the ‘70s, no dance set was complete without “floor-work!”
Magnificent Fundraiser Part Three:
Acts I and II
should take this moment to explain why I think you might be interested
in a show that took place in Berkeley, California, twenty-six
First of all,
I want to mention that this series I’ve been submitting about
our Helmet Club Show in 1975 is, for me, a memorial for many of
the people who were closely involved in the production but who
are now no longer living.
be others but those of whose passing I am aware of are:
- Four musicians,
Ja Croll, Tim Stackpole, and John Rekus
- Venue owner:
- The audience
also held my mother, Evelyn Gerhart, Kaethe Kliot, “Sabah”
Jamie Miller, and also my students, Habibi
and Eva Glasky.
I miss them
it becomes evident (in letters to
the editor and small comments in articles here and there)
that today’s dancers and producers sometimes write that they believe
that large stage shows with good sound and lighting, a Master
of Ceremonies, and live music are only now starting production.
Recently, promoters and dancers alike seem to intimate in their
personal publicity a conviction that only now are
dancers striving to place Oriental dance on the level of other
forms of ethnic dance by staging, lighting, research, authentic
techniques, and promotion. However, the fact is, that that
was exactly what we believed we were doing thirty years ago! Nowadays,
my assumption is that dancers before my era may have also been
thinking that they were bringing knowledge of Middle Eastern dance
into legitimacy. It seems to be quite a long haul.
As far as
I know, I was the first dancer in the East Bay (Berkeley) to stage
a large dinner show with a three-hour show of variety Ethnic dances
and Belly dance among them—emphasized and high-lighted—that attempted
to bring various factions of Oriental dance together on the same
stage. We presented Thai dance, Greek folkdance, and Fantasy
Oriental dances (featuring such specialties as snake, sword, dancing
on drinking glasses). Rhea
and her troupe represented the American Tribal style Belly dance,
which was in its infancy. Additionally, we staged several standard
Cabaret dance routines (A standard routine was, at that time,
a sort of American fusion of Turkish, Lebanese styles.) as well
as “Act III”: a duet featuring my dance partner, Bert
Balladine and me, Najia
(I will present
the photos of Act III soon as the final installment of this series
that I have titled “The Magnificent Fundraiser.”)
often ask me to show them early videos of my performances, and
I have to explain to them, regretfully, that there was no such
thing as a camcorder for personal use at that time. My earliest
recorded black and white videos were from a box that one had to
thread like a sewing machine, with tape snaking from one reel
to another! I only obtained that pathetic technology after this
show was past history. I gave performances on local television
channels, but the tapes were commercial sized reels (not cassettes),
and I eventually dumped them because I could not play them on
anything available to me.
Kliot of Lacis in Berkeley took all of these
previously black and white still photos, but he did not print
a majority of them beyond the contact sheet phase. I re-discovered
the contact sheets in my file recently and undertook their cleaning,
enlargement, and colorization, via my computer, in an attempt
to preserve another little piece of our dance history in Northern
California. Many thanks from all of the show performers to Mr.
Kliot. I hope readers of Gilded Serpent will look at
his never-before-published photographs as a historical contribution
to West Coast Oriental dance.
Here are photos
of “Act I and Act II”. Act III to follow.
a comment? Send us a
Check the "Letters to the Editor"
for other possible viewpoints!
Ready for more?
The Magnificent Fundraiser,
Part Two- Police Barriers Surround Event by Najia Marlyz
coffee, we decided that our fundraiser would have to be an extraordinary
dance show rather than “just another student night”
or worse yet, a studio recital.
This is Not a Review: Bellydance
Superstars Commentary by Najia Marlyz
lies one major flaw concerning the concept of superstardom in
Bellydance: choreography. While choreography is a form of quality
assurance, it is also assurance that the quality attained will
be less than stellar in Bellydance!
Magnificent Fundraiser by Najia Marlyz
included the Belly dance, which he confided in me (later) that
he had hated, because it had been introduced to Greece during
the time that Greece was under the suppression and control of
Belly Dancer of the Year 2006 Photos
by Susie Poulelis
Danville, Ca, Sunday May 28, 2006 BD of the Year - Finals,
more photos coming!
Weird Rituals and Beyond: Exploring
Current Controversies in Middle Eastern Dance by Barbara Grant
If you are like me, (I know that many are not) you first
responded viscerally and negatively to both situations. Then,
as the shock wore off, perhaps you tried to make sense of it all.
The Bellydance Scene in Taiwan Toss
Hair Dance by Eugenia
The women were much more skillful than I expected: just
3 years ago, nobody in Taiwan really knew anything about Bellydance.