Welcome to the
| The Daughters of the
New Moon troupe in Juneau, Alaska, is dedicated to bringing residents a
glimpse of an intriguing and beautiful art form. As a
not-for-profit organization formed in 1983 we strive to educate and
inspire Juneau community members by
offering a variety of classes
and performances for all
ages. We perform regularly at public venues and are also available to add a unique flavor to your own party or event!
Our members are continually trying to improve and learn about this dance that has brought us together. Troupe leaders and members of the group have traveled extensively to attend dance workshops throughout the United States, as well as Canada, Turkey, and Egypt. We regularly bring in nationally and internationally recognized instructors and performers to share their knowledge with our community.
Middle Eastern dance (or belly dancing as it is commonly called) is a dance form that pre-dates written history. The dance as performed in the United States today combines steps and rhythms from all across the Fertile Crescent: Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon; as well as North Africa and India. The term belly dance became widespread with the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago, when Sol Bloom brought the Egyptian Street Scene, including Little Egypt, to the U.S. and scandalized the Victorian-era folk (and became very wealthy). This name and image has stuck in the minds of Western culture due to writers and filmmakers who have continued to present this mis-guided concept.
The true origins of what has come to be called belly dance has been lost in the passage of history. Some common beliefs are that it started as a dance to worship the Mother Goddess and to celebrate childbirth; others believe that it was a dance that began in celebration of life and living. As this dance has roots in many cultures and countries all of these beliefs have some factual basis. Indeed some cultures were (and still are) dancing for women giving childbirth. A performance of the dance is sensual, but not sexual, in nature. This dance is not just for women; historically it has been performed throughout the world by men for various reasons. In Middle Eastern cultures today it is a social dance done for fun by the whole family.
Today you will also see dancers using props in their dancing. Swords and canes were traditionally used by men in war and the incorporation of these symbols into the dance is a way for women to show their equality. Baskets and water jugs, are symbols of the working side of life, showing off women's strength and grace. Veils, while representing women’s separation from male society, have also become common. Having been introduced by Russian ballet choreographers to improve the upper body carriage of dancers in Egypt, the veil is used there only in the opening presentation and is then put aside for the remainder of the performance. In American dancing the veil has become a more significant part of the dance, often lasting for a complete song. Several variations of veil have evolved: Isis Wings, fan veils, and veil poi ("voi"). Other common props include: candles, shamadan (candelabra), snakes, and tea trays. Dancers are often accompanied (by themselves or by supporting troupemates) by finger cymbals -- "sagat" in Arabic or "zills" in Turkish -- and are a percussion instrument.
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Daughters of the New Moon (c) 2006