The Passion That Moves Me: An Investigation into the Body-Mind Connection of Middle Eastern Dancers

Rana Tayara, Nadra Assaf

Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookConference contributionpeer-review


The concept of passion is one that has been a focal point in philosophy, dating back as early as the 17th century with the ideas of Spinoza. This interest in passion did not fully blossom in psychology however until Glaser (1970) put focus on passion with its negative and positive dependence. A recent study by Vallerand et. al. suggests that “there are two types of passion, obsessive and harmonious, that can be distinguished in terms of how the passionate activity is internalized into one’s core self or identity”. According to Hanna (1995) humans cannot act without sensing. In most of the Middle East, the body has dire restrictions. The body does not have the freedom of expression it is afforded in the West, yet most of the Middle Eastern countries strive to enhance their cultural existence through performing arts such as Dance and Theater. Western researchers, philosophers and educators such as Barbara Sellers-Young, Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, Konstantin Stanislavski, Thomas Hanna, Mark Johnson and Howard Gardner have offered the world insights into the importance of the body-mind connection though the Middle East is lacking in such studies. Through the analysis of surveys, recorded performances and interviews with dancers from Egypt and Lebanon, this paper discusses how passion affects the connection between the physical and mental state of Middle Eastern dancers and the ethical repercussions they face because of it.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDance and Somatic Practices Conference 2015
Subtitle of host publicationEthics and Repair: Continuing Dialogues within Somatic Informed Practice and Philosophy
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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