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date: 20 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Solo improvisational dance forms from North Africa and the Middle East, most commonly referred to as belly dance, have their roots in community celebrations in which dancers improvise to the accompaniment of a diverse set of local instruments. The movement vocabulary of these forms became part of popular global discourse in the twentieth century through the inclusion of the dances at transnational fairs. Later belly dance was adopted as part of dance studios and recreational centres in small towns and major urban centres on all continents. Despite its global transmission and performance, belly dance has maintained improvisation as a core aesthetic principle.

Keywords: belly dance, tribal belly dance, improvisation, raqs sharqi

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