Monday, November 30, 2009

NYU Class Music: B Quarter 2009

Updated dance class music for NYU classes in the B quarter, which is (sadly)coming to a close.:

Level Two dancers are using for warm up: "Samra" and "Itfarag al Halawa" on the Oriental Belly Dance CD by Noura and Bassem Yazbeck. For our drum solo, we are using "Sawraji Tabla" and "Layali Al Sharq" on the album Layali Al-Sharq by the Al Ahram Orchestra.

Level One dancers are finishing our routine to Nancy Ajram's "Baddala3 alek" from her album Ah W Noss. I still can't find the song on Itunes, but you might be able to find the track or the full album on other sites. Nancy Ajram's website is This is one of her earlier albums. Practice over Christmas break everyone!

Video Clip of Soheir Zaki

After many mentions of Soheir Zaki as one of my favorite Egyptian style dancers in class, I'm including this link to her work, but there are many on YouTube to see. As with all clips from the 70s, the camera work is bizarre, but her dancing and musicality (and hip accents) stay clear. Please watch over the break!

NanoWrimo 2009

Just finished with 50,001 words!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Part II: Watching and Recording

This second entry involving an artist/scholar taking notes and recording information puts me at odds a second time. I suppose this is the "gaze" of Orientalism. In this self-portrait and sketch, the artist Dominique Vivant-Denon can be seen "sketching the ruins of Hierakonpolis." Denon was one of the "savants" or artisans taken by Napoleon Bornaparte to record accurately what they saw as they moved quickly through the country in hopes of gaining power. According to this blog entry from the New York Review of Books, the artists had to work and record quickly on the famous Expedition. For more information, read Peter Brooks' blog entry: "From Egypt to Paris: An Artist Prized for his Travel Sketches."

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Part I: "Watching and Recording"

Though I am not so versed in the work of French anthropologist and writer Claude Levi-Strauss, his death last week made for an interesting tribute by Nobel writer (and modern Orientalist) J. M. G. Le Clezio, "The Savage Detective." Among a list of graces attributed to Strauss, Le Clezio comments that he was (arguably) able to walk dangerously close but avoid the trap of the colonial mindset through "his humanity and his melancholy kindness, which made him reluctant to go into the field for fear of intruding on the people he studied or finding himself disappointed by what had been lost to the evolution of modern times." In the picture above, Strauss studies closely the technique of a Brazilian capoeira dancer.

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)