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Spiritual origins and belly dance: how and when artistic leisure becomes spiritual

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Belly dance is spiritual for some people who participate in this artistic dance form. Utilizing interviews with nineteen female belly dancers in the Midwestern part of the United States, this project examines when and how dancers begin to experience spirituality within belly dance. Results show dancers who situate spirituality within the music, physical movement or connections with other dancers experience spirituality soon after they get involved in belly dance. However, spirituality within the dance takes time to develop for those dancers who find spiritual significance in their connections with audience members during performances. These findings suggest that when a practitioner begins defining belly dance as spiritually meaningful is partly related to the particular aspects of belly dance a dancer associates with spirituality.
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Keywords: art; belly dance; leisure; qualitative methods; spirituality; trajectories

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Ball State University

Publication date: 2012-08-30

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  • This journal focuses on the relationship between dance and somatic practices, and the influence of this body of practice on the wider performing arts. The journal will be aimed at scholars and artists, providing a space for practitioners and theorists to debate the work, to consider the impact and influence of the work on performance, the interventions that somatic practices can have on other disciplines and the implications for research and teaching.
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