Recently, I have become aware of a particular form of Middle Eastern dance from Iraq called Kawleeya
. There are videos of it on YouTube performed by Daila
, who is an international award winner professional belly dancer based in the Czech Republic. You can see an example below.
When I first saw one of these videos, I was amazed. Daila is a great bellydancer and moves in ways that seem almost humanly impossible! As for the Kawleeya dance, it seems to be characterised by the shoulder shimmies
and the head rolls
and energetic hair flipping
. Kawleeya are a gypsy group in Iraq and Kawleeya literally means Gipsy. An Iraqi friend of mine, Jeanan, told me that, before the war, Kawleeya was a disgraceful dance. It was only performed by common people, by gypsies or by prostitutes (many of which in Iraq were Kawleeya), hence the bad reputation of this dance.
However, as my friend tells me, after the war things have changed and the gypsies rose to become artists that represented Iraq. Now, all Iraqi women, according to my friend, want to dance like this and dance the Kawleeya way at social events. Personally, I like this dance and I think it is beautiful to watch, even though I would never attempt the energetic hair flipping for fear of injuring my neck :)
I have posted one of Daila’s Kawleeya performances
above. Everybody I spoke to agrees that Daila is an accomplished dancer; however, some people think that the way she performs is not authentic. I personally like the way Daila dances, but she is a professional belly dancer based in Europe, hence she performs for the stage and her dance may be influenced by various styles she is accomplished in. The way Kawleeya people perform maybe be a bit different, but I have never had the chance to see them dance so I cannot tell.
Please feel free to comment with your opinions and give some information in case you know more about Kawleeya.
Find out more information on belly dance styles
and bellydance classes in the Czech Republic