Saturday, March 31, 2012

Mazatlán - Belly Dance On A Roof in Angel Flores

all images ©2012 Matt Mawson 

 Belly dancing in Mazatlán

The origin of the name 'belly dance' comes from the French Dance du ventre, which translates as "dance of the stomach". Belly dance is also often referred to as "oriental dance" and also sometimes raks sharqi. This is Arabic for "Dance of the east".

Here is a bit of music to accompany it.

more dance after the jump.

The type and style of dancing which we now call belly dance, can be traced back over 6000 plus years. The dances spread from Mesopotamia to North Africa, Rome, Spain and India. It is thought gypsies traveled and spread belly dance. This blending can be seen in the use of the neck slides introduced from India and the transformation of hip shimmy to foot stamping in flamenco dance.

In Turkey, after 1453, the gypsies settled in Istanbul and here entertainment was requested for the women, they were amused by female-only dancers and musicians called chengis . The chengis built an artistic style that is the root of many movements in belly dancing today. The complex hip work, shimmies and varied facial expressions, as well as veil dancing and finger cymbal playing, can be linked back to the gypsy chengis. These days in Turkey, chengis dance primarily as a tourist attraction.

Performances in Egypt did not only involve women. Gypsies also danced for the public at celebrations, wedding processions and in front of coffee houses and market places. Referred to as the ghawazee , their repertoire was a mix of music and dancing, including improvised performances with veil, sticks, swords and candles. The dance moved inside to a music-hall type environment and Egyptian cabaret-style dancing was born.

In recent years more and more women have discovered the true elements of this incredibly feminine and self-affirming art form.

This art form has been brought Mazatlán in a small way by a Saturday gathering of women onto the roof of a house in Calle Angel Flores.

Kathi McCaw and a small troupe of women slip on hip scarves and bright coloured skirts and do what belly dancers do on the roof of a house in Mazatlán.

Here we see the 007s with their tongues hanging out and salivating as they watch Lisa Guiraut and Carmen Du Sautoy do it.


  1. That looks like Nadine's ring!!

  2. Love these both! Such fun....waiting for more....

  3. They are great! Thanks so much - very fun!


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