Gilded Serpent presents...
Dance of Power
by Kathreen

Oriental Dance glides on the edge of power.

It is not an expression of sexuality. It is an expression of sensuality… it calls on a higher power.

The sensual is from the realm of the magical, the psyche, rather than the physical.

Sensuality brings to mind symbols and archetypes; it imbues the dancer with a shamanistic role. It is a demonstration of the higher realms in the physical being. Something which is ‘sexually explicit’ leaves ‘nothing to the imagination.’ When taken literally, as in the case of a sexually explicit performance, dance leads to the lower realms of physicality. Conversely, sensuality should be the pre-cursor or catalyst for awakening the Higher Mind through the imagination…the gateway of inspiration.

Within this understanding, perhaps we might find the seed of the historical controversy of the Oriental dance form. Demand for sexually explicit performances is an almost militant attempt to marginalize and/ or categorically bar this dance from appreciation or acceptance as ‘Art’. This dynamic takes place even though the dancer herself may be unaware of the power struggle. This is especially true in the land of its origins.

The performer who intentionally or unintentionally gives in to the societal (male) pressure for sexual explicitness renders herself victim. She surrenders her role as shaman, princess of the night, and mystical priestess.

In the West, within the Middle Eastern Dance community, controversy and dialogue concerning the position of Belly Dance (with respect to the re-emerging popularity of what have been considered sexually explicit dance forms) are heated and ongoing. The argument of what defines ‘Art’ is at the core.

This argument has no end. To define what Art ‘is’ almost negates its very nature as an expression of the creative imagination. A more empowering quest might be to ask what is the ‘function’ or ‘purpose’ of ‘Art’ in general and Oriental Dance in particular.

The consistent maligning and relegation of  Oriental Dance to the socially low stature of close association with prostitution and  striptease, as a dance of the Cabaret (in the European sense of ‘The Gentleman’s Club’) serves the purpose of keeping it—and women—‘stripped’ of mystical powers. 

As with most things considered feminine, the sexually explicit performance keeps Oriental dance ‘in its place,’ that place being in service to men or masculine power through the degradation of the feminine.

That said, I would also like to clarify that the ultimate ‘losers’ in this game of power are not necessarily the women. It is the men who ‘strip’ themselves of their own wholeness,

which is their connection to their own receptive, feminine aspects. These are the very aspects or qualities that nurture their ability to truly love in the higher and whole sense….to feel Joy, Rapture and all things beautiful.

The shadow is cast,
the veil conceals.
Lift the veil,
See the shadow;
then, you are free!

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Ready for more?
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