News / Arts & Entertainment

California Dance Company Aims to Break Belly Dance Stereotype

California Dance Company Aims to Break Belly Dance Stereotypei
X
July 11, 2014 10:14 AM
In the United States, and some other countries, belly dancing is often perceived as a seductive dance, performed mostly at specialty restaurants. One California dance company is trying to get more people to appreciate it as form of art. The group Bellydance Evolution is hoping to redefine people's view of belly dancing by fusing western dance styles with belly dancing and performing around the world. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
Elizabeth Lee

In the United States and some other countries, belly dancing is often perceived as a seductive dance, performed mostly at specialty restaurants. One California dance company is trying to get more people to appreciate it as form of art. The group Bellydance Evolution is hoping to redefine people's view of belly dancing by fusing western dance styles with belly dancing and performing around the world. 

For many people, belly dancing is seen as sexually provocative, but Jillina Carlano is trying to get more audiences to appreciate it in a different way.

Art appreciation

“At times, I felt very discouraged by that discrimination, that we weren’t respected artists. I had to really fight hard to prove myself and to prove my dance company. It’s a beautiful, rich art form that has thousands of years of tradition,” said Carlano.

Carlano’s dance company, Bellydance Evolution, incorporates Western dance styles with Middle Eastern belly dance in its theatrical performances, to make the ancient art form more relevant to audiences today.

“We have a break dancer in the show who does hip hop. We’ve had Georgian dancing mixed with the folkloric dancing, American tribal fusion,” explained Carlano.

An eclectic group of dancers from around the world perform in these stage shows, including Olga Kramarova from Ukraine.

“The dancer is imitating the instrument with her body. So it’s not meant to seduce, which is contrary to common belief.  It’s a total free form of self-expression with percussive quick movement as well as the fluid soft movements,” explained Kramarova.

Fusion

Lauren Boldt grew up learning ballet and jazz, but she found something in belly dancing that she didn't find in other dance forms.

“Growing up I had always assumed that power was more of a masculine energy and belly dance really showed me that it was a feminine energy as well,” said Boldt.

Boldt has performed around the world with the dance company. The main dancers also lead training sessions when they are abroad.

“It’s really amazing how belly dance has really sprung up all over the world. In China and Taiwan and Japan it’s relatively new, and women are really, really excited about it,” said Boldt.

Bellydance Evolution also includes local dancers in performances when the company tours. 

Carlano said she wants to give her audiences a different image of the Middle East.

“What we see in the news a lot is a lot of repression and war and violence and things like that. Part of my goal is to share the beauty and the richness and these elements of part of that Middle Eastern culture,” said Carlano.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

The Hamilton Live

Acclaimed jazz saxophonist Tia Fuller has made a name for herself appearing with such high-profile artists as Beyonce, Esperanza Spalding, and Terri Lyne Carrington. Tia and her quartet performed music from her CD “Angelic Warrior” on our latest edition of "The Hamilton Live."