A dance so ancient that it is depicted in Predynastic hieroglyphics

Egyptian, Oriental, Arabic... the dance has many names, but the one which describes it best is the one by which it is popularly known: Belly Dance!

 

Belly Dance has a rich history veiled in many names. It has been known over the years in Arabic as Raqs al Sharqi; Raqs Sharqi; Raqs al Sharq; Raqs Arabi, and Raqs Beledi; in English as Arabic, Middle Eastern, Egyptian or Oriental dance; and in French as Danse orientale or danse du ventre.

By whatever name, imagine a clear, velvety sky with stars woven in it like a blazing carpet shines down on the river Nile flowing in all its majesty. Lights dot the river, and the sound of music sweeps across the waters. The cruise ships are busy entertaining their international customers, and in an art as ancient as it is beautiful, belly dancers dance rhythmically to the beat of drums.

This dance has been part of local culture throughout North Africa, the Middle East, and as far east as Iran for centuries. There are hieroglyphics of Predynastic clay figures in dance postures. There are many depictions within tombs of dancing accompanied by celebrations, feasts, religious services and funeral rites. However, today the dance in its many variations and versions is performed in nightclubs across the world and is included in any event which needs a `middle-Eastern’ flavor to it. In Cairo, the first nightclubs to offer this type of entertainment in a public setting appeared in the 1920s. Similar nightclubs also arose in Beirut, Lebanon. Employment opportunities for musicians and dancers flourished, thanks to the demand from foreigners seeking a taste of the exotic local entertainment. (Few know that it was used in ancient times to support child birth!)

Watching a performance, one is amazed at the merging of the dancer with the music. The dancer, in fact, is perceived almost as another musician in the orchestra, adding her own expression to the musical outpourings. The dancer normally wears a Bedla, or bra and belt, generously adorned with jewels, beads, and paillettes. As she moves her hips and ribcage, the beads and paillettes move and accentuate the power of her movements. These are the costumes of the cabaret dancer. The folkloric dancer may wear a Baladi dress and perform with a cane or sword. Some dancers dance with snakes and other props.

The audience can watch, enraptured for hours, the movement of the belly in absolute rhythm to the music. It may be considered erotic or exotic but it is undoubtedly a dance form that requires infinite grace and natural flair.

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Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries had its humble beginnings as an idea of a few artisans and craftsmen who enjoy performing with live steel fighting. As well as a patchwork quilt tent canvas. Most had prior military experience hence the name.

 

Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries.

 

Vendertainers that brought many things to a show and are know for helping out where ever they can.

As well as being a place where the older hand made items could be found made by them and enjoyed by all.

We expanded over the years to become well known at what we do. Now we represent over 100 artisans and craftsman that are well known in their venues and some just starting out. Some of their works have been premiered in TV, stage and movies on a regular basis.

Specializing in Medieval, Goth , Stage Film, BDFSM and Practitioner.

Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries a Dept of, Ask For IT was started by artists and former military veterans, and sword fighters, representing over 100 artisans, one who made his living traveling from fair to festival vending medieval wares. The majority of his customers are re-enactors, SCAdians and the like, looking to build their kit with period clothing, feast gear, adornments, etc.

Likewise, it is typical for these history-lovers to peruse the tent (aka mobile store front) and, upon finding something that pleases the eye, ask "Is this period?"

A deceitful query!! This is not a yes or no question. One must have a damn good understanding of European history (at least) from the fall of Rome to the mid-1600's to properly answer. Taking into account, also, the culture in which the querent is dressed is vitally important. You see, though it may be well within medieval period, it would be strange to see a Viking wearing a Caftan...or is it?

After a festival's time of answering weighty questions such as these, I'd sleep like a log! Only a mad man could possibly remember the place and time for each piece of kitchen ware, weaponry, cloth, and chain within a span of 1,000 years!! Surely there must be an easier way, a place where he could post all this knowledge...

Traveling Within The World is meant to be such a place. A place for all of these artists to keep in touch and directly interact with their fellow geeks and re-enactment hobbyists, their clientele.

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