Thursday, December 23, 2010
In the meantime, I hope to travel to the Society in January to do research on my fiction project about Ralph Waldo Emerson's 19th century trip up the Nile to visit the famed Temple at Philae (left, from the Description d'le Egypte in Wikipedia) For travel reading, I also picked up Robert D. Richardson's excellent book on Emerson's writing process titled First We Read, Then We Write. Emerson's writing philosophy is best summed up in his own words: "...the way to write is to throw your body at the mark when all of your arrows are spent."
Level One classes at NYU:
Level Two classes at NYU:
Classes resume the last week of January. Dance wherever you are in the meantime....
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Monday, December 6, 2010
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
So here is the connection with Orientalish. Frequently dancers aspire accepted or applauded by Arab audiences, friends, or perhaps relatives as a way of achieving "legitimacy." There is a weird subservience to "approval." One group's support or admiration is different from the others; and at the same time, those seeking legitimacy (in dancing) are making money either way. Peretz doesn't go into who is making the most profit out of these traveling exhibits. He changes the focus instead to distasteful jabs at Said's place of burial. Creepy.
The article: Another Refutation of the "Orientalist" Disputations of Edward Said.
Here is the article:http://www.tnr.com/blog/the-spine/79471/another-refutation-the-orientalist-disputations-edward-said
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Also look at the comments for a considered reaction and a reference to one of the must-reads on Orientalist paintings, The Orientalists by Kristen Davies. The painting is Gerome's famous "Snake Charmer" that adorns Edward Said's seminal work Orientalism.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Volume 60, Number 2, June 2008. From the lengthy abstract: "Belly dancing has become especially trendy among non-Arab women across the United States since the 1990s and in the San Francisco Bay Area where it was popularized in the 1960s and 1970s with the emergence of female liberation movements focusing on body politics. This article reflects on what it means for American women to stage Middle Eastern dance at a time when the United States is engaged in war and occupation in the Middle East and there is intensified preoccupation with the figure of the Arab and Muslim “other,” and particularly with the image of oppressed Middle Eastern and Muslim femininity. The research is based on interviews with belly dance students, performers, teachers, and managers in the Bay Area that explore: why is belly dancing so popular among non- Arab women in the Bay Area? Why has it exploded at a moment when Arab Americans themselves have been profiled and attacked during the War on Terror? What does this embodied performance of putatively “Middle Eastern culture” reveal about post-9/11 U.S. nationalism? I argue that belly dancing performances are entangled with the imperial engagements that link the United States and the Middle East and reveal a deeper politics of imperialism, racialization, and feminism in this moment of U.S. empire. The article situates the massive appeal of belly dancing and its growing resonance with white American women since 2001 in relation to contemporary gender and nationalist politics, demonstrating that belly dancing has become a popular site for the mobilization of “whiteness” and “Americanness” in relation to Arab/Muslim femininities and masculinities. Belly dancing has become a site for staging a New Age feminism and liberal Orientalist perspective on Arab and Muslim women. I explore how belly dance performances are layered with the politics of liberal multiculturalism, sisterhood, and female entrepreneurship."
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
The NY Theatrical Belly Dance Conference 2010A Five Day Exploration of Dance Styles, Intention, and Content . My review of the panel discussions appeared earlier in the magazine: Report from the Theatrical Belly Dance Conference Part 1: The Panel Discussions. .
(Photo credits: Jeniviva and Mystical Hips by Brian Lin; Kaeshi Chai and Bellyqueen Dance Theater by Sal Romano; and Dunya and the Core Alembic by Sal Romano)
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Wednesday, Oct. 13
D'Jam Under Je'Bon
Je'Bon Noodle Shop
15 St. Mark's Place
between Astor and 2nd Ave.
New York, NY
Cover $10/ $5 min. per person
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Anthropological and Cultural Focus:
Currently, one of my favorite books is a compilation of essays:
Belly Dance: Orientalism, Transnationalism and Harem Fantasy, edited by academic writers and dancers, Barbara Sellers-Young and Anthony Shay. Erudite and probing, these essays take belly dance seriously while exploring the ramifications of cultural appropriation and history.
"A Trade like Any Other": Female Singers and Dancers in Egypt by Karen Van Nieuwkerk. A look at the ethnic history of professional performers in Egypt.
There are many great DVDs on the market; in the book department however, I recommend a classic that is half memoir and half technique: Grandmother's Secrets: The Ancient Rituals and Healing Power of Belly Dancing Rosina-Fawzia B. Al-Rawi.
Noble Dreams, Wicked Pleasures: Orientalism in America, 1870-1930, edited by Holly Edwards. This book captures beautifully the visual artistry of the American Orientalists in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Written as a catalog for an art exhibition, this book has prints interspersed with valuable articles.
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
FALL CLASS SCHEDULE
CLS 230.1 Beginning Level: Fri., 3:30-4:25 p.m. (AB)
CLS 231.1 Intermediate Level: Fri., 1:30-3:25 p.m. A, B
CLS 232.1 Advanced Level: Fri. 4:30-5:25 p.m. (AB)
Tuesday, September 14th 8:00am - Friday, October 1st 11:59pm
In-Person Registration at Coles Sports Center:
Tuesday, September 14th 8:00am-1:00pm and 4:00-8:00pm
Wednesday, September 15th 12:00pm-8:00pm
Thursday, September 16th 12:00pm-8:00pm
If you have any questions at all, feel free to contact me:
Saturday, September 4, 2010
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Kuchuk dances the Bee. First, so that the door can be closed, the women send away Farghali and another sailor, who up to now have been watching the dances and who, in the background, constituted the grotesque element of the scene. A black veil is tied around the eyes of the child, and a fold of his blue turban is lowered over those of the old man. Kuchuk shed her clothing as she danced. Finally, she was naked except for a fichu which she held in her hands and behind, which she pretended to hide, and at the end, she threw down the fichu. That was the Bee. She danced it very briefly and said she does not like to dance that dance. Joseph, very excited, kept clapping his hands: ‘La, eu, nia, oh! Eu, nia, oh!’ Finally, after repeating for us the wonderful step she had danced in the afternoon, she sank down breathless on her divan, her body continuing to move slightly in rhythm. One of the women threw her her enormous white trousers striped with pink, and she pulled them on up to her neck. The other two musicians were unblindfolded. (117)
Another dance. A cup of coffee is placed on the ground. She dances before it, then falls on her knees and continues to move her torso, always clacking the castanets, and describing in the air a gesture with her arms as though she were swimming. That continues, gradually, the head is lowered, she reaches for the cup, takes the edge of it between her teeth, and then leaps up quickly with a single bound.( 118)
Of particular interest to me in this article, was the relation of a “scopophilic” gaze. Flaubert keeps drawing a wider net, according to Karayanni. This is true for all Imperialists seeking to “understand” landscape in a grander sense, and by attaching what he knows to a “larger context” (such as antiquity and the “knowledge” of the “West”), the Imperialist dominates and “knows” the subject more than the subject knows itself. Intellectual “Context,” having the resources and ambition to put “the Orient” into a wider or Western context becam a form of domination. Interesting.
Back to the dance aspects, Karayanni ends again with choreography. Her movements gave both men the option to be transformed by what they saw, where determined to see, as the anti-Western, native or savage side of Egyptian society. Flaubert succumbed and dismissed his emotions in a letter to Louise Colet and obsessed about Kuchuk Hanem for years. Curtis wrote that he had resisted fully succumbing to her power in order to assert his superiority. Her image remained in Flaubert’s “Salammbo,” “Herodias,” and the figure of Salome.
Karayanni, Stavros Stavrou. “Dismissal Veiling Desire.” Ch. 4 in Belly Dance: Orientalism, Transnationalism, and Harem Fantasy. Eds., Anthony Shay and Barbara Sellers-Young. Mazda Publishers, 2005.
Also his own book:
Stavrou Karayanni, Stavros (2004), Dancing Fear & Desire: Race, Sexuality and Imperial Politics in Middle Eastern Dance, Wilfred Laurier University Press, ISBN 0889204543
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
A catalog for a current exhibit at the Getty Center in Los Angeles, "Thumbs Up: Reconsidering Jean-Léon Gérôme," receives thoughtful review by Bob Duggan in Big Think. The article discusses the curators' intention to spark debate about Gerome's traditional realism and modernist tendencies, but the essays listed speak mostly to his notorious stereotyping. "Genre work" is always considered a lesser art form. Of interest to me is Mary Robert's "Gerome in Istanbul," which discusses the Orientalists work in terms of contemporary hangups and ethnic tensions. The exhibit runs at the Getty until Sept. 12. The book is
Friday, August 27, 2010
Kuchuk Hanem and Bambeh begin to dance. Kuchuk's dance is brutal. She squeezes her bare breasts together with her jacket. She puts on her girdle fashioned from a brown shawl with gold stripes, with three tassels hanging on ribbons. She rises first on one foot, then on the other--marvelous movement, when one foot is on the ground, the other moves up and across in front of the shin bone. The whole thing done with a light bound. I have seen this dance on old Greek vases.
Bambeh prefers a dance on a straight line; she moves with a lowering and raising of one hip only, a kind of limping of great character. Bambeh has henna on her hands. She seems to be a devoted servant to Kuchuk...All in all, their dancing, except Kuchuk's step mentioned above, is far less good than that of Hassan el-Belbeissi, the male dancer in Cairo. Joseph's opinion is that all beautiful women dance badly." (p. 115-116)
Jean-Leon Gerome from Wikipedia
Flaubert in Egypt:A Sensibility on Tour. Trans. and ed by Francis Steegmuller. Chicago: Academy Chicago Ltd. 1979.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Saturday, December 29, 1849.
After our lunch on that same day, we had dancers in--the famous Hasan el-Belbeissi and one other, with musicians; the second would have been noticed even without Hasan. They both wore the same costume--baggy trousers and embroidered jacket, their eyes painted with antimony (khol). The jacket goes down to the abdomen, whereas the trousers, held by an enormous cashmere belt folded over several times, begin approximately at the pubis, so that the stomach, the small of the back, and the beginning of the buttocks are naked, seen through a bit of black gauze held in place by the upper and lower garments. The gauze ripples on the hips like a transparent wave with every movment they make. The shrilling of the flute and the pulsing of the darabukey pierce one's very breast.
Here is a translation of what the singer sang during the dance:
"A slim-waisted Turkish object has sharp and piercing eyes.
Because of them, the lovers have passed the night enchained like slaves.
I am sacrificing my soul for the love of a doe capable of fettering lions.
O God, how sweet it is to suck nectar from her mouth.
Is that nector not the source of my languishment, my wasting away?
O full moon. Enough of harshness and of torment; high time you fulfilled the promise you made to the languishing lover.
And, above all, make no end to the favors you grant him."
The dancers move forward and back. Expressionlessness of their faces beneath their cheeks of rouge and sweat. The effect comes from the gravity of the face contrasted with the lascivious movements of the body; occaissionally, one or the others lies down flat on his back like a woman about to offer herself, and then suddenly leaps up with a bound, like a tree straightening itself after a gust; then bows and curtseys; pauses; their red trousers suddenly puff out like oval balloons, then seem to collapse, expelling the air that's been swelling them. Now and again, during the dance, their impresario makes jokes and kisses Hasan on the belly. Hasan never for a moment stops watching himself in the mirror.
Meanwhile, Mourier was eating his lunch at a little round table on the left.
Photo: Wikipedia: Kocek.
Flaubert in Egypt: A Sensibility on Tour. Trans. and Ed. Francis Steegmuller. Academy Chicago Limited. Chicago: 1979.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Flaubert reports these sights. The fact that he reports them perhaps says what he is able to at that time. But the cool reportage is unnerving mixed in with the detail of an idealized landscape and laced with the specificity that would become part of the future novelist's trademark:
Sunset over Medinet Habu: The mountains are dark indigo (on the Medinet Habu side); blue over dark gray, with contrasting horizontal stripes of purplish red in the clefts of the valleys. The palms are black as ink, the sky is red, the Nile has the look of a lake of molten steel.
When we arrived off Thebes, our sailors were drumming on their darabukehs, the mate was playing his flute, Khalil was dancing with his castanets; they broke off to land.
It was then, as I was enjoying those things, and just as I was watching the wave-crests bending under the wind behind us, I felt a surge of solemn happiness that reached out toward what I was seeing, and I thanked God in my heart for having made me capable of such joy; I felt fortunate at the thought, and yet it seemed to me that I was thinking of nothing: it was a sensuous pleasure that pervaded my entire being."
How does this relate to belly dance/orientalish? See Deagon's Patriarchy article (below) or any of myriad articles promoting belly dance for women's empowerment, a theory likely created in the "West" for women in the "west." As an active yogi, I fit the bill twice. I have no plans to quit dancing, to avoid books I want to read (such as Flaubert's degrading but captivating trip down the Nile) or to give up yoga, or..to point fingers at others doing the same. I just hope to take stock of what I do and to continue to carve out my own understanding of why I'm drawn to what I'm drawn toward. That is always a mystery to be pursued. (Note: I didn't read "Eat, Pray, Love" or go to the movie.)
Monday, August 23, 2010
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Also relevent to this Orientalish thing, Weinstein mentions his own youthful travels to Uzbekistan that made him a suden "expert" on Uzbek culture by local media when he returned. As I read Flaubert's 19th century travel accounts in Egypt, that point struck me as so much of what I'm reading seems Flaubert, Flaubert, Flaubert and very little Egypt. What also strikes me in this 100 items plan is the homes I saw in my last trip to Egypt where the economic situation is dire in the small towns. Some people would kill to own 100 things.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
A Tribute to Kazuo Ohno
By Maureen Fleming
Artistic Director and
Saturday, August 21 7:00 p.m.
Flushing Auditorium, Lower Level
41-17 Main Street
One of my favorite dancers and teachers performs and lectures this Saturday in Queens. This free show is a rare event. If you're in town, it's worth the effort to get there!
Maureen Fleming was born in Japan. After extensive study there with Kazuo Ohno, co-founder of Butoh, an avantgarde movement developed in post-war Japan, Ms. Fleming went on to perform with Ohno’s son, Yoshito, and tour internationally with performance artist/ choreographer Min Tanaka. This lecture/ demonstration includes excerpts of Ms. Fleming’s work and will be presented with intermittent videos, photographs and narratives that deal with the crucial relationship in her Japanese-influenced work to the changing role of art in society. Photography and visual design by Christopher Odo. Admission is free.
(Photo taken Aug. 2009 at La MaMa Galleria).
Train: 7 to Main Street (last stop) LIRR: Port Washington Line to Flushing-Main Street Bus: Q12, Q13, Q17, Q19, Q20A, Q20B, Q25, Q27, Q34, Q44, Q58, Q65, Q66, QBx1
But from the beginning of Emerson's essay, a shadow lurks. Emerson deliberately shows how Bonaparte subordinated all of his great powers and vision toward the material. They hit the mark…and ended there. He set aside "sentiments" such as beloved wife and children. According to Emerson, Bonapart invested his powers into the world, "never weak and literary," he acted. (In an essay on Plato, Emerson states the philosopher's fault was that he was "literary;" Plato's greatness was diminished because he didn't invest in the world.) In his journal during his Egyptian Campaign he wrote: "I have conducted the campaign without consulting anyone…my actions were as prompt as my thoughts." The savants and artists he took aboard, though heralded for advancing culture, brought material ends as their catalog and works became propaganda machines immortalizing his name. Napoleon says of his own character: "My ambition was great, but was of a cold nature."
Napoleon's grasping turned on him at the end. France and Europe tired of his egotism and reviled him. I think of the derogatory cliche that remains, a "Napoleon Complex." Emerson says, "As long as our civilization is essentially one of property, of fences, of exclusiveness, it will be mocked by delusions. Our riches will leave us sick…Only that good profits which we can taste with all doors open, and which serves all men." (Paintings: Top, "The Egyptian Expedition under the orders of Bonaparte" by Leon Cogniet; center, "Bonaparte Before the Sphinx" by Jean-Leon Gerome both from Wikipedia, "French Campaign in Egypt.")
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Monday, June 28, 2010
Monday, June 14, 2010
Sunday, June 6, 2010
Sunday, May 2, 2010
Event specifics: Le Skyroom, French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF), 22 East 60th Street, between Madison and Park, New York City
Friday, April 30, 2010
Friday, April 16, 2010
This weekend's Venus Uprising show, "The Zoo" is going beautifully with many great dancers in a thoughtfully planned show. Because many people have asked, "What is a hoopoe?," I'm offering the following description. The bird appears in Farid Ud-din Attar's 12th century Sufi text "The Conference of the Birds." In that text, the hoopoe leads a band of birds in search of the mythical Simorgh. After discipline and travail, each bird learns the Simorgh must be found within her own yearning and within the yearning of those traveling alongside her. In the picture, taken from Wikipedia, the hoopoe is center right, a small bird with a blackish wing and a dotted crown.
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Show: April 16-17th pm
Monday, March 29, 2010
Tuesday and Thursday classes start on Tuesday, March 30th.
Tues./Thurs. 3:30-4:25 pm. in the Dance Studio
Fridays, 1:30-3:25 p.m. in the Fencing Salle.
Tues./Thurs. 4:30-5:25 in the Fencing Salle
Fridays, 3:30-4:25 in the Dance Studio.
I hope to see everyone soon!
(Photo by Wah Ming Chang)
Saturday, January 23, 2010