Will I ever be acceptable?

I must caution you LizaJ; do not compare yourself to this girl; she is brash, she is for profit, and she hasn't had any formal training. I would not want to be compared to her!

A man once saw her perform, and remarked that while he LOVED middle eastern dancing, what she did that night was nothing more than a strip tease!

On another note, my Middle Eastern teacher remarks to her class frequently how younger girls cannot truly express and evoke the feeling of the dance because they have yet to truly experience life, as an older woman has.

And race or nationality should not truly matter, because forms of bellydance have been documented in many indigenous dances, from African to Hispanic.

I say go on and dance; if it makes you feel good and you like to do it, race, nationality, or age should not matter!

Yallah!:dance:


Liza, its all about talent and loving what you do.:)

Heck you don't even have to be Arab, Turkish or even be a white girl with a darker hair color.

Look at this beautiful, talented, inspiring blonde american girl I meet, who many people love to watch perform, just as much as they would an Arab or Turkish girl. :)

check her out Kellibelly.com

oh and have seen some great performers over 40
 

lizaj

New member
I must caution you LizaJ; do not compare yourself to this girl; she is brash, she is for profit, and she hasn't had any formal training. I would not want to be compared to her!

A man once saw her perform, and remarked that while he LOVED middle eastern dancing, what she did that night was nothing more than a strip tease!

On another note, my Middle Eastern teacher remarks to her class frequently how younger girls cannot truly express and evoke the feeling of the dance because they have yet to truly experience life, as an older woman has.

And race or nationality should not truly matter, because forms of bellydance have been documented in many indigenous dances, from African to Hispanic.

I say go on and dance; if it makes you feel good and you like to do it, race, nationality, or age should not matter!

Yallah!:dance:
Ah but she got one fan at least;)
I think age ,race,body shape should be no bar to dancing but I admot some dancers are a lot more marketable and dancers from the "lands of the dane" have a head start (not that they always build upon that).
No what prompted me all this time ago was not the thought that I had to stand alongside some slim young thang. But it was theconstant harping on by one member of this forum about how she knew the whole truth of the way because she was "of the blood" and the very cruel remarks made about people from the West who were interested the culture and dance of the ME by others elsewhere.
I respect the origins of this dance and try to show that when I dance it,study it but that isn't good enough for some whose attitude teeters on the racist. Yes a lot of damage is done to Egyptian dance by half-cocked performances by Westerners but credit should be given where it is due. There is a lot of sincere interst and love for this dance in Europe,the Americas and The Far East,Australasia.
Frankly when I have discussed this with people in Egypt they were NEVER dismissive of others' interest in the culture.
 

chiaroscura

New member
i wonder if only western (and maybe far-eastern) bellydancers are struggling for acceptance and authenticity this way...
i think i get the point, but - when seeing a ballet company on stage, does anybody argue the dancer from brazil can't feel the european music or the japanese isn't able to interprete the choreo for he/she hasn't the cultural background?
*i am aware of maybe being punished for this ignorant post*
if most of us want bd to be seen as an art form like painting, piano playing or ballet - why always question if people with no me-roots can really "get it"?
 

Aziyade

New member
i wonder if only western (and maybe far-eastern) bellydancers are struggling for acceptance and authenticity this way...
i think i get the point, but - when seeing a ballet company on stage, does anybody argue the dancer from brazil can't feel the european music or the japanese isn't able to interprete the choreo for he/she hasn't the cultural background?
*i am aware of maybe being punished for this ignorant post*
if most of us want bd to be seen as an art form like painting, piano playing or ballet - why always question if people with no me-roots can really "get it"?
That's a really excellent point, actually.

I think a lot of Americans struggle with authenticity because the tradition we developed (American Classic Style) doesn't have a lot in common with Egyptian dance, which is often seen as the "most authentic."

If we believed belly dance to mostly come from Turkey and Turkish dance, maybe a lot fewer Americans would struggle with authenticity because our tradition has more in common with Turkish dance than Egyptian.

??
 

cathy

New member
traditions rooted in region/culture vs. transcending them

That's a really excellent point, actually.

I think a lot of Americans struggle with authenticity because the tradition we developed (American Classic Style) doesn't have a lot in common with Egyptian dance, which is often seen as the "most authentic."

If we believed belly dance to mostly come from Turkey and Turkish dance, maybe a lot fewer Americans would struggle with authenticity because our tradition has more in common with Turkish dance than Egyptian.

??
I have thought about the issue Chiaroscura raised a lot, and the points you raise, Aziyade. Personally I think one reason why non-MEers struggle with authenticity whereas people do not say ME'ers or Japanese cannot be authentic in their portrayal of ballet, or Western classical music, is because the latter are traditions that now transcend region and to some extent, culture. Yes ballet and Western classical music originated and continue to be in some sense based in Western Europe, but there are global traditions and accepted schools and methods of study, such that a person with in-depth knowledge and expertise in these fields can judge whether a given artist is successfully portraying these forms, regardless of her personal national origins.

Arabic music is just as magnificent, complex, varied etc. etc. as Western classical tradition, don't get me wrong, and I don't think ballet is "better than" Raks. Nor do I think traditions with greater-than regional scope, or those with schools and opera houses and so forth are "better than" those that do not. All this has to do with money too.

Raks is not tied to any given nation in the ME--it spans several cultures there--but it has not to date achieved the kind of tradition with schools, experts, etc. with global or shall we say extra-regional recognition such that a person can be trained in the method and then become recognized as having excellence in that art form separate and apart from the region. Being an authentic Rakassa still is still tied to a specific culture so we feel people from that culture have the right to say dancer X or Y is authentic whereas dancer Y is not in a way that no longer operates with ballet or performing Bach well or whatever.

Whenever something is seen as belonging to a certain culture or region or nation, this has implications. I think Westerners no longer feel that only they are capable of understanding the essence of ballet, or the essence of Bach. I don't think I've ever heard anyone say these traditions were "stolen" from us, or that any cultural misinterpretation was going on, or whatever. My sense is that the vast majority of Westerners can't be bothered and don't feel any cultural ownership, and couldn't care less who does ballet or plays symphonies. Professional ballerinas and Western classical musicians probably are glad to have anyone who is good, from anywhere. Maybe if every last ballet company and symphony orchestra in the Western world were either dead or on the brink of extinction, and yet a thriving set of parallel institutions was rising up in India, China, or Africa, Westerners would feel different, but I'm honestly not so sure.

But there could be French citizens who feel that only they truly understand La Marsellaise or Americans who feel that only they really get the cultural meaning of the Star-Spanged Banner, or whatever. And the French still have national controls over the naming and manufacturing processes for certain kinds of wine and cheese.

I have written previously about the interesting case I read about Sumo. In order to study in depth or compete in Sumo, non-Japanese are required to become Japanese citizens. How mind-blowing would it be if we had to become Egyptian or Turkish or LEbanese (etc) citizens to teach or perform Raks?

Not sure I have explained it all that well, but I tried. :lol:
 
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Caroline_afifi

New member
And race or nationality should not truly matter, because forms of bellydance have been documented in many indigenous dances, from African to Hispanic.

:
Hi there,

Sorry to pick up on this point but I do take issue with these kinds of statements, so nothing personal to you.

Who are these people who collect other forms of cultural dance and lump them under the 'Belly dance' umberella? are they stupid?

To be honest, I think they are probably Westerners (or Western educated) who dont have a clue what they are doing, and are no better than the people who first labelled this dance 'belly dance' in the first place (who also just happend to be Westerners).

So much crap is performed under the banner of 'belly dance' because people find loose ways of shackling ME dance to any dance performed anywhere around the world which involves moving the torso and abdomen... then it just becomes one big free for all.

Dance is inextricably connected to it's culture not it's physical structure, which is why I totally question any 'researcher' who comes out with such bizarre statements.

It was a Western 'label' to begin with, and any other form of dance which is called or labelled 'Belly Dance' is too... more to the point, they have sweet FA to do with each other and allows people around the world to use, abuse and make money out of it without a care in the world..

because they can now prove it belongs to everyone!

It's just not right.
 
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khanjar

New member
Hi there,

Sorry to pick up on this point but I do take issue with these kinds of statements, so nothing personal to you.

Who are these people who collect other forms of cultural dance and lump them under the 'Belly dance' umberella? are they stupid?

To be honest, I think they are probably Westerners (or Western educated) who dont have a clue what they are doing, and are no better than the people who first labelled this dance 'belly dance' in the first place (who also just happend to be Westerners).

So much crap is performed under the banner of 'belly dance' because people find loose ways of shackling ME dance to any dance performed anywhere around the world which involves moving the torso and abdomen... then it just becomes one big free for all.

Dance is inextricably connected to it's culture not it's physical structure, which is why I totally question any 'researcher' who comes out with such bizarre statements.

It was a Western 'label' to begin with, and any other form of dance which is called or labelled 'Belly Dance' is too... more to the point, they have sweet FA to do with each other and allows people around the world to use, abuse and make money out of it without a care in the world..

because they can now prove it belongs to everyone!

It's just not right.

If dance is inextricably connected to it's culture, what are you saying ?
Are you saying that in the case of Belly dance as we know it, it originates and is part of the culture of various Arabian and Turkish influenced countries, then it being theirs, no one other than they can dance belly dance ? If that is so, is your origin of that region, have you grown up in the culture ? If so, are you taking the stance that you will defend your culture from all that aspire to learn and enjoy the culture of a foreign land, as if they had no right to do so, or if you are not of the culture, what are your reasons for being involved in the Belly dance ?

From my understanding, people who seek links via movement or style seek to validify their own involvement in another's culture, as I am sure others of say the Western world, or even the Eastern world when they are attracted to something of the Middle Eastern world, it not being their culture, they wish to justify their interest to feel comfortable in themselves at their desire to learn and be.

Dancing, wherever it may come from, is artistic expression through joyful movement, whatever style, whatever origin, if it makes people happy and enjoy themselves, then where is the problem.

But with reference to all those belly dancers that have been dancing a goodly time and can be called experienced, cast your mind back to when you were just starting out, what notions did you have as to belly dance, surely not what is commonly known now, did you not have any ideas, which might if revealed here be embarrassing ? Education is an ongoing experience, no one knows it all and perhaps might not ever know so, as too much has been lost and just to remember, as far as history is concerned, history was written by victors.
 

Caroline_afifi

New member
If dance is inextricably connected to it's culture, what are you saying ?
Are you saying that in the case of Belly dance as we know it, it originates and is part of the culture of various Arabian and Turkish influenced countries, then it being theirs, no one other than they can dance belly dance ?
No I am not saying that at all. I am saying that dance is identified by the culture it springs from and not the movement.

If that is so, is your origin of that region, have you grown up in the culture ? If so, are you taking the stance that you will defend your culture from all that aspire to learn and enjoy the culture of a foreign land, as if they had no right to do so, or if you are not of the culture, what are your reasons for being involved in the Belly dance ?
That is not what i said.

My reasons for initially being involved was to re-connect with part of my family history from that region, having said that, it has sod all to do with anything and i would love this dance even if I had no connection whatsoever.
The other half of my family (husband and inlaws) are Egyptian too but again this has nothing to do with it.

From my understanding, people who seek links via movement or style seek to validify their own involvement in another's culture, as I am sure others of say the Western world, or even the Eastern world when they are attracted to something of the Middle Eastern world, it not being their culture, they wish to justify their interest to feel comfortable in themselves at their desire to learn and be.
I think the West have had too much involvement with other cultures.
Lets just do this dance and except we do it because we love it but it does not belong to us, there is nothing wrong with that. Why do we have to feel an ownership over it? what is our obsession with conquering and owning?

Dancing, wherever it may come from, is artistic expression through joyful movement, whatever style, whatever origin, if it makes people happy and enjoy themselves, then where is the problem.
So why give it a label? what makes it different? why is it not just all dance and movement? the reason is because it has a culture.

But with reference to all those belly dancers that have been dancing a goodly time and can be called experienced, cast your mind back to when you were just starting out, what notions did you have as to belly dance, surely not what is commonly known now, did you not have any ideas, which might if revealed here be embarrassing ? Education is an ongoing experience, no one knows it all and perhaps might not ever know so, as too much has been lost and just to remember, as far as history is concerned, history was written by victors.
Khanjar, I had been dancing 15 years before I opened my gob on a forum.
I now feel qualified to make points in relation to this dance and question so called 'bollocks' research which is a sneaky form of imperialism.

I also made it clear in my post it was not personal, but I am fed up at the amount of self serving misinformation which served up in the name of this dance.

I am always saying education is lifelong and I did plenty of embarrassing crap during my journey, I even get old vids out on girly nights and split my sides watching myself.

As for your last sentence.. think about that and then relate it to my point.
 

Eshta

New member
Learning is DEFINITELY an ongoing process so the same points probably will need to be raked up time and time again, we are lucky to have a number of highly experienced and knowledgeable members of this forum.

There appears to be a common theme when one of these knowledgeable people posts something that is true but not popular, the response is often quite aggressive.

I think it's interesting that ballet has transcended cultural boundaries, but that definitely isn't the case with belly dance. The dance is inextricably linked to the music, and the music is linked to the culture, and so therefore the dance inherently belongs to the culture. Trends can flow outward from Egypt to the rest of the world but seldom flow the other way, no matter how many bizarre fusions we try to inflict on it.

Already today I've read threads about blues belly dance & hula hoop belly dance to name just two examples of so-called innovation by Westerners. If you were a mideastener, do you think you would think to yourself "ah what a great idea, hula hoop focuses on the belly, as does belly dancing, why didn't we think of putting them together?" or do you think you would be more likely to put your head in your hands, swear under your breath about these crazy foreigners who are completely missing the point, and then be dismissive whenever you hear mention of foreign belly dancers?
 

Aniseteph

New member
Already today I've read threads about blues belly dance & hula hoop belly dance to name just two examples of so-called innovation by Westerners. If you were a mideastener, do you think you would think to yourself "ah what a great idea, hula hoop focuses on the belly, as does belly dancing, why didn't we think of putting them together?" or do you think you would be more likely to put your head in your hands, swear under your breath about these crazy foreigners who are completely missing the point, and then be dismissive whenever you hear mention of foreign belly dancers?
:think: Ummm...I think I'll go with the second one...


Would anyone here would seriously suggest there's anything wrong with being interested in another culture, or that if you weren't brought up in the ME you shouldn't be belly dancing?

But it's not right to remake it in your image, or cherry pick the bits you like (cool moves that feel good! :cool:) and leave the bits you don't (weird music!:shok:), and confuse the end result with that culture, which you do if you still call it belly dance.
 

Shanazel

Super Moderator
or do you think you would be more likely to put your head in your hands, swear under your breath about these crazy foreigners who are completely missing the point, and then be dismissive whenever you hear mention of foreign belly dancers?
I AM a western belly dancer, and I am sitting here with my head in my hands, etc. I just came from the blues belly dance thread and I am going to try and avoid the hula hoop thread. I don't like poi balls or silk fans or wings of Isis as belly dance props, and I sure the hell would not like hula hoops as belly dance props.

Maybe I should be really innovative and choreograph a dance to the rhythm of beating my head against this particular wall- malfouf rhythm, of course.
 

Aziyade

New member
There appears to be a common theme when one of these knowledgeable people posts something that is true but not popular, the response is often quite aggressive.
I know when I first joined the MEDance list, the original OD.net and Bhuz, I was amazed by how much information and knowledge the contributors had. I didn't even realize that "belly dance" WAS such a complicated and multi-layered subject.

But I hadn't spent a lot of time building up a mythology and clinging to it. I hadn't invested a lot of time and emotions into doing "experimental" dance. (We didn't call it fusion then.) So when Morocco gently chastised me for spouting on about "Gypsy style" dance, I didn't immediately react with "But I want to dance with big skirts and a tambourine and pretend I'm Esmerelda, and you're a big meanie for telling me my dance isn't authentic, and who are you to criticize my art and anyway ART EVOLVES!"

I think too many dance STUDENTS are too heavily invested in their "brand" to ever consider any information that might conflict with that. It's almost a religion, in the bad use of the term.


I think it's interesting that ballet has transcended cultural boundaries,
Eshta, it has and it hasn't. There is a genre of ballet we call "storybook" ballet that relies on dance and pantomime to tell a story from mythology or folklore. What I've seen since the 90s is that different countries are adopting this method -- the ballet movement canon -- to tell DIFFERENT stories, to tell their own cultural myths and folktales.

American ballet has only recently been about AMERICAN stories. Instead we danced Russian stories. French stories. We're definitely getting our own stories told now, and that has given American ballet a different feel. The Japanese have taken the ballet language and told their OWN stories in those words, and it's amazing -- I think what the Japanese have done with ballet is really my favorite "evolution" of the dance. But it's culturally theirs now, just like how Balanchine made ballets that are culturally OURS - American.


If you were a mideastener, do you think you would think to yourself "ah what a great idea, hula hoop focuses on the belly, as does belly dancing, why didn't we think of putting them together?" or do you think you would be more likely to put your head in your hands, swear under your breath about these crazy foreigners who are completely missing the point, and then be dismissive whenever you hear mention of foreign belly dancers?
I'm an American and usually I do a /facepalm whenever I hear about fusions that people insist should fall under the "Bellydance" name. I have no problem with dance fusions that are just labeled DANCE -- like the Bala Guerra one we were talking about, or Ballet + Tai Chi sword. But as far as I'm concerned, "belly dance" is a specific descriptor of a specific kind of dance.
 

Eshta

New member
Aziyade, thank you for clarifying on the ballet front, I admit my knowledge is extremely limited and I think I inferred this from above only.

I see you what you are saying about the "emotional investment in a mythology", I hadn't thought about it from that perspective before but it certainly seems to fit.

Spiritual rep only I'm afraid my friend, "spreading it around" is even harder these days :(!
 

TribalDancer

New member
I, too, want to spread more rep, but I can't because apparently I give too much to you people. Frustrating that every time you guys say something fabulous, I can't commend you publicly for it. This system could use some tweaks so we can give a little more love, methinks!
 

khanjar

New member
Khanjar, I had been dancing 15 years before I opened my gob on a forum.
I now feel qualified to make points in relation to this dance and question so called 'bollocks' research which is a sneaky form of imperialism.

I also made it clear in my post it was not personal, but I am fed up at the amount of self serving misinformation which served up in the name of this dance.

I am always saying education is lifelong and I did plenty of embarrassing crap during my journey, I even get old vids out on girly nights and split my sides watching myself.

As for your last sentence.. think about that and then relate it to my point.
My apologies if I came across as confrontational, it was not intended, though what was intended, was to make clear what it was you were saying. Your reference to a particular question I asked yourself saying it was not what you meant, came across to me as something different, hence my question.

You mention at imperialism, may I suggest the empire as it was is gone, most of us have wised upto that, that being, could the constant inquiry be nothing more than healthy interest, in something that interests a person to research. I believe no one wishes to own something that is not theirs to own, or can never own, but that does not stop anyone wishing to be recognised as part of, or at least sympathetic to culture they admire. I understand theorising might be no more than trying to understand from a non cultural mind what it is they feel attracted to, is it an alien culture, or really nothing more than a modern perspective on a past lost to us of the west.

As to bollocks served up in the name of this dance, who really knows the truth of it all, no one, but it does not stop people speculating and there are experienced dancers who are researching and speculating as to what if, even now, it is, only natural, the search for knowledge, the world does not stop, and so neither the questioning, it is healthy to question even established fact. As what is written, might not be the truth, it may be fact, a lie or even a question leading to more, it is the perception and understanding of the recorder of the information to pass on the knowledge, but there is always the possibility of a chinese whispers kind of situation, depending on many things, least of all is the recorder perceiving the situation correctly.

Perhaps the saying, believe nothing of what you hear and half of what you see, is wise in situations where verified historical fact is scarce.

But, Caroline, I just had to laugh, for by the use of the word; Gob, I just knew you had to be a scouser.
 
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jahbie

New member
quote "But, Caroline, I just had to laugh, for by the use of the word; Gob, I just knew you had to be a scouser."



Not necessarily, I'm from Lancashire and I'ved used it all my life, and I think it's quite common in other areas of the North West. Sorry, back to topic.:)
 

Caroline_afifi

New member
My apologies if I came across as confrontational, it was not intended, though what was intended, was to make clear what it was you were saying. Your reference to a particular question I asked yourself saying it was not what you meant, came across to me as something different, hence my question.
lol, dont worry you are a scouser too and you know we have a habit of communicating in a way which is perciieved as confrontational...even when it is the furthest things from our minds.


You mention at imperialism, may I suggest the empire as it was is gone, most of us have wised upto that,
Khanjr, I am in no doubt that there are many many people who have nothing but the best on intensions through all of their life but believe me, I come across it in ways you would never imagine. The 'empire' brainwashed the Brits and the west for centuries and that cannot be undone in 50 years... it runs very deep.
There are one or two dancing people who I have known for years who suddenly have spouted something in innocence which was both deeply racist and imperialistic, they did not even know.
Most people act out of innocence but people who participate on forums should also seek to widen their political and historical perspectives and not just their belly dance wardrobe or discover the name of a new move.


that being, could the constant inquiry be nothing more than healthy interest, in something that interests a person to research.
Absolutely, but by setting out to seek a claim part or full ownership of something which is not from your culture (or even part of your world) is not right. You can become an 'expert' on something without being from there.
I grew up on Penny Lane and experienced endless tourists from all over the world who wanted to know what underpants John Lennon wore on Saturday 14th April 1967.. (not really) I believe the Japanese in particular have the biggest Beatles collection, tribute bands and experts in the field, but non claim it has roots in Japanese music..unless Yoko was involved? :lol:

I believe no one wishes to own something that is not theirs to own, or can never own, but that does not stop anyone wishing to be recognised as part of, or at least sympathetic to culture they admire.
Poeple wish to own things all the time, it is human nature I think.

I understand theorising might be no more than trying to understand from a non cultural mind what it is they feel attracted to, is it an alien culture, or really nothing more than a modern perspective on a past lost to us of the west.
We have to have a base in which to apply theory.
Theories are too often created from the Western perspective and applied to cultures just about everywhere. The world is dissected and understood from a superior Western point of view. This will not change in my lifetime.
In order to understand something we must first agree what that something is. For example the word Feminism means something in the West than it does in the East. Feminism operates in very different ways from East to west.


As to bollocks served up in the name of this dance, who really knows the truth of it all,
I dont know the truth but I know bollocks when I see it.
If a Westerner makes up the term 'belly dance' based on some form of movement they view from an alien culture point of view, then apply it to other cultural dance forms because it all look the same then this has to be bollocks. What other way can you put it?

Do these other cultures which are also being refferred to as 'Belly dance' know this is happeng to their dance?

Westerners tend to be precious over their own language and terminology but dont mind labelling things belonging to others, and then make sweeping generalisations and stating it as fact. It is not ethically or morally correct.

no one, but it does not stop people speculating and there are experienced dancers who are researching and speculating as to what if, even now, it is, only natural, the search for knowledge, the world does not stop, and so neither the questioning, it is healthy to question even established fact. As what is written, might not be the truth, it may be fact, a lie or even a question leading to more, it is the perception and understanding of the recorder of the information to pass on the knowledge, but there is always the possibility of a chinese whispers kind of situation, depending on many things, least of all is the recorder perceiving the situation correctly.
The problem is, people repeat what they hear without seeking to find out if it is correct or not. This is why I raised this point in the first place.
I challenged a statement which I have heard many times but does not appear to have any basis of truth or evidence. In response I did not say 'that is not correct, this IS'.

Perhaps the saying, believe nothing of what you hear and half of what you see, is wise in situations where verified historical fact is scarce.
Yes, I think there is alot in this saying, but education to a degree depends on trust.
We know we cannot trust the institutional education of our countries but there are individuals who have researched and can present their evidence and theories. We cannot know everything about everything so we have to place trust in others, but not believe everything we hear all of the time.

But, Caroline, I just had to laugh, for by the use of the word; Gob, I just knew you had to be a scouser.
Yes, I was trying to interject a little humour here... and now I will shut my gob. ;)
 
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khanjar

New member
quote "But, Caroline, I just had to laugh, for by the use of the word; Gob, I just knew you had to be a scouser."



Not necessarily, I'm from Lancashire and I'ved used it all my life, and I think it's quite common in other areas of the North West. Sorry, back to topic.:)
I was born in Lancashire, and lived there all my youth, but the county boundaries were changed and we became part of Scouseland via the word Merseyside, even though we were some fifteen miles away from it at it's nearest point. Gob was never common parlance of my youth, mush was the term I remember.
 

Sita

New member
Sorry have to comment

You mention at imperialism, may I suggest the empire as it was is gone, most of us have wised upto that, that being, could the constant inquiry be nothing more than healthy interest, in something that interests a person to research. I believe no one wishes to own something that is not theirs to own, or can never own, but that does not stop anyone wishing to be recognised as part of, or at least sympathetic to culture they admire. I understand theorising might be no more than trying to understand from a non cultural mind what it is they feel attracted to, is it an alien culture, or really nothing more than a modern perspective on a past lost to us of the west.
Neo-colonialism is alive and healthy unfortunalty. Secondarly the problems caused by Imperialism/colonialism are alive and well, until these problems are dealt with it will never be dead. For example Western styles of education continued to be taught. I know young adults sent to boarding schools were they were beaten and punished for speaking their own language.
Therefore the relationship between different cultures is scarred by the imperial history which means that the mention of this in M.E dance is very relevant. For some the act of English or western people coming along and appearing to 'take' other cultural forms, like dance, echoes the acts of colonialism. Secondarly the issue of representation: bellydance can easily be used to reinforce orientalist stereotypes of the M.E.
Your statement that:
I believe no one wishes to own something that is not theirs to own, is destroyed by various examples such the issue of artefacts being based in England or other countries rather than Egypt or where they came from. They are very intentionally owned by the museums who refuse any idea that they be returned. Western society appears at times delusional over issues such as colonialism pretending it's all okay now, when they've done nothing but carry one the same outlook and actions. They've also done nothing to help repair the damage caused.

Sita
 
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