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Grandmother's Secrets: The Ancient Rituals and Healing power of Belly Dancing Paperback – Oct 1 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Interlink Books (Oct. 1 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1566563267
  • ISBN-13: 978-1566563260
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 15.2 x 1.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 272 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #430,846 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Library Journal

After recounting her own childhood and coming of age in the Arab world, Al-Rawi reviews the history of women's dancing and reflects on the individual movements used in this ancient art form. In a section titled "Variations and Rituals," she describes nine different dances (e.g., the Wedding Dance, the Birth Dance) and sets them in context. Photographs evoke the mood of each dance, suggesting a general impression rather than step-by-step instruction. The narrative, however, supplies enough detail that the interested reader may wish to try a dance. Throughout, Al-Rawi relates movement to ideas and art to philosophy so that, in her words, "belly dancing becomes a source of inspiration, a means of collecting and strengthening oneself, and a clear and dynamic way of discovering...and understanding oneself." An interesting glimpse into a culture, an art form, and a means for women's healing and self-expression; suitable for most circulating collections, especially those whose readers are interested in Arab culture, dance, and women's studies.ACarolyn M. Mulac, Chicago P.L.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
"When I look back on my childhood, four characters catch my inner eye: my grandmother, my grandfather, and the two pillars of my childhood: Adiba and Amina." Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on Dec 30 2005
Format: Paperback
I loved the book and would definitely have it on a list for belly dancers to read. Belly Dance is a healing art and that fact should always be close to the heart and be the basis when dancing and honouring the cultures of its origins.
The West, America in particular, has taken belly dance and everything for that matter, due to its cultural programming, makes everything unecessarily competitive. Competition lowers the class of the dance form actually, is quite pathetic to observe, but is the nature of the beast I guess. I see that competitiveness as a lack of self esteem, insecurity about one's Beauty, and low self worth, actually bred and programmed into western society- sad indeed. We have the luxury to think and be different, so why not be different and not buy into the programming?
True Power is not about domination- surprise!
Dance as an art, a healing art for that matter is much more significant than what I have seen in western culture, where I was born and raised.
I loved the book, every word is wonderful because I feel dance is a healing art, not a competition. It is of course a book about the healing power of belly dance!
Fawzia uses wisdoms she gained from the elegance of the old world and its many traditions, and also acknowledges today's world with its harsh realities and yet promising future if we all drop the need for greed, false power. Enough money can still be made as we get in touch with the real hungers for more understanding and love.
Her references to us being sisters in dance was like listening to a respected sister telling me stories, sharing her wisdom. What a treasure!
Whoever feels negatively about this small, but significant book is limiting themselves and those around them immensely of a very special gift.
If you do not like the book, give it (or resell) to someone else who will gain the valuable message and use it to evolve a bit more.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By "jennycrestedbutte" on May 1 2003
Format: Paperback
This book, simply put, is charming. Though I would not recommend it to those not devoutly interested in Belly Dance, I recommend it for everyone who is!
It's a sweet coming-of-age story of an Iraqi girl and her relationship with her grandmother. This part of the book is charming. The second part of the book no longer focuses on the author and her family, but on specific dance moves and their cultural meanings - fascinating.
Very interesting short read if you like the history of belly dance.
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By A Customer on Jan. 15 2002
Format: Hardcover
This book is a joy to read. It's not so much about belly dancing as it is a celebration of being female. This is a very suitable book for any women's group library. Instead of angst and raving against men, her attitude is, "We are blessed to be female and we carry the future generations in our bellies." Very strong message, with an eastern twist.
If you are looking for a book about the finer points about actual belly dancing, you may want look elsewhere. This is a book about feminism, the joy of a female body and how we dance to celebrate. Fawzia talks about how women protect each other, feel proud and survive. She explains why eastern women belly dance and how they encourage women of all ages to dance. This dance is not a "jiggle show to entertain men" as westerners may think.
Now I'm wondering why in the west women dance so stiffly? Who is really suppressed here? Fawzia talks about the ancient history of belly dancing, life in an Arab culture, etc. If you are a dancer, interested in women's issues or interested in the middle east, this book is a must.
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Format: Hardcover
This book has its good points and its bad points.
The firstsection (stories from the author's childhood) is lovely. I only wish it were longer.
The second (the "history" of women's dancing) was a weakly-argued and poorly-supported rant. And while I am inclined to agree with many of her conclusions due to my own opinions and biases, the author didn't make much of a case on her own. Most of what she presents as fact is really conjecture.
The third section attempts to introduce middle eastern dance movements, but the descriptions are not specific enough to follow unless you already know the move. Pictures would have helped; the book has several, but they don't illustrate the moves (with the exeption of the hand posture photo, which was excellent). Not that you can learn any dance form from a book, but this one is unusually unhelpful. This section isn't entirely useless, though. If you're already enrolled in a class, it can give you another perspective on the movements you're learning. I've always found it helpful to have them explained another way.
The fourth section is a description of some dance occasions (birth, weddings, etc.) and the dances that accompany them. However, the descriptions are short and vague, and by this point in the book, I don't quite trust the author anymore, so I'm wary of the authenticity of what she has to say.
I seemed to have bashed this book, but it has its place. The stories in the first section were certainly worth reading. And while it didn't actually teach me anything, this book helped me to add a sort of meaning to my dancing; it gave me a focus and attitude that helped transform what I was doing from just exercising to actually dancing. And that is a valuable and important thing. However, the language is VERY New-Agey. I've hugged my share of trees, but it got to me after a while. If you don't have a good tolerance for that kind of thing, skip this book or only read one section at a time ... END
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