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Happy New Year & a World’s Fair Article Series

Happy New Year 2021

WHEW – I’ve never EVER been so happy to see the turn of the year!   What a wild year we had in 2020, and I am glad to put that rollar coaster behind me, and I must say, after all the hassle and frustration, the loss and isolation, I feel prepared to deal with the bumpy road of 2021, but I hope that as time passes, the bumps will smooth out to a new – and liveable – “New Normal.”

On New Year’s Eve, I took advantage of the amazing opportunity to see really high-quality fireworks displays from around the world. The UK display featured light-up drones telling a story in floating pictures. New York had a harbor full of barges setting off synchronized fireworks.  And of course, Sydney is always amazing. However, the best that I saw on my tour around the world was the AMAZING display put on by Dubai.  I find fireworks are very inspiring to my design work. The colors, the shapes, the sound, the music, there are so many moments that just fill my creative bucket.

Dancing at the World’s Fairs

One of my long-term research projects has been to trace the presence of belly dancers at the World’s Fair.  When Donna Carleton released her now seminal book “Looking for Little Egypt” in 1995, I was already embarked on my own archival research on the history of belly dance costuming.  I was thrilled to find her book, and it inspired me to investigate the history of belly dance at other international exhibitions.  I love her book and recommend it if you are an avid belly dance history fan. 

Clockwork Alchemy Newsletter

I am thrilled to work with the team over at Clockwork Alchemy newsletter. For my contribution, I’ve created a series of short pieces about dance at World’s Fairs in the 19th and early 20th centuries.  I’ve been working on this archival research for so long, it’s great to have this opportunity to share all of this info. 

Steampunk, Belly Dance, and Prince Albert

The first article in this series, “Steampunk, Belly Dance, and Prince Albert,” came out last November, and my brief was to stay, well “brief.” So this article has a lot of information packed into a quick read! Set in London in 1851 at the Crystal Palace, the Great Exhibition was the brainchild of Prince Albert.  This event brought all the industry and arts from around the globe for the people of London to enjoy. Read the Article Here

Cairo On the Seine

Thankfully, my article got great feedback, so they invited me back in December.  Best part?  They gave me a bit more space for text and images too!  For the second piece in this series, we fast-forward in time to 1889 and the Exposition Universelle.  The Rue du Caire exhibition at this fair went from a single stall in a large building, to a reconstruction of a street in ancient Cairo.  The danse du ventre was performed within a space evocative of an Egyptian coffee house.  Read the Article Here

Live History Lecture: “History of Belly Dance at the Fair”

Once the world opens back up, I’m delighted to present “Dancers at the Fair: A History of Belly Dance at World’s Fairs” at the next Clockwork Alchemy in the Greater Bay Area.  Right now, everything is understandably TBA, but I’m looking forward to presenting this hour-long history slide-talk to attendees.  In the meantime, I’ll be sharing several more articles, so sign up for their newsletter to catch some more! 

Live History Lecture: “Cairo On the Seine”

If you liked the article, you will love the history slide-talk I’ll be presenting at the next Gaslight Steampunk Expo in San Diego.  The 2021 event will be Sept. 30- Oct. 3, and the theme is Exposition de L’Exposition Universelle de 1889.  I’m looking forward to this and other presentations at Gaslight.  Join their mailing list to get updates on the convention.

So watch for more articles and more opportunities to see me live at a steampunk convention in your area!

Wishing you a happy, healthy, and safe 2021,
Dawn Devine ~ Davina
Jan. 4, 2021

PS: Throwback to Gaslight Steam Punk Expo 2019 and my “All About Assiut” talk at the Egyptian themed event.  Photo by Alisha Westerfeld.

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