|Photo by Barry Brown, 2002, from the same|
series that grace the splash page of the GBDR site.
I am very sure that for every aspect that I have mentioned and will mention in the article series concerning my contributions to the styles and fashion of/in bellydance, there will be someone chirping up saying "but I did that first back in some obscure time/location."
That may be entirely true--or not, as memory tends to alter truth to favor perception over years. Either way, it has been well established that the Muses are a slutty bunch. It is totally possible for a good idea to crop in several brains/locations/communities all about the same time. I believe a lot of art and fusions tend to start this way, among other things, as people with similar experiences seek for solutions to the same problems.
(This is why I have never claimed that I alone "invented" Gothic Bellydance - but I certainly had the largest continuous role in kicking off the movement and influencing directly and/ or indirectly and paving the way for every major instructor who went forth to perform and teach it from 2003 onward - and there's clear, multi-level documented proof of it all....ANYWAY...)
My point is, through this series of articles, I am not saying that someone else didn't or couldn't have come up with any idea first. But, as my years of working in the fashion industry have proven, something is not a trend until it you can trace a visible origin, and see it repeated, replicated, knocked-off, copied, and re-invented. It's not about where it started or who started it first (unless you own the copyright), but where did it take off - on a national or global scale?
Every contribution I have discussed or will discuss focuses on what outside-of-the-bellydance community influences I personally had that lead to the development of that contribution. That is one the biggest points for me - that I didn't look to other bellydancers to find my inspiration - most often I found it from outside of the community and/or from historical resources. After I brought it in, and it was photographed/videotaped/talked about, it then bounced within the community, with pretty much a life of its own. Some people may have even done it better after that.
So sure, someone may have "done it first" in their corner of the world years before anything I mention, unknown to me or the larger bellydance world, but did it start a documented global trend? No? Then there's 4 letters for that.