*a Living dance is a 1st Generation dance that is still performed in the country of origin (or immigrant communities) as part of a social event like a wedding where others can participate (not for an audience) by people who learned the dance informally (from friends and relatives by observation and imitation, not in a classroom situation). For more information, click here and here.
Bilati, Belati, Belaty, a traditional dance still popular
today. Brought to folk dancers by Ricky Holden in 1963.
Above is a stretched version of the music Ricky Holden recorded in Iran in the early 1960’s. The album, on the Folkraft label, is still the only Assyrian music many North American folk dance groups have. Interestingly, the dance has changed very little in the past 50 years, but the music has! Here’s how the dance looks and sounds today. The first YouTube is from Tblisi, Georgia, which has a large Assyrian population.
Below is the original music recorded by Ricky Holden in Iran, 1962. Performers are the Shemiram Assyrian Folklore Group of Teheran.