Taiwan Fun Magazine, January 2004

Arabesque Belly Dance Troupe - Merging Dance and Culture

Bonnie Huang Translated by Cara Steenstra



everyone was mesmerized by the colorful costumes and alluring glances

Fanciful costumes, alluring glances and mesmerizing movements are usually what comes to mind when you mention Middle Eastern belly dancing. The Arabesque Belly Dance Troupe, led by Lee Wan Ru, has one male and five female members and has been established for approximately a year now.

A year ago, when people saw the belly dance performances, everyone was mesmerized by the colorful costumes and alluring glances and, after one year of training and experience, Ms. Lee has combined dance with cultural elements, so it is no longer just dancing, but an expression of the beauty of Middle Eastern culture. Each dancer in the troupe has a signature color and dance styles. Wen Qi's signature color is red. She has an enviable waistline and is a computer engineer-what you would call a girl who possesses both sense and sensibility. Her signature dances are the veil dance, drum dance and saber dance. Xing Yi's color is blue;, she has big bright eyes and a great figure, and she is a professional pharmacist. Her signature dances are the drum and saber dances.

Tambourines and castanets are often used as props and dancers use these musical instruments while dancing and keeping rhythm. Most normal tambourines are rather heavy, but the ones used in these dances are often much lighter, and the sound they create is different as well.

Juan Ru's color is orange, and she specializes in the veil dance and drum dance. The most famous veil dance is the Dance of Seven Veils. According to biblical legend, Salome wore seven veils while she danced for King Herod and his guests, removing the veils one by one while she danced, till she was left naked, much to the amusement of the audiences. For this, King Herod promised to fulfill any desire of hers. As Salome's mother harbored a deep hatred for John the Baptist, Salome asked for his head. In order to keep to his word, King Herod had John the Baptist beheaded.

Xiu Ya's color is green. Her signature dances are the veil dance, drum dance and candle dance. The candles used in the candle dances are often rather heavy, and this dance requires a very good sense of balance, making it often quite hard on the dancer.Yellow is the signature color of Yi Jun, who is petite and curvy. She specializes in the Indian-style belly dance, the drum dance and the shepherdess' staff dance. The only male member of the dance troupe is Yen Yu Ming, a noodle stall owner. Many years ago, he was the only survivor of a fire at a Western-style restaurant where he was working as a pianist. After the incident, he developed severe depression, but was able to overcome this problem when he began studying dance. Although he is already 40 years old, he dances with confidence and style.
If you would like to know more about Arabesque Belly Dance Troupe and their activities, please visit their web page at http://mypaper.pchome.com.tw/news/vaiolelee