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  1. #11
    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    Default Books, etc.

    Dear Gwinity,
    I have "Oriental Trasnationalsim and Harem Fantasy". I find that it is interesting to read because it comes from many different points of view, being an anthology. It does consider many perspectives, not all of which I would consider to be truth. Shay himself writes some stuff that I would call nonsense, for example, but then you also have some real thoughts for consideration in the book, too.
    Regards,
    A'isha

  2. #12
    Premium Member Aniseteph's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mihrimah Ghaziya View Post
    Hi!
    I have been interested for a long time by Grandmother's secret... What is it actually about?
    See Shira's website for a comprehensive review

    http://www.shira.net/bookrvws/secrets.htm


  3. #13
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    Also you might check at www.amazon.com for "Grandmother's secrets", too -- There are lots of reviews there, often, and I think you can read pages from the book before buying it which really helps, too if it's set up that way for that particular book -- (In addition to the Shira site that Aniseteph recommends -- ) (I always like to peruse very carefully before buying to choose those I really most want, because of wanting to sp3nd $$ on those I feel would provide most what I am looking for.... Just a thought - Ludy

    (PS - I really loved the Snake Hips somewhat autobigraphical, I think, book -- It was really satisfying in seeing into the mind and trials and tribulations of another dancer. I wonder what the author is doing now) -- Having a book like that written by a contemporary was just so neat and fun to read -- it helped me put my own dance experience in perspective -- I esp loved the part about where she tried dating some Arab guys and the catastrophe for her, that was in some cases. Although it is not surprising, it did teach me a fair amount in the sense of Arab guys so looking down on a dancer -- So glad we have freedom for our art without that stigma that I guess it carries in some countries.......I just felt so lucky (that in much of the west, I feel it is while maybe not on a par w/ ballet, jazz dance or hip hop even, we can dance to our hearts content while being respectible ladies at the same time -- what can be better than that as a lifestyle????????) I hope I am not wsounding too opinionated or talking out of turn, but yes that was so what impressed me about that book -- Sorry such a long note -- But did want to share this thought w/ you all -

  4. #14
    Junior Member Thara's Avatar
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    HI!
    Thanks to this tread I discover that book "Belly Dancing:unlock the secret power of an ancient dance" by Rosina-Fawzia Al-Rawi is the same "Grandmothers secrets". At last quote in Amazon is the same.... Very good that I fount that - i thought: i like writer, should bay one more of her books.

  5. #15
    Member Kiraze's Avatar
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    My belly dance library has grown steadily during years so I have:
    • The Belly Dance Book: Rediscovering the Oldest Dance - nice anthology with varying subjects
    • A Trade Like Any Other: Female Singers and Dancers In Egypt by Karin Van Nieuwkerk - excellent and highly recommended book although little bit "dry" as it is academic text
    • Looking For Little Egypt by Donna Carlton - wonderful view to the Chicago World Fair and myth of Little Egypt - highly recommended!
    • Serpent Of The Nile: Women And Dance In The Arab World by Wendy Buonaventura - wonderful pictures and lots of info although reader must be little bit careful as there are also lots of errors
    • Belly Laughs: Adventures With Celebrities & Other Unusual Characters by Rod Long - couple of nice stories but otherwise bad and not funny at all
    • They Told Me I Couldn't: A Young Woman's Multicultural Adventures in Colombia by Tamalyn Dallal - Ok story about Tamalyn´s travels
    • Oriental Belly Dance by Kemal Ozdemir - wonderful pictures and also lots of info although many errors too: not as bad though as many say and I think this is a *must have* for lovers of Turkish dance
    • Oriental Belly Dance by Sirke Seppänen (in Finnish) - my first book and only one in my library that shows dance technique step by step


    In addition to these I have also lots of other books related to Middle Eastern cultures and travelling - I just LOVE books

    Next "belly dance" books I would like to get are Belly Dance: Orientalism, Transnationalism, And Harem Fantasy by Anthony Shay and Barbara Sellers-Young and The Tribal Bible by Kajira Djoumahna

  6. #16
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    Mmm, belly dance books... I'm so writing down these titles for my wish list. I love collecting books of every kind and so far I have:

    - The Belly Dance Book, by Tazz Richards

    - Belly Dancing Basics by Laura Cooper. There isn't much in it that I hadn't read before on the internet really, but still has good info and lots of beautiful pictures by Sarah Skinner.

    - Bellydance by Keti Sharif. More or less same as above.

    - Rania's Bellydance For Fitness. I personally don't care for the fitness approach thing, but aside from that it's a good book. Also lots and lots of nice pics.

    - Snake Hips, by Anne Soffee Thomas - love it! I want to buy her latest 'Nërd Girl Rocks Paradise City' (nothing to do with bellydance whatsoever, in case you're wondering).

    In Spanish:

    - La Milenaria Danza del Vientre, by Amir Thaleb, an Argentinean dancer and instructor. I didn't like the history section of the book (there's a bunch of errors, which surprised me of an instructor as well reputed as he is), but I really liked the section where he explains about the different rhythms.

    - Danza del Vientre, by Devorah Korek, an American instructor living in Barcelona. I think this may be the best book for a beginner dancer in Spanish there is out there. As with other books in this list there isn't much here that I hadn't found out from other sources before, really, but given the relative lack of information and bellydance crap there is in Spanish-language websites (that has been changing for some time, thank goodness) this is a wonderful source of good info for Spanish speaking students. There's also plenty of great pictures, which is a plus for me in the case of bellydance books.

    On subjects distantly related with bellydance and its culture of origin, I have several books on Ancient Egypt, but as they are all packed away I can't post the titles or the author's name, and have recently started reading 'The Malady of Islam' by Abdelwahab Meddeb.

  7. #17
    Junior Member Atalanta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiraze View Post

    Next "belly dance" books I would like to get are Belly Dance: Orientalism, Transnationalism, And Harem Fantasy by Anthony Shay and Barbara Sellers-Young and The Tribal Bible by Kajira Djoumahna
    I just found out that The Tribal Bible is in reprints! No more hunting down eBay for a $200 copy (LOL). Desert Dancer Imports

  8. #18
    V.I.P. Kharmine's Avatar
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    I might be missing one of two things (bad habit of loaning out books without remembering who has what) but the library, so far:

    "Snake Hips," etc. by Anne Thomas Soffee -- a fun read about a young woman's experience with how belly dancing helped change her life.

    "The Compleat Belly Dancer," by Julie Russo Mishkin & Marta Schill -- yep, a blast from da past, circa 1973, but pretty good instruction with photos, a section on Arabic rhythm for dance that you don't find often in belly dance how-tos, and a good section on making one's own costumes (back when it wasn't so easy to get a good readymade outfit).

    "Serpent of the Nile," by Wendy Buonaventura -- lovely art from all over, a nice coffee table book with interesting popular culture tid-bits, not really a historical reference-type book.

    "Looking for Little Egypt," by Donna Carlton -- very interesting slice of early belly dance history in the U.S., focusing on who was supposed to be the original "Little Egypt."

    "Grandmother's Secrets," by Rosina-Fawsia Al-Rawi -- belly dance from the cultural view of a woman who grew up in a middle-class Baghdad home. More of a holistic attitude approach than a step-by-step instructional. Excellent motivational stuff.

    "Belly Dance," by Keti Sharif -- I found this helpful more as a guide to what various terms means, and some discussion of the origins of some things. Easy to read, nice photos.

    "A Trade Like Any Other," by Karin van Nieuwerk -- cultural anthropology-type study of past and current attitudes toward female entertainers in Egypt. Nice history, good background toward understanding the cultural framework. Scholarly but not hard to read.

    "Belly Dance: Orientalism, Transnationalism & Harem Fantasy," edited by Anthony Shay & Barbara Sellers-Young -- the first known attempt at a really scholarly-type anthology that covers many topics in belly dance from male dancers to Egyptian film. I especially like Anne Rassmussen's chapter: An Evening in the Orient: The Middle Eastern Nightclub in America, about the period from the late '50s to the mid-'70s when belly dancing in "exotic" supper clubs was popular.

    And a personal fav: "The Art of Belly Dancing" by Dahlena, a pioneer in American belly dancing, circa 1975, with whom my own teacher worked and performed. A pretty decent how-to, with photos of Dahlena wearing ballet practice garb and a coin belt demonstrating moves, plus my teacher as a mere slip of a lass. I got this paperback from Abebooks, a good online used book source, for a few bucks.

    Recommended related literature:

    "Flute of Sand," by Lawrence Morgan -- Not so much about belly dancing as about the women of the Ouled Nail in North Africa in the '50s. He lived for awhile in a small Saharan town where the women would traditionally come to work as dancers and courtesans before retiring back to the tribe and domestic life. It's a fascinating look at a very unique cultural history that is disappearing. Very nice photos. Published in 1956; a hardback bought from Abebooks.

    "Noble Dreams, Wicked Pleasures: Orientalism in America, 1870-1930", edited by Holly Edwards -- again, more of a cultural backdrop sort of thing than having to do specifically with belly dancing. Great catalogue of images with essays by various people about the impact of "Orientalism" in the States.

    I also recently found a copy of Asia Magazine, really nice quality publication that is now defunct, which was kind of a National Geographic thing that focused on "the Orient." This particular volume is from April 1922 and is supposed to have the original memoir translated by Rose Wilder Lane (the daughter of the "Little House on the Prairie" folks) written by Armen Ohanian, an Armenian woman who fled an arranged marriage in the Middle East to become a dancer in Europe. Hope to receive it soon from Abebooks.
    Last edited by Kharmine; 03-27-2007 at 09:58 PM.

  9. #19
    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    Default Literature, etc.

    Dear Group,
    Often you can also learn a lot, and sometimes more truthful, well rounded information by not reading so much from books about the dance, but reading instead about the general culture and people of the dances in which you are interested. Often these kinds of books have info on the dance that is not bisected from its environment, but instead tells about the dance as a part of the people's lives, or in reference to some cultural, sociological or anthropological aspect. Often those who concentrate only on dance literature miss a lot of what it is that motivates the dance, inspires it, propels it, causes it to have its specific flavor and spirit. My library contains many books on dance specfically, but just as many more, along with magazine and journal articles, and personal experiences that look at dance in its natural environment. Things like articles on Egyptian movies can tell you scads about the dance in that type of situation. Or if you read the life story of Hoda Sharawi you will discover that she wrote a little about almehs, or read Margot Badran and discover how white slaves often provided the entertainment in private wealthy homes while free Egyptians danced the streets at one time not so long ago, or in Dwyer's Morocco you can learn about the dancers called "Sheikah" ( Sheikhat) and what they do at private parties. If possible, do not limit your dance education to dance books only!
    Regards,
    A'isha

  10. #20
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    God, I looked all over for this thread a few days ago to write down the titles of the books and couldn't find it... thanks to whoever brought it back! I had heard that Wendy Buonaventura's 'Serpent of the Nile' had a wealth of beautiful artwork, which is mainly why I wanted to buy it, but now I'm not so sure, since a few months ago I bought Georges-Gérard Lemaire 'The Orient in Western Art', which is another coffee table art book about the work of various Western (and some Eastern) painters, from an Orientalist perspective, spanning from the 16th century until today. Not really many actual paintings about dance, but lovely overall.

    I'm curious too about 'Beauty and the East', also by W. Buonaventura... does anyone have that? And A'isha, could you post the titles of the books you've mentioned?

    I just picked up again 'Reading Lolita in Tehran', by Azar Nafisi, which has absolutely nothing to do with dance, but it's one of my favorites. The author recounts her experience as an English literature teacher who organizes a secret book group with seven of her female students to discuss classics of Western literature.

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