The Global Transformation of Belly Dancing: A Cross-Cultural Investigation of Counter-Hegemonic Responses
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The first part of this study, explored by Ashley Popp, presents an investigation into a relatively unexamined area of physical education: an analysis of a transcultural phenomenon in the history of dance. Data has been collected from primary sources and archival evidence to assess competing ideologies inherent in the transformation of a particular art form. In the analysis of the cultural migration through which belly dance was transferred from the Middle East to the United States, an adaptive reaction to the hegemonic relationships of culture, race, gender, and class has been observed. Beyond performance aesthetics, links have been made between the act of belly dancing and the building of women’s self-esteem, as researched by Chia-Ju Yen. The main purpose of her study was to explore how facial burn patients cope with disfigurement and the unfriendly attitudes of others, and examines the alteration of body image via inspiration provided by the performance of belly dance. This research was conducted from the perspective of an anthropologically thickdescription research method, and a case study was performed using in-depth interviews, including narratives by a woman who had suffered facial injuries. The results of the research showed that through family support, hard work and a decisive and studious personality, the patient was able to cope with the discriminatory attitude of others. The performance of belly dance not only made her emphasize her body, but also enriched her life.
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