In modern times, the folkloric dances of Arabia have faded into the background of low-grade commercial entertainment inspired by colonial fantasies of harems and scandalous dancers of the “Orient”. Most people today experience what they believe to be Middle Eastern dance at restaurants, clubs, and sideshows much like where the Western fantasy was first introduced. The boom in what is seen as a sub-culture has attracted many whose primary objective is to profit from cultural distortion and the objectification of women, with [belly dance] productions and circus-like shows that aim to titillate and entice, directly catering to the lowest common denominator. The genre has in fact been exported back to the Middle East, first as entertainment for colonial officers and settlers, and now as an attraction for tourists seeking to experience “harem dancers” or “the dances of the seven veils”. These commercial endeavors in no way represent the true ancient dances of the Middle East or the rich history of tradition and ceremony [associated with these dances] of cultural expression. The misnomer “belly dance” is akin to describing ballet as “leg dance” or tap as “foot dance”.
Much like the history of Flamenco and Irish Dance, it is incumbent upon us to ensure that the art of Middle Eastern dance is preserved and that its unique language of expression, with all its elements of cultural fusion, is finally properly introduced to the world. A DREAM OF ARABIA™ is a revival of the true ancient art of Middle Eastern dance, fused with elements of global cultures and dances, much like the historic fusion that created it.