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Thread: BDSS Babelesque

  1. #11
    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    Dear Aziyade,

    Quote Originally Posted by Aziyade View Post
    No, Suhaila never had anything to do with the show. She was never a part of the show. She was one of the choreographers Miles originally approached about designing the show, but she had other projects she was working on and turned him down, like several other choreographers in LA.

    Suhaila and Miles have been friends since the 80s. There is much they don't agree on, but the "hostility" that is there is just play acting.

    I have seen video footage where Suhaila has "playacted" her hostility toward Miles Copeland out to the point where her 4 or 5 year old daughter is seen on that video making negative comments about him. it's gross.



    Here's the REAL history:

    The original "Belly Dance Superstars" project was simply a compilation CD, with tracks chosen by "superstars" in the dance -- popular names like Tamalyn Dalal, Neena/Veena, Suhaila, Zahra Zuhair, etc.

    I do remember that. It seems to have no bearing on what is going on now. I also know of one well known producer who told me personally that they pirated her music.

    A second project was added shortly after: the promotional performance DVD, to promote the CD sales. Some of the dancers who contributed their favorite tracks on the CD also danced on the DVD. Like Suhaila. Some did not.

    It was a couple of years after the CD/DVD that the idea for a show was tossed around. After it debuted at Lollapallooza (and did very well) Miles decided to take the act on the road. That was the birth of the show.

    First, if you got that history from Suhaila, dearly as I love her, please keep in mind that she and Jamila both have remade their own histories several times. She also claims now that she never stated that she was ever teaching Egyptian belly dance, but I was there fpr some of the classes. It WASN"T Egyptian belly dance, but she claimed it was. I have seen footage of her dancing with the BDSS and I think others may have also. She was wearing like this sort of camoflauge looking costume. She may have been just choreographing, but then she was doing it in a very specific costume that several of us have seen her perform in since.



    Obviously many of us differ in the "impact" we believe the show to have on belly dance in this country, but I'm sick to death of people latching on to the fact that the dancers are thin. THIN IS NOT BAD!

    No one thinks thin is bad, but when it becomes THE prerequisite for what is out on the stage, then it is not very good, either. My point was that thin seems to be the major selling point instead of talent.


    TOURING is exhausting. DANCING while touring is even more exhausting. These women aren't spending their days sitting around writing blog posts and spouting philosophical on the internet like I am. They are DANCING and training to keep their bodies in the best condition they can to reduce the risk of injury. People who haven't danced professionally maybe can't make this connection, but strength training and deep muscle relaxation work is ESSENTIAL for people who dance 5-6 hours a day or more, no matter what kind of dancing you do. Lots of reasons, but mostly so that you don't injure yourself. A dancer burns calories while dancing, rehearsing, taking class. Most desk jobs don't burn 1/10 of the calories I burned at my job in the ballet studio. Leanness and thinness HAPPENS.
    Well.... I go to Broadway shows with dance, and the dancers in those shows practice just as hard and all of the are not stick thin. I costumed Christy Lane's shows for a short while and all the girls were not that thin. Someone is making some kind of choice about body style and looks there, and I have no issue with that if the girls could all really dance. Rania does the WORST Khaliji I have ever seen.. ( I hated Christy and did not stay long enough to consider a blip on my career as a costumer.)

    Bou Saada didn't DESTROY belly dance, and neither did Bal Anat. Bobby Farrah didn't destroy it either, nor did Dalia Carella or Cassandra, for having dance camps. Neena and Veena didn't destroy it with their mass-market videos, and Harry Saroyan didn't destroy it by manufacturing balanced swords. Neither did Reda and Farida.
    That depends on your point of view. I worked with Bou Saada, studied with Shelly Muzzy ( Yasmeela) and have great respect for HER, though now I know enough to know that Bou Saada as a company was WAY off about their belly dance. Much of their folkloric stuff was good. Bal Anat was WAY, WAY off. I was there. Bobby Farah was closer to the mark on some folk levels and in his own dance, but some of his dancers were American as apple pie and had no hint of true belly dance abut what they were doing. Dalia Carella has my respect because she admits she is making up a new form of dance. Cassandra is one of the best Egyptian dancers I have seen. Now she chooses to perform American Oriental and she is, in my opinion the very best around. I have immense respect for her, but she is no longer performing Egyptian belly dance.
    Neena and Veena are very watered down dancers when out beside the real thing. Harry Saroyan is not a dancer to my knowledge. His music is very Americanized no matter how loudly he sings about Cairo. Josef Maazin said the Ghawazi don't even really dance with swords in an interview with Edwina Nearing. Reda and Farida Fahmy are known for their folkloric interpretations, not for bellydance.


    But I heard the same thing when I was growing up -- Merce Cunningham was DESTROYING dance!! Ballanchine was Destroying storybook ballets! And Gelsey and Misha DESTROYED ballet in general by taking the technical expectations up so much higher.
    Gelsey Kirkland is my favorite ballerina, but I can not respond here because my ballet knowledge is limited, unlike my belly dance knowledge, which is extensive.



    The thing is, and I travel a lot -- when I go to restaurants that feature dancers, I see the same kind of dance that I've always seen. I'm not seeing tribal, I'm not seeing fusion, I'm not seeing anything that is all that far out. (I see that on Youtube.) I'm seeing straight-up entertainment, of the same kind you can witness through Dahlena's career (which is pretty well documented on video) and what you can see on Morocco's first 3
    videos.
    The more things change, the more they stay the same ...


    Usually what I tend to see as I teach and travel around the country and into Canada is some Americanized western dance forms that one can call American Oriental ( Thanks, Salome!!). On occasional I have also seen some good Egyptian or Turkish or Lebanese style belly dance, but not that often. It is often entertaining, but it is not belly dance regardless of its entertainment value. And if someone refers to themselves as "Superstars", I expect them to live up to that title, and if they say they are "Belly Dance Superstars", I expect some truth in advertising. It is not too much to ask.

    Regards,
    A'isha

  2. #12
    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    Default Miles

    Dear Aziyade,

    Quote Originally Posted by Aziyade View Post
    I think you're probably right about that -- his motivation. But I think maybe it's SLIGHTLY different:

    I think sometimes he really wanted to win over the belly dance community, and BY EXTENSION, bring in people who are friends and family of bellydancers, thereby GROWING the belly dance community (and his potential customer base.)
    There would be no challenge in that for him as we are already belly dance fans. As far as winning us over to his show, he really obviously cares less what we think. I know this as a result of discussing it with him for 4 hours straight. Dancers, he says have been giving him suggestions forever and he chooses to put on the show he is putting on in spite of that.


    I'm not sure he ever REALLY planned on trying to direct most of his marketing and attention on the general public -- because he didn't do that.

    That is exactly what he told me he wanted to do, is bring the dance to the general public and make it mainstream. And he did take steps to do that. Not all of them paid off because a niche market is a niche market is a niche market. Very few go mainstream for long if at all, though occasionally they become fads for a time.


    If
    he wanted to do that, he could have paid Baker & Taylor and Ingram and the other CD/DVD distribution companies to buy special shelf space at the bookstores, or paid for a point-of-sale display featuring his products. He'd be targeting Borders, Blockbuster, B&N, Suncoast Sound, etc. Instead he focused on advertising to the EXISTING dance community (and basically relying on us to do his advertising for him, which we did -- often just by arguing about it on the MEDance list.)

    Actually he did take his music to Borders and rest, and at times the music has had prime product placement. You can get their CDs in Hastings and Borders, etc. today. Frankly I am not sure if he used differentiated or undifferentiated marketing plans, but he made sure. at least in my city, that he marketed through a general ticket sales organization and not just through bellydancers. Of course he will still market to the niche group as well since anyone knows that they will be the mainstay of any niche endeavor

    I'd never really thought anything about the whole idea until I read the Desert Roses casting call email that everyone went NUTS over. INSTANT press. No money down. Controversy explodes and amidst all the craziness, I end up buying my first Hakim CD, introducing me to Miles's record label. Brilliant, really.
    And of course when one does a casting call they do it through the groups that have experience in the form they are doing. It does no good to do a casting call for belly dancers at the local tavern where they hire musicians, or at the ballet school. You need to reach the people you are looking for and direct your energies to them for your show needs. When I recently did auditions, I did the same thing because it only makes sense.

    Regards,
    A'isha

  3. #13
    Senior Member Marya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aziyade View Post
    Obviously many of us differ in the "impact" we believe the show to have on belly dance in this country, but I'm sick to death of people latching on to the fact that the dancers are thin. THIN IS NOT BAD!

    TOURING is exhausting. DANCING while touring is even more exhausting. These women aren't spending their days sitting around writing blog posts and spouting philosophical on the internet like I am. They are DANCING and training to keep their bodies in the best condition they can to reduce the risk of injury. People who haven't danced professionally maybe can't make this connection, but strength training and deep muscle relaxation work is ESSENTIAL for people who dance 5-6 hours a day or more, no matter what kind of dancing you do. Lots of reasons, but mostly so that you don't injure yourself. A dancer burns calories while dancing, rehearsing, taking class. Most desk jobs don't burn 1/10 of the calories I burned at my job in the ballet studio. Leanness and thinness HAPPENS.
    Dondi one of the original BDSS, had a blog, (maybe still does) that talked about the rigors of being a BDSS and how hard it was to find quality healthy food to eat while on the road and how insistent Miles (or someone) was that they maintain a certain weight. The upshot of it was that she felt like she was having to starve herself to meet these criteria. Not having good healthy food was the main issue. Thin is not the bad, but being too skinny and unhealthy is.

    Marya

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    V.I.P. Aziyade's Avatar
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    I have seen video footage where Suhaila has "playacted" her hostility toward Miles Copeland out to the point where her 4 or 5 year old daughter is seen on that video making negative comments about him. it's gross.
    She has said for years she doesn't respect his artistic vision. But they can still disagree and be friends. Isabella doesn't like him. That's her perogative. Isabella is a smart precocious child who is oddly mature for her age. She doesn't like being talked down to. Maybe that's where some of her comments stem from.


    I'll repeat this again -- the "history" of the BDSS is well documented. Nobody needs to "ask" anybody about the history. Check release dates for the CDs, the dvds, and watch the film American Bellydancer you mentioned above. It's all there -- everything from concept to final tour.

    The original "BellyDance Superstars" project was simply a compilation CD, in their own words: "the best bellydance music ever compiled by the best, most respected bellydance stars in the United States." (Or in actuality , the stars mostly in the LA area, who responded to his request.)

    I do remember that. It seems to have no bearing on what is going on now.
    I don't know what you mean. What is going on now with the Bellydance Superstars series is more Arab pop, sure. But there's only so many times you can record Lissa Fakkir on a CD collection.

    I also know of one well known producer who told me personally that they pirated her music.
    I would watch yourself here. The Copeland Group takes copyright VERY seriously. Don't spread rumors. The only CDS I've seen for sale at their shows are the ones THEY produce, or the ones they are promoting for someone else. They're not pirating anybody's music. The credits for the show music are listed in each program. Miles has often responded to complaints about "why aren't you using this kind of music?" by explaining that he couldn't get the rights to that music. He's not going to pirate or steal anybody's music, and people who make such allegations need to do so in a court of law, and not through comments and whispers on a chat board.


    Back to the history.
    A second project was added shortly after: the promotional performance DVD, to promote the CD sales. Some of the dancers who contributed their favorite tracks on the CD also danced on the DVD. Like Suhaila. Some did not.

    It was a couple of years after the CD/DVD that the idea for a show was tossed around. After it debuted at Lollapallooza (and did very well) Miles decided to take the act on the road. That was the birth of the show.


    First, if you got that history from Suhaila, dearly as I love her, please keep in mind that she and Jamila both have remade their own histories several times.
    A'isha I'm getting the history from people who were IN the tour, musicians associated with the recordings, and the simple fact that I WAS ALIVE and participating during all this. It didn't happen 100 years ago. The CD concept is less than 10 years old. I remember people talking about it on the MEDance list in 2002, was it? I remember the audition email from the Desert Roses. I remember Lollapalooza and who was there and who wasn't. I SAW the first official tour after Loll. No Suhaila.

    She also claims now that she never stated that she was ever teaching Egyptian belly dance, but I was there fpr some of the classes. It WASN"T Egyptian belly dance, but she claimed it was.
    Well, I wasn't there so I can't comment, but perhaps she was mistaken in her understanding of what Egyptian style was? I don't mean to be rude or offensive, but you yourself spent several years explaining a specific kind of dance to us, only to find out that you were mistaken on what she was saying -- Saiidi, Saudi. Remember?

    I have seen footage of her dancing with the BDSS and I think others may have also.
    Sigh, yes I already said that -- she dances with them on the first BDSS dvd because that was a promotional TIE-IN to the CD. And she recently danced with them at Raqs Brittania, as a guest soloist. That doesn't make her PART of the tour, and she's on a separate pay scale. The SS have had a couple of Guest dancers as they have travelled around. That doesn't mean those dancers are part of the tour.


    no one thinks thin is bad, but when it becomes THE prerequisite for what is out on the stage, then it is not very good, either. My point was that thin seems to be the major selling point instead of talent.
    Maybe it's because I was a dancer, but I have long gotten over the fact that you have to be a certain skin tone, or height, or weight, or whatever to get a job in entertainment. Every producer, every choreographer, every director wants something different. You're too muscular for this company, not muscular enough for another. It's because dance is a VISUAL art form.

    As for talent, I have heard stories of only two dancers who thought they were rejected on the basis of their weight. One had such a poor attitude and hostile manner that I think she just latched onto "weight" as an excuse. The other I don't know anything about, but the simple fact is they already have costumes. You have to fit into those costumes to be a Rose. You would never have seen a 140 pound snowflake in our Nutcracker because we didn't have a costume that allowed for someone of that weight. It's business.


    Well.... I go to Broadway shows with dance, and the dancers in those shows practice just as hard and all of the are not stick thin. I costumed Christy Lane's shows for a short while and all the girls were not that thin.
    In my own experience, I've never seen a dancer the size of -- well, ME last year -- on Bway. Or even off-Bway.

    Saida (former BDSS) wasn't stick-thin. Neither is Nathalie (current). Ansuya was thin but she was also so LITTLE. Her shoulders were like HALF the size of mine. Rachel has an itty bitty skeleton. I don't think Sharon is all that skinny. Jillina is small framed as well. Her shoulders were about 3/4 the width of mine. Yasmine (former Rose) is very short and has a tiny frame, but she's very muscular.

    ALSO keep in mind that MANY of the dancers in the show are also trying to make it or be discovered as ACTORS. And we know that the current trend in actors is for very skinny body types.

    Someone is making some kind of choice about body style and looks there, and I have no issue with that if the girls could all really dance.
    I agree. But they have a pool from which to draw and that pool is just not representative of the best possible dancers. How many professional level dancers can tour? So many good ones (like Saida) already have good careers, so why tour? So many good ones have families they don't want to leave behind. The pay is decently average (for what I'm told) but you don't have the option of getting tips, you can't negotiate a better rate or bonuses based on how many people are in the crowd -- why mess with touring if you have a better gig at home?

    Rania does the WORST Khaliji I have ever seen.. ( I hated Christy and did not stay long enough to consider a blip on my career as a costumer.)
    I don't think Rania toured with them beyond the Lollapalloza event. I could be wrong, but she was never in any of the shows I saw, and wasn't featured in the programs. I do not enjoy watching Rania dance either.


    I reiterate:
    Bou Saada didn't DESTROY belly dance--

    I know that you, A'isha, believe Egyptian style to be the only true belly dance. That's fine. But the simple fact is that MORE people today know what Egyptian style is. More workshops are bringing in Egyptians to teach. Bou Saada and the like didn't destroy the desire to learn Egyptian belly dance. Neither did any of the others I mentioned. No matter how "inauthentic" the dance form, Egyptian style is still out there and it's still growing. You could even argue that the more "inauthentic" styles grow, the greater the interest in Egyptian style. (sarcasm alert. But you get the point.)

    Usually what I tend to see as I teach and travel around the country and into Canada is some Americanized western dance forms that one can call American Oriental
    Well maybe that should tell you something. Maybe Egyptian ISN'T all the rage in your area? You can think what you want, it's a free country. But you're never going to get everybody in the community to agree with you that American Oriental isn't Bellydance. Or that tribal isn't bellydance. I acknowledge your opinion, but you just simply are not going to be able to make the rest of the world take that word "bellydance" and restrict it to one particular style.

    It's not like we can just stick our heads in the sand and say "oh that's not bellydance so we can't talk about it critically." When we do that we run the risk of sounding like my mom, who informs me that rap "isn't music" and real music died with Perry Como. Whatever makes you feel better about your place in the world, mom. But the rest of the world moves on...


    And if someone refers to themselves as "Superstars", I expect them to live up to that title, and if they say they are "Belly Dance Superstars", I expect some truth in advertising. It is not too much to ask.
    The dancers themselves have always found the title a source of amusement. Just ask them. But it's a holdover from the CD.

    I always the same thing when I watch Dancing with the Stars. I wonder to myself, who are these people and why are they considered "stars" ??


    --more later

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    V.I.P. jenc's Avatar
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    Clap!! clap!!

  6. #16
    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    Default Response part 1

    Dear Aziyade,
    I will have to do this in two parts as it will not work in one response.

    [QUOTE]
    Quote Originally Posted by Aziyade View Post
    She has said for years she doesn't respect his artistic vision. But they can still disagree and be friends. Isabella doesn't like him. That's her perogative. Isabella is a smart precocious child who is oddly mature for her age. She doesn't like being talked down to. Maybe that's where some of her comments stem from.

    Regardless, Isabella at 5 years old should not be putting her 2 cents into an adult issue. She is too young to understand the ins and outs of the issue.


    I'll repeat this again -- the "history" of the BDSS is well documented. Nobody needs to "ask" anybody about the history. Check release dates for the CDs, the dvds, and watch the film American Bellydancer you mentioned above. It's all there -- everything from concept to final tour.

    Not sure what this has to do with the product that they are putting out now.
    Also, I have watched the growth from the beginning of the BDSS also and see it a little differently than you do.

    The original "BellyDance Superstars" project was simply a compilation CD, in their own words: "the best bellydance music ever compiled by the best, most respected bellydance stars in the United States." (Or in actuality , the stars mostly in the LA area, who responded to his request.)
    Again, not sure with what this has to do with the current product.

    I don't know what you mean. What is going on now with the Bellydance Superstars series is more Arab pop, sure. But there's only so many times you can record Lissa Fakkir on a CD collection.
    That is also not the issue. The mediocre talent in the name of Middle Eastern dance is the issue.


    I would watch yourself here. The Copeland Group takes copyright VERY seriously. Don't spread rumors. The only CDS I've seen for sale at their shows are the ones THEY produce, or the ones they are promoting for someone else. They're not pirating anybody's music. The credits for the show music are listed in each program. Miles has often responded to complaints about "why aren't you using this kind of music?" by explaining that he couldn't get the rights to that music. He's not going to pirate or steal anybody's music, and people who make such allegations need to do so in a court of law, and not through comments and whispers on a chat board.
    This is not rumors. I know you may not think much of me, but there are people in some places who consider me to be very good at what I do. I approached a producer of some very well known fine music when I did my DVD. She was very interested and steered me to the people who own the music and they wanted an arm and a leg for very little music. She got really pissed about that and contacted them and wanted to know why they wanted to charge me so much when some others did not ask permission or pay a fee. She was told they could not keep track of everyone who was doing that.


    Back to the history.
    A second project was added shortly after: the promotional performance DVD, to promote the CD sales. Some of the dancers who contributed their favorite tracks on the CD also danced on the DVD. Like Suhaila. Some did not.

    And how is this not dancing with the BDSS?? Regardless, there is video out there of her performing with them. I just made a promotional video last week with my dance company. I am dancing WITH the company on that video.

    It was a couple of years after the CD/DVD that the idea for a show was tossed around. After it debuted at Lollapallooza (and did very well) Miles decided to take the act on the road. That was the birth of the show.
    I remember that and the Desert Roses thing. I STILL do not see how this ties in with the quality of what they are doing.



    A'isha I'm getting the history from people who were IN the tour, musicians associated with the recordings, and the simple fact that I WAS ALIVE and participating during all this. It didn't happen 100 years ago. The CD concept is less than 10 years old. I remember people talking about it on the MEDance list in 2002, was it? I remember the audition email from the Desert Roses. I remember Lollapalooza and who was there and who wasn't. I SAW the first official tour after Loll. No Suhaila.
    And we do not really know why, no matter what is said in public.
    Going to part Two now.

    Regards,
    AA

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    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    Default REsponse Part 2

    Some snippage as this is too long.

    Well, I wasn't there so I can't comment, but perhaps she was mistaken in her understanding of what Egyptian style was? I don't mean to be rude or offensive, but you yourself spent several years explaining a specific kind of dance to us, only to find out that you were mistaken on what she was saying -- Saiidi, Saudi. Remember?
    I WAS there. So were countless others who took her classes in the 80s. But, what you are talking about is a different matter all together and has nothing to do with Suhaila. I belonged to a dance company who studied with a native from Port Saidi to learn a style of mime dance that she referred to as "Saidi". It was very unlike what most people referred to as Saidi and I got pretty confused as to its orgins geographically and culturally. Recently however, I realized that "Saidi" is sometimes used to mean nonprofessional. Mark Basyouni is a great dancer from Alexandria. He is not professional. He is dancing Shaabi, but he occasionally refers to it as Saidi. I now understand that what she meant by Saidi is not what dancers mean,as in a specific dance style coming from a certain region.
    Sigh, yes I already said that -- she dances with them on the first BDSS dvd because that was a promotional TIE-IN to the CD. And she recently danced with them at Raqs Brittania, as a guest soloist.
    I never said she was on tour with them did I? She HAS danced with them, as I said.
    Maybe it's because I was a dancer, but I have long gotten over the fact that you have to be a certain skin tone, or height, or weight, or whatever to get a job in entertainment.
    Again the issue is not weight. the BDSS often have little or no talent for Middle Eastern dance. I told M. C. that I had no problem at all with him filling the stage with young beautiful girls. Many of them have no talent for the dance and he rarely does anything that can honestly be called M E dance, or for that matter, belly dance.
    As for talent, I have heard stories of only two dancers who thought they were rejected on the basis of their weight. One had such a poor attitude and hostile manner that I think she just latched onto "weight" as an excuse. The other I don't know anything about, but the simple fact is they already have costumes. You have to fit into those costumes to be a Rose. You would never have seen a 140 pound snowflake in our Nutcracker because we didn't have a costume that allowed for someone of that weight. It's business.
    As a professional costumer, I know it is very easy to design costumes that fit a variety of sizes. Or make new ones. You also have to have dance talent for the prima roles in the Nutcracker, or even background roles in many cases, regardless of what size the director wants you to be. I spent two weeks in April with Hallah Moustafa, who has done quite a lot of their costuming. Those costumes are fitted for who is going to wear them and in many cases the dancers own them, unlike many dance and theatre groups. She also trained Jillina who came to her as a hip-hip artist, and she worked extensively with Sabbah, too.
    In my own experience, I've never seen a dancer the size of -- well, ME last year -- on Bway. Or even off-Bway.
    Again with the weight thing. How many dancers have you seen on Broadway who were not doing the dance they professed to be doing?
    Saida (former BDSS) wasn't stick-thin. Neither is Nathalie (current). Ansuya was thin but she was also so LITTLE. Her shoulders were like HALF the size of mine. Rachel has an itty bitty skeleton. I don't think Sharon is all that skinny. Jillina is small framed as well. Her shoulders were about 3/4 the width of mine. Yasmine (former Rose) is very short and has a tiny frame, but she's very muscular.
    Once again.... the issue is not weight or size...
    ALSO keep in mind that MANY of the dancers in the show are also trying to
    make it or be discovered as ACTORS.
    Is that any excuse for not performing great belly dance or putting on a Scottish kilt or doing flips or sitting on a chair in a top hat and calling it belly dance?
    I agree. But they have a pool from which to draw and that pool is just not representative of the best possible dancers. How many professional level dancers can tour? So many good ones (like Saida) already have good careers, so why tour?
    Since the pool is not set up to draw from he best possible dancers, then it is ridiculous to call it the "Belly dance Superstars", since many of them do not belly dance and most are certainly not superstars. Truth in advertising is very important to the dance itself and the understanding of it by the public and by dancers themselves.
    I don't think Rania toured with them beyond the Lollapalloza event. I could be wrong, but she was never in any of the shows I saw, and wasn't featured in the programs. I do not enjoy watching Rania dance either.
    And if she were the only dancer there of that caliber, I might feel differently, but she represents the average of the talent on their stage. So.... this is then what students, even more seasoned dancers, and the public begin to think the dance looks like, it is a HUGE disservice to the dance. BTW she was in Spokane with them.
    I reiterate:
    Bou Saada didn't DESTROY belly dance--
    I reiterate, they and groups like them mislead a generation of dancers into thinking they were learning an authentic ethnic belly dance when they were not performing it. Shelley Muzzy taught me some great Saidi, and some other ethnic dances that proved to be pretty accurate, but belly dance, no so. I saw her 6 years ago, performing here in Spokane and we had a wonderful chat. I love her and I mean that literally. She is one of the nicest people in the business , but I am not going to lie and say she is a great bellydancer.
    I know that you, A'isha, believe Egyptian style to be the only true belly dance. That's fine.
    I think by now that you know that is not true. I also feel that Lebanese and Turkish and a few other Middle Eastern/ North African styles are belly dance.
    But the simple fact is that MORE people today know what Egyptian style is. More workshops are bringing in Egyptians to teach. Bou Saada and the like didn't destroy the desire to learn Egyptian belly dance. Neither did any of the others I mentioned. No matter how "inauthentic" the dance form, Egyptian style is still out there and it's still growing. You could even argue that the more "inauthentic" styles grow, the greater the interest in Egyptian style. (sarcasm alert. But you get the point.)
    It is not that they destroyed desire to learn true bellydance. It is that they misled us all by not specifying and defining that they were making things up. I took their classes and classes of others like them and they SAID they were doing ethnic belly dance. It was not true. My moment of most respect for Jamila Salimpour was when she had the courage to stand up in front of a thousand people and admit to the hokum or hooey.
    Well maybe that should tell you something. Maybe Egyptian ISN'T all the rage in your area?
    As I recall, I stated that this is the case all over the States and into Canada. And it rather proves my point with dancers being misled, which has carried over into generations now, but that is slowly changing.
    You can think what you want, it's a free country. But you're never going to get everybody in the community to agree with you that American Oriental isn't Bellydance. Or that tribal isn't bellydance. I acknowledge your opinion, but you just simply are not going to be able to make the rest of the world take that word "bellydance" and restrict it to one particular style.
    No one is saying that the words need to apply only to Egyptian ( as I have said repeatedly. Why can't you hear that??), but to authentic, ethnic styles of belly dance, as the general public believes they are seeing when they hear those words. For that matter, this used to be a crusade that I was in pretty much by myself, but these days I notice a lot more people coming out in favor of clearer definitions and not just lumping every thing under the umbrella of "belly dance", so I feel that my campaign is making progress.
    It's not like we can just stick our heads in the sand and say "oh that's not bellydance so we can't talk about it critically." When we do that we run the risk of sounding like my mom, who informs me that rap "isn't music" and real music died with Perry Como. Whatever makes you feel better about your place in the world, mom. But the rest of the world moves on...
    Yes it does, and it seems like a lot of it is beginning to get my point as crazier stuff by the day is being labeled as "belly dance". Dancers are starting to reject the idea that you can do whatever you want and put the words belly dance behind it. I get private emails pretty often now from people who do not want the harassment after making a public statement, and I notice that it is becoming more public an issue as well. I feel encouraged by others understanding the need for clear definitions in the dance form!
    The dancers themselves have always found the title a source of amusement. Just ask them. But it's a holdover from the CD.
    They may be amused... I am not. If they do not take it seriously, they need to see about changing it.
    I always the same thing when I watch Dancing with the Stars. I wonder to myself, who are these people and why are they considered "stars" ??
    I have never watched the show except once when Hallah and I watched it in Cairo. From what I hear they are not dance stars, but other kinds of stars. Anyway, it certainly has nothing to do with the BDSS, their talent, etc.
    Regards,
    A'isha
    Last edited by Viv; 07-29-2008 at 09:25 PM. Reason: fixed quote coding

  8. #18
    V.I.P. jenc's Avatar
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    I cannot agree that the GP is going to feel they have been misled if they see American oriental when they pay to see bellydance. American oriental is exactly what the GP see as BD.
    Hell all the GP know is that BDers move their hips.

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    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jenc View Post
    I cannot agree that the GP is going to feel they have been misled if they see American oriental when they pay to see bellydance. American oriental is exactly what the GP see as BD.
    Hell all the GP know is that BDers move their hips.



    One of the first lessons a dancer should learn is to never underestimate the intelligence and knowledge of their audience. Dancers should always assume that each member of the audience knows more than they do about what they are presenting. Anything else is ignorance on the part of the dancer and she/he will eventually pay for live to regret such an arrogant mistake.
    Last edited by Aisha Azar; 07-27-2008 at 01:05 PM.

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    Who are you calling arrogant............. they must be a very different GP in your part of the world, if they can tell the difference. You are fighting a losing battle if most of the dancers who post on here persist in calling things BD, that you insist that the GP knows are not.

    I can tell you that all my dance teachers call fusion and tribal bellydance, including the native egyptian. But of course, not being members of the GP, they wouldn't know what they are dancing would they........

    Do you think restaurant owners will ever advertise "Live American oriental performers" instead of bellydancers. Do you think you have the slightest hpe ever of YouTube, Britain's Got Talent, or the host of amateur dancers to drop the term bellydancing.

    you have to go with the flow and work out what you can achieve by education.

    I am one of the few people who still knows the difference between uninterestd and disinterested. I feel that the loss of the distinction between the 2 is a loss in clarification of meaning, but there is no point in my fighting it, the difference is lost to ordinary conversation and will soon be simply archaic. We move on we have to accept common usage.

    Same with bellydance as a term. If it's only you and yours who are making a distinction, (oh and I forgot your arab friends) it's time to move on and into the real world. go for something you've got a hope of winning.

    I think one of my teachers dances with a western style. She thinks she thinks she's going for authemtic egyptian. At what point would you say that she's bellydancing. Would it be possible to say, that for parts of a dance she's bellydancing and for other parts, she's not..... And what if some of us disagreed about which parts looked authentic.
    Last edited by jenc; 07-27-2008 at 01:58 PM.

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