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Thread: A step too far?

  1. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kashmir View Post
    Actually there are two ways of looking at this:

    Too far to be considered "belly dance" and
    Too far to be considered "decent"

    For me, if the spirit isn't there it isn't belly dance. For me, the "spirit" is a way of connecting the movement of your body and the emotions you express with the music and culture. Disconnect that and you might still have good dance - but it isn't belly dance.
    you need to write an essay or article elaborating on this...seriously.
    all the while i have been trying to process this notion without fully understanding. you have provided me with a moment of clarity.

    eureka!

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    V.I.P. Mya's Avatar
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    Have you ever looked at her website? Has some nice stuff!!

    By the way - can someone (maybe over in the evolution of costumes thread) elaborate on the comment made about the origins of the Sahar Okasha line? I think if there's a story behind it then that story is something that influenced the fashion trends of costuming.

  3. #53
    Member Tribal Belly Dance Malta's Avatar
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    Please help!
    As you know I have joined this thread and made comments and voiced my opinion, but......
    It seems in my infinite wisdom (not) I have maybe gone a step too far myself?
    My group were invited to perform at a new bar and the theme is burlesque (shock horror)
    The organisers asked nicely if it was possible to create a more burlesque type choreography? I asked my girls what they thought of the idea and they all agreed they would love to do it.
    So fun and laughter has rang from our practise studio as we have rehearsed our 10 min performance, opening piece being the theme to "I dream of Jeannie" This tells you how we are playing it. Full tongue in cheek!
    Now yesterday I advertised it here and on Facebook and it seems I am now blaspheming from the mountains. I have explained that I do know what Burlesque is and its origins. That our dance routines are a mixture of both Tribal and "tease" but all done in good taste. Also I am being told that there is no such thing as burlesque belly dance when contrary to this statement there clearly is, as I asked 2 good Belly dance teacher friends of mine who do teach burlesque belly dance for hints and tips to begin with.
    So.....
    1 Dose Burlesque/Belly dance exist?
    2 If it does is it belly dance?
    3 can you use the name belly dance?

    Quote from other thread

    There is so many oriental dancers using Sally Rand Fans now in their routines and so many belly dance shops now selling them that the lines have merged. The "Burlesque" Belly Dance style ranges from an almost pure oriental performance with the ostrich feather fans - to the opposite extreme where to be honest the only resemblance to belly dance maybe a camel or two and some snake arms. The performers also range from armatures to very good professional belly dancers. Where dose it stop being belly dance and become burlesque?
    Example
    Is this Belly Dance or Burlesque as Belly Dancers never used ostrich show girls fans!



    Another example, this time this is definitely a 1/2 and 1/2, there's no mistaking both elements, although due to the costuming you perceive it as more burlesque.
    There is in my eyes nothing risque in their performance but what could you call it? Belly dancers scream its burlesque and burlesque will say its belly dance!


  4. #54
    V.I.P. Caroline_afifi's Avatar
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    well 'Belly Burly' exsists in so much as people do it, but for me it is not a valid form of MED in any shape or form and I do not like the two to be connected.

    Having said that, I dont mind Burlesque and think it is fun.... just not to be confused or fused with MED.

    They are my thoughts on the matter.

  5. #55
    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    Default Burlesque

    Quote Originally Posted by Caroline_afifi View Post
    well 'Belly Burly' exsists in so much as people do it, but for me it is not a valid form of MED in any shape or form and I do not like the two to be connected.

    Having said that, I dont mind Burlesque and think it is fun.... just not to be confused or fused with MED.

    They are my thoughts on the matter.


    Dear Malta,
    I agree with Caroline on this. Belly dance and Burlesque are two separate forms of dance. Also one would have to have studied whatever forms one is trying to fuse for many years in order to create any kind of truth in fusion. Most professed "fusion" dancers know very little about the forms they say they are fusing. There are a few sublime dancers out there who can do great fusion. I am one who believes that if it is not Middle Eastern dance, then the words "belly dance" do not apply and should not be added to the definition. Belly dance implies for the audience, that what they are seeing is from the Middle East. A costume does not make the dance, and neither does a few random movements that can be seen in numerous dances.
    Regards,
    A'isha

  6. #56
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    Just a quick question then.....
    Any ideas as to what to call it then?
    confused and feeling the odd one out ;(

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tribal Belly Dance Malta View Post
    1 Dose Burlesque/Belly dance exist?
    2 If it does is it belly dance?
    3 can you use the name belly dance?
    Answers:

    Does it really matter if it does? The point isn't it's existence, nor it's name -- with respect to those who say you cannot fuse the two. The point is that Burlesque has negative associations for many dancers in our form. A LOT of dancers have been fighting for years to get away from sleazy associations and people thinking we're strippers. A lot of dancers still, to this day, see other dancers who treat this dance as a way to hit on guys, to sleep around, and to do other stuff. It infuriates them.
    This leads many to react badly to seeing any hint of the kind of "overt" sexuality that Burlesque represents. That kind of fusion makes their skin crawl, makes them think you're laughing at their years of hard work, makes them think you don't care about the history of the form. And that you have other dancers that think it's fine only underscores the division in the dance community on this point.
    You're also running into a related point. This dance, in the Middle East, also has negative connotations, some of which were "imported" from Western abuses of the "myth of the East" as exotic -- myths that art forms like Burlesque helped promulgate and infest into the Western and Eastern consciousness. It's been depressing, for example, for me to read the difference between 16th and 19th Century views of the dance by visitors to the East. It's frustrating to me that Raqs Sharqi was, in part, devised not for natives, but for Saudi and Western tourists to Cairo who wanted the more sexualized, "polished" look. Who wanted bedlah, a uniform derived from the Orentalist fantasies that outlets like the then-extant Burlesque pushed.

    Here's an example:

    The Thompson company was soon hired away to play at Niblo's in an arabesque comedy called The 40 Thieves. The orientalist turn soon worked its way into other shows, including those of Madame Celeste's Female Minstrel Company, which included numbers such as "The Turkish Bathers" and "The Turkish Harem." (Even as late as 1909, Millie De Leon was being billed as "The Odalisque of the East," i.e., the East Coast.) Orientalism was just one avenue down which American burlesque in the last three decades of the nineteenth century went in search of its identity in a tireless quest for plausible excuses to put lots of pretty women on stage while still managing to distinguish itself from what were already being called "leg shows."
    Having said all that, I have no issue, whatsoever, with the ideal of mixing Burlesque and any of the Raqs Sharqi derivations. I think both have artistic merit, and I'm actually proud of people who do the neo-Burlesque forms, including an ex-gf and a good friend who hosts a regional Burlesque festival. Burlesque may have started from bad roots, and it's work helped contribute to the defamation of my preferred form of dance. Yet it's reclamation is by-and-large a good thing, and something I support.
    What I'd want to see, though, is harder than just putting the look-and-feel of two forms together. I'd want to see some effort put into understanding the connection, the racist and sexist connotations involved with this connection, and the history thereof. I'd want to see it in an appropriate venue. I'd want to see folks understand the forces they put into play when they attempt to combine the styles, and to understand that artistic ventures are not proof from critical analysis. Indeed, I think one of the issues I have with our form is that we avoid criticism like the plague, and then wonder why so many dancers do "what they will" without much resistance.

    If you continue down this road, people will critique, harshly, this activity. You need to judge if doing it is worth it, but you need to judge not only based upon today, but on the full, unfettered historical context both forms work in. That history informs you as to how people today can, and will, react -- rightly or wrongly. This is about far more that "elements of one dance in another", or how "sexy" or "risque" the results are. It's about doing something similar (if considerably more socially acceptable) to working in Blackface on a modern stage w/o knowing the history thereof. This means there are no easy answers, just hard work to achieve a vision.

    Am I making sense, here?

  8. #58
    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    Default What to call it??

    Quote Originally Posted by Tribal Belly Dance Malta View Post
    Just a quick question then.....
    Any ideas as to what to call it then?
    confused and feeling the odd one out ;(

    Dear Malta,
    I don't know, but until you come up with a name, could you just explain what it is that you are doing? For example, and this is just a suggestion:

    "In the early 20th century, there were two dances that caused a scandal in the U.S. Belly Dance and Strip tease. In reality what one saw on the burlesque stage was not belly dance at all, but a parody of that dance. And by today's standards, the strip tease was no tease at all. We thought we would see what would happen if we combined elements of the two dances that so shocked Victorian Americans and later a more worldly crowd. Is it belly dance? No! Is it burlesque strip tease? Well, not exactly...... What is it? Well, let's let YOU be the judge of that! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Fatima Jones and Her Buxom Money Maker Shakers!!!" ( or whoever).


    This kind of introduction keeps it light and funny and the audience knows it's all in fun and most importantly, not belly dance.

    Regards,
    A'isha

  9. #59
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    I forgot to mention this.
    This whole thing is a one off performance.
    The bar in question, where we shall be dancing will be dedicated to all things Burlesque. This will Include a variety of acts such as dancing girls, singers, comedians, musicians, and drag acts, yes and the striper too (not fully nude), all satirical with a saucy edge.
    The night is also going to be a staged audition night, with pretend judges and prizes, it will be the audience that get to choose the winner!.
    We came up with the name "scarlet fever" for our act as "scarlet" is our normal troupe name and scarlet fever is a famous burlesque dancer also. The whole night is just for fun and I doubt anyone will come away from it with out knowing the whole thing is just a show.
    The music we will be dancing to is the theme to I dream of Jeannie, Fever, Austin Powers theme and tainted love/santa baby. not one is a "belly dance" melody.

  10. #60
    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    Default Dance etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tribal Belly Dance Malta View Post
    I forgot to mention this.
    This whole thing is a one off performance.
    The bar in question, where we shall be dancing will be dedicated to all things Burlesque. This will Include a variety of acts such as dancing girls, singers, comedians, musicians, and drag acts, yes and the striper too (not fully nude), all satirical with a saucy edge.
    The night is also going to be a staged audition night, with pretend judges and prizes, it will be the audience that get to choose the winner!.
    We came up with the name "scarlet fever" for our act as "scarlet" is our normal troupe name and scarlet fever is a famous burlesque dancer also. The whole night is just for fun and I doubt anyone will come away from it with out knowing the whole thing is just a show.
    The music we will be dancing to is the theme to I dream of Jeannie, Fever, Austin Powers theme and tainted love/santa baby. not one is a "belly dance" melody.



    Dear Malta,
    I am trying to understand this. You are not using belly dance music... you are, I would presume, using a variety of different kinds of movement... what about the dance you are doing is belly dance as such, making it the least bit
    appropriate to even include the words in your description? Neither burlesque nor tribal is belly dance, so I guess I am not seeing the connection to Middle Eastern dance at all.....????? I am not trying to be a jerk.... I would just like a better understanding of why your company thinks the term "belly dance" is even applies to what you are presenting.
    Regards,
    A'isha

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