Thursday, December 31, 2009
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Monday, November 30, 2009
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Monday, November 9, 2009
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Le Clezio ends with a quote that haunts from Strauss' Tristes Tropiques: “The world began without the human race and will certainly end without it.” (Photo: Claude Levi-Strauss from the New York Times)
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Monday, Oct. 26, @ 7 p.m.
The Metropolitan Building
44-01 11th Street,Long Island City, NY
I'll dance with Alembic, Dunya's Dancemeditation company, as they begin this season's monthly dance series.
Thursday, Oct. 29 @ 7 p.m.
PURE Pandemonium Halloween Birthday Benefit Je'Bon Restaurant15 St. Mark's Place, NYC (btw 2nd & 3rd) N/R/W to 8th Street, 6 to Astor Place $10-20 Suggested Donation 1 food/drink item minimum
This evening includes a roster of dancers including Kaeshi, Tandava, Jaida, and me (Thalia) raising money for another successful performance. PURE's summer show emphasized the transformative potential of belly dance to enable women to accept their bodies and confront confidence issues. This show at Je'Bon is to raise money for a next performance.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Monday, October 12, 2009
For a better print discussion on dying and Egyptians and philosophy, see the recent review in the Nation by Alexander Provan: "The End of Self Help." Simon Critchley was entertaining (he stands on his toes as he speaks) and the lecture was thought provoking rather than dark. His recent book is The Book of Dead Philosophers.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Monday, October 5, 2009
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Purists ask: How does belly dance fit in with Medieval Europe? It doesn't. But nevertheless, I'll be wearing a chain mail costume for the occasion.
The Festival is free and maps are available when you arrive at Fort Tryon. Please note that while there is subway service to 190th street on the A train, there is no shuttle bus running to the Cloisters. Expect a good 1/2 mile walk to the museum and to make your way through the festival. In addition to belly dance performances by Manhattan Tribal and Aleeyzah, make time for jousting, mead, Medieval and Celtic Music, dance lessons from the SCA, and purchasing homemade goods from the many local craft vendors. And oh yes, Medieval fried dough. Though last year's rainy weather made for gorgeous pictures, I hope this year's Festival will bring sun.
For Festival transportation information:
For a detailed program: http://www.whidc.org/MFProgram09.pdf
I couldn't resist this perfect "orientalish" picture from Wikipedia.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Hossam Ramzy's appropriately titled:
Arabian Knights on his album Baladi Plus, available at the ITunes link below.
See you at the Festival!
Sunday, September 13, 2009
On Tuesdays and Thursdays: Beginning level from 3:30 to 4:25 p.m. and Intermediate level from 4:30 -5:25 p.m.
On Fridays: Intermediate Level from 1:30-3:25 p.m. and Beginning Level from 3:30-4:25 p.m.
Register September 15-17 at Coles Gym, noon-8 p.m.
Questions? Call me: 347-782-1357.
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Friday, August 21, 2009
Saturday Aug. 22-Monday Aug. 24
7, 8, and 9 pm
at La Mama La Galleria (not the theatre)
6 East 1st St., between Bowery and 2nd Ave.
The photography will be on view through Sept. 4.
Fleming will also host a workshop Tuesday, Aug. 25 from 1-4 p.m. for $30. I've studied with Maureen and her husband Chris Odo for many years! I absolutely recommend her work to all. Telephone: 917-575-4969
Thursday, August 13, 2009
The pictures at the right focus on women's bellies though there is one male scribe in the Egyptian section. I started with the Egyptian Wing at the Met and then went over to the Greek and Roman room, and finished in the achingly small (if one can complain about the riches of the Met) East Asian wing. I was overwhelmed and had to call it a day. (Works from the Greek, Roman, and East Asian rooms are coming.)
As I walked from room to room, snapping photos and leaning toward bellies, I became aware of several things.
One, though I knew women's bellies were sexy, I wonder if the process of teaching dance and breaking down and analyzing technique makes me about technical and detached from the subject, the bellies themselves. As I progressed through the galleries, however, I was beautifully reminded of how erotically charged this center is. I became increasingly self conscious as the beefy, male security guards followed from room to room. Though I presume they were tracking me to make certain I didn't raise my flash, my activity started to feel illicit and dark. I began to wonder--why? Was it because I was only photographing women and rather closely at that? I considered telling one of the guards what I was actually doing and giving them my card, but worried an anxious description of the project would make my intentions seem even more sketchy. I was breaking no rules after all.
I also wondered if they actually were tracking me. In truth, they were simply standing in their assigned rooms doing their jobs on a busy, summer, Saturday night. Why was I getting so anxious?
Secondly, though different cultures and eras define the body, the difference of the portrayal of men and women in striking. Men are always straight, standing tall, confident. Women curve and bend, more often caught in movement rather than being portrayed at rest. Even in the Egyptian wing--with the exception of the female Pharaoh Hatsheput-- the women's bare, elongated torsos often curve with a sense of movement. They are musicians and dancers. They work in the fields or nursing children. Even the Goddesses are doing something. Repose, command, and stillness, appear to be part of the male experience.
DANCES FROM HOME
La MaMa E.T.C. presents DANCES FROM HOME,
the first gallery installation/performance art piece by choreographer/performance artist Maureen Fleming.
This unique performance and installation will feature a
retrospective of photography, video and live performance
spanning her 25 years as an artist in residence at
La MaMa E.T.C.
DANCES FROM HOME is on view August 22 - September 4,
6:00 - 10:00 PM daily with live installation presentations
Saturday - Monday August 22 - 24, at 7pm, 8pm & 9pm.
La MaMa's LA GALLERIA is located at 6 East 1st Street,
between Bowery & 2nd Avenue in Manhattan.
Nonprofit contributions for photography will be donated
to La MaMa E.T.C.
Saturday, August 8, 2009
"...it can be strongly argued that the male gaze is still in effect. For those who are unfamiliar with the terminology, the “male gaze” is essentially female characters being depicted and presented in ways their heterosexual male writers, artists, and audiences would like to see them. In the case of Dust, we can make an argument for the Western male gaze: an “oppressed” Muslim girl is rescued from Afghanistan by Wolverine, a Western male mutant. Wolverine is told that the Taliban were trying to remove Dust’s burqa, obviously to molest her, and since there don’t seem to be other Muslims around to take a stand against the Taliban’s perverted behavior, who better to rescue her than Wolverine, or rather, “Western democracy?” The scenario of Dust fighting the Taliban, as admirable as it is, occurs enough times in later issues that it makes one question if this is how Western male writers, artists, and readers want to see a Muslim super-heroine, i.e. to rebel against her oppressors, the mutual enemy of the U.S. government?
Read the full article, "Part 1: Female, Muslim, and Mutant" here. The above photo of The New X-Men's Dust comes from the entry for Dust in Wikipedia.org.
Monday, July 27, 2009
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Saturday, July 25, 2009
(Pictured: NYU Students (Sisters of Bast) at the Medieval Festival 2007)
Nauli breathing and backbends are best attempted with a certified yoga instructor or a video. Yoga Journal has a generous on-line component that makes home practice a safer and inspiring activities. I like very much an article by Fernando Pages-Ruiz that ran this spring about the natural shape of the abomen. The bad news is delivered unapologetically (fat cells in the abdomen, once you get them, never go away), but the good news is that some relatively easy exercises can offer belly dance students the additional development and flexibility in the front body. Highlights from "Forget Six Pack Abs" are links to helpful poses, breathing tips, and a theory regarding the depiction of yogis and many images of the buddha with large, voluptous bellies. They have prana, Pages-Ruiz explains. Our obsession with flat, six pack abs is certainly a modern convention.
There are also several YouTube links that show nauli breathing. The one I've linked here is the most professionally demonstrated though there seems to be some discoloration in the filming.
Please read Fernando Pages-Ruiz's informative, factual breakdown-- "Forget Six Pack Abs."
(Photo above: Lina Jang photography: www.bellydancephotography.com)
Monday, July 20, 2009
In this previous Sunday's belly roll series, we reviewed the Triple Axis Belly Roll broken down in the previous post, added a horizontal top lock, and also worked on quarter rolls and coin pops.
Points to remember about Quarter Rolls:
- Lie on your back and prop up the chest with the forearms on the floor and do a few horizontal circles to find the placement for the chest and to better find your "skin folds." I suggest working with a skin fold a few inches below your rib cage.
- Place one quarter flat against your skin, touching the skin fold at the base of the coin.
- Squeeze the quarter toward the ground, using your skin fold like a pincers.
- Squeeze the quarter until it flips over.
- Repeat with your next skin fold (everyone has them!) until the quarter passes your navel.Repeat the whole series in reverse, rolling the quarter back up.
Points to remember about Coin Pops:
- Lie on your back and keep the chest down this time, propping your head up with your hands.
- Set the quarter about the width of one hand below your navel.
- Pull the abdomen down toward the floor, as if drawing a bow back, hollowing all of the way up to the chest cavity.
- Press the abdomen straight up. Keep trying until it flies in the air.
- Note: You must draw back to push the coin up. Thrusting the abdomen forward only will only make your belly sore!
Sunday, July 19, 2009
D'Jam at Je'Bon
Je'Bon Noodle House
15 St. Mark's Place
New York, NY
$10 cover charge; $5 minimum at the table.
Last Sunday in our Flow Workshop at the Panetta Movement Center, we discussed the "Triple Axis Belly Roll." While any roll is a vertical wave, or undulation pattern, of the rectus abdominis muscle (see left diagram), I find manipulating the wave from the three separate sections creates variety and develops the muscle more intensely. My participants and I did this in a drill that moved through each axis, circling in toward the spine and then stretching away from the spine. For the full benefit, the spine should continue stretching upward, providing a strong, straight line that contrasts with the undulating action of the rectus abdominis.
The three axis points are: the break at the very base of the muscle, the break at the navel, and the break just above the navel. An even higher break can be added by pressing down the rib cage, which adds a bit of skeleton to the controlled muscular isolation and lengthens the roll for a higher variation.
In today's workshop, we'll add multiple horizontal variations to the vertical basic roll. Please come! For more information on the workshop, which continues through Sunday, August 2, please visiting my previous post on this blog: http://orientalish.blogspot.com/2009/06/flow-veil-and-belly-work-intensive.html (The diagram is from Wikipedia and Gray's Anatomy. Alas, the pictured abs are male, but it was the easiest diagram to access. If anyone has access to female diagrams, please let me know!)
Sunday, July 5, 2009
The bird goddess, pictured left, is worth the trip to the museum. Her face appears to have the shape of a beak, an ibis perhaps, associated with wisdom and writing, or perhaps a bird that represents sexuality, which appeared on an unrelated scuplture. There is no mystery to the rest of her physicality, powerful hips and butt, defined breasts, her hands making the same beaked gesture of her face. Everything suggests fertility. She may be dancing......
Female Figurine (“Bird Lady”). Egypt, from Ma’mariya. Predynastic Period, Naqada II, circa 3650–3300 B.C.E. Terracotta. Brooklyn Museum, Museum Collection Fund, 07.447.505
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Level 2 dancers have finished raqs assaya or cane dance routine to Hossam Ramzy's "Eddalla Ya Gamal" from his double album, Best of Baladi and Saaidi, Volume 1. I recommend the whole album.
Practice and enjoy! (Pictured is the National Folklorice Troupe in Egypt (2007) in traditional dress, not Hossam Ramzy.)
Friday, June 19, 2009
ORIGINAL POST: Christopher Hitchens weighed in on the Elgin (Parthenon) Marbles debate in an Op-Ed: "A Home for the Marbles."
An interesting and timeless issue-- the British Museum worries that if they return the marbles to Athens where a grand new museum is opening at the Acropolis, it would set a "precedent" of great works being taken from other museums. It was eerie during my trip to England in 2007 to see so many works from Egypt and the Greece (my photos of the "Elgin Marbles" are here). I also remember the opposite experience of being in Mexico City's archeological museum and seeing so many tags identifying the displayed item as a replica of an original in Germany, England, Italy, the US, Spain, etc.
While I'm not always a fan of Hitchens, he gives an interesting argument for the Marbles' return and that artworks should be viewed whole when possible--fewer decapitated gods and goddesses--and that return would not begin an era of empty museums in the West. Also interesting is "Majestic in Exile" by Nikos Kostandaras who considers the original acquisition by Lord Elgin who obtained them while serving as ambassador in Constantinople (Istanbul), elevated the importance of the Marbles that inspired so many writers and scholars in England. Kostandaras still wants them back. (Photos: British Museum, 2007)
Saturday, June 13, 2009
A lecture,"Ruminations with Zahra Partovi" featured this artist and translator of Jalalluddin Mohammad Rumi's poetry who works with artists in NYC who are creating visual artworks drawn from the ideas and interpretations of his Sufi poems.
During her passionate talk with a background film of people's feet going up the stairs at the Met, Partovi read works in both Persian and English and pointed out the poet's fluid outpouring as a Sufi teacher, Muslim preacher (her term), philosopher, scientist, psychologist, poet, and storyteller. The reach and depth of his knowledge, she believes, contributes to his ongoing popularity. She also described the origin of Sufism as a response to a need for "softness" in traditional Islam as it was being practiced in 12th c. Iran. There, Sufism flowered out of the advanced learning and philosophies developed by traditional Islam, Buddhism, Christianity, and Neo-Platonism.
Partovi's response to one very general question from the audience interested me. When asked, "Who was Shams of Tabriz?" Partovi offered first the famous story in which Rumi, renowned scholar, after three days of non-stop discussion with this stranger named Shams of Tabriz, throws his books into the river having found a deeper source of knowing. But then, rejuvenated that story with a line from one of Rumi's poems---Shams was "an excuse"; he already was the knowledge. One artist in the audience complained that the presentation smacked of proselytizing. While museum representatives quickly jumped in to explain the intention to explore art and culture, Partovi listened with a wry look on her face.
Partovi's translation appears in the exhibit on a glass sculpture by Kelly Driscoll. Light seeps through graduated glass plates and casts shadows of the words for the viewers to read instead of the etched letters, including: "I am like the sun drowned within the light; I know not how to distinguish myself from light!"
Monday, June 8, 2009
Panetta Movement Center
214 W. 29th St., 10th fl.
Between 7th and 8th Avenues
New York, NY
Sundays, July 12-August 2
Four sessions: $60
Information and registration:
Sunday, June 7, 2009
Level 1: Wed, 6-7:30 p.m. (with me)
Level 2: Wed., 7:30-9 p.m. (with Ranya)
Graduate Center, C Level, 34th St. and 5th Ave.
Classes: $20 each session; 3 sessions $45
To register: 212-817-8215 or visit the website for Wellness Classes
Please come and join us as we dance our farewell to Scott Voorhees and all those who supported us at the CUNY-Graduate Center. (Photo: Nile Sunset, 2007)