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Letters to the Editor-
Archives Page 15-December '06-June '07

Email the Snake

Thank you for contributing your personal opinion to the Mid East Arts community through The Gilded Serpent!

All opinions expressed here and elsewhere on Gilded Serpent are not necessarily the opinion of the editors and publishers. Our aim is be a forum of personal expression for the promotion of excellence in the Middle Eastern Arts. Any letters sent to will be posted at our discretion.
Confidential messages should phoned to the editor at 415-455-8455.



6-26-07 re: When I think of my father, George Elias by Nadia Elias
Dear Nadia Elias,

I read your tribute to your father. I worked at the Bagdad in the early 70s as a dancer. I wanted to tell you that I'm sorry your father passed away, and that I thought he was a very honorable, kind man - along with being a terrific musician. Unlike many other people that I worked for as a dancer, he treated us with respect.

Sue Gonzalez


6-25-07 re: letter below from Miles dated 5-21-07
Miles Copland wrote:
"It should also be pointed out that most ethnic dance is not very strict as to exact movements and discipline. Spirit makes up for sloppiness and no one really cares."

Ex-CUSE ME!!! I am the co-director of a dance troupe whose focus is Egyptian orientale and Near and Middle Eastern ethnic/folkloric styles. He is showing his obvious ignorance of ethnic dance by making such a comment. I'm sure the director of Ballet Afsaneh, of Avaz, of many other "ethnic" dance troupes would agree with me. We're very strict as to exact movements and discipline, otherwise we are not doing the dance style as it should be. Spirit is always needed, but NEVER is a substitute for proper technique and execution of the movements.
BDSS is just about showing beautiful, lithe, young female bodies dressed in pleasing costumes (well, except their tribal stuff looked like a head-on collision between a biker chick and one of Miss Kitty's "girls" from the Long Branch on Gunsmoke), dancing well, (I can't take that away from them, I saw them at their show in Royal Oak, MI and their posture and port de bras and choreography could not be faulted on technical aspects - but that's due to Jillina, not Miles Copland). So perhaps Mr. Copland should refrain from making any comments regarding dance technique, as he is just a promoter, not a dancer or dance teacher.

Pauline Costianes
Co-Director, Troupe Ta'amullat of Ann Arbor, MI


Juliana6-19-07 re: SF Ethnic Dance Festival
Lovely pictures and looked like a great event, but why wasn't the Near/Middle Eastern Dance community represented with"Ethnic" dance from Egypt or the Maghreb, or wherever, instead of modern "cabaret"style costuming and dance?

Re:missing stars of our community
Does anybody know whatever happened to Rafael et Juliana, featured in several bellydance magazines, and album covers?

Ghalia/ Pauline
Ann Arbor, MI


6-14-07 re:Devil's in the Detail:Part 1-Booking a Party by Yasmin
Thank you SO much for posting the article by Yasmin, The Devil is in the Details. It is absolutely true- there are truly so many details to this career, and Yasmin seems to nail many of them right on the head. With all the talk about pricing structure and support for charging what we and the art are worth- we also must make sure our performances are truly up to par and representing the art well and priced fairly. Yasmin's experience can help us avoid some of the pitfalls common to newer dancers, thus helping to preserve the reputation of the dance by helping the professionalism and standards of each of us an individuals.
There are many, many articles online about professionalism, and this one promises to be truly thorough and detailed. I look forward to the next installments.
thanks a bunch!
Washington D.C.


6-13-07 re:Macedonian Bellydance CD review by Rebecca Firestone
Dear Editor and Rebecca,

First let me tell you I absolutely love your magazine, there's always so many interesting stuff. I found Rebecca’s review of “Macedonian Bellydance” to be accurate on many issues and appropriate for presenting this CD to the majority of your readership. But, I felt compelled to add my 2 cents.

I was born and lived for 20 some years on the Balkans (in Serbia mostly, before I moved northward to Hungary) and yes, this is "party music" and back home we bellydance to it at parties!

When I say bellydance I mean: use lot of bellydance moves ("mixing with hips": figure 8s, amiyamis, sharp little hip lifts) together with other moves (the "folkloric" ones): chasé in place or 2-3 steps back- and forward, twirling a large kerchief - or table napkin or whatever suitable piece of cloth that comes handy - with both hands, etc. You can see some men doing backbend, even a full backfold on the floor (I've never seen a women do that while dancing socially, only in costume).

After moving to Hungary, I started taking bellydance classes and here I learned of some "terrible Turkish rhythm" that no one can dance to and subsequently no one uses it in class, so imagine my surprise when I finally heard it - it was that familiar beat :-)

Now, this use of bellydance moves is not a new thing, at the very least it predates the bellydance craze du jour. From what I know, it seems that originally, there where bellydance moves in the dance, but they were omitted from staged folkloric choreographies back in the 1950s for various practical and ideological reasons. But the moves remained as part of party dancing.

I'm not a professional ethnologist or historian though, my research in the matter is very amateurish, so I might be completely off here. Then still remains the question how did these moves get here, in a time when there were still no staged bellydance shows. (I'm not talking about dancing to arabesque pop-folk, but to more traditional, brass-band and coffee-shop, music.). How did then, to the average person, the chochek became (connected to) bellydancing?

As for the comment that there is "no "bellydance" traditions in places like Bulgaria", I've heard otherwise from my (non-bellydancing) Bulgarian friends. Another woman, who was dancing in a folkloric ensemble (in southern Serbia) for many years, told me they have actually learned some "Turkish folklore". Later when she saw a bellydance she thought, "Oh, I know that. That’s it then" (the same way I was with the 9/8 rhythm).

I've performed solo to this music back home on many occasions (in both folkloric and revue styling) and people loved it. No one told me it was "wrong". (Actually, you could see folk ensembles adding some hipwork years ago, and nowadays even a bellydancer to their show).

Keep up the good work with the magazine.

Best regards,
from Serbia and Hungary


5-29-07 re:Streets of Cairo by Shira
I'm looking for the sheet music for bagpipes for the song, The streets of Cairo. Do you perhaps know someone down the line that knows where this sheet music might be found?
I'm not looking for the piano version. I'm specifically looking for the bagpipe version, adjusting sheet music into the bagpipes doesn't easily work. I'm hoping to find a version of the tune already worked out.

No biggie,

Ruth Cantu
San Antonio, Tx


5-21-07 re: BDSS review by Sierra [ed note-WARNING- LONG LETTER!]
The Bellydance Superstars show remains in a constant state of improving, rethinking, reworking, eliminating, adding and will continue to do so both as we become more able to afford greater production elements and as the dancers themselves develop and dancers join and/or leave. The dancers are always coming up with new ideas as am I. Now that we are represented by one of the top booking agencies specializing in the performing arts, I am starting to get all sorts of advice from them too. They have an entirely different perspective from the world of bellydance. To top it off, PBS is talking to us about filming the show for national broadcast. They also have a perspective on what this show "should be" especially when they are talking budgets well over $300,000 to film it. Everybody has an opinion and they all differ. Its enough to make one tear one's hair out trying to please EVERYBODY!

Regarding the array of dance styles in the show, I made the decision very early on not to include much of the more folk elements found in Middle East dance as I felt they would not work in the highly competitive world of mainstream entertainment. Folk dances tend to be just that, informal and necessarily amateur for average "folk". Simply put, they do not look difficult enough. Of course, they may actually be very difficult but they don't look that way to the average concert goer. Given that the pure bellydance audience was not yet big enough to sustain an expensive professional full time show of top dancers getting paid properly, I had to think beyond that audience, while still trying to do my best to please them. I also had to allow our dancers some latitude in being able to express their own array of talents and dance interests so they would find the BDSS a creative and enriching environment to work in. So unless I see a folk dance that is "impressive" in the "big picture" I will of necessity include very little of such dance in the show.

Our use of other ethnic styles and dance disciplines in our show often draws comment. The recent review of our show in Gilded Serpent suggested that it is too much to expect a dancer to be versed in many styles of ethnic dance. As such they cannot expect to compete with "real" dancers of a particular ethnic dance. I have to disagree with this on two counts. First I DO expect it if I am to include a different dance style in our show. With professional gifted dancers who can work full time on dance, I can expect allot and I need to expect allot. If they cannot pull off a different dance style it should not be in the show--I agree with that.

Secondly, very few "ethnic" dance troupes can afford to put the time into dance that the BDSS do. They are for the most part working for a living on something else to pay the rent and dance on the weekends and evenings. Most "ethnic" dancers cannot make a living purely from dance hense they are semi-professional at best. Having just been to Tahiti, I became educated as to exactly what the top Tahitian dancers put into what they do. It is totally wrong to suggest that this is a life long pursuit and training for them that cannot be matched by non Tahitian dancers. There were some exceptional dancers to be sure (Moena--wow!!) but for the most part Polynesian dance is just as amateur as much of Bellydance and that is why it is fun, just like Bellydance. That's part of the charm. Also, almost all the dancers were quite young so to say that "they have devoted their lives to it" doesn't mean much in terms of actual years. It should also be pointed out that most ethnic dance is not very strict as to exact movements and discipline. Spirit makes up for sloppiness and no one really cares.

Meanwhile we do not do pure Polynesian or Latin, or Ballet, or Indian dance anyway. We do fusions. In Bellydance for instance, one moves parts of the body that do not move in Polynesian dance. We do a merger --"Bellynesian" -- so I could say that our dancers are the best "Bellynesian" dancers in the world and be quite correct. Polynesian dancers cannot easily do what we do as that is not in their dance. When Sonia taught a bellydance class in Tahiti with many members of the top Tahitian Polynesian dance troupe in the class, she was surprised that they had the most difficulty with their upper bodies. Bellydancers make much greater use of their arms as part of the dance where as Polynesian dancers stick to fewer positions.

The reality is that if you are a gifted dancer working full time at dance it is quite amazing how many styles one can become proficient in. I know from extensive experience that there are musicians who can play many very different instruments and styles (and very well) so why can't a dancer? Is a dancer automatically less capable than a musician? I think not.
Given the talent base of the BDSS dancers and our need to think in broad terms in a commercial world while still putting primary focus on Bellydance, I think fusions work well for us. Fusions can inspire creativity as well and no dance discipline should be stuck to work within a clearly defined rule book. Bellydance will benefit as it becomes more relevant to the greater dance mainstream. Greater opportunities will come to more and more bellydancers in the process. If the BDSS narrowed its focus I believe we would become less relevant to Bellydance generally let alone to the mainstream entertainment world. We may not always get the balance right, nor please all the people all the time. It will always be a work in progress.

Sherman Oaks, Ca


May 18, 2007 re: How to Charge What You Are Worth by MichelleJoyce
Dear Michelle,
My dance partner and I have been working with each other for a long time now, and have recently decided to go pro as a dance company of two. In doing research on pricing for pairs, she found some of your articles on the Gilded Serpent (which we both very much enjoyed) and checked out your website- which is beautiful, I might add. We loved how well your booking page was laid out, and how clearly the guidelines for shows were presented. We're out in the boondocks of the Southeast and routinely get bizarre requests for shows from people whose expectations, just this morning I was asked to choreograph and perform to an original 45-minute long jazz composition in two weeks. For fifty bucks. I politely declined.

So I just wanted to send along our compliments on how well you've spelled it out on your website and in your articles. It was really refreshing to see, and I'll be looking to catch one of your restaurant shows if I'm ever in your neck of the woods.


5-14-2007re: How to Charge What You Are Worth by Michelle Joyce
Dear Michelle,
I just wanted to tell you how awesome your article on charging what you're worth was. I think it's an invaluable piece of writing, and am already thinking of ways to apply it to my own bellydance bookings. Thanks so much!
Eugene, Oregon


5-13- 2007 re: How to Charge What You Are Worth by Michelle Joyce
the article is great and has added to an ongoing discussion we're having in our community about professionalism and rates. I could see the "younger"
professionals were having real "aha!" moments, thank you!

The funny part is when someone asks you to refer them to someone cheaper (they get the "ring of fire" here, too) or when they tell you a dancer they talked to previously quoted a cheaper price. (Well, I suggest you call her back then.)

Tamra Henna
Dallas, Texas


5-9-07 re: How to Charge What You Are Worth by Michelle Joyce
Michelle Joyce's article advising dancers who to secure what they're worth reminded me of my younger days as a lawyer. Frequently I was also told, "It will be good experience for you," and an older colleague suggested responding with Abraham Lincoln's line--or at least, a line attributed to him: "The finest experience a young lawyer can enjoy is receiving a fair fee for his services." Even today I find cashing fee checks wonderfully satisfying.

It should not be different with belly dancers, and that's even without contributing whether in the grand scheme of things belly dancers or lawyers add more to the sum of human happiness. A dancer who is a lawyer, say, an accountant, or a businesswoman would not enter into a business relationship without a full discussion of terms and recompense and no one would consider her grasping or unduly sharp for doing so. And get it in writing; you'd be surprised how malleable memory can be. Unless you know the other party very, very well, a handshake agreement is not worth the paper on which it's printed.

Most Gilded Serpent readers are well aware that even today belly dancers and their dance are not afforded the appreciation and cachet they deserve. The cause is not advanced by dancers who fail to insist that they and their dance be treated with deserved respect. Otherwise, they do as much a disservice to the dance as club owners--I've come across a couple--who, not seeking an ethnic audience, are uninterested in broadening belly dance's appeal and figure they can get away with putting on stage some attractive gal who has a costume and knows a few steps. Such dancers will happily take whatever they're offered; skilled and talented dancers should hold themselves and their art in higher regard.

My experience as a labor union negotiator and a lawyer leads me to remark that while Michelle has much excellent (and I daresay hard-won) advice, the best is: be prepared to walk away from the deal. If you're going to accept the gig no matter what you're offered, you may as well say so at the outset and save everyone time and aggravation. But be aware that forevermore you will have trouble getting a fair fee and you will neither win popularity contests among your dance sisters nor receive any decent referrals.

Finally, if I may presume to add a response to those Michelle suggest for point 5: "We're spending so much money on the party already." A reasonable response is, "You're sparing no expense on food and drink for your guests. Why do you think it's all right to scrimp on their entertainment?"

Alex Bensky


5-9-07 re: How to Charge What You Are Worth by Michelle Joyce
Hi Michelle
I just read your article in the Gilded Serpent, about How to Charge what You are Worth. it is wonderful. I wish I had has that advice at the beginning of my career! Thanks for writing it.


5-6-07 re:How We Got our Video Groove On by Zari
Wow, this article is so well written! I am impressed at the clear images Zari is creating with her storytelling. Can't wait to read the sequel. Very enlightening to hear the arc of their journey on creating their own DVD.
Los Angeles


4-13-07 re:Interview with Marliza Pons by Maya
My name is Carolyn Gallerani-Williams. I found your interview with Marliza Pons on Google, not too sure how old it is.....however I studied with Marliza for 7 years from the age of 9 until I was about 16. I was dancing professionally by the time I was 14. I'm now 44 have a 12 year old daughter, have since retired from belly dancing as my life changed here and there. According to your interview Marliza has moved to Chicago...I've been trying to find her. Anyway, just wanted to drop a stage name was Princess Alithia. Attached is a photo of when I danced at the Dar Maghreb Resturant in Rancho Mirage CA, from about 1981 through 1985. It is no longer there, however the one in Hollywood is still rock'in.

I continued on here and there, did a series for television called Greatest Heroes' of the Bible. Just one episode, I was 16 yrs. old, discovered by Vince Edwards. Actually did that gig prior to working at the restaurant ......if you know how to contact Marliza I would love to find her. She used to call me her "Star" aside from "Malika & her little sister "Sabrina" I was her star. Took all the titles from every Southern Nevada Youth Fair two or three years in a row.......a great career at a young age. Lots and lots of shows............I adored Belly Dancing........still do

Thanks for your time,
Carolyn Gallerani Williams
LaQuinta , California


4-13-07 re:letter below re: letter below re:Sashi - Kabob by Lynette
Re : Nisima's letter about Sashi's performance, some 11 months ago at Tribal Fest held in Sebastopol, CA. Still timely, but it does seem as though these letters to the Editor about Sashi are coming at a fortuitous time: right before the 2007 Tribal Fest. They say that "no publicity is BAD publicity", and I surmise any "bad" publicity for Tribal Fest is merely going to encourage those who are naive enough to think anything "non-traditional" is better , or more creative, than anything traditional.

I agree that Tribal Fest is VERY "non-traditional", and my reasons have nothing to do with pierced wings, or burlesque strippers, or any other offensive, pushing-the-envelope performers that this years "Fest" may host. It has to do with the lack of "community" and loyalty, and the greed and gluttony that the Tribal Fest now appears to embody. I, one of the few vendors who creates all her own wares, and has been a well-known and respected belly dance costume artist for more than 15 years, won't be vending there this year. For your information, please check out the webite that lays out the new "rules" for performing or vending at Tribal Fest. I have but two words to add : OY VEY !!

Susie Gordon
Coin Belts by Susie
Santa Rosa, CA


4-11-07 re:Bellydance in '70s Berkeley: Cedar Sposato's Photo Archive
Ohmygod! Cedar's photos are gold! More! More! MORE!!!
What a fabulous time machine to the early days of American belly dance, before tribal became tribal and before the Egyptian invasion. fabulous!
thank you Cedar!!!!
Los Angeles, CA


4-5-07 re: letter below re:Sashi - Kabob by Lynette
As I once more, almost a year later, reviewed the text of your article and photos of Sashi's performance, my reaction is exactly the same as it was last year, whether or not I am "into" mystical visionary piercings is irrelevant; I still find a performance involving actual piercing to be completely inappropriate for TribalFest where families and their kids are there all day.

And my question is, why is it the reporter's responsibility to somehow find credibility or understand a performance vision that is so outside the box that an announcement has to be made beforehand that "if it is upsetting then audience members should feel free to leave and shop". I attended and performed at Tribal Fest for several years and have enjoyed many "alternative" styles of innovative dance, but last year I chose not to attend because I felt Sashi's stated intent (not to "shock") simply was not confirmed by the actual performance. I did watch Sashi's performance on Youtube and she was moving very slowly and carefully; understandable with multiple large temporary fresh piercings in skin of back! She also looked very glassy-eyed which I guess is the "high" she refers to in her texts.

I do find it curious that if a dancer says, "well, I am American Cabaret style bellydancer and that's my vision" there are many in dance community who will not respect this form as a style choice, no matter how skilled the dancer, how tasteful the costuming is, how skilled finger cymbal playing is or Middle Eastern music used, American Cabaret gets thrashed frequently "unauthentic". But, let a dancer decide to present something so controversial that warnings must be issued before performance, and many in community will express their awe and respect at courage, creativity, vision, etc., declaring that it is the observer's fault if they do not "get it" and that they should "remove children if upsetting".

So my second question is, whatever happened to the concept that it is the PERFORMER'S responsibility to present performances that involve serious consideration of audience make-up? I took the time last year to read Sashi's and her piercing partner's websites and can see that they understand very well their select audience venue. But I do not think Sashi thought "Tribal Fest" through enough to realize that she would be facing some backlash if she decided to go ahead with a very controversial performance at a family type festival. I can assure you, Lynette, that I dance and costume myself differently for pre-school or grammar school performances than at a nightclub on Saturday night!

So, I respectfully disagree with Judi Mar's assessment of your article on Gilded Serpent; the job of a journalist is to report what they observe and you did just that. It was not disrespectful for your text to comment on the size/gauge of piercing needles, it was reality. If in the cold light of day those photos and text on Gilded Serpent was more reality than Sashi's supporters were able to accept, they should remember that Sashi made this choice; her supporters cannot transfer the responsibility for it to the press.

Pacifica, California


4-2-07 re:Sashi - Kabob by Lynette
The article by Lynette "Sashi- Kabob! did a horrible job of covering the performance by Sashi. Like Lynette says she missed the explanatory introduction of the performance and thus had no insight into what the body modification meant or any of the performance and thus her article is not credible. It was more of a biased commentary in which i notice the author had no genuine curiosity into the culture that Sashi participates in. The sarcasm in her article shows the lack of respect for Sashi's practice. "The needles used are 12 gauge, one or two sizes larger than what is commonly used by emergency personal to start large bore fluid lines into a patient's veins during trauma and rescue situations." I applaud Sashi for breaking customs and having the courage to think and create something new from her mind and work! Its more than others ever do, by following the prescribed moves of bellydance. I thank Gildedserpent for posting "A Response to the Criticism of my Tribal Fest 2006 “Pierced Wings” Performance" this was extremely insightful and intelligent, unlike the short paragraph by Lynette.

Judi Mar
Denver Co


3-28-07 re: Tribute to Rhonda by Shabnam
Dear Shabnam,
Thank you for your piece about Rhonda Williams, and for sharing her story with the bellydance community. I was fortunate enough to know her during my short tenure with Ooh La La last year, and found her to be refreshingly funny, honest, and extremely dedicated to our dance form. I guess I identified with Rhonda because were both working moms, struggling to get to rehearsals, and improve our shimmies - she amazed me with her commitment to the troupe, traveling several nights a week from Tracy to rehearsals in Oakland. I admired her hard work, diligently practicing over and over again, despite her serious health problems - I, on the other hand (healthy as a horse, mind you), would be yawning nonstop and complaining to anyone who would listen about how tired I was!

A few other things come to mind when I think of Rhonda: working the "food booth" with her at the Queen of the Bay competition, and serving her Ooh La La Lemon Cake...I came to find out later that Rhonda, in addition to working, taking care of her husband and kids, dancing and going to school, occasionally did catering on the side! I also remember standing in a circle with my troupemates minutes before going onstage at last year's Wiggles of the West competition, with you and Rhonda leading us in a prayer. I felt at peace after that, and the greatest camaraderie ever with the women I danced with that day!

Thanks again, Shabnam, for sharing a little bit of Rhonda with those not lucky enough to know her. It seems that people drift in and out of our lives...the short time I knew Rhonda made a huge impact on me as a dancer, and on my life in general. Yes, she certainly was an inspiration to us all!

Diana Prendergast
Castro valley, CA


3-24-07 re: Interview with Nakish by Sausan
The interview of Nakish by Sausan was beautifully done. Early in my dance career I had seen the well known "lounging photo" of this beauty and had always wanted to know more. Exhaustive "google searches" for Nakish never led to anything more than a few other vintage photos. Little did I know that I really had to look no further than my mentor, Sausan!

Nakish deserves recognition first as being one of the Bay area "belly dance" pioneers, a phenomenal performer and teacher whose influence has touched many from all ethnic backgrounds, even after stepping away from the dance scene. She is also equally an inspiration to dancers of color, such as myself, who up until the last couple of years worried that we were a very small minority.

Today, the western belly dance community is more diverse than ever. What a wonderful time to celebrate this Legend. I'm looking forward to her highly anticipated return!!!

Emeryville (San Francisco Bay Area), CA


3-23-07 re: Interview with Nakish by Sausan
Dear Editor;
I am writing in response to the article done by Sausan on NAKISH. I thought that it was a wonderful piece on the background of a great Afro-American dancer. She is an inspiration for us all.

The real purpose of this letter is to also bring forth the problem of discrimination against Afro-American dancers in our communities. Although it has never happened to me personally, I have spoken to other (BLACK) dancers who have suffered this problem, and it shouldn’t be. We should be treated with the same respect as any other dancer. Too often we are ostracized by the color of our skin even in our own country. (STILL). Paying gigs are cancelled most times for us, for that very reason. Most times, we are the better performer.


Several years ago, I was at Cairo, and an African American troupe performed. They were all dancers of size. They were beautiful, and they danced to perfection. I have never seen or heard of them since. Why? I don’t know. I was never able to find out the name of their group. Point being, we shouldn’t be fading away. We should be making ourselves heard throughout the dance community. If we don’t keep it on their minds, just like everything else, it well forgotten about, and will fall between the cracks and nothing done.

This is a very serious issue, and needs to be addressed in every media possible, to be brought to the forefront and dealt with in no uncertain terms.The number of our BEAUTIFUL NUBIAN dancers is growing, that take the dance seriously. Maybe in numbers, we can reach out and educate some of these narrow-minded people. Quite frankly, they don’t know what they are missing, and, it’s their loss.After all, we are from the MOTHER COUNTRY, and, we are the originators of the dance.

Respectfully submitted,
Dorothy M. Hoffman
Student of Ravenmoon
Los Angeles, Ca


3-22-07 re: Interview with Nakish by Sausan
I was so pleased to read the article about Nakish and had the honor and pleasure of meeting her at Rakassah Westthis year. She is absolutely stunning and has a presence that emanates stateliness. I did not recognize her but knew that she was SOMEBODY! I was there performing with Lotus Niraja and the NDC and Nakish came to us right after we finished and welcomed us with incredible love and warmth. We spent some time listening to her share her experiences with us and also her appreciation to see African American, Latina and other dancers of color continue in bellydance. I explained to her that as a Black bellydancer, teaching and performing were a part of my mission to connect with my community and myself. The Black community is very big in embracing the concept of the Motherland and going to see the pyramids and Kemetic knowledge, etc. But less open and aware of the dance that comes from Mother Africa that we all know as bellydance. I am so glad that this beautiful woman is finally being known and know that I will be letting everyone I know about Nakish and her place in our history!

MiaNaja al Sephira
Columbia, MD


3-21-07 re: Interview with Nakish by Sausan
You could not possibly have chosen a more suitable person to include in your current issue of the Gilded Serpent. As soon as I saw Nakish's beautiful face and immortalized style in her photos, I realized that she is a great inspiration for not only all dancers, but definitely for bellydancers of color. We have exceptional talents in our Hispanic and African American bellydance communities that are not always recognized. It was so wonderful to read about and see photographs of Nakish's dance life.

Thank you Gilded Serpent for bringing her to the forefront. Seeing Nakish in her glory make our dance journey's brighter.
Lotus Niraja
Baltimore, Maryland


3-14-07 re:Interview with Nakish by Sausan
Bravo Sausan,
I was so pleased to see the article on Madame Nakish! As one of her first students, I want to applaud her teaching ability, her wise words of counsel and her loving compassion in launching my own career. A few years ago my producer and I did a long interview with her on video at which my youngest daughter was present. Nakish used to dance around her studio with Sarah (my daughter) on her hip and Sarah would laugh and clap her hands. It was an honor to hear Sarah's comments and see the awe and respect in her eyes at meeting this wonderful woman. Everything Nakish touches becomes beautiful...she is a true ARTIST. I am proud to see her receiving the honor she deserves. I agree, we need to honor those who paved the way for us. There is true gold there!

Shelley Muzzy/Yasmela
Bellingham, WA


3-9-07 re:My Dance Career's Dark Side by Najia
Hello Najia,
I just read your "My Dance Careers Dark Side" and laughed my toes off. I too, like many dancers, have had funny and not so funny things happen throughout my dance career. My husband has always been bugging me to write it down and I was always thinking "no one would be interested in reading that." Thanks for sharing your experiences and for your inspiration.

Khadejah El Oueslati


2-20-07 re: An inconvenient Body Truth by Barbara Donahue
Thanks to Barbara for broaching a subject that is little discussed because of its unpleasantness. Having been involved in Middle Eastern dance for 30 years, and now being in my 60s and still teaching and occasionally performing, I can relate to Barbara’s “belly dance crisis.” Dance, by its very nature, is best performed by the young and physically strong. The aging process, does (whether we want to admit it or not) zap flexibility, muscle strength and yes, your physiognomy! And as Barbara says, more and different types of exercise are required to keep up the pace. But belly dance, because of it its very exotic nature, does put more emphasis on being fair of face and figure. It puts those of us who have aged with this dance in a particular dilemma. Does one just give up teaching and performing and relegate oneself to other forms of exercise to keep fit and active? After all the time and money invested in lessons, seminars and costumes, and the great friendships formed with the community, this hardly seems a great option. Does one just limit oneself to teaching and hope that prospective students won’t penalize you for your age and run to younger dancers who are performing in clubs and have “credibility”? Should you perform, and if so, what venues are most appropriate? It’s very distressing to put yourself in a show with a line-up of those who look the part, because admit it or not, looks are 90% of this dance. The few at the very top who can combine looks with stellar technique are among the fortunate. In the final analysis, it is a personal decision based on many factors germane to each dancer’s psyche; because all the assurances of “you look great,” “your dance was wonderful,” just don’t cut it if YOU don’t believe it. I don’t think there is any one solution to how a dancer handles menopause or the aging process. And even the fortunate few should be aware that their “day” will come. No one is exempt or immune.

Diane Adams
Company Mezza
Atlanta, GA


2-19-07 re:Its not your Grandmamma's Zar! by Roxxanne
Thank you Roxanne for writing such a lovely article about the Egyptian zar ritual. This summer I was fortunate to film an entire ritual, with the permission of the participants. I hope to come out with a DVD about it eventually. To actually see these women go into trace is a very moving experience.

A zar ritual allows women to communicate with the zar spirit(s) that possess them. The censing of a woman's "private parts" is to prevent zar spirits (who have been summoned for the party) from possessing new women through that passageway. Zar spirits are attracted to blood, so they have an affinity for that particular door :) There's more about it in the booklet I wrote for the CD Zar - Trance Music for Women.

Serpentine / Sands of Time Music
Washington DC


2-13-07 re:Carnival of Stars Panel Discussion of Fusion in Belly Dance
Dear Lynette:

This was certainly an interesting discussion! These ladies, having numerous years of experience, brought so many perspectives to the issue of fusion and ME dance that I had more questions than answers after reading the transcript.

One thing all panelists have in common: they are practitioners of the arts of Middle Eastern cultures (although I'm not sure whether Edwina dances.) So I think that what we received here was a perspective on fusion by artists whose primary focus is the Middle East.

I wonder: how would a discussion on fusion differ if panelists had included a goddess dancer, a goth dancer, and an ATS dancer? What I'm getting at here is that "fusion" may mean one thing if discussed by American or Western practitioners of Middle Eastern arts; and quite another if discussed by artists whose dance forms don't seem to originate (in any way that I can
tell) from the Middle East. Outcomes are in some part determined by initial choice of data set.

I very much appreciated the points made by Jihan Jamal about sensuality vs. sexuality, and also about "the look." However, I suspect that the more "American" this dance becomes, the more important will sexuality and "the look" become also.

Barbara Grant
Tucson, AZ

[ed- check out the photo of Edwina dancing with the Mazin sisters here]


2-7-07 re: I Dance, You Follow by Leila

My take on this is slightly different; times have changed so drastically from the 70's and 80's when students right from the beginning were taught not only technique, but that improvisation was a very important part of belly dance and that while choreo had it's place, we were taught improvisation skills in every class and encouraged to take maybe combinations from set choreos and adapt them in our own creative process. We were trained how to take dance notes efficiently as well when creating our own choreography which can easily be a loose framework of entrance, exit and taxim combinations - leaving the rest free to follow the music. However, we all know that with the advent of set choreos so readily available, many dancers abandon the whole idea of improvising and/or creating their own dances. While I don't really blame them, it's a shame that creativity and improvisational skills are becoming a lost art in the general dance population. When I teach, I always break steps down but I teach combinations, not entire choreos, and I also teach, right from the beginning how to start the process of being able to "improvise" to Arabic music; it takes an understanding of the structure of the music far beyond just cuing a set choreo to a set version of a song. And, I tell them, "even if you learn a choreo PERFECTLY" - what will you do when you have the opportunity to dance to live music, you request the song and lo and behold, the musicians are human beings and each time they play a song, it will be different enought that a set choreo is not going to work. Breaks either won't be there or there will be extra flourishes and if you lack the ability to improvise even a little bit, you will be very frustrated. On the other hand, it is an extremely freeing experience to be able to "follow" Arabic music with your body and your emotions and the musicians will also start to notice and follow you! Personally, I am grateful I had the opportunity to "follow the musicians" for ten years in clubs, restaurants but I also enjoy learning new styles, new combinations but when I learn, I am always mindful that what I want to take away from a class, workshop or video is an APPROACH to the dance, not be a carbon copy of the performer/teacher.

Yours in dance,



2-4-07 re: filler ads
By the way, I for one appreciate the side bar boxes promoting awareness of what is actually happening on the ground in the Middle East, birthplace of the dance and music we love. As we wander through the colorful pages of GS having fun looking at the pretty pictures or snorting in indignation at the articles, it's good to be reminded of how lucky we are to have the luxury of arguing about the origins of belly dance or the merits of fusion when people are trying simply to stay alive.
Los Angeles, CA


2-2-07 re: I Dance, You Follow by Leila
Dear Editor,
Thanks to Leila for reminding me that the "follow-me" style of teaching has important benefits. I do not believe, however, that either teaching style is best exclusively. Many students need the technique break-down to learn Oriental dance movements, especially beginners. Different people learn in different ways. Some could never learn with the follow-me style only, no matter how open they are to it. The best teachers blend teaching styles to reach the most students. I rely more heavily on movement breakdown and choreographies in my own teaching, partly because that is how I learned best as a beginner (and I have no doubt that I attract and retain more students who learn best that way). Choreographies give students examples of how to string movements together. This builds understanding that the student can translate into improvisation as they experiment with different, more personal stylings. Also, I must disagree with the statement " Contrarily, a lesson following a pre-set choreography does not give any insight into the creative process of building those steps." If a teacher is able to understand and explain the creative process, many students can learn it better with explanations and specific examples than by simply watching someone else dance.

Barb Ferrill Van Hoy ~ Zafia ~
Springs Oasis Belly Dance
Colorado Springs, USA


1-30-07 re: One Banat by Tasha Banat
Is there more to this article? I enjoyed what was written, but it doesn't address its stated topic.
There was nothing at all exploring the origins of the costume, but a lot about the origins of the term "Middle East". Also, for the reader it would have been helpful to have a picture or drawing of the costume mentioned so that we could see what she was referring to.

I'd like to hear what she has to say about the origins of the costume.

Tarik Sultan
New York


1-29-07 re:Jim Boz's Masterful Teaching by Rebecca Firestone
Thank you for such a wonderfully concise review of your workshop experience with Mr Boz in San Diego. It seems that you have connected with a dancing soul who is an outstanding pedagogue in the art of Rak Sharki. The description of the workshop and Mr Boz keeps me mindful of where I hope to be in sharing what I know with others. After reading your article, I felt as though I was in the room. Good job!

Deirdre Lovell, LMT


1-29-07 re: I Dance, You Follow by Leila
Hello Leila,
I have tought dancing for a long time. My first chance was at the age of 10 to a juvenile of 7,the Cha Cha Cha. He grew to have his own and great studio in Melbourne and dance in world competition. I always think that his very first class with me could have given the key to his ambition and success.
I still perform and teach a lot. Oriental for the last 8 years. I have been to Egypt only once and plan on saving for a trip in October of this year.
I have met a few great dancers and had a most wonderful week with Mo last year in Queensland Australia. Dancing for him on the Gala stage was the most exciting time of my career. I am proud of my journey and still travelling on. There is much more to do and teach.
The final comment, " follow me", "try this", "it's easy", and they do!

Thank you for this opportunity to send a true meaning of dance, message.



1-22-07 re: Who Really Gave Us This Dance? by Sausan
I am a pretty hard core Egyptophile, preferring the Egyptian style over all others, but even i was startled by Sausan's claim that:

"it is solely because of the Egyptian film industry that it was first introduced to the rest of the world and which has helped it to survive."

I know some Turkish dancers who will disagree. As will all the people who came to the US from Turkey, Lebanon, Tunisia, Syria, Greece, and all the countries of the Middle East and Mediterranean, and danced here and taught women here how to dance. And I'm sure women in the Middle East - even in Egypt - would be startled to hear that the dance they've been doing for generations actually all started with the cinema. What on earth did they do before they went to the movies and learned how to dance?

I agree that Egyptian cinema has heavily influenced belly dance in the US. However, the Egyptian style became widely popular in the US only in the 1980s after the advent of VHS. (Also, it's my understanding the belly dancing first became widely popular in the UK and Europe in the 80s - coincidence?) Whatever influence Egyptian cinema had, it can have had little in the first 100 or so years after Middle Eastern dance's introduction to the US, simply because before the VHS, few Americans had ever heard of Egyptian movies, much less seen them. After all, KTLA never had Taheyia Karioka/Samia Gamal film fest weekends.

"Today, in the United States, numerous versions of Belly dance have evolved. Many of these versions do not resemble the first Belly dance ever depicted on Egyptian film danced by Egyptian dancers."

Correct. They don't resemble the dancing in Egyptian movies, because they're not trying to dance Egyptian! American belly dance for many years was dominated by Turkish and Greek influences. Look at the list of rhythms Morocco talks about learning in her earliest days (semai, karsilama, ayoub, zembekiko, kalamatiano, tsamiko, lazbar and maqsoum). How many of those are Egyptian? In addition to immigrants from all the Middle East and Mediterranean, another heavy influence was American cinema and TV, from James Bond to Barbara Eden. And the fertile imaginations of dancers who incorporated circus tricks and yoga and whatever else struck their fancy.

I prefer the Egyptian style, but it's simply ignorant to deride other styles as though they are merely failed attempts at Egyptian, and it's just incorrect to deny the contributions made by the other countries.

Los Angeles


1-22-07 re:Western Dancer's Guilt, by Miles Copleand in Response to The Ethics of Fusion by Naajidah
Dear Editor:
I read the article by Miles Copeland, Western Dancer's Guilt. I'm reserving comments to his brazen article for a blog to one of my blog sites, but I would like to point out one very big discrepancy. Miles states, "In fact, in the entire three and a half years of the BDSS existence I have had not one Egyptian and indeed only one Arab profess to be upset at the BDSS as some sort of cultural affront." In an article I wrote for Gilded Serpent, and which was published on March 3, 2005 entitled, The BDSS Experience and Miles Copeland; Doing What he Does Best, I believe I stated that my partner -- Egyptian born and raised Dr. Hatem, and he had a heated discussion regarding what he was doing. Obviously, the heated discussion was one where one Egyptian -- Dr. Hatem -- was very upset at the BDSS as some sort of cultural affront to his culture.

Miles's memory must be fading, or he simply may not want to remember that evening, or he may not think of Dr. Hatem as an Egyptian with an Egyptian cultural past and background. If Miles meant, "not one, but many Egyptians profess to be upset...." then I could find some reason to go along, though reluctantly, with some of the points he made in his article. But, while Mile's article posed some thought-provoking points, it lost all credibility with me when he stated "...not one Egyptian....profess(ed) to be upset at the BDSS...." when, in fact, in the very same e-zine, just one year and ten months earlier, an article was published, written by yours truly, that specifically stated that at least one Egyptian was indeed upset.

Master Teacher
Sausan Academy of Egyptian Dance


1-22-07 re: See 1-15-07 letter below re:The Ethics of Fusion by Naajidah
Matthew Montfort's letter deserves to be front page, not just buried in the letters- a very thoughtful consideration of respectful fusion practice. We need to see more like this!
Lara Lotze
Fairbanks, Alaska


1-22-07 re: Teaching at the 2006 Ahlan Wa Sahlan Cairo Festival by Leyla Lanty
Great article, format, photos, and presentation. Lively and fun to read. Thanks, Leyla
Lennie Clark
Apache Junction, Arizona


1-22-07 re:Western Dancer's Guilt, by Miles Copleand in Response to The Ethics of Fusion by Naajidah
i have just read the article: Western Dancer's Guilt Response to The Ethics of Fusion by Naajidah by Miles Copeland on the internet. i was quite fascinated with it and completely agree with the points made.

i only managed to see a live performance 2 years ago in Cardiff of the BDSS and it was a lovely part of the show having a Polynesian dance in it.
i went with a massive group of dancers and not one of us said anything bad about it. in fact, many said how interesting it was, noted similarities and differences in our chosen style and the Polynesian and quite a few were interested in learning more.

having something slightly different was also refreshing to the eyes and ears in the same way as having the live drumming with the lovely Issam. i think that the only people who would critique in a non-impartial way don't realise how much effort, work, thought and planning goes into doing shows like this. i'm organising a one night small event and it has been planned to the finest details for months and things can still go wrong!

in all i would say that here in the UK we really understand the inclusion of cultures and the fusion AND the guilt that can come with it!

South Wales, UK


1-20-07 re: I Dance, You Follow by Leila

I was so happy to read the article, "I Dance, You Follow". I have always chosen to teach using this method, because of my own dissatisfaction with the way I was taught. I do teach isolations and do isolation drills, but dedicate a significant portion of each class to "watch and do", as I call it.

My instructors taught me this move and that move, how to put some moves together, and some choreography. But they never just danced and had us follow. There was one exception, but I was only able to study with her for one semester. That one semester permanently changed the way that I danced. I could "dance"! Not just stand in front of a mirror and do four camels to the right and four camels to the left, or four hip drops on one side and four on the other, as the other instructors taught me. Everything was counted out in repetitions of fours and eights, and danced from side-to-side or back to front. We were told to be an extension of the music, but then taught to move like robots.

I will keep this article always; it has given me a new sense of confidence in my teaching style.

Shaia Fahrid
Milwaukee, Wisconsin


1-19-07 re: I Dance, You Follow by Leila
I loved this article! Finally, a positively written tribute to a great way to teach.

I have alot of students asking me to choreograph a song for them to learn in class. I've told them that I would think about it but my preference is not to do so. To me, it's a form of cheating and all they would learn are "my steps" to a particular song and not discover on their own how to incorporate the movements they know to particular sections of the song.

"Flow" is not a teachable concept - it must be learned from the ground up and will not incorporate itself until your own body flips the switch and you have one of those lovely "a-ha" moments and then you're there, in the zone.

I'm one of the few dancers in the area that get very pissy when I spend the money and my time to take a workshop and the majority of the class is devoted to this person's choreography. Good God. If I wanted to mimic your dance, I'd buy the DVD. What I want to see in class is just as you state:
"the instructor dances, the student follows". This showcases form and movement and shows us the flow. Then movements can be broken down and explained to anyone that has questions.

Choreography does have its place. But to me, it's boring and flat. (one of the reasons that I just could not sit through a presentation by the lovely ladies of Bellydance Superstars, for example) Let me see you free-form to a song, especially with a live band, and you'll impress me to no end.



1-19-07 re:Western Dancer's Guilt, by Miles Copleand in Response to The Ethics of Fusion by Naajidah

To the editor:
I'd like to respond to Miles Copeland's article "Western Dancer's Guilt". I agree with Naajidah and her article "The Ethics of Fusion". I feel that with Mr. Copeland's recent article, it's pretty clear that his heart isn't in the dance. As A'isha Azar once pointed out, we as dancers have an obligation to the culture of who's dance we are performing and to our audience to present it in that cultural light. Mr. Copeland has to understand that for years, especially in this country, things have been renamed, changed, and fused together all for the "mighty dollar". Take henna for instance, in the Middle East and all over the world it has done wonders for women's hair and as a substance for body art. But here in America as I've seen a lot, you get people who add PPD and other dangerous chemicals and it's advertised as henna, even though it's clearly dangerous enough to damage organs.

Raks Sharki in itself is already influenced by other dance forms such as ballet and the dancer performing the dance adds to innovation as well. As with anything, if you put "too much in the pot", it's no longer once it originally was.

Moni Al Nour
Portsmouth, Virginia


1-15-07 re:The Ethics of Fusion by Naajidah
Benefits of World Fusion
I'm writing this letter to add some input to the discussion on the "Ethics of Fusion" introduced by Naajidah in her 12/5/06 article.

I coined the term world fusion music in 1978 to describe my band Ancient Future's unusual blend of musical traditions from around the world. In my book on world rhythms, I define world fusion music as "music that combines ideas from many of the earth's traditions." *1

While I have dedicated my career to fusion music, I am also a firm supporter of tradition. Traditions must be kept alive and purists are an important part of that process. But without innovation, traditions can lose their vitality. One of the main purposes of world fusion music is to encourage understanding between people through cross cultural exchange. People who understand each other are more likely to be able to work out conflicts peacefully than people who do not. I like to look at world fusion as a process rather than a genre. It is a process that leads to new traditions through an exchange of knowledge that encourages creativity.

  • First stage world fusion music is what happens when musicians from different cultures who have no knowledge of each other's traditions try to find common ground. The results are usually mixed: some great moments and some moments of searching.
  • Second stage world fusion music is the result of musicians studying many types of music for inspiration and knowledge, and then using that knowledge to create their art. This is where Ancient Future started in 1978.
  • Third stage world fusion music is created by master musicians from many cultures who have for years been learning from each other and have developed a true understanding of each other's traditions. This is where Ancient Future is today. It has grown into a broad family of 28 world music masters who work together in a variety of smaller ensembles. By its very nature, third stage world fusion music is very respectful to the cultures involved, as it is created through the direct contributions of the masters of those traditions.

Of course, cross-cultural music made by artists without formal training in the traditions involved can be of questionable merit. But the creativity and spirit of natural genius cannot be contained. For instance, Django Reinhardt, a gypsy guitarist born in Belgium, was able to make a huge contribution to American jazz despite the fact that he could not read and was not native to the tradition of jazz.

The more we understand each other's traditions and feelings, the more chance humanity has of reaching its full potential. Music is a non-threatening way of reaching people who may not yet thinking about ways of cooperating to make a peaceful world. World fusion music has elements familiar to most people as well as elements that are exotic.
In this way, it often opens people up to cultures other than their own.

Out of new music that is living and breathing and fits in with people's lives today, an appreciation for other cultures can develop.

The same principles would apply to dance. Learn the traditions. Respect them. Practice diligently. Then be creative.

Matthew Montfort
leader of Ancient Future
footnote--*1: Matthew Montfort, Ancient Traditions--Future Possibilities Rhythmic Training Through the Traditions of Africa, Bali, and India (Mill Valley: Panoramic Press, 1985), 1.

Older Letters  

Archives Pg 17- January through December 2008
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 you are here
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
Shira’s advice to “Offended”, North Beach memory, George Elias & Bagdad Cafe


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