All posts tagged: Borrowing

When does borrowing become cultural appropriation in dance?

Dance has been a significant part of human culture since the very earliest civilisations. While today it is done more for entertainment purposes, its use can be traced back many thousands of years to ancient ceremonies and rituals. For as long as they have been moving, dancers have always borrowed from other forms of movement, using them as inspiration to evolve their own work. But in recent years, when too much inspiration is taken, critics have started accusing dancers of cultural appropriation. Take belly dance for example. One of the world’s oldest forms of dance, it originated in Middle Eastern and Northern African countries, such as Egypt, Turkey and Lebanon, but is now danced around the world. Belly dancing isn’t just one type of dance: there is no single set of moves to follow in time to a beat. Though there are certain moves that are similar – focusing on the hips, chest and shoulders being moved in isolation from the rest of the body – each culture has its own version of a belly …