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ISPAHAN Magazine

Miss Luisa

director of Kids Programs on Belly Dance for Kids

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ISPAHAN Magazine • Issue 4 • 2012

ISPAHAN Magazine Editorial

E-mail Editor/Art director Manon Claus Editorial staff André Elbing Luisa Molina Princess Banu Princess Farhana LotteLiese






online quarterly magazine via (no print)

Coverphoto/Photography Manon Claus

Internet ispahan_magazine_no4 .indd (previous issues via ‘other publications’)

Next Issue

The next issue wil be the Winter issue (February 2013).


It is not allowed to copy or use anything from this magazine without permission of the editor. Please always contact us first if you would like to share, show, or redirect on Facebook or other (social) media, internet or print. See page 170 for our disclaimer. Ispahan Magazine©2012Manon Claus


© 2012 Kashka

ISPAHAN Magazine is a publication of The ISPAHAN Oriental Dance Company.

The ISPAHAN Oriental Dance Company is a vibrant and exciting dance group, based in the (south of the) Netherlands. All dancers have a sturdy background: many years of experience in dancing, performing and teaching Oriental Dance. More information is avaliable via: For questions, copy, advertisements or bookings, please contact us via:


© 2012 Kashka


Ispahan Magazine, Volume 4 - Autumn Edition 2012

Oriental Cocooning! Given the countless number of heart warming messages, thoughtful e-mails and enthousiatic notes concerning the previous -Summer- edition of this magazine, it is save to say that we are on the right path! Filled with pride and joy, we present to you this brand new Autumn issue, the last one of this year. Until 2013! Text & Photographs by Kashka

The days are getting shorter, the temperatures colder and we are all getting ready for winter. If you, like me, are merely an amateur dancer, your performance season will probabely be over by now, maybe one more workshop to attend, one more show to visit, but after that there will be a new, calmer order of developing and rehearsing new choreographies and slowly preparing for next years performances. Which hafla’s will you attend, who’s invitation to dance will you receive? It is still to early to tell.. And soon, the holiday season will start, family and friends will gather around the fire, drinking hot drinks in stead of cold ones. You will find yourself sitting on your sofa a lot more, under a blanket to keep you warm. Thank god for socks, cardigans and central heating! A perfect time for Cocooning.. being comfortably tugged in, feeling safe and warm, staying indoors. To read a book, to listen to music, to dream about your next holiday and to find that one specific recipe you were looking for. In this edition of ISPAHAN Magazine, you will find all you need to day dream away, while leaning comfortably against soft cushions. Or perhaps you will finally have the time to redecorate that room in the attic, in Arabian style? Get inspired by the lovely get aways, featured in this magazine. Create your own small get away, burn incense and select music to dance to, dream of new adventures and spend time with friends, looking at old Samia Gamal movies and drinking spicy tea. Now is the time to mend old costumes, to update

your web site or to design new business cards.. A time also, for all those other hobbies you have been neglecting during summer! And you might also get inspired to write your own story down, your experiences as a Oriental dancer, or a review of that one show you saw, that left a lasting impression on you. We would be happy to receive those stories here, at ISPAHAN Magazine. Or perhaps you would like to comment of one of the stories in this issue. So when it is cold outside, raining and stormy weather, get behind that computer and write away! We would also like to hear from you, if you want to share a specific photograph you made at a hafla or show, which has a story behind it, or if you have been on a special -Oriental dance- trip abroad and you have lovely pictures to show us. Please take a look at page for all the details and specifications. But for now: back to Cocooning! The hot chocolade, the baking madness, lighting candles, warm marshmellows, the shop windows filled with sparkling decorations, or the festive Hijri New Year celebration. Perhaps you are a bit sad to see summer end, but what a lovely season to look forward to! So join me and dive into the warm and cosy world that is called ISPAHAN Magazine..! Enjoy!

With love, Kashka (editor) ISPAHAN 05

Cardamom-Peach Galette Don’t you just love trying out new recipes on a cold, windy afternoon? This one is just mouth watering, isn’t it?! You can find a very good recipe description and pictures via this link: Recipe by Martha Steward, explanation and pictures by Pigamitha Dimar,22 years of age and currently living in Medan, Indonesia.


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ISPAHAN Magazine


1. Luisa Molina Director of Kids Programs, Belly Dance Instructor and Performer at Belly Motions Inc.



2. Princess Farhana Professional Oriental dancer, Burlesque dancer, Writer, Painter, Musician, Designer, heck what isn’t she.. ;-) 3. LieseLotte Peeters Dancer, Performer & Photographer 4. Princess Banu Professional dancer, Dance Teacher and Designer 5. AndrÊ Elbing Professional Photographer at Artistic Theatrical Oriental Photography, Colone 6. Manon Claus Founder of The Ispahan Oriental Dance Company (dancer, choreographer, website and costume designer) Founder of ISPAHAN Magazine (editor, art director, advertising manager & publisher) Professional painter and Workshop Organiser










                 

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             


© 2012 Kashka ISPAHAN 11

FALL FALL makes pretty pictures... and pictures then get blogged and reblogged, on walls and message boards.. I love it, like these ones from Jessica (below), Mary Lee (above right) and vote for the best carved pumpkin on Scott Goods web page..!


http : / / s c ott go o d s on . t y p e p a d. c om / my _ we bl o g / 2 0 0 9 / 1 0 / vote - for- b e st - c ar ve d pumpkin.html



Co © 2012 Kashka



002 | Editorial 005 | Editor’s Page 008 | Contributors of this magazine 168 | Join us: be on the ISPAHAN Magazine team 170 | Disclaimer

018 | Great ISPAHAN gifts 096 | Highly recommended! Books & more.. 116 | Upcoming Great Event 117 | What’s in that (Oriental) Bag? 140 | Ispahan Shopping 166 | Oriental Parfume

PERSONAL STORIES 020 | Interview with: Princess Farhana 060 | Princess Banu 100 | Dancer in Egypt 118 | Miss Luisa: Architect -Oriental Dancer- Professor on belly dancing for Kids

BACKGROUND STORIES 036 | Age appropriate.. 070 | About the Ispahan Oriental Dance Company/ Ispahan 4 Flexibility 142 | Going Pro



058 | Armenian Nutmeg Cake 086 | Oriental recipes: Chicken Machbous from Bahrain 090 | Soup! 098 | Aubergine

108 | (Oriental) Design

FUN STUFF 032 | Fun quotes

PHOTOGRAPHY 050 | The Dancer & The Photographer: LieseLotte 108 | André Elbing: Dancer and Actor



© 2012 Kashka

The falling leaves drift by the window The autumn leaves of red and gold I see your lips, the summer kisses The sun-burned hands I used to hold

Since you went away the days grow long And soon I’ll hear old winter’s song But I miss you most of all my darling When autumn leaves start to fall

Autumn Leaves: French lyrics English lyrics by Johnny Mer 16 ISPAHAN

© 2012 Kashka

C’est une chanson, qui nous ressemble Toi tu m’aimais et je t’aimais Nous vivions tous, les deux ensemble Toi que m’aimais moi qui t’aimais

Mais la vie sépare ceux qui s’aiment Tout doucement sans faire de bruit Et la mer efface sur le sable les pas des amants désunis

s by Jacques Prévert (original), rcer, Music by Joseph Kosma ISPAHAN 17

Ispahan Shop We can make customized shirts for you, and much more! For more info: info@



Princess Farhana

Interview with:

a n a h r a F s s e c n Pri Ever since I read your first blog (or rather: the first blog I read, not the first one you wrote ;-), I thought: this is it! Not only your advice, based on experience, hit home, but also the life you (seem to) lead and the atmosphere that you create around your profession, seemed to be the quintessential Oriental Dancer’s life.. That’s how I imagined it to be, for a pro.. with all the glitter, madness, wild living, glamour, lots and lost of creativity in different regions AND the intelligence to put that all into context. If I would have been younger at the time, you just might have become my role model ;-) Seriously, the first (silly) thing that went through my mind was: I wish I was her... Now, a bit more ‘into’ the ‘scene’, I have realised that you, in fact, are very extraordinary, one of a kind, unique.., and much more than ‘just’ an Oriental dancer. I suspect you don’t like to be put in a box.. Have you ever felt you did not ‘fit in’ with the rest of the Oriental dance world? I love my life as a professional belly dancer. Seriously, after being a pro for nearly 23 years, I sometimes still can’t believe this is my life…


because I love what I do, and because it was a farfetched dream of mine that actually came true! I worked extremely hard for this… I studied in endless classes, workshops, did research, analyzed the market, practiced at home for hours on end, sought advice, and along the way, I made a lot of mistakes, but learned a lot too. But also, many, many dancers do the same thing as well… so I always consider myself unbelievably blessed and never take my life for granted!! Being an oriental dancer or a belly dancer is definitely a HUGE part of my identity. If someone says “What do you do?” the first thing out of my mouth is “I am a professional dancer”. But it’s not the only thing I do, just the biggest thing, for the past two decades. I am an artist. Previously, I felt uncomfortable with that term, I thought it sounded pretentious… but I realized that I’ve made a living my entire adult life by making art, and by being imaginative and


creative. For this, I am also blessed and eternally grateful. I have always performed my whole life, I was raised in the theater. Acting comes very naturally to me. I paint, I design costumes, I sing (and fronted three bands, who all made recordings and went on tour) and before I concentrated on dancing, I wrote for many magazines and had six books published. Sometimes I don’t feel like I “fit in” with the belly dance community at large - I do many styles of dance , and I don’t feel as though I am in any one community, due to that. I teach at as many Tribal festivals as I do cabaret or oriental festivals, and I also perform burlesque. I have also been at various times a magician’s assistant, and done many circus or carnival type acts as well singing an acting in films and on the stage. Because of this, I have had the chance to experience all the sub-genres of belly dancing - and the world of entertainment in general. I have many friends all over the world who devote themselves to just one style of dance or performance, so sometimes I feel like I am in a crazy mixed-up category by myself!

I like to experiment, I like theater and the whole essence of show business. It gives me free reign to create. You have stated that ‘[ I ] made my own costumes [at first] cause I had lots of imagination…but no cash. But what used to be called “ghetto” is now called “green”, and making stage-wear is a challenge, a pleasure, and really gratifying as well as being a way of recycling!’ I totally ‘get’ that and although I still don’t have the cash to buy designers costumes AND I am only an amateur dancer, I pretty sure I wouldn’t if both were not the case. I want to express myself in my costumes as well as in my dance and feel ‘different’. These handmade costumes take hours, weeks, months of your time, effort and creativity and are therefore special, no matter what they look like in the end and even more so if ‘mementos’ are build into it. Lately, though, I feel that if you don’t follow ‘the trend’ in costume fashion, you are looked down upon by the (aspiring) pro’s. Many times, I have heard whispering about ‘out of style’ clothes

and have seen contempt on faces, even at open stage hafla’s. I really miss the atmosphere of ‘the old days’ were creativity was the most important thing.. not complying with trends or copying styles (but the quite the opposite). What would you say to dancers that are starting out and feel ‘pressured’ into spending the cash... ? >> ISPAHAN 21

I think that costumes are equitable to street clothes, in that when you wear them, they are a non-verbal signal as to who you are. I sometimes do think many dancers feel pressured to keep up with the latest trends in costuming, but to me, that feels like being a slave to fashion… and I believe that fashion is something to be enjoyed, it’s not a competition!

For years I have worn vintage clothes because I loved them - and until quite recently, in the past decade or so, vintage clothes or shopping at secondhand stores and flea markets wasn’t mainstream. People didn’t understand the appeal of retro clothing. Now, it’s high-fashion! The same goes for belly dancers. When the general public sees a dancer, as long as her costume is in good repair and fits her well, the audience just doesn’t care if it’s in or out of style in the belly dance world, because they don’t understand trends in belly dance costuming, only we dancers do! The general public still thinks of belly dancing being all about veils and shimmering fringe and shiny coins and genies - they might not realize that costumes with no decoration are the latest trend from Cairo…and they probably wouldn’t care, either! They just want to be entertained. I think the same people that whisper covertly about costumes being in or out of style are the same people that are insecure and unhappy in general. They make fun of someone because it helps them to feel better about themselves…at least that’s my opinion. I try to stay away from negativity and angry people in general- I’d much rather be around positive, creative people, and people who know that they like and feel secure in themselves. As for “out-dated” or “out-of-style costumes, there’s a growing number of American dancers - myself included - who LOVE older costumes, especially the Madame Abla “fringe monster” style of the 1970’s through the early 1990’s…


We are obsessive about collecting, restoring and wearing those beautiful old pieces, because they are works of art. The craftsmanship in many of the newer costumes simply cannot compare! Also, even though I have been fortunate enough to be able to afford a ridiculous wardrobe of brand new costumes, I still really love to make brand new costumes, I still really love to make my own- because often, there is nothing on the market that can match up with my on-stage fantasies, so I need to make them myself. I love to do this, and it feels special to me as well. And I still get a kick of out of using recycled materials and just crazy stuff in general on the costumes I create for myself. My costume line, “Princess Farhana For King Of The Nile” is based on my own original retro/ Egyptian Golden Age designs. I have a new collection coming out in 2013 and I’m very excited about it! We can’t talk to you without mentioning Theda Bara... ;-) For those who don’t know her: Theda was the very first sex symbol for the masses, long before Harlow or Monroe.. She was an actress in the 1910’s, starring in silent movies, in black and white. Her garments were copied by Mata Hari (and some Oriental dancers after that, like Princess Banu) and her ‘smoky eyes’ are copied massively to this very day, by almost any woman and even some men.. After Theda, there were many more who loved to be ‘the temptress’ and it’s something that ‘fits’ you as well.. as you also are a burlesque performer since 1995. How do you balance between sensual and cheap, between feminine and sex object.. ? What would you say if you were accused of giving Oriental dance a bad name (are you?) and how do you keep the self respect and respect of others, when stripping on stage?

I grew up immersed in my mother’s extensive theatrical library (she was a singer, dancer and actress for years before having me and my siblings. When I was a kid, she taught musical theater at a university, and would put on stage productions. As a little girl, I was absolutely fascinated by her books, it was my imaginary world, I so wished I could leave my life in the “earthy” 1970’s and live in a glamorous world of silent movies and the Folies Bergere… I wanted to BE Theda Bara, or La Belle Otero, Ruth St. Dennis, Ginger Rogers…. I adored the elegant, sexy black and white pictures of 20th Century movie stars, and also all the gorgeous posters of Broadway productions, ballets, or Alphonse Mucha prints, and even music halls from Europe, like the original Moulin Rouge. >>



I used to close my eyes and wish I could go back in time and exist in such a beautiful era - because in the one I was living in, The Natural Look was in… and I didn’t want to be “natural” I wanted to smolder and be a vamp! I wanted to be Sally Bowles, or jean Harlow, or Cleopatra by way of Claudette Colbert! I never though that kind of would be possible in my lifetime, until decades later, when as an adult, I realized I could create it myself. I just had the honor of dancing in Hollywood, at The 90th Anniversary of The Egyptian Theater. The Egyptian was the very first theater to hold a movie premiere, on October 18, 1922. It’s now a Hollywood landmark, but it still shows films, mostly vintage Hollywood classics. They asked me to recreate a 1920’s/ Theda Bara type number for the Masquerade Ball they were having in honor of the 90th Anniversary - I almost fainted, I was so excited! It was kind of the culmination of everything I’ve been working towards-and loving-since childhood! As far as burlesque goes, there’s a very definite line between being sensual and cheap, and I think a lot of it starts with the performer, her sense of self, her presentation, and her basic self-esteem. What’s classy to one person may be complete trash to another person… so its up to the performer to gauge this - she needs to KNOW her audience, know what is appropriate for them, and also know her own boundaries. When I was a kid, the musical “Hair” was on Broadway, and it featured a lot of nudity. Woodstock made the national news; again there was nudity. I was growing up on a college campus, and there was a lot of experimental theater and film going on - more nudity. As I grew older, I did artist modeling, and I was comfortable in my own skin, so I was comfortable without my clothes on. Being nearly nude in the context of a burlesque show on a well-lit stage, with beautiful makeup and extravagant costumes and props isn’t the same as being naked in public. Again, you are a performer creating an illusion. And burlesque isn’t all about stripping, either. There’s a level of make-believe and play acting that needs to be included otherwise the performance won’t work. Like other aspects of show business, it takes the

audience on a journey. In the case of burlesque, they journey is a bit more adult in content.

I think most people nowadays are savvy enough to understand the mechanics of burlesque, and they don’t confuse it with commercial, strip-club type stripping. They also, for the most part, do not confuse burlesque or striptease with belly dancing, either. That may not have been true a few years ago, but I’ve found it to be true nowadays. And in America and Europe, there has always been an interplay between the two art forms as well. For decades strip-tease dancers or burlesque queens would don oriental or belly dance costumes. Belly dancing was an archetype and burlesque dancers borrowed from the movements and the costuming freely. It’s cultural appropriation, but on an artistic level. And more recently, belly dancing has borrowed from burlesque - in some of the costuming trends, in the use of feather fans, in the use of narrative and story lines within a dance number. Believe me, I have done years of research on the way both art forms affected each other, and I could go on and on about this… I actually teach a workshop called “The Naughty Side of Little Egypt, Contrasting Belly Dance And Burlesque”. I’m teaching that workshop in 2013 at tee Majma Festival in the UK and in Australia, as well as many other places. As a singer, dancer, poet, writer, actor AND musician... your senses and your body as a whole are very important to you, I presume. As a dancer, hearing the music and moving your limbs are pretty crucial, as a singer your throat is, etcetera.. I sometimes think about aging and things that don’t improve over time.. What would bother you the most, losing your hearing, losing the use of your legs.. what I am really asking is 1. did your lifestyle (singer in a punk band, substance (ab)use, etc.), hurt you later in life and 2. are you bothered with the deterioration that accompanies getting older? What would you hate to loose over time? Oh, I couldn’t imagine losing any of my senses or the use of body parts - what a nightmare! >> ISPAHAN 25

I had a very wild life when I was younger, I will freely admit to that. A lot of it was fun, but a lot of it was self-destructive. I had substance abuse issues, and I also had an eating disorder- iw as bulimic for years. I didn’t have a lot of self-esteem.

Belly dancing literally saved my life. It was something beautiful and amazing, it got me through an awful divorce, and it divorced me from abusing drugs and alcohol, because I couldn’t dance if I was high or hung over….and dancing was the most important thing in my life! Belly dancing also made me feel beautiful, and it changed my relationship to food. There was no “good food” or “bad food”… I couldn’t danced if I was too full , so I naturally began to see food as fuel and not something to fill a hold in my psyche. Belly dancing healed me… and I have seen it heal the lives of many other women as well. Like Yoga and Martial Arts, there is a reason belly dance has been around for centuries! It’s incredible. I have had two severe car accidents during my career - one about 17 years ago and one 3 years ago - they did worse things to my body than anything I did to myself when I was younger. Injury is bad for everyone, but even more horrible for a dancer… because it’s not just the pain and inconvenience, there’s t always the psychological torture: “Will I be able to dance again?” I couldn’t imagine life without it. As for getting older, right now, I feel very comfortable with myself mentally and emotionally… I don’t always like the way I look or feel when I get up in the morning, but as soon as I move around and start being physical, usually from dancing, I feel fine again, like I could conquer the world! I will admit that I often feel a little pang of jealousy when I see a gorgeous dancer in her early twenties - but in a good way! I’m less jealous of the way she looks, what I want is something that she herself may not realize - the fact that if she wants, she will have a few decades ahead of her being able to do something she loves to the fullest of her potential, and being over fifty myself, I know, realistically, that I do not have that


luxury anymore. Oh, I’ll still keep dancing - I’m going to dance into my grave (!!!) but I have to be realistic. By now I know that A) I am not immortal and B) no one is going to mistake me for being 20 again any time soon… I am fine with that! I think I just envy the expansive thought of being young and having the world in front of you! But I certainly do not envy the insecurity and/or innocence of younger women. But when I was younger, I didn’t realize that I was smart of beautiful or funny… more a kind and caring individual - and I think many young women today as well don’t realize that, either. That selfrealization usually only starts coming to you in your 40’s! What do you think, would you have become (as in ‘profession’), if you hadn’t been so darnn creative? Impossible question, I know.. ;-) No, that’s easy - If I wasn’t doing anything artistic, I would work with animals, a be a veterinarian, or run an animal rescue. You have been on tour for most of your life now. It is a life style that only few can endure and actually like and it takes a special kind of energy and character to be able to continue for such a long time.. I presume at first it was not a conscience choice but something that simply happened, but has there been a moment where you just wanted to call it quits and become a hermit? Do you need the audience, the limelight.. do you live on the excitement and adventure, or do you also have a (secret?) ‘other’ side that would be perfectly okay in the mere presence or cats? It is an extraordinary life, and sometimes a very glamorous life… but it’s also extremely hard on your body and soul at times, and sometimes it’s lonely. Once in a while I joke that when I am on the road, alone in my hotel room awake at odd hours from jet lag , in a foreign country, my only friends are newscasters and reality show people! Many people can’t stand being on the road for more than a few weeks, it’s definitely not for the faint of heart! It takes an adventurous spirit, and it’s mentally, emotionally and physically exhausting sometimes. I love it - and it blows my mind that I have been on the road pretty consistently for more than thirty years - I mean, >> ISPAHAN 27

that’s kind of crazy! I do love having a fantastic audience when I perform, but to me, touring is less about that than it is about making personal connections, and having adventures all over the world. It’s about living life to the fullest, seeing how people in different countries are so very different, yet so very similar.

It’s about understanding “the human condition” in general and learning about different cultures. Being on the road is about the opportunity to live as an artist, and form bonds with people whom you wouldn’t have met in the course of a more ordinary, ordered lifestyle. I am lucky, I have had some truly incredible experiences, and the good far outweighs the bad! I do have a secret other side though… I fantasize sometimes about living an ordinary life sometimes…being in one place! It’s like a reverse mid-life crisis! I really enjoy my time at home with my boyfriend and my cats - and if I was home more often, I would also have a garden, some dogs and horses and a goat or two! But then I really start looking forward to adventures again I guess that’s the curiosity of the writer in me. I probably won’t be keeping up this crazy pace of traveling in a few years, I would like to move out of Los Angeles and live in a cute old Victorian house somewhere more quiet and have a dance studio, and time to paint and write more - there, I’ve said it! Your most recent blogs (‘Going Pro..’ no. 1-9) are very informative about the business of and behind Oriental Dancing: you share your experiences with dancers (who are thinking about going pro) and give some advice.. It reads like a sort of final book of references.. Are you saying goodbye to us? Au contraire! I started my blog in 2009 to sort of “test the waters” for a book I’m writing on belly dancing, and it will actually be published this coming year! It’s called “The Belly Dance Handbook”.


It’s not a how-to, and its not technique driven, it’s kind of like a workbook for serious students or for new professionals or those who want to turn professional. When I began writing the book, I wanted feedback, so I thought I’d write a blog and see how people reacted to it…. and the reaction has been splendid! I get thousands of hits a month, and people email me from all over the world. The content of the book contains everything that has been on my blog, and more. Artemis Mourat write the forward, and she was kind enough to let me use images from her extensive collection of vintage oriental post cards as illustrations! I cannot wait until the book comes out! I’m finishing it up over the 2012 Holiday Season, and I hope it will be out by Spring of 2013. I was planning for it originally to be out this past summer, but I was on the road too much! It’s so close to being finished, it just needs to get laid out graphically now. I’m very excited! I also have another book coming out that is already written. It’s titled “Lady Don’t Be Panic” and it’s all crazy road and touring stories, from belly dance as well as movie locations, burlesque and punk rock. It’s a pretty wild book, lots of funny stories. Punk Hostage Press is publishing it, and it will be out in February 2013! Thank you so much, Princess for this interview. And wish you lots of happy, crazy, ordinary adventures to explore, while we will be reading your books!

Princess Farhana’s website: Princess Farhana’s blog: Photos courtesy & copyright © 2012 of Princess Farhana. (Photo page 27: Theda Bara)






© 2012 Kashka


© 2012 Kashka

© 2012 Kashka


It is a much talked about subject: at what age should you stop (‘Belly’) dancing? Some say: ‘As long as you feel good, keep on doing it!’ Some say: ‘Keep dancing, just don’t perform anymore.’ Some say: ‘You are as old as you feel, go for it.’ Some say: No audience is waiting for an elderly dancer with wrinkles everywhere.’ Some say: ‘Stop if your body is not able to do all the moves anymore.’ Some say: ’There is an audience for everything, so there also are people who love older women performing.’ And some say: ‘There is nothing more beautiful as women of all ages performing together: mother, daughter, grandma, dancing is for everyone!’ But no one really puts a number on it. On when to quit. Of course that is because it is a very personal decision, plus one that will inevitably peek around the corner for every dancer.. Sooner or later you will be confronted with that question. Most dancers started dancing at a very young age and dance is part of their life. They cannot imagine not dancing. But we all (at least when you are over 35?) peaked into the mirror at some point and thought.. Mmm, is this still okay? Sometimes you feel silly when surrounded by a bunch of young dancers. What’s grandma doing here? you imagine they must wonder. And if you are ‘just’ a ‘recreational’ dancer and not a professional one, this is even harder. There is no audience especially there to see you; there are no students who have admired you from day one, who come to see ‘the big star’ in her golden years. You are merely there because you love it. Because you cannot image not dancing anymore. Because you would feel so damn old if you would say ‘I am over my prime now, so I am going to quit’. And why should you quit? Because people might be appalled because you are on stage? Who cares! One of the advantages of getting older is also getting more self-confident and caring less and less about ‘what the neighbours might think’. In the end, it is up to you. You will be given advice, there will be lots of people who have an opinion about it, but you should sail your inner compass and enjoy every minute of it. Oriental dancers come in all ages. You will probably, at some


point, decide not to perform in a disco or nightclub anymore, and past a certain age not to ‘do’ bachelor parties, if you did so in the first place.. But at most hafla’s and festivals, we are dancing for an audience of women, who know that we all will grow old, eventually and we all would not want anyone telling us we had to stop.., right?! I personally always think about a specific dancer when I am staring in a mirror before a performance and go ‘mmm...?’. This dancer had already ‘past her teens’ for quite some time when I met her, some twenty years ago. Besides older, she was also rather heavy and therefore limited in her movements. But when she was standing there, on stage, with some kind and gentle lighting on her face and wearing her beautiful Galabeya, eyes almost shut in concentration, surrendering to the music, doing not much more than very small hip movements and elegant hand gestures.. And she was more beautiful than many younger dancers.. And if my grandma would still be alive, I would absolutely positively love it, if she still would be dancing! Wouldn’t you? I image my grandma -not that I am already that old, mind you, but for the sake of the argument- in her typical wide and formless grandma’s dress, with roses on it, curlers in her hair, soft slippers on her feet (oh, if she would still be alive, she would kill me right now... she was a very classy lady, a beauty queen even!), dancing around in her living room, towards the wooden conservatory and on to the balcony, overlooking her garden. Yes, maybe my outfits will be somewhat different, over time (but when?!), but I would certainly hope to still be dancing for a long, long time.. Kashka.



© 2012 Kashka

© 2012 Kashka


Fall Has Arrived The gush of wind blew my hair, Straight up to the unforgiving air. Fall was peaking around the trees, Leaves would pile high, soon up to my knees. Hello orange, yellow, and red, goodbye green, Bye-bye June, July, and August, hello Halloween. The warmth is gone and won By: Lauren Source: Fall Has Arrived, Fall Poem poem/fall-has-arrived#ixzz2AJohmb6H


Š 2012 Kashka

© 2012 Kashka © 2012 Kashka

© 2012 Kashka

© 2012 Kashka


© 2012 Kashka




You are most welcome at

Riad CoCoon



White or Green at Riad CoCoon you can choose your own atmosphere..



Deep inside the HEART of the Medina of Marrakesh, in the ancient quarter of “Diour Saboune” and preserved from the roaring of modern life, Cocoon is a sanctuary of CALM; a home away from home where you will experience the true meaning of the word “cocooning“ and will be naturally inclined to relaxation and peace. With its contemporary architecture, dubbed with a subtle mixing of fine arts and antique treasures, Cocoon is a unique place, devoted to the HARMONY of the body and the spirit. The lighting, the sound ambience, the materials, the textures, the traditions, everything, down to the last detail, has been created as if to mark the boundaries of

a JOURNEY beyond the usual..


At Riad CoCoon, you will find yourself in a very intimite and relaxing setting with of eye for detail. The well-being rituals are designed to simultaneously improve the condition on all four levels, physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. > Traditional hammam > Massages > Oriental body care > Yoga > Aquagym


Revisit simplicity and taste its elegance. Love the authentic and surrender to your senses. Travel with your heart. > Moroccan gastronomy > Fresh products > Bio friendly farm ingredients > Homemade bread > Fresh Mint tea always




Š 2012 Kashka

I put quite trees in last a A lot of silve and a couple o trees - just g doing ga putting plant hedges in. I quite a lot and I love it Sean Bean


e a few autumn. er birch of native generally ardening, ts in and It takes of time t.

Š 2012 Kashka


I saw old Autumn morn, stand sh silence, listening Thomas Hood

Š 2012 Kashka


n in the misty hadowless like to silence.

Š 2012 Kashka


Armenian Nutmeg Cake This Armenian Nutmeg Cake is a delicious tray bake. Serve warm as a pudding or cold sliced for afternoon tea. Armenian Nutmeg Cake Ingredients: 110 grams 110 grams 0.25 tsp 110 grams 110 grams 1 tsp 175 ml 1 75 grams

Self Raising Flour Plain White Flour Nutmeg grated Butter Light Muscovado Sugar (Billington’s) Bicarbonate of Soda Milk Free Range Eggs Beaten Pecans Chopped

Preparation Time Baking Time Portions Skill Level

15 minutes 35 minutes 16 squares Easy

© 2012 Kashka

How to make: Preheat the oven to 190°C/fan 180°C/gas mark 5. Grease a 20 x 30cm baking tin. Sift the flours and nutmeg into a mixing bowl and rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. -Tip: Rubbing in Butter and Flour: Sieve the flour into a large bowl and add the cold butter. Initially coat the butter cubes in flour. Rub in the butter to the flour using your finger tips. Lift high to incorporate air. Shake the bowl to bring the large lumps to the top and continue until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs.-

Stir in the sugar. Press half the mixture into the prepred tin. It needs to be pressed down well with your fingertips. Combine the bicarbonate of soda with the milk and stir into the remaining dry ingredients with the egg and pecans, mixing well. Pour into the tin and cook for about 25 -35 minutes until golden. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to become cold.




Princess Banu STAR OF THE 1970s:

Turkish belly dancing exists now for over 500 years and it is an unique style. Turkish dancers tend to be very sensual performers and their costumes leave nothing to the imagination. The most sensual Turkish dancer of them all is Princess Banu, who was massively successful in her native Turkey during the 1970s and 1980s. She earned notoriety for the overt sensuality of her performances and pasties were part of her routine. Quote: “It is very important to take dance classes but from good teachers and it requires long hours of serious work. But the physical aspect is also important, an Oriental Dancer requires breast and hips, long hair, these qualities assist in bringing out the figure. Also in those days, in Turkey, dancers took off their skirts, it was part of the dance. I took off my top and revealed the pasties, it was my gimmick.”

Interview with Princess Banu Princess Banu came from a middle class family, born in Izmir, She wanted to be a movie star and, after the death of her father, tried to run off to Istanbul. Princess Banu: “As a child I was really curious about being an actress but my mother caught up with me at the bus station and took me back home”. Later, chaperoned by her mother, they went to Istanbul where together they knocked on every film industry door. In those days, Turkish television would only show Belly dancers on New Year’s eve. But with Kudret Sandirali (dancer and choreographer for actors), discovering her, Princess Banu found herself on the nightclub stage as a Belly Dancer and also as a movie film actress as she had always longed for. After that, she travelled to Europe, where she got married and danced in over 30 countries. She got increasingly famous, representing Turkey officially, and found herself dancing for one half of the year in Turkey and the other half in Europe, for years. Question: The very first time I walked into the dance studio of my first Oriental dance teacher, I saw your pictures on the wall... The famous glamorous picture with the pasties, among others, in mysterious black and white.. These days, pasties are associated with burlesque dancing, more so than Oriental dance and burlesque is described as ‘a feminine dance form that empowers women’, just as Oriental dancing is often described. What is your take on that, what do you think the difference is between the two? Princess Banu: That famous photo was taken by Spanish photographer “ İBANEZ “ in a photo studio in Madrid. (I was working at a nightclub in Madrid at the time.) Oriental dance is peculiar to female body. It has a feminine personality, it tells the story of birth and mankind’s coming into the world. It tell story of making love. It is arhytmic expression of the sexual desires arousing in female body. Oriental dance is a ritual of making love. Burlesk and Oriental dance is not same thing. Oriental dance also very sexy dance like Burlesk, but much more fascinanting, enchanting, exotic and sensuous... >> ISPAHAN 61


Princess Banu on Internet: (official website) (Facebook)

Princess Banu You Tube: embedded&v=S49FGnuPeJM#! fu fu fu



On the left: The famous picture every Oriental Dancers knows.. Princess Banu with the pasties Bottom: Princess Banu designed all her costumes herself and she was very fond of the snake theme



has changed. Today there are only few touristic nigtclubs left where belly dancers can perform.

Question: You are still dancing and performing to this very day, still loving dance.. Is Oriental dance an art form to you, a necessity for life, or ‘just’ a profession? And what do like most about the dance?

Question: You have travelled outside of Turkey (for dance teaching and performances) and were the official ‘national’ dancer. How did that happen? And who do you think is the current best dancer in Turkey? Who do you go see yourself?

Princess Banu: Oriental dance is an art form in my point of view, for sure. I take the stage to do what I believe to be a real art. I love and respect dancing since the day I first stepped on to the stage. The most important thing in my live is dancing. I love belly dance because It helps me to unburden and express my shelf. I make love with dancing on stage.

Princess Banu: I danced in many countries other than Turkey. I also took charge and represented of Turkey in events that took place outside Turkey, which were organized by Turkish Ministry of foreign Affairs and Ministry of Culture. I danced in the presence of Presidents of different countries, Kings, sultans... (Berlusconi, Hosni Mubarak, Zine el Abidine Bin Ali, Sheik Zayed, Sheikh Maktoum, King Husseın, Kaddafi, Saddam Hussein etc.) For this reason, I was called “National Dancer, Diplomatic Dancer“ of Turkey. In the present day there are same populer young belly dancers in Turkey (like Asena, Didem, Nuran etc.) In my opinion the days of “Star Dancers “ are over. Today there is no one that I can call a “Star Dancer“ in Turkey. Belly dancers nowadays are not concious about wat they are doing, that is their job. They only shake their hips. I was the last Great “ Star Dancer “ of Turkish belly dancing. Nobody came after wards !

Question: What has been the highlight of your long career so far? You have done so many things, movies, teaching, performing, designing costumes..! What do you like the most, what is really special to you? And in these movies: how much influence did you, as a dancer and actress, had on these scenes? Princess Banu: I love all of them, but I feel happiest when I am on stage. The stage is a charming place. I started getting deals from film makers, when I became a famous dancer. Apart from dancing I also acted in Turkish movies, as a main star, when I found the time. Most of this movies story, was about a dancer life. The dancing choreography in all those movies belong to me. I was always respected and loved by the audience. Question: Times have changed and so has the Oriental dance scene.., and also Istanbul has changed over the years! Can you tell us which changes you like and which ones you don’t? Princess Banu: I love classical style of belly dancing more. The golden era of belly dancing and golden era’s dancers influence of more. Until the and of 90’s there were many elegant music halls in Istanbul where Turkish music and belly dancing could be performed. Unfortuately they are all gone and the appreciation of music

Question: You make / design a lot of costumes yourself. I see that now you are also selling some of the icons of the past, like the sparkling SWAROVSKI STRASS diamond top, the snake bra, or the egyptian Cleopatra crown and the sparkling princess crown.. I am not sure if I could part with those items myself, if I were you..! All these things have a history, they are almost relics and are in any case very ‘you’. Are you drawing a line under your Oriental Dance career, or are you just moving on? Where can dancers get information on these items, if they would like to buy them? Princess Banu: Most of the designs of my costumes are mine. I love using snake themes in my costumes. My SWAROVSKI STRASS and gold plated CLEOPATRA cost abdomen, belly and hips. Inumes and CROWNS were made in Italy, >>



On the left: Princess Banu nowadays, still in love with the snake theme


>> in a theater costume workshop named “MARANGONI FASHION ���. These costumes have become as famous as I am. they became a part of me. It ıs hard for me to abandon them. My idea is to exhibit them in a “Princess Banu belly dance costumes exhibition “, then sell them in an auction and donate the earning to a charity foundation. Maybe this is for the best. Question: What would you tell young women today, who take up Oriental dance.., what advise would you give them? Princess Banu: For a belly dancer, talent and physical attributes are equally important. A belly dancer should never be very thin. A plump body is necessary to be able to show the movements of the abdomen, belly and hips. In my opinion a dancer has to love her job first. It is significant to be able to live and feel the dance. And ıt should not be forgotten that belly dancing is one of the hardest dance styles in the world. In order to gain the necessary agility one must exercise for long times. Thank you very much for this Interview, Princess Banu.


© 2012 Kashka


! s ew



The ISPAHAN Workshop at Mundo Oriental We had a great time, teaching the 4 Flexibility Workshop at Mundo Oriental. There was to much to tell you and to little time, so as promised, here we will share some more thoughts with you on the subject. For those who missed the workshop: there will be another opportunity! Please e-mail us for more info, if you are interested.

Ispahan-4- Flexibility

Š 2012 Kashka


Psycological Exercises What is psychological flexibility? When starting to work on the content of the workshop, the first question that popped into our minds obviously was: “What is psychological flexibility?”. “Psychological flexibility is certain ‘mindset’. It’s about being in the present moment, fully conscious, and basing your thoughts and actions on what the situation demands, but always linking your action with your values. Thereby giving you the opportunity to choose which behavior you want exhibit or even to do nothing at all and just let it be.” Why would one want to achieve psychological flexibility? Whether you’re applying this question to your life in general or to your dance career, each and every one of you can bear to mind your own, personal examples of how emotions and thoughts tend to be unreliable indicators of long term value. If you simply always trust and act upon your thoughts and emotions, you often overlook what’s really important or wise to do. We’re not saying you cannot trust your emotions or “inner gut feeling”, but only that it not always the best guide for behavior. Greater psychological flexibility is an addition to that inner gut feeling, not a replacement. Psychological flexibility in action Within the field of sports professionals, it is often emphasized that they should have the ‘right mindset’, in other words they should keep their head clear, be confident about themselves and always remember their successes. Often one looks up to these persons and wonders how they are able to all of this. This view we tend to have is most certainly incorrect, athletes and professional performers are just as filled with doubt, and negativity, as the rest of us. And teaching someone to get rid those thoughts can be counterproductive. Repressing thoughts or seeking distraction very often leads to relapse, with more problematic thoughts and behaviors as a consequence. A widely proven and accepted fact within the field of psychology. How to attain greater psychological flexibility? Practice makes perfect. Attaining (more) psychological flexibility is a matter of training. It is about acquiring a different view on yourself, emotions, your life and others. Not only when you are dancing, but also in your daily life. Psychological flexibility will prove to be useful in many aspects of your daily life and we hope that you too will be inspired to attain this and, in combination with the other types of flexibility we touch upon in this workshop, we, the ladies of Ispahan, hope you will soon become the best dancer you can be, flexible in both mind, body and DANCE!

Please note that all material of/from this workshop is © 2012 Ispahan. >>


The Bodyscan Exercise:

Link: com/watch?v=obYJR mgrqOU&feature=re lated

This exercise will guide you to turn your attention to various parts of your body in order to notice where you are holding tension. You can ask someone to read this out load, while you lay down, take as long as you like: To start, find a comfortable position, either sitting or lying down. Uncross your arms and legs‌ let them be supported by the (low) chair, or the floor. Support your (lower) back, by placing a small towel underneath it when you are lying down, or a small pillow in your chair. Make sure the bloodstream through your limbs can flow freely. Close your eyes, if you wish.


Notice your breath coming in and out of your body. Feel it enter through your nose or mouth, move past your airways, and fill your lungs.

Then feel it moving out of your body trough your mouth. Take a few moments to focus on your breath flowing in and out. (Do this for about two minutes.) Now bring your attention to your toes.

Continue taking deep, slow breaths. Wiggle your toes slightly and focus your attention there.

Now bring your attention to the soles of your feet. Continue to breath deeply. Feel how your feet as a whole get heavy and warm. Feel also the inside of your feet.

Now bring your attention to your calves. Feel them also get heavy and warm as you relax. If you notice tension, tightness or contracted muscles, consciously release and relax those areas. Bring your attention to your knees and move them gently. Bring your attention to your thighs. Tense your thigh muscles and then relax them as you continue to breath deeply. Now bring your attention to your buttocks, squeeze them together and relax. Are you holding tension there? Feel your thighs and buttocks sink into the ground and get heavy. Now bring your attention to your low back. Notice any pain or tightness there. Move or stretch if necessary, to releave any pain or discomfort. Breathe deeply through this area and let the muscles relax. Now bring your attention to your stomach. Pay attention to its movement as you breath in and out. Relax your stomach when you breath in, or push it out, contract when you breath out. Bring your attention to your chest. Pay attention to its movement as you breath in and out.


Bring your attention to your shoulders. Feel for any tension there and release it with your breath. Relax your shoulders and feel how they get heavy and warm. When you are ready, move your attention to your upper arms, your lower arms, your hands and fingers. Relax them all, feel how they get heavy, almost to heavy to lift. Bring your attention to your neck. Roll your head gently from side to side and relax the muscles. Now bring your attention to your face. Feel for any tension in your facial muscles and let it go as you continue to breathe. Relax your forehead, relax your jaws, you can let your jaws drop if you like.

- Flexibility

Bring your attention to your skull and hair. And then to your body as a whole. Feel how it gets heavy and warm. Continue breathing and release all of your body’s tension.

Stay in this awareness for some time, feeling reaxed, calm and peaceful. Notice your relaxed state and carry it with you for the rest of your day.

>>If you don’t have about 30 minutes to do this entire exercise, you can also do a quick version of it: try focusing on larger sections of your body (for example, notice your legs as one section). For a more in depth body scan, try focusing on smaller sections of your body (for example, each finger or even each toe).

Azaryah: The body scan exercise not only trains your attention, it also makes you more aware of what is happening in your body. Through regular practice you will easier and more quickly recognize your bodily sensations. This can come in handy when you take the example of stage fright I mentioned in the workshop. When you recognize that strange feeling in your stomach or a feeling of blockage of your muscles (often experienced by dancers that are familiar with having stage fright) as nerves, as stage fright…you can focus your attention on these sensations and feelings. We have to warn you, by doing so these sensations at first will increase. Please don’t be scared off by this, eventually you’ll experience a decrease and maybe even extinction of these feelings. Wouldn’t that be simply awesome?

Please note that all material of/from this workshop is © 2012 Ispahan. ISPAHAN 75

L i n k : http://www. ch?v=XHhDCW4 Q1Rc&feature=re lated

© 2012 Kashka

Ispahan-4© 2012 Kashka


© 2012 Kashka

Meditation Exercise: Try to find a quiet place where people, phones, and other distractions will not be an issue. Wear comfortable clothing and consider taking off your shoes. Sit up straight, either on the floor (perhaps on a cushion) or in a straight back chair. Place your hands on your knees or folded in your lap. Keep your eyes open, but not focused on any particular point or object. Take two or three deep breaths and begin to focus on the present moment.

- Flexibility Š 2012 Kashka

As you begin, use your breathing to anchor you to the here-and-now. As you continue, notice the most prominent stimulus, whatever it is, without engaging it. Try to sit still and maintain focus for 20 minutes. Just as you are not reacting impulsively to the thoughts or feelings that you have, do not react impulsively to physical discomforts as they arise. For instance, if your nose itches, do not immediately reach up to scratch it. If you want, you can choose to scratch your nose. Or, if you want, you can choose just to let it be.

Vipassana is not primarily a relaxation technique and we are not trying to flee from reality or go into a trance. Whatever you decide, act in mindfulness The goal is active and and with intentionality. objective observation of Please note that all material of/from this workshop is Š 2012 Ispahan. our subjective experience, Read more: attachment. meditation-vipassana/


Ispahan-4© 2012 Kashka


- Flexibility ISPAHAN 79

Egyptian Sun Salute 01. Stand straight in Tadasana, feet about hip width apart and parallel, flat on the floor throughout, hands in prayer position, take several deep breaths. 02. On your next Inhale in one sweeping movement, raise your arms up over your head and gently arch your back as far as comfortable and safe.

Ispahan-403. On your next Exhale, bend forward by bending the knees, and bring your hands to rest beside your feet.

04. On your next Inhale come back in Tadasana with your arms extended over your head 05. Exhale: make a lateral flexion with your upper body to the right. 06. Inhale come back to the centre and exhale repeat to the left. 07. 08.

Š 2012 Kashka

Exhale: forward bend to Uttanasana, try when possible, to keep your legs straight now. Inhale: come slowly up in a straight position with your arms forward.

09. Exhale: twist upper body to right. 10. Inhale: back to the centre, exhale: twist upper body to the left. 11. Exhale: Lower arms to sides, sweep them out to the side and overhead. 12. Repeat 2 and 3 and, end with the hands in prayer position. (Repeat this 5 times) 80 ISPAHAN

Š 2012 Kashka

Please note that all material of/from this workshop is © 2012 Ispahan.

- Flexibility © 2012 Kashka

Body: When you use your muscles, they bruise slightly. To heal them better, faster en to create muscle growth, you should do some stretching after your rehearsal (or cooling down)… Yoga for dancers is perfect for this, because Yoga stretches not only the muscles, but also the joints. It helps to prevent muscle soreness and promotes faster recovery between whatever training sessions you give it. It loosens tight muscles, which tend to trap lactic acid, the waste product that accumulates in the muscle cells during other hard training sessions apart from yoga, that you may like to partake in. Iserona has shown you some beautiful Yoga moves that will relax your muscles as well as yourself! She started this section –Oriental style- with the Egyptian Sun Greeting (see opposite page).

Mind: “After all,” say Kashdan and Rottenberg*, “a healthy person is someone who can manage themselves in the uncertain, unpredictable world around them, where novelty and change are the norm rather than the exception.” So what would “mental yoga” look like? It teaches us how to stretch our emotional muscles through Acceptance, Curiosity & Commitment. If you are experiencing negative thoughts and emotions, they signal an opportunity for you to stretch emotionally, learn (wisdom), and grow (maturity). Observe them, but don’t judge yourself for having them. Ask yourself how they are serving you or if other thoughts or emotions could serve you better. You have a number of mental or emotional states at your disposal, and your new psychologically flexible self benefits from all of them. * From:

© 2012 Kashka


Ispahan-4© 2012 Kashka

Many thanks to our Workshop participants! Interested in this Workshop? Would you like to participate in this workshop or would you like us to give this workshop (‘Ispahan 4 Flexibility’) at your venue/ host us? Please e-mail us!


- Flexibility © 2012 Kashka

© 2012 Kashka

Please note that all material of/from this workshop is © 2012 Ispahan.


the Ispahan Oriental Dance Company at your party? Š 2012 Kashka


Ispahan Website

© 2012 Kashka

What you can find on the ISPAHAN Oriental Dance Group web site: • • • • • • • • • •

How and why ISPAHAN was founded, how we operate, our vision and our good cause. Information on our group name, background stories and some cultural information as well. How to book us (for both private and business parties). How to join us (if you are an Oriental Dancer) Our performance schedule (in case you would like to see us dance) and a brief history of past performances. Videos and lots of pictures of past performances & photo shoots. A blog, of all our ISPAHAN adventures, updated frequently, so you can taste the atmosphere and feel part of our team. Information on al ISPAHAN dancers, their background, projects & links to their personal pages. Our ISPAHAN fan store, were revenues go to our good cause, and much, much more.. ISPAHAN 85


Traditional Chicken Machbous from Bahrain* Accompany this dish with a fresh salad and sauce containing fried okra (bamia). Ingredients:

4 1/2 cups water 650 g basmati rice 3 tomatoes, quartered 1 -1 1/2 kg chicken 3 onions, finely chopped 1/4 cup coriander leaves, chopped 1 green hot pepper, as desired 2 black dried limes** 2 teaspoons buharat spice mix 1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric powder 1 teaspoon cumin powder 2 teaspoons cinnamon 1 teaspoon cardamom powder 2 garlic cloves 1 slice gingerroot, cut into small pieces 3 tablespoons butter 1/4 cup lemon juice 3 tablespoons rose water 3 tablespoons oil 3 teaspoons salt

How it’s done:

Cut the chicken in half. Heat the water and leave aside. In a small bowl, mix the buharat, turmeric, cumin, and cardamom together and add to the mixture one teaspoon of salt. Rub half of the spice mixture on the chicken halves. Heat the oil in a large cooking pan, fry the onions until golden brown, then add the pepper and the black limes (make a hole in each lime). Add the chicken to the onion mixture and turn it over a few times in the pan. Sprinkle the chicken with a teaspoon of cinnamon and the rest of the mixed spices. and turn, so the chicken is coated with the spices, cover the pan and let it cook on medium heat for 3 minutes.

Then add the garlic, chopped ginger and tomato cubes to the pan and stir a few times. Cover again for 3 minutes on medium heat. Then sprinkle the rest of the salt and pour the heated water on it. Cover the pan and let it cook for about 1 hour, or until the chicken is cooked. Add the copped coriander 5 minutes before you remove the chicken from the stock in the pan. While the chicken is cooking, wash the rice well and soak for 10 minutes in cold water, then drain. Remove the chicken from the pan and put on an oven tray, brush with some oil and sprinkle with the rest of the cinnamon powder and grill in the oven until the chicken is golden brown. Add the rice to the chicken stock, stir, then let it cook on low heat until the rice absorbs the stock and is almost done. Sprinkle rose water and lemon juice over the rice and place the butter pieces on the top. Cover the pan and cook on low heat for 30 minutes. Serve the rice on a large serving plate and place the grilled chicken halves on the top.

Bon Appetit! *If you don’t want to use a whole chicken, your favourite pieces would be fine too! ** If you don’t have/find dried black limes, you can use fresh ones.


© 2012 Kashka


© 2012 Kashka


© 2012 Kashka


Home Made Aubergine & Courgette Soup This is the perfect season for soup.. Loaded with vegetables, it will keep the flue and colds at a distance. And fresh, healty soup is so easy to make.. you can experiment with different vegetables and herbs (whatever is in your refrigerator), and create a unique soup every single time! This recipe has evolved in a similar way: I wanted to make aubergine soup, but only had one aubergine.. helas.. But then I decided to mix it up and make someting new. Adjust salt to your personal taste. Serves 2 to 4. (4 as an entrÊ, 2 as main course) Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 5 minutes Total Time: 10 minutes Ingredients: 1 Eggplant (Aubergine), washed and chopped in little cubes 1 Zucchini (Courgette), washed and chopped in little cubes 1 onion, chopped 1 clove of garlic (or more to your taste), chopped 1 liter (boiling) water plus 1 vegetable stock cube a bit of (olive) oil -you will need a blenderPreparation: First heat the pan, with the oil, onion (chopped) and garlic (chopped), until the onions start looking translucent. Add the boiling water, the stock cube and the vegetables. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are getting soft. The water should just cover the vegetables, but they will also release some fluids, so don’t overdo it, since your soup might turn out to be to watery. Some might prefer to first peal the vegetables, but since most of the vitamins are just under the skin, this is not the getting the max out of your healthy meal! After boiling for about 5 minutes, take the pan of the heat and use a blender to grind the ingredients to a soup. -You could ad a spoon full of sour cream, or stir in some Mascarpone to make it more creamy -You could ad some Pine tree, or Sunflower seeds (roasted or not) and sprinkle chives over it Serve with (roasted) bread. Enjoy! Kashka. ISPAHAN 91

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© 2012 Kashka

© 201 92 ISPAHAN

12 Kashka

12 Kashka ISPAHAN 93

© 2012 Kashka


© 2012 Kashka © 2012 Kashka


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is a great combination of foods from books from the region offer a glimpse of the main foods that and impact of other world cuisines on the food from the reg uncommon and the most popular recipes from the Arab wor On this web site you will find The Top Ten Arab Cookbooks,

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nder a microscope whether for positive or negative reasons n fact, over the past 5 years or so, Muslim women in particular ndless debates emerged between Muslim women debating idn’t wear the hijaab claimed that it wasn’t mandatory and uade, and explain their reasons for wearing it.

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he eggplant, brinjal eggplant, aubergine, melo tomato and potato and was domesticated in contains numerous small, soft seeds which ar nicotinoid alkaloids; this is unsurprising as it i

It has been cultivated in southern and eastern Asia sin the Western world no earlier than circa 1500. The nume the lack of the ancient Greek and Roman names, indic area by the Arabs in the early Middle Ages.

The name “aubergine” is from the French, a diminutive o the Spanish alberchigo or alverchiga, ‘an apricocke’. It Arabic al-baðinjān from Persian bâdenjân, from Sansk in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and Can European cultivars which were yellow or white and res

Because of the plant’s relationship with the Solanaceae to be extremely poisonous. The flowers and leaves, tho due to the presence of solanine.

Different varieties of the plant produce fruit of differen are even orange varieties. A much wider range of sha in Asia. Larger varieties weighing up to a kilogram (2.2 Yamuna rivers, while smaller varieties are found elsewh as reddish-purple and dark purple. Some cultivars have to deep purple or even black. Green or purple cultivars

The raw fruit can have a somewhat bitter taste, but complex flavor. Many recipes advise salting, rinsing an to soften it and to reduce the amount of fat absorbed of the earlier cultivars. Some modern varieties - inclu western Europe - do not need this treatment. The fruit and sauces, making for very rich dishes, but salting red

The plant is used in the cuisine of many countries. It is o as in the Italian parmigiana di melanzane, the Turkish and Middle-Eastern and South Asian dishes.

Eggplants can also be battered before deep-frying and Iranian cuisine, it can be blended with whey as kashk e stew as khoresh-e-bademjan. It can be sliced and deep-f with a tomato and garlic sauce, such as in the Turkish d without yogurt as in patlıcan şakşuka. Perhaps the b (vegetarian) and Karnıyarık (with minced meat). Source: Wikipedia. 98 ISPAHAN


ongene, brinjal or guinea squash, is closely related to the n India. The fruit is botanically classified as a berry and re edible, but have a bitter taste because they contain is a close relative of tobacco.

nce prehistory, but appears to have become known to erous Arabic and North African names for it, along with cate it was introduced throughout the Mediterranean

of auberge, a variant of alberge, ‘a kind of peach’ or from may be also be derived from Catalan albergínia, from krit vātiga-gama. The popular name “eggplant” is used nada. It derives from the fruits of some 18th-century sembled goose or hen’s eggs.

e (nightshade) family, the fruit was at one time believed ough, can be poisonous if consumed in large quantities,

nt size, shape, and color, though typically purple. There apes, sizes and colors is grown in India and elsewhere 2 pounds) grow in the region between the Ganges and here. Colors vary from white to yellow or green, as well e a color gradient, from white at the stem to bright pink s in white striping also exist.

becomes tender when cooked and develops a rich, nd draining of the sliced fruit (known as “degorging”), d during cooking, but mainly to remove the bitterness uding large, purple varieties commonly imported into is capable of absorbing large amounts of cooking fats duces the amount of oil absorbed.

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d served with a sauce made of tahini and tamarind. In e-bademjan, tomatoes as mirza ghasemi or made into fried, then served with plain yogurt, (optionally) topped dish patlıcan kızartması (meaning: fried aubergines) or best-known Turkish eggplant dishes are İmam bayıldı



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Dancing in Egypt.. This story was supposed to be about dancing and performing Oriental dance in Egypt, these days.. I have read stories that terrified me, written by (foreign) dancers who make/made a living there, performing and teaching Oriental Dance. I have no knowledge of similar stories by Egyptian dancers.., there are hardly any, these days in Cairo. And there is a reason for that. We all know this and it would be foolish to deny: for some while now, Oriental Dancing has not been broadly accepted as a respected art form, to put it mildly. Not on the surface, but deep down in the hearts of people.., or is it the other way around? But reading all these stories also brought back memories, as it did for many dancers that read them. Chilling stories that we all seem to have, or at least a lot of us. Those who are fortunate enough not to have any experience with (sexual) abuse cannot imagine the impact these ‘incidents’ have on different aspects of your life. How difficult it is to ‘get over it’. Some will deal with it better than others, but still. And maybe that explains the firestorm of reactions to these ‘confessions from Egypt’. Sexual abuse: not a subject people want to talk, or even hear, about. It disturbs anyone and most men get really defensive if confronted with it. Still, it should be addressed. Even if you live in a very liberal country, were you can trust the police and don’t feel frightened, dancing or otherwise, sexual harassment starts very early in life.. Most men don’t realise this is a reality for a lot of women. At eleven years old, walking our dogs, I could not get away from men (triple my age) hanging from the windows of their passing cars, shouting ‘Oh, don’t they look lovely!’ at me. In summertime this happened on a daily basis. Even though I was (almost) a teenager with raging hormones who tends to feel flattered by any kind of male attention, I could identify this as an insult. Most men will shrug their shoulders if you tell them that.. hey, it’s a joke..! But to a eleven year old, unconsciously or conscious, it gives you the message that you are fair game. No one around reacted to it.., it was ignored. Some time after that, a teacher (being drunk at a school party!) stated in front of almost my entire class that he had a crush on me (I was under age, mind you) and that he would love to get me ‘into a dark corner’ with him. He never apologised. Later, a friend I met on holiday abroad, who was visiting, suddenly kicked my feet from under me, threw me on the floor, stating that I had been flirting with him and now had to ‘put out’. At sixteen, I was talking to a friend in a crowded café, mid day, just to see a man walking towards us and ‘shoving’ himself between us, facing me, pushing my friend into the wall behind her. He thought I would be impressed. It is not respectful, to say the least. In this same bar, a guy was trying to get my attention (and failed), walked up to me and asked me out (which I declined), bend over and whispered in my ear: ”I am a marine, I can kill you in a second, you don’t say ‘no’ to me.. See that door? Once you step out of this bar, you better watch your back.” And this is just out the top of my head, small incidents, when I was really young. This is how I grew up, most of the time not even giving it a second thought. Since then, I have had ‘peeping toms’ at my house, someone that actually ‘chased’ me in his car, I had to run for the door a couple of times, after grocery shopping, door keys tightly pressed between my knuckles. My life was actually threatened by an ex and I was raped. And I am not a flirtageous girl, nor do I dress provocatively, I have never been drunk, never ‘did’ drugs, didn’t get myself in dangerous places or ‘the wrong area’s’, didn’t go out until I was 16 years old and always met my curfew, actually I am quite conservative and not exceptionally pretty or curvaceous either. And I am the lucky one.., living in ‘my’ part of the world instead of in many, many countries where women are far worst of. In places were there is war, for instance, since rape is always an act of war in any country in any time. I wouldn’t want to live in a country that thinks of me as second class. I wouldn’t want to live in a country in which dancing is enough to literary lose my head, like recently happened in Afghanistan to a group of men and women. >> ISPAHAN 101

>> One of the counties I wouldn’t want to live, personally, is the ‘cradle’ our beloved dance. Like I said, I have been reading stories of women who went to live in Cairo, Egypt and have made a career in dancing, but are always reminded of the double standard. They cannot talk/ be open about their profession, for it is looked down upon as sinful or ‘haram’, although they are cheered on when they perform. I would not be able to deal with this ‘moral’ in my head. Accepting it would feel like endorsing it, to me. I personally would not want to live in a country that thinks women should feel embarrassed and ashamed after being harassed or raped. In recent reports of both the media and women who live Cairo, it was stated that things have been getting even worse since the revolution. Perhaps because women are finally speaking out, wanting a revolution of women’s rights. Perhaps because men are getting even more conservative and more aggressive towards women who have a job outside the house, because the future is so uncertain.. I don’t know, maybe even both. Sad facts are, that women were evicted out of their rental apartment for being a dancer and that women, demonstrating for more rights, were attracted and their clothes were ripped off. Not just foreigners, not just the unveiled. Is this the whole picture? No, there are also a lot of men who would never think of harassing women, who respect them, of course there are. And women who have never encountered harassment, who are talking about Cairo like any major city in the world where you simply have to be careful, just like you would in your own city and who have nothing but good experiences dancing there. But that does not mean that the double standard is not there. ‘A lot of dancers visit the ‘birthplace’ of Oriental Dance: Egypt. They visit costume stores in Cairo, go to workshops and often don’t realise that there’s a very strange dichotomy in Egyptian society. Egyptians love music and dancing and elevate famous dancers to the status of megastars, yet at the same time, they look down on them, viewing them as ‘haram’, or sinful [ ] and to have a dancer in the family is a cause of terrible shame’ as Charlotte Desorgher describes in her blog called ‘A darkness at the heart of belly dance’. We, as dancers, need to be aware of this. I think we can all agree that harassment and rape happen all over the world, like I stated at the top of this article. But I also hope we can agree that in some countries you are far worse off, than in others. Perhaps because of war, perhaps because of a failing judicial system, perhaps because of a culture were women do not have the same rights as men. Having said that, obviously nobody is implying that all men behave bad towards women.. in fact, most men don’t. But some of us, who are simply trying to warn fellow dancers to be very careful in Cairo at the moment, were villenised, after writing very well balanced posts and I can’t figure out why. We cannot change atrocities against women abroad, change a culture, we can however change things on a smaller scale: our own family and friends. How often have I heard people say: ‘A friend asked my husband if he was okay with me belly dancing’. Right here, in the ‘West’. These are the people we need to educate. We need to teach our sons to respect women and the best way to do this, is to have them witness their father respects their mother. The best way to teach your daughter self respect is by showing you have it. We need to stick up for each other and ask our men to stick up for us.. They really need to get involved. Even in the Western world, Oriental Dancing is looked down upon, most of the time. “So you wiggle your behind in front of men?” is written over faces that instantly judge me. I catch myself being very selective in whom I tell or not. I catch myself not mentioning it in places where I suspect I would be condemned if I would. I catch myself being offended when Oriental dancing is compared to pole dancing. I also have an ongoing internal battle about were the (fine) line is, between a beautiful sensual dance form and overtly sexual behaviour… I feel uncomfortable when I see a beautiful young dancer in a very revealing costume and hear the comments from the audience (who are waiting for ‘the boys’ to fall out of her top, instead of watching someone dance beautifully). I literally froze when someone from my own dance company spontaneously went to sit on a man’s lap, during a (improv.) performance. He touched her, of course.. Than another dancer sat on a man’s lap 102 ISPAHAN

and I had to stop myself from running out of the room. ‘You bet that is what is going to be discussed, the day after our performance.. not our dancing. You bet those are the pictures that are going to be spread around…’ went through my mind, not wanting to be associated with this. It took me a while to have the guts to put this aspect of my life on LinkedIn and other social media… and it bugs me that this might mean that I am ashamed of my own hobby. I am not doing anything wrong, I am dancing. I should not feel this way. There are numerous posts in forums on the Internet about: how can we change the perception of this dance form, how can we professionalise it? This very perception of Oriental dance/dancers all over the world is part of the problem en therefore part of the solution. I am talking about being aware (as a dancer) of how you are perceived, making an effort to change or at least not confirm false perceptions and act with self-respect on stage. Probably I am not talking to professional dancers here.. I suspect they know. But there are far more semi-professional and amateur dancers and they might not even think about this. I am not suggesting self censorship, I am not advocating prudishness or covering yourself up.. I am not the ‘belly dance police’ and you should wear whatever you want and feel comfortable in. I am simply trying to point out that what people think we do/are and what we actually do/are, in a lot of cases, are two very different things, so don’t be naïve. I wonder about comments like ‘if you are going to perform at a bachelor party, take at least one (male) friend with you, to protect you’. I would argue that, if you don’t feel save, why go there at all? And what do you really expect, performing at bachelor parties, why do you think they hire you? Because they love your understanding of the technique? I wonder about women making very suggesting moves, or pushing their breasts into men’s faces.., or their face into their brazier. I wonder about women who wear teeny tiny, ill-fitting bras and bend over backwards towards the public, dancers that do floor work with their leg spread out towards the audience. Again, not that anything like that justifies abuse, but why are you doing that? Have you ever asked yourself that question? Tipping is also often debated. Everyone should do as they please, but ask yourself why a man would want to put his tip in your costume.., especially if they are Westerners. Just don’t be naive about it.

Now let me state this, to be sure you ‘get’ this: sexual abuse is not about sex. It is about power. It is about men (most of the time, but women are doing this too), who feel powerless; perhaps because their boss yelled at them today and they go home and kick the dog, or hit their child, or rape a woman, in order to feel in control again. Obviously, people who do this are mentally unstable, always looking for a ‘weaker’ person (or animal) to be their victim, in order to feel strong themselves. And because sexual abuse is not about sex, it is a gross misconception that the presence of prostitutes (or legalisation of prostitution) will ‘shield’ us from being raped. As a matter of fact: since most prostitutes are forced into this ‘profession’ ‘visiting’ them is rape as well. A lot of them under age, even. We, women, should stand tall, united against any form of disrespect and have some self-respect as well. But we need men also, they need to have the guts to speak out and stand by our side. By confronting a (male) friend who has been part of a gang rape and persuading him to go to the police even if he ‘merely had been watching’, by talking to another about beating his wife, by giving a good and sharp reply, if asked about his girlfriends or wife’s Oriental dancing hobby or work. ISPAHAN 103

>> This story was supposed to be about dancing/ performing Oriental dance in Egypt, these days.. I have read stories that terrified me, written by dancers who make/made a living there, performing and teaching Oriental Dance.. There has been a lot of debate about the subject. Sometimes in a very harsh tone of voice and hurtful and insulting remarks were made. Some stated that (sexual) assault and rape happen everywhere in the world and the current situation in Egypt should not be exaggerated. Some say that the revolution that has taken place in Egypt (and specifically Cairo) is to blame, since there is a power vacuum and less police on the streets. But there is no denying that women who dance are -because of their profession- seen as prostitutes and therefore fair game in Egypt, for quite some decades now. There is some historic context, of course. But reading about how dancers have to keep their profession hidden for practically everyone (from landlord to family), in order to be able to ‘function’ in a relative normal way is really foreign to me. This is not a situation we, in Europe, have to endure. And I was wondering why dancers would ‘put up’ with this, in order to be a dancer in Egypt..

I guess that the answers that I have gotten have still left me puzzled. Why would any self respecting woman stay in a situation where everything is fine and wonderful when you are performing, but as soon as you step out of the dressing room (or perhaps even before that), you know you could be harassed, assaulted or worse and going to the police, seeking justice is not even a significant option? Chances are, and I have heard of this, that the police that is supposed to protect you and your rights, can’t keep their hands to themselves either and assault you some more. Never mind ever catching the perpetrator and sentencing him/them. I have read posts from Cairo based dancers that state: don’t do this, don’t go there, but speak of the situation as if they ‘accept’ it and I don’t hear anger in their voices. And that puzzles me as well. I have read posts of women who organise festivals and workshops in Egypt, who claim that none of their clientele has ever had to deal with any harassment. Well, first of all that would be a strange statement in any capital of the world, but second: even if that is so, how can they deny the perception about Oriental dancers? Of course, Egypt is a beautiful country, Cairo a mesmerising city, the huge overwhelming history visible everywhere and being there is a thrill for anyone, let alone Oriental dancers. No doubt about that. As I am sure these women are organising great festivals and are doing all they can to protect the participants and inform them well. But why can’t we be open about what’s beneath the surface? I plead for awareness.



Here are some comments made on the Internet, on the subject (slightly altered, to make them more ‘readable’): ‘As I have been travelling to Cairo for so many years, I have been hearing similar confessions, especially when women meet around festivals. It is a very hypocritical world when music and movie stars are loved and admired, but ‘not in my family’. ‘The streets of Cairo are not the same as the streets anywhere in the USA, where women can walk down the street alone. Whenever I am in Egypt, I ALWAYS have a (male) escort with me.’ ‘I have seen hundreds of women go down with the ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ fantasy and then having to deal with beatings, rape, etc.’ ‘Certainly not the first time I heard about a dancer in Cairo getting evicted after someone discovered her profession.’ ‘It brought to mind a lot of past traumatic events that we as dancers, working in the Middle East as foreigners, gloss over and pretend it is not happening as our main income comes from working as dancers in that environment.’ ‘About 14 years ago I travelled back and forth to Cairo researching music for a PhD. One evening I was out in Cairo with several Egyptian friends and was attacked by another group of men, who grabbed me by the throat and started simulating sex. I was dressed in floor length, long sleeves and loose clothes. I was told later by an Egyptian woman that she thought I was very courageous to ‘fight off’ and scream at the attacker, because of the dishonour it would have brought on me (!!) and told me that she and her friend were taught to not mention these things happening to them and be ashamed about it. She told me that sexual assault was part of everyday life for her and her friends, veiled or unveiled.’

Interesting reads: Are Women Safe to Travel in Cairo, Egypt? By Aleya in Cairo Egypt’s sexual harassment of women ‘epidemic’/ BBC Vocalising sexual harassment in Egypt? Aljazeera The prostitute complex: Welcome to Egypt, Mr. Freud! By Joana Saahirah of Cairo Egypt’s sexual harassment ‘cancer’/ BBC News What happened to Egypt?! By Joana Saahirah of Cairo The Whore on the 4th Floor. By Loonah (based in Cairo) Arts and Entertainment: Cairo Belly Dancers/ National Geographic The Real Roots of Sexism in the Middle East (It’s Not Islam, Race, or ‘Hate’) By Max Fisher


© 2012 Kashka

© 2012 Kashka 106 ISPAHAN

Albert Einstein: There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.




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EBook Oriental Treasures Information via: Garden lamps via: view-all ISPAHAN 109

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© 2012 Kashka


© 2012 Kashka



23 / 25 Nov.


Three days to celebrate oriental dance in Lausanne, Switzerland. From 23 to 25 November 2012, workshops with international artists admired on stage - and a gala evening with a large focus on high performance and originality. Stars of this year: - Azad Kaan (Turquie / Allemagne) - Rajaa Dussart (Maroc / France) - Eglal (TchĂŠcoslovaquie) - Zahra Mujunen (Maroc / Finlande) - Alba Hayal (Espagne) - Khatoon (Iran / Suisse) - Samane (Suisse)

Info and registration : Rajaa Ben Moussa is a solo dancer, dance teacher, choreographer and director of bellydance School Rajaadanse Crissier, born in Morocco. She was initially self-taught, inspired by the Egyptian musicals, then started training with teachers from Egyptian and Germany and she also she studied art in Egypt. She performs throughout Switzerland & abroad and organizes international courses and seminars in Lausanne and Crissier.


Put this in your Oriental Dance Bag!

Clockwise: Double Drop Earings: http://www1. rj-graziano-filligree-doubledrop-linear-earrings?ID=669561& CategoryID=3628#fn=spp%3D4%26 ppp%3D96%26sp%3D1%26rid%3D52 Toddler Arabian Princess Shoes: articles/OnVWgDu8U05/Disney+Ar abian+Princess+Jasmine+Aladdin +Shoes Bracelets: Aeravida via Arabian-Glamour-TurquoiseDangle-Wood-Toggle-Bracelet/230870271707?pt=Fashion_ Jewelry&hash=item35c0f0c6db

<< Your festival could be presented here!! For more info please e-mail: ISPAHAN 117





So, IS Belly Dance appropriate for kids? On social media, you will be able to find lots and lots of comments on this subject. From :”I have seen children belly dancing and it’s just akward”, to: “It is not about age, but about presenting the material in an age-appropriate format”, to: “ With all the ‘bad rap’ bellydancing gets sometimes, Tribal or folklore dancing (Baladi, Shaabi), might be less provocative”, to: “You will have to be careful about music (lyrics), costume and certain dance movements, but that does not only goes for young childern, also for teens.” So we asked Miss Luisa to tell us what she thinks: This very common question raises many opinions on the topic – I have heard them all! My take on the matter boils down to these three questions: 1. Is the teacher knowledgeable about children’s cognitive abilities, fitness instruction and the art of Belly Dance? 2. What are the teacher’s intentions? 3. Is the teacher a positive role model? In my case, I am a professional Oriental Dance Artist who teaches Belly Dance to children for fun, fitness and to make a positive and memorable impact in their lives. As Director of the KIDS Programs at Belly Motions (a premiere Oriental Dance Studio in Coral Gables, Florida) I am like a Mommy hen - constantly surrounded by the cutest smiles and tinniest, happiest shimmies in town! My students shine brighter than glitter and I am a firm believer that Belly Dance can be appropriate for kids for many reasons, a few of my favorites I am happy to share with you here! 1. Exercise! One of the top reasons I became an AFAA Certified Fitness Professional and have dedicated my career to teaching Belly Dance to kids is because of the tremendous fitness benefits this dance can contribute to their lives. Did you know it is recommended that kids get at least 60 minutes of age appropriate physical activity EVERY DAY? Belly Dance is an excellent form of lowimpact cardiovascular exercise that also improves flexibility, muscle coordination, and strengthens core muscle groups.


Movements such as Hip Slides, Figure 8’s, Hip Drops and Shimmies (to name a few) all fall under this category! The very nature of Belly Dance is to isolate, and thereby condition, major muscle groups such as the abdominals, gluteals, quadriceps, obliques, rhomboids, deltoids, biceps, etc.. 2. Belly dance Builds and Develops Motor and Coordination Skills! Kids are in the process of developing motor and coordination skills, therefore the more they are encouraged to repeat, memorize and practice the movements, combinations and choreographies they learn in class – the sharper their skills become. 3. Cultural Awareness! Belly Dance is one of the most ancient dance forms known to mankind and one of the few that offers a child not only the discipline and technique of learning a dance, but also an incredible amount of cultural education. 4. Building Community, Positive Self-Esteem & Friendships! The opportunity to work in teams and perform in front of an audience at kid-friendly, family-oriented events builds a child’s self-confidence and helps them develop social skills. Not to mention the friends they will make along the way! 5. Improved Overall Health! Regular exercise strengthens the immune system, thereby kids get sick less sick, and it also enables >>


>> them to sleep much better. Add a splash of Belly Dance to their fitness schedule and you’ll see how all that glitters is gold! I recently asked several of my students’ mothers, “As a parent, what is your favorite aspect about having your child enrolled in the Belly Motions KIDS PROGRAM?” I received these beautiful answers: “Remy has been dancing at Belly Motions since she was four years old; she is now eight. Belly Motions has taught her how important it is to be a part of group and give back to the community by performing at different events. They are taught to listen, learn to follow instructions, work in groups, and more importantly to express themselves as little women in a beautiful way. Thank you Belly Motions. We love all of you girls.” – Sherrie, a Belly Motions student and mother of Remy “We love the self-confidence Belly Dance instills in the girls, not just physically but psychologically! Thank you very much!!” - Yamila, a Belly Motions student and mother of Yasmine and Leila In conclusion, Belly Dance can do wonders to improve the quality of a child’s life, and when presented properly, can be age-appropriate for kids! My advice: find an educated and certified Instructor and your daughter will surely enjoy the magic of Belly Dance! With Love, Miss Luisa



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e Inspiration & Fun! ISPAHAN 125

© 2012 Kashka


© 2012 Kashka ISPAHAN 127


LieseLotte Dancer & Photographer series Dancer & Photographer The third episode in this series of portaits. This time it is all about LieseLotte: dancer and professional photographer. During her study Visual Arts at Sint-Lukas (Brussels) she felt strongly attracted to the medium of photography. LieseLotte: ‘I went wild with my analog camera and then edited the negatives in different ways (painting, burning, magnify, …) to create a graphical result. But technology evolves and we evolve. The infinite possibilities of digital photography now form an inexhaustible source to create my edited reality. I’m always looking for the impossible balance between technical knowledge and spontaneous image (snapshot). I love the beauty, emotion, facial expression and expression of the human body at rest (portrait) or motion capture. My passions are my favorite subjects: dance, bodymodification, food and the circle of life. I love working with strong contrasts where pretty, pure elements are combined with ugliness and darkness.’





Last February, when it was very cold outside, I went to see â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Agniâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; in Ghent: a heartwarming theatre inspired by modern Bollywood and classical temple dances. This spectacle is created by the powerful Belgian Maya Sapera Dance Company and guided by live Indian music from the Gori KaDance Orchestra. It was a show to remember and for several hours I forgot the freezing wind outside and got truly taken away to the magical continent of India. Maya Sapera and her dancers where enlightened with colourful costumes. Their choreographies are a combination of Bollywood, gypsy dance and classical temple dances, respecting the authentic roots of this ancient dance form. I left the city by night with a big smile on my face, filled with energy and myth. Dance performance by Maya Sapera Dance Company Music by Gori KaDance Orchestra further reading/hyperlink:









Valerie: “ A great female photographer, who dances herself; if you, as a dancer, are looking for someone to do a photoshoot with, that’s the stuff dreams are made of! LieseLotte is it ! ”




SHOPPING Clockwise: Perfume Sultan via Arabesk Dance Shop e=index&cPath=55&zenid=6b6d82dcc45b57232694 690cd5e3fbab Red paisley Silk Bag from the Baba Store

Laptop Bookcase (for MacBook) Sultane Perfume 1001 Nights by Jeanne Arthes Vintage Arabian Nights Barbies


There is a lot of debate on the subject and the definition.. Pro as in ‘Professional Oriental Dancer’ could be described as: being able to live of your income, generated through your dance activities. There is a very small group of dancers who ‘s main source of income are performances, most of them also teach at a dance school (their own, most of the time), teach at workshops, sell DVD’s and have lots of other activities. But even then, the ones that are able to make a steady and good income from this, are rare (and fortunate!). So let’s view ‘Pro’ as in ‘a professional attitude towards the art form you have chosen’.. On social media you can find a lot of discussion about how to ‘make’ Oriental dance into a professional, recognized and accepted art form. Not everyone can be bothered by this, but most professional dancers are, since they strive for respect and acknowledgement for their hard work, time, effort, skills, knowledge and dedication. One of the ways to change the perception of the ‘general public’ towards Oriental dance is for (more) dancers to develop a professional attitude. This includes never being late for a performance, having your things in order (for instance: a well fitting costume that complements you and is appropriate for the venue, the audience and the style of music you will be dancing to), making sure you are well prepared (by asking the right questions before you accept a gig) and communicate with your contractors in a businesslike and attentive manor. There is a big difference between ‘dancing for the love of dance’, the way you usually start out, and ‘dancing for an audience/ performing’ and being paid for it. And most of this is not so much about technique or choreographing, but about all those things that surrounding it. Like being well prepared. There is lots of information on the Internet to be found on this subject, from how to deal with tough contractors, to how to determine your rates, what music to chose, what to put in your contracts and much more. Your teacher(s) should also provide most of this knowledge; it’s part of your training.


So here are some tips, for the amateur dancer who wants to go ‘Pro’: • When you are approached by potential clients, first ask a lot of questions before you give them a rate (if you are unsure, tell them you will get back to them with a proposal) and also inform clients you will send them your contract to sign, if you all agree on the terms. • One 30-minute gig is different from two 15-minutes performances, even when they are in the same venue. Two performances include a costume change and waiting time in between, at least. • If a venue owner wants you to audition for a contract with regular performances, do so when the venue is closed for the public, otherwise you will be giving away a free performance and therefore selling yourself short.. and the venue owner is likely to be looking for a cheap way to get entertainment. • Make sure you treat yourself with the same amount of respect you would demand from someone else. Uphold standards and model appropriate behavior. Don’t do anything that feels wrong or awkward, you have to feel comfortable at all times. • In case of private gigs, make sure that your client understands you and vice versa.. Show them your performance videos and make sure they know what to expect and what not (like: dancing for one hour straight in the background) and find out whom you will be dancing for. Chances are your client is not as educated on the subject as you are and has no idea what so ever, what ‘folklore’ means. Also you have someting to fall back on, if a client complains that you were not a ‘harem girl’. • A gig that is located far away from where you live costs a lot of petrol. It makes sense to add those costs to your fee. If you have to stay overnight (in a hotel), this applies as well.

• Don’t make a performance official, until everything has been discussed and agreed upon and contracts are signed. You would not be the first to appear on posters only to find out that they don’t want to pay your rate. • Don’t calculate your rate based on how much time you spend rehearsing, the costs of your costume, or the costs of your dance education. Even though these things all are good arguments for demanding to be paid a reasonable fee, price always depends on the (local) market value. Since the numbers of dancers that are keen on doing gigs are high and most customers won’t see the difference between a costly costume and a cheap one, let alone between ‘good’ dancers and ‘bad’ ones, reality is that rates will go down. To prevent this, it could make sense to agree on tariffs with fellow dancers in your area and not to ‘undercut’ them, but in the end it is up to the individual dancer and what they think is reasonable. If you are in high demand, you can charge more.. It could also be a good idea to educate your clients about what the differences in rates symbolize (experience, technique, etc.). • If a client cannot give you an exact time to perform, then negotiate a waiting fee. Sometimes restaurants owners will let you wait to see if they will get enough customers and you might be waiting for a long time. Making sure they understand there is a waiting fee, is most of the time enough for the client to realize that your time is valuable as well.. • When you are asked to perform at an outdoor festival or party, ask what provisions the organization has made in case of rain, or other kinds of bad weather, so you don’t have to go find them on the day itself. Also discuss what to do in case the stage is not suited (covered with glass, for instance) for you to dance on. • Sensual dancing is not the same as sexual dancing. Don’t cross the line if you want to be treated with respect.

• Accepting tips is a very personal thing. Dancing for tips only, though, is a bad idea most of the time. Some venue owners will tell you that the tipping at there venue is substantial, only to ‘explain’ afterwards that the customers ‘must have not liked you that much’ and thus getting away with not paying you and making you feel bad too. • Be aware of cultural differences and educate yourself about them, before you perform in a restaurant or venue that is frequented by a specific cultural group. • Know what you are dancing to..: know where the music comes from and what the lyrics mean. Good Luck! Kashka. A contract might look like this/ more info: Form.htm



This page: SAFAR Show organized by Bina Dance, Paris 2012 Dancers: Hind Taoufiq & Salma Ben Opposite page: SAFAR Show organized by Bina Dance, Paris 2012 Dancer: Hind Taoufiq


This page: SAFAR Show organized by Bina Danse, Paris 2012 Dancers: Salma & Hakim Opposite page: Hakim



This & oppostie page: SAFAR Show organized by Bina Dance, Paris 2012 Dancers: Hind Taoufiq & Salma Ben



This page: SAFAR Show organized by Bina Dance, Paris 2012 Dancers: Salma Ben, Bina & Hakim



This page: SAFAR Show organized by Bina Dance, Paris 2012 Dancers: Bina & Hakim



This page: SAFAR Show organized by Bina Dance, Paris 2012 Dancers: Salma Ben & Hind Taoufiq Opposite page: Dancer: Hind Taoufiq This show was directed by Bina, took place february 2012 and included the great Aziza of Cairo. Bina wrote this comedy in order to give some details of the Arabic culture: it was a important story to tell. Dancers were : Drissia, Hakim, Salma Ben, Hind Taoufiq, Zomzom Dance, Hussein El Azab and Bina. The next edition of this show, on february 2013, will include Dina, Dandash and Raqia. Watch a clip of the 2012 show here: watch?v=vTbfbCOrZXM



This page: SAFAR Show organized by Bina Dance, Paris 2012 Dancers: Bina, Drissia & Hakim



This page: SAFAR Show organized by Bina Dance, Paris 2012 Dancers: Bina , Drissia & Hakim




This page: Magdy El Leisy, (Mambouti Fischer Tanz ) Ali Baba im Wunderland Show, 2011 Siegen (DTL) Opposite page: Nour el Hadi (Zar Performance) Alf Leila Wa Leyla – Tänze aus 1001 Nacht Show , 2009, Vienna


This & opposite page: Caucasian Dance Hodja Pasha Dance Show Istanbul 2012

This page: Bellydance Evolution: The Darkside of the Crown Premiere Show in Hannover 2012 (DTL)

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Copy You can send in your copy as a respons to one of our subjects, or write about someting entirely different and new. Please note that sending in copy is no guarantee that it will appear in the magazine, we also might take the liberty to slightly alter your text or shorten it. ISPAHAN Magazine has a couple of regular topics we would like to get your input for, these are: - Costume Design 101 (for dancers who have made their own costume, not for costume designers) Send us your story in about 120 words, two good quality pictures (with the consent of the photographer) of you wearing the costume and tell us why it is so special to you. -This is me (for dancers/musicians) An introduction of you: tell us your personal experiences and opinions about anything in the Oriental Dance scene (no advertorials please). Include at least three photographs of you (with consent of the photographer). -At the Venue (for anyone, except venue owners/ tenants) Tell us about your experience performing at a specific venue, how you deal with the ‘business’ behind Oriental Dancing.., like the homefront or contacts with clients. What you do, when you realise some guests at the restaurant don’t appreciate you dancing there, what you do if you’ve never been to a certain venue that wants to book you (do you go and check it out?), what you do when you are booked for one thing, but at arrival it appears to be an entirely different story (like a bachelor party perhaps)? Or you can tip us about (Oriental) shopping, beauty, funny stuff and things you simply can’t live without! Please send in your copy in the English language (for translation services, we will ask a small fee). 168 ISPAHAN

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Dance! Otherwise we are lost.. Pina Bausch



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