Belly Dance Time Line

. . . continued, page 4 of 5

1877 • Bell and Edison invent the telephone.

1878 • Electricity is employed.

1868-1928Loie Fuller, born in Fullersville, Illinois, becomes a leader in popularizing the art of dance; most noted for her dances imploying experimental lighting. costumes and huge veils. She performed mostly in Europe. Loie Fuller , Ruth St Dennis and Issadorta Duncan would be famous for being the American innovators of the newly evolving modern dance movement.

1876 • U.S. Centennial; The International Exhibition of Arts, Manufactures and Products of the Soil and Mine opened in Philadelphia in the spring of 1876. The show celebrated the 100th anniversary of American Independence, the country's emergence from Reconstruction, and the successes of science, industry, and cultural exchange. The visual extravaganza included such disparate elements as a giant Corliss steam engine, a Turkish scarf dancer, and hundreds of replicas of fishes. The Exposition featured an Algerian cafe with native entertainers. This may have been the first view on Middle Eastern dancing girls in America.

1878 -1927 • Isadora Duncan, born in California, popularizes the art of free expression in dance using themes of nature and ancient Greece. She called her dance "Free Dance". She wore a flowing Roman / Greek style robe and danced bare foot. She was American born, yet danced mostly in Europe and Russia. Dance opportunities were not very developed in the newly established continent of America during her life time and that of Loie Fuller. Both known to be pioneers in the newly evolving modern dance movement.

1880 (or earlier) • Shimmy dance evolves in the African American community from Haitian and ancient African roots; Gilda Gray later recreated the Shimmy.

1890-1914 • Art Nouveau takes hold, followed by Art Deco. Loie Fuller is the human muse of the erra of artists. She is the most depicted woman of her time. She is represented in sculpture, glass art, jewlry, paintings and drawings. For the artist persuit to know nature and answer the mystic call of the orient, she brings spirit and light together in her dances.

1893 • Sol Bloom brings Algerian village to the Chicago World’s fair. The name “belly dance” is coined. Oulid Nails (fully clothed) are among the dancers. The public is entranced while the censors are enraged. A dancer called Little Egypt (who is probably a fictitious amalgam of dancers who performed at the fair) is credited with saving the fair from financial ruin. The church is scandalized.


Illustrations by Aubrey Beardsley, published in Oscar Wilde's Salome, 1894.
1892 • To avoid the censors, Oscar Wilde writes his one-act play, Salome, in French. Aubrey Beardsley illustrates it.

1893 • Loie Fuller stars in Les Folies Bergere

c. 1893-1990 • Belly dance movements incorporate elements of striptease and vice versa. Hootch Dance, Cootch Dance, Shake Dance, and the Shimmy derive from Middle Eastern, Haitian, and African dance.

1898 • Madam Curie discovers radiation.

1900 • Maude Allen performs Salome in Edwardian England and avoids the censors. A craze develops called Salomania: Mary Garden, Sarah Bernhard, Maude Allen, Mata Hari, Loie Fuller, Ida Rubinstein, Claudette

1900 • Hawaii becomes a U.S. territory.

1903 • Woman's suffrage movement begins in Britain.

1903 • Richard Strauss uses Oscar Wilde's earlier play as the libretto to create an opera version of Salome.

1904 • A Little Egypt performs at the Columbia Exhibition.

1906Ruth St Denis (1879-1968) Born in Newark New Jersey. She was a feminist pioneer in the modern dance movement in America and Europe.This marks the beginning of her famous series of recitals inspired by the art and religion of Egypt, India, Turkey and Asia. She performed first in Europe and in the United States (after 1909),. She married Ted Shawn a masculine force in the newly evolving modern dance movement, and together they founded the Denishawn Schools in 1920. After a falling out and divorce she started her own school in 1940. In addition to dance she also wrote mystical poetry and in her later life she becomes a devote Sufi and mentor and friend to Murshid Samuel L. Lewis AKA "Murshid Sam" who goes on to found the Universal Dances of Peace and the order of Sufi Islamia Ruhaniat Society

1914 • World War I (AKA The Great War ) begins and lasts through 1919.

1915 • Explorer Theodore Pedersen ventures to Siberia and makes one of the earliest films. The work records elder woman wearing hip belts dancing in a forest and shaking their hips after taking hallucinogenic mushrooms.

1915 • Tango evolves in South America as a derivative of Spanish flamenco, African Tangano, and Cuban influences.

1917 • Russian Revolution

1920 • Women win the vote.

1922 • American born Josephine Baker brings a no-holds-barred chorus girl dance style to the stage. Unaccepted in America until 1973 because of racism, she becomes a highly paid Parisian sensation and dances for 50 years, until her death in 1975.

1920-1930s • Art Decortif, known as Art Deco, of the roaring twenties and the dirty thirties.

1922 • The end of World War I marks the end of Ottoman Empire. Kamel Ataturk begins the modernization of Turkey with separation of church and state. Dervishes, fortune tellers, magician and occultists are forbidden to practice. Law is passed outlawing the required Hajab (full-covering veil for women) as well as the fez and turban for men.

1927 • Badia Masabni founds Cairo Opera in Egypt; presents Tahia Kirk and Samia Gamal.

1933 • Hitler comes to power.

1936-1952 • During the reign of King Farouk, Tahia Carioca becomes the most famous belly dancer in the world.

1936 • Maya Deren, a Russian-born, award-winning filmmaker, works with Katherine Dunhan (dancer/choreographer/anthropologist and author of an anthropological study of Haiti). While working for Dunham, Deren was inspired to write an essay entitled "Religious Possession in Dancing." and makes films utilizing the subject of trance dance. Later, Deren goes to Haiti to research more closely. In 1953, she writes a book on the voudoun religion (Voodoo) called “Divine Horsemenz” and films Haitian dances and rituals.

1939 • Second World War begins with the invasion of Poland by the Germans

1940s • Fadil Attrache and Abdul Wahab write music. Many famous Egyptian dancers evolve. Most famous are Tahia Karioka, Samia and Nadia Gamal, Naema Akef, Nelly Masloom, Badia . . .

1945 • Nuclear age begins with bombing of Japan.

1946 • Six thousand TV sets are sold in the USA.

1949 • Mao Tse Tung takes power in China.

1952 • Egyptian Revolution

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