The most prolific of dance historians, presents the real history of dance in the Middle East before 1900.
Bibliography on the subject consists mainly of fantasies by modern writers seeking to flatter today’s belly dancers. Dr. Raftis worked for ten years in the reserves of national libraries, where other readers do not have access, examining extremely rare books. He uncovered eyewitness accounts by European travelers, constituting practically the only source on dance practice in the 19th and previous centuries.
A selection of these descriptions, hidden for 200 years or more, are faithfully reproduced in this album, together with works by orientalist painters who had watched performances by native dancers and adapted these exotic scenes to decorate the salons of their contemporaries. That was a time when no Western woman would dream of dancing such dances.
Prof. Raftis’s collection includes 4000 prints on dance plus hundreds of descriptions by travelers before 1900. These treasures will be published in a series, inaugurated by the album Orientalist dance.
Thus, Dance History will be established as scientific discipline, relying on the objective interpretation of period documents, away from naive story-telling.
A 136 page full-color album 20 x 28 cm, including 58 plates and 43 accounts by travelers from 1164 to 1825 AD.