Showing posts from November, 2017

Cultural Appropriation & Enculturation in the Middle Eastern Dance Arts

Trio of dancers with Milayah Laff - photo courtesy Mahmoud Reda There has recently been much controversy about 'cultural appropriation', both in our dance circles and in popular broadcast media.   As bellydancers, we will be affected by this issue at some point in our dance-lives; both individually and collectively. Bellydance is largely an appropriated, and often homogenized art form, utilizing bits and pieces from various cultural dances, many of which cross over in terms of historical transfer, innate movement quality, cultural motif and design. So how and where do we need to create boundaries that distinguish ethical use of another culture’s traditions, verses non-ethical treatment of cultural arts, or even worse… how do we deal with total ignorance of the matter? How can we become more discerning as artists, performers and teachers, and establish common ethical ground to better handle the way we understand cultural transference, and are more discerning with the