Seoul Bellydance Evening
Trip Start Aug 16, 2013
372Trip End Aug 25, 2013
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Luckily the bellydance dinner is held once a month and this month co-incided with my three day weekend in Seoul so I was able to attend. The rain was still playing games waiting for me. While I was resting up in the hanok home for the evening show the rain had stopped. As soon as I decided to head out it started to pound again.
The restaurant wasnt too difficult to find at the other end of Itaewon that I havent been to before
First, the evening began with a 45 min video and music show while we were served a starter course and got to know the fellow guests. I didnt realize I was infact sitting next to one of the dancers. Later it seemed half the people in the restaurant were actual performers.
The video showed a short summary of tradtional folk dance and music across the greater middle east, from morocco across north africa, thru saudi arabia, yemen, the gulf states, and Iran, before ending in the middle east heartland Syria, Palestine, Turkey, and finally Egypt. This was not just a bellydance video but all kinds of folk traditions including male dancing sheikhs in the gulf states.
Next was the first set of dancers. By now many of the people I thought were guests had snuck into the washroom to change into their outfits. There was an opening act of five dancers, before solo performances. Interestingly these were all western or korean dancers that had studied bellydance, not arabic people raised in the culture. This allowed for some creative interpretation on the part of the dancers, although not all of it was true bellydancing.
Video : Opening Act
Video : Western Bellydancer
The lady I was sitting next to, who in fact was one of the korean dancers, did an elaborate swirling routine with giant gold drapes
Video : Swirling Fabric Dance
Video : Host Belynda's Dance
After the first set of dancers the main course was served which was rice, lamb kebabs, and grilled chicken. We were also served arabic tea, and the starters were pita bread, hummus, and falafel. After the main course was the second set of dancers. Some of the same dancers performed again, but there were also two korean ladies that did solo dances and one kept swirling her long hair around.
Video : Korean Bollywood & Arabic Dance
Finally, the best act was a male performer
Video : Zahur - Lawrence of Arabia Dance
After the show was over they opened the floor for anyone to come up and participate and it became a large circle performance. It was a fun evening for only 25,000w ($25) including video show, two sets of performances, dinner and appetizers with tea.
The event is held monthly, called a 'Hafla', so be sure to check out the group on facebook "Middle Eastern Culture, Dance & Art Club in Korea (MECDACK)". Belynda, originally from Australia holds a PHD, and has her own website http://azhaardance.com/ as well as a facebook page "Belynda Azhaar: Bellydance Artist". The website for arabfest can also be found at http://kas2010.cafe24.com/
Bellydancing is surprisingly popular in korea. I've seen two bellydancing performances two different times at Busan beach festivals. Daegu also has a bellydance academy and there are many bellydancing schools. Some of the guests at the dinner also goto bellydance classes around Seoul.
Sunday morning the rain was still coming down hard in Seoul but half an hour out on the high speed train to Daegu the clouds began to clear
Oops... Belynda found my blog on the internet and wanted to point out some corrections:
Thank you for reviewing/promoting the event.
I just wanted to clarify a few things.
1. The haflas are not always held at Petra.
2. The haflas are not a "bellydance show". They are a night of Middle Eastern food, music, dance and culture. Sometimes there aren't any performances at all. The night you attended had more performances than usual.
3. The 25,000 won is purely the cost of the dinner (food).
4. The "golden drape fabric things" are called wings, or Isis wings. They are an extremely popular prop used worldwide by dancers INCLUDING dancers in Egypt, Turkey, etc. The "swirling rainbow shawl" is called a veil. Again, it's a popular prop which started with Samia Gamal in Egypt.
5. Zahur did in fact perform "true bellydance" (Turkish style).