Middle Eastern Dancing on the Web

Aoife, with the help of Mistress Katja Davida Orlova, shares an annotated list of Middle Eastern Dance sources available online.

Hi everyone. This week's links post is a killer. I apologise for the length, but there was so very much valuable information on the web, once I was educated to the proper search terms. I couldn't possibly cut any of it out, since I had several requests for this type of search. I've divided it into two posts to make it less bounce-able for various list serves.

I'd like to thank the newly-elevated Mistress Katja Davida Orlova etc.... of Aethlemearc, Companion of the Pelican and dancer extrordinaire, for helping me with the search terms. You see, I can do a great many things gracefully, but dancing isn't one of them!

I hope you enjoy this week's Links list, and as always feel free to share wherever you find an interested audience.


(Site Excerpt) In Ottoman society, which was composed of various religious and ethnic communities, several different cultures existed side by side, each community having its own way of life, traditions, customs and mores. These cultures continued to exist for many centuries influencing each other and having been influenced by one another. This social structure is often described as a mosaic of cultures. Musical conventions of various ethnic and religious communities in the Ottoman empire whose territory spread over three continents, also co-existed. Each community preserved its religious music in its place of worship and its folk music within its traditions as a product of the folk culture.

Part IV: Secular Middle Eastern Music during the Middle Ages
(Site excerpt) Introduction: Music was important to the people of the Middle East. It was popular with common people in folk songs and dances which were part of their traditional culture. Court music and dance were popular with the rich and musicians were supported by the royalty (kings and princes). Islam did control some types of musical entertainment. (Ed. Note: This page contains some period illustrations of male and some female garb incl. female musicians in what looks like gawazi coats).

Part VII: Dance - Folk Dancing, Court Entertainment, and Sufi Religious Dancing
(Site Excerpt) Introduction: Just as with music, there are different views that Muslims have about dancing. To some, there should be no dancing at all. They see music and dancing as moving toward sin. To others, folk dancing just between men or just between women is fine, but not between mixed couples or in front of the opposite sex. They also would criticise dancing as is popular with youth in the United States, for example, as very wrong and too sexy. Others have no objection to watching professional dancers, but "good Muslims" would not do that. And in contrast, some Muslims saw music and dancing as a way to become closer to Allah. Throughout the history of Islam, there have been times of greater acceptance or rejection of dance. (Ed. Note: This page contains some Persian and Turkish illustrations form our period of history of Dancers in mid-dance).

C. Religious Dancing of the Sufi Muslims
(Site Excerpt) Sufis were Muslims who tried to connect with God through experiences such as dance, music, prayer, poetry, meditation, fasting, and some even through pain of self-flagellation (beating oneself). Their founder was Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi, a poet and mystic who lived from 1207 - 1273. Sufis brought Islam to the common person in many of the areas that had been conquered or whose rulers had been converted. It was especially popular with both literate and illiterate people in Turkey, Persia, India, and North Africa. Sufis preached that there could be a personal and direct relationship with God, not just through studying of written works and through scholarship. (Ed. Note: There is a special section on Women's sufi dancing, period illustrations of male and female Sufi dancers, and an explanation of how modern "belly dancing" grew out of the dancing tradition).

MATERIALS FROM THE MIDDLE EAST & EUROPE - in alphabetical order of the languages -
A list of books about Mid-East culture (use these for an inter-library search, if you can read the titles. Some in English, some not).

TURKISH BALLET AND DANCE Geyvan McMillen Mimar Sinan University
(Site Excerpt) HISTORY
Anatolia that has long been viewed as the bridge over which the great cultures crossed, possesses a rich and splendid vocabulary of gestures and movements of dances. Writing about Turkish dance, one should first research the wealth of the Turkish Folkloric Dance before going into the subject of dance in the Western sense. Each region has a different characteristic that distinguishes its dances from the others. This is because of the folklore of Turkey that has consisted of so many heterogeneous elements never lost the ability to embrace new components. These dances have been created by the separate traditions and ultimate blending of five great cultural trends over a period of 900 years according to Prof. Dr. Metin And who researched extensively on the subject.

Origins of Oriental Dance

(Site Excerpt) The Turks came from Central Asia and settled in the Central Anatolian plateau. They were there for centuries before they gained possession of other parts of Anatolia, captured Istanbul and advanced into Europe, Africa and Asia to create an empire. The Anatolian peninsula is the bridge between Asia and Europe and many major migrants have travelled its path. Over a period of more than two thousand years it has been inhabited by representatives of various civilizations - Hittites, Greeks Phrygians, Lydians, Isaurians, Cappodocians and Byzantines to mention only a few. Although there is no one Turkish national dance, there are several thousand folk dances which incorporate elements from many of these cultures. Islamic prohibitions against dancing mainly affected the city dwellers, and not the peasants in isolated villages.

Origins of Dance ANCIENT EGYPT
(Site Excerpt) Nudity was very much a part of Egyptian society. In the Old Kingdom and Middle Kingdom, women frequently wore very short skirts and danced bare breasted. They often danced quite nude, except for the hip belts and perhaps jewelry. Henna was used to stain the hands and nails for beauty, and for its medicinal and magical properties. This custom has also survived: The traditional Turkish wedding ceremony still contains a Henna ceremony for the new bride the night before the wedding.

Dancer History Archives by Streetswing.com
Belly Dance or Raks Sharki Main Page

This brief article is not copy permissable, but gives a few good sources for historical ME dance.

About Arabic Dance.
Dance in the pre-Islamic past

(Site Excerpt) There is also much evidence of dance in ancient Syria, Turkey and other countries. Some aspects of this dance was simply a form of entertainment, but it was also related to the worship of various fertility goddesses, such as Hathor in Egypt, Aphrodite in Greece and Ishtar in Babylon. Ancient writers record these dances as being based on movements of the hips, circling, swaying and shaking of the body. The female worshippers often danced themselves into an ecstatic frenzy where they felt they were linked to the power of the goddess.

Naming The Dance By Laura Osweiler (Amara)
(Site Excerpt) In the Middle East, there are several genres and styles of dance. Today, the professional solo female dance is called in Arabic Raks al-Sharki (Dance of the East/Orient) and, or Raks al-Arabi (Arabic Dance). The dancer may wear costumes including the bedlah (two-piece outfit), gowns, and beledi (one-piece folkloric outfit) and performs in many venues such as concerts, clubs, restaurants, parties, weddings, and mawalid (Saint's Day Festivals). Raks al-Sharki, often employed by Americans when using a native term, is controversial in itself as it represents the compliance by the East to use Western markers to define themselves.


Baladi or Beledi By HADIA
(Site Excerpt) The word baladi, as translated from Arabic, means "of the country". It implies story telling and folklore or the expression of a people about their culture and their everyday life. The term, raks baladi or baladi dance, refers to the folkloric style of Egyptian group or solo dance. This encompasses the fellahin, bambootia and saidi dances, using fellahy, baladi and saidi rhythms. The saidi style has its roots in the raks tahhtyb, which is a men's combat dance performed with a large stick. This evolved into the woman's raks assaya, or cane dance, which is more delicate and coquettish than the male counterpart but does not hesitate to occasionally imitate it's macho quality.

Common Arabic Words and Dance Terms
(Site Excerpt) There are a number of common Arabic words and phrases you will come across after a while. Here is a selection.You will find a number of different spellings for many words. This is mainly due to assumptions in transliteration of the Arabic script that normally does not show short vowels. It also can be due to regional variations. For instance, for "town", the Hippocrene dictionary gives the spelling "balad" for Syrian Arabic and "beled" for the Egyptian version. (Note Egyptian Arabic is often quite different from standard Arabic in both pronunciation and vocabulary).

Dance No-No's
The "Naughty Nine" and a Few of Their Friends By Jalilah Sahar

(Site Excerpt) There is little difference in the public's mind between that of Raks Sharqi and stripping. But for the presence of heavy costuming, the audience may perceive these movements as lewd, solicitous, and just plain offensive, if, that is, they are executed improperly and with carelessness. One of the risks with being an American "Raks Sharqi" dancer is that we must always struggle to push ourselves beyond the borders of America in terms of authenticity, etc. with our art. This means that we must deal with the cards we are dealt and structure our dance so it is as authentic and respectful as possible; not an easy thing when so far removed from the original source. Therefore, in order to maintain the cultural dignity of Raks Sharqi, we must maintain a sense of "restraint" when planning our approach to choreography, practice and presentation.

Sensual, erotic and an inseparable feature of Turkish tradition for centuries
Belly Dancing

I'm not going to quote any part of this article, since it's for sale. Youc an read it online, however.

The World's Oldest Dance- A History of Bellydance (Revised) by Karol Henderson Harding, a.k.a. "The Joyful Dancer"
(Site Excerpt) The largest contribution of Turkish culture to belly dance is a rhythmic one. Turkish finger snapping (a special two-handed finger snap) is common to both Gypsies and Eastern dance in general. Turkey has a history of the manufacture of metal cymbals of all sizes. The cymbal was used with warlike effect by those feared mercenaries, the Janissaries. Mr. And also notes that both the dancing boys and girls marked time with finger snapping, with the calpara clapper sticks, or metal finger castanets called 'zil'. At some point small finger cymbals were played with a pair on each hand in the modern manner by dancers and entertainers.

All About Belly Dance 18---Turkey
(Site Excerpt) Turkish dances developed on two different planes, and in two cultural settings: that of Istanbul the capital of the Ottoman empire, a few other large cities, and that of the village. Mr And maintains that the geographic isolation of remote villages has helped to preserved over a thousand folk dances. These peasants are the pastoral unsettled fragments of the nomad hordes who strayed into Asia Minor in the Middle Ages, some of whom are still semi-nomadic. The second level of development was the court influence at the time of the Ottoman empire. The slightest event at court could effect the entire populace such as the birth of a new prince, the circumcision ceremony, a marriage the accession of a new ruler, or merely the girding on of the sultan's sword. All entailed the need for a public ceremony.

Kemence International Dance Ensemble Folk Dances
(Site Excerpt) There are four general subjects in Turkish folk dance: man's labors; real or mythical events; man's relationship with nature; and religion. There is no single national style of Turkish dance. Although attempts have been made to popularize certain dances on a wide scale, each region, even each village, maintains its own dances. Turkish folk dances, while remarkably diverse in character and origin, may nevertheless be classified into six broad categories, according to their geographic boundaries, which may overlap. They are: Halay, Horon, Hora (Karsilama), Bar, Zeybek, and Kasik. These represent different dance styles found in the country's numerous ethnic provinces.

Belly Dance Museum Frame Drums

THE B.S. IN BELLY DANCE by Jasmin Jahal, September 1998
(Site Excerpt) Yes, Habibi, there really is a lot of "B.S." in the world of Belly Dance - that is to say, "B" as in Baladi and "S" as in Saidi! (Hey! What did you think I meant?!) ......Baladi literally means "of the country". So, Egyptian Baladi means dance from the country of Egypt. If you study and perform Egyptian style oriental dance, then technically, you can be called a Baladi dancer. Also, there is a traditional rhythm known as baladi. It is in four counts (or 4/4), and it is a variation of the maksoum rhythm (another story, another time!). Dancers gave the baladi rhythm its name because they connect a distinct country or folk style of movement to this beat. Baladi is performed as a lively, happy dance, on its own or as a part of a long routine. The dancer is very interactive with the audience. At the very least, she claps her hands to get the audience to clap along.

Persian Dance and It's Forgotten History
(Site Excerpt) Iranian dance history is characterized by many fascinating and also tragic incidents. It seems to be completely unknown to the outside world, partly because of the present political situation of the country that has toned down the interest for a profound research effort. The other reason is the current archaeological discoveries and excavations in Iran, during the past thirty years. They have made it possible to have access to material and evidence for the origin of Persian dance, ever since the appearance of the cult of Mithra about two thousand years before our calendar.

Six Samples of Folk and Classical Persian Dance Videos
(Site Excerpt: DVD for Sale)Please note, in most cases we have reduced the quality of Graphics and Sound by 75% for Internet viewers with slow link. We remind you the Graphics, Video and Audio quality on CD-ROM are far better than samples you see.

Persian Dance by Jasmin Jahal, November 2001
(Site Excerpt) For those of us who study modern day belly dance, it is interesting to investigate the contributions of different areas of the Middle East. Whenever I have seen good Persian dance, I have often wondered about the history behind it and how its performance style and costuming developed. Clearly, it is quite different from the standard belly dance. The beauty and femininity of Persian dance is not often a topic in dance seminars. Indeed, finding any performance of Persian dance is rare. Research relieves that dance from Persia is rooted in one very small place, the Fars Province in southwest modern Iran. In its time, the Persian Empire was vast and ruled over numerous nations, from Egypt to India. It was considered the world's first religiously tolerated empire. It consisted of a multitude of different languages, races, religions and cultures. One can see professional dancers depicted in artwork dating back to 2500 B.C.

Male Belly Dance in Turkey by Jasmin Jahal, February 2002
(Site Excerpt) It has become all the rage in Istanbul for nightclubs to feature young, handsome male belly dancers. They are called rakkas from the word raks, which means dance. They dress in sparkling costumes and perform nearly every night of the week. While conservatives object to male belly dancing, the practice actually ha a very long history, particularly in Turkey.The Ottoman Empire was an era that was named for a Muslim prince called Osman I. The golden age of the Empire was during the reign of Suleyman the Magnificent (1520-66). Throughout the reigns of several sultans, the Ottoman Empire lasted from 1345 until 1922, when the sultanate was abolished and Turkey became a republic.

Guerda Dance of Morocco by Jasmin Jahal, December 2001 http://jasminjahal.com/articles/01_12_guedra.html
(Site Excerpt) The Guedra is associated with the village of Goulimine, in the southwest desert area of Morocco. The nomads there are known as the Blue People of the Tuareg Berber. They are so called because they wear distinctive robes of a very deep blue color, and the dye impregnates their skin, making them appear blue! The Guedra takes its name from the drum played to keep its rhythms. The word guedra means, "pot" in Arabic. The drum is made of a common kitchen pot with goatskin stretched over the top. This drum is a hybrid of the percussive drums used in Africa and the Near East. No other instrument is played. The dance is performed to the beat of one drum and the chanting and hand clapping of onlookers. The rhythm is an unornamented 6, steady and hypnotic. The purpose of the ritual is to serve as a blessing for friends or married people or to the community, or to submit the self to God. This is very unlike the placating of spirits or exorcism found in the Zar dance. Some say the Guedra has the power to attract a mate from miles away, drawn by the mystical rhythm of the drum.

Arabic Glossary for Dancers by Jasmin Jahal, April 2000
(Site Excerpt) Have you ever wished that you could easily learn Arabic? Most oriental dancers form the West do not speak the Arabic language. We become accustomed to listening to lyrics that we fall in love with simply by their pure sound, rather than by understanding exactly what is being said. They lyrics are usually quite lovely and meaningful. Most often the songs are about some aspect of love and probably the most common word is "Habibi," which is a term of endearment. Lyrics are usually written in the masculine sense, even if a man is singing them.

Good Books as References (on ME Dance)

The History of Why Women Have Danced Through the Ages, and Society's Attitudes Toward Women Who Perform 'The Most Womanly of Art Forms.' by Julie Roberts
(Site Excerpt) Whosoever knoweth the power of the dance, dwelleth in God. - Rumi, Persian dervish poet. Perhaps the most well-known story to illustrate this notion is the Greek myth featuring Rhea, who's name comes from an archaic word meaning 'earth'. Rhea's husband was Chronos, who was known to devour his children at birth. So, when their son Zeus was born, Rhea wrapped a stone in swaddling clothes and gave it to Chronos instead of the newborn baby. Then she fled with Zeus and took him to a caste of priests called the Curetes, where he could be cared for in safety. There, the Curetes danced over the baby with leaps and shouts and beat their shields with their swords as they had been taught by Rhea, so that Chronos would not hear Zeus' cries. According to legend, the priests repeated this rite in their religious ceremonies for centuries.

A Primer on Middle Eastern Dance Styles by Soher Azar
(Site Excerpt) There are various trance dances and dances to cast out demons; these are often religious dances. Examples of some of the most well known dances include: Certain Sufi sects perform "Whirling Dervish" twirling dances as part of their religious ceremonies. The Zar is "the trance ceremony of North Africa and the middle east", a dance used to placate demons/djinns; it is characterized by violent head tosses. The Guedra is a blessing dance of the Tureg of Morocco.

GUEDRA: THE FAQ By Karol Harding, a.k.a. JOYFUL DANCER
(Site Excerpt) The Guedra is the Tuareg Blessing dance. In Arabic the Guedra is also the name of the cooking pot (or cauldron) which these nomads carry with them. This pot was covered with an animal skin to make a drum. The Guedra rhythm according to Morocco is: duh DAH m duh DAH/ dun DAH m duh DAH. She compares this to the Flamenco Bulerias rhythm, which is the same basic beat. It is not traditionally played on a dombeck and there are no sharp "tek" sounds used.

THE ZAR REVISITED by Me'ira - The Joyful Dancer
(Site Excerpt) Despite the fact that the Zar, which is the trance ceremony of North Africa and the middle east is technically prohibited by Islam, it continues to be an essential part of these cultures. Since I've been fortunate to find some new information on the Zar, I wanted to take another look at this phenomenon.The Zar is best described as a "healing cult" which uses drumming and dancing in its ceremonies. It also functions as a sharing of knowledge and charitable society among the women of these very patriarchal cultures. Most leaders of Zar are women, and most participants are women. Many writers have noted that while the majority of the possessing spirits are male, those possessed are generally female. This is not to say that the men do not contribute to zar ceremonies.....

Brief History of Middle Eastern Dance Here is an excellent article from a chronological lecture, a demonstration given by Jamila for the Medical students at the University of California- June 1968.
Birth Magic Ritual

(Site Excerpt) "When anyone hears that a belly dancer is going to preform in most cases, the first thing that comes to mind is all the cliches about sexuality and sensuality for the benefit of male provacation. The dancer was originally anything but that. First, let us trace briefly the origin of the term- Belly Dance. Until fairly recently, this dance was referred to by middle Easterners simply as the Oriental dance. When the French saw the dance they called it the Danse Du Ventre- which translated means, dance of the abdomen and much latter the American G.I. was to see the dance and translate the French expression into "The Belly Dance". The history of this dance goes back to the early cult of the Mother Goddess- about 4,000 B.C. in Mesopotomia and was known as the BIRTH MAGIC RITUAL. Men were excluded from the ritual since it dealt with childbirth and the movements in the ritual imitated the involuntary spasms precading the birth of a child.

Armenian Dance by Laura Shannon
(Site Excerpt) Generally, I place Armenian dances into four categories: dances from Eastern Caucasian Armenia, from Western Anatolian Armenia, from Greater Armenia, and diaspora dances. These categories may overlap somewhat, but they give a broad picture of the landscape of Armenian dance as I understand it. A general differentiation could also be made between village folk dances and those which have been arranged or choreographed by professional ensembles, as well as between the dances found in Armenia today and those now danced mainly in expatriate communities.

Origins of Oriental Dance
(Site Excerpt)
* Part 1: What is Belly Dance?
* Part 2a: Greece/Macedonia/Bible/India
* Part 2b: Ancient Egypt/Medieval Egypt & Ghawazee
* Part 2c: Turkey/Ottoman/Persia/Spain/Gypsies
* Part 2d: Islamic Prohibitions in Persia/Trance Dancing & Zar Cult/Berbers/Conclusions
* Part 3: Costuming

Books on: Central Asian Tribes, History & Trade, Turkoman Jewelry & Central Asian Textiles
See the middle of the page for Middle Eastern Dance History & Belly Dancing Costume Books

Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi (Whirling Dervish Dance Site)
(Site excerpt) Whirling Dervishes
The "dance" of the Whirling Dervishes is called Sema. Sema is a part of the inspiration of Mevlana as well as part of the Turkish custom, history, beliefs and culture. Sema represents a mystical journey of man's spiritual ascent through mind and love to "Perfect." Turning towards the truth, his growth through love, desert his ego, find the truth and arrive to the "Perfect," then he return from this spiritual journey as a man who reached maturity and a greater perfection, so as to love and to be of service to the whole of creation, to all creatures without discrimination of believes, races, classes and nations

Aziza Sa'id's Mideastern Bellydance Booklist (with some history books)

Uzbek Dance
(Site excerpt) "Hearts respond to the strings! Hands respond to the drums! At the first sound of strings and drums, two sleeves were raised. Like whirling snow, so graceful, revolving in the opulent dance!"

Uzbek Dance and Culture Society
About the Dance: History & Styles
From: "Splendors of the Silk Road" by Laurel Victoria Gray

(Site Excerpt) The dance traditions of present-day Uzbekistan have been enriched by numerous cultures over the centuries because the country's central location on the Silk Road, the ancient trade routes which linked China with the Mediterranenan. Once known as Bactria, Transoxiana, Maveranaher, and Turkestan, the area was first inhabited between 55,000 to 70,000 years ago. The ancient tribes that lived in Central Asia left petroglyphs, bas-reliefs, clay sculptures, and other artifacts depicting dancers and musicians.

Medieval Sourcebook: Jalal ad-Din Rumi (1207-1273): Poems from the Divan-I Shams-I Tabriz, c. 1270 CE
(Site excerpt) Section V
A beauty that all night long teaches love-tricks to Venus and the moon, Whose two eyes by their witchery seal up the two eyes of heaven. (Ed note: Rumi was a poet who revered music dance, etc... but above all found deep meaning in the relationship between a lover and the beloved. To Rumi, all arts stem from this relationship).

Preserving traditions through dance
(Site Excerpt of news article on a Southern Russian dance troups from an arabic-influenced area) "The dances all come from different stories of daily life among the Circassians and show the agility of the men and the gracefulness of the women," said John Haghor, treasurer on the board of directors of the Kavkaz Cultural Center of California, a Garden Grove-based organization sponsoring (with the Circassian Benevolent Association) the folk-dance concert, which will feature 34 dancers in native costumes and indigenous instruments such as the accordion, flute and percussion.

Greek Dancing through the centuries
(Site Excerpt) Dance has played an important role in the life of Greeks all through their history. In the ancient Greek societies, dance was held in high regard. In fact, in his writings, Plato expresses his belief in the virtue of dancing, by saying that a man who can not dance is uneducated and unrefined. In the Byzantine times, despite the church guidelines, people were dancing in personal or public feasts. During the Turkish occupation, they continued to dance and they also created and passed down to us new dances praising the heroism of the fighters and their desire for independence and freedom, such as the dance of Zaloggos.

Moroccan Dance Bibliography

D A N C E - L Folk and Traditional Dance Mailing list

The Folk Dance - United Arab Emirates. (News Article)

Stefan's Florilegium ME Dance Messages

Exactly What Is Middle Eastern Dance? by Lady Blodwen ferch Maergred, Tribe Zareefat
(Site excerpt) Seven and a half years ago, I joined the SCA and began my studies in Middle Eastern Dance. In all those years, I have rarely met two people who can agree on what Middle Eastern dance in period is, much less how it should be recreated within the SCA. This article represents where my research and that of my household has led us. I have come to define Middle Eastern Dance by the following categories: Culture, Geographic Region, Time Period and Type or Style. All of these things have a bearing on what constitutes Middle Eastern Dance. For instance, many people equate Middle Eastern Dance with Belly Dance. They completely forget or are ignorant of the fact that Belly Dance is a post-period term that was applied by Western Europeans to only one type or style of Middle Eastern Dance.

al-musta'rib (Medieval Arab World) newsleter

Near and Middle Eastern Sites Worth Seeing

Costumes for SCA & Renaissance Faires by Shira
(Site Excerpt) What Not to Wear
When performing at an event that seeks to re-create either the Renaissance or the Medieval era, the following things would be extremely bad choices: Chainmail Bikini. The look popularized by Red Sonja in the 1980's might set young men's blood racing, but it's not a valid re-enactment of what Middle Eastern women once wore! There's a reason why they call the genre "fantasy". Save it for the science fiction conventions! Fur Bikini. I'm sure the men would like to touch your furry places, but it's all wrong for historical depiction! This is another choice better suited for science fiction conventions. Xena, Warrior Princess Costume. As a novelty costume for a comedy act at a belly dancing festival or hafla, it might be fun. It would be a big hit at a science fiction or comic book convention. But the Xena look just doesn't match the historical garb of real women from the Middle East and therefore is not the right choice for historical re-enactment. Anything With Glass Beads and Sequins. Women in historical times who had a passion for shiny things decorated their clothing with shisha mirrors (India), mozunas (Morocco), or coins. Sequins and beaded glass fringe didn't exist yet. Harem Fantasy Looks. Historical re-enactment events aren't the right places to look as if you raided the costume archives for an Aladdin movie or the 1960's television show "I Dream of Jeannie." Leave at home the teeny halter top, the chiffon, and the navel jewel. ......If historical accuracy is deemed important, then the American Tribal look is wrong because it consists of mixing costume items from assorted cultures (cholis from India, turbans from Middle Eastern men, Spanish-influenced flamenco skirts, necklaces from Afghanistan, tulle bi telli tunics or dresses from Egypt) with 20th-century invented-in-the-U.S. items such as tassel belts and coin bras. Although it looks fabulous, it's not an accurate depiction of the clothing any culture wore at any particular point in time.