rebuttal- n 1: the act of refuting by offering a contrary contention or argument

The act of responding.
A reply or an answer. A reaction, as that of an organism or a mechanism, to a specific stimulus. Ecclesiastical Something that is spoken or sung by a congregation or choir in answer to the officiating minister or priest


Editing by Beth , (puciation only)
Layout, graphics by Lynette


Dunia's response
to a review by
Bobbie Giarratana
, titled
Where's The Hook When We Need It?"
Desert Dance 2000

Dunia is Founder and Director of the "Desert Dance Festival" (14 years to present). Since 1976, Dunia has performed and entertained crowds at night clubs, festivals, and charity events throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. She has taught Middle Eastern Dance on all student levels, at various community centers throughout California.

Dunia writes to Gilded Serpent:

I don’t usually bother to reply to opinionated statements. After all, this IS a free country, but this one bothered me. I feel that the dance community has been insulted and I hope it responds accordingly.


My dear: some of these people have zills older than you.

I took a couple of days to calm down and re-evaluate just what you were saying. The conclusion I came to was that you apparently wondered why I don’t say “NO” to dancers that YOU feel shouldn’t be on stage.

Are you making a statement of dance festivals in general? Or is it DDF that you have the problem with?

When you get your own festival, you can do as you like. Until YOU put one together, you will have no idea what it entails or how my committee and I strive to present the best possible festival to the public year after year.

By the way, I don’t have time to audition every single dancer before the festival. Even if I did, I wouldn’t anyway. DDF was designed for open dancing, not structured performances. The dancers who YOU feel are inept call in just like everyone else and the performances are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis. I’ve been asked by so-called better dancers why they have to call in at all. My reply is “because it’s the fair thing to do.”

Lots of these dancers don’t get to perform in clubs or get asked to do paid gigs. So tell me, where can they go to express themselves in a safe, warm environment? Some of these dancers will never be better than they are right now. Some have disabilities. Is that any reason to exclude them?

One of the dancers is a Vietnam veteran who received head injuries in an unpopular war. He put his life on the line for us. The joy he gets from those nine minutes of glory isn’t really asking for much. What do YOU think?

Although I understand that you are an artist; it’s difficult to believe the lack of understanding and sympathy you have for your fellow dancers, especially if your only contribution to the dance community is to hold your breath for six hours under water (Houdini would be envious) while playing finger cymbals.

If you are going to write articles for public review, please write responsibly.

And a word to you, Editor, for being so politically incorrect: I feel this so-called article is negative and non-supportive to the dance community. We need the good with the bad, the thick with the thin, the short with the tall. Without these differences, none of us would be special.

REMEMBER: “Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance!

Producer, Desert Dance Festival
Director, The Nile Spice Dancers
CEO, Scarab Productions

A Final Word from Bobbie

"Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance!" You may believe this, Dunia, but don't charge us for it.

Thank you, Dunia, for responding. The so-far uniformly positive response to my article had me wondering if I was just preaching to the converted. Now I know that there is at least one person out there who doesn't agree with me, and it's the organizer of the event I criticized! You made some comments, however which led me to believe you completely misunderstood my point. The careful reader would have seen that I was making a distinction between "beginner" and just plain "clueless".

I kept my criticism directed at the unprepared, lazy dancer, not those dancers who are obviously making great efforts onstage.

You commented that I should write more "responsibly." From your perspective it seems that the only interpretation of "responsible" could be non-judgmental description. I don't agree, and I stand by my opinion.

The entire world doesn't belong onstage just because they have the will and desire to be there. We are not all artists just because we want to be. Where can unprepared dancers go to express themselves in a safe, warm environment? Home. They can dance for friends in their living room, at parties, discos, or class. But not on stage; that is a public forum where people who have been charged admission fees will inevitably notice and judge them. The audience has arrived in the spirit of goodwill to see dance, good or bad, and we are ready to be entertained, not made a part of someone's personal therapy.


Your turn! What do you think?

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