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In the 1960s and 1970s, a belly dancing craze swept the United States. Audiences could enjoy live belly dancing performances in Middle Eastern restaurants and clubs. Viewers could watch belly dancers in hit movies and on popular television shows. At first glance, the history of belly dancing appears to be a story of white middle-class women appropriating Middle Eastern culture and styles to make themselves more exotic. But the story of belly dancing is much more complex: it is a story in which Middle Eastern and American artists and audiences shaped and reshaped artistic expressions, sexual performances and cultural identities.

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