Saturday, September 25, 2010

Belly Dance Clips: Tahia Carioca

Here is a clip from the legendary dancer Tahia Carioca.

Belly Dance Clips: Samia Gamal

Samia Gamal dances to Zeina...

Belly Dance Clips: Fifi Abdo

This Egyptian dancer is a classic in the field. This older clips shows the stage and live band and mesmerized audience

Belly Dance Clips: Didem

Several of my fall semester students have asked to be directed to dance clips for study. The first I'm presenting has been a favorite of students past. This is Didem, a young Turkish dancer who appears frequently on Turkish television.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

NYU: Fall Belly Dance Classes Begin!

It's time to start belly dance classes once again! Whether you're new or returning, please check the schedule as class times have changed. A new Advanced Level class has also been added. Information for the registration times follows at the bottom of this blog blurb. Beginner Level dancers will learn posture and alignment and basic movements including hip circles, lifts, and drops; several types of shimmies; arm patterning; and combinations with music. Intermediate Level dancers will review all of the above and works on "layering" movements by adding shimmies and undulations underneath the basic movements, and a short choreography. Advanced Level dancers will incorporate all of the above with a choreography that incorporates finger cymbals and some performance skills. All classes will include lots of fun, extraordinary Middle Eastern music, and the camaraderie of others drawn to this unique art form. All classes take place in Coles Gym on Mercer Street at Bleecker. (The picture below is our NYU crew Sisters of Bast at last fall's Medieval Festival at Fort Tryon.)


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)


On-Line Registration:
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

New York Theatrical Bellydance Conference Review on Gilded Serpent

Gilded Serpent has just posted the first of my two part review about the panel discussions at the New York Theatrical Bellydance Conference. Take a look and comment. Topics discussed in the two topics reviewed included fusion vs. tradition, performance venue, technique questions, issues of ethnicity in belly dance, and body confidence.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Reading Notes: Flaubert in Egypt 6 (Dance: The Bee)

Here follows the often mentioned “Bee” dance performed by Kuchuk Hanem. Karayanni pointed out Flaubert’s frequent use of pejorative words such as brutal and grotesque, likely in relation to this famous passage.

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)

Reading Notes: The Orientalists' "Scopophilac" Gaze

Continuing my reading on Flaubert and his trip down the Nile, I’ve read Stavros Stavrous Karayanni’s “Dismissal Veiling Desire: Kuchuk Hanem and Imperial Masculinity.” Karayanni’s take on Flaubert account I’m now reading is unusual among discourse on this text in that it focuses on “orientalism” in addition to the technical aspects of the dancing. Karayanni contrasts George William Curtis’ portrayal of Kuchuk Hanem in “Nile Notes Of a Hawajii (1850).” Locked up in the American view, Curtis remains detached, erudite, and bourgeouis according to Karayanni, when writing of Kuchuk Hanem. Karayanni points out his references to classical antiquity and Terpsichore as a way of keeping that safe detachment.

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.

Great read:
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
Photo taken just outside of Siwa, January 2010.