Letters to the Editor

Feb 99- Sept 99

Email the Snake--editor@gildedserpent.com

Aug 17, 1999
Dear Lynette,
     Thank you for publishing that most complete and entertaining
review by Najia El-Mouzayen of Dhyanis's "The Living Goddess" dance/theater event in June 1999.  I enjoyed the review and the photos reminding me of the wide range of women's dance, life and spiritual expression.  Besides Middle Eastern dance, I know Dhyanis and her exquisite creative work and costuming from many San Francisco Bay Area theater productions over the years. I've attended several of her "The Living Goddess" performances and remain in total admiration of Dhyanis for producing such a program.  Dhyanis's performance work and dance form is on a technically elevated level imbued as well with a "goddess-like" quality, something that I've witnessed in her own performances, her workshops, and her troupe performances at Rakassah. It's no wonder then that she has undertaken this task of producing this type of show -- a combination of dance theater, Middle Eastern dance, story-telling and celebration of the goddess within all women. 

     Yet, as I sat in the audience totally amazed at Dhyanis's patience and good spirit, I couldn't help but wonder whether it wouldn't serve her purposes better to enlist a panel or an "audition board" of peers or theater colleagues to help in selecting the acts and to shape the evening into a more manageable, cohesive two-hour presentation.  Also,with a panel, it would probably be less of a self-conscious act for Dhyanis to perform solo -- a special treat for the audience usually reserved for the last act.  I still remember one of the most magnificent pieces of dance theater I've seen -- that of Dhyanis as a
spider/woman caught and moving in a larger-than-life web on stage. For me it was comparable to the Stephen Berkoff "Metamorphosis" (the Franz Kafka short story), that I saw dramatized on the London stage.  My unasked for advice to Dhyanis for the future productions of "The Living Goddess" is:  I would love to see the "Goddess" productions continue, and you have wonderfully supportive "goddesses" around to assist you, all you need to do is ask.

Mae Ziglin Meidav
Berkeley, California



Hello to you at Gilded Serpent.  I just heard about Jamie Miller's illness this morning.  She was my first belly dance teacher and I have always felt a strong sense of love and caring for her.  I got a modern computer just a few weeks ago, so I was grateful to find your site.  Please put me on your list. 
I look forward to reading and enjoying your articles and being more in touch with the dance world. 

Thank you,
Christine Karan



I have so much enjoyed your clever and informative web site. A friend told me about it. I was able to visit it for short periods while I was in Mexico. I can only browse the web while I am volunteering at our web site in San Felipe. Check it out: sanfelipe.com.mx

Now, I am in Sacramento for a few months and can spend unlimited time on the web. (I have been.) I spent several hours enjoying your lovely site, last night - until the birds started singing and the sky was getting light, about 4:00 am. I was terribly tired by the time I was entering the calendar information for Fatima's Birthday Bash in November. When I tried to edit and expand the information, the site wanted my name and password. I submitted the information twice, but could not remove the incomplete notices. I hope you can remove the notices which are less complete. The
calendar is such a clever item! I appreciate it very much.
[ed-Yes, as administrator, I have to do the deleting, you did it right! Thanks for your entry!]

Could you recommend web sites of belly dancers in Southern California or Yuma, Az area? I live in San Felipe, Baja Mexico, most of the time and would like to check what is happening close to the border.

Keep up the good work. Kay Durkee
Kay Durkee Schlamp
(Note change in Mexican address to:
PMB-113; P.O. Box 9019; Calexico, CA 92232-9019)

[ed-would any of you readers have suggestions for Kay? please write her directly.]


Dear Editor; July 15, 1999

Having lived in India off and on for the last 19 years, and running a business out of it, I just cracked up over
Fred's descriptions.
He described so very well the kinds of things that us 'Westerners' as we are called by them, just shake our heads at. I have witnessed many a self-appointed 'savior' attempt to show the Indian people how to 'improve' things. Pointing things out such as a wheel barrel really holds more bricks and won't hurt your head…I think it's obvious Fred, like me, looks at these things with some endearment.
I can't wait to see what he writes about their bathrooms…

Keep it up Fred, it's great!

San Francisco, Bay Area Ca.



Dear Evelyn [ed.- see below. this should be written to the editor not another reader!-ed]

Having traveled extensively in the Middle East, resided in foreign countries and in the United States, I am aware of the differences, similarities, and perceptions that abound of Americans, by Americans, and other cultures.  By your need to defend the article and the author, than I think you have missed
my point and have taken the critique personally.  A sense of humor is a wonderful thing and so is a broad and understanding perspective. 




Dear Editor Lynette,
       Talat [
ed. note-see next letter] needs to do more extended travel in the third world before leaving his or her sense of humor at home. Mr./Ms. T. condemns Fred Glick for his excellent word movie about the bureaucracy of the Indian post office and finds it somehow antithetical to his work for a non-profit organization. (BTW--Non-profit is not synonymous with caring for people; sometimes it just indicates an employed status for a religious or artistic venture.)
       Talat could try the public phone office in downtown Cairo for a reality check, or the American Embassy.  Often one is expected to "twist one's way around the rules" in some countries (especially Middle Eastern ones) or be taken for a world class schnook!  Americans are often considered rude and ridiculous for their standoffishness and their lack of resourcefulness in the face of wild mannered cues, driving lanes, parking habits, common disregard for rules, etc.  Rather... baksheesh, bribery, and personal favors are the way of life that is understood...Give ol' Fred a break for figuring out how it works and keeping his manners.

Evelyn Rivers



What is up with Fred Glick?  I see that he is employed in non-profit, which I take means that he wishes to help people.  From his article, however, I fail to see any compassion or understanding for places and customs that are different.  He is in another country for goddess's sake.  Though I realize his intention is to amuse, I find it to be a dangerous reinforcement of the stereotypical image of how "backward and wayward" countries are that Americans have no balanced representation of in our media.  And, if they said they closed at 3:30, what propels him to think he can twist his way around
the rules?  Is that not why Americans are known as being pushy and rude?




Dear Editor,
I have had previous dealings with
Jeff and have been dishearten by his behavior during Bellydance events. Jeff follows dancers around, gawking and engaging them in conversations. He had touched me (and others I know) inappropriately, and misrepresented himself to the community. Not so much of
a danger as he is an annoyance; his photography and costuming is a thinly disguised veil of credibility designed to camouflage his voyeurism in an arena where I believe beautiful dancers should feel safe and supported. There are plenty of places for men such as him to go - it's not at bellydance events! Of all the women I have consulted, none are particularly interested in his hobbies and invasive friendliness in this community. I suggest that women align themselves and confront him, if he is a member of this community in earnest, his true colors will shine.

Blessin's in Bellydance,
Linda Dunaway

[ed-The article on Jeff IS meant to be "tongue in cheek"!]


Dear Linette,
what a great magazine. I really enjoyed reading it this morning, especially the
Fanana column. It was exciting to meet you last night at Pasha and I am really looking forward to watching you perform Sunday night. Will you bring your snake?

I did not mention to you that I have a back ground in stage acting and also choreographed and performed modern dance when I was younger.

I am new to bellydance and the scene and yet it embodies everything that drew me to theater and dance, which in the end appeal to me on a folk art level and for the healing, ritual and esthetic qualities.

Have a fine day and no temper tantrums I hope.

best regards!


Hello editor:  I simply loved Najia's article "
Becoming a Fanana of the Belly Dance."  I remember seeing Najia dance years ago before I really got into dancing myself and remembered how much she responded to the music.  I was more of a musician at the
time...had been playing the piano and studying music off and on since age 7.  I had also been a mime for about 7 years and loved creating stories to music for various theatrical productions.  Eventually I did take private lessons from Najia for a couple of years and really benefited from her style and her really being "in tune" with the music and what it was saying.  I'm also not one for strict choreography but what's most important is really knowing that music...and knowing what your musicians may throw at you.  I'm not performing as much these days, but I listen to my dance music constantly!  Anyway, thanks to Najia for an inspiring, insightful article.




Hello my name is Ziara ( yes it is really my name), and I love belly dancing and the Egyptian way of spirit. Every Wednesday I take lessons with [x ]. I love her sense of "girl power and allure" and although I am new with private lessons I feel at home from being a former ballerina! Please encourage others who are dabbling in the nervousness of wondering if they can do it let them know their is a supportive dance community out there! I would not miss my private morning for anything, it makes my whole week.
Ziara aka "sharazadt)



To the editors,
I love gilded serpent! Great job!!! I noticed in the
Rakkasah photos, that the 'unknown#4' photo is me. I
am Mishaal, from Tokyo, Japan. If you have a chance to add my name there Id appreciate it.
And now, I want to get back to reading all your interesting articals.
-thanks so much,
Tokyo, Japan



Dear Editor: I just discovered the Gilded Serpent on Internet.  I don't know how often it is updated, but I look forward to it.  I have been away from the bellydance scene for about 5 years now (preoccupied with family activities).  Now that my interest has picked up again, I find that all my size 14 costumes no longer fit my size 18 body.  I have been searching the net hoping to find an economical used costume.  Although I haven't had any luck finding a costume, it was a pleasant surprise to find your magazine. I hope that you are able to continue it.  Thank you.

Teresa Campaign  


From Heidi Geiger on 3-26-99

I was surprised to read in the first sentence of the article "Adventures of a Goddess (Part One)" by Dhyanis she believes that feminist do not support middle eastern dance.  I am a feminist and so are most of my class mates.
Feminism like liberalism or conservatism or any other "ism" is a large umbrella of various opinions.  The true root of feminism is that men and women should be considered equal under the law and that men and women should be free to be what ever they want to be without the society's feminine and masculine stereotypes as barriers.  Although it may appear that feminist are against middle eastern dance, it is usually only because the right wing wants the feminist as a whole are defined by its most radical members.  Also feminism in its conception focused on fighting the assumption that women can not do anything a man could do, and therefore tried to prove it by taking blurring the lines between masculinity and femininity.  As feminism has evolved, femininity has been seen as a strength not a weakness.  Therefore Middle Eastern dance fits perfectly into the feminist ideal.  I think what most woman want is to be able to be feminine or masculine when she wants to be on her own terms.



Dear Editor,
Regarding a
photo taken at Rakkasah 1999. The person with black curly hair, doing floorwork, in a red and white costume, is me. My name is Bianca, and I'm from Pacifica, Ca.
Thanks for including me!




Thanks so much for creating the first bellydancing ezine, moving into the electronic age without losing the friendly atmosphere which makes middle-eastern dance so appealing to us all!  It's fun to have access to this information in this type of format!  I would to link my homepage to this site, with your permission.  I have information on Mehndi and Bellydancing as well.

Thanks again for creating the Guilded Serpent and keep up the GREAT work :)

Thanks So Much!


Hello, 3-11-99
I have to say, the graphics are outstanding!  Your use of color provides a harmonious balance and I feel, truly reflects the beauty of the dance.

I would love to see an article on the history of the dance, how the dance manifests itself in other cultures, from Flamingo to Taiwanese.  I would also like a little article for newbies like me on how to overcome the "stage fright" and other inhibitions we experience when first starting out.  How to choose a good instructor would be another one and maybe something about how you know when you're doing it right.

Just a few suggestions for articles.  Also, if you would like to trade web design secrets or would like web design technical expertise, I am more than willing to help.




March 2, 1999

Dear Lynette and Editors of The Gilded Serpent:  

First, I wish to extend hearty congratulations on your new, wondrous publication!  It is informative, fun and beautiful.  I look forward to further issues. 
The article on
Plantar Fasciitis is well written.  I would like to add a few notes:
Happy Feet to Happy Dancing! 

Dr. Teresa Jean Rich
Doctor of Chiropractic
a.k.a. Tera Vashtillyia, former professional dancer
Sunnyvale, California, USA 



I love your online magazine. I was thinking about getting rid of my yahoo account, but I won't now!
The girl who was talking about pay and dancing....here in Lawrence, Ks. we get $50 cash for 2-15 to 20 minute sets. If we dance the first one and they cancel the second they still have to pay in full. If we do not dance at all then no pay is given. They also can only delay a performance from starting for 20
minutes. After that we either dance or go home. That way you don't sit a whole night waiting on them.
The article on
burnout was great! It made me think that there are things I
need to do.
In short, I loved the whole thing
Thanks Jemira Ali



WOW! Very nice web magazine. I'm very impressed. May you continue to grow after such a fabulous start.

-Kathy, Texas



Very nice magazine!
Excellent writing, editing, layout, visuals! Tremendous work! You must be very proud!

Past Asst. Ed. Jareeda, past Ed. MED&CA publication




I just visited Gilded Serpent after hearing about it from the Med-Dance listserv.  I loved it!

I've recently moved to Santa Cruz and am interested in making contact with my local middle eastern dancing community.  I learned to dance in Montana under Wanda Weston, and have been performing and teaching for the past three and a half years in cabaret style.  Dancing is in my soul and I've discovered how much there is to learn and I'm thirsty for knowledge!  So, it's wonderful to find your magazine, which I found quite resourceful, and I'm glad to know there are so many talented and
knowledgeable dancers so close to my new home.

Kudos on a great first issue and I look forward to more reading!




Congratulations Lynnette!
Welcome to the wonderful insanity, I mean world of publishing.  No one know better than I the work you have gone through to publish this beautiful site/zine.  I wish all of you the best and I'll be back with
ads and articles.

Just Keep Wiggling,
Janie "Jenee" Midgley, Editor of Wiggle Hips



Dear Lynette,
Many congratulations on the production of your first issue of the web zine.  I hope that it gives you the satisfaction and pride you deserve for envisioning the project and then making it happen.  Keep goin' girl!  I know it is hard work for which you have to invent time and energy, but I have a feeling that it can be one of the most powerful moves you have ever made in your dance career to date.
Love and hugs.  Quaff the champagne with joy,



Dear Lynette,

The Gilded Serpent e-zine is  a perfect medium to provide information about our oriental dance to the world that will visit the website.  Many thanks to Lynette and the editorial committee for their many hours of effort.  Job well done.

Ma*Shuqa Mira Murjan 



This is quite an undertaking. It has got so much information. George has
been keeping me abridged of the release and it looks fabulous. Kudos.



Sheeesh, Lynette--the magazine looks GREAT!

Doug Adams



Congratulations Lynette.  Your hard work deserves great praise.  The site
looks awesome!
Zara Lenora

Older Letters  

Archives Pg 17- January through December 2007!
What's in a name, self acceptance, Men in Belly dance, Yasmina's new column, MECDA Ellections, Tajikistan, AWS fest, Arabic Idioms, Professional Presence, Suhaila in Phoenix, Music recording, Vegas IBDC, Egyptian Code, Jodette, Journey to Womanhood, New York Dance Scene, Amy Sigil, Tito Seif, Arab Defamation, Gothla, Neon's Keeping your mouth shut, Valizan Ozgen, Toronto IBCC, Burlesque, DVD purchasing, God Bellydanced, North Beach Memories, Princess Farhana fan article, Cabaret to DJ by Nina, Raqia Hassan, Serpentessa, Cover-ups, Criticism, John Bilezikjian, Certificaation, BDSS, East too West?, Vendor's View, Lynn Zalot & Habibi,

Archives Pg 16 -June 2007 through December 2007
Tatseena's Belly Bully piece, Amina's writing, IBCC coverage, Review on Tirbal DVD's, Barbary Coast and Bellyqueen, Cover-ups, Non-Profits, lifting the Veil by Yasmina,
Mona Said's letter, Music Copyrights, Ethics of Fusion, Egyptians being too Western?

Archives Pg 15- December 2006 through June 2007
Interview with Nakish, Sashi-kabob, How to charge what yo'ure worth,Tribute to Rhonda, Marliza Pons, Party booking, George Elias, "I dance you follow". Ethics of Fusion
Archives Pg 14- June 2006 through December 2006
Ethics of Fusion, Queen of the Bay, Territorialism Undermines Event Sponsor's Efforts, Greek Flavor, What ME Audiences Expect , Taxsim, Gothic Dance, Gyspy Dance, Sashi Kabob, Wierd Rituals

Archives Pg 13- November 2005 through May 2006
BDSS, Burlesque, Gig rates, Sashi's piercings, Sex shows on Rakkasah Fest stage, God Bellydanced, Sima Bina, Devi Ja's passing, Jamie Miller's Passing, BDSS reviews and Mile's reponse, Michelle and Sandra's Adventures, Turkish Baths, Muslim Cartoons, Working together, Review of Shareen El Safy's DVD, Spokane's Festival Coverage, Articles by Keti, Michael Baxter, Zar article and racism, WHEW!

Archives Pg 12- May 2005 up through October 2005
BDSS, Burlesque, Gig rates, Competing Cairo Fests, Israel Fest, Untaught Teacher

Archives Pg 11- December 2004 up through April 2005
Copeland, BDSS film and auditions, GS kicked out of Rakkasah, Zaheea's dancing for the blind, Christian dancer, the THONG, Luxor club review, Miles vs Horacio

Archives Pg 10- May 2004 through November 2004
Mena in Iraq, AWSF, Desert Dance Festival 2004, Biblical Accounts of Bellydance in Ancient Near East, Bellydance in Israel, Festival of the Nile review, Suhaila’s Sheherezade review


Archives Pg 9- December 2003 Through April 2004
Myopic view of BD by Sadira, Belly Bus, Queen of Dance Contest, Rakkasah West photo teaser, Comparing and Contrasting, Jillina DVD review, Dancing inside out

Archives Pg 8- May 2003 - November 2003
San Leandro Fest photos, Reflections on North Beach, BD and healing from sexual trauma, Dina in Dallas, Searching for your new dance teacher, BDY pageant

Archives Pg 7- October 2002 - April 2003
Najia’s Real Critic article, Back in the Holy Land, Glass dancing, Casbah and Bagdad Club, Reflections on North Beach

Archives Pg 6- March 2002 to September 2002
Vendors, Dance certification, BD and strippers, Jamila Al Wahid video review

Archives Pg 5- March 2001 - March 2002
My uncle Yousef, BDY pagent 2001, Dancer attitudes - BD gossip and back biting

Archives Pg 4- November 2000 - March 2001
Criticizing and reviewing events, “Where’s the hook when we need it?” Desert Dance Festival review

Archives Pg 3- March 2000 - October 2000
Entertainment or art? Sicilian bellydancers, Rhea, Review of Giza Academy Awards

Archives Pg 2- November 1999 - Febuary 2000
Living Goddess review, Fred Glick travel, Fanana of Bellydance

Archives Pg 1- Febuary 1999- September 1999 you are here
Shira’s advice to “Offended”, North Beach memory, George Elias & Bagdad Cafe



Archives Table of Contents

 Cover page Calendar Comics Bazaar About Us Letters to the Editor Ad Guidelines Submission Guidelines