Belly Dancers Need to Thank Bin Laden for Belly Dance? Say What Bill O'Reilly!!
Get a load of this!
Last night, political pundit Bill O'Reilly slammed bellydancing in what can only be described as a misguided attempt to interpet the ancient art. In the following clip, he ties oriental dance with Osama bin Laden, completely skewering both dancer and fans alike.
Bill O’Reilly Exposes Osama Bin Laden’s Influence On Belly Dancing
(Yes, that's the internet headline)
Could bellydancing be part of bin Laden's plan to take over America? Please! I've heard better conspiracy theories about Elvis, for crying out loud. Unfortunately the headline alone suggest so much negativity to what this HipMix.net culture loves --- the art, the beauty & the community. The damage is done, damnit.
O'Reilly's comments highlight what is wrong with American ideas of belly dance. As the other man in the clip notes, the origins of oriental dance go back to ancient cultural beliefs & fertility rites, refelcting a very sacred part of Middle Eastern history. Having all that reduced down to a "sexy dance" is a travesty.
When it comes to the history, culture and heritage of oriental dance, I turn to a woman who is amazing and an idol to me: Morocco, aka, Aunt Rocky. Her site is a MUST for every dancer and fan of this beautiful art. And what she says in part of her mission statement is exactly what Mr. O'Reilly needs to hear:
"Today, in these increasingly dangerous and stressful times, it is more important than ever that we show the positive aspects of these cultures, in order to create bonds of understanding between our peoples, via their dances, music, etc., which are expressions of love and the universal soul of us all. These aspects - in fact ALL ARTS - are the very things that fanatics and terrorists would like to suppress and eliminate, along with the artists who create, produce and perform them."
Sometimes I wonder how long we'll have to deal with the misinterpetation of oriental dance. When will it be properly represented in Western Media as the beautiful and passionate art form that it is?
I would love to introduce Mr. O'Reilly to Morocco... can you imagine?
To be truly respected as performers and artists, it seems we have a long road ahead of us.