• Tara Yasmin

A most unusual belly dance blog

Raqs sharqi ( also known as belly dance) is so much more than putting movements to 'exotic' music. For me, the skill of a dancer is reflected in their ability to elicit the feeling of nostalgia in the audience. It is through creating associations between customs and traditions and bringing them into the present that we honour and celebrate the cultures of origin of Middle Eastern dance.

But we are not the only ones on this path.

Australia is full of countless young and talented Middle Eastern, North African, Hellenic and Turkish (MENAHT)-Australian artists who are informed (or not) by their background in creating work that expands and challenges conceptions of MENAHT-Australian identity. I am interested in their stories.

In this blog I aim to interview friends and colleagues in Melbourne about their stories, the influences that inform their artistic process, and the role that art plays in maintaining a sense of identity and well-being in MENAHT-Australian communities more broadly. I hope to take readers along with me as I explore the position of raqs sharqi among a broader range of artistic practices in the evolving landscape of Australian multiculturalism.

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