Belly Dance Time Line

. . . continued, page 5 of 5

1954 Jamila Salimpour (known as the Mother of Belly Dance in America) begins teaching belly dance to women with a 78-phonograph album of Cheftitelli music. Another early dancer and teacher of this time is Jodette in Sacramento (originally born in Jordan).

1950-1970s • Eddie “the Sheik” Kochak begins releasing the famous “Strictly Belly” music dance series.

1958 • Alaska becomes a U.S. state

1959 • Castro institutes a communist dictatorship in Cuba.

1959 • Reda Dance Troupe is founded in Cairo.

1959 • Hawaii becomes a U.S. state.

1961 • Morroe Berger publishes a scholarly and sympathetic report on Danse du Ventre in “Dance Perspectives,” volume #10

1963 • Little Egypt (AKA Lorraine Shalhoub of lebanise/Syrian ancestery) appears on the Steve Allen Show. Also produces with Sunny Laster the album "How to Bellydance for Your Husband".

1963 • November 22, President Kennedy is shot and killed.

1964 • Algeria achieves independence from France and becomes intolerant of prostitution and the customs of the dances of the Ouled Nails.

1966 • Catholic Church abolishes the Index of forbidden books issued by Pope Paul IV in 1559.

1966Suhaila Salimpour is born to Jamila Salimpour. She follows in her mother's footsteps but cultivates her own style. She marries Andre Koury, the son of Antoinette Koury, (a accomplished Middle East dancer in Hollywood). Their daughter, born in 1999, began performing as soon as she could walk, marking 3 generations of the dance.

1968 • Oil is discovered on the Arctic Coastal plain.

1968 • Birth control pill is invented.

1969 • First man on the moon

1968-1969 • Ozel Turkabas dances on Johnny Carson Show

1970 • Women’s liberation movement members, claiming belly dance treats women like sex objects, picket Jamila Salimpour’s students in Berkeley while other women’s libbers burn their bras and sign up for belly dance in droves. A renaissance is underway for the art called danse oriental, danse du ventre, belly dance, Raks el Sharki, and Middle Eastern dance.

1972 • Vietnam War is over, though involvement continues until 1976

1972 • Bob Zalot in Mountain View, California, founds Habibi Magazine, devoted to the trade and betterment of belly dance. In later years is taken over by Shareen el Safy.

1973-76 • Early books are published on belly dance techniques.
The Complete Belly Dancer, by Marta Shield and Julie Mushkin Russo, 1973
Serena Technique of Belly Dancing, 1973
The Art of Belly Dancing, by Dahlena, 1975
The Belly Dancer in You, Ozel Turkabas, 1976

1973 • CID Council for International Dance is set up by UNESCO as a non-commercial, non-governmental entity to network dance across the globe.

1974 • Biggest belly dance contest ever is held at the Orange County fairgrounds. Contest lasts 3 days and contestants compete for new car. Regis Philban is the MC. Winner “Meleah” appears on the “What's My Line?” television show afterward.

1967 • Morocco (AKA Carolina Dinicu) writes an extraordinary firsthand account of a Berber birth and dance ritual observed near Casablanca. Twins are delivered into a shallow pit in the ground while woman sympathetically undulate and chant.

1975 • Ibrahim Farrah founds the publication “Arabesque.”

1975 • Composer Doug Adams releases an album called “Dream Dancer” with a new fantasy sound for American belly dancers.

1975 • War breaks out in Lebanon

Tahia Carioca, second from right, printed in the Cairo Times, 1976
1976 • Dalila of Las Vegas arranged one of the first study tours for American dancers to study with the Egyptian great, Tahia Carioca, Soheir Zaki, Bert Baladine, and the young Delilah were among the guests.

1977 • The oil pipeline is completed in Alaska.

1977 • MECDA, Middle Eastern Culture and Dance Association, is founded in Southern California. It is dedicated to unity, communication, providing educational resources and continuity of the arts. Sponsor of many events, workshops, a magazine called the "Cymbal" and a members newsletter. 11 Chapters across the U.S.

1979-1981 • American hostages are taken in Iran.

1979 • Bert Baladine begins teaching belly dance to the wives of American serviceman stationed in Germany and gives rise to a fast growing popular interest in Germany.

1980 • Rakkasah, an annual week-long dance festival takes root in California. Produced by Shukriya, it continues to this day for more than 20 years. Eventually it spreads to other seasons and locations, supporting the growth and preservation of the art of belly dance.

1981 • VCR s in both BETA and VHS formats are popular items in American hoseholds

1982 • April 29 is proclaimed International Dance Day by CID Council for International Dance (established in 1973). It is hoped to bring greater awareness and support to dance arts. “In more than half of the 200 countries in the world, dance does not appear in legal texts (for better or for worse!). There are no funds allocated in the state budget to support this art form. There is no such thing as dance education, private or public.”

1983 • The age of the home video begins. The first belly dance instructional videos released by Atea of Magical Motion, Raja of Rose productions, Delilah of Visionary Belly Dancing Videos, Dalena, Veda Serene. . . and eventually hundreds more to come.

1984 • Goddess belly dance evolves as an artistic evolution of belly dance derived from women's studies, belly dance, and Jungian psychology.

1985 • Dance to the Great Mother; a belly dance performance by Delilah (Visionary Belly Dancing Productions) in the third trimester of her pregnancy is recorded on videotape. The dance is a testament to the spirit of universal feminine beauty and creativity.

1987 • Carolena Nericcio gives birth to "American Tribal" style of belly dance that spreads like wildfire. She develops a unique, spontaneous choreography approach where a lead dancer gives signals to a tribe of dancers. The name of her group is known as "Fat Chance Belly Dance". The costuming is heavy ornamentation of camel tasseled belts, on top of full gypsy skirts and pantaloons. Indian chole style tops are worn and Afghani chain and coins jewelry are adorned on tightly wrapped turbans. Skin is often tattooed or hennaed.

1988 • Music: CDs replace LPs

1989 • Seatrack releases many popular modern Egyptian recordings for belly dance.

1989 • Home computers are beginning to be popular in the American household.

1989Laurel Victoria Gray instigates a performance piece promoting artist cultural exchange through the Seattle Sister City with Tashkent, Uzbekistan (in the former Soviet Union). She brings dance, theater arts, and fine arts to Tashkent’s Ilkhom Theater. Directors, actors, singers, playwrights are among the mix of artisans. The dancers include: oriental dancers, Kathy Balducci, Delilah, Helen Noreen, Sharlyn Sawyer, dance historian Selma Jean Cohen, Russian dancer Tavi Kapolov, and Laurel Gray’s Uzbek dance students. The women of the contingent stage an unprecedented women-only concert which drew a standing-room-only audience. Two months later, the Berlin wall falls, marking the end of separation of the cultures. In 1999, Laurel Gray's delegation reciprocates by bringing a 30-member dance and music ensemble from Tashkent to Seattle for the Good Will Games events.

1989 • Gaby Oftring of Germany works with midwives, belly dance instructors and pregnant women to encourage reinstating belly dance as a preparation for childbirth. She releases the program “Belly Dancing During Pregnancy.”

1990 • America goes to War with Iraq in the Gulf War

1991 • Belly dance becomes popular in Japan.

1992 • Book release; Serpent of the Nile, by Wendy Buenoventura,

1992-to presentDelilah begins her Visionary Belly Dance retreats and pursues concentrated studies with dancers of all ages and perspectives, from all over the world, stretching the boundaries of artistic exploration of belly dance. Each retreat features a study of Middle Eastern music, as well as a specific style of belly dance for 10 days. In addition, over the past decade, Delilah has persued a study of how the basic building blocks in the world’s oldest dance connect and are derived and inspired universally by the natural environment and its dynamics.

1995 • Book release; Looking for Little Egypt, by Donna Carlton, in oversized paperback. Also, the Middle Eastern Dance Video Source Book begins an annual cataloging of video programs dedicated to the art of belly dance.

1997 • First IAMED (International Academy of Middle East Dance) featuring awards and concerts in Hollywood, California. Delilah of Visionary Belly Dancing is voted First Belly Dancer of the Year.

1997 • DVDs players hit the market in March and immediately become the fastest selling electronics.

1997 • Dolly, the sheep, is born. First large cloned animal using DNA from another adult animal.

1997-1998 • The first Middle Eastern music and dance Conference is held at OCC (Orange Coast College in Southern California) sponsored by Angelika Nemith, Sahara Saida, and Shareen el Safy (editor of Habibi magazine). The conference features lectures, papers, workshops, and performances by international performers.

• Bellydance web sites begin to proliferate on the web as does everything. See

1999 • The "Euro" becomes the common currency of the EEC.

1999 • The belly dance world is devastated by the sudden death of Ibrahim Farrah. Mr. Farrah had been hugely influential of the growth of belly dance in America and was the publisher of Arabesque magazine, an internationally recognized magazine devoted to the art of Middle Eastern dance.

1999 • Sausan opens Al-Masri Egyptian Restaurant in San Francisco, a dancer-run establishment featuring food, belly dance shows.

2000 • One of the first pioneers in video belly dance instruction back in the 1980's is the first to release instructional belly dancing programs that utilizes the new medium of DVD's technology ; Delilah and Visionary Dance Productions. "Absolute Beginning Bellydance with Delilah" (wins a Giza Award for " Most inspirational") and "A Retro Choreography with Fire at the Iao" (2003) (wins an IAMED Award "For best Instructional".

2000 • Pop singer Shakira uses belly dance in her performance; belly dance gains a new degree of popularity in pop culture, especially in the Latino population around the globe.

2000 America Election The out come for President of the United States is in limbo for over a month in the race between Al Gore of Tennessee (Democrat) and George W Bush of Texas (Republican). The election vote counts are in question. Gore wins the popular vote but the election is decided by the Supream Courts decision not to allow a recount of votes in suspect districts in Florida. George Bush wins by way of Florida's 25 electoral votes while Al Gore won the popular vote. Any way you look at it by a very narrow margin with much criticism.

Electoral Vote
Bush 271
Gore 266

Popular Vote
Gore 50,999,897
Bush 50,456,002

2001 • September 11th terrorists hijack planes and attack the Trade Center in New York City, and the Pentagon. U.S. takes military action in Afghanistan.

2001 • October, Patriot Act is passed by the 107th Congress.

2001 • December America attacks Afganistan's ruling Talaban in a search for Osama Bin Laden

2002 • Iris Stewart releases a book Sacred Woman, Sacred Dance, also Kajira Djoumahna releases her first Tribal Bible, and earlier Taz Richards releases The Belly Dance Book.

2002 • DNA is mapped

2003 • March 19th, Iraq War Begins; World Nuclear Proliferation rises.

2003 • The Belly Dance Superstars and The Desert Roses is created by record mogul Miles Copeland as a touring act to promote record sales for his new record company ARK21 specializing in Middle Eastern recording artists. Among the dance cast; Ansuya, Jillina, Rachel Brice, Amara, Rania, Sonia, Amara Gamal, Tamalyn Dallal, . . . . . .

August 2003 • Egypt bans foreign dancers from dancing in Egypt! One of the worlds most famous and respected Egyptian dancers, Nagwa Fouad pleads with government to reconsider because there is not enough talent in Egypt to fulfill the 5,000 tourist trade jobs. The government stands firm.

2004 April Habibi Magazine changes it's newspaper format to glossy bound and is sold on popular news stands for the first time.

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