Hi everyone. This week's links post is a killer. I apologise for the length,
but there was so very much valuable information on the web, once I was
educated to the proper search terms. I couldn't possibly cut any of it out,
since I had several requests for this type of search. I've divided it into
two posts to make it less bounce-able for various list serves.
I'd like to thank the newly-elevated Mistress Katja Davida Orlova etc.... of
Aethlemearc, Companion of the Pelican and dancer extrordinaire, for helping
me with the search terms. You see, I can do a great many things gracefully,
but dancing isn't one of them!
I hope you enjoy this week's Links list, and as always feel free to share
wherever you find an interested audience.
THE CONTRIBUTIONS OF MULTI-NATIONALITY TO CLASSICAL OTTOMAN MUSIC -I-
(Site Excerpt) In Ottoman society, which was composed of various religious
and ethnic communities, several different cultures existed side by side,
each community having its own way of life, traditions, customs and mores.
These cultures continued to exist for many centuries influencing each
other and having been influenced by one another. This social structure is
often described as a mosaic of cultures. Musical conventions of various
ethnic and religious communities in the Ottoman empire whose territory
spread over three continents, also co-existed. Each community preserved its
religious music in its place of worship and its folk music within its
traditions as a product of the folk culture.
Part IV: Secular Middle Eastern Music during the Middle Ages
(Site excerpt) Introduction: Music was important to the people of the Middle
East. It was popular with common people in folk songs and dances which were
part of their traditional culture. Court music and dance were popular with
the rich and musicians were supported by the royalty (kings and princes).
Islam did control some types of musical entertainment. (Ed. Note: This page
contains some period illustrations of male and some female garb incl. female
musicians in what looks like gawazi coats).
Part VII: Dance - Folk Dancing, Court Entertainment, and Sufi Religious
(Site Excerpt) Introduction: Just as with music, there are different views
that Muslims have about dancing. To some, there should be no dancing at all.
They see music and dancing as moving toward sin. To others, folk dancing
just between men or just between women is fine, but not between mixed
couples or in front of the opposite sex. They also would criticise dancing
as is popular with youth in the United States, for example, as very wrong
and too sexy. Others have no objection to watching professional dancers, but
"good Muslims" would not do that. And in contrast, some Muslims saw music
and dancing as a way to become closer to Allah. Throughout the history of
Islam, there have been times of greater acceptance or rejection of dance.
(Ed. Note: This page contains some Persian and Turkish illustrations form
our period of history of Dancers in mid-dance).
C. Religious Dancing of the Sufi Muslims
(Site Excerpt) Sufis were Muslims who tried to connect with God through
experiences such as dance, music, prayer, poetry, meditation, fasting, and
some even through pain of self-flagellation (beating oneself). Their founder
was Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi, a poet and mystic who lived from 1207 - 1273.
Sufis brought Islam to the common person in many of the areas that had been
conquered or whose rulers had been converted. It was especially popular with
both literate and illiterate people in Turkey, Persia, India, and North
Africa. Sufis preached that there could be a personal and direct
relationship with God, not just through studying of written works and
through scholarship. (Ed. Note: There is a special section on Women's sufi
dancing, period illustrations of male and female Sufi dancers, and an
explanation of how modern "belly dancing" grew out of the dancing
MATERIALS FROM THE MIDDLE EAST & EUROPE
- in alphabetical order of the languages -
A list of books about Mid-East culture (use these for an inter-library
search, if you can read the titles. Some in English, some not).
TURKISH BALLET AND DANCE
Mimar Sinan University
(Site Excerpt) HISTORY
Anatolia that has long been viewed as the bridge over which the great
cultures crossed, possesses a rich and splendid vocabulary of gestures and
movements of dances. Writing about Turkish dance, one should first research
the wealth of the Turkish Folkloric Dance before going into the subject of
dance in the Western sense. Each region has a different characteristic that
distinguishes its dances from the others. This is because of the folklore of
Turkey that has consisted of so many heterogeneous elements never lost the
ability to embrace new components. These dances have been created by the
separate traditions and ultimate blending of five great cultural trends over
a period of 900 years according to Prof. Dr. Metin And who researched
extensively on the subject.
Origins of Oriental Dance
TURKEY AND THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE
(Site Excerpt) The Turks came from Central Asia and settled in the Central
Anatolian plateau. They were there for centuries before they gained
possession of other parts of Anatolia, captured Istanbul and advanced into
Europe, Africa and Asia to create an empire. The Anatolian peninsula is the
bridge between Asia and Europe and many major migrants have travelled its
path. Over a period of more than two thousand years it has been inhabited by
representatives of various civilizations - Hittites, Greeks Phrygians,
Lydians, Isaurians, Cappodocians and Byzantines to mention only a few.
Although there is no one Turkish national dance, there are several thousand
folk dances which incorporate elements from many of these cultures. Islamic
prohibitions against dancing mainly affected the city dwellers, and not the
peasants in isolated villages.
Origins of Dance
(Site Excerpt) Nudity was very much a part of Egyptian society. In the Old
Kingdom and Middle Kingdom, women frequently wore very short skirts and
danced bare breasted. They often danced quite nude, except for the hip belts
and perhaps jewelry. Henna was used to stain the hands and nails for beauty,
and for its medicinal and magical properties. This custom has also survived:
The traditional Turkish wedding ceremony still contains a Henna ceremony for
the new bride the night before the wedding.
Dancer History Archives by Streetswing.com
Belly Dance or Raks Sharki Main Page
This brief article is not copy permissable, but gives a few good sources for
historical ME dance.
About Arabic Dance.
Dance in the pre-Islamic past
(Site Excerpt) There is also much evidence of dance in ancient Syria, Turkey
and other countries. Some aspects of this dance was simply a form of
entertainment, but it was also related to the worship of various fertility
goddesses, such as Hathor in Egypt, Aphrodite in Greece and Ishtar in
Babylon. Ancient writers record these dances as being based on movements of
the hips, circling, swaying and shaking of the body. The female worshippers
often danced themselves into an ecstatic frenzy where they felt they were
linked to the power of the goddess.
Naming The Dance
By Laura Osweiler (Amara)
(Site Excerpt) In the Middle East, there are several genres and styles of
dance. Today, the professional solo female dance is called in Arabic Raks
al-Sharki (Dance of the East/Orient) and, or Raks al-Arabi (Arabic Dance).
The dancer may wear costumes including the bedlah (two-piece outfit), gowns,
and beledi (one-piece folkloric outfit) and performs in many venues such as
concerts, clubs, restaurants, parties, weddings, and mawalid (Saint's Day
Festivals). Raks al-Sharki, often employed by Americans when using a native
term, is controversial in itself as it represents the compliance by the East
to use Western markers to define themselves.
CENTRAL ASIA & WESTERN ASIA · A DANCE BIBLIOGRAPHY
Baladi or Beledi
(Site Excerpt) The word baladi, as translated from Arabic, means "of the
country". It implies story telling and folklore or the expression of a
people about their culture and their everyday life. The term, raks baladi or
baladi dance, refers to the folkloric style of Egyptian group or solo dance.
This encompasses the fellahin, bambootia and saidi dances, using fellahy,
baladi and saidi rhythms. The saidi style has its roots in the raks tahhtyb,
which is a men's combat dance performed with a large stick. This evolved
into the woman's raks assaya, or cane dance, which is more delicate and
coquettish than the male counterpart but does not hesitate to occasionally
imitate it's macho quality.
Common Arabic Words and Dance Terms
(Site Excerpt) There are a number of common Arabic words and phrases you
will come across after a while. Here is a selection.You will find a number
of different spellings for many words. This is mainly due to assumptions in
transliteration of the Arabic script that normally does not show short
vowels. It also can be due to regional variations. For instance, for "town",
the Hippocrene dictionary gives the spelling "balad" for Syrian Arabic and
"beled" for the Egyptian version. (Note Egyptian Arabic is often quite
different from standard Arabic in both pronunciation and vocabulary).
The "Naughty Nine" and a Few of Their Friends
By Jalilah Sahar
(Site Excerpt) There is little difference in the public's mind between that
of Raks Sharqi and stripping. But for the presence of heavy costuming, the
audience may perceive these movements as lewd, solicitous, and just plain
offensive, if, that is, they are executed improperly and with carelessness.
One of the risks with being an American "Raks Sharqi" dancer is that we must
always struggle to push ourselves beyond the borders of America in terms of
authenticity, etc. with our art. This means that we must deal with the cards
we are dealt and structure our dance so it is as authentic and respectful as
possible; not an easy thing when so far removed from the original source.
Therefore, in order to maintain the cultural dignity of Raks Sharqi, we must
maintain a sense of "restraint" when planning our approach to choreography,
practice and presentation.
Sensual, erotic and an inseparable
feature of Turkish tradition for centuries
I'm not going to quote any part of this article, since it's for sale. Youc
an read it online, however.
The World's Oldest Dance- A History of Bellydance (Revised)
by Karol Henderson Harding, a.k.a. "The Joyful Dancer"
(Site Excerpt) The largest contribution of Turkish culture to belly dance is
a rhythmic one. Turkish
finger snapping (a special two-handed finger snap) is common to both Gypsies
and Eastern dance
in general. Turkey has a history of the manufacture of metal cymbals of all
sizes. The cymbal
was used with warlike effect by those feared mercenaries, the Janissaries.
Mr. And also notes that
both the dancing boys and girls marked time with finger snapping, with the
sticks, or metal finger castanets called 'zil'. At some point small finger
cymbals were played with
a pair on each hand in the modern manner by dancers and entertainers.
All About Belly Dance
(Site Excerpt) Turkish dances developed on two different planes, and in two
cultural settings: that of Istanbul the capital of the Ottoman empire, a few
other large cities, and that of the village. Mr And maintains that the
geographic isolation of remote villages has helped to preserved over a
thousand folk dances. These peasants are the pastoral unsettled fragments of
the nomad hordes who strayed into Asia Minor in the Middle Ages, some of
whom are still semi-nomadic. The second level of development was the court
influence at the time of the Ottoman empire. The slightest event at court
could effect the entire populace such as the birth of a new prince, the
circumcision ceremony, a marriage the accession of a new ruler, or merely
the girding on of the sultan's sword. All entailed the need for a public
Kemence International Dance Ensemble Folk Dances
(Site Excerpt) There are four general subjects in Turkish folk dance: man's
labors; real or mythical events; man's relationship with nature; and
religion. There is no single national style of Turkish dance. Although
attempts have been made to popularize certain dances on a wide scale, each
region, even each village, maintains its own dances. Turkish folk dances,
while remarkably diverse in character and origin, may nevertheless be
classified into six broad categories, according to their geographic
boundaries, which may overlap. They are: Halay, Horon, Hora (Karsilama),
Bar, Zeybek, and Kasik. These represent different dance styles found in the
country's numerous ethnic provinces.
Belly Dance Museum Frame Drums
THE B.S. IN BELLY DANCE
by Jasmin Jahal, September 1998
(Site Excerpt) Yes, Habibi, there really is a lot of "B.S." in the world of
Belly Dance - that is to say, "B" as in Baladi and "S" as in Saidi! (Hey!
What did you think I meant?!) ......Baladi literally means "of the country".
So, Egyptian Baladi means dance from the country of Egypt. If you study and
perform Egyptian style oriental dance, then technically, you can be called a
Baladi dancer. Also, there is a traditional rhythm known as baladi. It is in
four counts (or 4/4), and it is a variation of the maksoum rhythm (another
story, another time!). Dancers gave the baladi rhythm its name because they
connect a distinct country or folk style of movement to this beat. Baladi is
performed as a lively, happy dance, on its own or as a part of a long
routine. The dancer is very interactive with the audience. At the very
least, she claps her hands to get the audience to clap along.
Persian Dance and It's Forgotten History
(Site Excerpt) Iranian dance history is characterized by many fascinating
and also tragic incidents. It seems to be completely unknown to the outside
world, partly because of the present political situation of the country
has toned down the interest for a profound research effort. The other
is the current archaeological discoveries and excavations in Iran, during
the past thirty years. They have made it possible to have access to
and evidence for the origin of Persian dance, ever since the appearance of
the cult of Mithra about two thousand years before our calendar.
Six Samples of Folk and Classical Persian Dance Videos
(Site Excerpt: DVD for Sale)Please note, in most cases we have reduced the
quality of Graphics and Sound by 75% for Internet viewers with slow link.
remind you the Graphics, Video and Audio quality on CD-ROM are far better
than samples you see.
by Jasmin Jahal, November 2001
(Site Excerpt) For those of us who study modern day belly dance, it is
interesting to investigate the contributions of different areas of the
Middle East. Whenever I have seen good Persian dance, I have often
about the history behind it and how its performance style and costuming
developed. Clearly, it is quite different from the standard belly dance.
The beauty and femininity of Persian dance is not often a topic in dance
seminars. Indeed, finding any performance of Persian dance is rare.
Research relieves that dance from Persia is rooted in one very small place,
the Fars Province in southwest modern Iran. In its time, the Persian
was vast and ruled over numerous nations, from Egypt to India. It was
considered the world's first religiously tolerated empire. It consisted of
a multitude of different languages, races, religions and cultures. One can
see professional dancers depicted in artwork dating back to 2500 B.C.
Male Belly Dance in Turkey
by Jasmin Jahal, February 2002
(Site Excerpt) It has become all the rage in Istanbul for nightclubs to
feature young, handsome male belly dancers. They are called rakkas from the
word raks, which means dance. They dress in sparkling costumes and perform
nearly every night of the week. While conservatives object to male belly
dancing, the practice actually ha a very long history, particularly in
Turkey.The Ottoman Empire was an era that was named for a Muslim prince
called Osman I. The golden age of the Empire was during the reign of
Suleyman the Magnificent (1520-66). Throughout the reigns of several
sultans, the Ottoman Empire lasted from 1345 until 1922, when the sultanate
was abolished and Turkey became a republic.
reetings everyone. This is part 2 of the Mid-East Dance Links list. Enjoy! Aoife
Guerda Dance of Morocco by Jasmin Jahal, December 2001 http://jasminjahal.com/articles/01_12_guedra.html
(Site Excerpt) The Guedra is associated with the village of Goulimine, in the
southwest desert area of Morocco. The nomads there are known as the Blue People
of the Tuareg Berber. They are so called because they wear distinctive robes
of a very deep blue color, and the dye impregnates their skin, making them appear
blue! The Guedra takes its name from the drum played to keep its rhythms. The
word guedra means, "pot" in Arabic. The drum is made of a common kitchen pot
with goatskin stretched over the top. This drum is a hybrid of the percussive
drums used in Africa and the Near East. No other instrument is played. The dance
is performed to the beat of one drum and the chanting and hand clapping of onlookers.
The rhythm is an unornamented 6, steady and hypnotic. The purpose of the ritual
is to serve as a blessing for friends or married people or to the community,
or to submit the self to God. This is very unlike the placating of spirits or
exorcism found in the Zar dance. Some say the Guedra has the power to attract
a mate from miles away, drawn by the mystical rhythm of the drum. Arabic Glossary
for Dancers by Jasmin Jahal, April 2000 http://jasminjahal.com/articles/art_arab_glossary.html
(Site Excerpt) Have you ever wished that you could easily learn Arabic? Most
oriental dancers form the West do not speak the Arabic language. We become accustomed
to listening to lyrics that we fall in love with simply by their pure sound,
rather than by understanding exactly what is being said. They lyrics are usually
quite lovely and meaningful. Most often the songs are about some aspect of love
and probably the most common word is "Habibi," which is a term of endearment.
Lyrics are usually written in the masculine sense, even if a man is singing
them. Good Books as References (on ME Dance) http://jasminjahal.com/articles/art_good_books.html
The History of Why Women Have Danced Through the Ages, and Society's Attitudes
Toward Women Who Perform 'The Most Womanly of Art Forms.' by Julie Roberts http://jasminjahal.com/articles/juliearticle.html
(Site Excerpt) Whosoever knoweth the power of the dance, dwelleth in God. -
Rumi, Persian dervish poet. Perhaps the most well-known story to illustrate
this notion is the Greek myth featuring Rhea, who's name comes from an archaic
word meaning 'earth'. Rhea's husband was Chronos, who was known to devour his
children at birth. So, when their son Zeus was born, Rhea wrapped a stone in
swaddling clothes and gave it to Chronos instead of the newborn baby. Then she
fled with Zeus and took him to a caste of priests called the Curetes, where
he could be cared for in safety. There, the Curetes danced over the baby with
leaps and shouts and beat their shields with their swords as they had been taught
by Rhea, so that Chronos would not hear Zeus' cries. According to legend, the
priests repeated this rite in their religious ceremonies for centuries. A Primer
on Middle Eastern Dance Styles by Soher Azar http://www.bdancer.com/styles.html
(Site Excerpt) There are various trance dances and dances to cast out demons;
these are often religious dances. Examples of some of the most well known dances
include: Certain Sufi sects perform "Whirling Dervish" twirling dances as part
of their religious ceremonies. The Zar is "the trance ceremony of North Africa
and the middle east", a dance used to placate demons/djinns; it is characterized
by violent head tosses. The Guedra is a blessing dance of the Tureg of Morocco.
GUEDRA: THE FAQ By Karol Harding, a.k.a. JOYFUL DANCER http://www.bdancer.com/GuedraFAQ.html
(Site Excerpt) The Guedra is the Tuareg Blessing dance. In Arabic the Guedra
is also the name of the cooking pot (or cauldron) which these nomads carry with
them. This pot was covered with an animal skin to make a drum. The Guedra rhythm
according to Morocco is: duh DAH m duh DAH/ dun DAH m duh DAH. She compares
this to the Flamenco Bulerias rhythm, which is the same basic beat. It is not
traditionally played on a dombeck and there are no sharp "tek" sounds used.
THE ZAR REVISITED by Me'ira - The Joyful Dancer http://www.bdancer.com/zarrevis.html
(Site Excerpt) Despite the fact that the Zar, which is the trance ceremony of
North Africa and the middle east is technically prohibited by Islam, it continues
to be an essential part of these cultures. Since I've been fortunate to find
some new information on the Zar, I wanted to take another look at this phenomenon.The
Zar is best described as a "healing cult" which uses drumming and dancing in
its ceremonies. It also functions as a sharing of knowledge and charitable society
among the women of these very patriarchal cultures. Most leaders of Zar are
women, and most participants are women. Many writers have noted that while the
majority of the possessing spirits are male, those possessed are generally female.
This is not to say that the men do not contribute to zar ceremonies..... Brief
History of Middle Eastern Dance Here is an excellent article from a chronological
lecture, a demonstration given by Jamila for the Medical students at the University
of California- June 1968. Birth Magic Ritual http://www.khaalida.com/history.htm
(Site Excerpt) "When anyone hears that a belly dancer is going to preform in
most cases, the first thing that comes to mind is all the cliches about sexuality
and sensuality for the benefit of male provacation. The dancer was originally
anything but that. First, let us trace briefly the origin of the term- Belly
Dance. Until fairly recently, this dance was referred to by middle Easterners
simply as the Oriental dance. When the French saw the dance they called it the
Danse Du Ventre- which translated means, dance of the abdomen and much latter
the American G.I. was to see the dance and translate the French expression into
"The Belly Dance". The history of this dance goes back to the early cult of
the Mother Goddess- about 4,000 B.C. in Mesopotomia and was known as the BIRTH
MAGIC RITUAL. Men were excluded from the ritual since it dealt with childbirth
and the movements in the ritual imitated the involuntary spasms precading the
birth of a child. Armenian Dance by Laura Shannon http://www.dance.demon.co.uk/AGC/Articles/ArmenianDance.html
(Site Excerpt) Generally, I place Armenian dances into four categories: dances
from Eastern Caucasian Armenia, from Western Anatolian Armenia, from Greater
Armenia, and diaspora dances. These categories may overlap somewhat, but they
give a broad picture of the landscape of Armenian dance as I understand it.
A general differentiation could also be made between village folk dances and
those which have been arranged or choreographed by professional ensembles, as
well as between the dances found in Armenia today and those now danced mainly
in expatriate communities. Origins of Oriental Dance http://www.bdancer.com/history/
(Site Excerpt) Part 1: What is Belly Dance? Part 2a: Greece/Macedonia/Bible/India
Part 2b: Ancient Egypt/Medieval Egypt & Ghawazee Part 2c: Turkey/Ottoman/Persia/Spain/Gypsies
Part 2d: Islamic Prohibitions in Persia/Trance Dancing & Zar Cult/Berbers/Conclusions
Part 3: Costuming Books on: Central Asian Tribes, History & Trade, Turkoman
Jewelry & Central Asian Textiles http://www.tribalmax.com/amazonlinks.html
See the middle of the page for Middle Eastern Dance History & Belly Dancing
Costume Books Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi (Whirling Dervish Dance Site) http://www.mevlana.net/
(Site excerpt) Whirling Dervishes The "dance" of the Whirling Dervishes is called
Sema. Sema is a part of the inspiration of Mevlana as well as part of the Turkish
custom, history, beliefs and culture. Sema represents a mystical journey of
man's spiritual ascent through mind and love to "Perfect." Turning towards the
truth, his growth through love, desert his ego, find the truth and arrive to
the "Perfect," then he return from this spiritual journey as a man who reached
maturity and a greater perfection, so as to love and to be of service to the
whole of creation, to all creatures without discrimination of believes, races,
classes and nations Aziza Sa'id's Mideastern Bellydance Booklist (with some
history books) http://www.zilltech.com/BookStoreHistory.html
Uzbek Dance http://home.earthlink.net/~gulistan/uzbek.html
(Site excerpt) "Hearts respond to the strings! Hands respond to the drums! At
the first sound of strings and drums, two sleeves were raised. Like whirling
snow, so graceful, revolving in the opulent dance!" Uzbek Dance and Culture
Society About the Dance: History & Styles From: "Splendors of the Silk Road"
by Laurel Victoria Gray http://www.uzbekdance.org/about/index.asp
(Site Excerpt) The dance traditions of present-day Uzbekistan have been enriched
by numerous cultures over the centuries because the country's central location
on the Silk Road, the ancient trade routes which linked China with the Mediterranenan.
Once known as Bactria, Transoxiana, Maveranaher, and Turkestan, the area was
first inhabited between 55,000 to 70,000 years ago. The ancient tribes that
lived in Central Asia left petroglyphs, bas-reliefs, clay sculptures, and other
artifacts depicting dancers and musicians. Medieval Sourcebook: Jalal ad-Din
Rumi (1207-1273): Poems from the Divan-I Shams-I Tabriz, c. 1270 CE http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/1270rumi-poems1.html
(Site excerpt) Section V A beauty that all night long teaches love-tricks to
Venus and the moon, Whose two eyes by their witchery seal up the two eyes of
heaven. (Ed note: Rumi was a poet who revered music dance, etc... but above
all found deep meaning in the relationship between a lover and the beloved.
To Rumi, all arts stem from this relationship). Preserving traditions through
(Site Excerpt of news article on a Southern Russian dance troups from an arabic-influenced
area) "The dances all come from different stories of daily life among the Circassians
and show the agility of the men and the gracefulness of the women," said John
Haghor, treasurer on the board of directors of the Kavkaz Cultural Center of
California, a Garden Grove-based organization sponsoring (with the Circassian
Benevolent Association) the folk-dance concert, which will feature 34 dancers
in native costumes and indigenous instruments such as the accordion, flute and
percussion. Greek Dancing through the centuries http://www.annaswebart.com/culture/dancehistory/introduction.html
(Site Excerpt) Dance has played an important role in the life of Greeks all
through their history. In the ancient Greek societies, dance was held in high
regard. In fact, in his writings, Plato expresses his belief in the virtue of
dancing, by saying that a man who can not dance is uneducated and unrefined.
In the Byzantine times, despite the church guidelines, people were dancing in
personal or public feasts. During the Turkish occupation, they continued to
dance and they also created and passed down to us new dances praising the heroism
of the fighters and their desire for independence and freedom, such as the dance
of Zaloggos. Moroccan Dance Bibliography http://www.arab-esque.org/library/moroccobiblio.html
D A N C E - L Folk and Traditional Dance Mailing list http://www-hfml.sci.kun.nl/lijnis/Danslist.html
The Folk Dance - United Arab Emirates. (News Article) http://www.english.planetarabia.com/content/article.cfm/103020/111221
Stefan's Florilegium ME Dance Messages http://www.florilegium.org/files/DANCE/ME-dance-msg.html
Exactly What Is Middle Eastern Dance? by Lady Blodwen ferch Maergred, Tribe
(Site excerpt) Seven and a half years ago, I joined the SCA and began my studies
in Middle Eastern Dance. In all those years, I have rarely met two people who
can agree on what Middle Eastern dance in period is, much less how it should
be recreated within the SCA. This article represents where my research and that
of my household has led us. I have come to define Middle Eastern Dance by the
following categories: Culture, Geographic Region, Time Period and Type or Style.
All of these things have a bearing on what constitutes Middle Eastern Dance.
For instance, many people equate Middle Eastern Dance with Belly Dance. They
completely forget or are ignorant of the fact that Belly Dance is a post-period
term that was applied by Western Europeans to only one type or style of Middle
Eastern Dance. al-musta'rib (Medieval Arab World) newsleter http://users.lazerlink.com/~dwarph/al-musta
Near and Middle Eastern Sites Worth Seeing http://witch.drak.net/lilinah/links-mideast.html
Costumes for SCA & Renaissance Faires by Shira http://www.shira.net/scacostume.htm
(Site Excerpt) What Not to Wear When performing at an event that seeks to re-create
either the Renaissance or the Medieval era, the following things would be extremely
bad choices: Chainmail Bikini. The look popularized by Red Sonja in the 1980's
might set young men's blood racing, but it's not a valid re-enactment of what
Middle Eastern women once wore! There's a reason why they call the genre "fantasy".
Save it for the science fiction conventions! Fur Bikini. I'm sure the men would
like to touch your furry places, but it's all wrong for historical depiction!
This is another choice better suited for science fiction conventions. Xena,
Warrior Princess Costume. As a novelty costume for a comedy act at a belly dancing
festival or hafla, it might be fun. It would be a big hit at a science fiction
or comic book convention. But the Xena look just doesn't match the historical
garb of real women from the Middle East and therefore is not the right choice
for historical re-enactment. Anything With Glass Beads and Sequins. Women in
historical times who had a passion for shiny things decorated their clothing
with shisha mirrors (India), mozunas (Morocco), or coins. Sequins and beaded
glass fringe didn't exist yet. Harem Fantasy Looks. Historical re-enactment
events aren't the right places to look as if you raided the costume archives
for an Aladdin movie or the 1960's television show "I Dream of Jeannie." Leave
at home the teeny halter top, the chiffon, and the navel jewel. ......If historical
accuracy is deemed important, then the American Tribal look is wrong because
it consists of mixing costume items from assorted cultures (cholis from India,
turbans from Middle Eastern men, Spanish-influenced flamenco skirts, necklaces
from Afghanistan, tulle bi telli tunics or dresses from Egypt) with 20th-century
invented-in-the-U.S. items such as tassel belts and coin bras. Although it looks
fabulous, it's not an accurate depiction of the clothing any culture wore at
any particular point in time.