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The Gilded Serpent presents...
Ramblin' Rant About
Truth in Dance Advertising

by Najida Da'nna

Thoughts and observations from sitting high up in the bleachers, amidst the pigeons and the dusty popcorn.

I have come to notice that we live in such a sex crazed world... OK, no news there...just in my maturity it is starting, really starting, to
annoy me...

Don't get me wrong, I like for me to complain, means somebody is REALLY overdoing it...

Maybe it is getting on my nerves more so because I dance... Middle Eastern Dance, Raqs Sharki, Danse Orientale, Belly Dance, Baledi... whatever...

I just get so very tired of all the inappropriate "sex" stuff that somehow gets tangled and tagged on to this very complex dance form... which DOES have some sensual/sexual components...
which IS done usually by women... and often the costumes ARE figure defining or revealing... (Said in my best 'Forrest Gump' voice)...

But it is nothing like the the lunatics out there in the public seem to believe....

The world is just sex crazy..... I mean just Beavis and Butthead stupid about it..... I don't mean sex crazed as "something normal, natural, fun, positive that everyone does and that is how we got all here" type of crazy... but more of...well... Crazed as in a marketing ploy, a way to sell stuff, even if it is only REMOTELY related to sex...

Like there isn't enough sex out there to be had by one and all... (where DO these people live?) or it was just discovered next to the lost Mars Polar Lander... (OK, clearly for some it is a novelty; good thing they don't have a driver's license yet)... or it is really hard to find... (for the folks who write all the garbage, I can see why it is hard for them to find)...

Just slap a sexy picture or word up there on anything you do, and it is sure to sell...

Like watching a Victoria's Secrets commercial or magazine, well, it leaves few secrets...

Yet, it really drives me cracker-puppes for folks comment on how 'skimpy' our dance costumes are... Yeah, right..."Skimpy" is opening Vogue and being able guess the chilliness of the room
and how much morphine the models needed for their bikini wax...

Watching TV in general, especially music videos causes me to wonder which drives me the crazy the quickest... butts in the camera, crotch shots or dancers rubbing themselves all
over... Geez, got an itch sweetie? I can guess how you got it!

Yet, some see OUR dance moves as suggestive? Heeeelllloooo... No matter HOW bad the belly dancer, I have NEVER seen the "spread-leg-front-tilted-thrusting-pelvis-hands-on-thighs-while-wearing-a- thong"move I have seen a g'zillion times in music videos... Unless it was taught at a workshop I missed...

Even on the internet, cruising Ebay, I see so many things that make my head go wobble-wobble... Like "sexy Sexy SEXY BELLYDANCE CD"...
and it is simply Hossam Ramzy's "Best of Egypt, Morocco, Turkey and Lebanon"...

"HOT BELLYDANCE VIDEO: Learn some new moves to drive your man WILD!"... and it is one Atea's "Moves" videos...

a picture labled "STRIPPER OR BELLYDANCER" in the 'Pictures: Risque' section... and it is clearly a picture of, well, a belly dancer... and risque?(!)
How in the HECK is that risque when you have Pamela Lee Plastic Anderson, it-is-a-bit-cold-in-here posters being auctioned off under... well... Posters...

Lastly, I have somehow gotten on a mailing list for women's erotica catalogs...

Weird, because I am really a cross between June Cleaver and Joan Jett... (OK, could have been something I ordered off the net)... Anyhow, I got one of these catalogs, Very tastefully done... and started thumbing through it. Lo and behold! I spot in the soft porn video section, smack between "Debbie Does Dallas" and "Behind the Green Door"... Sits dear, sweet Alexandra King's "Ancient Art of Bellydance"...

All I could think was "Well, someone is in for a BIG surprise if they pop that in expecting to learn something new in bed!" Oh well...they WILL learn something new about the dance... I hope...

They may just simply be surprised... Like when they realize they are paying 2 1/2 times more for that video in that catalog than on

Granted, I will stand up and be counted as one of the ones who got interested in the dance in the first place because of the sexual/sensual aspects (and the pretty costumes)... I saw it as something extremely powerful, feminine and uplifting.

But these ads aren't geared at even at us sitting in those seats... Clearly, the seller doesn't know what he is selling and the buyer doesn't know what he is buying...

Only we the dancers know just how much of the real picture both sides are missing...and how much more our dance is suffering because of it...


Good afternoon Ladies and Gentleman,
Kurt Dowdy and Jim Faragiola here at Dromedary Downs
Wecolming you to the annual "Dead Horse Derby"!

Favorite sport of dancers everywhere!

Today's race is brought to you by:
"Shimmy in a Shake" and "Have Dombek, Will Travel"

Can't just seem to get those shimmies going?
Sluggish slothfulness sapping your swing?
Try "Shimmy in a Shake"
More sugar than 20 bowls of kiddie cereal!
More caffeine than 50 cups of coffee!
and more adrenaline than when you see blue lights in your rear view mirror!
Just jump start those mushy muscles into motion!
Get your shimmy shaking and KEEP it shaking when nothing else can!
Also good for helping you through those pesky chores,
like when you need to sand your drywall.
(Heart defibrillator sold separately.)

"Have Dombek, Will Travel"
Have a performance coming and you can't find a live band?
Or there is a live band, but they insist on playing "Mastika"
over and over at the speed of light?
Or you just want company for those lonely nights?

Get "Have Dombek, Will Travel" 3-D Hologram unit!
Bring your band with you!
"Have Dombek, Will Travel" looks and acts like your standard boom box
but it can be programed for anything from a single drummer to a 75 piece
orchestra! The music played is always YOUR choice and at YOUR speed.
Who cares that the licks the drummer is hitting don't match the music!
Now, you will be able to keep up!

So get YOUR music the way YOU want it, WHEN you want it and the WAY you
want it.
The musicians are all YOURS to control! No more tablas starting before
put your candles out, no more karshilama starting before you put your zils
back on...
Why, you can even program a standing ovation from the band
at the end of your performance!

Now, on to the Races...
Kurt, I am so excited! All the horses look, er, ah....great?

They're dead Jim.

I was wondering why their saddles were sitting funny.

Yep, but the jockey's can REALLY get a toe-hold in those ribs!

Well, they are all getting in the starting boxes,
the crowd is screaming with excitement!

That's zaghareeting Jim.



Middle Eastern Dance is nose to nose with Raqs Sharki!
But now Belly Dance is pulling ahead by a half-length!

What is THIS?
I see Danse Orientale pulling up from behind!

And I now see Beledi is coming up and edging in between Raqs and Belly!
Oriental Dansii is lagging behind by a tail.
er, that is, what USED to be a tail...

I said, they're DEAD Jim!

Dang, these horses have been dead a LONG time, haven't they Kurt?

And Hoochy Cootchy didn't even make it out of the starting
gate, as usual. Tripped and fell when the jewel in her belly button
fell out (Did you SEE the size of that horse's belly button?)
Then the poor thing got all tangled in her Seven Veils and her
slave bracelets.

That horse didn't even belong in the race...

It's not even a horse Jim.

Oh look!
Beledi is dropping back beside Oriental Dansii!
While Middle Eastern Dance and Belly Dance are pulling
ahead of the whole pack!

What is that I hear?
Kurt, is that an oud? A kanoon? A ney?
I hear music!

No Joe, that is just the wind whistling through the skeletons.
Kinda pretty isn't it?
You should be here during hurricane season, I swear, it sounds like a
symphony playing Enta Omri!

Oh my!
Ladies and Gentlemen!
Looks like Belly Dance is pulling ahead by two lengths!
with Middle Eastern Dance right on her hooves!
Those are hooves, ain't they? Hard to tell.

I SAID they're DEAD Jim!

Raqs Sharki and Danse Orientale are running neck and neck behind them!
With Beledi and Oriental Dansii dropping even farther back!

Will someone just haul that poor animal out of the starting box!

Middle Eastern is pulling up closer to Belly Dance!
Belly Dance is still ahead by a half-length.

What is this!?!

Middle Eastern Dance is beating Belly Dance with a cane!
Belly Dance is swatting Middle Eastern Dance with a sword!

Raqs Sharki is flogging Danse Orientale with glass bead fringe!
Lovely, Egyptian handmade fringe at that!

And Danse Orientale is just throwing zills at Raqs Sharki!

Even the Dead Horses from the rear are going at it!
Oriental Dansii is smacking the daylights out of Beledi with a tambourine!
Beledi is jabbing Oriental Dansii repeatedly with a shamadan!
Lit at that!

Will someone PLEASE get that Dead Horse out of the starting box!

They are approaching the finish line!
The crowd is going WILD!!!!!

Middle Eastern Dance and Belly Dance are neck and neck!
It is Belly Dance ahead by a nose!
Now MED is ahead by a nose hair!

It is Belly Dance!
Middle Eastern Dance!
Belly Dance!
Middle Eastern Dance!

And the dead horse is STILL dead and STILL in the starting box.

Aw man Kurt! They all kicked up so much dust you can't tell WHO won the

Well Jim, guess we are just going to have to run the race again,
after the horses cool down a bit and the riders get over their injuries.


Told ya they're DEAD JIM!
This race has been going on for a LONG time.
A VERY long time.
Why, I can even remember when the horses were still alive.

Have a comment? Send us a letter!
Check the "Letters to the Editor" for other possible viewpoints!

Ready for more?
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TAK TAK ... DUM, In the sacred wood that night, The old Indian had kept his word, He would play for me...

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People looked at us strangely, wrinkled their brows and said "Aromatherapy and what?"

1-4-00 The Day I Danced with Metallica by Lucy Lipschitz
Aside from my family, the two passions in my life are Metallica and belly dancing.

1-4-00 Preparing to Teach by Anthea Poole
This questionnaire is presented here to help you clarify your goals and ideas about teaching.

1-4-00 Using Magic is My Style by Ann Lucas
Do you want to make more money at your next gig? The answer is Magic!!!

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