Music, Literature, Dance and Fashion
Dance and entertainment
In the Arab and Ottoman world dance and entertainment had been closely connected with religion and local traditions, but this all changed in the 19th century when expressions of Islamic mysticism through dance were reinvented as an “exotic” element in entertainment that was far removed from its original social and historical context. As a result of increased relations with Europe, the Ottoman and Arab urban landscape was reshaped to accommodate the establishment of new dance and entertainments venues, including bars, coffee shops, cafes, theatres and opera houses, regardless of the effect that the modernisation effort had on religion and tradition. In the 19th century, the diffusion of stories from the Arabian Nights introduced new elements to artistic expression and a new style of dance and entertainment in Europe emerged. In the early 20th century, modernism and the ongoing impact of Orientalism also found expression in dance. Modern dance developed with renewed interest in the “other” as well as in alternative styles of dance, in opposition to the rules of classical ballet. These dance forms were seen to belong in worlds that were distant in terms of space, time and culture; ancient Greece, the Arab world, Japan, the Pacific, Africa and India and Afro-American.
Folies Rambuteau. New quartet from the Auvergne.


National Library of France , Paris, France


The performance programme at the Folies Bergère included musical theatre, operetta and ballet and magicians as well as eccentric dancers whose choreography included elements of Orientalism and mysticism.

See Database entry for this item

In this Exhibition
About the Exhibition
Dance and entertainment