Belly Dance Publication Tribute 2/24/12: The Belly Dancer Magazine (Los Altos, CA). Where were you 32 years ago?

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WHERE WERE YOU 32 YEARS AGO?

Some would answer, not born yet. Or some would say, raising a small child.

Well 32 years ago, I was raising a small child, and I was also a Belly Dance student back then. I LOVED the belly dance publications, like The Belly Dancer Magazine, Arabesque, Habibi, The Caravan, Jareeda, etc. Back when I was a beginner dancer, I fantasized about the day that perhaps maybe, just maybe I could grace a magazine cover. Did not happen until 1994 when I graced the cover of Shimmy Chronicles.

The old belly dance magazines bring back so many good memories. It’s weird to look at the ads and names in the dancer directory and see names of great dancers and musicians who are no longer with us (Bobby Farrah, Bert Balladine, George Abdo, etc.)

BDM1Belly Dance has changed so much in the past 30 years, that it is refreshing to look back on “simpler” times. No Facebook buddies to share the latest dance item, no dancers on Twitter giving their latest dance update or being able to view any dancer or video instantly via YouTube or MySpace.

Back then, you had to TRAVEL and take a dance workshop to study with the greats. Now you can just buy or rent their DVDs.

Most dancers used to make their own costumes back then, but now it is so cheap to get costumes on eBay, why bother?

Belly dance times were so simple then. You had to wait 1 month to get caught up on the news, Belly Dance news by waiting for your favorite magazine to arrive by mail.

BDM2And when you got your copy, you were in for a treat. That’s how you found out what dancers were doing all across the country. Now that we have Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, MySpace, email and Internet, we don’t need to wait a month, we can find out in seconds.

A great place to search for rare books and magazines is Abe’s Books (URL is below).  Here’s to a look back at simpler times . . .

http://www.abebooks.com/
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

BDM4Now is your time to Join the Conversation!  Comments, questions, concerns, controversy, rebuttals, tributes, etc., are all welcome!

Where were you 32 years ago?

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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

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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?

Belly Dancer Tribute 1/29/12: Bert Balladine (Petaluma, CA) original Tweet 9/26/11, What is your favorite memory of Bert Balladine?

Bert1Belly Dancer Tribute 1/26/12: Bert Balladine (Petaluma, CA) original Tweet 9/26/11

I LOVE Bert Balladine (1927-2009)!  I first met him at a workshop sponsored by Carol Shannon back in the early 1980s in Fort Worth, TX.  That workshop was so cool.  I also met Amaya and Yasmeen Samra at that event.

There is no other workshop like a workshop with Bert Balladine.  It is more of a “family” gathering.  He is not far away from the dancers, he is up close, personal and in-your-face, in a good way.  Very involved instructor, you don’t feel like a stranger, it’s like you’ve known him all of your life.

I learned one of my most favorite dance steps from Bert, I call it a Basic Beledi step.  Whenever I perform it, or use it in a dance, it brings back a fond memory of meeting him in person.  I loved how Bert made great partnerships with dancers, such as Sula, Carol Shannon, Soraya, Amaya, Shalimar Serene, etc.  Those dance duets were fabulous!

I also had the honor of having him teach a workshop in my hometown with Soraya from Oklahoma City, OK; that was the most financially successful workshop I ever sponsored.

I miss Bert, he’s was like a big brother, so cool, so talented and so down to earth.  A lot of dance workshops are a very “serious” affair.  The instructor has a planned syllabus of instruction and follows it to the letter.  But when you had the honor to be at one of Bert’s workshops, you learned a lot, but you also had so much fun being involved with his personal stories, laughing with him and the way he made each dance student feel special and a part of a family.  With many workshops, it is a “cold” impersonal collection of dancers, but with Bert it was so warm, friendly and personal.

He made dance a lot of fun!  Not that you did not learn a lot when you studied with him, but the process of learning was so fun.  You danced a lot, you learned a lot, but you also laughed a lot.  Here’s to you Bert!

http://www.wisewomandancer.com/index.php?pag=cms&id=181&p=bert-balladine-tribute.html
http://www.gildedserpent.com/cms/2009/03/15/memorial-to-bert-balladine/
http://www.gildedserpent.com/aboutuspages/bert.htm#axzz1ktXf5gVr
http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/med4
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

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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.

Now is your time to Join the Conversation!  Comments, Questions, concerns, tributes are all welcome!

What is your favorite memory of Bert Balladine?

Belly Dancer Tribute 1/26/12: Mary Ellen Donald (Philadelphia, PA). What is your favorite song or drumming by Mary Ellen Donald?

Mary Ellen1Belly Dancer Tribute 1/26/12: Mary Ellen Donald (Philadelphia, PA)

Mary Ellen Donald is the QUEEN of all things rhythms, drumming, cymbals and musicality.

I’m so glad to have had a chance to study at one of her workshops.  What an honor.  If you are lucky enough be able to attend one of her workshops, you will not be disappointed.

She does drumming, tambourine and cymbals on one of my all-time favorite dance albums: Encore! Bert’s Baladi.  She is playing the HELL out of those cymbals!  I did a choreography to the cymbal section and baladi finale to Samai Suite because the cymbals she plays are so challenging.  That was one of the most challenging dances I have ever performed.  It took years to practice the cymbals, get them right and work up the courage to perform that dance.  The cymbals on that Samai Suite are haunting.  When I got the album and listened to it, I knew that one day I had to challenge and conquer those cymbals.

Thank you Mary Ellen for playing the Hell out those cymbals, not only in that song, but the hard work and effort you shared with the Belly Dance community for teaching us how to be better with playing cymbals, drums, tambourines, and all things RHYTHM!

 

http://maryellendonald.com/
http://www.maryellendonald.com/RhythmsCorner.htm
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

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Mary Ellen4

Now is your time to Join the Conversation!  Comments, Questions, concerns, tributes are all welcome!
What is your favorite song or drumming by Mary Ellen Donald?

Belly Dance Tribute 12/29/11: Signature Moves/Dances

Amaya2Belly Dance Tribute 12/29/11: Signature Moves/Dances:  Have you noticed that some dancers have awesome Signature Moves?  For example, I remember learning the Basic Beledi step from Bert Balladine many years ago and I love it so much I use it in a lot of choreographies.  Amaya does this fancy turn step with her arms.  When I see her do that turn, it speaks “Amaya Dance Talk.”  Check out the YouTube video clip of Amaya and look at about 20 seconds into the dance when she does the turn.  (Amaya, what is the name that fancy turn you got going on girlfriend?  Whenever I watch Amaya dance, I want to take more lessons with her again.)   I remember learning the Hip Down Shimmy from Mahmoud Reda back in the early 1980s, which I nicknamed Reda Shimmy (or maybe that’s name of the shimmy).  When I learned Saidi from Lala Hakim, she taught a move with our hands waving in the air whilst we are traveling back, to remember this step, I nicknamed it the Mickey Mouse move.  With Neon of New York, NY what I love best is her Smile!  I know that sounds goofy, considering she can balance that tray  of candles while wearing a cape like nobody’s business.  But when I put on the Love Potion DVD, I love to do that one on a Monday night because her smile lights up the room, it cheers me up and gets me in a great mood to dance.  I talked about “phoning in” a dance show, but I think Neon’s smile is very genuine and bright.  As a performer our mood can affect the audience’s mood and we are not just merely executing dance movements, we projecting attitude and emotions as well.  With Suhaila Salimpour, she will forever be the person I feel that introduced locks, pops and drops.  There are some great dancers doing that today, but I remember Suhaila teaching that in dance seminars 20 or so years ago.  She was the innovator of those moves and also the squeezing gluts, which she demonstrated so well as a guest artist on the Ellen DeGeneres show. 

Let’s talk Signature Dances!  With Amaya, I love seeing her dance to Amayaguena by the Trans Arabian Sound Band, especially when she wears the costume with the hat and pants.  It is so authentic and her spirit changes on that dance, in my opinion.  That music was created for her, so it seems to be a very deep, personal experience when I watch her perform to it.  I love watching Nagwa Fouad perform to Samara by Setrek Sarkissian.  Especially the version when she is carried out and is posing with the fan.  You go Belly Dance Queen of Egypt Nagwa, the Princess of Cairo!  Do you have a favorite dance, that might be your “go to” dance or, just one that you love the costume, music or choreography for?  Mine used to Sahara City (not sure if name is correct); I got the music tape from Lala Hakim after attending her weekend workshop.  When I did the choreography, I used a lot of the steps learned from Lala Hakim.  I thought of that routine as my signature dance for quite some time, before moving on to the next favorite dance.  A Signature Dance, is one where dance movements, steps, costume and/or choreography all meet to make a perfect fit for the dance.  Another favorite Signature Dance was to “Souk el Jawaree” because the music sounds like ancient Egyptian Pharonic style, so I had a costume made to match the music and used steps that I felt matched the music as well.  This dance looks great with one of my large capes, especially the ones that are pleated.  I have the large Gold cape that I use as well as a Multi-Color cape that is pleated with large sequin palettes.  Please post a comment to let us know your favorite Signature Dance or Signature Move.  Thanks.

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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