Photo Essay

The dance of the seven veils and other sensual stories from the middle east.

The dance of the water

The night fell over the city and there was a soft rain fall over the mystic theater at Pumapungo (Cuenca - Ecuador). A long line of people is waiting outside the theater ... but they don't care about the rain, because they are about to watch one of the hottest dances ever: The dance of the seven veils and the mystic dances of orient.

When the door is opened, there are some beautiful girls sat inside the lobby, everyone telling a different story from the ancient cultures of orient. A group of them, with beautiful smiles represent the "harem", a fantasy in the minds of more of us, the occident people.

Inside the theater room, the music starts playing ... the lights are off and a group of girls with candles in their heads walk across the corridors singing an old song about the joy of being a part of the harem.

Suddenly, the music stops and our eyes are captured by the lights over the body of a beautiful dancer with a snake costume. She's got a very big snake in her neck and the movement of her body has a very sensual rhythm. She starts the "Dance of the snake", an animal which is a symbol of wisdom for the oriental cultures.

When she ends up with her presentation, we all are petrified. From the darkness of the theater a group of beautiful girls start the "Dance of the veils" also called "The dance of Salome". This dance is originated by the legend of the goddess Ishtar and the god Tammuz, of the Assyrian and Babylonian lore.

According to dance master, Paola Velez, the dance of the veils is about the masks that every woman use to hide her fragility. With every veil that she lets fall in the floor, one mask disappears. At the end of the dance, she's got no masks to hide her real personality.

The last veil falls, and the lights are off ... it is time to perform "The dance of the Harem". It is like watching the story of "One thousand and one nights". The women of the harem dance around the Sultan. He is delighted by the beauty of the dancers. So we are. It is so sensual and so beautiful that we are breathless.

At the end of this dance, a great group of children perform the "Dance of the walking sticks", an old dance from Egypt performed by the side the Nilo river. The dance was performed to ask the gods to provide enough water for their harvests and consumption. The children carried jars over their heads with water to refresh the dancers.

They look so happy !!! It is a very contagious dance... I can't stop my feet from dancing. But I have to keep my eyes pointing the camera on the dancers. At the end of the performance, I have filled four storage memories of my camera and captured almost 2000 pictures. It was very hard to select only 10 images for this article. I think that I will have to publish it on my website, it is something that has to be shared ! Enjoy it.

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—The JPG team

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