Salome sends Granny back in time to Slavery

Chapter 3: Granny time travels to slavery

Witch - ColorGranny breathed in the warm and humid Louisiana air. It smelled clean and full of life. The air anywhere in the rural United States in 1858 was clean, free of the toxic pollutants that would build up over the course of the next century and a half. She knew some of the major industrial cities, filled with coal-powered machinery, would be different.

But for now, she was just walking the Louisiana road, and her sense of purpose made her walk tall and look straight ahead. The road itself was dirt of course, a bit moist, but not muddy today. It wasn’t hurricane season just yet. Granny’s boot-clad feet made soft indents into the rich soil. Tall, thick, and willowy trees grew up from the rich soil on either side of the road, forming a curtain around the elderly black woman’s path. Birds chirped and cawed from all-around. Bullfrogs and crickets started up their chorus as late afternoon began to turn to early evening. It wasn’t much farther, Granny knew, she would be to her destination before dark.

The trees thinned and then faded away as she reached the large clearing of property that formed the plantation where Granny’s slave family worked for the profit of their white owners. Granny could see the lights from the windows of the great and luxurious plantation house, with its white columns. Rice, cotton, and tobacco fields stretched far around the area. Granny looked around cautiously: she needed desperately to avoid detection by any overseers, guards, or even just wandering normal white folk. Southern American society at this time embraced racial slavery as the absolute law of the land, almost like a religion. Even if most white Southerners didn’t own slaves, they sure as hell didn’t want blacks living free, upsetting the “natural” order of things. But it seemed quiet on the plantation tonight. No sound but the crickets, and the bullfrogs back behind her.

The Vampire Dancer Saga Parts 1, 2 and 3 are all Audiobooks now available at  Audible.com and iTunes (click the word Audible or iTunes to open link to store).

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Election 2016 Dump Trump and forget about Hillary this election year. Drake is our new ruler, whether you like it or not! Now available at Amazon: The Vampire Dancer Saga Part 4!

Front CoverThe Peacock Queen marries the Vampire King, a power hungry maniac who manipulates time to suit his needs. Can her love stop him and save the world? With dark magic, Drake becomes the first African American and Vampire President of the United States. Welcome to the new USA, where vampires rule and dance is banned. Dump Trump and forget about Hillary this election year. Drake is our new ruler, whether you like it or not!

Buy your copy of The Vampire Dance Saga Part 4 here:  http://tinyurl.com/zd9mj7b

Chapter 1: Yesterday, Kansas Councilman, today, Vice President, tomorrow, King of this world

“Come on boy, step up, we don’t got all day!” barked the U.S. Army doctor, a squat black man wearing the same jungle-camo fatigues as all the soldiers in line, but with a caduceus patch and a stethoscope to denote his status.

Private First Class Tim Davis tensed up as he stepped towards the doctor. Tim had always hated needles, hated them ever since he was a little kid getting his childhood vaccines back in New York. Army training and a tour of duty in Afghanistan hadn’t made him any less wary of the long, thick needle the nearby nurse thrust to the doctor’s hand without a glance.Zombie Soldier Blood

The doctor sighed. “Come on, roll up your sleeve private, left or right, this’ll be quick n painless.” A couple of Tim’s buddies behind him in line snickered, but Tim complied.

He looked away, down at his boot, as he felt the nasty little pinch of the needle penetrating the skin on his left arm, into his brachial artery. He knew the vaccine was necessary, for the tropical diseases they had down in central Africa (oh God, did they have Ebola there too?!) where the latest Islamist threat had arisen. But he always couldn’t help but feel he’d been violated, on some basic primal level, way back in the “reptilian” part of his brain, even as he consciously knew the value of modern medicine…

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Sparkle 1975 Vs. Sparkle 2012, Classy beats Assy!

1975I finally had a chance to watch Sparkle 2012 last night.  I did a brief tribute to Sparkle 1975 on February 12 this year after Whitney Houston passed on 2/11/12:

https://learnbellydancewithshalimarali.com/2012/02/12/singerdancer-tribute-21212-irene-cara-bronx-ny-what-is-your-favorite-scene-in-the-movie-sparkle-or-song-by-irene-cara/

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Whitney Houston!  And I LOVE that she made it possible to reboot Sparkle, one of my all-time favorite movies!

My sister hated the revised Sparkle movie.  And like many critics of the movie online, I can understand why.  The movie is a beloved African American classic.  And sometimes, it is best to leave classics alone.

Sparkle Cast 2012The movie ending was HORRIBLE!  I can see why my sister hated the movie so much.  I was watching from home, but the last 3 songs made me want to leave the theater, so to speak.  If I did watch it in a theatre, I may have left at One Wing.  R Kelly IS NOT Curtis Mayfield!  The final 3 songs by R Kelly completely ruined the ending.  It took the movie from being “Sparkle” to being an episode of any reality singing competition.  Take your pick, American Idol, The Voice, etc.  Even through Jordin Sparks may have been comfortable with the ending, as winner of American Idol.  Please, no music videos for the end of my beloved Sparkle.  Why, oh, why not just end it like the original with Sparkle singing Loving You Baby and Look Into Your Heart?

Sparkle Cast 1975Speaking of music soundtracks, allow me to go back into time to my 1975 bandwagon and complain about ARETHA FRANKLIN!  I LOVE Aretha, but why oh why did they let her sing the 1975 soundtrack songs INSTEAD of Irene Cara, Lonette McKee and Dwan Smith?  I had no choice but to buy it, since I loved the movie so much.  I could see why they chose Aretha over 3 “actresses” as she is a legend.  Very bad decision, as Irene, Lonette and Dwan KILLED those songs in the movie!

CASTING:  Tie for both movie versions.  Great casting for both!

MUSIC SOUNDTRACK:  The background music in the new Sparkle is the bomb!  What a great selection of oldies to listen to during the music.  The song focus in the 1975 version, were the actual songs while being performed, which made them stand out more than a “flood” of music.   But it did breathe a breath of fresh “old song” air into the new version.

Sparkle2012PLOT:  It was stupid to bring Sister back from the grave and waste her “life” with prison.  Mara had a chance to really, resurrect Sister.  Why not let her 3 years go by and let her perform the final number with Sparkle?  This was a wasted opportunity to have a group reunion with Delores?   I love the new empowerment having Emma own a dress store.  Not that there’s anything wrong with being a maid, like Effie in the 1975 version.  Why did they make Satin a comedian in the new version?  That was just dumb!  It would have been more realistic to make him a drug dealer.

SCRIPT:  The new script was awesome!  The dialogue was fresh.  Kudos to Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil!

COSTUMES:  The 2012 costumes did not totally outshine the 1975 version.   I give a special kudos to the 1975 version released on DVD with the cool blue dresses on the cover that I did not see in the original film.

Sparkle1975DANCE CHOREOGRAPHY:  My brother is not a dancer, but he COMPLAINED about the dancing and costumes in the 2012 version.  The 1975 dance choreographies by Lester Wilson were sensuous and classy.  I usually LOVE choreographies by Fatima Robinson, but the 2012 dance choreographies tended to go overly sexy, trying to hard to look sexy, not appropriate for the 1960s, Raunchy, Lap Dance, Bump & Grind and Assy!  I am a Belly Dancer, so thought I would never say this about choreography, but the dances had too much BELLY DANCE!  Too many ummies, shimmies, undulations, etc.  Sort of LAZY choreography.  Please watch both versions of “Hooked on Your Love” to see what I mean.  Lonette McKee did not have to resort to a Lap Dance to kill that song.  Take notes  Carmen Ejogo!  The 1975 Sparkle had better costumes for Sparkle and Dee while performing that same song.  I can see why the 1975 Sparkle group won the contest against Doreen (Norma Miller); while the 2012 Sparkle group should NOT have won the contest, as the Girl Group before them (with Fatima Robinson and Goapele) should have won.  They were hands down way better than the Sister & Sisters!  I wanted to see more of them!!!

SPARKLE SHOWDOWN! 1975 VERSION 2012 VERSION Winner
Casting: 10 10
Music Soundtrack: 10 9
Plot: 8 9
Script: 8 9
Costumes: 9 9
Dance Choreography: 10 6
TOTAL 55 52 Sparkle 1975

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sparkle_%281976_film%29
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sparkle_%282012_film%29
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mara_Brock_Akil

WHICH DID IT BEST?
SPARKLE 1975
SPARKLE 2012

Coming soon:

The Vampire Dancer Saga Part 2!

Chapter 4:  Michael Jackson Dances back from the Grave!

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Please sign my Petition to make August 29th a Michael Jackson Holiday!

http://www.change.org/petitions/karen-freeman-wilson-mayor-of-indiana-michael-jackson-national-holiday

Jacksons2The Jackson 5 put Gary, Indiana on the map! The Jackson 5 was one of very few in recording history to have their first four major label singles ("I Want You Back", "ABC", "The Love You Save", and "I’ll Be There") reach the top of the Billboard Hot 100. After Michael Jackson was separated from the group, he became one of the biggest selling artists of all time with more than 750 million records sold. Michael Jackson was more than an artist. Often referred to as the King of Pop, or by his initials MJ, Jackson is recognized as the most successful entertainer of all time by Guinness World Records. His unparalleled contributions to music, dance, and fashion, along with a much-publicized personal life, made him a global figure in popular culture for over four decades. Jackson’s 1982 album Thriller is the best-selling album of all time.Jacksons1

His other records, including Off the Wall (1979), Bad (1987), Dangerous (1991), and HIStory (1995), also rank among the world’s best-selling. Jackson is one of the few artists to have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice. He was also inducted into the Dance Hall of Fame as the first and only dancer from pop and rock music. Some of his other achievements include multiple Guinness World Records; 13 Grammy Awards as well as the Grammy Legend Award and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award; 26 American Music Awards, more Jacksons3than any other artist, including the "Artist of the Century" and "Artist of the 1980s"; 13 number-one singles in the United States in his solo career, more than any other male artist in the Hot 100 era; and the estimated sale of over 750 million records worldwide.

Jackson won hundreds of awards, which made him the most-awarded recording artist in the history of popular music. He was also one of the world’s most prominent humanitarians and philanthropists; personally, and through his Heal the World Foundation, he donated more than $300 million in charity, holds the Guinness World Record for having supported the most charities out of any pop star, and echoed these themes throughout some of his notable songs.

 

The Jackson 5Congratulations to Karen Freeman-Wilson, the first female mayor of Gary, IN. I hope she grew up listening to the Jackson 5, millions of other fans like me.  Feel free to contact Karen on Twitter and Facebook to show support for this Petition as well:
https://twitter.com/karenaboutgary
http://www.facebook.com/KarenAboutGary
http://www.karenaboutgary.com

 

Coming soon:

The Vampire Dancer Saga Part 2!

Chapter 4:  Michael Jackson Dances back from the Grave!

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The Vampire Dancer Saga: Part 3 – Le Hot Jazz Dancer 6/10/12

VampireDancer1A fictional tale of dances from the 1900s-2010s

Part 3: Le Hot Jazz, the 1920s

The young kids are scared of Granny Smith. They think she is a witch. After all, she did practice voodoo back in New Orleans. Granny keeps an eye on all the kids in the Big House and the little Shack in Jackson, Mississippi. She noticed the negro sharecropper kids playing with the former master’s kid after dinner. Granny knows that the negro kids should not be getting too close to the white kids. After dinner the kids get together and dance and play. One night she saw the boy, Greggy, kissing her oldest granddaughter Leana. She warns Leana, “Negros cannot mix with whites. Be careful or something bad will happen!”Plantation

Former slave owner Mr. Braden confronts his son Greggy and slaps Leana, after he found out they were kissing. This pisses off Granny. She casts a voodoo spell upon the Braden Family, using blood from a vampire bat, to ensure that their next born child will be a vampire. Granny is also a midwife for Mr. Braden’s wife, Caroline, who is 9 months pregnant, so she has been slowly dosing Mrs. Braden with the vampire bat blood.

Sharecropper1Big Daddy Baker is close to Mrs. Braden. He often does special chores for her after he is finished in the fields. Big Daddy’s wife, Rosa, passed away 10 years ago. Mrs. Braden has acted as a fill-in mother for Big Daddy’s girls. Caroline is from New York. She met Mitchell Braden in New York when she was dancing at the Ziegfeld’s Follies. Mr. Braden has a very mean spirit. He discouraged Caroline from dancing and swore that he would beat her if her every caught her Voodoo Dancerdancing again.

That did not keep Caroline from doing what she loved the most – dancing. She would often teach the kids all of the popular dances of the day, such as the Charleston and Black Bottom. Granny also loved dancing and taught the children the Cake Walk. She encouraged the 3 girls to dance and they loved dancing. The girls wrote letters to their cousin Phina Brown in St. Louis. Phina danced in a vaudeville show and was on her way to visit her cousins and Uncle Baker before heading to New York to audition for the Cotton Club.

When Phina arrives at the plantation and she shows her cousins her version of the Charleston. The girls love her fancy costumes and vow to become a dancer Charleston2one day too. She tells them to meet her in New York one day because she will be a famous dancer. They laugh at her dream and joke that she will fail the audition and have to move back to St. Louis. Phina does a really wild version of the Charleston. She is dancing so hard that her blouse falls off. Granny calls her “fast” but little did she know that one day her niece will become popular for dancing with her blouse off.

Before Phina takes the train to New York, she hears Granny calling for help, “Mrs. Braden is in labor! Come and bring me some hot water, gal!” Phina brings the hot water just as Mrs. Braden is about to give birth. The baby comes out and both women gasp! “This baby is too brown to be a white baby,” says Granny. She wraps the baby so that only the eyes show before presenting the baby to Mr. Braden.Charleston4

Mr. Braden finally sees his new baby girl. He notices how brown the baby is and questions his wife. She concocts a story about being in the sun too long and passing down a “tan” to the baby. Little does Mr. Braden know at the time, Big Daddy Baker and Mrs. Braden have been having an affair for many years.

Big Daddy asks to see the baby and Mr. Braden gets suspicious. The men exchange words and began fighting. Mr. Braden accuses Big Daddy of sleeping with his wife. He tries to grab his gun, but before he can get it, Big Daddy hits him with a fireplace poker. Mr. Braden has a lot of blood and Big Daddy is not sure if he is dead.

Charleston3Caroline hears the commotion and asks Granny what is going on. Granny tells them about the fight. Big Daddy tells Granny they are moving out that night. Caroline wants to know where they are moving. She vows to meet up with Big Daddy one day.

Their last words were: “Meet me in St. Louis.”

 

 

 

Charleston1http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charleston_(dance)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meet_Me_In_St._Louis
http://www.1920-30.com/dance/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cotton_Club
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cakewalk
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Don’t miss Part 2 (Dances of the 1910s) and Part 4 (Dances of the 1930s) coming soon.

 

What was your favorite dance or dancer from the 1920s?

Charleston5

Dance Tribute 4/27/12: Tap Dance! Who is your favorite Tap Dancer or favorite Tap Dance Routine?

 

Tap Eleanor1Dance Tribute 4/27/12: Tap Dance!

Okay, so I took tap dance lessons as a kid back in the 1960s.  Yep, I’m old.  And to this day, I can still remember that song played on the piano at Smith Sisters Dance Studio.  It was so cool having tap dance lessons with a real piano player.  I usually teach to cassettes and CDs, so most dance students don’t get a chance to study with real, live music.

Tap dance was one of my favorite dance classes.  It’s much harder than it looks.  I remember taking Flamenco dance workshops and that challenging footwork reminded me of my tap lessons.

Tap Busby1I’m a big sucker and huge fan of the old movie musicals, especially those from the 1930s.  In particular, I love seeing tap dances by Eleanor Powell, The Nicholas Brothers and Bill Bonjangles!

I had a copy of That’s Entertainment on VHS and I would watch it all the time with my granddaughters.  We have so much fun watching our favorite dance scenes and then getting up to dance along with them.  I just got That’s Entertainment parts 1, 2 & 3 on DVD (Blue-Ray, no less) and so glad that now I can just skip to my favorite scenes instead having to fast forward and rewind a VHS tape.

The movie musicals from the 1930s are my favorite.  That was the Golden Age for musicals, that has not ever been topped since.

Tap Bill1Everyone has their favorite TAP DANCERS or favorite TAP DANCE SCENES from movies or TV clips, such as Gregory Hines, Fred Astaire, Ann Miller, the list goes on and on.

Here are my FAVORITE TAP DANCERS & TAP SCENES:

1.  THE QUEEN OF TAP – Eleanor Powell.  Wow can this lady dance!  She is the best tap dance soloist in the world in the history of time.  I love all of the turns, flips, kicks, stops and also creativity in mixing tap with Hula or Matador style.  Did she introduce or INVENT PASO DOBLE?

Tap Nicholas12.  THE BEST TAP DUET EVER – The Nicholas Brothers, Fayard & Harold.  Did you know that Debbie Allen, Janet Jackson & Michael Jackson studied with them?  Makes sense.  As I said before you can’t go wrong in dance if you just do what Debbie Allen does.  And Michael Jackson, what a dance perfectionist!  He could have had a career in Tap – one of the best modern day tappers.

3.  THE BEST TAP DANCE SCENE IN A MOVIE – The Gold Diggers of Hollywood, Lullaby to Broadway.  I remember the old clips of this movie and my favorite scene is Tap Busby2when they shoe the UNDERNEATH view of the 3 dudes tapping so hard, I thought they could tap their feet to death, LOL!

4.  THE CUTEST KIDS TAP DANCING – Of course Shirley Temple, tap dancing in many of her movies.  I love seeing her dance with Bill “Bojangles” Robinson.  Honorable mention to Janet Jackson tap dancing on the Jacksons Show.

5.  THE BEST MUSICAL FILM DIRECTOR OF ALL TIME – Busby Berkeley.  The man with a vision.  The man that gave you Tap Eleanor2dance and singing from a DIFFERENT POINT OF VIEW.  He changed movie and musical history by inventing and  reinventing musicals.

I had  a day off work today and spent many hours viewing some of my past favorite tap dancers.  It was so much fun watching so I would like to share my favorite tap dancers and tap dance scenes with you:

 

 

 

Tap Busby3

Tap Nigel1

 

 

One of my favorite dances by Eleanor Powell, the Queen of Tap!

WOW!  I love it whenever I watch this clip.  One of the best all-time dance scenes ever!  Thrilling!  I can’t believe the jump/splits on the stairs.  And how close they were to the musicians, I thought one dude was gonna be kicked in the head LOL.

 

 

 

 

I LOVE this dance!  So creative to mix Hula & Tap.  Love the turns and quick stops in the turns.  Fabulous!

It’s good to see a Show Judge “PRACTIC WHAT THEY PREACH” by showing that they really can dance!  Nigel, you think you can dance, YOU CAN DANCE!  I hope they show  more of Nigel dancing and choreographing dances in future episodes of SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE!

Again, a great mix of dance styles, this time tap & Paso Doble.  By the way, you don’t see this style very often in old movie musicals.  Did Eleanor Powell introduce Paso Doble for future Ballroom Dance?

Love watching Mr. Tap, Bill Bojangles Robinson.  I watch this with  my granddaughters and they get up and imitate Shirley Temple.  They are as cute as she is.

Check the 3 dudes tapping real hard at 1:50.  Damn!  They are tapping their asses off!  I love how they show the 3 viewpoints, the front view, overhead and UNDERNEATH so you can see the shoes tapping.  The shoes tapping is one of my favorite, favorite dance scenes.

 

This is PRICELESS!  My favorite singing group the Jackson 5 with Janet, LaToya & Rebbie TAP DANCING with The NICHOLAS BROTHERS!!!  Michael is really holding his own and is a damn good tapper.  And Janet is just so cute!!!

 

 

 

I love the Jackson 5 show because it had contemporary favorites like their hit songs.  But the best thing about the show was that it allowed the Jackson Family to branch out and show a WIDE VARIETY of music and dance styles.  The talented Jackson Family was not LIMITED to doing the songs from their time, I loved when they did OLD HOLLYWOOD STYLE and did it GREAT!  The scene at 6:16 is sort of like a PREMONITION of SMOOTH CRIMINAL, LOL.

Bill Bonjangles is tearing those steps up!  Wow!  He is the King of Rhythm!  And little Shirley Temple is CUTE AS A BUTTON!

 

Gregory Hines does the SHIM SHAM dance in one of my favorite movies, The History of the World: Part I

 

Sammy Davis Jr. still going strong in 1990 with Gregory Hines!

 

Sammy Davis Jr – BURNING THOSE TAP SHOES UP!!!

Tap Bill2

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Busby_Berkeley
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_%22Bojangles%22_Robinson
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Nicholas_Brothers
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eleanor_Powell
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nigel_Lythgoe
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gregory_Hines
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sammy_Davis,_Jr.
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000923/
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Tap Busby4

 

Who is your favorite Tap Dancer or favorite Tap Dance Routine?

Dancer Tribute 3/30/12: Debbie Allen (Houston, TX) original Tweet 10/10/11, Who is your favorite triple threat performer?

Debbie1Dancer Tribute 3/30/12: Debbie Allen (Houston, TX original Tweet 10/10/11

I have a saying that describes my performing motto:  JUST DO WHAT DEBBIE DOES!!!

You can’t go wrong if you follow the path of Debbie Allen!

Dancer
Choreographer
Singer
Broadway Star
Actress
Director
Debbie2Producer
Dance Studio Director
Emmy Winner
Academy Awards Choreographer

What can’t Debbie do?

There is no performing road block that Debbie can’t tackle with her magnificent talent, determination and strength.

Debbie3She opened so many doors of dance, that NO ONE, I mean NO ONE will be able to conquer the Dance World like Debbie did.  In fact, like Katherine Dunham before her, Debbie also integrated and KICKED DOWN the glass ceiling when it came to directing and producing.

If I could come back reincarnated as any performer, it would be Debbie Allen.

There are not many performers that I admire that have so many works that I admire.  I loved her performances in Broadway shows like Purlie, West Side Story and Sweet Charity.  I loved her acting in TV shows like FAMEAll of Us, The Cosby Show, A Different World, Quantum Leap, In The House and SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE!  And I love it when I see Debbie’s name as a director for shows like Girlfriends, Hellcats and The Parkers!

Debbie4Debbie has so many incredible performances that it would be hard to pinpoint my favorite, but I can try to narrow it down to my TOP 3:

  • 1.  Choreographer for 1983 65th Oscar Awards Live to “A Whole New World” from the movie Aladdin.  The Belly Twins (Veena & Neena) and Atlantis did a great job of performing in that telecast.
  • 2.  The Debbie Allen special.  I have a copy of this somewhere on a VHS, but I remember Debbie Allen “Belly Dancing” in a yellow costume.
  • 3.  Debbie Allen as Joanna Chapman in Quantum Leap episode of  “Private Dancer.”  http://www.tv.com/shows/quantum-leap/private-dancer-60523/

I can sing my praise of Debbie Allen all day and all night, but let me close by saying:  DO WHAT DEBBIE DOES and you will never go wrong in Dance!  Debbie thank you for inspiring me and so many other dancers, you are a NATIONAL DANCE TREASURE!

 

Debbie5http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debbie_Allen
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000739/bio
http://www.museum.tv/eotvsection.php?entrycode=allendebbie
http://www.debbieallendanceacademy.com/
http://www.pbs.org/wnet/freetodance/biographies/allen.html
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000739/
For more Dance Gossip & Goodies, check out my book, "Learn to Belly Dance Textbook" available at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble :
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/learn-to-belly-dance-textbook-certification-program-shalimar-ali/1105014103?ean=9781465346582&itm=1&usri=9781465346582

http://www.youtube.com/user/Shalimarali
http://www.facebook.com/people/Shalimar-Ali/1459163265
www.twitter.com/shalimaral
www. https://learnbellydancewithshalimarali.com/


Debbie6I will be posting some of my original Dancer Tributes in WordPress, only the early ones that were in Twitter only, not WordPress.  Back when I first starting posting the dancer tributes on Twitter I only had 2 subscribers.  Now that I have more, I realized that a lot of people missed my early dancer tributes.  But as I am reposting those, I will also keep adding new content for topics like Dance Choreography, new Dancer tributes, etc.

Now is your time to Join the Conversation! Comments, questions, concerns, controversy, rebuttals, tributes, blog suggestions, guest bloggers, etc., are all welcome!

Who is your favorite triple threat performer?

Debbie7

Belly Dancer Tribute 2/18/12: Yassmeen Samra (Los Gatos, CA) original Tweet 10/5/11, What is your favorite recollection of “The Belly Dancer Magazine” or Yassmeen Samra?

Black Belly DancersBelly Dancer Tribute 2/18/12: Yassmeen Samra (Los Gatos, CA) original Tweet 10/5/11

Do you ever think back to when you were a kid and what you wanted to be when you grew up?

Surprisingly (or not), the first thing I wanted to be at age 5 was a dancer.

I am so glad that my mom allowed me to take dances lessons in ballet, tap & jazz.  She also enrolled me in acrobatics, but I was so horrible at acrobatics that I gave up.  I can’t turn a decent somersault or do the splits if my life depended on it.

I love it when I see any “older” person turn a flip, like Diana Ross did in The Wiz, tee hee.  I get a big kick out of it, because it’s something I can’t do.

I had a life-changing event in 1973 and was forced to change my life goal.  My next favorite thing to do was write.  I was an editor on the newspaper and yearbook staffs during high school.  So no more dancing, from now on, Journalism.  My father worked as a photographer for a local newspaper so when I graduated from high school, I saw my future as a journalist at the same newspaper.  I majored in journalism in college, until . . .

Ut-oh, life happened again and a new change happened in 1977-78.  Journalism was out, baby was in, 1977.  Then came Belly dance in 1978.  I taught my little sister Candy everything I learned in my belly dance classes.  One year I was at her dance recital and a little girl (show-off) was dancing to “ I want to be a dancer.”  I cried when I saw that and knew that I wanted to dance.

So dance I did from the late 1970s onward.  I was still in college, but noticed that I kept changing my major to classes that would help me in dance like Costume History, Sewing, Business Administration, etc.  And along the way, I ended up doing more dancing than college, with teaching dance, travelling, performing and directing my dance troupe.

When you are at age 5 and want to be a dancer and then become a teen and pick a more practical vocation, it is so hard to predict that you will end up doing what you wanted to do at age 5.  Who knew?

Yassmeen Samra was a Mentor for me in so many ways.  I am so proud to have had a chance to meet her in person at a dance workshop in Fort Worth, TX sponsored by Carol Shannon featuring Bert Balladine.  I also met Amaya there and saw George Abdo perform Live in person.  Talk about a dream belly dance workshop!  I tried to recreate those types of Dream workshops back when I used to sponsor workshops with great teachers like Bert Balladine, Amaya, Raja Zahr, Lala Hakim, Morocco, Aisha Ali, DeAnn, The Sirocco Band, the Trans Arabian Band and many more.

I used to contact Yassmeen Samra by mail (not email, cell phone or fax back then, LOL) back in the late 1970s and early 1980s because I was a customer of her Belly Dance Bazaar.  She had some great items.  And she mentioned that she had became a Multi-Millionaire.

Yassmeen, you are my personal Hero in dance.  With so many achievements as far as journalism, financial success in dance, personal style in dance and just being a great role model.  I wish you were still around, I don’t know what happened to you, where you are, if you are still dancing, etc.  I wish I still had some of my copies of the Belly Dancer Magazine from the late 1970s.  But a lot can happen from 1980 to 2012.  I have lived in different houses, sometimes my favorite magazines were stored in the basement, some of them got moisture damage and ended up being thrown away.

But, please check with your local libraries to see if they can get copies of them:

Hello,

It looks like the magazine is in storage at New York Public Library.  Were you hoping to find an article or did you need any information about the magazine itself?  I also checked the Los Altos library, but they don’t show the magazine in their catalog.   Let us know if we can help you with more information.

Melinda Mattingly, Reference Librarian

Also, I sent an email today to Lynette Holloway.  She wrote: “From flab to fab: belly dance your way to fitness,” for the August 2007 issue of Ebony Magazine.  Her website is listed below and it has her contact email address in it.  Please contact her and suggest doing an article that includes dancers like Nakish, Yassmeen Samra, Zarifa Aradoon, etc.  Also, the 1st 2 links below pertain to that article.

Again, 6 Degrees of Separation, shows how our belly dance paths are linked as one journey.

http://blackbellydancers.tribe.net/thread/6217a9a4-2f20-4725-a5c0-f7318dbd9c89
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1077/is_10_62/ai_n19378636/?tag=content;col1
http://nubiandivas.tribenetwork.com/thread/611625f8-d768-41da-8a3f-3007992ed281
http://lynetteholloway.net/
http://www.abebooks.co.uk/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=5856802912&searchurl=bi%3Ds%26pics%3Don%26vci%3D14508
For
more Dance Gossip & Goodies, check out my book, "Learn to Belly Dance Textbook" available at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble :
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/learn-to-belly-dance-textbook-certification-program-shalimar-ali/1105014103?ean=9781465346582&itm=1&usri=9781465346582

I will be posting some of my original Dancer Tributes in WordPress, only the early ones that were in Twitter only, not WordPress.  Back when I first starting posting the dancer tributes on Twitter I only had 2 subscribers.  Now that I have more, I realized that a lot of people missed my early dancer tributes.  But as I am reposting those, I will also keep adding new content for topics like Dance Choreography, new Dancer tributes, etc.

Black Belly Dancers

Yassmeen1

Now is your time to Join the Conversation!  Comments, questions, concerns, controversy, rebuttals, tributes, etc., are all welcome!

What is your favorite recollection of “The Belly Dancer Magazine” or Yassmeen Samra?

Dancer Tribute 1/11/12: Katherine Dunham (Glen Ellyn, IL)

Katherine1Dancer Tribute 1/11/12: Katherine Dunham (Glen Ellyn, IL)

An amazing dance pioneer!

Outstanding dancer, choreographer and innovator!

One of the all time dance great!

Katherine Dunham.

In 1945, she opened and directed the Katherine Dunham School of Dance and Theatre near Times Square in New York City after her Dance Company was provided with rent-free studio space for 3 years by an admirer, Lee Shubert; it had an initial enrollment of 350 students.

Her alumni included many future celebrities, such as Eartha Kitt, who, as a teenager, won a scholarship to her school and later became one of her dancers before moving on to a successful singing career. Others who attended her school included James Dean, Gregory Peck, Jose Ferrer, Jennifer Jones, Shelley Winters, Sidney Poitier, Shirley MacLaine, Doris Duke and Warren Beatty. Marlon Brando frequently dropped in to play the bongo drums, and jazz musician Charles Mingus held regular jam sessions with the drummers. Known for her many innovations, she developed a dance pedagogy named the Dunham Technique which won international acclaim and is now taught as a modern dance style in dance schools, including at the Harkness Dance Center of the 92nd Street Y.

One of my all time favorite movies is Stormy Weathers.  I love and admire many of the performers in it like Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, Lena Horne, Cab Calloway and Fats Waller (both appearing as themselves), the Nicholas Brothers dancing duo, comedy team Miller and Lyles, singer Ada Brown, and Katherine Dunham with her dance troupe.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katherine_Dunham
For more dance gossip & goodies, check out my book, "Learn to Belly Dance Textbook" available at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005SFPN6I/ref=s9_simh_gw_p351_d0_g351_i1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=121QKD526S21XAKBP0T2&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=470938631&pf_rd_i=507846

Katherine2

Katherine3

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/freetodance/biographies/dunham.html

Dancer Tribute 12/24/11: Fatima Robinson (Little Rock, AR)

Remember the TimeDancer Tribute 12/24/11: Fatima Robinson (Little Rock, AR)
I am a HUGE fan of Fatima!  I first found out about her back in 1992 when the “Remember the Time” video was released by Michael Jackson.  And being a belly dancer, of course I loved the Egyptian theme of both the song and video.  My sister Brenda loves that video so much, she said that our dance troupe (The Scheherazade Dance Company) needs to perform the drum solo in the video.  I can’t imagine a dancer being so young, so gifted, so talented like Fatima.  Like Michael Jackson, that does not happen very often.  Fatima was the 2nd African American dancer to choreograph at the Academy of the Arts Oscar Awards telecast (Debbie Allen was the first).  Fatima’s choreographies have also been featured on So You Think You Can Dance, Dancing With the Stars and many top TV commercials spots and for most of the music videos for the top music artists today.  All I can say is WOW!  I can only dream of such glory.  Fatima has achieved such dance glory and beyond!  I think about Fatima every time I attempt, ahem — TRY, to do the Remember the Time dance on The Michael Jackson Experience on my XBox and Wii consoles.  Hint, hint, for some reason the Wii version is a lot easier to do than the XBox version.  I usually have to drunk first to get enough nerve and courage to try it on Xbox with the Kinect.  Well, me, Brenda and my Brother Ben will try.  Then the next day we wake up we are all sort from being old folks trying to dance to songs choreographed and performed by young folks and have a sore throat from trying to sing along with Michael.  LOL! And trust me, I have done it both drunk and sober and the results are still the same, I can’t keep up with Michael or Fatima’s great choreography to Remember the Time, but hey, at least I tried.  Check her out at:

http://www.fatimarobinson.com/fatima.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Remember_the_Time

For more dance gossip & goodies, check out my book, "Learn to Belly Dance Textbook" available at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble :
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005SFPN6I/ref=s9_simh_gw_p351_d0_g351_i1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=121QKD526S21XAKBP0T2&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=470938631&pf_rd_i=507846

Remember the Time1