Letters to the Editor

Email the Snake--editor@gildedserpent.com

October 2002 - April 2003


4-28-03 re: a comment on all the articles about reviews and critiques.
Real Critics Don't Mince Words by Najia
The Emperor's New Clothes by Yasmela
The Agony & the Ecstasy by Nisima

No Excuse for Low Video Standards! by Shira

Isn't it just about what is popular? People have different taste in things. Ebert may give a movie a terrible review only to make the movie he reviewed very popular.

All I am saying is if you must, take the "advice" of "reviewers" with a grain of salt. If you have the $$$ and you are curious buy it and see; see if a friend has it and you can watch before you buy; or sell off the offending video.

Sometimes you have to wonder what exactly motivates the reviewer and proceed at your own risk.
The most trusted "authorities" on earth told the people in no uncertain terms that the earth was flat.

Consider the source and motivation of any critique if you trust it (personal feelings here) go with it or go you own way.

Jessica Martinez


4-28-03 Re: Critics article
I am a truly dedicated hobbyist dancer who is not and will not ever be the size 6 dancer. According to the author, I should not dance in public, because I may be considered "out of shape" by some critics. The issue of pay, critical standards, and appropriate venue in the article suddenly become secondary to this statement made by the author.

I expect constructive comments from my teacher and from my fellow performers, and I'm used to it because of my professional business standing in my "paying" job. But... SHAME ON YOU FOR PUBLISHING THIS! The author makes it sound as if those of us who are not of the rippling abs and less than 4% body fat should not be seen.

So, as a business professional, let's do some math. How many of the students that you see in a studio setting are pro quality - probably less than 1%. Likewise, the number of students who are considered to be in excellent physical condition are less than 1%. So, the point that I make is that the critique of technique is by all means needed at all levels but be realistic on who and where your majority of devotees are. Are you going to turn down the application from a student who is wanting to learn because she is overweight? Of course not. Are you going to push her to perform in a venue where she is going to roundly booed - of course not. Insist on professional quality dancing and find venues for dancing appropriate for the level of dancer but for heavens sake don't "throw out the baby with the bathwater..." if you only have gigs that need Hollywood style starlets. If you are not serving but a sliver of the potential revenue out there, you may be elite put poor.

Ft. Worth Texas


Hi Gilded Serpent,
I really enjoyed Ellen Cruz's article on producing a Middle Eastern Dance Festival, and look forward to future articles. Ellen touched upon some crucial topics, such as duplication of wares, ease of Vendor set-up, and cost of booth space, that one wishes EVERY fair Director would take note of !
I hope ALL your readers show up at the upcoming "Tribal Fest", May 17-18 in Sebastopol, CA, to see a "role model" of what a Belly Dance Festival should be: for Vendors, performers, and of course, customers .
As a Vendor, I would like to express great appreciation for every "Rose Production" event I have participated in, and all that goes into making these events run so smoothly and enjoyably !

Susie Gordon
Coin Belts by Susie


Hello Gilded Serpent Editor:

I found the article by Najia overwrought -- I agreed with some of the points - not the delivery. I hope to also see some dissenting opinions (I am certain there will be a few) on this “Critique” article in your Letters to the Editor...I’m sure we would hope that the Gilded Serpent staff can accept critique as publicly and freely as the dance public should.

Thank you,
Anna G.


I just finished reading Karen Andes' article "Act Your Age?", and would like to chime in with a couple of comments.

Wasn't it the famous Bert Balladine who once said "You have nothing to dance about unless you're over 35 anyways"? Certainly, some of the best Belly Dancers I've seen are Grandmothers or Grandfathers, and I enjoy their passion for life and their life experience the young nubile
dancers can seldom duplicate.

I don't think Karen has anything to worry about, and I hope she continues to dance until she is 100 or more! I know I certainly intend to, I came to this dance too late in life (at 40) not to run it out to the very end!



Excellent articles re the importance of honest critiquing in our dance! Sometimes I feel the true way to define categories of belly dancers is not by style, but rather (a) aware of artistic standards, and open to criticism and therefore improvement; vs. (b) if I like it, it must be good. I have not problem with the latter point of view, provided it is not put on a stage and promoted as representative of this art. These three articles and Shira's latest re video standards, should be required reading by all belly dancers. Thank you for continuing to advocate honest assessment and improvement in our art!


I have read the articles you have published with regard to critique of dancers performances, and make the following comments.

Having someone critique your dancing makes for a better dancer. One does not have to be snide or rude to say "your arms are stiff, and you need to work on those." One's teachers do that all the time.

As far as performance goes, dancers who get up on any type of stage need to expect both positive and negative responses to their performances. Most dancers who do oriental dance do it for the love of the dance and fun. Most of them will never be able to earn a living at dance, and many of them do not want to. Therefore, the dancing they do is at student nights, Hafla's and perhaps in restaurants. That being said, amatuer or professional, once you are on stage you are open to others opinions. As a dancer who wants to better her art, I welcome both the positive and negative, as I learn from both. (I have only danced at student nights, and a couple of restaurants but expect my audience to be honest with me.)

....edited for length....

In sum, those of us who perform need to expect criticism. However, I think that it can be done in a way to encourage and help a dancer. And dancers should not take offense. They need to listen to the comments (both good and bad) and learn from them. Oriental dance should be a community of people who want to bring the culture and dance to others and to assist those already in the community to improve.

Maureen K. Dixon


I Love the article just posted from Najia.

I have been very conflicted about the whole "criticism of fellow dancers" thing. There are ways in private to be both honest and supportive, but no matter how hard one tries to write these things publicly, many dancers take anything other than compliments as a personal attack. Therefore, I am VERY glad Najia put in a few pointers to help dancers learn how to read a critique of their work. It is helpful to understand the difference between a personal attack vs. the opions of an audience member, no matter how much it stings when the review is read.

Since I fall between the enthusiastic amateur and the professional, I'm waaaay far from perfect. As a result, I'm sure one day I'll need to rely on those pointers.

Frankly, we'll benefit if we keep taking a hard look at how we present our art. I am always reassessing what works and what doesn't before, during, and after - especially after - a performance. Though I can get frustrated trying to make something work, it's better to have the frustration along with the direction of a critique, than to think one needn't bother bailing the water from a sinking ship.

I also appreciate the pointers Najia gave to the critics. It's one thing to express discontent with a performance, it's another thing to rub salt in wounds you intend to make...

Thank you, Najia.

With Love and Magic,
Robin Ackerman-Gray
a.k.a. Shayloe
a.ka. Za'Zahn the Dragon

PS- Wow, another good article regarding the critic and the dancer. The words of wisdom expressed by her dance teacher, "learn from it and move on", are stellar. I will also keep these words in mind, because well, I am my own worst critic. Keep it up!


Just a quick note to compliment you on your pithy and courageous article in the Gilded Serpent. You hit the nail on the head (multiple times)! I'd much rather receive an honest appraisal of a performance than a bunch of fluff. The latter isn't going to help me as a serious dancer!

There are a great many "troupes" out there that seem to be nothing more than mutual admiration societies. I've performed in recitals hosted by a few of them, and it's made me gun shy of invitations to perform. I will no longer perform in recitals or shows that have no dress rehearsals or other opportunities for me to see what I'll be sharing the bill with. There seems to be a great deal of confusion about what is acceptable at a private hafla and what should be inflicted upon the paying(!) public.

Don't get me wrong, the more troupes and dancers the merrier, but they need to be realistic about levels of proficiency.Thanks for sharing your thoughts,
Stockton, CA


4-5-03 re: Doug Adams
I was truly touched by his comments about music at this time in our nations tragic course of destruction. He mentioned Munir Bechir the supreme oud master from Baghdad. I had just taught a Middle Eastern Dance workshop in Taos and used the music of Munir Bechir. It is truly heart music, music that is a prayer without words. We sat in silence afterwards and felt a palpable opening of our hearts to the people of Iraq. I find now that people here in Northern New Mexico are more than ever open to understanding and feeling the depth of feeling in Middle Eastern music. Yours truly, Diane Eger


Hi Lynette!
I love your magazine. I am curious if you have any suggestions for sites that deal with snake dancing, or if not, have you considered a column about snake dancing? Like "ask the snake goddess" type thing?
I am the recent owner of a very sociable ball python. I've danced with him a little, but he doesn't really seem to "do" anything. Just wraps around an arm or ponytail - no cool twining around or anything. How do you "train" or encourage a snake to move around more when dancing?
Thanks for such a great resource!


Dear Editor,

I found the article entitled "Reflections on North Beach (Part I of III)" both interesting and disturbing. I was disturbed by some of the not too kind remarks on Jamilla and Aida.

I first started studying belly dancing with Jamilla in 1973 (San Francisco). I found her to be one of the most generous women I have ever met. She had such talent not only for dancing but also in teaching as well. Even today, 30 years later, I have such fond memories and still remember all the basic things I leaned from her instruction. She ALWAYS took the time to work individually with the students, providing encouragement and enthusiasm. She would often bring her daughter little Suhalia to class...she was about 5 or 6 at that time. Now I hear that Suhalia is teaching in the East Bay.

Later, I also took classes from Aida in Berkely. Aida is undoubtedly one of the NICEST people I have ever met. She had a sweet disposition, tought us many of the subtleties of the dance, and was down to earth and practical. Not only that but she had tons of humor providing funny anecdotes about some of her experiences as both a student and professional dancer. I recall that she had a beatiful singing voice. One night I coaxed her to sing some Opera songs, and she did! Absoulutely glorious! I saw her dance at all three places your article mentioned - the Bagdad Caberet, the Casbah Caberet, and the Greek Taverna Retaurant. What a talent!

Over the years I have often thought about both Jamilla and Aida with such fond memories. I remember Jamilla's mantra "Keep on Dancing." Now 30 years later, I am back in class studying in Virginia. The lessons I learned all those years ago are coming back (a bit slower now). My enthusiam for coming back to the dance is most undoubtedly based on the stong foundation and reinforcement introduced to me by two of the most beautiful, kind, spirited, superb and talented ladies I have ever met. The picture of Aida in 1973 is just how I remember her!

Thank you for providing a forum for people to send comments.
Linda Force (aka Farida)


Hi ..loved the article about Raqia festival. Can you please tell me where i can buy Dina's video teaching technique..from the festival. The biblical accounts of bellydancing was a great article!!!

Thank you,


I just finished reading Aziza's article "Zorba's in Walnut Creek", and had teary eyes when she recalled "Ulysses and Useless". As she notes, Ulysses has passed on and his sons are carrying on his legacy.

"Ulysses" was Sam Stamas, a man of small stature and giant heart. Not only was he a terrific dancer, but a wonderful human being. I had the privelege (sp?) of participating in the annual Roseville Greek festival a couple of years ago dancing with the Greek Dancers of the Monterey Peninsula; where Sam not only performed his famous table dance, but MC'ed and organized the festival as well. He seemed to have endless energy, boundless enthusiasm, and was always warm, kind and friendly to all.

We, of the Greek Dance community, sorely miss him! His death, in a senseless
automobile accident, still saddens me personally, as I had spoken with him only 3 days before.

You can read a bit more about Sam at our WebSite: http://www.greekdancemonterey.org under the "In Memorium" heading.
Male Student of Belly Dance


3-13-03 God Bellydanced
just wanted to say how thrilled I am to see some well-researched biblical
criticism in this context. Loving these articles!
Ziva in New Zealand, with only one year of Biblical Hebrew


I just read your History article and wanted to offer the following comment. In studying the Old Testament as a work of Literature, I learned from my professor a simple, yet important thing. Our contemporary idea of a "slave" is far different than the "slave" of that time (around 900 BCE, perhaps). It is one of those somewhat obvious things, yet something we don't often consider. Enslaved people were typically the elite, and hence the most educated, of a culture that the captors/enslavers of another culture would take back for assimilation in their own culture (we were talking about the Egyptian, Persian,
Assyrian conquests in our class). This is a nice consistency with what you are saying in your article about the kind of women who danced.

Danette Riddle


Brava! to Shira for her article about poor quality videos. I too fail to understand how anyone thinks she will benefit from releasing a mediocre (much less bad!) video of herself. Footage that is of lesser technical quality is acceptable only if the material is otherwise unavailable (stuff from "over there" or the 60s, etc) or if the performance is genuinely spectacular and the technical flaws don't prevent your seeing the brilliance.
I agree that much of the sloppiness must be simply thoughtlessness. We all need to strive to present only the best when we perform or produce shows or videos, and as consumers, we shouldn't accept poor quality. Only by demanding, and accepting nothing less than, the best of ourselves will we improve ourselves and our dance. love the G. Serpent!


3-8-03 re: The Joy & Pain of Collecting Tips
I have one for Sandra ... or anyone that might have a solution... I am Canadian and we no longer have paper $1 and $2, we have large coins that we have affectionately nicknamed "loonies" and "toonies" for the bird, the Loon that is stamped on the coin...

I am a little confused about how to encourage tipping here... I've had people toss coins at me, slip coins in around my belt, etc. It would be nice if someone would put a 5, 10 or 20 in there just to start the ball rolling. The urn thing is okay, but I like the look of the bills in the belt myself. I guess if they come to me with paper, I could let them put it in my hip belt, if it's a coin(s) it will have to go in the urn. (I really do miss the paper money... the change is very heavy).



i am a professional dancer and i will be vacationing in brazil in may and
want to know where i can take classes. I'll be in rio.
any suggestions?

ed- stay tuned for a soon to be posted article about Belly Dance in Brazil!


I have been fortunate enough to perform in restaurants and clubs in my area and I am interested in booking and performing in restaurants in other western states. Do you have any helpful hints for me in this area. I'd like to perform in reputable places, but not being a native in other states is a disadvantage. How does a dancer go about accomplishing this?


To the editors,
I have enjoyed the Gilded Serpent for quite a while now. The articles run from thought-provoking to just plain funny. However, I have one small suggestion. I appreciate all the photos that accompany the articles, but I find it frustrating that many of them are not labeled or captioned in any way. The contents of some are obvious from the text, but others leave me guessing. Would it be possible to add captions to future pictures so I know who all the lovely dancers are?

Amsah Noor


I started working the Ren Faire as a brat back in the early 70's. I've worked both Northern & Southern. Worked in several different guilds. I left in the nineties when the politics & pettiness became too much & the magic went away. I'm glad to hear that somewhere some of the magic continues.

Thought you might enjoy an old photo from the Agoura site.

Roberta Ridgley


2-3-03 Oriental Dance myth and reality

I recently found your web site and I love it! Thank you! I was very interested in the article about the myths and realities of the harems and belly dance. It was excellent! I look forward to reading more and becoming a life long reader of your site.


1-31-03 belly dance aerobics

As a certified fitness instructor and dance teacher, I commend Michelle on her ability to make a business from her particular set of skills. I would advise a bit of caution on the cultivation of a capitalistic "one size fits all" blend of fitness and an art form that represents a deep and broad cultural perspective that is beyond the experience of the average American. I have observed so much hybridization and mixing of the various movement and dance genres that I am wondering if people are starting to lose sight of what is pure in a singular modality. Now one can choose from Yogalatis, Yo-chi, Chi-ball, and belly-robics.
I can see that one positive aspect to the aerobic/ belly thing is that there may be some students that will want to explore the art on a deeper level. I agree with Michelle in encouraging teachers who are seeking employment in health clubs to get certified and become educated in the legal and practical matters of the fitness world. Teachers should also carry liability insurance. A good start is to join IDEA (www.ideafit.com).

Jawahare BA, RRT
ACE certified Clinical Exercise Specialist



Just had to say that I loved the article about Bert's diet. When I saw the title I thought to myself "why would Bert ever have been on a diet? He doesn't eat!" Now I understand LOL
If you speak to him please give him my love -
Adriana from Adelaide, South Australia tho' I now live in Tasmania.

Best wishes,
Adriana's Belly Dance Arts Centre


1-22-03 Arabic/english

I died laughing reading your story..... my first language is Arabic!!!!!



To Jawahare

Girl, your writing is awesome, wonderful article!!!!!!! Alexa is so beautiful, wish I could have seen her performance...she's a natural. Looks great in the costume, hope to see her in person soon. Hope all is going well for you. You write extremely well, my dear...so multi-talented, and bright, I'm so proud of you. Thanks again the article and photos all were pure joy!
Linda Timberlake



re: qan tuppim's article
dear eds, kudos for great piece! pix & writing gave me atmosphere of trip most definite. thanx



I read your web pages about Hamam tour in Turkey.

I would like to inform you that the mentioned that Park Hamam is a gay hamam in Istanbul, that's why it is men only. :) Please inform Kayla... http://www.outuk.com/outgoing/europe/istanbul/index2.html





I was so thrilled to read about Nisima's experiences at the Casbah in San Francisco. I was living in San Francisco from 1975 through 1981 and although I did not go to the Casbah, I did frequent the Bagdad Club across the street and Pasha Restaurant, where I had my very first exposure to Middle Eastern culture, food, music, and of course, Bellydance!

At that time my dream was to become a Belly Dancer, but my Dream had to go on hold until this past September, when I was finally to begin classes and fulfill my heart's desire to learn this loveliest of dance forms with which I fell in love so many years ago. I am making up for lost time now and am determined to learn enough to perform, if even in a very limited capacity, here on the Monterey Peninsula where my home is.

I wish I could take classes from Nisima, and I would love to hear any recollections she has about the Bagdad Club and/or Pasha from those many years ago when she was performing there on North Beach.

I never thought I would have this opportunity, but I will take a real leap of faith here and ask if she knew a dancer who performed in a solid white costume at the Badgad club and also at Pasha, and perhaps also at the Casbah club. She had dark, mid length hair and was so very sweet and friendly and I could swear she could read my mind when I watched her dancing, wishing more than anything to learn to do what she was doing "up there on the stage"!!! It is the memory of this one particula dancer, and the way she seemed to communicate to me that I would indeed have the opportunity to learn to bellydance someday that has stayed with me all these years. I am determined to have a solid white costume, as much like hers as my memory will permit (it has been more than a few years since then!!) and I would love to thank her for what I believe was her silent, even telepathic, I would say (at the risk of sounding a bit 'out there') encouragement that has carried me through to this point in my life where I can finally indulge my long-held dream of becoming a Belly dancer.
I think she would be happy to know that it was her inspiration so many years ago that has propelled me to this place in my life at a time when I am free to indulge myself at last and learn her art of Belllydancing and to finally make it my own.

Many thanks for your wonderful articles and information, and for the opportunity of connecting with other affecionados in the field.


Paula Bowers


12-20-02 Re: Tease-O-Rama

To: Editor of the Gilded Serpent;

I came across your web site because of the bellydancemagroup that I belong to.I found your site very interesting on the burlesque section. I have been a professional belly dancer and instructor for twenty three years. The first dance instructor I ever had teach me how to belly dance was an ex-exotic dancer from the 50's era. ( her dance name was Barbette). To this day we still keep in contact and there is not any other dancer that can do the Camel Walk like her!

I now teach adults and children's classes at the same studio where Barbette first taught me!

Yours In Dance,
Suzan Dobrowski


12-16-02 Re: Glass Dancing
ed - Edited for length.


Some months ago I found a picture of a dancer on glasses on the Internet and have since then been collecting information about the topic. I live in Switzerland and have never seen a European dancer do it. So I was very pleased about this article.

About no washing the glasses: I have asked a colleague at work who has a doctor's degree in physics and he said that washing glass with HOT water can indeed change the structure of the material. But it's not so much the water but the temperature (especially sudden changes in temperature).

I don't put my glasses on a rug but directly on the floor (if it is a smooth wooden floor) because I also turn by sliding the glasses. As for the music, I start with a slow part and then get faster (this is where I turn with little hipdrops). Anyway, I would not do it too long. One or two minutes are enough.

I use the glasses as part of a tableau called "In the coffe house" which also includes Melaya dancing and smoking a shisha. I do it together with a man who besides sitting and smoking will put down the glasses for me and clear them up when I am done.

I hope this helps other dancers.




I just finished reading the article "Music and Style" by Yasmela. A friend was kind enough to pass it on to me, and I was so impressed. Not only do I agree with everything said, but was so impressed by how intelligently and articulately it was written. Brava!!

Dallas, Texas


12-12-02 Re: Festival Fantasia Photos

Great job, super photos! The gal on the right of the picture of Marilyn Lane, Jewels of Cairo, is Nichole Blanc (stage name Farasha) of the Jewels of Cairo.
Thanks for your great work!
Jennifer Chapdelain, Jewels of Cairo


12-7-02 Re: Tease-O-Rama

Dear Lynette:

I really enjoyed your article, "A Weekend of Burlesque" and am sorry I missed the event.

In your article you mentioned attending a tassle twirling class. Would you mind sharing the secret to how that feat is accomplished? I know that is an oddball question, but it's something which I've always wondered about...

Thanks in advance!
Kirsten Weiss

ed response: We did not attend that particular workshop, but someone on staff did purchase a pair of pasties from TwirlyGirl, who are supposedly working on how-to instructions for their website: http://www.twirlygirl.net/products/twirl.asp. We heard attendees claim that nobody could do it - but the staffer has had some success drawing from her years of shoulder shimmy experience. Have fun. Keep us posted on your progress.


11-15-02 Re: Glass Dancing

I enjoyed Neferteri's article on glass dancing. Layla Hazine of Fort Worth, Texas, has danced on glasses since the '80s. She uses a board that is laminated with something (I'm not exactly sure what) that allows her to move the glasses around. She's able to move in circles and up and down the board. She learned the art from a video that she doesn't have anymore and she can't remember the title or dancer's name. Anyway, I would agree that as a specialty (candle, shamadan, sword, etc.), it's pretty effective! Kudos to Neferteri and the Gilded Serpent staff's continuing efforts to bring informative articles to our dance community!



11-22-02 Re: Glass Dancing

Dear Nefertiri,

Thanks for your great article on glass dancing! It truly is a great addition to your "specialty" line up and you offered great inspiration and important information. I also do what I call "shimmy on glasses" at San Francisco's El Mansour Moroccan Restaurant. You mentioned wondering about it's origins: I heard a legend of it's beginnings in 1900 - 1920 Greece. To those who become interested in this graceful balancing act thanks to your wonderful article may I add some hints? Try a restaurant supply store for your glasses, and buy thick ones! Also, I homogenize any surface by doing my glass dance on a brass tray. Mine's a round one, and here's another sneaky
trick: I've minimized the slippery quality of the brass surface by lining it with clear shower curtain material (at your favorite fabric/craft store) affixed with double sided tape.
Thanks again for a great article,


11-20-02 Re: Dancing Again in Afghanistan

Out-effing standing.

Sometimes the spoils belong to the daring. You are in Afghanistan at an interesting time and sometimes that's the best time to get information and do what you want to do. The doors start closing later, actually. I went to Beijing and Inner Mongolia one month after Tiananmen Square uprising and came and went for about 8 years. Hats off to you and your horde of Kuchi Jewelry and information on the survival of an ancient folk art.

Marguerite Kusuhara


11-20-02 Re: And Back in the Holy Land

I just wanted to thank Gilded Serpent and Fred Glick for this article. It is heartening to read these opinions from a fellow American Jew. I have been so heartbroken at the blindness and plain racism and brutality with which the Palestinians have been treated by people who really should know better. My family are Holocaust survivors, and they talk about Palestinians and other people from that region as though they are subhuman; these are people who were hunted and hounded and persecuted by Germans, Poles, and Ukrainians, and then they simply went and did it to another group of people. It is incomprehensible! And as Jews we're expected to toe the party line and accept everything that Israel does. It's good to see that not all of us do. Thank you for speaking out, when so many would shout you down.

Your site is terrific. I'm a new student of the dance (I'm in love with it!) and I'm really enjoying the articles and photographs.

Thanks again,
Leela C


11-14-02 Re: And Back in the Holy Land... article
Thank you for posting this article. I personally appreciate it when I see that I am not alone in my inability to understand how the Palestinian people can be ignored in this country, hell around the world.
Please for my sincere thanks to Fred Glick.
Thank you,


Dear Editor: I found The Photography of Cynthia F. Cushman selection had real mystique, the colorful and ethereal images of the dancers really impresses upon the mind - this is beautiful work, indeed. I'd love to get some contact information on her photography services!


Hi,Thank you for the nice article at http://gildedserpent.com/articles19/mecda02.htm.

Can I please ask one favor? Can you please use the attached photo instead of the one you have of me on that page right now. It looks like I have no chin and I have dark circles under my eyes.

I know this is vain but I would appreciate it.


10-20-02 re: Gilded Serpent Article about ATS
As the boyfriend of an aspiring dancer of Indian ethnicity who has plenty of experience in Bharat Nayam and considers the "going back to the roots" claim of ATS hackneyed, and has a most difficult time finding a cabaret instructor, I say Bravo! Finally someone has called a spade a spade. You summarized perfectly a conclusion that arrived at myself about two years ago.
Kevin Watson


Shelley, Your article "Music and Style"
I really appreciated your article which I read on the Gilded Serpent web page. You said it all in a most scholarly way.
I write for Caravan and have tried to express some thoughts on the "cataloguing and naming" issues which I called cultural imperialism. I have also tried to address the phenomenon of ATS. I did not do nearly so well as you. Thanks for writing that article.
Libby Parker aka Zarifa Sa'id, founder of WAMEDA


10-14-02 Leyla Hadad
I went to some of Leyla's workshops when she came to Newcastle - and met her again at Glastonbury at MAJMA. She is a wonderful teacher and person, she was funny and encouraged myself and my friend when we felt particularly demoralised after dancing at MAJMA. We are going to her again next January when she is in Newcastle, although it is a long way from home - she is so warm - and we learnt so much from her, I remember always her voice telling me, remember, when you walk down the street, I will be watching you - see if you walk like an egyptian woman with ATTITUDE,
I feel her eyes!


10-12-02 Re: Julia's story about Child's bellydance
This is one of the most beautiful stories I have ever read. Having two daughters myself and seeing Julia dance I can truely relate to her story. I just loved it,

Debbie Aviron


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 you are here
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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