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EXPERIMENTAL MID-EASTERN DANCE(AKA X-MED, AKA frequently known as Fusion belly dance): X-MED, like Tribal and American belly dance, is a composed genre loosely based on authentic Middle Eastern dance movements, but which incorporates many other influences and inspirations. Some traditional dancers insist that experimental and fusion genres are modern dance, rather than belly dance... again generating much heated discussion... and there is lots of disagreement about where the lines are drawn.
Amara and Elena Lentini are two well-established, well-trained dancers closely identified with bringing experimental dancing mainstream, and many other dancers now incorporate some experimental dancing into their repertoire. Amara's 2005 paper A Theoretical Introduction to Dancing on the Fringe describes what this genre is and why she supports it.
"The traditional and the experimental can be violent towards each other. Tradition covers up hybridization while experimentalism breaks apart the continuation of tradition. However, I see that they work and interact with each other. EEMED choreographers do not see traditional dance as a threat but as a source of inspiration and heritage. They all have extensive training and performing experience in traditional Middle Eastern dances because in order to experiment, they have to know its structures and rules. EEMED choreographers examine, employ, and change tradition in order to express their own sense of identity."
"Neither dance's philosophy is necessarily an oppositional binary structure with the other. Instead, they are styles, which can be seen to contain both traditional and experimental elements but choose to emphasize one over the other. As a result, EEMED's fringe dancing constructs a distinctive traditional/experimental connection. From the EEMED choreographers' perspective, their dance is not one in which they are in opposition to or are enemies with tradition. Nor are they in unison."
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Author: Maura Enright
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