Please don’t dance at any price!
I am not talking about dancing in expensive and upscale places rather than affordable and popular ones, I am not talking about selecting your public according to its financial possibilities. I am talking about changing the way people look at you!
It is sometimes smarter to offer your performance at no charge if you don’t want to miss a nice opportunity to be exposed, rather than bargain it.
Quality always has a price, people need to get used to it.
If you regularly appear in cheap clubs or events, you might be very busy, but no one will ever call you when an exceptional performance is required.
It is a choice to make, and it is not an easy one, since we all need to work.
We are confronted with another issue.
Oriental dance, in its most urban form ( in our jargon ‘”raqs sharqy”), can be very elitist and sophisticated, but one shouldn’t forget all its popular and village forms (saiadi, shaaby, baladi, etc) that requires a real complicity and participation of the audience.
How to set an audience on fire with never falling into vulgarity, how to be inviting, generous, teasing, but never accessible (affordable)?
Today, the best dancers in Cairo perform in hotel discos (5 stars, but still), in the middle of the night, followed by a “russian show” (a group of Slavic young chicks doing nothing but standing there ) for a few addicts like me, but mostly for fat drunk guys with big cigars. And if you don’t get the information through some confidential dance circle, you will never even get to those shows, since no one wants to promote them.
Then you have the American belly-dance.
American dancers adapted Egyptian dance to western culture and mentality. They made beautiful shows, with spectacular choreographies and perfect looking dancers. They made it look so perfect, it lost its spirit.
By making it acceptable by all, they washed its identity away.
Let’s admit it, without Hollywood and the Americans, belly-dance would probably have stayed limited to a small audience of “inities”.
They made a huge market out of it, and it would be too bad not to use this wonderful opportunity.
Now, our mission is to try and perform our beloved the dance, in the setting and to the public it deserves.
How? This is not an easy one, but we are working on it, and if you follow my Moods, I will enjoy revealing to you, little by little, what is now on my mind and very soon on the best stage setting we can think of.
Alex, with passion