BELLY DANCE WORLD

BELLY DANCE WORLD

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

BELLY DANCE IN JAPAN

A brief background on belly dancing -- in Japan and abroad

Belly dance, or to be true to the Arabic, "Raqs Sharqi -- Oriental dance," comes from the Middle East, where long ago it played a role in rituals for purification, harvests, childbirth, marriage and death. It meandered its way around Europe and the Americas in the 18th and 19th centuries and finally made its way to Japan in 1984, when a Japanese woman who had studied in the States opened the first belly dance studio. Though just a handful of women took an interest, more foreign dancers arrived in the 1990s.
Sadia, 56, a Lebanese American from California, was one of them. These were the days before Japanese fashion mags hyped its 'get slim' benefits, and before Shakira, the Colombian pop star who made it a signature part of her dance style.

The tipping point came around five years ago when the scene in Tokyo exploded, and dancers like Sadia found themselves in demand. "Most do it to feel better about themselves," Sadia told me. "They want to be more feminine and sexy, and if they stay with it long enough, they will develop more self-confidence. Many even take on a Middle Eastern name."

Meeting the local belly dancers

One woman who's undergone such a transformation is Keiko Adachi, a 27-year-old Hokkaido native based in Osaka, who goes by "Kerime." Just like her Tokyo counterparts, she's got regular gigs and 60 students who attend her ten weekly classes.

belly dancing in Japan
Henna, dressed in American cabaret garb, improvising to a violin playing the Egyptian classic, "Samia's Dance", at a Moroccan restaurant in Tokyo.
On a recent Saturday evening, I went to see her perform at Nazar, a Turkish restaurant in Osaka. As she twirled, shook and shimmied her way through the narrow aisle that was her stage, the audience watched wide-eyed. At the end, she got half of them to get up and join her. Afterwards, I asked her about the popularity of belly dance. Kerime pondered this for a moment, and said, "Work and pressures of daily life keep Japanese women's femininity down. Belly dancing sets this part of them free."

One of her students at the show, Satomi Kondo, an office worker who is 27, explained she first got curious about belly dancing two years ago because of Shakira, though she ended up getting more out of it than she bargained for. "I used to think just looking good was important," she said, "and I thought belly dancing would make my body more attractive. But after learning, I realized I should try to be beautiful on the inside, too."

Belly dance entrepreneurialism

Japanese dancers are plentiful, so when it comes to getting gigs, foreigners have an edge. This is what Heather Hemphill, a 29-year-old from Oregon, found when she landed in Tokyo four years ago. After an unsuccessful run in Taiwan, she decided to give the booming Tokyo scene a try and, shortly after arriving, was performing four to five nights a week under the stage name Henna. She sees the appeal as a no-brainer: "You learn a craft, get a workout, and you eventually get to wear something sparkly and perform."

To meet the growing demand for all things belly dance, even non-dancers have been getting a piece of the action. Take Ihab "Bob" Sultan, 32, an Egyptian who settled in Kansai a decade ago. His business is thriving. A year ago, he opened a studio in Osaka that already has 70 students, and he's got a team of dancers that do parties around the country. He has also been promoting belly dancing events at clubs and theaters for the past four years, and his most ambitious yet, the Kansai Belly Dance Festival, takes place in May.

Whether or not belly dancing is another passing Japanese fad remains to be seen, but one thing's for sure: Its benefits go way beyond merely getting slim. As Henna put it, belly dancing is a celebration of herself, a way of saying, "This is my body, I'm proud of it and I'm going to decorate it and shake it around."

Tokyo belly dancing dancers/teachers

Sadia: www.bellyqueenjapan.com, E-mail: mail@bellyqueenjapan.com

Farasha: www.farasha.jp, E-mail: info@farasha.jp

Henna: www.hennadances.com, E-mail: info@hennadances.com

Filiz Eren: www.oriental-harem-filiz.com, E-mail: harem@oriental-harem-filiz.com

Mishaal: www.mishaal.com, E-mail: mishaall@me.com

Karima: www.karima.jp, E-mail: karima_info@graphova.jp

Tokyo belly dance venues

Hannibal Tunisian Restaurant: Tokyo Building YFL B1, Sendagaya 3-53-3, Shibuya-ku, tel. 03 3479 3710, http://www.hannibal.cc/

Ginza Istanbul: Tokyo Ginza Corridor Street, Ginza 7-2, Chuo-ku, tel. 03 6252 4080, http://www.istanbul.co.jp/ (There are also Akasaka and Shinjuku locations)

Harem Turkish Restaurant: CI Plaza B1, Kita Aoyama 2-3-1, Minato-ku, tel: 03 5786 2929, http://www.harem.co.jp/

Palmyra Arabic Restaurant: Ikebukuro 2-58-8, Toshima-ku, tel. 03 3981 8293, http://www.palmyra-ib.com/

Shamaim Israeli Restaurant: Art Bldg. 2F, Sakae-cho 4–11, Nerima-ku, tel. 03 3948 5333, r.gnavi.co.jp/fl/en/g868500

Sinbad Lebanese Restaurant: I-Land Tower Bldg. B1, Nishi-Shinjuku, tel. 03 3343 3783, http://www.tradina.com/0333433783/
(Preview image of belly dancer by Hanta Arita.)

Isabelle Djamilah - Belly dance classes in Fukuoka, .
Isabelle Djamilah
Fukuoka, Japan
Type of lessons: weekly class and private lessons
Dance style: Egyptian raqs sharqi
Phone: 092-712-5608    E-mail    
Alegra - Gypsy Queen Oriental Dance Company - Belly dance classes in Tokyo, .
Alegra - Gypsy Queen Oriental Dance Company
Tokyo, Japan
Type of lessons: Daily classes
Dance style: Egyptian Raqs Sharqi
Phone: 81-80-3090-3512    E-mail    
Lisa Culture Salon - Belly dance classes in Osaka, .
Lisa Culture Salon
Osaka, Japan
Type of lessons: Daily, weekly, workshops, privates
Dance style: Belly Dance, Raqs Sharqi, Oriental Tansi, American Tribal
Phone: 06-6377-0628    E-mail    
Henna - Belly dance classes in Tokyo, Chiba, .
Henna
Tokyo, Chiba, Japan
Type of lessons: Weekly classes, private lessons
Dance style: Egyptian Raqs Sharqi, American Cabaret, American Tribal Style
Phone: 080-1249-8759    E-mail    
Tania Luiz-Shahmeran Dance - Belly dance classes in Osaka, .
Tania Luiz-Shahmeran Dance
Osaka, Japan
Type of lessons: Daily Classes
Dance style: Turkish Oryantal, Egyptin Raks Sharki, Assaya, Khaleji
Phone: +81-90-39650419    E-mail    
Filiz Eren - Belly dance classes in Tokyo, .
Filiz Eren
Tokyo, Japan
Type of lessons: Workshops, privates, daily or weekly classes
Dance style: Belly dance, Oryantal
Phone: 090-2029-8846    E-mail    
Sadia,  Belly Queen Japan - Belly dance classes in Tokyo, .
Sadia, Belly Queen Japan
Tokyo, Japan
Type of lessons: Daily Classes, private lessons, workshops
Dance style: Oriental Dance, Egyptian, Lebanese, Turkish
Phone: 090-1806-4739    E-mail    
Ayperi - Belly dance classes in West Tokyo (Suginami-Ku), .
Ayperi
West Tokyo (Suginami-Ku), Japan
Type of lessons: Instructional video, privates
Dance style: Belly Dance, Raqs Sharqi, Neo-Classical
Phone: 090-8464-6587    
Malgorzata - Belly dance classes in Osaka, .
Malgorzata
Osaka, Japan
Type of lessons: workshops, privates, weekly classes
Dance style: Belly Dance
E-mail    
Mishaal - Belly dance classes in Tokyo, .
Mishaal
Tokyo, Japan
Type of lessons: Weekly classes
Dance style: Belly dance
Phone: (+81) (3) 3402-3564    E-mail    
Jansu Dyrin,Jansu Belly Dance - Belly dance classes in Nagoya, .
Jansu Dyrin,Jansu Belly Dance
Nagoya, Japan
Type of lessons: Workshops, privates, weekly classes
Dance style: Belly Dance
Phone: 090-8488-0329    E-mail    
Kerime-oriental bellydance akashastudio - Belly dance classes in Osaka, .
Kerime-oriental bellydance akashastudio
Osaka, Japan
Type of lessons: Weekly classes, privates
Dance style: Belly dance
Phone: 09062610860    E-mail    
Francesca Andrews - Belly dance classes in Takasaki and Maebashi, Japan, .
Francesca Andrews
Takasaki and Maebashi, Japan, Japan
Type of lessons: Classes
Dance style: Oriental dance ( Belly dance )
Phone: 027-373-8632    E-mail    
Laila Kholoussi - Belly dance classes in Tokyo, .
Laila Kholoussi
Tokyo, Japan
Type of lessons: Weekly classes
Dance style: Oriental dance
Phone: 03-3469-8767    E-mail    
Aquarela do Brasil - Belly dance classes in Kanagawa, .
Aquarela do Brasil
Kanagawa, Japan
Type of lessons: privates, daily classes, workshops
Dance style: Belly dance
Phone: 090 1280 9247    E-mail    
Ounnas Nora - Belly dance classes in Tokyo, .
Ounnas Nora
Tokyo, Japan
Type of lessons: Private classes
Dance style: Belly dance, lebanese dance
E-mail    

No comments:

Post a Comment