Belly Dancing in Mormon Country

By Staff

With Mitt Romney in the running for the Republican presidential nomination, a collective anxiety is bubbling up in the media about whether the United States could handle having a Mormon as a president. Stories about Mormons and Mormonism are popping up everywhere, including the Chicago Tribune, the New York Times, Salon, and the Washington Monthly

But one of our favorites has to be “Moving for Mitt: Utah’s Dance Craze” from the Walrus, which reports that belly dancing has caught the imagination of Utahns, with more than 50 belly dancing troupes in the Salt Lake City area alone and one of the largest annual belly dancing festivals in North America. “Just as prophet Joseph Smith wove together scraps of folklore, history, and doctrine to make a uniquely American religion,” writes Mona Awad, “so locals have redefined the Middle Eastern art form to express the cultural, religious, and sexual tensions that pervade life here.” –Jason Ericson

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