Belly Dancing In The Black Forest
Filed in Culture & Art
When you think of the Black Forest, there are a number of stereotypical images that spring to mind. Castles, hiking trails and sleepy country retreats are chief among them. Yet there is a lot more to this region than the surface images suggest.
One example of this is Freiburg im Breisgau, in the Southern part of the Black Forest. With its traditional town hall and cobblestone pedestrian center, a quick picture might place it firmly in the stereotypical zone. Dismissing it so quickly, however, is missing out on its vibrant cultural charms.
Freiburg is actually a well-known university area, and an active environmental activist area. One notable program of the University is their Global Studies program, an advanced degree program that trains participants for international humanitarian works. To get their field experience, the students have designed a number of outreach efforts that have brought the rich immigrant culture into the mainstream.
The public signs of this have come in an explosion of public festivities with an international flair. In the summer, it seems there is one every weekend celebrating a community group, neighborhood or park area. Many of these offer classes, food vendors and shows as part of the fun and the whole family is welcome.
One portion that has become quite popular in Freiburg is belly dancing. The Black Forest traditionalists would be shocked by the matrons teaching the locals to shimmy, sway and sashay with veils and scarves. Competitions and shows are ongoing, and many gyms offer lessons as well for those who want to keep fit.
Most basic lessons go for just 10 or 15 Euros, or you can try it at one of the street festivals for around 5 (the entrance fee to the festival). Then you can waltz your way through the rest of the town with a bit of the exotic in your step. :-)
There’s always more of Germany to discover when you look below the surface!
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