Category Archives: BDSS

belly dance banned in california

ok, just part of california, but… the story from the modesto bee:

Stanislaus County Library patrons can read any of 10 books on belly dancing, from techniques to costumes. They also can check out a DVD on belly dancing as an exercise.

But they can’t attend a belly dancing program at the library anymore.

Stanislaus County Chief Executive Officer Rick Robinson has canceled the program, which was scheduled for April 22.

“The issue is what is appropriate for a library and what is not appropriate,” Robinson said.

Robinson saw the event scheduled on the library calendar and questioned it.

“Does it support some form of educational opportunity, or is it just pure entertainment?” Robinson asked. “I couldn’t answer that to my satisfaction, and I couldn’t answer it to my board.”

i’ve spoken about educational opportunities on occasion… Continue reading

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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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BDSS resident company

looks like the bellydance superstars have landed themselves a resident gig at the monte carlo resort (see “monte carlo resort” then “nightlife” then “le cabaret”).

the site claims:

Sixteen gorgeous dancers will perform to tribal, techno, rock and oriental rhythms reminiscent of the poetic and bewitching world of the Arabian Nights.

Open from Wednesday to Saturday. Bar/Restaurant open from 8:30 pm, with the show beginning at 10:30 pm.

sixteen is an expanded company (i think the superstars have been touring with twelve), and the show opened last week (september 14).

haven’t seen any reviews yet…

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BDSS United States winter 2006 tour

the itinerary for the first few months of 2006 is now posted, so here are a few minutes’ thoughts on the superstars as they kick off 2006…

the first thing i need to say is that this tour is a lot less rock-and-roll and a lot more dancer-compatible. the average leg is a little more than 200 miles, which is actually a bit longer than the fall 2005 schedule (before it was cancelled), but more importantly, the long legs are matched to dark days more consistently than anything the superstars have done in the past. the short version is that this means a better show, for many inter-related reasons.

the other general note is that the venues seem to be up a notch or two – bigger and more formal presentation space. this also means a better show.

here’s the information i have. many venues are not announced yet, so there’s not much i can do with that. venues i’m familiar with in some manner have capacity in parens. total, with this plan is 67 days covering 14652 miles, which works out to 219 miles/day.
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rachel hops off the bellybus

announced here, rachel brice will be off the bellybus and doing creative things of her own for the first half of 2006.

mixed blessings, that… since she probably won’t be coming back to my part of the world, so i wish you well, rachel… come see us again sometime! Continue reading

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what miles is doing this fall

in case you were interested in the opportunities that may have played into the delay of the us tour for the bellydance superstars… here’s a clue.

from the daily star (may 23, 2005): What a message. What a tribute

His present project is intriguing. Copeland will take a handful of Arab performers to New Mexico and film them while they perform for a U.S. audience. Sometimes they’ll be paired with American performers. “My brother [former Police drummer Stewart Copeland] is gonna get me musicians – Carlos Santana hopefully. The lead singer from Incubus is really interested in doing something.”

The camera will follow some through their American adventure. He will start filming sometime between November 2005 and January 2006. As the Corporation for Public Broadcasting is funding the two-hour documentary, it will broadcast on the U.S. public broadcasting network, PBS. Copeland then wants to distribute the film in the Middle East.

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UK news covering the superstars

several pieces lately…

from This is Local London, Dance styles to fit everyone:

The troupe’s instructional and performance DVDs are already international best-sellers, and a new CD/DVD combo simply entitled Bellydance Superstars and The Desert Roses released last month looks set to follow that success.

from the Telegraph, I haven’t got the stomach for this:

That doesn’t sound very Arabian. Nor is it. For, despite exotic stage-names such as Petite Jamilla and Amar Gamal, the Bellydance Superstars are all, in fact, Americans, who chanced upon belly-dance at gym or dance classes before taking it up professionally. “We have Italian-Americans, CubanAmericans, African-Americans, everything except Arab-Americans,” says Miles Copeland, matter-of-factly. “I just can’t find an Arab.”

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Navel gazing

the superstars coming to wales… with quotable moments from miles… Navel gazing

“People told me The Police wouldn’t be big, but they were huge,” he [Miles Copeland] says..

“People have similarly told me belly dancing won’t take off – but when you can see the potential in something different, and it becomes really big, it gives you a real feeling of self-confidence.

“The Police and Bellydance Superstars are the two things I’ve done that are the most revolutionary for their time.”

“It’s the middle-eastern percussion and the rhythm,” explains Copeland.. “It’s very hard to sit down and be passive, because it just makes you want to get up and move. We’ve got dancers who are beautiful and glamorous and at the top of their game – it’s quite a stunning show.”

“From a man’s perspective it’s a celebration of the beauty of a woman without encouraging the baser instincts of the male mind,” Copeland says.
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Right on the button, in Newcastle

from icNewcastle, Right on the button

“While some would say that belly dance is an art of seduction, others believe that – as the only dance created by women for women – it is a celebration of the woman as a woman.

“As such, it has become a recognised self-esteem builder, a dance to be enjoyed and participated in no matter what your age, size, or shape,” he [Miles Copeland] says.

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Copeland playing fast with the media

I don’t often make public statements about specific players in this business of dance, but this time I felt compelled to put it on the record. Before I do, let me say that I don’t have any problem with the Bellydance Superstars or their approach to business or dance. What I have a problem with is something a bit more subtle.

Circulated to their promotional email list and also found on this page [if you jump over the registration hurdles] you will find the following set of quotes from the media, posted by Stipko, “website admin” for the Bellydance Superstars:

* “The most important dance troupe in the world.” – Sunday Times / London

* “Gorgeous, spiffily dressed, skilled dancers…sheer genius.” – Village Voice – New York – 3/12/04

* “Bellydancing is the next riverdance.” – Daily Telegraph / London
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