Clayton’s Hocutt-Ellington Memorial Library is extending its programming with an after-hours speaker series devoted to the cultural arts.
The first event, scheduled from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 10, will explore raks araby, more commonly known belly dancing. Librarian Linda Brock, who uses the stage name Samra, will speak and perform.
The daughter of Lebanese immigrants, Brock has practiced this traditional Middle Eastern art form since the age of 4, and she has taught or performed since she was 20.
Brock said she had been fortunate over the years to have augmented her natural style with instruction from numerous prominent belly dancers. The beats, rhythms and melodies of Middle Eastern music are somewhat different to Western ears, but they are foundational to her sensibilities and dancing style, Brock said.
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In addition to dancing, Brock will explain how the art of the belly dance is basic to the history of women’s culture in the Middle East – despite the cheapening the art form has experienced in Western society.
During the library’s summer reading program, Brock gave a presentation geared toward children and parents. She met such rave reviews that the library decided to bring her back to open its new after-hours series.
The November event will be in the library’s meeting room. The library, at 100 S. Church St.,, asks guests to use the entrance facing Second Street.
The next event in the series is set for January.