mekyria: (2013 indonesie 2)
Or the whole title:'The Belly Dance Book - The Serena Technique for Learning Belly Dancing for Fitness and Fun by Serena and Alan Wilson'

I received this book as a inheritence gift from Ada. This book was originally published in 1972 and reedited and republished in 1983. If you are interested, you can get your own copy from Amazon starting at roughly 4 usd. I don't want to bash this book as it is very useful and contains many interesting and helpful hints. However, reading this book, some things struck me as rather odd. Part of it is due to the times changing in the past fourty year, part of it in changes to what is healthy for our body or the amount of control we have over our bodies/ SOme of it is about the position of women in society. It will take me a while to go through the whole book, but I'll share some gems with you in a series of posts.

For your viewing pleasure, I present to you: the WTF review of Serena Bellydance Book.

Foreword, page ix
'Mideastern dancing was often performed in tents, in a kneeling position or posing on the floor'
OMG I've been doing it wrong all these years with standing and walking around and such.

'Students of yoga have aske Serena why she does not do breathing exercises. She answers that she does not need to. As long as we live, we breathe'
I read this as a major smackdown between the upcoming yoga cult in 1970-1980. A long haired hippy person yelling at Serena 'WHY DO YOU NOT TEACH BREATHING?'. And Serena calmly replying 'I call your breathing exercise bullshit, for if we don't breath we would die!! We should not learn how to breath but how to breath better. Bellydance is teaching you how to move while breathing, take that you Lululemon wearing scum!'

Page x
'Another benefit is instilling in obese women the impetus to lose weight.[...] In Serena's studio, each student must check her movements in the mirrored wall, and cannot avoid comparison with her teacher or other students with beautifully trained bodies'
This is the reason why I often teach without using the mirror. Well, and because my beautifully trained body contains delicious rolls of fat. I am not inpsiirng people to lose weight, I am inspiring them to move. I can't help but wondering about this comment, as somebody who was considered fat in the seventies would be regular sized these days. My parents were tiny in the seventees. On homevideo's, everybody in my family plus all bystanders were decidedly skinny. I would definitely not go to a class that would fat shame me, but in those days it probably was a good thing according to this book.

'Another movement in Mieastern dancing is unique.[...]Serena calls this movement the head slide  .[...]Many a tension headache has found dramatic relief from this exercise, which is difficult for most of us to do.'
Next time you're having a headache or a migraine, try headslides. It never helped me to relieve my headaches, but then again I am doing tiny headcircles and slides every day while I wait for my train to arrive, so maybe I'm immune for tension headaches.

I am going to leave you guys with this, as going through the whole book might be  bit much in one post. Stay tuned and remember to do your tent dance, it is heartily recommenden and great fun!'
mekyria: (Default)

Work: I got a permanent contract. Whoot!

Love: up and down and round and round... Nothing permanent though, lots of lessons learned

Family and friends: lost my grandmother, worked on my relationship with my dad, got closer to mum and Little Brother. The passing of a wonderful person who meant a lot to me during high school touched me more than I expected. The world is less bright without her. I met up with friends near and far and though I'd love to see more of everyone, it was good.

Money: I did good and saved some money, and paid my ex the 5k that he stashed on my savings account a couple of years ago. We are officially cut loose completely

House: bought a new mattrass and it is heaven. I also had two subletters in 2012, solidifying me in my role as landlady.

Dance: found new dance sisters with FaKyMa and maintained my old dance friends. Didn't create brilliant solo pieces, something to strive for in 2013.

Other hobbies: ballet is starting to sink in, badminton is getting better, horsebackriding is highly enjoyable, running has been pushed to the back a little. Will do a 10k run in march to make up for it. Learned to scuba dive and how to sail, which was awesome.

Holidays: went on a snowholiday for the first time with my family. I shall never attempt to snowboard ever again. Met Ozma in Istanbul and we had some epic moments, singing Cecilia, impersonating butterflies and receiving shoes.

Music: discovered Mumford and Sons, Pink!, Taylor Swift has a new album (go on and mock me), was disappointed by Lady Gaga's last album, listened more classic music, swapped great live video's with friends and learned more about 10.000 maniacs, melissa etheridge, a bit of Pink Floyd, Joni Mitchell, Fiona Apple.

Best book in 2012: I finally read Foer and loved it.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPad.

mekyria: (thee drinken)
 The crazy amount of time spent on beading was sponsored by a whole bunch of movies, so I'm doing a quick review of each of them. Spoilers might be involved. I watched:

The princess and the frog
Atlantis, the lost Empire
Treasure Planet
The red shoes
Center stage
Supersize me
Bunch of Avatar episodes (book one and two, Water and Earth)

Read more... )

mekyria: (lady with parasol 02)
I woke up early so I baked  bread and watched the movie 'Whatever Lola wants'. In this French movie, the American jazzdancer Lola falls in love with an Egyptian man and follows him to Caïro. However, he returned to Egypt to marry a decent woman, his cousin and tells Lola that he can't be with her because of his reputation.

Lola is devastated but comforts herself with the thought that she is a dancer in Caïro. A friend once showed her a videotape of the bellydancer Ismahan and she decides to track her down and ask her to teach her how to bellydance. Go and watch the movie for the rest of the story!!

I enjoyed this movie because it has intricate storylines, beautiful images of Caïro and a couple of nice BD related scenes. Like a zeffa, a high class Egyptian wedding performance, and low class and high class nightclub performances. The movie is French with bits of Arabic intertwined, also available with English subtitles. I could give a lengthy explanation on what is correct or incorrect speaking from the bellydance police point of view, but I don't see the point. The movie contains belly dance, but is not meant to show a correct representation of raqs sharqi. It is a movie meant as entertainment and it does a splendid job at it.

Warning for costumeaholics: no Pharonixs, Hanan of Eman in sight. :)
mekyria: (Default)

Too tired to do the complete write up, but I still have a bit of energy left in me after three days of gothic festival fun. Actually, the festival was less fun then it used to be, because:
read why!! )

mekyria: (2004 rood kostuum)

The workshop with Yasmina from Caïro was a pleasant suprise at the Raqs Congress. She's a beautiful dancer, both from the inside as the outside. I purchased the "Journey of desire' dvd from her and I finally had the time to watch it. First of all, I think this dvd is amazing. When I watched it, I felt like it transported me back to Caior. Even though I've been there for a couple of days, I could almost feel the dry heat and microscopic dust. I have to admire for what Yasmina is trying to convey: how she came to Caïro and made it as a professional dancer, but also the hurdles that she (and all foreign dancers) have to take if they want to perform in Egypt.

The story
the dvd starts with pictures of the english home where Yasmina grew up with Yasmina's voice telling us that at age fifteen she didn't want to be a professional dancer. So how did she end up in Caïro? I won't go into much detail, but the dvd touches several subjects that dancers are interested in, mainly:
- why do dancers want to dance in Egypt?
-what is the magical thing that Egyptian dancers have and foreigners don't?
-your own orchestra: how Yasmina treats hers, and the responsibility that comes with it.
-costumes (includes interviews with several costume designers like Amira El Kattan and Beata Cifuentes stating that:'if you're not good at dance, at least look good'.
-short bit about saidi including cute performance
-a totally weird bit about driving your car in Caïro that goes into a sort of shaabi/arabic MTV danceclip in a garage with Yasmina in a purple wig and disco costume.
-About the golden age of bellydance, belly dance movies and how they're still attractive after five decades. Followed by a golden era clip
-also : what happens if you get a permit and want to perform? Includes interviews with two agents, footage of Yasmina practicing back in 1995 with choreographer.

Interlaced is the story of a foreign dancer that tells us about the paperwork she has to go through to be allowed to dance.

Some things that annoyed me:
-no menu, so hard to flip through
-wonderful dancing, but the editing in several clips is very hectic
-the car driving part in Caïro doesn't fit well into the storyline and the fast forward footage of driving through Caïro is nice, but too long

I absolutely love this dvd and will probably watch it many times over. Also very nice to show to students if you want to explain the feeling that is attached to raqs sharqi in Egypt and most Arabic countries. While I was watching, Jeoffrey stoped and watched some parts with me. I tried to explain how raqs sharqi has the ability to touch all Egyptians and he ahd a hard time believing this. It's a strange concept to us, western people, how a whole country can cry when they hear a classic Oum Kolthoum song, or see a dancer express the music without doing visually complex stuff.

For future reference, I found interesting links about the dvd and about dancing in Caïro as a foreigner:
gilded serpent review
Meissoun - when the lights go out
how to get a dancingpermit in Egypt
sabirye- working in the middle-east
bellylorna - a scottish bellydancer in Caïro


Feb. 24th, 2009 10:12 pm
mekyria: (lolita stairs)

I promised to read, and read I did. The Dutch railway company helped me out by not letting trains go through betwen The Hague and Utrecht, forcing me to wait for 30 minutes at the station. Read since last weekend:

Kirstie Alley - How to loose your ass and regain your life
There's a lot in it if you want to read about Kirstie, not much about regaining your life or loosing your ass.I liked her open way of digging into the memories that are behind her distorted view of herself.

Madam my mother- Yvonne Keuls
I read this one already and like the first time, it made me cry. My grandmother is also called mammie and she never found shoes that she could walk on, being used to the Indonesian climate and wearing slippers all day.

Johnny and the dead- Terry Pratchett
Nice, though the humor and writing is not as sharp as in the discworld series. Love it though, he has a unique view on the world and a clear and a clear way of putting his idease into words.
mekyria: (zills and practice gear)
Since there's a lot to go over, I'm splitting the review into seperate pieces and I'll send a non-lj friendly email to Artemisia. On to the workshops! For those of you who don't want to read all the details, here's a rating overview:

Farida Fahmy - saidi choreography: nice
Randa kamel- modern cairo style: technique: mwah
yasmina- baladi: loved it
Nour - baladi technique: mwah
Oranit - costume workshop: nice
Fathiem: shimmy layers/combinations: loved it
Asi Haskal - egyptian style mix : nice

on to the details! )
mekyria: (Default)

My library books were overdue at the start of januari and I decided that I should work my way throgh the unread books in my bookcases before borrowing from the public library again. I wanted to read ‘De bovenbenen van Olga de Haas’ for over a year now, and found it for a discount price at the Slechte. This book is written by a academic writer who did indepth research between 1993-2000 in ballet, the Dutch development of danceschools in the Netherlands and the views on a dancers life. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in dance: it’s well-written, well documented and entertaining. More then that, it adds information from dancers on dancers. Something that is lacking in a lot of other dance research publication, that focus on the repression of females, the unhealthy body image that ballet promotes and everything that dancers have to give up to follow their dream.

 In her book she strongly argues that dancers don’t give up living to be a dancer. With many examples from interviews, articles this book made me feel like I had an inside peek in the life of dancers. I really like how she explained the professional dance world in the Netherlands, the difference between modern and classic ballet, the opportunities for dancing in a company and the attitudes of dancers towards secondary education, injuries and pain.

Weak points:

-the book is in Dutch, which makes it hard to recommend to international readers. However, I encourage you to check out the English articles of the same writer.

-At times I found the reference to the dancer as a mythical creature on the weak side. She uses several articles and two movies about ballet dancers to make the point that the life of a dancer is often idealised. However, some of the articles speak of the image of the dancer on stage, as opposed to the dancer as a whole.

-the main theme throughout the book is the life and death of Dutch dancer Olga de Haas. The anecdote about her is repeated over and over again in every chapter, which annoyed me because it didn’t add new information to what was already written.

 Interesting articles:

The message of pain. Listening to your body can help to prevent injuries. Rotterdam: Codarts University for the arts


‘knowledge makes you better- online publication:

 website van Anna Aalten:

mekyria: (Default)
I bought the new dvd 'the best oriental dancers of Europe'at OM. Mainly because three teachers of the 'verdiepingscursus'are on them: farouq, Ahlem and Mariska. There are two other Dutch dancers on it (Sena and Soraya), German dancers and two dancers from FInland and one from Denmark. I'll post a full review of this dvd in a few days after I watched it a couple of times. This is one of the first dvd's that originate from European dancers, are paid for by several dancers and promoted by each of them.

I think the lay-out of the dvd cover is awful, very kitch. Jeoffrey said it reminded him of what Russion porntapes look like (the lay-out and font, not the pictures of the dancers!). Quality of the recording is very high, editing is off beat more then once (it's a very slight difference between music and movement in some of the cuts). Europeans are obviously miles behind when it comes to making dvd's. I offered to write a review and post it on my BD website and got a luke-warm response. They know that my reviews show my perspective and I try not to sugarcoat it.

I love Mariska's performance. Her technique is wonderful, and though I know very little of Bharat Najam, I think her performance is a good example of good indain dance/bellydance fusion. Peter's performance shows of his subtlety and flowing moves, but I missed the charisma and emotion of his live performances. Ahlem is one of my favorite Dutch dancers. Her facial expressions really touched me, in live performances she seems more distant to me. Again very nice technique (ah, if only I had twenty years under my belt!) though one thing I noticed is that her arms are also a focus point for her. (at least it seems that way in this recording, it never attracted my attention before).

Wether this dvd showcases THE BEST DANCERS OF EUROPE is something that I don't agree with. The other dancers didn't impress me much: maybe because the egyptian style is harder to capture on film then the american style. It's easy to like the BD superstars: what's on tape is what they show on stage. Capturing the emotion of an egyptian baladi might be something that's not figured out yet.
mekyria: (Default)
I bought this dvd second hand from a fellow bhuzzer.Keti Sharif is well know in the BD community for her A to Z bellydance series, in which she has a combination for every letter of the alfabet.

There are two options on this dvd: either follow the complete work-out, or pick one of the three sessions. The lay-out is basic and the dvd doesn't contain extra's like a performance, bio or trailers for her other dvd's. There is no substantial warming up, though she starts slowly and with several stretches. The first part is belly dance based and uses several of her A-Z combinations. I wouldn't recommend this for a beginner, because the instruction is minimal while the combinations are not basic 4 by 4 combo's. Her way of choreographing is interesting and I like her combo's, but if you'r not used to it you'll have to stumble through it the first 3-5 times.

The second part is salsa based and uses salsa steps, square steps and a kick/walk combination. It keeps you moving, but there's a lot of repetition in here. Probably a good thing, because she's also using several BD combo's from the first part.

The third part is calld 'shape' and is based on indi-fusion. It appears to me that it's mostly BD moves, not a lot of typical indan or bollywood moves. This part slows down with stretches, some more A-Z combinations and an impromptu sunsalute.

What I like about this dvd:
-Keti Sharf has a nice voice and gives little instruction, so you're forced to follow along to understand her moves
-her choreo's are fun, easy to remember and easy to incorporate into your dance
-there's a clear distinction between the BD and salsa part
-the production and sound quality is high
-she has her own work-out music with ME rythms and sounds in it and she really dances to the music
-it gets your blood pumping

What I didn't like:
-sometimes a block fades out while they're in the middle of a combination. annoying.
-the third part didn't use Indian fusion moves and didn't get me into shape.
-if you're adding a yoga piece, tell people to have a yogamat ready
-it's very repetitive at times, especially the square step and g-combo
-there is no introduction or disclaimer while this dvd is obvious meant for dancers with experience in oriental/salsa dance

In short:
I would recommend this dvd to dancers who would like to get a taste of Keti's A-z system and want a work-out for inbetween. DOn't expect weight training, it's more like aerobics. I think 39 USD is a lot for what this dvd has to offer. Buy it second hand or go for her a-z combo dvd if you're looking for an instructional dvd. I'm curious about her A-Z program, but it's way to expensive to purchase new. I'm waiting around untill someone sells their copy :)
mekyria: (Default)
I've been watching three bellydance dvd's today:' That's Hot!', ' lights, camera, bellydance' and 'shake it up!'.

Most memorable awful performances:
-Kaya and Sadie dressed up in white feather boas including the white feather headdress, doing extremely huge pelvic moves. It'll take a while before this is out of my system
- meleha doing an oriental fantasy number in a catsuit with ski-pant feet and a black and gold lace thong and triangle bra tied on top of it. Too much 1001 night fabtasy, higly artistic floorwork without any depth in emotion. Why the thong?
-kaya doing the 'seduce the sultan act' with a dressed up guy in the background sitting on pillows and smoking a shisha. Loved the sleeves on her crop top. Hated her adult movie faces.
-bellydancer on speed doing cane dance. I like cane dance when done well, but this was just too much of everything.

what I liked:
-some of the duo dances where nice to watch, they match well when it comes to dance style, though I rather watch a dancer with smaller and more controlled moves. I like the hat-dance thing they did, very cabaret.
-ava fleming showed her amazing muscle control, but I think the music was added out of sync.
-Sadie has good technique and nice flwoing arms
-there are some great drum solo's on these dvd's.

Hate to say it, but my armwork is a bit like that of Kaya. ai. Right now it's a bit between Samia Gamal (she could get away with it, I can't) and kaya (I'd like to keep my arms up, but somehow they always go down). Need. more. practice. I'm going to tape some choreo's next teusday, some of which aren't finished yet, because I like to keep things open when performing.

Adana- turkish folk, upbeat song
Mouna- arabian classic, everything goes style wise (Egyptian would be best, but GP likes a mix of everything)
zay al asal
mekyria: (find your inner dancer)
On the American bellydance dvd is a section with scenes that they didn't use. One of those scenes is an interview with Fathiem. Standing outside in the bright sunlight, her stage make-up looks clownesk, her hair is obviously a wig and she looks tired. So that's the image that I had in my head when I popped in the Fathiem blue magic dvd.

This was originally recorded as a video in the past century. The transition from video to dvd shows in the quality of the material, but it's not annoying. In the dvd, they added chapters and a main menu. Compared to let's say the BDSS dvd's, this dvd contains a very small amount of performances. COnsidering the time period and resources needed when this video was made, it makes sense that 15 performances would be out of the question. The five performances on this dvd are outstanding.

The five dances each represent a different style of bellydance. The first is a very upbeat turkish song, on which Fathiem does lovely turkish bellydancing including playing perfect zills. Zills are one of her trademarks and I can see why!

The second dance is towards a song called 'Caïro'. While the song tells you how beautiful Caïro is, her dance made me homesick to a city that I've never been to. This dreamy performance includes veilwork with a lovely white veil (which is also featured on the cover) that fits perfectly into the music. This is an oriental fantasy piece.

The third dance is to La lorena, a song with spanish influences. this reflects in her costume: black and pink combined in a ruffled skirt, long lace gloves, a beaded bedlah and a pink fringed scarf around her shoulders. In this dance she uses the scarf as a veil, which works great. Again avery soulful performance.

The fourth dance is an upbeat dance to Dulab el Houb. By chosing fast music, she can show her skills on zills again. This lively performance got me on the edge of my chair, not because she's performing a lot of difficult moves, but because every move she makes looks so perfect. She's wearing the ruffled harempants that petite Jamilla was wearing during the BDSS tour. I think Fathiem got there first :)

The fifth song is Djamile, another very popular song with turkish gypsy style in it. The very long intro is purely danced with her arms and facial expression. It shows that emotion in dance can be shown with every part of the body. The song eases into the part where the singer joins the music. Again a slow song, danced very well.

In all this dvd has completely changed my view on Fathiem. She looks feminine, strong, vulnerable and energetic. Her dancestyle includes strong, fluent arms which transfer the emotion from the songs to the viewer. I'd love to see her perform live. She doesn't do locks or pops, which might became popular after this video was made. For all I know she might have compeltley changed her style in the meantime, if she maintains this level of dance I'm curious to see what she dances like now.

On her website there is not a hint at when she started dancing or how long she's been performing. However, it state sthat she received an award in 1991 for woman of the year. It can be asumed that she's been dancing since say 1980-1985. On her website and in her video you can see that she's not 25 anymore, but her choice in costume, tasteful dance and feeling with the music disguise this very well. Let's face it, when you see a dancer, you don't want to think about her physical imperfections all the time no matter what age she is. The costumes in this video are made well, suit her bodyshape and have a very unique touch to it. One of her other trademarks, by the way.

One thing: I couldn't get used to the wig. It's just too huge for my taste. Other then that, I totally love this dvd and will watch it more often. I can see why she got awarded by IAMED now. If you want to know more about Fathiem:
mekyria: (Default)
I ordered the two new bellytwin dvd's about a month ago and did indi-hop today, followed by Ava Flemings 'Dynamic Combinations' dvd.

more about them behind the cut! )
mekyria: (sword portrait)
A day later and I've put my notes into a long review (three pages and one page for the links). I contemplate sending it to the Navel, but will publish it on my own website anyway.

Read more... )
mekyria: (Default)
I've watched Awalim Dance company- Yalla! Yalla!

very nice dvd, good quality footage of live performances on a renaissance fair. It's clear to see why they choose Awalim, I think they recently changed their style a little but kept the name. Tribal troupe with very inventive floorpatterns and changes. They do like to shout the arabic words that they know very often, wether it suits the moment or not (like Habibi, yalla, salam aleikum and aiwa!)

Other dvd: Gypsy Caravan technique part 6

I'm not fond of the overal impression of Gypsy Caravan: I like to see dancers that project a bit of passion on stage. Most of the time they look like they're bored when dancing. This dvd is excellent quality evn if it costs you 40 dollars. It includes several movements and combinations from Indian and Spanish dance to spice up your tribal repetoir, and it certainly does spice it up! Paullette Rees-Denise is a goo teacher and explains every move whil another troupe memeber performs the move from different angles. Nice studio, well dressed dancers. One note: does being a tribal dancer mean that you don't need to shave your armpit or wear a bra that provides support? This was slightly distracting at times. Backless choli's are great when your breast are young and perky, but it's distracting when you are well endowed or gravity has a grip on you.
mekyria: (Default)
I got reply from the manager about the class flyers (see last post) and all he said was 'thank you for your input, we'll put your flyer in our newsletter and promote you on our website'.

I'm curious which one he picked, we'll have to see :)

I watched BDSS-solo's from Monte Carlo yesterday. I somehow feel that the term 'superstar'is not appropriate for this product. It feels like mre of the same thing, but not as good. Jillina did a dance to live music that was very Jillina. Her dancing was good, but the music was uninspiring. Rachel Brice also danced to a piece of uninspired music and she's danced better. Petit Djamilla performed in a glammed up hotpants and bikinibra. That was a big nono.

Bozenka is a new addition and a good dancer. Sonïa danced pretty and bland (but that's not new). I loved Sharon Kihara's performance, including the her peacock tatoos that had green glitter on them so she really stood out on stage. Saida did several numbers, but she also was good but not earth shaking. Where is Ansuya?

I also took a quick look at the Amani around the world dvd that I borrowed from [ profile] ikaiya . It has several performances from 'all over the world' including egyptian baladi. As far as I can tell is Amani a good dancer, with a very distinctive style. Most performances are Amani in a different outfit, dancing in the same style. I liked half of them (won't go into details right now, have to watch it better first). Her interpretation of egyptian baladi is lebanese bellydance with a twist (way too much frills for egyptian). she has the tendency to wear costumes that close high on the waist, which is not a good look.
mekyria: (Default)
Mile Copeland, the tribal dancer.
As found on Sharon kihara's fanpage:

I viewed the American Bellydancer documentary twice now, once from the corner of my eyes with [ profile] ikaiya , the second time with my full attention. Funny bts:
-Jillina imitating the other BDSS when they're on a break in a restaurant
-Rachel brice telling to the camera that she's been a cabaret dancer for 10 years (OMG!)
-Suhaila in a heated discussion, going: 'everytime it's like: you're a bellydancer? nice body, nice tits!'
-the police officer showing her carboot with her uniform on one side and her bellydance gear on the other side, ready to serve the community.

September 2017

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