Category Archives: Commentary

Regarding Yasmin’s Music Copyright Law Piece in the Gilded Serpent.

I don’t have time to do Yasmin’s article justice; there’s just so much that the best I can hope for is to find someone else to pick up the baton where I leave it. What follows is a brain-dump with … Continue reading

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extracted from tribe.net – on the city paper “dissing” belly dance

because this was not easy to find, pills i’m copying my 2.5-cents over here into my own space, with a link to the original thread. in light of recent events, i am probably too thankful, but in the interest of … Continue reading

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on controversy and discomfort in belly dance

After several private discussions it seems important that I take some time to address the recent piece by Barbara Grant discussing Sashi and to a lesser extent, Kaya and Sadie, Suhaila and Judeo-Christian ethical standards as they apply to belly dance and as they are represented in the article. I’m going to try to head in the direction of making this a learning opportunity, but some of this may seem pretty personal. For that I apologize in advance.

Don’t be mean. We don’t have to be mean. -B.B.

This goes here and not on Gilded Serpent because there is just no way that the Gilded Serpent 500-word limit on letters is going to cover these thoughts, and neither is the 3-page limit on articles (I’m going to be lucky to come in at less than 5000 words). To even hope to keep this reasonable, I’m going to skip the whole second half of Ms. Grant’s article – perhaps I’ll come back to issues of burlesque and belly dance in the future. For now, focus is important, so I tackle only the first half.
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The BDSS bridge building effort and the Mezquita

This has been sticking in my craw for quite a while, and I guess the best way to free myself is to go ahead and dump it out there in public and the next time it comes up, I can skip the discussion and just point. I could be wrong about all of this, but there are just too many pieces that come together for me.

Long, long ago, in a garden far, far away (in Hollywood), Miles Copeland III made the following statement about just how important the Bellydance Superstars really are:

“Bellydance Superstars is the most important dance company in the world today. We are the only ones doing something that has a social import. Given that the most important thing in the world today is the conflict between Muslim world and the United States, anything that creates bridges between those two cultures is incredibly important.”

Since then, he’s played it a bit fast… and I’ve taken issue with that strategy.
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a brief rant on taking each other seriously

one of the reasons i enjoy working with dancers is that they are generally (!) genuinely good people. but in every population, there’s a “dark side” and in every population there’s the occasional oversight or mistake or “flash of stupidity.” i’ve certainly done my share of stupid things, but i try to “do right” by the dancers, particularly with the photography stuff, and i think i usually live up to that.

but there are exceptions. of course.

and so, since i have a soapbox to stand on, and since i had such interesting back-channel feedback from my essay-length rant on tribaldc.tribe.net (in here), i guess i’m on a bit of a roll with ranting. in this case, i thought i’d retreat to my personal corner of the web.

duplicity is not ok.

it’s not ok to ask me to do photos, and ask for a really fast (as in overnight) turnaround, with lots of heavy editing, and then just assume it was a “favor.” i do favors – probably too often. but if you wouldn’t drop everything you had planned tonight to come dance for me right now, as a favor, you shouldn’t expect me to drop everything i had planned to make you look good out of the generosity of my heart. it’s not that i wouldn’t – in fact, i have – but it’s the assumption that’s duplicitous.
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congratulations pure dc adventures

just a quick note to thank all the “foreign” pure dancers for stopping by dc and doing what they do…. i hope the city treated you well, and i hope you had a wonderful visit.

thanks to the local pure contingent for putting together a very busy weekend.

and congratulations to all of pure for expanding their ritual. Continue reading

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testimony of a proud father

something i never expected to find… believe it or not, rachel has a father. and that father has a blog, and that blog shows a father’s pride

of course, i can’t vouch for the reality here, but…

My life would have been relatively impoverished if I had not had the opportunity to watch my daughter grow into the incredible force of nature she’s become, and to enjoy the pleasure of her company. Still, I often look at her and still see her as the curly-headed little moppett she was 30 years ago.

i hope i don’t get in trouble for “outing” dad… Continue reading

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maragret cho on bellydance

some personal commentary from maragret cho on bellydane in general, cairo carnival in particular and body image. Continue reading

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Congratulations Sahara Dance

Just a quick congratulatory note to Sahara Dance and the hundred-ish dancers that survived Saturday’s marathon….

Great show, dancers… I hope you enjoyed it.

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Auditioning for the superstars

two experiences, as presented by the gilded serpent, here.

But in order to survive that first audition one must have an extensive background in Western choreographed dance forms such as jazz, modern or ballet, as well as belly dance.

She told me to take more ballet.

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