Definition: Cultural appropriation is a concept in sociology dealing with the adoption of the elements of a minority culture by members of the dominant culture. Cultural elements are copied from a minority culture by members of a dominant culture and these elements are used outside of their original cultural context—sometimes even against the expressly stated wishes of members of the originating culture.
Opponents of cultural appropriation view many instances as wrongful appropriation when the subject culture is a minority culture or is subordinated in social, political, economic, or military status to the dominant culture or when there are other issues involved, such as a history of ethnic or racial conflict. This is often seen in cultural outsiders’ use of an oppressed culture's symbols or other cultural elements, such as music, dance, spiritual ceremonies, modes of dress, speech and social behaviour notably when these elements are trivialized and used for fashion, rather than respected within their original cultural context.
Opponents view the difference between appropriation and mutual exchange as central to analysing cultural appropriation. They argue that mutual exchange happens on an "even playing field", whereas appropriation involves pieces of an oppressed culture being taken out of context by people who have historically oppressed those they are taking from, and who lack the cultural context to properly understand, respect, or utilize these elements.
The documentary "The Romani Trail" (1982) directed by Jeremy Marre features interviews and story of Mazin family (Youssef and his daughters Souad, Radia and Khariya) as well as Metkal Kennawi. Also it portrays the Romani cultural appropriation by the places they have passed by.
Definition: Orientalism is a term that is used by art historians, literary and cultural studies scholars for the imitation or depiction of aspects in Middle Eastern, South Asian, and East Asian cultures (Eastern world). These depictions are usually done by writers, designers and artists from the West. In particular, orientalist painting, depicting more specifically "the Middle East", was one of the many specialisms of 19th-century academic art, and the literature of Western countries took a similar interest in oriental themes.
Definition: Cultural Diffusion is the spread of cultural items such as ideas, styles, religions, languages, etc. between individuals, whether within a single culture or from one culture to another.
Belly dance costuming has evolved according to the belly dance styles and their influences.
The style of dance and costuming of the Ghawazi has been especially influential in crafting the look of American Tribal Style Belly Dance. Traditional Ghawazi dress consists of an Ottoman coat with slits, known as a Yelek or entari. The abdomen is covered by these coats. Turkish harem pants are worn under these coats. The coats are typically ankle-length, though some modern Ghawazee troupes wear a shorter version over a full, knee-length skirt. Ghawazee dancers often adorn their heads with elaborate headresses, with dancers often accompanying themselves by playing zills, or small cymbals that are used by dancers in many forms of Middle Eastern dance.
Tribal Fusion Dance is a branch of the American Tribal Style Belly Dance movement. Many Tribal Fusion dancers once used the ATS "uniform" as a basis for costuming, the scenario is changing. Additional elements of the costume are strongly influenced by the nature of the fusion - flamenco fusion dancers will wear flamenco skirts, burlesque fusion dancers will wear feathers etc. Costumes are often very elaborate with layers of fabrics, Tulle bi telli, antique tribal jewellery from many cultures, hair ornaments, and permanent body adornment such as tattoos and piercings. At the other extreme, where the fusion has a strong contemporary influence, the costume is pared down to a sleek minimalist style.
Mardi Love pioneered and paved the way for many of the elements of the more adorned Tribal Fusion costumes that are popular today. After working with the more minimalist Urban Tribal, she helped sculpt the intricate, vibrant, and complicated costumes worn by The Indigo. She is the original artist who adapted Rajasthani cowrie falls for the hair, using colourful, hand dyed yarn to braid cowrie shells together. She also created one of the most popular belt styles of the mid-to late 2000s by combining Indian mirrored "shisha" with Afghan Guls (beaded medallions), and adding colourful yarn fringe (such as Colinette Pointe).
When the Hollywood movie industry began producing films such as The Sheik, Cleopatra, and Salomé in the early 1920’s to capitalize on Western fantasies of the orient featuring belly dancers, they designed costumes that included baring the belly and midriff. Then dancers in the Middle East started to make their own costumes more glamorous with high splits in the skirt, bra/belt comb and exposing their bellies too.
Dancers around the world such as Maud Allan, Mata Hari and Lotta Faust were wearing in the early 1900's what would influence the creation of today's costume most commonly associated with belly dance: the ‘bedlah’.
The 'bedlah' (Arabic: بدلة; literally "suit") style, which typically includes a fitted top or bra, a fitted hip belt, and a full-length skirt or harem pants. The bra and belt may be richly decorated with beads, sequins, crystals, coins, beaded fringe and embroidery. The belt may be a separate piece or sewn into a skirt.
Badia Masabni, a Cairo cabaret owner during the early 20th century, is credited with creating the modern bedlah style. It has been suggested that the bedlah was inspired by glamorous Hollywood costuming created to appeal to Western visitors. Earlier costumes were made up of a full skirt, light chemise and tight cropped vest with heavy embellishments and jewellery.
As well as the two-piece bedlah costume, full length dresses are sometimes worn (galabeya), especially when dancing more earthy baladi styles. Dresses range from closely fitting, highly decorated gowns, which often feature heavy embellishments and mesh-covered cutouts, to simpler designs which are often based on traditional clothing.
To be continued ...
Belly dance: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belly_dance
Tribal Fusion: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tribal_Fusion
Cultural appropriation: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_appropriation
Cultural diffusion: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trans-cultural_diffusion
The entire website including this article is copyrighted ©2018 Adriana Pomella and protected under the UK and international laws. All rights reserved.
All materials including articles, images and videos are property of Adriana Pomella unless another artist/author is identified.
Any material from this website may not be posted on other website nor entirely nor partly reproduced without prior written permission of Adriana Pomella.