An American Belly Dancer
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The purpose of this research was to investigate the creative process of six professional American Belly Dancers: Shannon Conklin, Elena Villa, Lila McDaniel, TC Skinner, Manny Garcia, and Cera Byer. I took a class with each dancer, witnessed each dancer creating movement, and witnessed each dancer perform. After each experience I held discussions with each dancer. I learned that, for some of the dancers, music is everything, but for others, Belly Dance can be performed to any sound. For some of the dancers, Belly Dance is highly codified, and for others it is experimental. For some of the dancers, Belly Dance is a solo endeavor, but for others, dancing with a troupe is essential. Following these findings, I created six movement explorations - one based on each professional Belly Dancer in my study. Supplemental video footage of these explorations can be viewed as a companion to this written document.