Dances of the Nailiyat from Algeria
The Nailiyat, or the women of the Ouled Nail tribe from the region of the Algerian oasis towns of Bou Saada and Biskra, used to earn their dowries by dancing and working as courtesans in caravan crossroad towns. When they had earned enough money they returned to their tribe to marry. The Nailiyat were particularly popular with the French Legionnaires, who called their dances Danse du Ventre (which translated became “belly dance”). Helene was fortunate to work with Aisha Ali who conducted field research in Algeria in the late 70's among the Ouled Nail as well as to go to Algeria herself. Students should bring a scarf (ca. 80cm x 80cm).