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

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say 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.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
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.
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.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

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."