Tori Types Thoughts
Tori's very average blog
Pretty girls dancing at a party!
The StarBelly Dancers pride ourselves in donating many performances to the community or giving our earnings to the StarBelly School of Dance Scholarship Program. I love the program because it gives dancers the opportunity to keep on learning at StarBelly School of Dance in case some financial emergency occurs and they may not be able to afford classes for a short period of time. I am so grateful to be in a school that understands that art should not be taken away from those that need it most - well done Cecilia and Chad!
The StarBelly Dancers also get paid to perform at events and at restaurants (Sofia's Greek Bistro and the Taj Mahal of Boise are our current landing spots for restaurant dancing and they are amazing and delicious). Bayla, Jessica and I recently performed at a private party for a wonderful family who kept on gushing about how beautiful, talented and professional we are. Yes, I'm bragging: we are definitely all of those things! Something that strikes me though is how often people applaud our professionalism. My hope is that someday "professionalism" in belly dance will be taken for granted and that men and women who perform in this style will approach every gig, job or performance with grace, rectitude, and sophistication. How we are seen as a collective depends on all of us working together, so I have a list of promises that I am making to everyone that ever hires me and to my fellow dancers so that I can continue to push forward this art that we love.
Which one should go in my gallery?
Do we even need to talk about how much I love Saidi dance? Nope. Also some photos of the StarBelly Dancers doing Tribal X with Myra (who invented the style) and the Ente Omri Remix choreography by Cecilia Rinn.
These photos are courtesy of Diamond K Photography, owned by Keri Anderson who is a member of the StarBelly Performance Team and a lovely person! This was at the last Art of Belly Dance show, featuring Myra Krein.
For those of you who celebrate, I hope you and your family had a great Thanksgiving. I'm very grateful for you. Yes, you specifically. You encourage and inspire me everyday. Thank you for joining me.
Rest in peace, Erik Brown. I knew you only briefly, but those moments were magnificent. You loved sharing music, a strong drink, discussing everything, and, most of all, Delilah Flynn. There is less beauty in the world today. There is less rhythm, forever
Our first show at the Sapphire Room featuring Delilah and House of Tarab. A family photo.
StarBelly reppin' in the center of the photo. My raptor arm came out to PLAY.
The Arab Dance Seminar (ADS) happened during the first weekend of November in beautiful, sunny, inspiring LA. Jess and I stayed at a cute spot within walking distance to EVERYTHING, including the studio, and we had some interesting adventures along the way. The theme of this year's ADS was Authenticity, which is a loaded term in the beautiful land of belly dance in America. The phrase "belly dance" itself is in many ways inauthentic, for (paraphrasing the instructors) how can an entire country and history of dance get minimized to a single body part? In addition to incredible discussion about this topic, we learned from native instructors Karim Nagi (who organizes the ADS), Amel Tafsout, Nashwa Cahill, and American scholar Kay Hardy Campbell. The ADS website hosts short bios of the instructors, which I strongly encourage you to look at. They are all incredible teachers, performers, and human beings. www.arabdanceseminar.com
I could easily summarize the discussions we had or break down the moves we learned in the courses, but I think this would dilute the lessons and minimize the experience as a whole. How can you convey the passion of a group of people that can sing along to every single folk song they hear? How could I effectively share the dismay of seeing the songs of your ancestors and relatives minimized to a sexy stage performance by someone who hasn't seen the face of your homeland? It is hard enough to take on the challenge of defining my own authenticity... or to do the synchronized clapping thing that Kay taught us during our khaleegi class. I may never get that.
In my opinion it all breaks down to is a single thought that Amel shared during the Q&A portion of the seminar on the last day. I asked something about Fusion and Tribal dancers and the teachers paused (my question wasn't that great, but this is a big topic). After some comments, Amel said, "keep Arab voices in the conversation." I think that says a lot... it may even say everything. You really dance better when you honor the past of the dance you're performing and practice a craft with love and humility. When you study dance history, every figure that you've learned about will be with you on stage when it comes time to perform. You cannot innovate without the foundation set by those you'll never know. Respect them. Actually, let's respect everyone (within reason).
Shameless Self-Promotion :
Tori King is a belly dance artist, culture enthusiast and general weirdo. Is this a good biography? Do you like me yet? :-)