Iraqi Kawiliya: Reliable sources?

Sophia Maria

New member
Hello all, does anyone know much about the history of this dance? Or good performances of it?

I discovered Kawiliya this summer (not even sure if "Kawiliya" is the right word to use) at a dance seminar. It was amazing, and my dance teacher used a section recently so I was reminded of it.

All I know is that it's origins are with the Roma in Iraq, and that they incorporated aspects of Iraqi Khaleegi while throwing in some of their own stuff. I only really recognize the stomping steps, and the hair whipping and head shaking--and I'm really not sure what it shares with other Khaleegi and what it doesn't. Sometimes daggers are used, and I heard that might be because Roma women used to keep daggers on them to defend themselves. From what I heard, Iraq doesn't really buck the trend in the whole distrusting/disliking/abusing Roma people.

I would absolutely love to get more into this dance, but I don't know where a good resource is. I will definitely ask my current teacher, but in the meantime is anyone else more knowledgeable on this? I also really want to find more performances to watch to get more familiar with this, but so far there's only one lady that I'm pretty sure is the real deal, Assala Ibrahim of Switzerland. I have found a variety of performances on youtube (ahhh, youtube), mainly Russian dancers for whatever reason. Who else is good to watch?