Culture of the Renaissance Festival
Displaying a constructed view of predominately historical European culture, the Arizona Renaissance Festival loosely follows the format of nineteenth-century World’s fair’s midways. The festival is a fair that spreads over thirty acres with booths that sell goods, food and hold games of skill. The festival has eight stages which are the central focus for entertainment. The Arizona Renaissance Festival’s re-production of Europe’s culture and society of the past imparts nominal educational benefits. The festival’s central goal is entertainment and revenue. The participant is removed from the everyday and is placed in an alternate culture where knights, pirates, fairies and belly dancers exist together, generating a fantasy world. The Arizona Renaissance Festival does not have a specific area dedicated to Middle Eastern culture. The entire festival is a journe...
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The concept that belly dance is a constantly evolving dance might surprise most people, as the static Orientalist image of the belly dancer is the one that pervades American popular culture. I and other scholars attempt to remove belly dance from the ridged framework of Orientalism and the harem fantasy. By the following how belly dance arrived in America, and how images of belly dancers and harems became part of the visual culture of the West I have attempted to demonstrate that there are aspects of power and a different reading of images of belly dance is possible. Through continued scholarly inquiry and research I look forward to the emergence of a new image of belly dance, one that represents the power and beauty of this dance, an image that is respectful of the many cultures that it represents.
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