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You can't stop another person from using their own body and moving it the way they want...
On the cover:
Mahmoud Reda (born March 18, 1930 in Cairo, Egypt) is an Egyptian dancer and choreographer. He is best known for co-founding the Reda Troupe.
Traditional vs Contemporary
So how do you make that grade? Sometimes you are expected to pay - lots - which is fine to a point. Teaching is a skill and it takes time and effort to teach and to learn, but it you have paid money and you still don’t “fit”, is it because you aren’t good enough as a dancer? Or is it because your hair isn’t the right shade or you’re too fat or you’re just not “one of us"?
When you fit, learning flows freely - it is joyous.
When you don’t - what you love can be used against you and you might start feeling that nothing you do is worthy and you will never be good enough.
But good enough for what?
Good enough for who?
When I first started to dance everything that was “authentic” was considered good. I looked at my pasty face and thought how could anyone ever consider me an authentic belly dancer?
I didn’t fit either. I felt there was a subtle pressure from the scene - who is this person? I didn’t know the right people, I hadn’t been around long enough and had ended up teaching classes by accident.
It’s an interesting fact that most Egyptians would sight the dancers of the Reda Troupe who were popular in Egyptian film in the 1960’s and 70’s doing authentic and traditional Egyptian dances.
Yet these were trained ballet dancers, who had stylized the traditional dances into their own contemporary version. Mahmoud Reda has since stated:
"... when you bring them, the real folkloric dancers, put them on stage, they look odd, they look strange. Their costumes, they don’t know where to look, and if they do their things, it’s very monotonous. So what I call my choreography is not folkloric. It’s inspired by the folkloric. There is like 90% extra put on the dance." Carolina Varga Dinicu (August 2005). "Interview with Mahmoud Reda". Gilded Serpent. Retrieved October 9, 2015.
Many famous dancers have now taken steps to prove ownership of their dance style. The tribal genre has a whole plethora of “formats” to choose from and subscribe to. These formats in their own way have become traditional – they now meet the criteria of a traditional art form.
This is great!
The same can be said about being your own person and dance moves that you love. No dance move can be copyrighted, you cannot stop another person from using their own body and moving it in a way they can and want to. You cannot stop a person from taking a salsa move and adding a belly dance move after it if they want to.
This dance started as a way for people to ease their muscles and stay fit and healthy so that they could undertake all the jobs needed to stay alive and grow their families.
This is what it's for! Whether you love Egyptian Baladi above everything else or love to make it up as you go along, dance because you love it and don’t ever let anyone stop you.
Lynne meryl Chapman, Contributor: Fulya is Bellydance teacher, performer, costumier and event organizer, for the majority of her 16 year career this has been her full time job. She is well known as a fusion bellydance performer and constantly seeks to push boundaries and re-define her art. Every aspect of her performance is carefully planned and constructed from concept to execution, all parts are equally important. Music choice, costume, make up and even hair style are all carefully crafted to help tell the dances story and... (more...)