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‘Dark am I, yet lovely’: Tracing diabolical evil and femininities in gothic fusion tribal belly dance

Dearey, Melissa


Melissa Dearey


While belly dance as a dance genre has been recognised for its ‘ambivalence’ (Downey et al, 2010: 379) in terms of its empowerment of women’s identities and body types and essentialising of narrowly constructed femininities, it has nonetheless in the research literature generally been regarded positively in its influence on women’s spiritualities, corporalities, sexualities and overall well-being. But what about its attraction and allure in its ‘darker’ forms, as a way of empowering women, especially older women, and enabling them to negotiate and traverse a range of difficult, deviant, damaged and/or otherwise negative experiences? Based primarily on a participant observation of a six-week series of dance workshops held in the north of England and drawing on my other experiences as a dancer of other belly dance forms, this paper references Julia Kristeva’s psychoanalytic theory of horror and the monstrous feminine to explore the meanings, experiences and performances of ‘darkness’ in what is belly dance’s darkest genre, Gothic Fusion Belly Dance (GFBD).


Dearey, M. (2014). ‘Dark am I, yet lovely’: Tracing diabolical evil and femininities in gothic fusion tribal belly dance. Dance, movement & spiritualities, 1(3), 373-391.

Acceptance Date Nov 25, 2014
Publication Date Dec 1, 2014
Deposit Date Dec 18, 2015
Publicly Available Date Nov 23, 2017
Journal Dance, movement and spiritualities
Electronic ISSN 2051-7076
Publisher Intellect
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Volume 1
Issue 3
Pages 373-391
Keywords Diabolical evil; Bellydance; Femininities; Goth subculture; Body; Dark spiritualities; Wellbeing
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is an authors accepted manuscript of an article published in Dance, movement and spiritualities, 2014, v.1 issue 3.


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