June 03, 2011

Belly dancing in Indian country

Belly dancing gaining ground in Indian territory as form of exercise an entertainment

By Bernie DotsonThe sultry music sounds like a snake charmer's flute, and synchronously the five women begin to dance.

A glimpse of belly jewelry is revealed as colorful, sheer scarves float across their midriffs. As the flute winds through a scale of notes, the symmetry of the group becomes evident with each rhythmic roll.

It's one of the world's oldest dance forms, used to celebrate the harvest, pay homage to religious occasions and to help prepare the body for childbirth. It's an exercise and entertainment trend that is quickly gaining ground in the Indian Capital.

"People get into belly dancing for a lot of reasons," Leaf Ashley, 35, who teaches the classes once per week in Gallup, said. An Alamosa, Colo., native who lived a long time in Chinle, on the nearby Navajo Nation Indian Reservation, Ashley said of interest in the ancient art form, "Some of its curiosity. People come into it with an open mind. They want exercise and to see what belly dancing is all about."
Comment:  The article claims belly dancing is "gaining ground" in "Indian territory" or "the Indian Capitol." But it doesn't present any evidence that the art is popular or growing more popular among Indians. These claims may be nothing more than a newspaper "trend" made up to justify the article.

For more on Native dance, see Tlingit Dancing in Afterschool Class and Cheyenne River Glitter Girls.

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