I didn’t know Belly Dance was -this- old.

In my previous post about Greek Folkoric Belly Dance – Tsifteteli my newfound friend and master at digging up history Miriambatshimeon refered me to the following document: Dance in the Ancient Mediterranean: the Roman Period – Part One (by Ruth Webb)

Reading it, I was instantly very impressed and slightly overwhelmed. To be practicing an art that’s been dated way back to the 1st century AD, is quite a strange but powerful feeling. To be in a line of so many women that have danced, lived and breathed belly dance before me, is something I can’t quite comprehend. It’s massive and I’ve only begun to discover what it will mean to -me-.

Veiled Dancer - Alexandria, Egypt 3rd-2nd century BC, Metropolitan Museum of Art

It shows that there’s much to learn. Especially with me being Dutch and belly dance absolutely not being part of our culture, it makes me wonder how much else is out there that would’ve passed me by if I hadn’t finally just given it a go with all these other cultures. It also shows that it just takes time to develop. Back in those days it was mostly arabic, egyptian, you know.. those sorts. But look at it; nowadays ATS for instance is a relatively (understatement much?) new concept in belly dance, but it’s certainly a recognised form, right? So I think I’m going to introduce a whole new thing in the belly dance world. Belly Dance – the Dutch Way. And I’m going to call it Raqs Clog. Maybe in 19 centuries from now someone will find out about that age old tradition that once appeared so long ago in the Netherlands… Dum-dum-DUM! Think I might have found the path to Eternal Fame there?

But on a more serious note; finding writings like these and expanding your mind a bit more is also just another way of realising that we’re here for only a brief moment but that we’re never alone. And that many have gone before us and many waiting to follow.

Thank you lovely belly dancers from the past for giving me something to do! 

On a bit of a tangent but not completely irrelevant: I ordered Demons and Dancers: Performance in Late Antiquity, also by Ruth Webb. Can’t wait to have a look. Once I’ve read into it I’ll let you know what it’s like; maybe other history-slash-dance-freaks like me would enjoy it too.

So: to be continued!

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8 thoughts on “I didn’t know Belly Dance was -this- old.

    1. Intermittante says:

      Yeah, and dress up in some old fashioned, native dutch clothes. I can totally see it happening.

      In all seriousness: we’re thinking about planning a belly dance flashmob soon, down at one of the local pubs.. This summer somewhere. After we’ve covered that area, I think I should speak with our teacher about this. See if she’s into helping out. Because; what’s better than 1 person doing Raqs Clog? A whole group, of course ^^

      We’d be an insta-youtube hit. Fame! WhooHoo! ;p

      1. jadebellydance says:

        LOL – you are right a whole group ! Do you think you would add sequins to the clogs or would that be breaking with tradition too much 😉
        You should do it – it could even go viral on youtube (well at least among belly dancers)

      2. Intermittante says:

        If we’re mixing up the two cultures anyways, I don’t see why sequins would be a no-no. Certainly, we should eastern-up the costumes ^^

        This is going to take courage! 😛

  1. Britta Visser Stumpp says:

    Loved reading this! I wrote something about the history of belly dance a while ago that you might like to read: http://brittabandit.com/2011/07/29/styles-of-belly-dance-defined-additions/ And this is my tribute to an amazing woman of the dance: http://brittabandit.com/2012/06/01/jamila-salimpour-a-salute/ I’m kind of a dancer/research nerd so if you go to my blog and look up the category “dance” or “belly dance” it should bring up tons of stuff. Enjoy! ♥♥♥

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