Gilded Serpent presents...
Taking Good Care of our Stars
We have reached
the stage with the Bellydance Superstars that we can now confidently
take a long-term view of the business and recognize the need to
take good care of our stars. Most of all, as we now need them
consistently; we have to free them from financial worries by giving
them job security including such things as health insurance. We
also have to give them a nice upside so they will want to remain
part of our enterprise.
the very beginning, I believed it important to create high quality
performance and instructional product AND to pay the participants
on a par to music stars.
I found this was highly unusual and dancers had been used to
getting very little or nothing in the past. I have seen some
of these other deals and was appalled. My deals give a cash
advance better than anyone else has ever paid AND a nice, respectable
royalty even when compared to the big music and film business.
touring troupe, we are in the process of offering contracts
with guaranteed weekly wages, even when we are not working.
All these contracts also provide health care. By the middle
of this year, we will be in a position to offer all our dancers
contracts, including the Roses. I do not want them working in
restaurants or in demeaning situations, and I want them not
worrying where the next dollar is coming from.
also believe it important to enable them to improve and expand
their abilities, skills, and styles. In October, we sent Sonia
to Egypt for a week for private, intensive lessons with the
great Raqia Hassan and Diana.
She also took one with Dina. This was all at
my expense. Next, we will send Petite Jamilla.
recognize the need to find and develop more dancers. The latest
auditions on January 14 and 15 had 78 excellent attendees, including
2 ladies who flew all the way from Melbourne, Australia, 1 from
China, 1 from Japan, 1 from Spain, 2 from Holland, and 3 from
Canada. Of these, one was at the level to become a Rose immediately
and 8 were close enough that we will undertake to train them-
at our expense- when we begin rehearsals in June. One also was
a good singer- in Arabic, no less- giving me the ability to
put some live vocals into the show. Training will be by our
own teachers, as well as other great teachers.
I am very
proud of the progress we have made and the fact that there is
now a professional, world touring, high profile bellydance enterprise
a bellydancer entering the scene can aspire to. I think that
is healthy for any art form.
the bar can only make the art more respected. At the same time,
it may scare some people who cannot reach that bar. I can’t
hope they love bellydance enough that they won’t try to
keep the bar low forever. Meanwhile, I foresee a continuing
upsurge of interest in bellydance, and teachers should do better
and better with more and more classes. That’s good.
P.S. I noticed
a few e-mails that infer I am making money at the expense of
the dancers. I wish it were true that I was making money. So
far the ONLY ones who are making a living out of this are the
dancers and crew. I am negative to the tune of almost $250,000
and don’t expect to be profitable until next year.
a comment? Send us a
Check the "Letters to the Editor"
for other possible viewpoints!
comic by Lynette
dare they pollute our pond!"
BDSS Auditions January 14-15,
2005, North Hollywood, CA
-Inside the Bellydance Superstars Final Auditions by Michelle
-"What have I got to lose?" by Zaheea
-Photos by Lynette
re: Miles responds to
Horacio's letter below reviewing the BDSS show in Berlin
Sirat Al-Ghawazi, Part
5 of 9 by Edwina Nearing
in the mid-1970's , the early sections of "Sirat Al-Ghawazi"
were first published under the title "The Mystery of the
Ghawazi." We are happy to be able to respond to the continued
demand for these articles by making them available to our readers
From Rags to Rhinestones
am most proud of having taken up dance later in life and having
become an acclaimed professional-level performer.