PHOTO CREDIT: Above photo by John Rickman Photography, San Jose, California.
Evolution of an Art Form
Every dance has a history. Learn the history, and you'll have the power to answer people's questions and misconceptions about our dance. This workshop covers how Oriental dance ("belly dance") evolved from its roots as a social dance into the theatrical form we know today.
Every dance form has a history, whether it be ballet, modern dance, or raqs sharqi (belly dance). By learning that history, we are better able to promote respect for our dance form with our families, our friends, our students, the press, the academic world, and our audiences. Regardless of which style of this dance we prefer to study and perform ourselves, learning about the past can enrich our experience, connect us to our roots, and bring us a deeper understanding of what this dance is about.
Much of raqs sharqi as we know it today is based on the performing art that arose in Egypt and spread throughout the Near East through Egypt's motion picture industry. This makes Egypt the logical starting point for exploring the roots of our dance.
This lecture/video presentation brings to life how the traditional Egyptian dance was transformed over the 19th and 20th centuries from a social dance into a performing art presented in large theatrical environments and concert halls. Using video clips of dance scenes from Egyptian movies and dance concerts, this course illustrates how political, economic, and social factors all shaped the development of raqs sharqi in Egypt.