Kaşık Oyunları

Kaşık Oyunları is a wooden spoon dance from Turkish Anatolia. The history is unclear, as there is much oral history but little evidence in pictures and documents. Depending on the region, it was done in groups in a circle. However, women were not always allowed. The earliest reference to dancing with wooden spoons I have found is in the works of Fredrik Hasselquist in the 18th century-

He was dressed in a short jacket was bare footed and looked like a Turkish soldier. He held in each hand two wooden spoons. Thus accoutred he skipped about the middle of the room and moved his head and arms as much as his feet at the fame often bending his body backwards forwards and sideways. He held the spoons two in each in such a manner between his fingers that he could frequently strike them together which with the rough music made a noise no ways agreeable to ears.

The full entry can be seen at Voyages and Travels in the Levant in the Years 1749, 50, 51, 52 by Fredrik Hasselquist. If anyone has any other references, please let me know!
Recommended reading
Spoon Dance In The Hippocampus
Turkish Dance & Styles on Les Arts Turcs Tours.
Dances of the “Roma” Gypsy Trail From Rajastan to Spain: Balkan “”Cocek”” by Miriam Peretz. From the Dom Research Centre.
A Pictorial History of Turkish Dancing:
From Folk Dancing to Whirling Dervishes, Belly Dancing to Ballet
by Metin And.

Raqs Al-Juzur

Raqs Al-Juzur is also known as the Tunisian pot dance. This is a dance performed by the Jawaahir Dance Company. This is another dance troupe called Arabia Adorned. This is known as a folkloric style of dance, performed by men and women at weddings. The music eventually builds to a crescendo, with large hip movements also building up. The dance was thought to have been created in the southern region of Tunisia, where ceramics was a main industry. Unfortunately there is very little information on the dance out there. If you have any, please comment!
Recommended reading
The Habiba Studio– dance articles can be downloaded; they are in pdf format.
The Musical Pulse of Tunisia by Thorne Anderson. Via Saudi Aramco World Online Magazine.

Some Gypsy & dance references

This will be a little different to the usual post, as I am asking for people’s thoughts and opinions about some websites.

This link popped up on Facebook and after reading through it, I wasn’t happy with some of the theories it presented as fact. At least, not about the dance anyway. Such as it being only from fertility cults, Egypt importing Indian dancers in 1500 BC etc.

FirebornChronicles.com– Gypsy research.

None of the geocities links work, but there is a link to a Sir Richard Burton book- The Jew, the Gypsy and El Islam. This is a pdf download rife with anti-semitic sentiments. A link to the book minus the anti-semitic nonsense can be found here in the Internet Archive- The Jew, The Gypsy, and El Islam.

Please look through the page and let me know what you think. I would love a factual discussion!

Moroccan Shikhat

This YouTube clip was at a concert called Aywah! by Katarina Burda. The clip is done in the style of Moroccan Shikhat, which is a version of Guedra but done by professional women. The name Shikhat is given to women who sing, dance, perform and also prostitute themselves. While they have a “bad reputation”, they are also sought out for large celebrations such as weddings and circumcisions. There is little to no historical record available. If anyone has anything on the history of these dancers that may go back into the medieval era, please let me know.
Recommended reading
Poems of Honor, Voices of Shame: The ʻaiṭa and the Moroccan Shikhat by Alessandra Maria Ciucci. Via Google Books.
Les musiciennes professionnelles au Maroc by Alessandra Ciucci. In French. JStor article.
Dancing around Orientalism by Donnalee Dox. JStor article.
Gender on the Market: Moroccan Women and the Revoicing of Tradition by Deborah Anne Kapchan. Via Google Books.
Moroccan Female Performers Defining the Social Body by Deborah A. Kapchan. JStor article.
Music and Gender: Perspectives from the Mediterranean by Tullia Magrini. Via Google Books.
The Politics and Poetics of Dance by Susan A. Reed. JStor article.


This is a YouTube clip of a traditional dance of Morocco called Guedra. Done by the Tuareg Berber tribe, it is not considered a dance but a ritual, to share peace and love between everyone. However, the history of the dance is hard to find. If anyone knows of anything I missed, please let me know.
Recommended reading
Dancing around Orientalism by Donnalee Dox. JStor article.
Guedra: the faq by Karol Harding.
Dance As Community Identity in Selected Berber Nations of Morocco: from the Ethereal and Sublime to the Erotic and Sexual by Morocco (Carolina Varga Dinicu).

Some dances from Uzbek, Turkey & Armenia

This is a dancer named Marguerite Kusuhara doing a sufi dance.

This is Ballet Afsaneh and Miriam Peretz (see previous post Persian Dancing) dancing a Tajik/Uzbeki dance.

This is also Miriam Peretz, dancing a Tajik/Uzbeki dance solo.

This is a Russian video of a dance known as Kochari. It is a Turkish/Armenian folk dance. There are some differences of opinion on the history of the dance. If you have any information, please let me know.
Recommended reading
Ottoman period on the Pandect: the World of Greek Dance website.
On the Subject of Ethnic and Cultural Parallels:
the Art of Dancing in Khorezm and Turkey
written by Inna Gorlina on the San’at Magazine website.
Turkish Folklore on the Meander Travel website.
Turkish Hamman and the West: Myth and Reality by Anna Vanzan Via Google Docs.

Flamenco & the Zambra Mora

This clip was done by Nesma, a dancer in Spain. Many people believe that Flamenco originated in the dances of the Moors. The Moriscos danced what is known as the Zambra Mora, which was forbidden and then they were expelled.These two clips are done by Puela Lunaris, who runs Dances of the World.This clip was done by Anjelica Scannura, a teacher at the Arabesque Academy. There are also many more clips of Flamenco & Zambra Mora on the Ana Otero YouTube Channel.
Exploring Flamenco’s Arab Roots by Greg Noakes. From Saudi Aramco World.
Zambra Mora by unknown author on Fusion-bellydance.com.
Zambra Mora by Ana Ruiz. This is a chapter of her book about Zambra Mora but her book Vibrant Andalusia: the spice of life in southern Spain can be read via Google Books. Preview only.
The Zambra Mora (also known as Danza Mora) by Maureen Theresa.
Andalusian, Gypsy, and Class Identity in the Contemporary Flamenco Complex by Peter Manuel. JStor article.
Dances for the Royal Festivities in Madrid in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries by David Sanchez Cano. JStor article.

Ouled Nail

This dance was done by Aisha Ali, who is well known for her folkloric dances. She is dancing in the style of the women of the Ouled Nail, a tribe from the north of Africa. Unfortunately there is not much information out there about the Ouled Nail dancers in period, as their work did involve prostitution and erotic dances. However, there is quite a bit written about them by foreign travellers out of the Medieval period which only enhanced the licentious reputation.This video is from 1938, showing a woman dancing with a man and her daughter.

If you have any information on the Ouled Nail, I would love to see it!
The Ouled Nail of Algeria by Jasmin Jahal.
The Ouled Nail by Maggie McNeill on the Honest Courtesan Blog.
Earning Power, Ethnology, and Happily Ever After by Andrea Deagon, Ph.D. Article in the Gilded Serpent.
Danse du Ventre: A Fresh Appraisal by Leona Wood and Anthony Shay. JStor article.
The Lost Berber Villages of Eastern Morocco and Western Algeria by Richard I. Lawless. JStor article.
Cutthroats and Casbah Dancers, Muezzins and Timeless Sands: Musical Images of the Middle East by Ralph P. Locke. JStor article.
Exploring Algeria 1944: Barbaric Beauty by Starlight by Sgt Len Scott RAPC. A first hand account of Algeria during WWII.


A folkloric dance that is an offshoot from Sufi Whirling Dervishes. They are normally performed for tourists now, but I am unsure how long they have been performed.
Unfortunately the video is not great in that clip. Performed by Osama Mimi Farag.
This clip was done by Tara, a professional bellydancer in London.

If anyone out there has anything on this very striking dance, please let me know. This is what I have found so far.
Tannoura by Aleta Quinn.
Hodjapasha Culture Center– article on Rumi.
The Egyptian Castle– El Tanoura.
The Mawlawi Museum and the Sunqur Sa’di Madrasa by Lara Iskander.