This book is intended for those who can never have enough of seeing Middle-Eastern dance and of learning more about it. It is a gesture of sharing with them the products of a frantic 30-year quest in the libraries and antiquaries' shops of Europe. It is a first instalment, as the material amassed can fill several books.
After watching performances again and again, the urge arises to learn more about this dance form - but a sharp shock is awaiting. One passes abruptly from intense aesthetic indulgence to deep intellectual frustration. These readings are the superficial inventions of amateurs, suitable only for the impromptu satisfaction of the curiosity of children.
Scientific historical research has a long way to go. There may be serious studies, scattered and lost to the general reader, which need to be found and brought forward if they are to take their place as the foundations for the edifice to be built. The history of dance in the Middle East will have to be written on the basis of reliable sources of past periods, irrespective of the need to nourish the fantasies of present-day spectators. [...]
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