Gilded Serpent presents...
making us a wonderful meal, Turkish dance legend,
Sema Yeldiz gave us a special performance
in her living room.
Adventures in Turkey 2006
Text by Michelle Joyce
Most photos by Michael Baxter
is our Mecca. No, not because of the belly dancing. No,
not because of the amazing history. No, not because of the
wonderful people. It is because of Bella.
years of ordering Bella costumes, Michelle
decided to go to the promised land.... Bella's store! We
have long felt that Bella deserved as much credit as those
who taught us to dance, and we couldn't wait to thank her
to demonstrate how much this pilgrimage meant to us, I
want you to understand that I am not exaggerating when
I say that Sandra actually threw herself into Bella's
arms and wept when she first laid eyes on her.
the journey in August of 2006, along with amazing belly
dance photographer and good friend, Michael
Baxter. The three of us spent a few weeks site
seeing and doing small shows in Istanbul.
in Istanbul 8 years ago, Michelle met Sema Yeldiz,
a local dancer and teacher. When the two were reunited,
Sema declared our whole group "family" and insisted
on making us home-cooked meals, on showing us her home videos
from her many workshop tours, and on having us try on her
beautiful costumes. Sema generously offered to share the
contacts she gained over a lifetime of performing in films,
on TV, in clubs, and on international stages.
joined us for the tail end of the Istanbul trip - she literally
went straight from the airport to Bella's store! Poor Nadira
could barely keep her eyes open as we danced and partied
at Sema's house until 3am that same day.
we all traveled to the city of Antalya in the south, where
we had arranged a performance contract at Club Med.
There we spent our days on the beach and our nights dancing
(in our new Bella's of course).
moment of the trip was documented by our wonderful photographer,
Michael Baxter. We have hundreds of photos from the trip...
here are a few of our very favorites!
Here we are posing
with our favorite costume maker in the world...
Bella is extremely secretive about her work
and would not allow us to photograph the costumes
in her shop. But, here is a photo of one of
her 25 cats!
After a long journey, Nadira gets ready to enter
Bella's store for the very first time!
had a wild night performing in the Kumkapi district
First Sandra and Michelle performed....
the local dancer performed. Michael Baxter took
the opportunity to show off his shimmy and to give
her a big tip. Actually, he was having a great time
dancing with her until she shoved him and said "MONEY!"
with fire in her eyes. He only had a twenty dollar
bill, which he quickly handed over.
we danced and drank until dawn with the restaurant
owners and musicians.
few great scenery photos
[ed- check out the Saudi
Armaco World virtual walking tour of the
Suleymaniye Mosque here]
This is inside Basilica
Istanbul, we traveled to the South of Turkey to
fulfill our performance contract at Club Med. Here
we are after the performance on our first night.
Those lights in the background are the city of Antalya
across the bay. A cafe in Antalya had actually been
bombed a few days before our arrival, which meant
that security was very tight. Michelle was detained
by the club's Turkish security guards while walking
from her room to the performance with a sword in
on an island in the middle of the swimming pool!
We are happy to report that no one fell in.
and Nadira kick off the evening festivities by filling
glasses with French champagne.
Between them is the Club Med Manager, officially
called "The Chief of the Village".
we are teaching dance workshops for the Club Med
guests. Each of us took turns leading the daily
workshops. At the end of our stay, our students
did an excellent performance for the entire resort!
the Mediterranean Sea.
that was a hard day's work!
a comment? Send us a
Check the "Letters to the Editor"
for other possible viewpoints!
Review of the 33rd Annual Bellydancer of the Year Pageant Photos and report by Michael Baxter. This
show has some wonderful traditions.
Return to India –
This Time it’s Personal! by Michelle and Sandra
thought that the misfortunes associated with our previous performance
tours of India were simply anomalies in the blissful and glamorous
world of dancing overseas.
“The Bellydancers of Cairo”
An interview with filmmaker Natasha Senkovich by Betsey Flood
As a maid you can find yourself in compromising positions—not
good situations for a woman to be in—but in Egypt, it is
considered so much better than being a dancer.
Judging in Germany, The Summer
Festival and the International Raks Sharqi Contest 2006 by
Dondi S. Dahlin.
photos by Klaus Rabien, Berlin, Germany. "It is
also an easy out for judges who need to find a reason to drop
a dancer’s score…especially if the competition is
Soltice Festival, Belly Dance in Spain- Part 2, Photos by
held June 23-26, 2006. Part Two- The Evening Show, Event
organized by Maria Cresswell of Tribal Girona at Sanctuari Els
Arcs, Girona, Spain. A medieval hostelry with a chapel, set in
the beautiful volcanic natural park of La Garrotxa near the picturesque
village of Santa Pau.