Gilded Serpent presents...

How to Feed the Snake

Guidelines for Various Formats of Content for Posting on Gilded Serpent

Last update- January 11, 2001

Photo Spreads, Letters to the Editor, Community Kaleidoscope, Interviews, Reviews, North Beach Memories, The Ghawazi, Video Clips, Clubs & Calendar

Photo Spreads

Photo spreads are a wonderful way to display beauty, art, or report on an unique event. They are very popular with the Serpent's readers!

  • Please write an introduction explaining the content of your photos. This description should include the basics: who?, where?, when?, what?, why? and how (including how event is organized).
  • 6 to 30 photos is the usual amount for a complete spread, but this number is flexible.
  • Please note that naming the image files appropriate to the content is helpful. Its easy to get lost in the pile of Serpent files when photos are named with meaningless numbers!
  • Captions should list names for faces if possible (ordered left to right). Having the names of as many individuals in the photo as possible is meaningful to all of us. Please try!
  • A shot of the venue, milieu, backstage, dressing rooms, judges, audience, front of hall, artist creating the art etc., is always appreciated because this helps tell the story.
  • Related web sites will be listed at the end of the article. Names of people mentioned will be linked to their GS bio page, if they have one.
  • Preferable Photo Size Information-75 dpi, cropped tightly, 8 inches at photo's longest dimension tall or wide (portrait or landscape). The Serpent's editor may resize closer to 500 pixels (6.6 inches) depending on the needs of space and layout.
  • Fresh Material! Please do not use the same photos on your web sites or send them for use by others, including other print or online magazines and sites- unless otherwise specifically agreed upon between the contributor and Gilded Serpent.
  • Please send us material so we can set up a bio page for the photographer- bio, portrait, links etc. The bio page is described more fully on our Edit Guide
  • Please send us photos without logos or text imbedded on them. It really is distracting and turns the photo from artwork into a promo tool. We will make a bio page for the photographer and link to it from their byline. New--- Due to the incredible amount of copyright infringement, we will be putting the photographer's name or url and the url of GS on each photo. We REALLY hate to do this but it's become necessary. These marks will be added by the staff after final prep. Please let us know what name or url needs to be applied.
  • If the photos are from a contest or competition, please include the lists of winners and any other pertinent information such as sponsors or prizes, or how the competition was organized, etc. Thank you!

Letters to the Editor

This is the page specifically for reader's responses to material posted on Gilded Serpent. Not only is it wonderful to see how much our community cares about each other and about issues, it leads new comers to articles that are being discussed. 

  • Letters should be 500 words or less.
  • Strong emotions are welcome, but please, support your reasoning and remember that no profanity will be published on GS.
  • Write your letter to the GS editor; do not address comments directly to another letter writer.
  •  If you have more to say than you can express in 500 words, consider writing an article to promote your views.
  • Please proof your letter before sending. Letters are usually posted "as is".
  • Since Spring of 2009 all articles are being posted through a software that allows comments at the bottom of the page. Consider posting your letter at the bottom of the article that you are commenting on as well as sending the note to the editor for posting on the Letters page. The Letters page brings additional readers to articles and comments bring additional readers to the Letters page.

Community Kaleidoscope

The CK is another very popular page that displays all the beautiful faces within the music and dance community. Originally, it was inspired by the GS "Letters to the Editor" page. It is in a format in which GS staff adds new material to the top of the page. Ideally, the staff archives the oldest material at the bottom every 6 months. The goal is that content on the CK should be current and news.

  • For material intended for the CK, please submit photos that are current, “newsy,” and of interest to the entire community! They don't have to be just actively performing dancers or musicians. This is the one place The Serpent loves to post that musician's new baby or wedding photo or workshop class photos, etc. Just make sure it's news!  This is also an easy place to post something quickly or as a teaser for a bigger article coming soon.
  • Photo Guidelines for the Community Kaleidoscope- 4 photos maximum. However, usually, only one will be posted.
  • 500 pixels wide (landscape, or 500 pixels tall if in portrait orientation), cropped tight, faces identified, and please include captions explaining the photos- date, location, who took the photo, etc.


  • Interviews need to have a tight focus, be inspiring, or educational or they will be boring and are usually unread. They should not be done merely for promotion. (Often we will get an interview from a sponsor of a workshop teacher they are about to feature).
  • At this time, we are not interested in interviews of “rising stars” or how someone got into Bellydancing or playing music, unless it is an extremely captivating story.
  • Sometimes it is enlightening to read an interview about a dancer or musician from another era or locale if you focus on those differences in writing up the interview.
  • Try to get beyond or deeper that their usual biography. For instance, ask their opinions on issues or techniques, short testimonials or stories that express something about who they are. Balance this with being very concise.
  • Please do a search on our site (there is a search box on our front page) for already posted information on the individual to see what we already have. Please try not to repeat information that we already have or consider pointing out to us where we can link to that information within the article.
  • Usually its better if the subject writes their own article about the issues that are important to them rather than attempting to achieve their goals through an interview. An interview can be one way to get an individual started on their own article and then you can encourage them to take it over and go deeper into the issues discussed. The individual will usually take more risks and reveal their true feelings about issues if they have control of the article.
  • It is not necessary to transcribe a recorded interview word for word.
  • The interviewer should interpret the content and correct grammar and clarify meanings that are absent in the written word (but expressed by facial expressions and voice tones of the interviewee).
  • Readers are interested in interviews or features on individuals that are very prominent in the dance community. More insights and explanations about why these people are or have been prominent and influential in the dance world. GS will link to these features when the names of those interviewed come up. Some examples include: Abdul Halim Hafez, Nagua Fouad, Soheir Zaki, Feiruz, Warda, Bobby Farah, and Diane Webber, .
  • Try to also include photos of them that are in more than their usual promo shot that they always use across the community. "Vintage" shots are wonderful! Also appreciated are photos that span across diversity in style, time, and type.
  • The interviewee does not need to approve every word. This usually results in the interview becoming a promotional piece or very bland. If they insist on controlling every word then try to get them to take over the project and write it from their own perspective. Once the project is posted, we will not take it down.

Reviews of Classes, Events, DVD's, Products, etc.

Readers expect unbiased, balanced, critical assessment of whatever you are reviewing.

  • The reviewer must not be related to the producer of the product or event--i.e. student, partner, or anyone invested in sales of the product. Please keep in mind that readers take notice of "conflicts of interest"! 
  • Support your assessments well with examples or details, but there is no need to review each single track on a CD.
  • Please refer to a more extensive descriptions of writing reviews here
  • Clustered product reviews- GS prefers to review products in related clusters. This allows the reader to understand your point of view through comparison and contrast. It also encourages writers to actually critique rather than endorse.
  • Critiques are valid from all levels of the community. If you are a new dancer, say so and then continue to give your honest assessment.
  • A review of an event is still a critique. If you want to go into detail about what happened at an event, then its a report
  • Readers expect reviewers to be brave about expressing their reactions to the material. 
  • If you have any question about how valuable critique is to an art community like ours, please read these articles listed here under "Critique"
  • Event Coverage/Reporting- Objective reporting of what took place. Avoid promotion. Avoid boring superlatives. Please use descriptive adjectives but avoid words such as: good, bad, well, wonderful, great, nice, very, etc...
  • Your report cannot have been posted previously on your site!  Instead, please include a linked blurb from your site to your report on Gilded Serpent.

North Beach Memories

This is a collection of personal experiences, interviews, testimonials about the music and dance scene in San Francisco during the '60s, '70s, and early '80s. We are up to 45+ articles now and are pleased to be able to show how colorful this scene was.

If you have photos or testimonials to add to this fascinating section of Gilded Serpent, GS will gladly accept and appreciate any and all of your input.  Yes, staff at GS would like to start a section like this for many other locals also. Are you willing to help? Coming Soon!-" The Golden Age of Tinseltown" -- a history section on the music and dance scene in Los Angeles!

The Ghawazi

The core of information that Gilded Serpent has on site is the extensive work of Edwina Nearing. The Ghawazi are the last surviving group of dancers existing in Egypt who pass along their entertaining profession through their family. Do a search on the front page for a more complete list of articles on site. Yes, we would love any additional photos and reports to add to this valuable history of our dance.

Video clips

  • Gig Bag Checks: These video clips are an excuse to feature fun people; it is also interesting to see just what individuals carry in their somewhat private space to prepare and psych themselves up for the stage or other performances.
  • Musical Instrument Tours: These tours allow GS to talk with musicians off stage and have them educate readers just a bit about their instruments. These are also done to help explain these unusual instruments to newcomers. GS will be linking to this page when individual instruments are discussed in future articles. 
  • Other clips: Yes, we are interested in other videos, but they must belong to GS and must be uploaded from GS servers. This enables us to keep track of them and make sure they stay available to the community. Please send video attached to an email or on a disc sent through the US postal service.
  • Please inquire further if you have an idea that you would like to share with the dance community.  

Clubs & Calendar pages

These pages evolved out of the editor's personal list of what she, as a dancer, needed to know about each club on the local dancers circuit. It has grown from there to included clubs and venues around the world. It is aimed at the needs of the dancers and musicians, giving readers a hint about just how formal or casual each venue is and what they can expect when they walk in the door. GS staff attempts to have a current professional update each page, but please note that because this type of business usually turns over quickly, we appreciate help from any one that has the time.

Please submit club information in this format:

Venue Name
street address
City, State or Province, Country
country and area code, phone number
Contact person:
Style of Food:
Minimum Order:
Nights that include Dancing:
Stage Type:
Musicians names and instruments or recorded music format:
Dancers names employed at club on which nights:
Parking tips: (street?, pay? metered? valet?)
Date of update by who?

(venue websites will only be added if club actively supports Gilded Serpent such as with a brominates link or with advertising on our site.)

Other Articles

See our general submission guidelines for articles or write the editor for information on other types of articles not described above. We probably still want them even if they don't fit a category listed above. Feedback is welcome regarding this page and its contents. New Ideas for different types of content are always welcome!

Thank you!


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