An Ancient Art
Middle Eastern dance, more commonly known as Oriental or belly dance, is a beautiful art form, rich in music, feeling and spirit. In the best 5 star hotels, dinner cruises and clubs in places such as Cairo, Egypt, prime time entertainment typically feature an Oriental dancer and her twenty-one (or more) piece orchestra that is complete with singers, violins, accordions, kanoon and percussion.
The origins of this dance are quite interesting. It is commonly believed to be the oldest form of dance, with roots tracing back to Pharonic times through to the present. The various forms of the dance have been passed down from generation to generation, mother to daughter. Middle Eastern women dance primarily for other women. Dancers are brought in to help expectant mothers learn how to work the muscles of the stomach for child birth. In private, women dance for each other to entertain, enjoy and pass the time.
Oriental dance was introduced into western culture during the Victorian era. The uncorsetted gyrations of these dancers were shocking and sometimes dancers were arrested and fined. Burlesque theaters adopted forms of the dance and referred to it as “the hootchie kootchie” This stigma remains to this day as dancers continue their struggle to elevate the art form to the level of honor it deserves.
The goal of Raksanna Productions, Inc. and Confessions of a Belly Dancer is to preserve and share the collective experiences and cultural anthropology of Oriental dancers by bringing their stories to life on the stage through music, dance and theater.