Oriental dance: the history and legends of Arab countries

Oriental dance: the history and legends of Arab countries

Talking about oriental dance usually comes down to an exotic belly dance or belly dance. It was the swaying of the hips, undulating movements of the stomach that formed the basis of this style. But the characteristic choreographic pattern is the foundation. After all, there are a large number of types of oriental dance, which combines the cultures of all Arab countries.

The history of oriental dance: from the rite to the exotic

The first mention of the eastern dance style can be found in the ancient temples of Egypt. On the frescoes that adorn their walls, preserved drawings of dancing people. Similar images were found in Mesopotamia, the most ancient civilization. The age of the frescoes is over 3000 years.

Find the origins and accurate information about the appearance of the dance after three millennia is not possible, which makes the style more mysterious and mysterious. He is literally shrouded in legends. One of them says that the dance originally served as a ritual and helped ease the birth pangs. Women surrounded the parturient and made characteristic movements of the hips, driving away evil spirits from the newborn.

A little later, the dance was used in rituals associated with the cult of the Goddess of Fertility. In those days, land for the inhabitants of the Arab countries was practically the only source of food. In order to get a generous harvest, priestesses in temples performed belly dancing, which was associated with the birth of a new life.

Under the power of sensual dance was the entire Middle and Near East. Over time, the style began to change: from a ritual dance, it turned into a folklore or folk. Each ethnic group that was part of the region introduced something different to the dancers' movements. There are hundreds of folk dances, the progenitor of which was Oriental style. They are united by two points: the performer is necessarily a woman, the main elements are movements of the hips and abdomen.

The seductive dances of oriental beauties were also appreciated by European merchants and merchants who began to travel around Egypt from about the 16th century. It was at this time that the country became part of the Ottoman Empire, which allowed the inhabitants of the Old World to visit it fearlessly.

The Europeans adopted the Arab traditions, but Mata Hari helped them spread throughout the continent only in the middle of the 19th century. Speaking to the public, she declared that she was performing Indian ritual dances. This aroused great interest in Oriental art. In 1889, the first show was held in Paris, where Arab women performed belly dancing. Four years after this event, the movements of the eastern beauties were already enjoying themselves in Chicago thanks to Saul Bloom. Since then, the Egyptian dancers stop dancing only for the home environment - the audience is eager for their spellbinding performances.

The attitude to dance is also changing in Cairo, which is becoming a major city by the 20th century. An important role in this process was played by Badia Mansabni, a dancer of Lebanese descent. She opened a nightclub in the style of European cabaret in the capital of Egypt. Oriental dances became a part of concert numbers, and not just a home fascination with Arab beauties. Moreover, Badia attracted European choreographers to the training of girls. The teachers combined the movements of the Oriental style with other directions, creating a unique school of dance.

But not only the emergence of nightclubs helped Egypt become the center of oriental dance. In the 1940s, musicals began to be shot in the country, where the main role was played by Arab culture, in particular music. Not done in productions and without dance scenes. At the same time, Egyptian filmmakers sought inspiration in European and American films. Mixing cultures in art and led to the popularity of the Egyptian school of dance around the world.

In the 90s, Egypt ceased to be the center of the Arab dance style. The wave of rich tourists was sharply reduced, which led to the closure of nightclubs, and Muslim extremists who appeared in the country forbade women to dance in public. Against this background, the style began to develop in Turkey and Lebanon.

Oriental dances do not cease to excite modern women. Age and country do not matter. Enough once to see the graceful swaying of the hips, to have a desire to master this art. It’s hard to say how many oriental dance schools are open around the world. Given the interest in this area, one thing is for sure: their number will only grow.

Interesting Facts

  • Belly Dancing or Bellydance is a term coined to spread style in the United States. It is believed that Sol Bloom introduced it to add to the direction of seductiveness and attractiveness. As history shows, the politician has not lost.

  • Traditional clothing for women performing bellydance is a bodice, floor-length skirt or bloomers. This image was fixed in the minds of modern people, although initially the costume was much more modest. The girls wore long, closed dresses, and the hips were emphasized with handkerchiefs. To meet a dancer with a bare belly was nonsense. What caused such overt changes? Hollywood. American directors represented the East as bright, brilliant and seductive. This became the basis for the creation of an "American" image of an eastern woman, which, by the way, spread throughout the ancestral countries of the genre.

  • According to one hypothesis, the oriental dances were originally part of the male military culture and originated in Tibet about 13 thousand years ago. Later, the women adopted and modified the style of dancing, making them more attractive to the opposite sex.

  • Echoes of Oriental style found in the ethnic culture of the Hawaiians. How to explain this fact, given the barrier between the continents in the form of the Atlantic Ocean, is not yet possible.

  • The spread of the genre in Europe is also associated with the name of Napoleon. According to one version, he ordered 400 dancers to be beheaded so that they would not seduce his soldiers with their dances. According to another, the French emperor was so fascinated by the beauty and grace of Eastern women that he surrounded himself with 400 dancers.

  • The ancient Slavs also mastered the art of Bellydance. For them, he also wore a sacred meaning. Every year, on the wedding day, the wife danced for her husband to remain desired and young for him.

  • The Bible has preserved the myth of the beautiful Salome, who charmed the dances of King Herod. During her performance, the girl threw off her 7 veils, remaining completely naked before him. The admired king swore to fulfill any request of Salome. She asked for the head of John the Baptist. Herod kept his promise. Whatever may be said in the legend, the dance of the seven veils won the public and even found its reflection in the painting. You can admire the image of Salome in the paintings of Maurizia Gottlieb and Benozzio Gozzoli.

  • To win the attention of the Sultan, to stand out from the rest of the wives in the harem helped belly dance. In Islamic countries, the style acquired a different sound and became associated with the art of seduction. The thin line between dance and striptease is still controversial.

  • There is a beautiful legend of the appearance of bellydance. It says that the cause of the emergence of the style was an ordinary bee. She flew under the clothes of a young girl, and this made her turn her hips and belly intensively. The attempt to get rid of the annoying insect eventually turned into a dance.

  • The first Russian belly dancer is Tatyana Nurlabekovna Zelenetskaya.

  • The culture of the East became the inspiration for M. I. Glinka. The composer reflected his vivid impressions of the dance of Circassian girls in the opera Ruslan and Lyudmila.

  • The Egyptian government earns about 400 ml of dollars annually on belly dancing. The fact is that dancers are obliged to pay a tax for public performance of Bellydance.

Popular Oriental music

Touching the Arab culture, you will be surprised by the number of songs that are performed under the famous Bellydance. They are composed in Egypt, Turkey, Lebanon, Iran and other eastern countries. Egyptian music of the 40s was especially popular. Composers of those times managed to win the love of many women around the world. We suggest to touch the charming music of the East

  • "Noura Noura" Farida Al Atrash. The works of this composer of Syrian origin could be heard in almost every musical produced in Egypt. He spent 40 years writing songs in an oriental style. At the same time, Farid did not miss the opportunity to independently perform his compositions, which attracted even more attention to his person.

"Noura Noura" (listen)

  • "Enta Omry" performed by Umm Kulthum. The music for this song was written by Mohammed Abd-al-Wahhab. The composer became famous far beyond the borders of his homeland: he wrote the hymns of Libya, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates. In his works, Mohammed used not only Arabic motifs, but also European ones. In particular, he was impressed by the French culture.

"Enta Omry" (listen)

  • "Gabar" Abdel Halim Hafez. For his unusual, fascinating voice, this singer received the nickname "Nile Nightingale." Singing talent is not the only thing Abdel remembered. The musician has created a whole galaxy of works that have become classics of Egyptian culture.

"Gabar" (listen)

  • Welak performed by a modern Lebanese singer, Joseph Atti. East and West are woven together in the work of Joseph. The velvety timbre of his voice combined with beautiful melodies brought fame and recognition to the musician.

"Welak" (listen)

  • "Ommi" Marcel Khalifa. This Lebanese singer and composer gave his first performance during the civil war. Thirst to present to others around his work was stronger than the fear of death. And still his songs, written in traditional Arabic style, are popular among lovers of oriental culture.

Varieties of Oriental Dance

More than 50 types of this style are known. This diversity is due to the cultural characteristics of the countries where the dance spread.

  • Hawaii was most prevalent in Egypt and was "brought in" by Gypsies from India. Traditionally, haveyzi performed on the streets. After the performances, the dancers went with inverted tambourines and collected money from the audience. The characteristic detail of the costume of this direction is considered to be a small hat decorated with ribbons and beads.

  • Bandari - Iranian style. It is distinguished by intense shaking of the hips and shoulders. Bandari are dancing on their socks, holding a handkerchief.

  • Haggala is a Bedouin dance traditionally performed at weddings. His choreography includes frequent claps and jumps that blend harmoniously with the movements of the hips. Special attention is given to the skirt with wide flounces.

  • Nubia - a style that has spread in Sudan. It is mainly performed by a group of dancers who hold tambourines or reed plates in their hands.

In addition, there are Arab, Turkish, Egyptian and other schools of Oriental dance. No less varied and accessories that are used during performances: sabers, diamonds, candelabra, shawls and fans.

Eastern music is difficult to confuse with other directions. This is necessarily lulling singing. This is a very melodic figure, where folk instruments are clearly audible - beats and tambourines. This is a true tale of the East, without which it is difficult to imagine the modern world of dance.

Watch the video: Ellen Learns to Belly Dance (November 2019).

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