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August 25, 2014

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Prince Rafik

Belly dance , oriental dance " what ever you want to call or name it" is an Art like any others. Many Art council around the world have now endorsed it and have recognised it it's an Art form of 2000 years of civilisation. We promote from positive prospective rather than negative. Variation of unique oriental dance bringing out joy and smiles on many Art lover around the world. Contribution from you and others have made belly dance beautiful as it can be. Congratulation for being part of Bellydance communities through out of the world. From London Thanking you.

Kamala

I love all that you are saying! As an American I envy you for having arts council support for your art. Maybe Americans are all about the biz because we have 0 support. Some cities and states are better than California. If we are to do productions it all has to come from our own bank accounts, so we are trying to make the best business decisions possible. I can't believe I'm even defending the biz part of Bellydance since I truly do not like it, but it's a sad fact here.

Kathy Kraft

HI Yasmina,
I think that you, like all other inventors, messengers, and pioneers in society, have moments of doubt. But few talk or have talked about it. You are so busy inspiring all of us, but who inspires you? When do you have time for yourself? I hope that you do find some time, and know that so many love you and are inspired by you. I know that you will continue to go on inspiring,it's just what you were meant to do. <3

Linda Riyad

The power of what we've been calling Belly Dance is evident in that performers of so many styles and manifestations of Middle Eastern Dance claim the term.

I too have considered changing my website, which includes the words "belly dance". I stopped putting the term on my business cards a long time ago, but there is an issue with branding that many dancers must overcome.
Steering clear of "Belly Dance" is a double edged sword. If I use another term, many people simply cannot picture what it is that I do. Then again, maybe I don't want them to have whatever picture they associate with "belly dance." The majority of clients search for our performances and classes by entering those words (or 'that word', if you prefer Bellydance). It's only three easy syllables; it's catchy; and it has permeated international pop culture. Remember, too that many cultures discovered this dance without the same negative connotations that Anglo-North America did. To them, the term is as innocuous as "ballet". With all of that in mind, many dancers over the years have worked to reclaim the term. Either way, change will happen slowly.

"Belly Dance" is, of course, too limited (not just in terms of body parts). The folk dances of the Middle East are certainly not "belly dance," yet any worthy professional studies and can perform them. I prefer the term "Middle Eastern Dance" for what I do (as "Oriental" makes many Westerners think of Eastern Asia) and the title "artist" for my role. ("Performer" does not imply instruction or choreographer, both of which I do in addition to performance.)

I have never thought that the words themselves were the real culprits of so much misunderstanding. If all of the performers who called themselves "Belly Dancers" were tasteful, artistic, socially-aware, knowledgeable connoisseurs of Middle Eastern art forms, we would never have to have such conversations. But like the practices of tipping, we have had to constantly distance ourselves from the stigma of irresponsible performers and misguided associations. (Remember the good-old-days when getting tipped with a money shower was the respectable way and DIDN'T remind customers of "makin' it rain"? - Ah, the stripper associations continue...)

Whether trying to distance oneself from the term or trying to reclaim it, I think the most important job we have is to keep the standards for music and dance knowledge, cultural awareness, ethnological preservation, performance quality, and business standards as high as possible. "What's in a name?" Whatever meaning you put into it.

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