Music by,Natacha Atlas

www.shahravarbellydance.com

What are the historical roots of Belly Dance as we now know it?
Here is a brief overview of the major participants in current bellydance styles. As collected by:Shahravar

GERANOS LINK
LINK***LEARN MORE ABOUT ANCIENT GREEK DANCE...

GREEK CULTURE THRIVED...
THROUGHOUT ANCIENT HISTORY-ADVANCING IN ARTS, SCIENCES, LIBRARYS, MATH, ARCHITECTURE, LANGUAGE(THE ILLIAD & ODDYSEY WRITTEN BY HOMER), PHILOSOPHY(ARISTOTLE, PLATO, SOCRATES).
THEY WORSHIPPED AN EXTENSIVE PANTHEON OF GOD'S & GODDESS'S.
MOST ANCIENT DANCES WERE IN CELEBRATION- RELIGIOUS OR MILITARY SUCCESS.
 

ROMAN HISTORY LINK
LINK***LEARN MORE ABOUT ROMAN HISTORY...

 Legend of Romulus and Remus dated the founding Rome at 753 B.C.E. The Romans gave much to the modern world, they loved a good dance celebration...

***LEARN MORE ABOUT ANCIENT EGYPT!
EGYPT!!!CLICK!!!LINK!!!
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC. CLICK LINK!!!

The ancient Egyptians were well known for thier religious pagentry. The egyptians thrived untill Rome absorbed them.In this bustling culture the professional dancers were Ghawazzi"invaders of the heart" & Oulid Nail of North Africa, bolth were gypsies.
1798 the first organized expedition to Egypt was- Napoleon seeking an alternate route to India.
In Cairo, his soldiers encountered the Ghawazee. Found in settlements along the lower Nile & Cairo. The French soldiers quickly became a new sourse of revenue. Bonaparte's Generals likened them to a pestilence suggesting  they be drowned if found in the camps. Fact, Auriant tells of about four hundred  Ghawazee who were captured, decapitated, bundled into sacks and thrown to the Nile. General Billier suggested the government should find proper work for the Ghawazee. French later set up licensed brothels in the city.
 
The Ghawazii became the now famous Banat Mazin.
Folkloric dances include Taktib"men's staff/stick dance"this was an ancient Egyptian war drill, rhythmic & repetitive.The womens version of this was the Raks Al Assaya"Cane Dance"

LINK...19th CENTURY GAWAZII.
LINK***LEARN MORE ABOUT GAWAZII & ORIENTAL DANCE...

EGYPT LINK!!!
***LEARN MORE ABOUT INSTRUMENTS, MUSIC & DANCE IN ANCIENT EGYPT LINK..

~~~~~~~~~~~Karnak Temple

bedouin LINK
LINK***LEARN MORE ABOUT BEDOUIN LIFE...

Saudi Arabia is an integral part, in the birthing of civilization. Extensive commercial trade dating from 3,000 BC is recorded along this route called the Spice Trail. Early trade commodities- agricultural products, spices, textiles, gold and frankincense.
The Bedoiun are the "Desert  Dwellers". The  bedouin culture still survives in the Sinai.*Ardha, the country's national dance is a mens sword dance with Bedouin roots.
Arabic script is Written from right to left.
Arabic culture is founded on Islam & the holy city of makkah

CALLIGRAPHY LINK
LINK***LEARN MORE ABOUT RENOWN ARABIC CALLIGRAPHY...

LINK PERSIAN DANCES
LINK***LEARN MORE ABOUT DANCES OF PERSIA/IRAN...

Rumi Was beleived to be the founder of the first sect of Whirling Dervishes. 13th Century Click to Learn More about his writing.

View Modern Dervish Dance for the public

 
PERSIAN DANCES OF IRAN.
Achaemenians, the first ruling dynasty of the Persian Empire, encouraged the advancement of different art forms. Ketzias, Greek historian wrote about popular and talented female dancer- Zenon from Crete, who was Artaxerxés II(Ardeshir Shah II) court dancer  “the apple of the King’s eye”.
Dancing appeared in the Persian Mystic and Sufi faith & the Qajar"court" dances
The only survivor in Persian dance in its existing condition, which has survived throughout the centuries. Folkloric dances of Iranian focal groups and Nomads.
 
Greek historian, Polukleitos, reports the marriage of Alexander the Great with Persian “Roxana”. he was amused by Greek musicians, singers and dancers who were engaged at the Persian Imperial Court.
 Dancing was an advanced, protected art form during many dynasties of the Persian Empire example Parthians and Sassanians
Greek texts,detailed descriptions for different forms of dancing,  fire dance, sword dance even horse dance(dancing while horseback).
A new religion,  Islam would prohibit dancing, and this was practically extinction of the antique Persian dance traditions.

TURKMEN LINK
LINK***LEARN MORE ABOUT THE TURKISH OTTOMANS...

The Turkic race moved west Central Asia bordering China. First came the Uighurs, 17th century. Trade along the Silk Road was in full swing under the Tang dynasty. Followed by the Seljuks, settling  Iran and Syria, a group of whom pushed on further  reaching Anatolia. Then the Mongols, who under Genghis Khan created the greatest empire the world has ever seen, stretching from the Mediterranean to the Pacific. Finally, in the 14th century Timur (Tamerlane) brought many disparate cultural strains from central and western Asia, together. The Ottoman dynasty 13th century to 1923, sprang with Osman, a tribal leader in western Anatolia, on the frontiers of  Byzantium. With increasing power, the Turks established their first capital at Bursa, followed by Edirne on the European mainland. Byzantium was surrounded, and with the siege and capture of Constantinople in 1453 by Mehmet the Conqueror, Istanbul became the third and ultimate capital of the Ottoman Empire, reaching its peak under Süleyman the Magnificent in the mid-16th century.

THIS GOLDEN ERA OF ENLIGHTENMENT WOULD HAVE A PROFOUND IMPACT ON THE WORLD. THEY ADVANCED IN MATH, SCIENCE, ART, MUSIC, ARCHITECTURE,  ASTRONOMY AND EVEN MORE...the dancers were called Almeh"learned women"well trained in the music & dance arts.

LINK TOPKAPI PALACE
LINK***LEARN MORE ABOUT THE TOPKAPI PALACE & REAL HAREMS...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Topkapi Palace

CLASSICAL DANCES OF INDIA LINK
LINK***LEARN MORE ABOUT CLASSICAL INDIAN DANCES & CULTURE...

INDIA  a beautiful, diverse & ancient land. Music, song, dance & theatre have always been very important in the religous & celebratory lives of Indians.
Currently Bollywood is equal, even grander than american cinema.
Bhangra fusion is enjoying great populairity in the current Belly Dance scene..

FLAMENCO & GYPSIES...                                                                                                Between 800 and 900 A.D., a large exodus of people occurred from the Punjabi region of India. believed to be of the Untouchables caste.  These nomadic groups, generally referred to as Roma or gypsy, divided into two major migration routes.                                  

* the first moving west across Asia the European continent & Spain. The first recorded account, 1447 in Barcelona.They were known as gitanos(gypsy's).     

*the second migratory route took them down through North Africa (including Egypt) and up into Southern Spain, Andalusia via the Straights of Gibraltar. They were known as Cale(black). Southern Spain was part of the Islamic Empire for a period of 800 years- Spanish Moor's.

  Other influences upon flamenco included- (excerpt from www.hadia.com)

    1. Punjabi singing of India
    2. Persian Zyriab song form
    3. Classical Andalusian Orchestras of the Islamic Empire
    4. Jewish Synagogue Chants
    5. Mozarabic forms such as Zarchyas and Zambra
    6. Arabic Zayal which themselves are the foundation for Fandangos
    7. Andalusian regional folk forms
    8. Western African influences via the slaves of the New World Caribbean, Central and South American colonies. These include Rumba, Garotin, Guajiras, Columbianas etc.

ANCIENT FLAMENCO LINK
LINK***LEARN MORE ABOUT ARAB FLAMENCO...

The Roma people are among the best known ethnic groups that appear in
literature and folklore, and are often referred to as Gypsies or
Gipsies. The culturally rich people that arrived in Europe in migrations
via the Spice Trail from northern India around the 14th century. From
the cultural exchange of music and dance we derive Flamenco, a Spanish
musical genre. Flamenco embodies a complex musical and cultural
tradition and is often considered "Gypsie". Although considered part
of the culture of Spain in general, flamenco actually originates from
one region -- Andalusia. The roots of flamenco are not precisely
known, but it is generally acknowledged that flamenco grew out of the
unique interplay of native Andalusian, Islamic, Sephardic, Indian and
Gypsy cultures that existed in Andalusia.
As far as linguists can tell it is believed the word gypsy it's self
derived from the self titled Gitanos which is a Spanish name.
I have also heard but could never verify that as they traveled through
Egypt they acquired some of the nuances and were thusly named as
others took them for Egyptians.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Alhambra Palace

***CLICK LINK TO LEARN ABOUT REAL GYPSIES(ROMA)!!! NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC LINK!!!

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SINDEBAD SHEREZADE LINK
LINK***LEARN MORE ABOUT TALES OF 1001 NIGHTS...

LINK TO LEARN MORE ABOUT SALOME...
SALOME
***SALOME & THE DANCE OF THE SEVEN VEILS...

OSCAR WILDE'S SALOME-
Written originally in French in 1892, from a brief mention in the bible.
Also creating the dance of the seven veils.
Wilde's one-act tragedy Salome was translated into English by Lord Alfred Douglas, inspired some of Aubrey Beardsley's finest illustrations, and served as the text (in abridged form) for Strauss' renowned opera of the same name. A masterpiece of the Aesthetic movement, it enacts the biblical tale of a wanton woman's erotic dance and
 the martyrdom of John the Baptist.

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Mata Hari- perhaps the fist world renown Femme Fatal.

The very name of Mata Hari has become synonymous with spying, espionage, intrigue, and sensuality. 

Born Margaretha Zelle on August 7, 1876 in Leeuwarden, Holland. 

matahari LINK
LINK***LEARN MORE ABOUT MATA HARI..

LITTLE EGYPT LINK!!!
***LEARN MORE ABOUT LITTLE EGYPT-LINK-

1893- FATIMA-Little Egypt was the stage name for two popular now famous exotic dancers, Ashea Wabe danced at the Seeley banquet and Farida Mazar Spyropoulos, appeared at the "Street in Cairo" exhibition on the Midway at the World's Columbian Exposition- THE WORLD'S FAIR, held in Chicago.

LINK-LEARN MORE ABOUT ISADORA DUNCAN
***LEARN MORE ABOUT ISADORA DUNCAN-LINK-...

The beautiful Middle-East has inspired...for centuries.
1900's - Isadora Duncan, Ruth St. Dennis, Ted Shawn & Loie Fuller were all inspired by Eastern Cultures. 
These Dancers  played a major part in Ballet as we now know it, also founding the Modern Contemporary Dance movement, some by a fusion of Vaudville Stage technique & formal dance.
Ruth & Ted went on to found the Denishawn academy of Dance- Martha Gram was a famous student.

RUTH ST DENNIS & TED SHAWN
***LEARN MORE ABOUT RUTH ST. DENNIS/TED SHAWN-LINK-

~~~~~~~~~~~~~Where she danced...Mason Opera house in Los Angeles, The first theater built on Broadway in the early 1900s and torn down in the 1950s. Geraldine Farrar, Isadora Duncan, Sarah Bernhardt and Ruth St. Denis are among those who appeared there.

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ART NOVEAU 1880-1890'S & ART DECO -1910-1930'S ARTISTS- MUCHA,  KLIMPT,  BEARDSLEY and many more...inspired by, Egyptian Motifs: The discovery of King Tut's tomb in 1923 incited a craze for Egyptian motifs like the scarab, sphinx and falcon. Stones which had been used in King Tut's jewelry, like lapis lazuli, carnelian and chalcedony, became popular.

Eastern Influence :The influence of India and the Orient is evident in the use of carved gemstones, ivory, jade and highly stylized natural motifs,travel to exotic lands was leisure. 

Mucha Moet. LINK!!!
*** LEARN MORE ABOUT ALPHONSE MUCHA. LINK...

CLICK LINK!!!           Klimpt-Pallas Athene.
***LEARN MORE ABOUT GUSTAV KLIMPT. LINK...

1917 SILENT FILM- CLEOPATRA(NOW LOST)
charleston.jpg
***LEARN MORE ABOUT THEDA BARA...

LOUISE BROOKS...
A SILENT FILM STAR 1920'S ERA.
WAS ALSO A FAMED DANCER (SHE STUDIED WITH DENISHAWN ACADEMY).
THE CHARLESTON WAS ALL THE RAGE AMONGST THE FREE SPIRITED FLAPPERS.

LOUISE BROOKS
***LEARN MORE ABOUT LOUISE BROOKS...

1930'S HOLLYWOOD CREATES MANY ORIENTAL THEMES.
LEARN MORE-GARBO MATA HARI.
***LEARN MORE ABOUT GRETA GARBO AS MATA HARI...

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Photo-Hennagirl.net
HENNA LINK...
LINK***LEARN MORE ABOUT THE ANCIENT CUSTOM OF HENNA...

HENNA(extracted from plants) is one of the most ancient natural cosmetics in the world, early as 7000 BCE.
MEHNDI TATTOOS are still popular in many Middle-Eastern countries, America too.
It is a pre-wedding custom, a spiritual protection & beautifull adornment also.
Mehndi tattoo's are beautiful, painless & temporary(3weeks).

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