It has often been said that women share their stories not to resolve issues, but from a deep need to confess inner thoughts and feelings. We do this to learn, to teach, to encourage and to grow. There is a freedom in confession.
From far back in the traceable history of humanity, women have shared their joys, triumphs, passions, grief and struggles with each other. Regardless of age, ethnicity or location, these struggles and joys have little variance and, in truth, have remained fundamentally the same for millennia. The stories of the joys of motherhood, the sorrow of loss, our passions with men, our continuing fight for equality, the unique female perspectives of illness and recovery, of triumphs of the spirit and the weakness of the flesh … these stories are our collective feminine culture and have been since the time of the pyramids until today. The ancient question of women’s place in society is an eternal question around the world; in every culture, women constantly strive to make their voices heard.
Middle Eastern dance, properly referred to as Oriental dance and commonly known as belly dance in the Western world, is uniquely female. It is a beautiful art form, rich in music, feeling and spirit. In places like Cairo, Egypt, prime time entertainment in 5-star establishments such as hotels, dinner cruises and clubs, feature an Oriental dancer with her twenty-one (or more) piece orchestra complete with singers, violins, accordions, kanoon and a percussion ensemble. Local residents, who can afford it, often treat friends and loved ones to this high-end experience as an indication of the host’s wealth and social position. Fathers, giving their daughters away to the lucky groom, know full well it is a status symbol to have a dancer and her orchestra lead the wedding procession.