Don't call it bellydancing
How did a wasp on a woman's naked body inspire Lebanon's finest choreographer? Ismene Brown went to Beirut to find out for the Daily Telegraph
A stone's throw from the astounding Roman temples of Baalbek, Lebanon, we sit in the shade-dappled garden of a villa, drinking mint tea. Six very old men with very large moustaches study me gravely from under their white headcloths, and brush dust from their blue galabiyas as they get up to dance. They link arms and start a lurching step and a seasick sway that imitates the camel's gait, but with a sudden little hiccup in the middle. The man on the end, however, 40 years younger, can't time the hiccup right.
"The donkey, the donkey!" My host, the director of the Arab world's only contemporary dance company, Abdel-Halim Caracalla, is almost beside himself with pleasure as he points at the embarrassed man stuck in the position known as "riding the donkey". "He needs five more years to learn! My dancers could never do this, they don't understand the rhythms in their bodies. When they say to me, 'Folklore is less good', I say, 'Shut up', because they are outsiders and they could never do this. You have to be Baalbekese." click for more