Vol 2 No 4 Spring/Summer 2006
by Miriam Peretz
Romani people have enriched the arts of music and dance in immeasurable ways. They are a people united in their love of freedom from the bonds of civilization and in their vital need to live in harmony with nature. These traits have allowed them to develop their unique, inspirational achievements in the arts. Through their creative borrowing and lending within the music world, they have taken an important role in the chain of musical history, both preserving and linking ancient traditions. Although it is not possible to know exactly which dance movements originated in a particular country and which are influences of a migrant group, it is fascinating to speculate how dance movements have traveled from country to country. For example, the barrel turn is common both in Flamenco and Rajastani dance, as well as in numerous other forms. Many of the hip gestures in Middle-Eastern dance are also found in Rajastani, Flamenco, and Balkan dance. The percussive movements of the dancer through footwork, clapping, slapping the body, and snapping the fingers are important means that the dancer contributes to the music throughout the many styles of Roma dances. These common artistic threads among the various Roma dance forms connect the Roma people throughout their incredible Diaspora. Discovering these threads has been a source of personal and artistic inspiration for me. In developing my own choreographies, I have taken some artistic license in my creativity, although I truly believe that tradition is never static and that the path of dance is an ongoing development. By presenting the dances both in their authentic forms as well as in innovative fusions, I strive to make the connections between peoples apparent. My hope is that people will come to have a greater appreciation for the artistic legacy that the Roma have given the dance world.
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