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How the Arabian Nights Inspired the American Dream 1791–1935$
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Susan Nance

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780807832745

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807894057_nance

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Eastern Femininities for Modern Women, 1893–1930

Eastern Femininities for Modern Women, 1893–1930

(p.171) Chapter 6 Eastern Femininities for Modern Women, 1893–1930
How the Arabian Nights Inspired the American Dream 1791–1935

Susan Nance

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter examines the influence of Eastern dancing, also known as the danse du ventre or belly dance, on American women. Many women flocked to these shows, and a prominent minority were inspired to imitate and develop Eastern dances and costumes into homegrown, suggestive, and profitable “cootch” and strip tease acts. These women were consumers-turned-performers, who in turn made their way through the entertainment business to burlesque houses, traveling carnivals, and amusement parks. At the same time, thousands of other American women would adopt what they saw in those women's and foreign women's performances to articulate their own identities through consumption of products and practices styled “Oriental.”

Keywords:   Eastern dancing, American women, consumption, belly dance

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