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Serpent of the Nile: Women and Dance in the Arab World
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Serpent of the Nile: Women and Dance in the Arab World

4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  82 ratings  ·  13 reviews
A celebration of the female dancers of the Arab world and their impact on the West, this book explains the origins of this ancient art, which has survived in the face of commercialism, religious disapproval and changing times.
Paperback, 205 pages
Published 1994 by Saqi Books (first published 1989)
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Meh. Love the historical images, but Buonaventura puts too much of herself in the book. Too much goddess stuff and personal interpretation, not enough facts.
You *have* to read this book if you are at all interested in the art and history of belly dance. Great images, great information.
An odd cross between scholarly book and coffee table book. I was interested to learn that the traditional cabaret-style bellydancing outfit, with sequinned bra and bare midriff, comes from the middle east via glamorous orientalist Hollywood films in the twenties: there was a major bellydancing craze in the movies then, and Egypt and Turkey subsequently adopted a version of it. Traditionally, in the middle east, you would wear real clothes and hold your arms up in the air, as you danced more or l ...more
Mikey B.
A delightful book to look at with several wonderful illustrations (paintings and photos). The text is very readable and stays away from technical terms on dance techniques.

The main focus is on Arab dance and how it has influenced Western Art (dance, painting, architecture, music) and also how Arab dance (and culture) has been altered by the West. Any viable art form must change over time – absorbing and dispersing its’ splendour to other cultures.

The book has many magnificent reproductions of “
If you can get ahold of a copy of this, get it! It's got a very well-researched history of bellydance in it. Its main focus is the Orientalist movement. Very interesting for seeing where some of our modern day ideas about bellydance come from.
See my review of this book in Fuse: A Tribal and Tribal Fusion Belly Dance Magazine.
Stephanie Bolton
if only for the artwork alone it gets 5 stars. I understand that not all the history is accurate but whenever is it (honestly)?
It's been some years since I read this. But it's mostly good for the images. The photos are amazing .
Well, admittedly it's been a while since I *read* the book, but durn if the pictures aren't enchanting!!!
Ce que je retiens de ce livre, ce sont les belles illustrations qui y figurent et rien d'autre.
The ultimate source for Middle Eastern dance history.
Ann Tomblin
Essential reading for any belly dancer.
Feb 25, 2013 Kathleen marked it as to-read
Shelves: s-factor-list
SK notes chapter 1, perhaps not whole book
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I am a writer, choreographer and performer. My books - mainly non-fiction - and dance theatre work explore women’s social history and the cultural myths surrounding female sensuality. I was the subject of the tv documentary 'Making Mimi' and in 2008 I founded the dance festival SIROCCO. I have taken a leap into biographical fiction with my latest book 'Midnight R ...more
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