Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Djam Performance on June 13 with Kaeshi and Djinn Revival


I'm performing with Kaeshi Chai and Carmine & Friends on Wednesday, June 13 after my weekend with Maureen Fleming (see post below).  Part of the Djinn will reconvene to provide music (Carmine, Brad, Pete, and maybe others).  Please come! For full event info. visit the Bellyqueen  page.

Djam at the place formerly known as JeBon...with the band formerly known as Djinn

Wednesday, June 13: 8 p.m. (doors); 8:30 (band); 9 p.m. Dancing!
Saint Mark's Place
$10 cover

June Dance Training with Maureen Fleming

Live Video streaming by Ustream
Next week, I head to Pumpkin Hollow in Oneonta for a three-day dance training with Maureen Fleming.  Her trainings focus on her innovative suspended stretching technique using elastic bands and dynamic visualizations.  I always come back from those weekends with a deeper understanding of the body's ability to express itself if we can just get our balloon minds out of the way.  She and her partner Chris Odo have been touring extensively as of late.  I feel so fortunate to train with them when I can.... The above promotional clip is from a recent performance in Mexico,

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Summer Belly Dance Classes at NYU

Register for Summer Session 1 this Tuesday online or in person at Coles Gym.

Both classes are at Coles Gym

Mondays and Wednesdays
Level 1: 5;30-6:30 p.m.
Level 2: 6:30-7:30 p.m. 

Courses meet twice a week for five weeks.  First class is Monday, May 28.
In-person at Coles Gym on 
Tuesday, May 22 between noon-8 p.m.
Online, Tuesday May 22, 8 a.m.-8 p.m. at

Email me with questions: 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Class Choreography on YouTube!

This is the choreography we worked on this semester!  Good luck everyone and keep dancing wherever you end up this summer!  A new announcement about summer classes will come soon. 

Bella Gaia (with Kaeshi Chai) Performs at NYU on May 15-16

A multi-media performance, "Bella Gaia: A Poetic Version of Earth From Space" will feature local dancers Kaeshi Chai, Irina Akulenko, and Lale Soyoko at NYU's EYEBEAM: Arts and Technology Center on May 15 and 16.  The event looks quite contemplative and unique.
Tickets are $25

Students can get half price tickets by selecting the student price and bringing their STUDENT ID to the door.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Herta Muller: On Silence

Herta Muller
From Herta Muller's talk at Deutsches Haus (NYU) this afternoon:
"When we don't speak we become unbearable, and when we do, we make fools of ourselves.  Can literature bear witness?"

And, "How can you use words to explain that inside a dahlia there is a complete interrogation when you've just been questioned, or that it holds a prison cell when someone like you is in jail?"

Herta Muller, so elegant and petite and fierce, and who's eyes were slightly teary as she finished, writes of paranoia so beautifully one starts to become afraid of the grass and the asphalt and the blouse that grows and the cherries and the chickens who walk up the ladder to roost in the tree beside their master/teacher's corpse.  A woman behind me today asked me almost desperately of Muller's book, The Appointment, "Does he rape her at the end?  Does he?"  Her symbolic language creates a haunting effect, and so much of it comes directly from the experience of the body and the silencing of bodies before the silencing of voices.  I didn't think her work relates to Orientalism before I saw her.  I still would say  doesn't.  But after thinking  of silencing and the body and even the silencing of voices and the misplacement of power, I decided it indeed has a place in Orientalish...

Review: Alia Malek's "Patriot Acts" in Arab Lit (in English)

My review of Alia Malek's important and ever relevant "Patriot Act: Narratives of Post-9/11 Injustice" is up on M. Lynx Qualey's Arabic Literature in Translation.  The book is part of McSweeney's Voice of Witness Series.

Still trying to find more on the topic, I attended a talk last night at the CUNY Grad Center, "New Modes of Profiling: Muslims, Arabs and South Asians in Post-9/11 United States" with two speakers from Southern California.  For me, as a non-expert, putting names on programs whose effects many of us directly witnessed without understanding (PENTTBOM, Voluntary Interviews, and NSEERS) is more important than those deeply mired in research understand.  Connecting such labels that appear on Power Point slides with the faces of people I know or with stories I personally know of, was more upsetting than I expected.  Of course I've heard of most of these terms--but the haunting and detached voice of an expert who puts it all together as an organized system with a time-frame and statistics and who can explain that, while tactics have changed, the eerie and undefined "goals" of such systems haven't should frighten more people than it does.

Yesterday's speakers, like Malek's book, wisely stressed the importance of putting these cases of surveillance, arrests, informants, and entrapment, in the context of a history of war time society, such as Japanese internment camps, the "Red Scare," and the Civil Rights era.  Another speaker also said people have spoken out much more quickly about these issues than those in the internment camps in the 1940s. But this context, should be used carefully to promote the importance of continuing to speak out to end such cycles of violence.

 Last night, when I asked about places to get more information on this topic, I was somewhat dismissed  (not by the speakers)--and told there's information everywhere.  If this is true, when I talk to smart, educated people about the project I'm working on, why have so few ever even heard of the "Special Registration" or NSEERS?  Though these cases drop into the news at times (such as the recent allegations of the NYPD's activities in New Jersey and Connecticut ) in-depth, reliable information is hard to gather, which is why books like Malek's books geared to readers who aren't experts are so important.

Leaving now to hear Nobel prize winner Herta Muller speak about her upbringing in Romania and "the school of silence."  Part of PEN World Voices this weekend:  "Herta Muller: On Silence."  Muller's "The Appointment" is one of my favorite novels.  I've looked forward to hearing her this afternoon and tomorrow for months.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012