A journey begins at a point, so where do we go to discover the various styles that make up our dance culture?

So with the two most believed base theories out there (see a previous blog post here), how do we choose a country to start from?
Just east to west? How far East? How far West?

While I personally believe there’s some Belly dance in everyone, every culture. I am somewhat of a purist, Indian Dance and Bollywood, Persian dance and folk all have their own rich histories. Even as ballet and contemporary have their own unique identities, so do the various styles that so often get heaped under the umbrella of belly dance!

I’m not sure if it’s the same in other countries where the style has migrated too? But here in South Africa, we seem to be influenced by everyone….

That sounds terrible doesn’t it! But its true, each base style talks to everyone, maybe at different times in their dance journey or maybe only for short stints. So what do I consider a base style? I’d like to be able to say a style that has been in existence for more than a 100 years, but that would be very untrue!

I think a base style is more than a craze or a fad. If we look at the newest form developed by Carolena Nericcio-Bohlman in the USA (American Tribal Style), it is now considered an alternative dance language. We were lucky enough to meet Kristine Adams in 2013. Who was travelling around the world, meeting and teaching at all the various studio’s who teach this style. Although we do not teach this style of dance, we love the concept of community it fosters. Going to any country any where in the world and being able to get up and improvise with dancer’s you have only just met, because we speak the same dance language…

Read about Carolena’s journey here:

So back to our question of what is considered a base style, lets look at where the dance originated:

I know there are more countries that can be listed as to where the style originated from. But then we could or would basically just be naming countries around the Mediterranean and Black sea.

While I am sure that each of those countries did contribute to the over all image that is seen today, I wanted to explore some origin stories. But I will definitely, get around to the various rich folk dance culture of those regions.

Now I’ve studied some Egyptian dance and some Moroccan(Berber) dance. The two look nothing a like, but that means I’ve some readily available material to look through and type up.

Watch this space as our journey begins…

Melanie & Jessica

We are the owners of Zahra’s Oriental Dance Studio.  We are passionate about teaching dancing and love creating a community around this mystical art form.

Shimmy along with us.