Dance in Istanbul

409 Words2 Pages
Orientalism is the exaggerated and distorted view of eastern cultures by the United States ad Europe. Characteristics associated with the eastern world are exotic, dangerous, violent, and uncivilized. These assumptions impact the perception of belly dance. The dance and costumes are portrayed as sensuous, mysterious and forbidden women. These terms are then associated with the Middle East. Self-exoticsm is a topic that is not as widely discussed. It is the process in which people native to a dance’s place of origin utilize orientalist elements. These elements often originate in Western Culture. These orientalist and exoticism have been widely incorporated into many dances throughout the Middle East. “Hollywood-inspired visions of sheiks and sultry beauties dance in scanty garments never seen or worn in the Middle East against exotic backdrops of minarets and mosques. Kings dance with chorus girls, poets dream in paradisaical gardens, whirling dervishes whirl, myths become reality, reality disappears.” This quote from the unit really stood out to me. Hollywood, one of the biggest influences on American culture puts out these fantasy images of what the Middle East is thought to look like. Exoticism is a way of maintaining order in an unknown world through fantasy. This is similar to the sensual and forbidden associations that many in the United States and Europe associate with the East. Exoticism is harmless and playful however it still does portray exaggerated and untrue images on certain aspects of the Eastern Culture. The Belly Dancing duo Kaya and Sadie play with these ideas of Orientalism, self-exoticism and exoticism. Everything from their costume, their music and dance reflect on the Orientalist views of belly dancing. Their dance incorporates typical belly dancing hip movements at a very fast pace. It is very sensual and relates to the way Hollywood has

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