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An Emerging Dance Community / Una Emergente Comunidad de Danza

Chile’s Belly Dance Scene / La Escena de la Danza Oriental en Chile

Map of Chile

by Marwa
posted September 2, 2012
Click for article in Spanish / Haga clic para artículo en español

Before portraying for you the status of Oriental dance in Chile, I feel that it is extremely important to highlight the fact that this country has one of the largest Palestinian communities in the entire world that is now accompanied by a Syrian, Lebanese, and a small (but growing) Egyptian community.

The Palestinians immigrants began arriving at the end of the 19th century; additionally, a great wave of immigration was registered between 1910 and 1920, and it has kept growing until even our current days.

This community of immigrants, among whom many were professionals, established itself as an important economic group in Chile, and Arabic people may be found nowadays in politics, art, mass media, sports and culture.

It is the Palestinians and their descendants who have planted the original seeds of our fondness and love for both Arabic music and dance, through the Dabkah and also through the Oriental Dance. From this limited community, arose the first Arabic orchestra, called Conjunto Oriente, that is in existence until today. Additionally, there is a famous master teacher, (who will soon be celebrating 35 years of dance and teaching) named Teresa Saba, who has trained many of the most famous dancers and teachers that our country of Chile is proud to claim.

Additionally, there are other instructors who appear to be channeling types of Bellydance that have been influenced by dance in the USA; also, there is another one that is being influenced by Argentina, as well as the colors and perspective of American Tribal Style and tribal fusion–to mention the most recognized influences that exist here.

Just as has happened in other parts of the world, hundreds of people are drawn to this enthralling, special dance. Many of them do not intend to actually dance, but to watch it for its beauty and to listen to its distinctive music. TV programs, magazines, newspapers and radio programs in Chile have referred to Oriental dance and its physical and emotional benefits; its popularity is undeniable!

Teresa SabaThrough the year, especially in our capital city of Santiago, there are numerous events such as national and international festivals, competitions and events from different components of the community that feature our Arabic bands, dancers, companies and troupes. It should be noted, though, that this happens mostly in the capital area–a lack that presents a problem needing to be solved–but gradually, change is already happening.

Our thanks go to Teresa Saba and also to the work of Ximena Mart (who was the first teacher to engage and organize an international workshop here) together with the late master teacher Shokry Mohammed in 1996. Through their efforts, we can see how much interest in Oriental and Middle Eastern dance has grown in our country, in terms of education, styles, quality, and artistic opportunity.

Nowadays, Chile has a wide range of first-class teachers, many of whom travel regularly to perfect and improve themselves as dancers and teachers. Some of them have created virtual and paper magazines, TV and radio programs, and boutiques where we dance enthusiasts can find everything needed to teach, rehearse, and perform.

However, I believe it is only fair to note that, just like everywhere else in the world, there are dancers and teachers who, for various reasons, continue to bring discredit upon our dance form as well as to contribute to detracting from our real feminine essence of generosity and warmth that should exist in a professional community of women who love the dance. I feel compelled to say that many recognized teachers, as well as quite a few students and dancers, including many of them who have chosen to keep a lower profile, are working together to raise the level of this dance; that effort includes not dancing just anywhere that is possible, choosing our costumes correctly, choosing a more thorough education, but teaching and studying all arts related to this dance form.

To sum it all up, Chile is a country that is developing conscientiously and emerging as a country with independent thought and perspectives regarding dance art and body expression. Arabic dance will not be left behind as a poor stepsister as it has been in the past!

Therefore, if you ever come to Chile, I encourage you to try these resources:

 Directory of Teachers and more (in Spanish):

Teachers:

 Shops:

Arabic Music teacher and Arabic orchestra:

Teacherspose
1- Naglah Paola Rojas Muñoz, 2-Fakarunni, 3-Paola Jara Vilches, 4-Anne Marie Lolas, 5-Marwa,

6-Teresa Saba, 7-Ximena Mart, 8-Paola Maluje Boroday, 9-Yasmin Lasen

Una Emergente Comunidad de Danza

La Escena de la Danza Oriental en Chile

by Marwa

 

Antes de hablar de la Danza Oriental en Chile es tremendamente importante decir que este país tiene una de las comunidades palestinas más grandes del mundo, a la que se suma una gran comunidad siria, libanesa y hoy en día una pequeña pero creciente comunidad de egipcios.

La comunidad de palestinos comenzó su oleada de inmigración a finales del siglo XIX y tuvo una gran crecida desde 1910 y 1920, manteniéndose incluso hasta el día de hoy.

Esta comunidad de inmigrantes, muchos de ellos profesionales, se instauraron como un importante grupo económico dentro de nuestro país, siendo hoy en día también un grupo presente en política, arte, medios, deporte y cultura.

Fueron los palestinos y su descendencia quienes plantaron la semilla de la música en nuestro país, y luego de la danza a través del dabke y de la danza oriental. De esta comunidad árabe surge una de las profesoras más reconocidas que tenemos de danza oriental y quien ha formado a gran parte de las grandes bailarinas y profesoras que tenemos en Chile: Teresa Saba, quien cumple cerca de 35 años de danza y enseñanza de danza danza Oriental. También surge la primera orquesta árabe de músicos tanto nacidos en Palestina como du descendencia, llamado Conjunto Oriente, que se mantiene hasta el dia de hoy. Desde esos tiempos hasta ahora, el raqs al sharqi en Chile ha crecido vertiginosamente.

Hoy en día, existen variadas instructoras y escuelas de danza oriental, junto con otras danzas del Medio Oriente y Norte de África, representando variados estilos como el Oriental clásico, Oriental contemporáneo, Bellydance, Argentinian Bellydance, Tribal ATS y Tribal Fusión.

Ximena MartTal como ha ocurrido en distintas partes del mundo, cientos de personas se interesan por el tema árabe, en especial la danza y la música y buscan, aunque no sea para ejercerlo, instancias para observarlo como un arte, como un espectáculo. Los programas de televisión, las revistas de mujer e incluso los periódicos han hecho múltiples referencias sobre la danza oriental y todos los beneficios que reporta a quienes la practican. Su popularidad es innegable.

Durante el año, especialmente en Santiago, existen diversos eventos como festivales nacionales e internacionales de danzas árabes, presentaciones de distintas academias, formación y consolidación de orquestas, grupos de danza, compañías y bailarinas que se presentan constantemente a lo largo de Chile, aunque mayoritariamente en la Región Metropolitana, lo cual es algo que debemos ayudar a cambiar.

Desde Teresa Saba y también gracias a la gestión de Ximena Mart, que fue la primera en hacer un encuentro educativo en Chile, junto al maestro Shokry Mohamed en 1996, podemos ver cómo el árbol genealógico de las danzas de medio oriente ha crecido en cuanto a número, estilos, calidades y proposiciones.
Hoy en día el país cuenta con profesoras de primer nivel, muchas de ellas formadas en el extranjero que viajan constantemente para perfeccionarse. Otras profesoras han creado medios, como revistas y portales digitales. Programas de televisión y de radio.

Sin embargo, y como en todo el mundo, hay “profesoras y “bailarinas” que también han contribuido al desprestigio de esta danza. Al desprestigio de lo que es en esencia la generosa comunidad femenina y al desprestigio de lo que realmente es nuestra feminidad y sensualidad. Pero debo decir que muchas, tanto profesoras de renombre como profesoras de perfil más bajo, estamos trabajando para elevar el nivel de la danza oriental y las danzas árabes en Chile.

En general, Chile es un país que está tratando de surgir y está tratando de hacerlo a través de movimientos y pensamientos independientes. Artística y deportivamente es un país que está surgiendo y de esa manera las disciplinas corporales van de la mano. La danza oriental no se queda atrás.

Si vienes a Chile, ¡prueba con éstos datos!

Directorios, medios:

Profesoras:

Tiendas:

Profesor de musica árabe y Director del Conjunto Oriente:

Te animo a que vegas a este hermosísimo país que está al final del mundo. Combina la vista de paisajes espectaculares al mismo tiempo que puedes tener una gran experiencial bailando con nosotras!

Marwa and friends
Marwa’s students:1-?, 2-Marwa, 3- Natalia, 4- Oliviera, 5-Diana, 6-Ariadna, 7-Alejandra, 8-? 9-Sara

Other Resources:

  • Author’s bio page
  • All group photos were taken at Gala Amir Thaleb in Chile in August 2012, Facetas Theater, Santiago, Chile.

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   |       |    1 Comment

  1. No Gravatar
    Jabirah

    Feb 19, 2014 - 10:02:33

    Hola Marwa
    Qué lindo artículo, lo compartiré con mis alumnas para que sigamos creciendo en este amor por la cultura árabe y sus hermosas danzas y estilos! Cariños!

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