Global Moves
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Global Moves

Belly Dance as an Extra/Ordinary Space to Explore Social Paradigms in Egypt and Around the World

About the Book

This book is a study of how dancers throughout the world use Egypt as a reference point for situating themselves within the global belly dance community and how Egypt gets romanticized and fantasized in global narratives about belly dance. I address the purpose that dance serves as an expression of joy in Egyptian culture as well as its potential to be a site for defining appropriate gendered behavior, a space for competition (friendly or unfriendly), and even a tool of resistance as cultural norms shift. I provide a comparative analysis of how dancers in the international dance community utilize dance for similar purposes, particularly those related to using dance as a site for questioning existing social paradigms, as well as the ways in which dance serves different roles for global belly dancers than it does within Egyptian society.All types of dance provide a space outside ordinary life to challenge or to uphold predominant social paradigms. One effect of globalization is the increase in worldwide exposure of local dance forms from many regions. These not only fuse to create new forms but operate alongside one another in what can be seen as a global marketplace of dance. Different dances are then imbued with values and norms of the receiving culture. Choosing to dance in non-local styles becomes a reflection of a locally value-based choice. This book examines the way globalization via cultural, economic, and technological vehicles affects a culturally rich, values-laden social phenomenon practiced in the Middle East and by an increasing international community. The book has a particular focus on paradigms of gender that are explored in dancing and in community discussions about dance.

View video related to research in this book. View photos related to research in this book. Listen to a podcast interview of me by LeanPub founder Peter Armstrong about this book. See a review of this book. Get a t-shirt with a nifty data visualization design based on the frequency of various terms in this book!

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ISBN: 978-0-9857061-0-4

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About the Author

Caitlin McDonald
Caitlin McDonald

Caitlin is an award-winning researcher, an artist whose work has been featured in several digital art exhibitions, a strategest with a history of publications in digital ethics and the future of work, and currently working with the University of Edinburgh's Creative Informatics R&D partnership to help the arts, design and cultural sectors innovate by leveraging the power of data and technology.

More about Caitlin? Find her at

Caitlin McDonald

Episode 8

Table of Contents

  1. Abstract/Preface
  2. Introduction: Belly Dance and Globalized Performing Arts
  3. On Beginnings and Endings
  4. Critical Fieldwork and Theoretical Reflections
  5. Field Methods: The Nuts and Bolts
  6. Methodology and Key Concepts
  7. Chapter Summary
  8. Notes
  9. Development of Normative Dance Paradigms in Egypt
  10. Muhammad ‘Ali to ‘Mawas Pasha’: 19th Century Ban
  11. Dance as a Signifier of National and Ethnic Pride
  12. Belly Dance as a Forum for Creating and Representing Nationalized, Gendered and Religious Discourse
  13. Conclusions
  14. Notes
  15. Sanctions: Authorize, Penalize, Globalize
  16. Norms within the Expatriate Belly Dance Community in Cairo
  17. Dance Norms within the Belly Dance Diaspora
  18. Conclusions
  19. Notes
  20. Dance and Theory: Shifting Discourse
  21. Oriental Dance, Authenticity and Ownership
  22. Gender Theory and Dance
  23. Dance Theory and ‘The Other’
  24. Conclusions
  25. Notes
  26. Transmission and Learning: Building the Dance
  27. Transmission of Cultural Capital
  28. Methods of Communicating Belly Dance Understandings and Awareness
  29. Conclusions
  30. Notes
  31. Gender Choreology
  32. Gender Theory and Performance: Choreographic Embodiment
  33. Dance Vocabulary and Gender: Men and Masculinities
  34. Women’s Embodiment and the Importance of Audience Understanding
  35. Conclusions
  36. Notes
  37. Conclusions: Circling Forward
  38. Engaging with Theory
  39. Empirical Outcomes
  40. Dancing to the Examined Tune
  41. Notes
  42. Acknowledgments
  43. Works Cited

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