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Golden Ray of Light

ISPAHAN Magazine André Elbing On tour with André: Oriental Dance Passion

Andrea Dancing in the Street

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Recipes Shopping Design Background stories Ispahan Tips & Tricks and fun stuff..

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ISPAHAN Magazine • Issue 6 • 2013/2

ISPAHAN Magazine Editorial

E-mail Editor/Art Director Manon Claus Editorial Staff Andrea Albergaria André Elbing Brian Leon Cihangir Gümüştürkmen Keesha Beckford Mar Moreno







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Coverphoto/Photography Manon Claus


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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 278 for our disclaimer. Ispahan Magazine©2013Manon Claus

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ISPAHAN Magazine a publication of Kashka, founder of The ISPAHAN Oriental Dance Company, solo performer, designer, choreographer, painter, writer...

Kashka’s (Manon Claus) main profession is art (painting), but she discovered dance at a very early age and has danced ever since. It started with classical ballet, of course. Writing has always been part of both expressions: she developed her own alphabet/language as an artist and always tries to tell a story, also in dance. Aesthetics are a passion in every aspect of her life. Since the internet ‘arrived’, Kashka has designed internet sites and writes blogs and columns.. This Magazine is made and developed by her, all aspects of it and she is learning by doing; not having any knowledge of any of this beforehand, as is normalt to her. The discovery and the learning are her reward for all the hard work. As is the discovery of other, very artistic people that you will find in this magazine. More information is avaliable via: For questions, copy, advertisements or bookings, please contact Kashka via:

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vĂŠs.. ISPAHAN Magazine 005


Your Mag

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ISPAHAN Magazine editors letter

Ispahan Magazine now also has a Facebook Page! Please join us! ISPAHAN MAGAZINE FACEBOOK PAGE (click here)

Š 2012 Kashka 004 ISPAHAN Magazine

Ispahan Magazine, Volume 6 - Summer Edition 2013

Text & Photographs by Kashka

On the other hand, the thought has come up that there might perhaps be too many events, too many workshops, too many distractions from our ‘normal’ practise and dance routine.. I am sure that you, like me, can choose from about 10 events every weekend..! Ten events every weekend, of every month, of every year.. Perhaps I am being old fashioned here, but ‘back in the days’ there were hardly any shows to visit (and I recall only one regular, annual hafla!) and dance students would travel long distances, save up money to be able to go.. It was an epic thing. We were shy, didn’t talk to ‘the stars’, didn’t dare to ask to be in a picture with them, we just sat there, enjoyed the show and admired the dancers from afar.. And afterwards we went back home, thinking we would never dance that way, never shine that much, but we sure were going to do our utmost! The next week were we back at our local dance school again, fired up and ready to give it our all. For the next couple of years, with the same teacher.. Oh, those were the days! ;-) I totally ‘get’ that dancers now, if given a chance, take lots of workshops. But I also think we might have lost something along the way.. (And I am not even mentioning the saturation, devaluation, conflict of interest, competition and cancelling of events and workshops, that is inevitable!) What we have lost, is a clear distinction between professionals, ‘semi’s’ and amateurs. In both teachers, performers and students. We all buy

costly professional costumes, we don’t differentiate between a good organizer and a bad one. And by doing so, by not being able to wait for experience to kick in and awarding professionalism, we are not necessarily doing our dance form any favours. What we have lost also, is patience.. the patience to train and train and train, on the basics and let time (and effort, and passion, and sweat) do their thing and develop you as a dancer. Stamina. Perseverance. Not that I am setting myself as an example, here..! I trained for almost 17 years before ever going solo on an (open) stage! But there has to be some middle ground ;-) Finding a mentor, who can guide you and tell you when you are ready, could be a solution to that. But I see too many dancers who are just starting out, taking workshop after workshop, in an effort to skip these formative years, because, yes, that can get boring and our attention span does not allow for it.. (And since workshops are commercial enterprises, you’re not getting any tough criticism there, so that is not helpful either). As a result dancers don’t develop profoundly or authentically, but become carbon copies in a ‘light’ version instead.. Please allow yourself the time to develop into a true dancer, and also take your time reading ISPAHAN Magazine..! Enjoy!

With love, Kashka (editor) ISPAHAN Magazine 005

Passion Fruit Gelees Recipe: Lightly oil a baking pan. Sprinkle 4 (=1/4-ounce) envelopes unflavored gelatin over 1 cup of water, in a 2-quart heavy saucepan and let it stand 4 minutes to soften. Heat gelatin over medium-low heat, stirring, until dissolved. Stir in 2 cups sugar until dissolved, then stir in 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, washing any sugar crystals down the side of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water. Reduce heat to medium-low and boil, uncovered, without stirring, 13 minutes (watch carefully so that mixture does not boil over). Remove from heat and let it stand 5 minutes for the bubbles to dissipate. (Skim any foam that remains after 5 minutes.) Stir in 3/4 cup thawed unsweetened passionfruit (or maracuyá) purée (do not scrape bottom of pan; leave any dark bits that stick). Pour the mixture into a 8-inch square nonstick baking pan and let it stand at room temperature until set, at least 12 hours. Run a sharp knife around edge of gelatin and invert onto a cutting board. Cut into 1/2-inchwide strips, then cut strips into 1-inch pieces. Just before serving, gently toss the gelées in a bowl of sugar to coat, brushing off excess.

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3 ISPAHAN Contributors 1. Mar Moreno Dancer & Photographer (Barcelona, Spain) 2. Cihangir Gümüştürkmen Professional Dancer, Actor, Visual Artist (Berlin, Germany) 3. Andrea Albergaria Professional Dancer, Performing Arts & Literature MA (Atibaia, Brazil)


4. Keesha Beckford Professional Dancer, Choreographer, Dance Teacher and Blogger (Chicago, IL, USA) 5. André Elbing Professional Photographer at Artistic Theatrical Oriental Photography, (Colone, Germany) 6. Brian Leon Professional Software Developer & Photographer (Winston-Salem, USA) 7. Manon Claus Founder of The Ispahan Oriental Dance Company (dancer, choreographer, website and costume designer) Founder of ISPAHAN Magazine (editor, art director, writer & publisher) Professional Artist and Workshop Organiser

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© 2012 Kashka

The Best and the Worst in Belly Dance..

Let me start by quoting an excellent piece on the reality behind (teaching) Oriental dance: ‘The truth about bellydance schools: or, ethics and why we should have them.’ by Zumarrad: “There’s a story going round. A story about sisterhood and communal ownership and peace and love. Bellydance: it belongs to everyone who ever learned how to do a hip drop. Especially if they’re women. There are no rules, no restrictions, it’s how we feel free, doing our bellydancing, and since we are all women and all bellydancers, once we’ve learned how to do a hip drop, we should have no qualms in just doing as we please with this dance, and encouraging our friends in the dance to do the same. [ ] Truth: that story is a fantasy, one that in some ways we who teach or have taught are guilty of selling to you.. [ ]” This story, Zumarrad is referring to, is both truth and lie. And it got me thinking. This wonderful story, commonly used to attract women to enter dance classes or to promote this dance form, is often completed with ‘the movements will make you feel more feminine, more powerful, more attractive, the dancing will make you feel more joyful, in shape and happy’. And it can. And it sounds very appealing. But I have also seen the down side (and I will be diverting Zumarrad’s subject quite a bit, to read her point -about a lack of respect for belly dance teachers and a huge sense of entitlement among students, that has to stop-, please read her article here.) Thinking of Zumarrad’s article, I remember having seen women getting even more egocentric and also women getting even more self-conscience instead of less, taking Belly dance classes, very contrary to a ‘sisterhood’ that suggests everyone will blossom. The ‘peace and love’ proved to be as thin as ice many times in history and the communal ownership got defined by those who preferred things to be idle, without responsibilities and those who generally dislike rules. It is all fantasy, and the fantasy is taking a turn for the worst. In this increasingly more ‘individual’ world, we tend to reject rules, reject others telling us what to do and how to act. We make up our own individual ‘rules’ (which we change all the time) and call that democracy or the right of self-determination, or birth right. We don’t want to answer to a higher authoritative source (‘cause who does she/he thinks he is?), we are no longer members of political parties (since they don’t represent ALL of our views), or other large groups that require actual work that does not immediately benefit us. We come together only in very brief moments in time, signing a petition or ‘liking’ a status, but only if we can disengage ourselves just as fast and easily as we have joined. Like at Hafla’s.. were everyone pretends to be great, supporting friends. And if we spend our time at something, it should be fun. Our work should be fun, our volunteer work should be fun and we ‘throw’ inspirational quotes around, that stimulate us to only live for ourselves and that tell us we are ‘wonderful just the way we are’. And through all of this, ethics vanish into thin air. And that is where this goes wrong. It has become all about ‘me’. About ‘what’s in it for me’ and ‘what’s best for me’ and thus we lost, or neglect (part of our) values and moral priciples. We have overshot the mark. Dance teachers play a key role in all of this, if we focus on the Oriental dance world and the effect non-ethical conduct has. Good teachers are not the ones who praise you all the time, as the sisterhood thing suggests. Even if that would be good for business. Good teachers are the ones that live by an ethical code and who stimulate and educate dance students into the right direction. (They are not your ‘best friend’, like your mama is not your ‘best friend’, but your mama; both teacher and parent are defined by the responsibility they carry for us.) Good teachers (and mama’s) make (dance) ethics part of the program. They stimulate those more self-conscience dancers, who are the ones that were supposed to be feeling better, more joyful, more feminine, a ‘sista’ by joining us in this ‘world’, but found out that the sisterhood thing just wasn’t real. They correct those, driven by the need to be in the spotlight, who step over anything that doesn’t serve their purpose. They offer a mirror to those who have taken class after class for decades, workshop after workshop, a resume a mile long and think this allows them the title of ‘pro’, but don’t have the guts to actually look at themselves (and be realistic) and deal with criticism -wanting to keep the fairytale alive, they’ll brand any criticism as negative or mean, or just ignore it altogether.- Good teachers don’t decide (feeling bad for women that follow classes loyally, but don’t really make any progress), to promote them to a next level anyway, causing ‘newbie’s’ in the beginners class to soon outshine them and after some time, start making comments on their skills. Teachers that do, might be making a non-problematic situation (someone feeling just fine in the beginners class), become very hurtful sometimes: by trying to make them feel better, they have actually managed to make them feel worse, because in reality they have been telling them a lie and the truth might sometimes hurt, but lying always hurts more. Like pretending someone is a good dancer, not wanting to hurt someone’s feelings telling them they don’t have what it takes for a certain level or group, but -through wanting to be kind and not telling them- really causing them more hurt, because at some point it will be inevitable. Being ‘nice’ is not always nice. It might be dodging the bullet and making things easier for yourself. So we have returned to the choice: ‘Is it good for me, or for the other, the group, or society?’ and deciding to go for the egoistical choice. (And that actually pays off, sometimes.. if ‘the subject’ prefers insincerity.) The sisterhood story, wanting to be led down the primrose path, not taking the responsibility that comes with teaching, is thwarting students going to a next level, or performing, or being ready to teach, whenever the teacher knows and says they are ready.. As done at professional dance forms, where the teachers carry responsibility.

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Let me tell you about this lovely girl I sort of ‘grew up’ with in belly dance class. She was rather severely disabled, she could hardly keep her balance standing up, but she enjoyed dancing, moving to music and the ‘sisterhood’ feel in the group. This girl, who was very aware of her predicament, was always included in our student recitals, not in the back, but in between us, or playing a key role. So far, so good. But after many years -the girl grew into a lovely women- our teacher died and someone else took over. This new teacher decided on a different ‘location’ (her living room) and because the floor there was slippery, the young women fell and almost fell a couple of times, resulting in her not feeling save and ultimately, leaving the dance school after so many years. So what happened to the ‘sisterhood’ during all of this? Where was it? I remember pressing the issue (the location was supposed to be temporarily), suggesting other locations and other types of flooring, but not getting any response from the teacher and very little support from my ‘sisters’, who did not see what was happening, or was about to happen, or did not care. The young women herself bravely voiced her problems, but was not given any kind of answer, let alone solution. There was no sisterhood. When she left, no one mentioned it or talked about it. The sisterhood was a myth and proved to be, several times in a row, also after this unfortunate ‘incident’. And the ‘idea’ of a sisterhood’ only existed before, because of the ethics of the previous teacher. As soon as you get out of that classroom, on to the stage, performing at open stages and entering competitions, the bankruptcy of the sisterhood idea becomes even more apparent. I suspect (and hope) that at the ‘top level’ of professional performers this is not an issue, because women making it there behave professionally, but just below this level, it is an every day thing. And I am known to shout: Hey, it’s a free world! And it is, and ultimately it is up to you, but ethics should not be compromised. It is scaring women away from belly dance and it is damaging women. So I return to this, yet again. And although it is nearly impossible to explain ethics to someone who has very little morals, some clear narcissistic trades, or no idea what that means, we still need to talk about it. Teachers need to teach it. We need to talk about taking things for granted (as students or teachers) and being spoiled, about the huge sense of entitlement Zumarrad refers to, the lack of respect for anyone or anything (and at the same time demanding it for themselves) which seems to be a ‘sign of the times’ since I am hearing and reading increasingly about dance group members who think they can, at any given moment, ‘give their opinion’, do as they are pleased and think that’s okay. Dancers, both pro’s and hobbyists, need to take on responsibility because there also is a limit to what teachers can do, apart from behaving professionally. The ‘six weeks wonders’ and ‘I am very special’ kinds of students can’t be changed into very responsible dancers. The ethics of owning responsibility and being a realist (if a level is to high, do go there, if the ‘regime’ of a group is to intense, don’t apply, if you are not willing to take on the responsibilities of a pro dancer, then don’t aspire to be one), are lost to them. Nor do they care. So it is up to all of us, to set some kind of standard. IF we are interested in being taken serious as a Oriental dancer (instead of the stigma that we all face sooner or later), we need to tell these dancers: If the ambition bar is set to high: don’t apply. If you lack in motivation, time or physical condition, don’t sign up. Because if you do, you are obstructing, blocking the way for others and are, frankly, being very arrogant (and this seems to happen all over the world: dancers stating that they can’t or won’t meet the standard, who are suggesting to teachers and group leaders to lower them, instead of leaving). It’s like entering a language course in, let’s say Mandarin, finding it to hard to learn and insisting that the Chinese government takes action in simplifying the language! If it’s not for you: leave. Accept your limitations. Don’t frustrate the process. Don’t be so self-centred. That should be a sisterhood of Oriental dance: all working together create make a better and more professional dance form. We need to start talking about this, openly, instead of only on ‘private’ internet forums, expressing our frustration only there.., scared that talking about the negative stuff will make us unpopular. Teachers, promoters, Hafla organisers, I have seen all of you at these forums, complaining in ‘silence’ amongst each other: you need to realise that if you can’t depend on others taking responsibility for their own actions, you need to step in and lead the way. Because the sisterhood fantasy thing is not serving our beautiful dance form. Wanting to know more? Please also read: Ispahan Magazine No.4 / Autumn issue, ‘Going Pro’, pages 142/143 This issue: ‘Letter from your dance teacher, by Keesha’ (both teacher and mama!), page 070 ‘Woops, not that again’, Do’s and Don’ts page 126 ‘Troupecontracts why they are needed, but don’t work’, page 174 ‘Hedonistic /Self Love’, page: 210 Tips by Anthea (Kawakib) ‘What I look for in a Student Performer‘

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Dancer & Photographer series Dancer & Photographer 5 The fifth episode in this series of portraits. This time it is all about Mar Moreno: dancer and photographer. Mar: “In the summer of 2009 I bought my first photo camera and 3 months later I started to take photos at belly dance events because I took dance classes and my passion for this led me to immortalize the most beautiful images. After my success with the dancers and teachers, I started taking photos at events, late school courses, parties “Hafla’s” and custom shoots for artists. I am currently expanding my knowledge of photography and moving into the wonderful world of bellydance.” All photos are copyright © of Mar Moreno ISPAHAN Magazine 019

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Dance Group: EXOTIKA & Kriminal Emotions, tribal fusion dancers. Place: Barcelona, Spain Web site: Facebook: Photographer & copyright holder: Mar Moreno Artwork & copyright holder: Kashka Claus ISPAHAN Magazine 023


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Photo: copyright of Galathea mit den Schellen

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Privacy?! Privacy?! Imagine, you’re outside.., running..

Doing your daily exercises. Some Tai Chi maybe. Or you are about to perform somewhere outdoors and you’re doing a warming up in advance.. Or you’re riding your bike or driving in your car, or anything anywhere, really.. And someone puts a camera in your face and clicks.. It is allowed for anyone to take pictures of you and publish them. Completely legal. Whether you are on a beach sunbathing, or picking your nose.. Actually I know of someone who has made a documentary of the images taken by her camera attached to the back seat of her car, filming people who are stuck in traffic. Eating, moving to the music, making faces or gestures, putting on lipstick and you-know-what.., unaware of the fact that they were being filmed. Feeling save in their own car, which feels like an extension of your home. And those people ended up on the big screen. For everyone to see. If you are not in your own home, or a place that is not freely accessible for anyone, you are fair game for anyone with a camera. And even if you are at a venue (say dancing at a wedding) which is not freely accessible, you can still be photographed and filmed by anyone, who then also might upload this video to his or her Facebook page or You Tube, without you even knowing it. How do you feel about that? Does it come with the territory? Is privacy an old fashioned idea? Is it something that you consciously weigh when accepting a gig? Most of us will not mind being photographed while dancing. Although you will not be in control of the not so flattering pictures getting out there. If you are presenting yourself for a public, that is the consequence. But with camera’s getting smaller and smaller, ‘hidden’ in telephones and Google glasses, you won’t even notice being filmed. Or where. And that is making things very different. Also the Internet is. Back in the old days, people took pictures outdoors too. But those ended up in the family album, seen by just a couple of people who had no interest in you. Not these days.. these days you could end up, being portrayed in a not so flattering or appropriate way, on the Internet and then you apply for a job and someone ‘Google’s’ you.. and the picture turns up. Anything on the Internet is there forever. Even after deleting, it is still there, somewhere..... out of your control. A friend told me a story about this. He was attending a party of one of his mates, had a bit to much to drink, did not realise he was being photographed and was terrified to find himself on a picture in what could be describe as a not very professional pose. And he is a business owner. He cannot risk costumers to see this picture. But anyone who Google’s his name, might see it. Fortunately he knew the ‘photographer’ and asked him to remove the picture, but most of the time we are totally unaware that these pictures even exists... There have been accounts of people not getting a job because of a compromising photo, turning up on the Internet. Now, you could argue that you should not get yourself in such a situation, that at least this much is in your control. But what about you trying to keep your private life (including your hobbies, like Belly dancing) separated from your professional life (like your job)? And then there is the fact that the ‘photographer’ can do whatever they want with this picture. Anyone has Photoshop these days. I have read about a dancer whose tattoos had magically disappeared.. Are we really aware of the fact that anything we put out there, on the Internet, is there forever? Anything you post and write on your Facebook page.. It is not private. And it’s not gone after deleting. Shouldn’t we be much more careful? Write to: and share your opinion with us!

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Interesting Inte The many faces of the performer by: Scott Barry Kaufman About performers loving to perform, but being terrified to do so, or painfully shy next to the stage. Some interesting quotes from this article: Creativity researchers aren’t so confused. They have long-ago accepted the fact that creative people are complex. Almost by definition, creativity is complex. Creative thinking is influenced by many traits, behaviors, and sociocultural factors that come together in one person. It would be surprising if all of these factors didn’t sometimes, or even most of the time, appear to contradict one another. Creative people have a great deal of physical energy, but they’re also often quiet and at rest. They work long hours, with great concentration, while projecting an aura of freshness and enthusiasm...This does not mean that creative people are hyperactive, always “on.” In fact, they rest often and sleep a lot. The important thing is that they control their energy; it’s not ruled by the calendar, the dock, an external schedule. When necessary, they can focus it like a laser beam; when not, creative types immediately recharge their batteries. They consider the rhythm of activity followed by idleness or reflection very important for the success of their work. Creative people tend to be both extroverted and introverted. We’re usually one or the other, either preferring to be in the thick of crowds or sitting on the sidelines and observing the passing show. In fact, in psychological research, extroversion and introversion are considered the most stable personality traits that differentiate people from each other and that can be reliability measured. Creative individuals, on the other hand, seem to exhibit both traits simultaneously. Creative people’s openness and sensitivity often exposes them to suffering and pain, yet also to a great deal of enjoyment... Being alone at the forefront of a discipline also leaves you exposed and vulnerable. These three seeming contradictions -- energy/rest, extroversion/introversion, and openness/sensitivity -- are not separate phenomena but are intimately related to one another and along with other traits form the core of the creative performer’s personality. -All participants showed interest in physical activities but also reported requiring “alone time.” -Most participants reported “overthinking everything” and being hypercritical, exhibiting critical attention to detail and a careful method of planning everything. The evidence is clear: for a large majority of performers, in some of the most extroverted forms of performance, there is a great ability to juggle multiple faces and a need for downtime and reflection.

Small manifes 5 reasons to by: Tim (MyM

Ein Künstler wird im Großr Beamter als Künstler. Wo bleibt die Kreativität au Es bedarf Mut, anders zu s Nur der kann Außergewöhn Was gibt es schöneres, als und seine eigenen Abenteuer

No sympa by: Scott

While most of the in America to be a class people – a lo tremendous sacrifi them.” Of course, those So why aren’t we Creative types, we

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Being Authentic (German) by: Jochen Mai Erst durch die Selbstreflektion sind wir in der Lage unser Handeln bewusst zu erleben und zu beeinflussen. Wer authentisch sein will, muss der Realität ins Auge blicken und auch unangenehme Rückkopplungen – seien sie optisch oder verbal – akzeptieren. Wer Werte hat, sollte danach handeln. Kaum etwas wirkt verlogener und unechter als ein Opportunist.

How to be laid back By: MonkyMonk, Brandon, Devin Hartnett, Cloventt and 49 others For those who are ambitious over achievers.. and who isn’t? Tips to be relaxed: 1. do one thing at a time 2. slow down: Cleaning the house for an hour with your favourite music playing and your bottom shaking is better than cleaning the house in half that time but in a frantic state of mind. More tips via:

st of the not so ordinary – be different (German) Monk)

raumbüro verrückt werden, ein Bauer als Beamter, ein

uf einem festen, gegebenen, normierten Weg? sein und zu leben. Doch der Mut wird belohnt werden. nliches erreichen, der Außergewöhnliches tut. s einen Menschen dazu zu inspirieren, er selbst zu sein r zu erleben?


athy for the creative class t Timberg

e artists surveyed had college degrees, they earned less than the average professional. Dancers even less. What does it mean successful artist? asks Dana Gioia, the poet who oversaw the study while NEA chairman. “Essentially, these are workingot of them have second jobs. They’re highly trained – dancers, singers, actors – and they don’t make a lot of money. They make fices for their work. They’re people who should have our respect, the same as a farmer. We don’t want a society without who continue to work in the creative class are the lucky ones. talking about it? suspect, are supposed to struggle. Artists themselves often romanticize their fraught early years.

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Always wanted to have Your Own Magazine?

064 ISPAHAN Magazine


With You, or Your Group as the subject?




o Your Magazine Basic

© Kashka Claus Dsign

Great Business opportunity!

6 pages (incl. cover and back) online via Issuu (no pdf) design & typography mini magazine link for your web site and social media (all text & photo’s are supplied by you in the right format and language + 1 correction round) (no hyperlinks) € 75,00 in advance, via bank

Your Magazine Special

10 pages (incl. cover and back) online via Issuu (no pdf) design & typography mini magazine link for your web site and social media (all text & photo’s are supplied by you in the right format and language + 1 correction round) incl. hyperlinks € 100,00 in advance, via bank

Your Magazine Elite 20 pages (incl. cover and back) online via Issuu (plus pdf) design & typography mini magazine link for your web site and social media (all text & photo’s are supplied by you in the right format and language + 2 correction rounds) incl. hyperlinks € 150,00 in advance, via bank

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‘Refreshing juice recipes Watermelon and Coconut Breeze Ingredients: 3 cups (cubed) chilled watermelon 1 cup coconut water squeeze of fresh lime juice sprig of mint ice How to make: Easy! Put everything in a blender and mix it up!

Watermelon Smoothie 4 cups deseeded cold watermelon 1 Tablespoon lime juice 1 Tablespoon raw honey 4 ice cubes Again: combine all ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth

Watermelon Detox Drink Slice up a good amount of watermelon into cubes, rind and all, and put them into a jug or pitcher. Cut 1 juicy lime into wedges and toss in with the watermelon. Add a handful of fresh, fragrant, mint leaves and pour in 2 liters of cool water, filling the jug all the way to the top. Let this sit overnight in the fridge and let all the yummy flavors steep and infuse the water. When you want to drink it, put in a generous helping of ice cubes, pour, and enjoy daily.

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s for a long, hot summer’

-easy to make, healthy to drink-

Watermelon helps the body flush out toxins because it contains the organic compound citrulline, which is an amino acid that has been shown to help the liver and kidneys filter and get rid of ammonia. Ammonia comes in external forms, but is also a by-product of the proteins our bodies are burning up constantly for energy, and it’s quite damaging to our cells. Cucumber also contains citrulline, but not as much as watermelon. Watermelon may also just give the liver an overall boost.

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A Letter from Y Dear Dance Student circa 2013: Hi, there! This is your dance teacher. Your older dance teacher. Let’s chat. First, I know you love dance. You want to be great. You want to work. You want people to see all that you have to offer. You are also coming of age in a dance world that is so different from the one I grew up in, and I’m excited to see what develops. But I’ve seen a lot that concerns me.

Before her two children rechoreographed her life, Keesha was a professional dancer who performed in the U.S. and in Europe. Today she is a master modern and jazz dance teacher in the Chicago area. She is also the human cyclone behind the popular blog Mom’s New Stage. A multitasker at heart, she shows fierce skills at simultaneously writing, choreographing, checking Facebook and Pinterest updates, playing the role of a mother named Joan “Kumbaya” Crawford, and overcooking food. Her writing has been featured on and recently in the bestselling anthology ‘I Just Want to Pee Alone.’ Go here to the original Blog ‘A Letter From Your Dance Teacher’: h t t p : / / w w w. m o m s n e w s t a g e. com/2013/05/a-letter-from-yourdance-teacher.html (and do read the comments also!)

You come from a generation that has been empowered like none before in humanity. You have been taught to question authority - to do your own thing - from an early age. Many of you have been raised where “everyone gets a trophy,” and your teachers, parents and coaches, trying to be encouraging, often praised you just because. Furthermore, in the age of the Internet everything is accessible instantly and effortlessly. You want to look up a word or person? Google it. You hear a song you like? You don’t even have to remember the words - just Shazam it. Hell, you don’t even have to push a button anymore; you merely touch a screen. When you are asked to work at something because that is simply what one does, many of you ask “Why should I? So-and-so made this thing and it went mad viral.” A few people are genuine overnight sensations -- results of our spectacle-hungry, media-addicted culture. Most sudden phenoms, however, have been toiling quietly for years before their “moment.” Success is a process. Success is also a product of criticism from others and oneself. In dance class corrections are very public. The teacher cannot always say everything in the gentlest way. With a class full of students, she needs to be concise and clear. Your teacher’s job is not to make you like her, not to make you want go have coffee or drinks, or to be lifelong or even Facebook friends. Personally, I like it when I become friends with students. But this happens because before anything else the student trusted me – my skills and knowledge as a dancer and teacher. If you don’t trust your teacher you might find her corrections disrespectful. I tend to get zealous with corrections, going on campaigns and harangues to fix things. My humor tends toward the sarcastic, which can rub people the wrong way. Thus the combination of doggedly wanting to help and a dry wit might offend some students.

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George Balanchine

Your Dance Teacher If you are one of these students, you need to come talk to me about it. Don’t rip me a new one via your parents or in your course evaluation. Certainly there is humiliation, even cruelty in the dance studio. The caricature of the mean teacher or choreographer is based in truth. But when you find a teacher who is going out of her way to correct you, and perhaps getting a little frustrated – to call this teacher disrespectful is wrong. You do yourself a disservice. It is much easier for your teacher to ignore you, and spend time on someone who makes changes quickly. Only a teacher who thinks you have potential would bother to try to help you. Not disrespectful at all – exactly the opposite. And that puts the onus on you, to take responsibility for yourself. If you don’t understand why you are getting a correction five times per class or why your dancing is not getting the compliments you’d like, ASK! The teachers who gave me the harshest, most brutally honest corrections are the ones I learned the most from. I didn’t like what they had to say, but in my day, we just went home and cried -- never did we accuse the teacher of disrespect. Weeks, months or even years later, I realized how right the teacher was. That said, their corrections didn’t mean I was a) a bad dancer b) never going to dance professionally c) meant to be a Taco Bell employee. So please, take class mindfully. Work hard. Bring passion into the studio. Be curious about how to get better. Ask questions. And remember, if someone cares enough to work with you day in and day out, if she or he cares enough to get frustrated with you, she’s not being disrespectful, she’s TEACHING. You have so much information and technology available to you, and I know you have a lot to say. But a skilled dancing body still counts. Let me help.



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Tzet Kranil by Bassano 1914

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Ask not what Oriental Dance

Ask what you can do for Orie

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can do for you.

ental Dance!

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Here’s a story from grandma ‘bout the good old days.. Not that I am that old, mind you! But I cannot deny a sense of ‘it was better back then’ and that’s not because I’m in a romantic mood. Let me explain. When I was a little girl, there was still a sense of discipline in schools, even at elementary schools. You might have heard of it.. We did not call our teachers by their first names. We still (but very seldom, because we knew better) had to stand in the corner of the classroom,, after being naughty (like whispering, there were no smart phones back then). We respected adults in general greatly, teachers even more so and certainly the head teacher. It is safe to say we actually feared him. (He was a strange guy anyway. Made us learn how to write with fountain pens.., you can imagine the mess! Oh dear...!) At the age of four or five, already doing a lot of gymnastics, I discovered ballet. I have pictures of me dancing around the house in homemade veils, made of tulle. And the dream of once being a prima ballerina soon followed. I was made for ballet: long muscles, smooth joints, no predisposition for gaining weight, no matter what I ate.. it seemed destined. Obviously, I took lessons. Wild horses could not drag me away. At first I was dropped off and picked up by my parents at the ballet school, or by parents of fellow mini ballerina’s. But after some time, every Friday afternoon, I ran ten minutes from school to the bus stop, sat on the bus for over an hour (travelling from town to town), upon arrival ran another ten minutes to the ballet studio, where I arrived just a bit late (or quite a bit, depending on the amount of travellers on the bus, getting on, getting off), got dressed quickly and -still breathing heavily- entered the ballet studio, did my own warming up (which I was taught to do) and participated in the classes after that. In the bus, on the way over there, I ate two crackers with cheese, which I had made that same morning at home. Not very fresh (the cheese had melted a little from carrying it around in my schoolbag, the whole day long), but the only ‘dinner’ I would eat that day or every Friday, those years. And I would put my long, blond hair in a tight bun, covered with a home knitted (white, with silver sparkles) hairnet. I would take several classes on those Fridays: the beginners, the intermediate and the high level class and would return home hours later, after spending another hour on that same bus, moving slowly through the landscape. I loved those rides. I could dream away, looking out of the window. It was already dark before I got to the bus station, where I changed busses to get home. On arrival at home, it was already past my bedtime, so straight to bed! Obviously, my girlfriends did other stuff on their Friday evenings. And I often had to skip birthday parties, movie night or sleepovers. I was happy to do so. I loved going to ballet, even though it was ‘just’ an amateur school. I did not even mind the pain and blisters from the pointes. I never had brand new ones, so mine were always already discarded by others before I got them. I had to rinse the blood out, every time I wore them. And Friday wasn’t the only evening of the week I spend exercising: two more evenings, on Mondays and Wednesdays, I was still doing my gymnastics as well, since it was good for my muscles. All of this, next to the weekly gymnastics and swim class at school.. I dreamed of, one day, wearing a tutu. That was the holy grail of ballet, those days. Yes, dear, a lot of devotion for a little kid, wasn’t it? But you see, it was my DREAM.. An actual dream I was willing to do everything for, not some short infatuation, like the kids these days. I was already planning my future. Nowadays everyone can buy a tutu at any sports store or even online, but back then you could only get one through getting accepted at a professional ballet school, work your ass off for years and then, maybe, getting a part in Swan Lake. I was ready to audition. My instep (dorsum of the foot) was a couple of millimetres to low. Nothing you can do about it. Although I tried. Trained the ‘muscles’ on my feet for a year, vigorously and I have foot cramps ever since.. After that, and with a sturdy prep from my dance teacher, I auditioned at several professional ballet schools, all located hours away from home. A little girl, following her dream, standing in front of a long table that seated six, very grim looking people, stripped to my underwear, while a seventh one was pulling at my limbs, to see how far they would stretch. But all my ‘foot’ training was to no avail. My ballet career was over before it began.

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And yet, I have no regrets what soever, about all the time and effort I put in, nor the things I gave up for it. It has taught me to work for something you want. It has taught me that achieving goals, dreams coming true, only have a chance of happening if you give it your all. And that there is glory in working hard. In high school that same discipline was needed. There was no fooling around, or skipping classes. Every morning the dean awaited us, standing at the top of the staircase, watching us closely, with a strict face as we climbed up those seemingly endless stairs with our heavy schoolbags dangling over our shoulders. If you worked hard and had some luck, you would get into the next level. The Latin and Greek did not learn itself. And after that, at Art Academy, things were actually done much more seriously than my friends at University did. We actually wanted to be there, where punctual and attended extra classes, loved everything we could learn, worked our ass off, again. I do not recall lots of wild parties or students calling in ‘sick’. Those days I really drifted apart from my friends who went to the higher (vocational) education, who in my view where merely partying and getting stuck in time, not evolving, not learning. Becoming an artist is like becoming an entrepreneur: you will have to have discipline to make it. To get out of bed every morning and start working on your paintings, without the luxury of having a steady income requires a strong will. It is not a 9-5 job. If you don’t take it seriously yourself, who will? So then I got involved in Belly dancing, on the side. Working hard for me has never been synonym to not having fun, on the contrary. Working hard, being focused and learning every time, is fun to me. It is the reason I am there. The kick afterwards is great. I love the feeling of being exhausted. Rehearsing, doing that one thing over and over again until you’ve got it, that is what I like about it. Progress. Setting the bar (for yourself) higher every time. Achieving a level you have never thought you would. So I approached Oriental dance the same way as I would any job, assignment or hobby. And I have ever since.. Even now, twenty years later, it is not the costumes, not the performing that are alluring to me. Performing is an indissoluble part of it, it provides a deadline, an extra motivation to excel and an opportunity to mirror yourself, compare your skills to other dancers. But performing is mostly about entertaining the audience, not yourself. I take it quite seriously, I feel embarrassed if I, for whatever reason, don’t do the utmost. The audience has paid to see you. It has left the comfort of their home to see you. It is willing to cheer you on, give you their attention and applaud. A performance is not a rehearsal, something ‘I try’ to do. Like Yoda said: ‘do or don’t do, there is no try’. If there is a problem, like stage fright, a sore back or foot cramps: deal with it. Act professionally, because you take your art seriously. Performing used to be something you could do if you did the work, took the lessons, auditioned at a professional company, got accepted and were selected for a role or part. Nowadays in Oriental dance you can ‘perform’ at numerous occasions and without having to show your skills in advance. Recently I was asked to send in video’s of (our group) performances.. that was the first and only time I have gotten that request. We were not accepted for the main show, but the ‘let down’ was so polite and never even mentioned our skill level, that I was actually disappointed. I had wished the organizer had downright said: ‘you are simply not good enough, try again next year’. Now, I had to go back to the group and say: the show is full, we can try again next year. Nothing learned, no kick in the butt. Ah well, maybe it had to be that way.. To open my eyes. Lately I have seen and read a lot about the lack of discipline within oriental dancing (and specifically performing). I have read about the sense of entitlement that students have, the arrogant or inertly sluggish and easily satisfied behaviour, the lack of ethics, the lack of professionalism and the lack of motivation. For a lot of dancers it’s more about ‘what the dance can do for me’ than ‘what I can do for the dance’. This ‘what’s in it for me?’ (as in attention, being in the limelight, getting praise) has then led to not being able to deal with criticism. Not even wanting to be criticized, only wanting to give and get praise, regardless of the achievement, just ‘trying’ and being ‘courageous’ is enough to tell anyone (whether you have actually seen them dance or not) that is was ‘fabulous’. Where is the devotion? Where is the readyness to work hard to achieve something? Dear child, listen to ‘grandma’ and know that only hard work and devotion will get you where you want to be.. unless your aim in life is to only please yourself.

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This could have been your advertisement!! e! u s s i t x e n e h t s s i m t ’ t n Do

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The sa geometric Indian dan Bindu to By Andrea

The dance, I believe, is beyond already done repertoire: my dance is visceral, ancestral and based on the body that expands into lines, geometric shapes. It is a dance that leaves from a starting point called Bindu, within the Hindu concept of sacred symbols. This dance has no name, no owner, but has a path, a map, a trajectory that I, like an archaeologist who searches incessantly traces of a civilization, look for: this geometric body and its expansion in movement. And from this personal starting point search, my private Bindu is called Odissi Dance, a classical dance that emerged in the state of Orissa, India, at the east coast of this country, and has singularities that turn it to be completely different from other dances of India. With archaeological records dating from the second century BC, found in the hills of Udayghiri in Orissa, this art, triangles and squares with sculpted stone body, automatically leads us to the concept of Yantras, geometric symbols linked to Hindu deities. - IM note: The word “deity” derives from the Latin deus (“god”), which is related through a common IndoEuropean origin to Sanskrit deva (“god”), devi (“goddess”), divya (“transcendental”, “spiritual”). The root is related to words for “sky”, such as Latin dies (“day”), and the Sanskrit div, diu (“sky”, “day”, “shine”). Source: Wikipedia If there is an expansion of this point, either the body or the physical space we occupy, I want to know why. And if there is a return to the starting point, I also seek an answer. Because dance is life, it does not have one without the other. And if I dance according to the movement of the universe, I really need to map my own path, to build my own Yantra. In art and in life.

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acred c body of nce – from Yantra Albergaria

To talk about (and dance and teach) Classical Indian Dance and be, at the same time, a western Indian dancer and more than this, a Brazilian Indian dancer, sometimes is totally nonsense, including to me. And so, looking for some sense in this journey I found Agni, the heroine of August Strindberg´s “The Dream Play”. Agni, according to Strindberg, is a curious daughter of the Hindu God Indra, who commands the storms, lightning and all celestial energy. It was Indra who must give permission for her to visit Earth and to see humanity much closer: their cries, their passions, their groundless arrests. She crosses orbits and heavy density of the air. Breathless and somewhat stunned, she arrives. In 2012, I directed the spectacle The Dream (O Sonho, in my mother language), based on the fall of Agni, in form of Classical Indian dance, with my choreographic composition. As Agni, I have crossed borders between east and west, Classical Indian dance and a western audience, between me and myself. Just to know more about my own infinite curiosity: the search, the trajectory and my proper life in dance. On premiere day, as part of the program of some Brazilian Winter Festival, there was a strong storm and a lightning eventually damaged some theater light equipment. As soon the stage technician informed us about it, I thought immediately of Indra permission for Agni´s trip and her orbital crossing. So, with this auspicious sign from heaven, my dream (and Strindberg´s Dream), was awarded as the best dance spectacle of festival. This award was more than a material prize. It´s a kind of freedom sensation for crossing all orbits where my own dance can take me. It is a Yantra dance that is not yet ready, but surely so much more designed and sacred. And now it is shared with all of you. Andrea Albergaria ISPAHAN Magazine 083

Photography by Geov Andrea Albergaria an

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Andrea Albergaria

vanny Leite nd her class of geometric dance: triangles over squares.

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About Andrea Albergaria ANDREA ALBERGARIA is Brazilian by birth, but lived her childhood and teenage years in Al Baghdadhi, Iraq, due to her parents work. It was there that she started her studies on dance and developed a deep passion for ‘the east side of the world’. Back in Brazil she completed her master degree studies in Performing Arts and started to research Classical Indian dance, with emphasis on the Abhinaya technique (interpretation). - IM note: Abhinaya is a concept in Indian dance and drama derived from Bharata’s Natya Shastra. Although now, the word has come to mean ‘the art of expression’, etymologically it derives from Sanskrit abhi- ‘towards’ + nii- ‘leading/guide’, so literally it means a ‘leading towards’ (leading the audience towards a sentiment, a rasa). Aside from its clear impact on dramatic tradition, it is used as an integral part of all the Indian classical dance styles, which all feature some kind of mimetic aspect to certain compositions, for example in depictions of daily life or devotional pieces. More info on the 4 ingredients of Abhinaya go here ( Since 1996, Andrea has been in India periodically, to enhance her studies of Odissi Dance (the Classical Indian dance of Orissa, Bay of Bengal, India). Besides Performing Arts, Andrea also has a degree in Brazilian literature. The Hindu concept of sacred geometry in body and space, the Yantra, plays a major role in her work, drawing a body and scenic map, and thus composing Yantra Choreographies. Her main objective is to find the physical interpretation, beyond inside or outside borders. -IM note: Yantra is a Sanskrit word that is derived from the root ‘yam’ meaning to control or subdue or “to restrain, curb, check”. Meanings for the noun derived from this root include: • “any instrument or machine” (i.e. that which is controlled or controls. For instance the body is said to be a yantra) • “any instrument for holding, restraining, or fastening” (for instance a symbol which ‘holds’ the essence of a concept, or helps the mind to ‘fasten’ on a particular idea) • “a mystical or astronomical diagram” (usually a symbol, often inscribed on an amulet) sometimes said to possess mystical or magical powers. >>

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Siddhachakra Mahayantra The Siddhachakra Yantra is one of the most important and popular Jain yantras (mystical diagrams). The central lotus has symbolically encircled five supreme beings namely Arihant (Tirthankara) in the centre and Siddha (the liberated souls), Acharya (Mendicant leader), Upadhyaya (Mendicant preceptor) and Sadhu (Mendicant) as well as Samyak-jnana (right knowledge), Samyak-charitra (right conduct) Samyak-darshan (right belief) and Samyak-tapa (right asceticism) in eight petals. Alternate petals on outer circle have various mantras. At the bottom of the painting, Raja (King) Shripala and his queen Mayanasundari are shown worshipping the yantra. Info:

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-tra is an indoeuropean suffix meaning ‘ instrument’, found in Latin aratrum and in tantra and mantra. A yantra depicts both macrocosmic and microcosmic forces acting together - the movement towards and away from the centre - “control” and “liberation” within the one device. Mantra plus yantra creates tantra. In some disciplines of Tantra it is said that a focused, controlled gaze upon a particular yantra may lead to liberation. More here ( Andrea teaches (regular and intensive) Classical Indian dance at cultural centers throughout Brazil and also uses the Abhinaya technique for actor training in theater groups. Also, she leads a creative process of dance composition with people of all ages, mixing together different types of dance languages and styles, literature, poems and paintings. She is the winner of the Winter Festival 2012 Atibaia (São Paulo, Brazil). A price awarded to her for the creative and managerial work for her production ‘O Sonho’, based on August Strindberg’s ‘A Dream Play’. In ‘O Sonho’ (Portuguese), she tells the journey of a goddess travelling from heaven to earth, using Classical Indian dance technique, as well as her own.

-IM note: A Dream Play, written in 1901, remains one of Strindberg’s most admired and influential dramas, seen as an important precursor to both dramatic Expressionism and Surrealism. Strindberg’s prefatory note: The characters split, double, multiply, evaporate, condense, dissolve and merge. But one consciousness rules them all: the dreamer’s; for him there are no secrets, no inconsistencies, no scruples and no laws. He does not judge or acquit, he merely relates; and because a dream is usually painful rather than pleasant, a tone of melancholy and compassion for all living creatures permeates the rambling narrative. More on A Dream Play & Strindberg here: ( © 2012 Kashka and here: Strindberg and the Poetry of Myth (page 146) ( i+strindberg&source=bl&ots=mGBuK17kPO&sig=WysLxRvBDiD87GLq1UOTEg-fZE&hl=nl&sa=X&ei=2z64UaPXDeX40gWJ7ICQCw&ved=0CC8Q6AEwAA#v=one page&q=agni%20strindberg&f=false). Another piece by Andrea is the video dance experience called ‘Pagode Noir’ (Black Pagoda, or the Sun Temple of Konark, India). The video title is ambiguous in the sense that in the Portuguese language (spoken throughout Brazil) Pagode could be interpreted as ‘Samba’ and Noir as: ‘on air’. ~

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About Andrea Albergaria

Š 2012 Kashka

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The next intensive de Janeir

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t Classical Indian Dance project will be the inaugural class of the first group of Odissi Dance in Rio de Janeiro. Andrea will teach e weekend workshops there, once a month, until the end of this year. The first meeting will be at July 7th. Interested people from Rio ro can contact Andrea on for further information.

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Andrea Albergaria contact Contact: (for classes, workshops and performances)

Web Site Andrea Albergaria: Andrea Albergaria Odissi Dance Group:

Video: Andrea Albergaria - Classical Indian Dance O SONHO - espetáculo de dança indiana, direção Andrea Albergaria Pagode Noir

Opposite page: O Sonho (the Dream Play) poster festival Photo background page 92/93: Photo background page 94: photos.html Photo background page 97: Photo background page 99:

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Picture perfect girls - Who’s your favorite Photographer? Looking at the stars of todays Oriental Dance scene, we see -whitout exception- gorgeous, beautiful, glamorous women, who are wonderful dancers, They set the bar high. But Picture perfect girls are not all that hard to photograph.. They look good no matter what. So perhaps those are not the pictures to measure the numerous Photographers by. Who is your favorite photographer? Send us your story and the pictures you love, made by him/her.. As a tribute to those who travel everywhere we go and use their skills to give us great shots, Even if we are not picture perfect. Send them to:

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Thanks to dance 5-6-7-8 is my countdown to everything

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Cihangir a 25 year Jubilee !

Interview with:

n e m k r ü t s ü , m ü G r i g n a Cih ” Du bist jetzt ein Star”

(Now, you are a star!)

That was the response Cihangir got from a colleague, a while back, after performing. He has talked about this ‘Belly Dance Scene phenomenon’ of being catapulted into stardom -after just a couple of performances- before. He was flabbergasted back then. A Star? A star to him, is so much more than having a website, a Facebook fan page and dancing at festivals… Cihangir Gümüştürkmen, based in Berlin and born in Izmir, West Turkey, has recently celebrated his 25th anniversary as a performer by (of course) putting on a show, accompanied by his friends. And it all started with having some fun doing a Drag Queen act.. Artist curriculum After the succes that first night, 25 years ago, Cihangir founded the ‘Salon Oriental’ alongside Honka Tandoğan (Fatma Souad), in the well-known art minded Kreuzberg district of Berlin (Germany). 104 ISPAHAN Magazine

Kreuzberg is to Berlin, what Soho is to New York: arty, 24hour/day nightlife, a high number of immigrants and a counterculture tradition; all very typical for this part of the city. And you might know ‘Checkpoint Charlie’ at the Friedrichstraße.. The Berlin Wall ‘fell’ in 1989 and in 1990 the ‘two’ Germany’s (East and West) were united again, Berlin being the capital. By the time Cihangir started his Salon Oriental cabaret show (in August 1996), this former part of West Germany was booming and the atmosphere could be compared to the flamboyant and outrageous ‘roaring twenties’. The shows consisted mainly of Drag Queen acts with some dancing (cabaret) and had an Oriental ‘vibe’ to it. In an effort to get away from the usual Drag Queen disco glitter, they came up with an Oriental Lounge theme and made most of de decoration themselves: pillows with lots of sequins, straw rugs, oriental tapestries.. They also made their own costumes, of course. After putting on several of these Oriental shows, Cihangir and Honka were discovered by >>


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director Kutluğ Ataman and ended up playing supporting roles in his movie ‘Lola & Bilidikit’. Cihangir played his drag queen ‘alter ego’ Lale Lokum. International attention and success followed, the movie received awards both in Germany and Turkey. In 1999 Cihangir left the Salon Oriental company and created the ‘Café am Nil‘ Oriental comedy dance show, together with Katharina Joumana. And in 2003 he produced his first solo comedy show ‘One Görl Show’ in which all his characters from the Salon Oriental years came to life again, a show in which (underneath all the humour) lots of personal experiences Cihangir had as a child and in early adulthood, are portrayed.. Other shows Cihangir participated in, are: ‘Karma - Orient meets Flamenco’ (with Firuze, 2002/03) and the ‘Madi - Seit der Sinne’ Oriental Dinner Show from 2004 until 2007, were he worked as a Belly dancer, program director and actor (Grand Vizier) and also wrote the storylines for the first dinner shows. In 2005 he produced a CD “Cihangir’s Black Bird” and 2006 the dance DVD “Belly dance with Cihangir”. That same year, in 2006 Cihangir created the cartoon series ‘Lale Lokum & Fatma Souad’, which have been published in ‘Tanz Oriental’ and also wrote several articles on the history of Oriental Dance in the Ottoman Empire, for this magazine. He landed his first serious acting role in the theatre play ‘Faked’ in 2007, an early directing piece by Nurkan Erpulat. The play, which is an adaptation of ‘Gefälschte Identitäten’ von K. Kurdoglu und Ü. Ünal, deals with the identity crisis of first generation immigrants (Turkish immigrants in Germany, in this case), as well as with the twisted kind of the acceptance by their new countrymen. The ‘German side’ of the identity of the main character, a gay Turkish immigrant, is accepted more successfully by the majority of people, if his homosexuality is expressed more clearly by him. Because, in their minds, the two ‘concepts’ of being Turkish and gay are somehow incompatible. The main question of the play is therefore: who am I? The play was shown at the ‘Beyond Belonging Festival – from Istanbul to Berlin’. Next on Cihangir’s agenda was The Salon Arabesk (2009): a cabaret show at the UfaFabrik Berlin and in 2010 another dinner show at ‘Madi - Zelt der Sinne’. And, finally in 2011 Cihangir produced the show ‘Masa an Nur’ (Evening of Light): an Oriental dance show with some modern dance / theatre influences, and live music.

Cihangir, welcome at Ispahan Magazine! In your jubilee show of May 2013 (UfaFabrik Theatre Berlin), you performed, amongst many other things, that very first Drag Queen act again, from all those years ago; you brought it back to life. What was that like? Hello Manon, thank you for your invitation! Yes exactly, this was my very first Drag Queen performance, together with my dear friends Gérôme Castell and Gloria Viagra, al those years ago in 1987, in Berlin. We based it on Tracey Ullman’s song called >> ISPAHAN Magazine 107

‘Breakaway’ and we were dressed in ‘sixties’ style outfits. The audience demanded to see this one again in the Jubilee show, alongside other highlights (like the Türkischen Putzfrauen (Turkish maid) sketch, from 1992 and the Black Bird dance, performed at my CD record release Show, in 2006). And it was wonderful, to do that very first sketch again, mostly because I really appreciate our friendship that has lasted throughout these 25 years.. Will you take this show on the road, internationally even perhaps? I don’t think so, that was a one-off event! But if someone would want to book us..? Ha ha, I am sure someone out there will look into that opportunity right now! It seems that the ‘theme’ in all your art, the common ground in all that you do is: you, as in your identity as a Turkish-German man, your life, your migration from one culture to another and your place in this world. Do you think it is inevitable that one’s art is about themselves and is there a point at which you will have worked it through, you think..? The outside world has casted me into that role. Because of my roots, I am connected to the Turkish culture. Time and again, as an artist, I am being confronted with that heritage. To me, every artist is like a mirror: reflecting all, especially what he or she has experienced in their child and adult life and what has been of influence to him. Since I moved to Berlin being 11 years old already, my childhood memories have stayed with me very clearly. The move from Turkey to the grey and cold streets of Berlin was not a pleasant one at first, and being a sensitive child Cihangir had some difficulties to adjust. Perhaps the humour helped him do that. He contributes his sense of humour to his grandmother. Cihangir recalls that she always laughed so hard at her own stories that everyone in the room just had to laugh too. The entertainment part may very well come from his father, and the dance is in his blood. And although his beloved mother was not ‘thrilled’ about his dancing at first, Cihanger persevered. You might have seen his ‘Sibel Istanbul’ satire on Belly dancing.. a luscious brown and big haired woman, shimmying across the stage with a lot of chewing gum in her mouth.. Satire in the Belly Dance scene is not >> 108 ISPAHAN Magazine

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very common. The act is great because of its simplicity (as goes for most good performances), self-mockery (as goes for most good comedy) and is very recognizable. That Cihangir does not need much in order to give a great performance, can be seen on his ‘Sibel tongue dance video’.. in which his tongue does an Oriental drum solo. Can you imagine a life without humour? What role has humour/comedy played in your life, is it a job, a coincidence, or is it an intricate part of you and your life? No, I can’t imagine a life without humour at all! Humour is an intricate part of me and without it I would have lost my mind a long time ago. Apparently, I can be really comical; it must be in my blood, although that sounds really funny as well! There have been instances in my life, where I did not want to be funny, did not aim to be, but people laughed at me anyways. I remember a Bollywood workshop, for instance, were we learned the Indian hand movements and the teacher showed us how to portray a ‘flower with buzzing bee’. I mimicked this very seriously, but all other participants laughed at what I was doing. That irritated me somewhat, I must admit, because I was not trying to be funny. Building a ‘relationship’ between dancer/ performer and the audience, establishing a connection, is key in any performance. For a lot of Oriental dancers, transmitting emotion and facial expression is a side issue and in classes it usually is last in line, if addressed at all. Too many dancers are turned inwards while they dance, mostly because of stage fright. What could you teach/explain to (Belly) dancers everywhere about (facial) expression, which is so important as a comedian and a performer? Yes, I think generally speaking that expression is very important. The face plays a major role in many cultural dance forms. While performing, the (facial) expression is more like play-acting and that is the point. In the past, dance used to be part of a play or narrative. But also today, a Belly Dancer is an actress, since she portraits the character of a certain woman. Once she wears the costume, she no longer is a private person but a dancer and this, in a way, is a role she plays. >>

As all three women reach deeply within to find the core essence of their being, it is revealed that they all connect to the one source. Water is the source of life, a human necessity; its abundance, a blessing in every tradition. The scarcity of water in the Middle-East has become a serious crisis, potentially even more dangerous than the religious and territorial conflicts. The very basic need to share water binds the people of the Middle-East together. Without peace the well will soon run dry. More than a performance, or a political event of any kind, Miriam’s Well endeavors to create a safe space for inclusive, sacred ritual shared across boundaries that can have resonance for a great diversity of people. Miriam’s Well is very much a culmination of my artistic and spiritual work in the world. After living over a decade in Israel and watching the constant tension and aggression among the Jewish, Muslim and Christian communities, a deep sorrow grew in my heart. As an artist, Miriam’s Well is the ultimate expression of my yearning for all the religions living in Israel to see the one source that all draw life from. Throughout history, we have faced a lot of polarisation by political and religious leaders of all kinds and in some cultures there is little tolerance towards ‘infidels’. In some cultures dancing is even prohibited. Was it difficult to find (religious) artist (musicians, dancers, singers, etc.), willing to participate in this project? And what reactions did you get, when you first started thinking/talking about wanting to do this, was it considered to be controversial? Doing the Miriam’s Well project in the bay area, California I did not really run into any conflict or controversy. It is actually slightly unfortunate to me that my artists themselves did not come from strong religious backgrounds. For some of them the conflict came up within themselves as they found themselves representing a religious tradition they might have come from however no longer really practice. For many of the artists it brought up un-healed wounds connected with their religious background and practice. One very strong moment for many of the artists was during Maryam’s dance, when she stood on >> ISPAHAN Magazine 113

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But what characters can we use, while belly dancing? Are we even aware of all the different characters we can portray? Primarily, these are the characters that are favoured by Belly Dancers today: the coquette one, the diva, the ladylike, the childish, the farmer’s wife, the timid/shy one, the young, the mature, the modern, the girlish, the princess, the doll-like, the graceful one, the charming one, the soft, the dreamer, the sporty, the fast, the warrior, the wild, the fantastical, the imaginative, the fairy, the magical, the beautiful, the funny one.. Etcetera. Not so often portrayed (or not at all) are: the frivolous one, the perky, the jealous, the daredevil, the sleazy, the old fashioned, the prudish, the energetic, the stupid, the naive, the slow, the ugly, the comical, the rude/vulgar, etcetera. We have to be aware that most dancers use all these characters and should do so. And, according to personal taste and liking, a dance student will take on one of these characters, consciously or unconsciously, because he or she identifies with a particular role. I have witnessed, many times that European dancers especially are having trouble showing their femininity on stage. Hence they embrace Tribal dance, because this dance style is not so much about showing the feminine side. This might well be the reason why Arabic men don’t understand this type of dance. Most German Belly Dancers believe that oriental dance is art, meant for theatres; therefore it should not be too sexy. In my Turkish Roma dance workshops, in which the character of the female pays a important part, I find that lots of women don’t dare to free this bold, rebellious side of them. This was the reason I added the „Express Yourself’ workshop to my repertoire, two years ago. This is an unbelievable experience for all, also for me, myself ! In this workshop I do not teach (facial) expression, but guide participants to their inner source. Unfortunately, we forget way to often, that every performance on a stage is a kind of storytelling, a tale. And do you have a tip for us, perhaps, on how to prevent stage freight causing a grimace, or forgetting about your face altogether? That is so difficult! Even I sometimes forget all about facial expression when I am exited! As protection, most put on a mask of ‘excessive smiling’. That usually looks very artificial and bogus and of course that is the way the audience sees it. It is important to realise before every performance, that a face shows it all and so you need focus more on your inner wellbeing. You should be centred. In comedy, I play with all mistakes that are made on stage and I have made them all myself as well, of course. That is the only way to learn from them and we should all think about the fact that nobody’s perfect. 116 ISPAHAN Magazine

Did you do a lot of research for the ‘Sibel’ chewing gum act, did you study Oriental dancing, Oriental dancers, did you take lessons and go to performances, or did it all came natural to you? The ‘Sibel Istanbul’ character came to life in 1996, in Berlin, producing a Salon Oriental Comedy Show called “Bauchtanzwettbewerb” (Belly Dance competition). Back then both of us (Fatma Souad & Lale Lokum) played multiple (comedy) characters and dancers and we had invited a guest for the first time. The show was a spoof on these German competitions we disliked very much! A couple of years before, I had seen an Oriental club dancer, performing in the Aegean holiday resort of Bodrum, Turkey. She danced for me, for a short while and demanded baksheesh (a tip) instantly. I was shocked about how bold and demanding she went about it and she really looked masculine. Of course it is tradition that the audience gives tips tucked into the costume, but this very brutal approach was new to me. So while thinking of different characters for the show, I decided to create a character that resembled this Turkish dancer, just as audacious as she was, going into the audience and demanding tips. This improvised performance was a great success form the start. What kind of reactions do you get on your Oriental dance satire/parody in general, are people ever offended at all? Do you think there is a difference in making a parody on Oriental dancers between doing so as a dancer yourself, opposed to as an outsider? Judging from the response I get, comments made on my performance video’s, for instance to the ‘Sibel Istanbul’ spoof, on the Internet, I would have to conclude that there are some German Belly Dancers who feel that I am ‘stealing’ their dance, or that I am making fun of (their) Belly dance!? There are those who think, just because they are Belly Dancers and know a bit about it, that they know right from wrong. My personal opinion is that they might lack a sense of humour. A spoof can only be successful, only ‘works’, if the character that is being spoofed, is recognisable as a real person - someone who could actually exist -, by the audience. Back in the days when Cihangir got started, there were hardly any (Oriental dance) role models and certainly very little male ones. There also was no Internet, or a lot of Hafla’s and festivals. These days, there are Belly Dancers in abundance and there are so many Oriental dance teachers/performers (almost more than there are students), that it has become close to impossible for customers and clients, to find out which one of them is any good. Plus, all those (good and bad) performers looking for a ‘gig’, are causing prices to plummet, the perception of audiences to dwindle and the reputation of the art form to sink altogether. It is time to start taking dance more seriously.. Oriental dance stars calls upon every Belly Dance student to support and respect his or her teacher(s). Besides the technical side of dancing, the audience wants to see an artist on stage, a personality and this takes time to develop. >> ISPAHAN Magazine 117

You’ve talked about wanting to see a personality, an artist/entertainer on stage: a creative person that does not simply duplicates his or her teacher, but who brings something new and authentic to a performance. That you are looking more so for an all-rounded rather than a good technical dancer, someone who is interesting to watch instead of ‘merely’ skilled. At the same time you feel the dance should be ‘the star’ of the show, or even sacred perhaps and is more important than the ‘ego’ of the dancer. There seems to be a contradiction in that. Can you explain to us what you think a good dancer/ entertainer is? Well, I can’t define how an artist should be; there is no recipe for that. And I don’t think I did put it that way! If I have expressed myself about this subject, then I probably didn’t speak of a general mode of being, but more so about artists that should be more aware of the responsibilities that come with being on a stage. About the performer not taking him/herself more seriously than the dance. It is all about entertaining the audience, being dignified instead of arrogant, smug and egocentric. I think I must have meant that? It takes years before you have arrived in your own ‘centre’ of being’ as an artist. In other dance forms there is a clear distinction between amateur and professional dancers. Amateur dancers also refer to themselves as such, usually. There are very little amateur ballet dancers that seek the stage as soloists; most of them only dance in the context of an annual dance school showing. In the Oriental Dance scene, there is not that much of a clear distinction (and the number of gigs you land or earning a good and steady income by dancing, is not a clear guideline either) and even though there are Oriental Dance schools, they have not proven to be a guarantee for quality. Do you think the current rise of the contest trend and the increasing competition will do the trick and separate the pro’s from the hobbyists? Yes and no. Belly dance is still surrounded with clichés. As soon as I tell someone that I am a Belly Dancer, all look at my stomach and say ‘But you don’t have enough weight for a Belly Dancer?’ It is widely known that Oriental dance, in the sense of an entertainment dance, does not comply with the criteria of the big theatres and stages, isn’t it. I feel the general public does not take belly dance seriously! Consequently, there are a lot of semi-professionals in this branch. The effort to counter this perception by producing professional Oriental dance shows, through training and establishing so-called Oriental dance academies 118 ISPAHAN Magazine

is being made for a long time now. We will have to wait and see weather or not this approach will be successful. You once said ‘we need a Marcel Reich-Ranicki in Oriental Dance, because there is way to much kitsch’ and you are known to loathe (and are very verbal about) the totally ‘be-kitsched’ Oriental dance scene.. The word ‘kitsch’ though, can easily be associated with the Oriental Lounge atmosphere you yourself created for Salon Oriental, in which you deliberately wanted it to be ‘a trashy, sequins overloaded shambles like in the movies of my childhood’. Please explain to us, what you mean, when you say there is to much kitsch in the Oriental dance scene.. With this statement I meant that also in the Oriental dance scene, there should be criticism, self-criticism! Besides, for any artist (constructive) criticism is a must. If I had never learned from my mistakes, I wouldn’t have come this far, wouldn’t I !? Marlene Dietrich has always had someone cleaning the stage floor, an hour before her show -in order to erase the footprints-, leaving enough time for the floor to dry up again. I have borrowed this custom of hers. What I meant, when I said ‘kitsch’, was that there are many sorts of kitsch. It depends on the eye of the beholder, what kitsch is and what isn’t. I could think a certain costume as kitsch and others could find it beautiful. And a pub, crammed with kitsch, can also be brilliant in a way. What lies ahead for you, are you working on new projects at the moment, which you would like to share with us? At the moment, I am working on a new dance theatre show, based on a true story I have come across, while researching the dances from the Ottoman Empire, and which has fascinated me ever since. This is a project that I have wanted to do for about ten years and I hope that I can finally accomplish it next year (2014). Organising and producing this show all by myself, means that it depends heavily on my time and effort and that is why it is taking so long. My heart is in it, because this true and real life story is about a dancer.

Good luck on all future projects, Cihangir and Thank You very much for this interview! ISPAHAN Magazine 119

Photography / credits:

Page 106: Cihangir & Friends (2013) Page 107: Finale Cihangir & Friends 2 Page 108: Black-Bird show 2006 -Pho Page 110/111: Karma - Orient meets Page 112: left: Cihangir & Friends (20 Page 113: Cihangir & Friends (2013) Page 114/115: Salon Arabesk Show ( Dunkel (Cihangir +Gerome Castell). Page 116/117: Left: Cihangir + Sylka Flamenco Show (2002) - Photo by Jรถ Page 118/119: Black-Bird show (2006 Page 121: Salon Arabesk Show (2009 Page 122/123: Cihangir & Friends (20

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-‘Breakaway” (Cihangir + Gerome Castell + Gloria Viagra) - Photo by Michael Dunkel. 2013 - Photo by Michael Dunkel. oto by Daniela Incoronato (Cihangir+Noura Rompiri). s Flamenco Show (2002) - Photo by Jörg-Stadler (Cihangir + Firuze). 013) - Photo by Michael Dunkel / middle: Salon Arabesk Show (2009) Photo by Daniela Incoronato. - Photo’s by Michael Dunkel (Cihangir+Suzan Demircan). (2009) & Cihangir & Friends (2013)- Putzfrauen sketch - Photo left & below right by Daniela Incoronato - Photo top right by Michael

a Rubina (2010) - Photo by Michael Dunkel / Middle: Merhaba Festival (2007) Photo by Markus Tezlaff /Right: Karma - Orient meets örg-Stadler (Cihangir + Ana-Maria Amahi). 6) - Photo by Daniela Incoronato. 9) - Photo by Daniela Incoronato. 013) -SIbel Istanbul - Photo’s by Michael Dunkel.

Information/ contact: Web site Cihangir Gümüştürkmen:

E-mail: Facebook: You Tube: a

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Woops, not that Again Must we really talk about this? Yes! Judging from all the Internet forums that deal with this subject, there is a lot of frustration, especially amongst teachers, organizers and group leaders. So together, they made a list of things that tend to go wrong... (Yes, really, this happens!)

Do’s and Don’ts ‣ Audience members and other performers should not play finger cymbals/drums while someone else is performing. ‣ Do arrive on time and provide your music when asked. ‣ Don’t be high maintenance. Arrive with your hair and makeup (almost) done and costume ready to be put on with minimal or no assistance. ‣ If you are performing- be ready to go on stage if you know your number is coming up. Don’t make the stage mom LOOK all over the place to find you. ‣ Unless you are changing, stay out of the dressing room. ‣ Be quiet backstage, even if there is a stage door. It still opens and the audience will hear you. ‣ Group members: while at the venue you are representing the troupe: act appropriate at all times which includes no drinking, smoking is done outside and not in a visible area, all negative comments about ANYTHING will not be tolerated at the venue or to any guests. ‣ Even if you are the star of the show: you are not the star of the show, the audience is, so behave professional and show them respect.

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‣ Never pass out your business cards at someone else’s performance! Always foster a healthy and helpful community! ‣ No pics or vid in the dressing room. If you are only focused on you, you never know who bare ars is the shot until it gets posted on Facebook! ‣ Know the venue and style of costume (not only the style of dance but is this a family event? If so save your ultra cut out costume for other venues!). ‣ Clean up after yourself in the dressing room! ‣ Don’t make your performance longer than you said it would be. ‣ Repeated yipping to indicate excitement is just totally distracting. I’m not talking about zaghareeting when something amazing happens but over-yipping especially during slow music and dancing. This yipyipyipyipyip is irritating on video because it just sounds like a room full of chihuahuas in the dark. ‣ Don’t call your teacher (or troupe members) on the night before, or day of the perfomance asking a lot of questions.. You should have solved that before, only call in case of emergency.

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Woops, not that Again! ‣ When attending someone else’s gig or performance: don’t get up and dance with them, pulling out all your moves you do better, unless they ask you to, but remember they are being paid and people are there to see them, don’t steal the light!

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!?! ‣ Keep your crap together in the dressing room and don’t hog mirror/counter space, be courteous and make sure everyone has enough room. Conversely, don’t touch other people’s stuff. I have things laid out so I can do quick costume changes as efficiently as possible, I need it to stay where I put it. ‣ Make sure you are “on deck” at least one number, preferably 2, before your set. Respect your stage manager. Have a stage manager. ‣ Warn the room before you spray anything, and try to direct away from people/costumes. ‣ Drama is for stage, not the dressing room. If someone voices a need assume it’s an actual need and let us do what we need to do to get our job done. ‣ Stop treating the dressing room as either the bathroom at the high school dance or a party house. Save it for after the show. ‣ Don’t reek of pot/booze before your performance. Don’t reek of perfume either. Some if us have sensitive lungs and don’t need an allergy attack right before we walk on stage, or immediately after performing while we’re breathing heavy. ‣ Costuming should fit! If there is a dress rehearsal, take advantage of it if at all possible! I know it’s not always possible, but try. ‣ If at an event your troupe was hired for, and audience members inquire about a specific troupe member, the troupe member gives the Troupe business card instead of their own and try to promote the troupe instead of themselves. ‣ Make sure everyone you talk to knows about the show (promote!) and if you are performing with a group, mention the groups name (double promote!). If you are not proud of being there with them, then why are you?

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, not that Again!?! ‣ In the same line of thinking: if someone from your group/troupe is (also) doing a solo performance: have the courtesy of watching the performance and don’t start talking trough it, or shopping for items. If you are not supportive of each other, who will? ‣ Troupe members: stay together as a group at least until your performance is done, don’t make the troupe leader chase after you -throughout the entire premises and even outside- to keep the group together, chances are she is busy enough, stay focussed on why you are there, don’t go shopping when the rest is rehearsing or warming up, stay focussed on your group/your performance in stead of all the lovely ladies you haven’t seen in a while and want to catch up with, pay attention to how the stage is accessed, stay focussed on the stage mom, the programme and the music, so you don’t miss your cue on when to start dancing/ go on stage.. in short: don’t be an ass, you have all trained for this moment, don’t do anything to wreck it. ‣ Shows and Hafla’s are not the time or place to do someting that could upset someone in your group/ troupe. Be mindful of sensitivities that are known to you. Be a team player not a back stabber. ‣ Don’t give all/most of your Troupe business cards to your family and friends, who won’t bring in any gigs. ‣ Give praise where praise is due: acknowledge the input and creations of others, don’t show things (like costumes, choreographies, designs, etc.) off as your own, or accept a compliment/praise without mentioning who made it/help you make it. Always credit the person the same way you would like to be mentioned. ‣ Don’t spend all your time with the dancers of another troupe, as if you wish you were in their party. Instead, help your troupe members if they are having difficulty with hair/costume etc. Have your priorities in order. Don’t apply at another company while being there with your current one. ‣ Don’t ‘forget’ general agreements you have made for a previous show, the next time around. Don’t be a diva that has to be reminded again and again. If you suffer from memory loss, then write them down and read them over before every show/performance and don’t make this someone else’s responsibility, your teacher is not your secretary. Show that you care. ‣ Act professional at the very least as soon as you are on the stage (don’t do silly things behind the curtains, thinking no one can see you - they can) and last but most: don’t treat a performance as if it’s a rehearsal: the audience and the dance are there to be respected.

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This could have been your advertisement! for information and prices

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Mirza Ghassemi – aubergine with eggs If you love eggplants and garlic, this dish is for you. It’s Persian in origin and it’s the perfect appetizer to have with toasty pita bread or if you are like me – over plain steamed rice as a main dish. It is best to grill the eggplants so you can have the charred flavor. But you can also split the eggplant in two and cook them in a 400F oven. It must be cooked through so you can mash it properly. Serves 4 (appetizer) or 2 (main dish) Ingredients: 1 1/4 lb eggplant (or 1 big one) 1 medium tomato, about 9 ounces, peeled and diced 3 cloves of garlic, minced a little less than 1/4 teaspoon turmeric 2 eggs, lightly beaten with a little salt salt and pepper oil Grill or bake the eggplant (see above). Cool slightly and remove the skin. Then chop and mash, until it looks like a puree. Saute the garlic with the turmeric until golden. Set aside the garlic-turmeric mixture. In the same pan add a little oil and partially cook the eggs. In another pan (or you can use the same one if you want), add a little oil and add the mashed eggplants and fry until the liquid is reduced. Add the tomatoes and continue frying until well blended. Salt and pepper to taste. At this point, your eggplant-tomato mixture may appear pasty, so add a little oil, between 1- 3 teaspoons, to restore some vibrance in the mixture. Stir in the garlic and the cooked eggs. Use your spatula to break up the eggs and distribute into the eggplant-tomato mixture. You may set aside some of the garlic and eggs for garnish. This may be served warm or at room temperature.


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C a m e r a L i g h t s Action! Brian Leon: Living in Winston-Salem NC, his occupation is web software developer. He is Married with two lovely children. Performing outside is hard in itself (with all its distractions, noise, people passing by, the sun shining in your eyes) and photographs of outside performances are usually not really good. Snapshots at most. But in Brian Leon’s photos you can see that the dancers are very comfortable with him being there, the lighting (although outside you have limited control over that) is very beautiful, the dancers look beautiful, the background looks as if he has staged it, is goes so well with the rest. And what is usually distracting from the ‘Oriental’ feel (like tall office buildings), in these photos seem a great contrast and sort of exciting. “In my off-hours, I am an accomplished amateur photographer specialising in no particular subject matter but recently I have been concentrating on model/portrait photography and event photography. It is through my event photography that I have been becoming the photographer of record for the street performances for several of the belly dancing troupes in the city. The colours, the costumes, the grace in motion of the dance, all of this attracts me to photograph them. It has been related to me that I have a keen eye in capturing the motion of the dance as the dancers perform. I take that as the highest form of compliment. I like to say that I am a photographer by passion if not by trade. Constantly exploring new genres of photography to continue to be as creative as I can be.”

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© 2012 Kashka

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Brian Leon: “All of these images were taken at the Gallery Hop event in downtown Winston-Salem North Carolina USA. This event is held on the first Friday of each month and is a celebration of the arts and all of the various art gallerys, retail stores in the Arts District of the city remain open until late and also exhibit new showings of art in various forms. In the warmer months between April and October, the streets are blocked off to provide a pedestrian walkway and it is on the street that performers use as a stage. You will find musicians, mimes, contortionists, and bellydancers.� There are 3 main troupes that perform at this venue: 1001 Nights ( The Aladdin Genies ( Three Graces Entertainment (

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© 2012 Kashka

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All photos are copyrighted to Brian Leon (Š Brian Leon) None of the photographs on these pages may be used elsewhere without his written permission.

Credits previous pages & this: (Pages 126-127) Troupe: Aladdin Genies Dancer: Casey Date: May 2013 (Pages 128-129) Troupe: Three Graces Dancers (l-r): Melina, Beverly, Kim Date: April 2013 (Pages 130-131) Troupe: 1001 Nights Dancer: Bethany Date: August 2012 (Pages 132-133) Troupe: 1001 Nights Dancer: Chris Campbell Date : May 2012 (Pages 134-135) Troupe: Aladdin Genies Dancers (l-r): Casey, Denise, Jaime, Corinne Date: May 2012 (Page 137) Troupe: Aladdin Genies Dancer: Casey Date: May 2013

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Credits previous pages & this: (Pages 138-139) Troupe: Three Graces Dancers (l-r): Melina, Beverly, Kim Date: April 2013 (Pages 140-141) Troupe: Three Graces Troupe: Aladdin Genies Dancer: Emily Date: May 2013 (Pages 142-143) Troupe: Three Graces Dancer: Teresa Date: April 2013 (Pages 144-145) Troupe: Aladdin Genies Dancer: Holly Date: May 2013 (Pages 146-147) Troupe: 1001 Nights Dancer: Bethany Date: May 2013

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Credits previous pages & this: (Pages 148-149) Troupe: 1001 Nights Dancers (l-r): Sterling, Bethany, Rebecca, Leslie, Stacy, Heather, Donna Date: May 2013 (Pages 150-151) Troupe: Three Graces Dancer: Navia Date: April 2013

Brian Leon/ Contact website: Facebook: 500px:

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Oriental Dan

caught betwee

Is Bellydance Sexy? By Ananke When I tell people I’m a belly dancer, I’ve come to expect that it will somehow give them permission to ask me personal questions they’d never ask another stranger, or even a close friend. I sometimes assume dancers of other mainstream and Western styles will be prejudiced against me. I often attribute rejections to be included in community events and exclusions from teaching at certain studios to be a judgement of me or my trade. In the coming months I thought a lot about sexuality, sensuality, and belly dance. I even did a few searches on Google (I wouldn’t try it unless you are prepared!) to see what happened when I put the terms “sex” and “belly dance” together. In the top ten results there were a few links I didn’t dare click. In others, a teenage boy asked on Yahoo Answers if belly dancers made the best sex partners, to which the replies, also from other young men, unanimously agreed that they were. The experience was so sensationally crazy, one suggested, as to break his equipment. There was also a blog article from a feminist author that questioned whether or not belly dance supported or contradicted stereotypical roles for women, a tutorial “How to Belly Dance Your Way to Better Sex,” and in a forum where, again, the experience of having sex with a belly dancer was being discussed, a woman claiming she was just beginning to take belly dance classes joined the conversation and promised “to use [her] powers for good and not evil. ::wink::”. Full articel here:

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nce & Sex(y)

en two worlds

Is Bellydance Sexy? (response) By Nicole Beckerman Belly dance is/ can be sexy in the way that a fully realized human being full of confidence and happy in their own skin is sexy. That is how I think it SHOULD be sexy. It can also be sexy in the way a stripper is sexy–which has just as much to do with personality and physical prowess as it does seductiveness anyway. It can be sexy in the way a flamboyant drag queen is sexy. It can be sexy in the way a designer dress can be sexy, being worn by someone or not. Sexy is complex. Full articel here:


o what do you think? We all want to be respected and valued. Not treated as objects merely there for men’s entertainment. But sex sells. And we also feel empowered using our sensuality. How does the freedom to express oneself and dress however you want (even if the bra is way to tiny, so what?), dance however you want, feeling feminine, showing and emphasising our beautiful curves, relate to the attemps to be recongised as (serious) dancers not sex kittens? Do you even mind the ‘general publics view’? How do you feel about explicit sexy poses of your collegues on promo shots? Do you ever feel compromised by other Oriental dancers? Send in your opinions! E-mail to:

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Oriental Dance & Sex(y) caught between two worlds

Is Belly dance Sexy? If you have read ‘the serpent of the Nile’, by Wendy Buonaventura (or any other book on the origin of dance), You know that the ancient female ‘pelvis’ or hip dance, is rooted in a tradition of adoration and worship of the female/ Goddess/ fertility at large and was all about sex/procreation - it was practised all over the world. The Fertility of the woman and of the soil were viewed as the very same thing. The tribe depended on both. How can you deny movements made with hips having to do with sex? But sex might not have had the same connotation then as it has today, as it was not seen separated from getting pregnant and giving birth, being (part of the divine) mother nature and ensuring the welfare and survival of the community. When the goddess worship ended, men invented a lot of means to control female sexuality and make us feel ashamed of showing it. And In addition, largely due to the invention of birth control, science uncovering all secrets of reproduction and more welfare so that we don’t have to depend anymore on a large number of children taking care of us, sex is being viewed differently. There is a new kind of sex now: for the fun of it. The divine aspect got lost somewhere. If there is any female sexual power ‘left’ (besides giving birth), it is pr0bably in dance. But there is a thin line. Where do the female sexual power and confidence end and does the ‘old’ sexual obedience to men start? How about very obvious sexual poses, lying down, Sword between the bare legs, bra or hands only just covering the nipples? Is that female power, or you pleasing male fantasy? Or both? How about dancers sitting on men’s laps during or after performances, letting them touch them, while they childishly giggle during this ‘fondling’? Dancing, dressed emphasizing our hips (and breasts) And making hip movements at the same time, makes all the difference, compared to other dance styles: Yes, other dancers are often dressed very scarcely too, but are accompanied by a man/men (like ballroom), or are not making hip movements at the same time, aiming to look pretty, or aren’t focussed/ so close to the audience (ballet). It is the combination of things. In that sense, Oriental dancing is closest to that ancient fertility dance perhaps. It is all about sex. Dancing in front of an audience (that includes men) can make you feel both very powerful and feminine (if you are grounded), but also exactly the opposite way. There is a reason why you, as a dancer, should focus on the bride, when performing at a wedding and somewhat neglect the groom. because often you are there as a fertility goddess, sending them good luck, so sex is in the air. alread! Also dancing in restaurants at tables, you will not score points with the ladies, shaking your belly in front of their men. Those female sexual powers are still there, but should be ‘outet’ with tact. You can choose to neglect that sexual connotation, but the outside world will not. 164 ISPAHAN Magazine

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Highly Recommended.. Arabesque 1 & 2 by John Martin

Graphic Design from the Arab World and Persia - Cutting-edge graphic work from the Arab world and Iran that is emblematic of the cultural emancipation of this entire area. The title is a bit of a stretch, since some designers included in the book are based in Europe or the US and some aren’t even Arabic, but who cares. Arabesque 2 presents a wide range of Arabic fonts and typefaces inspired by traditional calligraphy, as well as graphic design, logos, editorial design, and illustration by young designers and activists from Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon, and the United Arab Emirates.. Find it at Culture Label:

The Rise of Islamic Calligraphy by Alain George

The birth of Qur’anic calligraphy was a major event in the early hist their language from the remote fringes of the civilized world to its mosaic, architecture, and text to reveal the evolution of Arabic cal emergence of the modern styles of writing still in use today. George presents bold but convincing answers to the many questio especially on matters of date and provenance. An unerring sense of and of earlier scholarship. This promises to be a classic.

Arabic Graffiti by Don Stone Karl & Pascal Zoghbi

Without regional borders or constraints, ‘Arabic Graffiti’ references offers many different, diverging and at times contradicting ideas an contemporary vision. To accompany a visual assortment of styles, as classical and contemporary calligraphy, Arabic typography, poli Lebanese typographer Pascal Zoghbi and Don Stone. ‘Arabic Graffi working in this field..

Arabic for Designers by Mourad Boutros

Acting as a ‘how to’ in the field of Arabic-script graphic design, it pr of the language, with different calligraphic styles, as well as a c its extensive knowledge of the cultural, religions and linguistic p designers avoid the dangers of ‘Engrish’, that is, embarrassing gaff the numerous images and case studies of typos and unintentional for the casual reader.

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Gifts by


tory of Islam. In a few decades, it raised the Arabs and very heart. Alain George brings together manuscript, lligraphy from its pre-Islamic conception through the

ons posed by this scattered and fragmentary material, f the bigger picture complements his mastery of detail


the use of Arabic script in urban context. The project nd approaches to treating this sensitive tradition with , the book will include several crossover topics, such itical graffiti and street art. Curated and authored by ffiti’ also features essays by various writers and artists


rovides an information-packed historical background comparison of Arabic versus Latin typography. With pitfalls of Arabic, this book’s main purpose is to help ffes when working in an unfamiliar language. Indeed, l cultural insults make for highly entertaining reading


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Ispahan T

The Siwa Oasis.. a place to forget No electricity meaning no lights, no TV and definitely no sockets to charge your phone/laptop/iPod or other media devices, Egyptian luxury eco-lodge Adrère Amellal is the ultimate get-a-way from it all; an enchanting place that blends into the spectacular setting of a desert oasis.

An eight hour drive from Cairo, Adrère Amellal emerges out of the desert landscapes of Siwa, Egypt’s largest oasis, which is home to natural hot springs, date palm plantations, salt lakes & ancient ruins; and has a strong Berber culture. Adrère Amellal means ‘white mountain’ in the local Berber dialect and signifies the Lodge’s location at the base of a white sandstone mountain. Built into the side of the mountain using mud and salt bricks, Adrère Amellal is a sprawling complex, whose shuttered windows overlook the shimmering salt lake, Lake Siwa. Not unlike an ancient biblical town, an aerial view looks like the Lodge has been carved out of the landscape.

In the stillness of the desert, the ultimate luxury comes from spending time in a place that allows you to just be.

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Travels..! Thanks to: African Daydreams (

For further information about Adrère Amellal and bookings, visit: Bookings can be made via:

t about the world..

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the Negma Bedouin Sta 170 ISPAHAN Magazine

ar, Red Sea Vacation Park.. ISPAHAN Magazine 171

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Seven beach bungalows for 2, just a few meters from the Red Sea, simple but comfortable. All of them have sea view and beside the private terrace, each bungalow also has it own private little garden. Run by a Bedouin man and a Dutch Woman: Morad & Maro.

Web site:

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Troupe contrac

why they are needed ( Most teachers and troupe directors don’t like to be the ‘bad guy’ and draw up or reinforce rules, but rules seem to be necessary in all kinds of situations and (group) contracts are established all over the Oriental Dance world, these days. There hardly ever rises a problem in getting them signed at entering the troupe, of course this is also mandatory, but once signed by all members they don’t seem to work that well. The contracts are progressively getting bigger, with every bad experience and also more detailed, but still they fail to work. The more there is on paper, it seems, the less troupe members are interested. It also seems to have become a ‘trend’ that troupe leaders burn out (or close to it) in about three years after starting up a group. Everyone has the same problems. But no one is talking about it. Yes, among colleagues, a lot and mostly in the form of venting, but not to those that should be addressed. And thus giving troupe members the idea that the grass is a lot greener on the other side.. One reason these things are not openly discussed, is because troupe leaders want and need to focus on the good stuff, in order to keep the troupe and themselves motivated. Also the ‘outside world’ as in potential contractors, clients and new troupe members, should have the best possible impression of the troupe. Another reason is that those troupe members who could benefit from this ‘talk’ would not listen anyways, or care. But someone, someday has to speak up. So I will take it upon me, but will do so anonymously (for obvious reasons). I work hard for my troupe and although I am not a natural born leader, I do demand respect. I have found out that it is necessary to have my troupe members pay me. Not just for studio rent, sharing all costs, but also me, as a leader. I have experienced that this is key in order to get respect, Which is stupid, but it seems to work that way: by paying me they are more likely to view me as ‘boss’. This also applies to attending rehearsals/classes. If troupe members are paying for them, they are more likely to attend. I don’t understand - it should be the key element why you join a troupe, and the only way to be any good is to rehearse fiercely- and in all my years as a dance student I have never missed a class, but this seems to be another very important aspect. Also attending ALL classes/rehearsals is, and should be mandatory in order to perform: missed a couple? So sorry, but you can’t join us in our next show.. Students and troupe members should know that this is a real headache for troupe directors.

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(but don’t work)) -Well, I guess that you do know this.- Again, I don’t understand why anyone would bother joining a troupe and then not show up for rehearsals, you are either motivated or you’re not, but it seems to happen a lot. Everywhere. It is hard enough to choreograph while troupe sizez are always changing, let me tell you. But not being able to depend on the ones that are there, is absolutely nerve-racking. How do you plan future performances, how do you talk to clients and make them an offer, if you are not sure you can deliver? Performing is a privilege, not a entitlement. If dancing in the troupe is one of many hobbies of yours, please reconsider.. The troupe and troupe director need to be able to depend on you being there, it needs to be more of a lifestyle, you need to be truly dedicated. Speaking of troupe size: I suggest that troupe directors think about what the ideal troupe size would be and form a second troupe, if you have more dancers. You can build a (pro) troupe of dedicated and motivated dancers and a back-up (student) troupe of dancers who are on a sort of waiting list, in case someone in the first troupe falls ill, or you choreography needs additional dancers. From what I hear, five to six is a good size, if you can depend on all. If the second group thinks it is not worth the wait, you are probably better of without them. Also make sure all dancers know that this grouping is not fixed and can be changed by you, at any given time. Try to create a stable group though, too many changes are bad for the atmosphere and costs a lot of energy from everyone. Of course, auditions are inevitable. As a teacher, you will know about your students technical level, but auditioning also establishes a certain hurdle and a ‘Rite of Passage’. It creates a moment to talk about a lot of these things. You need to know weather the dancer is keen enough to audition and is humble enough to accept that she has to prove herself. Make no exceptions. Don’t let the troupe decide or be part of the audition. Whether or not everybody gets along is not your concern, that should not be an issue. >>

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Troupe co

Now, I understand that this all sounds as if troupe members are horrible, lazy and disrespectful people and you might be offended by all of this, but please bear in mind that almost all troupes are experiencing the same difficulties and troupe directors are stressed out and lose sleep over this. And it mostly has to do with not following troupe rules. And, in addition, not confronting your fellow troupe members if this is the case.

why they are


So why don’t you? Perhaps you feel that this is the job of the troupe director and you don’t want to jeopardise your friendship with fellow troupe members. But as a troupe member, the troupe’s interest should be your interest and you should be business like and professional within the troupe. It is not a tea party, it is a dance group that wants to build a name, or maintain the one they have. If you would like it to be a tea party, only there for your recreational needs, please leave. Perhaps you feel that you know more/better than your troupe director and think this is a good reason to not follow the rules, or because you feel you are an exception. If this is the case, weather you are right or not, I would suggest you also leave the troupe, for there can only be one director on the ship.

Or perhaps you feel entitled to give your opinion on every subject, from choreography to costumes. Perhaps because you and the director go back a long way, or perhaps because you are very creative. Or perhaps in certain areas the troupe director wants your input, but you decided there are no boundaries and you should be able to speak your mind in all instances. Whatever the reason, I would suggest that you ask yourself what objective you had by joining the troupe and why you signed the troupe rules, if you don’t intend keeping them. The troupe director should be able to count on your trust and you need to respect the hierarchy and leadership.

Also there has to be trust about the finances. Your troupe director should globally tell you how things are managed, but is not obliged to inform you of every single dollar that exchanges hands. If you don’t value the work, time and effort she puts into the group (and acknowledge that this is significantly more than you do) and don’t feel this needs to be compensated in a fee and deserves some trust in return, there can’t be a good working relationship between you. In contrast to the past, complying with hierarchy now almost seems to equal being a slave. But troupe members need to realize that a good functioning group understands the rules and respects them. Or everything else fails. It is the basis of a group, the dough base of the pizza. If this is not in place, all the plans the director made are not going to materialize, she will have enough to deal with. We (troupe directors) often need to baby sit, need to remind you of the rules too many times, have to deal with all your personalities, with the book keeping, with planning rehearsals, coordinating purchases, maintaining websites/social media, managing communication, coordinating with hafla organizers and so much more.. It is a huge commitment and to honour that, you do have a responsibility towards both the troupe and the director.

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Include a paragraph about troupe costumes in your rules, directors. But even if there is not, (former)~troupe members who don’t act accordingly, show a lack of respect towards the group. Troupe costumes should always stay in the troupe, otherwise you would have to buy new ones each time someone leaves, or you might end up performing in the same gear. If you decide to compensate the member leaving, this should not come out of your own pocket! Another reason to ask contribution.

e needed (but don’t work)) There are many more things that could and should be incorporated in troupe contracts, but what if members don’t comply with them? There is very little you can do, I don’t know of a troupe director taking things to court. The value is in the signing up front.. and talking about it, before someone enters the team. It is like any contract and any group: those who understand that they are secondary to the troupe’s interest, accept your leadership. And those who have put a lot of thought into joining, considering all aspects, carefully weighing all that is needed, will be fine. The very motivated and ambitious ones might sometime get ahead of themselves, but they at least have the right attitude. But in every group, however clearly, diligently and elaborately you as a troupe director have explained the rules and troupe ambitions, there are those who don’t give it much thought and act on a whim. Or have ulterior motives.

There are a couple of things you should consider before joining a troupe: - Evaluate your own level of dance (technique) very honestly and decide weather or not you are good enough for this specific troupe. If you are not sure, ask the director. Don’t measure in diploma’s or years of training, but in skill level. Be prepared to audition. Also keep checking along the way: are you getting a lot of comments during rehearsals, more so than others? Perhaps this is a sign of you not keeping pace with the rest. If so, talk to your director about it and take responsibility for possibly holding the troupe back. If the comments are about a specific technique, your posture or your position in space, get extra training and keep monitoring. Be honest, face the truth. - Are you a quick learner of choreography, or do you have a lot of experience with improvisation (depending on what kind of troupe you want to join)? Don’t be content with ‘I think so’, but ask yourself what your teacher(s) think(s), have you ever got praise from someone (without commercial benefit and with good knowledge), for one or the other? How long do you need in order to learn choreography, on average? Are you able to remember and perform multiple choreographies ‘at the same time’? You will need to be able to ‘switch’ from one style to another and can’t mix up choreo’s. - Are you willing to accept leadership and be a true team player? If you like to be the star of the show, keep to solo performances. Understand that in a group, compromises rule and the director always has the final say. This could mean you might be wearing costumes that you would not have chosen for yourself, you feel a specific hairstyle does not suit you and the music you dance to, might not be your cup of tea. Neither

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Troupe con

why they are ne

of these things can be a reason for you to not give it your all. Understand that with a couple of women forming a group, no one is getting their way. The troupe director has a (long term) plan or vision and takes steps to get there, you might not always be aware of this. But also if you are a ‘go with the flow’ type and consider yourself to be easy to work with, think again, for you might be taking things not that seriously and the structure provided by rules and regulations is dead necessary.

Ask yourself, in case someone points out to you that you are not informed about the troupe rules or not complying with them, if you are still wanting to be part of the group. Don’t ask the troupe leader to change the rules, to suit you better, don’t ask the troupe leader to lower her goals and standards, it is you that has applied to be a member and it is you that has accepted and signed the rules. So don’t start questioning them, either you agree or you don’t. If you are thinking of leaving the group, say so well in advance (so the troupe will be able to adapt to the new size and performances are not jeopardised). - How ambitious, motivated, driven to excel are you? How well do you know yourself: will you be there for every single rehearsal, come rain or shine, weather you are ‘in the mood’ for it or not? Are you in good shape, physically and mentally? Is you job so demanding that you might have to skip classes regularly? Can you bear a little discomfort or are you going to call in sick for every cold or cramp? Are you going to persist even when things get tough, or when you’re really tired? You will need to have a ‘when the going gets tough, the though get going’ mentality. But if your ambition level is more career orientated (if your own dance career is more important/ prevails over a long term group commitment), you should be upfront about this and let the troupe director decide whether you would be an asset to the group or not. Understand that a troupe will not benefit from someone who’s only there in order to improve herself or add this experience to her résumé and will be gone if better opportunities arise. - How professional are you? Do you understand the need to behave and communicate in a professional manor both inside and outside the troupe? Are you interested in working at pro-level? (There is nothing wrong with a hobby, but assess what troupe is best suited for you, and understand that it takes a lot of work, time and energy to reach and function on a pro-level.) Always talk to the director first if you have an idea/initiative, have heard about performance opportunities, are being approached by others about the troupe and don’t be a speaks person for the troupe yourself. Always refer to the troupe director. Not because there is something wrong with you, but because the troupe director has to carefully watch outside communication in order to be consistent, guard the troupe’s interest and voice a uniform message, to ensure credibility and trustworthiness. Understand that your behaviour impacts the group, Don’t be late for rehearsals, don’t be a clown, don’t do drugs or drink alcohol before rehearsals or performances, be focussed and know that there is a place and time for fun, but it shouldn’t disrupt classes. In case you feel that you are not as motivated as you used to be, or you prioritise differently, don’t be a hindrance to others. Take responsibility. Don’t thwart and start to question anything the troupe director says. Don’t be an ass. - Will you be able to afford being part of a troupe? If you join a professional, performing troupe, there will be a lot of costs involved, from classes to costumes, to petrol (driving to and from venues) and lots more. Are you willing to travel, stay overnight, go abroad? The costs are yet another reason why this should be a labour of love, something you are willing to sacrifice for. - How reliable are you? If you give your word, do you keep it? Do you go out of your way to keep it? Even if that would not be in your own best interest at times?

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eeded (but don’t work)) - How comfortable are you with comments and criticism, giving as well as receiving? As a troupe member, the comments might come from all directions and are made openly. Perhaps you are used to very mild corrections, from teachers who are not that much of a perfectionist and for who the joy of dancing comes first.. Can you stomach it when something gets pointed out over and over, if fellow members get frustrated because you are doing something wrong? Do you get the importance of videotaping rehearsals (and performances), in order to point out what went wrong? And most important: do you practise self-criticism? Are you able to face and learn from your mistakes or do you shy away from them?

Always remember that you are responsible for your own actions and that they do impact others. In a group that wants to achieve a goal together, this calls for a different, more business like approach. If that is not your thing and you dance only for joy and relaxation, be aware of this. There are groups out there that are less ambitious, who don’t aim to perform or only at hafla’s, once in a while. If you dance in order to be in the spotlight, to be a star, go solo. Make good and deliberated choices and decisions, for your own benefit as well for your (future) team members. Don’t assume things, ask. Instead of criticizing the troupe director or be a negative influence, first take a good look at yourself. Understand that a professional group needs its members to act professionally.

Sounds familiar You will probably have recognised yourself, or some of your troupe members, recognised situations that have happened in your group. Maybe you even think that your troupe director has written this, because it hits home. Truth is that these things are universal., they happen in every group, to some extend. Groups that are only experiencing a small portion of the things mentioned, are very likely being lead in a very business like manor, by someone who has earned a great deal of respect and admiration by being a established dancer, performer and teacher and those are groups that have a long history already. Most new ones are very likely to ‘go down’ because of the mentioned problems. But even if groups only have to deal with some of the drama, Troupe directors are still getting frustrated, lose sleep, cry over and even getting burned out by this. Everywhere. It is a big relieve, in a way, to be aware of this, being a troupe director. You’re not alone. Most start questioning their skills and perhaps being a troupe director is indeed underestimated. But most problems are caused by over confident, egocentric, dominant and down right ignorant dancers. And if we want our dance form to get the same ‘credit’ and recognition as, for instance, the ballet world does, this might very well be the most important step to take in that direction.

Why troupe contracts don’t work: Obviously, those who already do all of this naturally, don’t really need troupe contracts. If you have a professional attitude, all of this will be obvious, inevitable and normal. Taking it upon yourself to be a valuable asset in order to reach a pro level, together, so you can all be proud, makes sense to you. And of course those who are spoiled and think they are a star, those who need to be reminded on how to behave, who need rules to be ‘on paper’, are prone to disregard them anyhow. So troupe rules are necessary and need to be discussed, but don’t rely on them to keep the peace. In the end, it comes down to character.


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Tribute to Shahrazad Aham Brahmasmi

Shiva is within me, Brahma is within me, Vishnu is within me, Krishna is within me. Then why should I go to the temple? Land, sky, mountains and seas. Wherever I look, I only see him. Then why should I go to the temple?

This world is his dream. Every creature belongs to him. If you want to reach the Lord, pray the beads of love. With every breath and every heartbeat I keep singing tunes of love. Then why should I go to the temple? LUpon hearing the tune of the flute, Radha breaks through all restraints. She crossed the lake of the Jamuna The deep waters could not to stop her

How Radha was on this day, If I adopt her impression, then why should I go to the temple? ISPAHAN Magazine 181

ISPAHAN Magazine

Harem Girls


s e l ark

! e r o l a G

André Elbing On tour with André: The Oriental Fairytale

Miriam’s Well Interview with: Miriam Peretz


A story by Maya Sapera

Heike Suhre

Award winning Photographer

& more..

Recipes Shopping Design Ispahan Magazine deals and fun stuff.. 182 ISPAHAN Magazine

ISPAHAN Magazine • Issue 5 • 2013/1

How many other magazines you know are for free?! To be able to keep it that way your help is needed! Write, advertise, promote.. Thank you!

‘Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others, unsuccessful people are always asking: What’s in it for me?’

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w e N

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& Kashka

! s w 1 Meet Kashka from Ispahan Let me introduce myself: I am Kashka. This is not my stage name, it is an alter ego. Kashka is part of me, but not all of me. Kashka has had over twenty years of Oriental dance training, so far, but does not consider herself to be an Oriental dancer. Not because she couldn’t, but because that would not be ‘me’. It is much more complicated.. Kashka is a storyteller, through words, movement, paint and more.

Kashka is proud, she is an artist. The name is derived from a Kate Bush song. Kashka wanted to be Kate for a long time, but not in the same way other people want to be artists. She wanted to be lots of other people too, I could never choose, really. So much to see, so much to read, so much to learn. Luckely, I decided to become ‘me’ around the age of ten. ‘Art’ is used way to casually to describe what people do and are right now. It is not something you do, or decide to be at a certain age. It is who you are. Or are not.

Kashka is a lot braver than I am. She dares all kinds of things. She wears stuff I would never wear. Glittering sequins. Ridiculous - over the top - outfits. She gets on a stage. She takes all kinds of risks and because she tries a lot, she also fails a lot. But Kashka never lets that stop her, the sky is really the limit to her, or not even that. She knows who she is, and what she want and is prepared to pay the price, although a lot of people just don’t get that.

Kashka dance creations:

the IspahanOriental Dance Company Ispahan Magazine Kashka Oriental Dancing Storyteller Exils -a modern belly dance tale

Contact Kashka:

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Ispahan Website

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

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

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Kashka fromIspahan Let me introduce myself: I am Kashka. This is not my stage name, it’s an alter ego. She has always been here, with me. Like an imaginary friend that you have when you are seven, fighting off the crocodiles underneath your bed together, but closer and more familiar. It was her, when I was very little, who was playing with my dolls and making up intricate stories which none of my girlfriends understood, way to serious for my age. It was she that read grown-up novels in elementary school, understanding it all, wanting to be a grown-up much to young. Kashka told her friends the most ridiculous stories, while riding their bikes to and from school, making them up on the spot, every single day. She was the one whispering in my dog’s ears, telling him what no one else will ever know. Talking to animals of all kind, all of the time, a female Peter (and the wolf) and Max (where the wild things are) combined and them understanding her. Pile sleeping. Eating from their food bowl together. Planning to go to the hills near Rome to live among the wild wolves there, one day. She is still looking into that, by the way. Silly girl. She was the girl with the prima ballerina dreams that seemed very real, and who made great sacrifices for it. She was there when I got bullied at school, making life bearable and telling me they where the stupid ones. (It was also she who confronted those bully’s, years later and laughed at their cowardly attempts to dodge the confrontation and their inadequacy to apologise). It was her making witty and clever remarks, especially when no one was noticing her, her nose just above the dining table. She, who made funny ‘Sinterklaas’ rhymes on demand, for all 40 kids, during class. Later, much later, she travelled around the world on her own. Writing home about her adventures. Kashka has survived a lot of hardship and I have got the scars to prove it. ‘I can’t’ has never been an option. Kashka takes on absurd tasks, crazy challenges. She says ‘okay, let me try that’ before I know it. She responds with ‘why not’ to my ‘why’s’. That is how Kashka started a dance group and called it the Ispahan Oriental Dance Company. How she came to exhibit her paintings in Hiroshima at the World Peace Exhibition (in honor of the commemoration 50 years after ‘the bombs’), being hand picked out of all art-students worldwide. How she rescued several dogs and other animals, despite of being bitten by them in the process. How she got accepted at a prestigious MBA with Art Academy as preparatory training. How she became Kashka. So that is why, and I know some of you where wondering, I am ‘photoshopping’ my pictures, to make it Kashka. That is why I have a ‘different’ web site, storytelling more than dancing. Because stories are my life, all kinds of stories, the good ones and the bad.

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ISPAHAN Magazine 191

That lovely smell of Oran


hat a wonderful smell.. I love it in it is: on a plant. And I finally got o

The Orange Blossom is the frag is used in perfume making, has state flower of Florida.. I asume

- Oh, those must be lovely walks through Or

Orange Blossom is traditionally associated with good and head wreaths for weddings (can I please do min widely grown in the western parts of India, eastern A orange into St. Augustine, Florida, in the mid-1500s. B St. Augustine to England, setting the grounds for wha producers of oranges.

Orange Blossom essence is an important componen Blossom can also be made into a delicately citrus-sc water (or: Orange Flower water) is a commom part o (most often as an ingredient in desserts and baked g

Orange flower water has traditionally been used as a dessert dishes, such as in France for the Gibassier a Reyes (King cake), throughout Europe to flavor Made Pan de Muerto, and in the United States to make ora flower water is also used as an ingredient in some co

It has been a traditional ingredient used often in Nor Arab variants of aklava, orange blossom water is oft

It is also added to plain water in the Middle East to m high mineral content and other unpleasant flavors!

In Morocco orange blossom water is called Ilma Zhar phrase in Arabic literally meaning “flower water,� in co to Llma Ward, which is rose blossom water.

Orange blossom water serves two purposes in Moro One usage is a perfume or freshener, usually given t guests to wash their hands upon entering the hosts h or before drinking tea, in a special silver or metal con recognizable in the Moroccan tea set. but this old cus fading away in the present day.

The main usage of orange blossom water however, i Moroccan cuisine especially as an ingredient for trad sweets. 192 ISPAHAN Magazine

nge Blossoms..

n pastry and in tea.. but most of all I love it just as one!

grant flower of the Citrus Sinensis (Orange Tree). It been written about as an aphrodesiac and is the because Florida is filled with them..

range Blossem fields! Only in my dreams.. -

d fortune and has been popular in bridal bouquets ne over again?? ;-). The bitter orange tree is Africa and Himalayas. Spaniards brought sour By 1763, sour oranges were being exported from at is Florida today - one of the world’s largest

nt in the making of perfume. The petals of Orange cented version of rosewater; Orange Blossom of both French cuisine and Middle Eastern cuisine goods).

aromatizer in many Mediterranean traditional and Pompe à l’huile, or in Spain for the Roscón de eleines, in Mexico to flavor little wedding cakes and ange blossom Scones and Marshmallows. Orange ocktails, such as the Ramos Gin Fizz.

rth African as well as in Middle Eastern cooking. In ten mixed with the sweet syrup for flavor.


r, a ontrast

occo. to house ntainer; stom is

is in ditional

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Let’s chat! But why dear, why? That is the question no one is asking me (except for my husband).., which is sort of a surprise, actually. Why do I do it, making Ispahan Magazine issue number six, spending almost all of my evenings and nights on it, for over three months, daily? Am I getting paid? Not a penny. Am I ruining my eyes and lacking sleep? Absolutely! So technically I am paying to do this (via the electricity bill, mostly). So why don’t I get this question, at least sometimes? Because, I suspect, you have no idea what’s involved in making this magazine. So I decided to share with you, how it works: So let’s go back in time.. It is now February 2013. The number 5 issue is out there. Nothing I can do about it, anymore. (Well, except removing it from the Internet, but that would be rather drastic.) Of course, after proofreading it myself hundreds of times these last couple of weeks, as soon as I hit the ‘publish’ button I immediately notice a couple of mistakes I’ve overlooked. As these things tend to go. Doesn’t that bother me? Absolutely! But I haven’t found anyone yet, who is willing to proofread for me, for free (at the very last minute). I have actually received some criticism from a native English speaker in the past. I asked that person to proofread for me and she send me her tariffs, so I do question her motives a bit ;-). But it does bother me, although I know most people would never even try making a magazine in a foreign language and probably not even in their own, native language, I suspect. It is simple: I live in a small country and making a magazine for only Dutch speaking Oriental dancers would lead to a very small ‘audience’, so I was thinking bigger (and I don’t speak any Spanish at all, apart from ‘olé’ and ‘hasta la vista’, oh wait: ‘muchos gracias’, ‘arriba, arriba!’.., mmm, perhaps I should make a bilingual version, lol). So getting worked up about a couple of mistakes is perhaps only vanity. So note to self: get over it. Note to grumpy people: try making a magazine in a foreign language yourself and then we’ll talk. So, to tackle a few questions I have gotten: once the magazine is online, I cannot make changes to it. Even though it is on ‘the internet’, it is not a content management system (like a lot of web sites are), where you can go and change or add stuff at any given time. So if you send me stuff, wait another day before you send it over and read it (or ask someone else to read it for you) once more. Okay, so it’s February.. I am so tired, knackered, drained from working on the Winter Issue, every evening and every night (over 10 hours each day) for the past three weeks, that I’ve decided: no more..! I will start early on the next one, so that I won’t have to skip that much sleep again. So first, I bought myself some time by not sticking to my ‘quarterly magazine’ thing and deciding the next issue will appear on the 1st of July. Okay, that is done. Feels a bit strange, but since I invented the quarterly thing, I can also ‘uninvent’ it. Then I started thinking about the new theme. Not something that is very important, but for me it is a starting point. Since this will be the Summer issue, the theme is rather obvious: sunshine. I have missed it. A lot. Especially spending so much time indoors, to make the mag. Next on my list is trying to design the cover. Again, that is not the most important aspect of the magazine, but a starting point for me. I will change my cover design numerous times, over the course of the next couple of months, because I want to enhance it, with every issue I want to make it more like an ‘actual’ professional magazine.., and I also have constant doubts about doing that at the same time, because some consistency is also kind of important (most covers of magazines you know, look the same for years and years, apart from a different photo in the background every week or month, which is important because that is why you recognize them in a split second, gazing over the magazine stand), but hey, it is my ‘playground’, so I can change it if I want. And I do, I change it almost every time I look at it. Which is almost daily. Until, at some point, I call myself to order and decide to settle the matter. Sounds chaotic? Mmm, I am simply not pleased that easily, I guess.

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I decided from the start, not to use pictures of people on the cover, or at least not recognizable ones, in contrast to most magazines. Using people catches your eye, makes you curious. Eyes looking into eyes.. It works, which is why most magazines do it. So why don’t I? I could say: just ‘because’, but that would be childish, wouldn’t it?! There are numerous reasons.., like not wanting to be that specific, not willing to depend on photographers and also because I want to design the cover in an early stage and don’t know who I am going to interview yet. And because a lot of things can go wrong at the very last minute (more on that later!) which would lead to having to change the cover at the very last moment.. Oh well, I just tried it this way. I did get this terrific photo of Miss Louisa one day and actually designed a cover with her on it, but it made the ‘look and feel’ of the mag different from what I wanted, so: sorry Miss Louisa! You’re a perfect covergirl, though! People would like to see themselves on the cover, of course. Wouldn’t you? But I am being stubborn about it. I am using my own photography and that’s that. Besides the photography, I am –at this stage in making this issue- trying to put written info on the cover, indicating the content of the magazine. Trying out different fonts and always aiming not to make one more ‘important’ or ‘louder’ than the other.. Sometimes I ‘get’ the cover within a couple of tries… but mostly not. For this new one, I struggled. But that is the point. I want to learn and you don’t without a struggle. About this learning. I had never made a magazine in my life, before this. Nor did I ever think about it, or wanted to do it. I had never worked with the software needed to make an online magazine. I have never had a graphics design course.. I just tried it, because it is fun to try new things. I do it all by myself which is, as you think of it, kind of ridiculous. All magazines out there, are made by entire teams of people, all having a specific task. Not me, I am doing it by myself, because I can. (Also because I am not making one every week, of course.. ) Some might think that I have gotten a lot of help from my husband, him being a designer and all, but alas.. Nope. We tried to work together once. Making our wedding web site together. Which sounds like a lot of fun, being excited, in love, on a cloud, ready to ‘take the plunge’. But with us, we almost had a marriage crisis before actually being married, because of it. Put a painter and a graphics designer together and you are in for trouble! We just work in absolutely different ways. (Which actually makes a lot of sense, come to think of it.) That wedding web site actually turned out pretty cute, if I say so myself, but not wanting to jinx any future projects, we decided: no more! So around computers, we keep our distance. (Okay, apart from the occasional ‘How the f did that happen, help me!’) Luckily for me, I learn easily and like it.. So I just opened the software and like a kid, started playing with it. Getting frustrated when things are not making sense, but that frustration actually helps me, gets me more persistent. (He is impressed, by the way, so that is nice coming from him, a professional in this area. Okay, he might be a bit bias, but still..) So the first couple of mags I made, where done using Freehand, which took some time learning to work with and once I sort of ‘got’ the basics of that particular software, I switched over to InDesign, which works in a somewhat different way (but suits my purpose better), which led to having to do everything from scratch. Pfff, that was a lot of work, let me tell ya! So, by March of this year, I had a theme and a -start of a- cover and I was starting to collect interesting info. I also wrote a couple of articles that, by June, I was not so happy about anymore, since the topics had since appeared all over the social media and where discussed heavily. Good, you say? Yes, on one hand, because obviously the topics proved to be interesting enough to talk about, a lot - and heated debates too -, but bad because I knew that once the magazine would be online (in July) people would be wondering if I had made the article by using there comments.. Instead of writing it myself, as I did. In two instances I asked people that had commented if they were okay with me using (part of) their comments (which they gracefully approved, for which I thank them) and other articles I deleted. A few weeks of work in the garbage bin.. but I have gotten used to that. If you make a magazine that is not appearing weekly, it is hard to be edgy and on top of trends and stuff.

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The cover that never was.. it looked to much like other (Oriental) magazines, I decided..

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The covers of all previous Ispahan Magazines

Also, by this time (April/May), I am looking and looking… spending a lot of time on the Internet searching for beautiful photographs, for interesting information, for people to interview. You might think people would come forward themselves, wanting to be in a magazine, hoping for the possibility to put a spotlight to their adventures or opinions, but they seldom do. In all of my magazines so far, there has been about one article per issue from someone who actively approached me, himself or herself. So basically I am approaching a lot of people over the course of the next few weeks. Most of which decline, not being comfortable with writing, or writing in a - to them - foreign language. Sometimes, when I think there is a really interesting article ‘in there’, I suggest that I could translate (mentioning I am not a translator, by no means), or for them to find someone else to translate for them. Generally, I am awarded the honour and trust myself, so around this time, I find myself translating articles from one foreign language into another, in the evenings. No Google Translate by the way, I’m old fashioned. Besides the ‘cold feet’ what writing is concerned, a lot of people seem to find it easier to answer interview questions rather than writing an entire article. And so I dive into their backgrounds, reading everything I can find on them on the Internet, in order to be able to send relevant questions for them to answer. You can imagine that, although fun to do, all of this takes up a lot of time.. So another few weeks pass by. Fast. I am getting a bit nervous, looking at my planner. And everything is still very fragmented, nothing fits together yet. About the stuff that can go wrong.., or better: is not helpful to my planning; people who promise me articles, but withdraw, for instance. Sometimes at the very last minute. Even though I set deadlines to send in their information, most of them don’t make them. First asking me to push those deadlines further and further away and then stating they can’t make it anyhow. Obviously, knowing how time consuming writing an article is and what busy lives we all lead, I understand. But it does not make my work any easier. My planning is a mess at this point and I am seriously considering giving up. Very interestingly, this does not - on average - apply to anyone from the America’s… My experience is that anyone from ‘that area’ of the world I have worked with, in order to make the magazine has been amazingly punctual, courteous, professional, kind and an overall joy to work with. What is that? I have asked around and learned that this can be attributed to cultural background and attitude. If I approach people throughout Europe, I am often asked

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‘What is in it for me?’, once I make it clear I cannot afford to pay them. If I get a reaction at all, to be honest. It has shocked me how communication has deteriorated, outside the professional workplace. Writing an e-mail with a beginning and an end seems old fashioned. Or responding at all, to a question or e-mail I have send.. What’s that about!? I am generalizing of course. And people who have given me these kinds of ‘responses’ are not to be found in my magazine. That is my prerogative as an editor. The dancers/ photographers who are in the magazines, were all so kind and generous..: simply heart warming! This ‘what is in it for me’ is an interesting discussion, though, since I understand that things have value and time spend on something cannot be spend on something else. So I guess this assessment is up to every individual him-, or herself. Do you enjoy writing a piece for a magazine, sharing your knowledge? Do you see value in promoting yourself, do you like attracting the attention of its readers, all over the world or start a debate? If not, then by all means, don’t do it. I am not asking for any favours. All I know is that I, on my part, AM spending months of my life per magazine, for free, because I like to do it. I am not having dreams of being a publisher one day, or asking you for a fee in order to read it. I could do that already, if I wanted to. There are online publishers that allow you to ask payment from whoever wants to read your publications. You then would have to pay a couple of Euro’s or Dollars per issue (and sometimes per each time you would open it), in order to be able to read the magazine. And with almost 15.000 ‘hits’ on the last issue alone (a number that is increasing every day), I could be making some serious money off of you..! if I wanted to. I see other magazines that charge you, eventhough the design is poor and they are half the size Ispahan Magazine offers, but I also think they are not making ‘my’ edition numbers. ;-) But this is not a commercial enterprise (I would have handled things a lot different, if it was, like hiring a translator); it is just me, fooling around with software and learning about graphic design. Being happy that you like it enough to read it. (Meanwhile my neighbours must be getting soooo curious about what I am doing staying up all night, behind my computer! I don’t even want to imagine their explanation!) >>

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A recent Issuu mailing, featuring Ispahan Magazine! In mailboxes all over the world..

About reading it. Although a magazine would not be a magazine if it had only pictures in it, the figures suggest (data I get through the publisher) that you are not reading a lot of the stuff that takes me weeks to write or put together. You scroll through the mag and don’t spend a lot of time on each page, the data tells me. Obviously these are averages and it may well be that someone is reading it front-to-back and another is just clicking from one page to the other.. That is somewhat nerve-racking to me, though. Spending so much time on it. On the other hand, more and more people are looking into it a second time and a third.., which is very nice. The other sign that suggests that a lot of you are not reading entire articles or blogs (like this one, I am writing write right now), is that I get no comments on articles, zero, none what so ever. Is it because you are agreeing with anything said? Because you are too shy to speak your mind? That is a concern, and even more so, might be a reason for me to quit. If my readers don’t respond or contact me, I have no idea what they like and dislike, what they want to read about or not, who or what they like to know more about and what their personal experiences are. I am in the dark about these things. With all modern ways of communication, it could be so much more interactive and attractive.

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I have talked about this, asking people plainly why, since no one seems to be too shy or lazy to comment on - even the most bizarre - stuff on social media. Start a tread there and you will get dozens of reactions. Heck, submit a picture of a cute puppy that is not even yours and you get a hundred ‘likes’! The answers I got was: but commenting on the internet is easy, quick and - most of the time - shallow, not thought through/ well-considered.. it is a whole other thing to put your opinion out there, in ’black and white’ for the ’whole world’ to read. And the other end of the spectrum was: Oh, but everyone I know, knows how I feel about all things related to Oriental dancing, so why should I bother? To write up an e-mail and push ‘send’ takes to much effort. I am not sure I totally get all of that, but I do have the experience that I have gotten not a single substantive response, except those from my American friends, after making 5 magazines. It feels like a one-way street, there is no dialogue. So at this point in the process, I am getting frustrated. And to answer yet another set of questions, from people asking me to write articles for them, on subjects they care about: you don’t want to read only my opinions, hear my view on things. If there is something you want to get out there, you feel passionate about: please write a blog or article yourself and send it in! Having said all of this, I cannot NOT mention all the lovely people that offered me their full cooperation, freely and graciously and those are the ones you find in the magazine! So anything I have said about rude or greedy people with poor communication skills does NOT apply to the wonderful women and men that are featured in the magazines. I am very, very proud of all of the artistic and professional people that were willing to work with me. None of them asked me ‘what was in it for them’, instead they spend a lot of their time working on articles or sending me photo’s, to help me make this magazine. Which they did not have to do. A BIG THANK YOU to all of them! And I would also like to take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks to André Elbing, who has not given me his full cooperation and time only once, but four times in a row! Today he is e-mailing me from a 35 degree appartment in Moskou, at half past two at night. That deserves a round of applause. It says a lot about him, being a very generous, sweet person. So back to my story.. By June, I have a cover, I have photographs, an interview and some articles or beginnings of articles.. Now I have to make that into a magazine. Something that is attractive and fun to look at, something that does justice to all the contributors.. Wow.. By this time I am getting very exited and spend hour after hour on page after page.. My husband is extremely supportive, being hungry and all. I am diving into the wonderful world of graphic design and it is hard for me to stop. So many lovely fonts! Staying up until 04:00 or 0:500 o’clock in the morning is no exception at this point (I am looking at the clock and, yep, it’s 03:30 right now!). Yes, I am a night owl anyways, but this is work, hard work.., not relaxing or drinking tea while looking at the stars from my rooftop. Luckily I have a cat instead of a dog, she lies on my lap for most of the time, very content that I am sitting down hours on end, without moving. With a dog, that would be too heavy to do. ;-) I realize that my careful planning and early start, in order to avoid these nightly adventures, have not resulted in much. I am still swamped with work. The magazine is getting larger than ever; I am not sure how this happened. Or do I? After I have designed the pages, which will take weeks, I have to put them into a certain order.. What does appeal to readers? I have no clue besides being one myself. But anyone can imagine that text and photos should alternate. So should ‘serious’ and ‘light’. But saying it is a lot easier that actually doing it. It takes me another couple of days, at least. And then there are last minute entries and changes.. I am at this stage right now, one week before publishing. I feel the pressure and the fatigue. At this point, it has happened before that all the excitement is gone and I just want to get it over with. But that would be such a shame and disrespect for all the hard work everyone has put in, so I go on. Like a boss.


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Yes, I do have other things to do, I do have a life..! (In case you were wondering ;-). Although sometimes, when in the midst of all of this, I am wondering about that myself. There are family and friends who want to meet up with me, birthdays to go to, a house to clean and all of those things you do in the evenings: they will simply have to wait, or I try doing them ‘in between’. I am actually good at efficiency and you will have to be, taking on a task like this. Just like if you are a professional dancer having a day job, but also performing a lot of weeknights: you will have to juggle the rest (and have a very understanding partner). But that is what is getting to me in this stage of the process, having put a lot of things off for weeks now, and they are getting urgent. The people around me are getting fed up, although they don’t tell me. Even my cat is tired of it. And I am exhausted, to be frank. But there is this magazine that I am really proud of by now, that is wanting to get out there.. It is inside my computer, jumping up and down. And that can be heard: this brave computer is moaning and groaning, heavy with this - well over - 250 pages thick magazine, filled with hundreds of pictures, heavy duty photo material, text and design features. And I can feel it struggle when I open the ‘document’. It really is about time. For the both of us. In these last weeks, I have been working over ten hours a day again (most of them at night) at this magazine. Ridiculous. And, after closing the document, I have been communicating some more with contributors about the last couple of things, via e-mail. (This is actually a good ‘time zone’ for the ones abroad, like the USA and Brazil!) Although the number of typo’s show that someting has got to give! My eyes hurt, even in the morning after (some) sleep. Good thing the weather was not that wonderful, but in the meantime my garden has exploded with flowers I have not yet admired. I have skipped meals for the magazine, I have skipped dance practise for it, imagine! (The latter bothers me more than the first, as with any true dancer ;-) And my fingernails desperately need clipping. Or I could take up Thai dancing.. So you see, it is taking quite a lot to make this magazine. And, again - I don’t want to sound like a broken record but it is what it is - without being paid, like you would if you are a professional dancer, performing weeknights. So why do I do it? -Yes, why dear, why?Because it has been yet another wonderful way of learning. I need challenges in my life, to not get bored. Because my brain needs the stimulation. Because I don’t like repeating myself, there has to be some development in it. Because I also need to free this creative need inside of me, it has to get out, I can’t shut it up. Also because I can. Because I felt like it. Because the framework of preconditions was at place. And because it was fun talking to my husband about it, as if we were in the same business, he understands my infatuation with all the possibilities the software offers :-) Doing this by myself also allowed me to keep my own pace, to not have to slow down, not having to explain. Not having to ask others to spend as much time at it as I am, or feel guilty because of that. Not asking them to meet my standards. And that is great. I am proud that I have made six magazines. I am proud of, with the help of all of the contributors, having done it by myself. No one trained me, no one coached me. I have proven to myself that I can do this: give me half a chance and I can create something good, as I have claimed many times before and have proven. It is not perfect, by no means, but I have done something most people wouldn’t even try doing.

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But that leads to the inevitable question: what is there left for me here, to discover? If you, from now on, would shower me - in a low maintenance way, mind you - with your input, allowing me to spend much less time on writing stuff, ‘finding’ people and looking for info on the internet, that would perhaps be a reason to continue and also being able to do other stuff on the side. But as I look at it now, this might very well be my last issue. There are other things to discover and old loves to regain. My husband just finished the carpentry work in the attict and I have liberated my paint brushes from their dark enclosing they were in for safe keeping. They look mighty appealing, the soft hair, the lushious thick and colorful paint. No time pressure, no working nights. And my cat likes to go outside now.. the sun is rising (from about 04:00 o’clock, the dawning of a new day starts, these days!). Golden Rays of Light coming up! Have a great summer!


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DANCING MAKES YOU SMARTER It’s been scientifically proven that the only physical activity to offer protection against dementia is frequent dancing. *Reading - 35% reduced risk of dementia *Bicicling and swimming - 0% *Doing crossword puzzles, at least four days a week - 47% *Playing golf - 0% *Dancing frequently - 76% Study made suggestion: do it often. Seniors who took dance lessons 4 days a week, had a measurably lower risk of dementia than those wo did it only once a week. Fred Astaire Dance Studio of Coral Springs

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Sholeh Zard

(Persian Saffron Rice Pudding) This centuries old rice pudding is dairy free. For those of you are who are lactose intolerant or vegan, this is a dessert just for you! Ingredients: 1 cup rice (short grain or medium grain) 9 cups water 2 cups granulated sugar 1 tsp saffron 1 cup rosewater 2 pods cardamom (or 1/2 teaspoon ground cinamon) 1/4 cup slivered almonds cinnamon & slivered pistachios for garnish (or almonds, candied orange peel or eatable flowers, like rose petals: the decorative garnishes give this Persian recipe it’s distinct character, along with the fragant taste.)

How it’s done:

Lightly crush the two cardamom pods and place them in one cup of rosewater. Set this aside. Wash the rice, until the water runs clear. Then cook the rice, uncovered, until it is tender. This should take about half hour. Skim the white foam from the surface as it forms. Grind the saffron with a pinch of sugar. Use a mortar.

Discard the cardamom pods. Place the Sholeh Zard in small bowls (per serving) or in one big shallow oval or rectangular dish. Garnish it with cinnamon and slivered pistachios. Allow the Sholeh Zard to cool to room temperature first. Then cover and place it in the fridge for a few hours (about 4). Serve chilled.

Additional tips: This pudding is hard to lay off, eating it out of the pot warm. But it taste better when it is nice and cool. The flavors need time to come together during the hours spent in the fridge. It improves in flavor and taste that way. Depending on the garnish, it could be best to add these right before serving, instead of before cooling down. Another possible topping could be Pomegranate seeds.

Add 3 tablespoons of hot water to the ground saffron and shake well. Allow to brew while the rice cooks.

For a more buttery taste, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter (cubed), at the same time as the rose water and cardamom mixture, mix well and continue to simmer as you stir.

Add the sugar to the rice and cook for another half hour until the water and rice become dense. In the mean time be sure to stir the rice every so often, so that it does not stick to the bottom. Add the brewed saffron and continue to cook this mixture for another half hour.

Total Time: 5,5 hrs Prep Time: 1,5 hrs Cool Time: 4 hrs Servings: 4-5

Add the rose water with the cardamom pods and slivered almonds. Mix well. At this point you can continue cooking the pudding on the stove top on low heat, until it is completely dense, or place it in an oven proof pot and put it in the oven. THEN turn the oven to 350Âş and leave the pudding in there for 15 to 20 minutes.

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The Sum Ahmad Shamlou (The Summer, 1973)

A kiss! A kiss to the new Seaso The wardens - of the Ga from the depths of the sent - to the tardy Pilg

A velvet kiss, a rose made of blaze of hope robed in the hues of g crowned - in the glow ********

Above the timber roof on the wide shoulders the seeds of a new frag discreetly dance.

What would be the fru when they’re grown in lifted to the edge of t

Would it be such - to s from the bars of the tim May I, May I send the Pil a message? Translation: Maryam Dilmaghani, June 2009,

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on! arden, eir confine, grim of the shrine.

e green, w of gold...

of the Garden, it seems, s of the breeze, grance-

uit of these seeds, nto the trees, the breeze?

spare the birds mber cage? lgrim -


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In the previous issue we talked about the Harem fantasy. In the fantasy of Westerners, this was the ultimate hedonistic aspect of the Sultans court. This idea still sticks to Oriental dance and dancers. But there is an entirely new sort of hedonism in the world of Oriental Dance...

istic /

In March of this year, I saw this dance show.. Not a show I would normally go to because it is not really my cup of tea, but I ended up there anyways. And got a big surprise: I loved it! I found myself not able to sit still during the entire show and I was not the only one, right and left, I saw legs wobbling, feet stamping, heads moving..


I was watching a (non Oriental) show dance group for over two hours and did not get bored a single second. I was feeling the energy, coming from the group, bouncing through the theatre. I could see the fun they had, performing, smiles from ear to ear. But most of all, I could see the work and dedication that was spend on making this a great experience for the audience. I even

why such a show is often not as entertaining and heart moving as this show was.. with only one group of dancers. I am not the first to think about this. Or talk. Or write. I have read critiques about the endless number of hafla’s and theatre shows that are being organised.. About the fluctuation in skill and technical levels between the dancers in one show, about the programming of the shows and their duration, about all the attempts that are made to keep the audience entertained, offering free food and other ‘gimmicks’, merely to have them sit out the entire show..

And I

guess I have come to the same conclusion: we might need to change that. I don’t think it has a future, or is helpful to the future of this dance form. It is not working. People, even dance loving people and even audience members that are Oriental dancers themselves, are getting bored.

got tears in my eyes from time to time, moved

Most shows are not financially sustainable,

by it all.

organizers are looking to cut costs everywhere,

And it got me wondering. Wondering about why I hardly ever feel so exited and energized, after watching an Oriental dance show. Why I get bored, honestly, watching all of the performers giving it their all.. Wondering why a show that

resulting in poor shows, in poor venues, poor organization and this drives the audience, the ‘professional level’ and general perception of what oriental dance is, even further and further away from what we all would want.

consists of numerous ‘acts’, of different dance

Unless you actually like to be a third rate

groups as well as many solo performers, of many

dancer, or like dancing in a third rate show.

styles, many different costumes and music,

When visiting all hafla’s in a certain region, >>

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you will see the same dancers everywhere, most of the time performing the same dances. In the same costumes. How did we get here? A lot of the hafla’s, open stages and shows that are being organised, are not seeing the light of day because there is a big demand to see Oriental dance, because there is a large crowd or fan base demanding to see Oriental dancers, but simply because Oriental dancers like to perform. Most of the time, these hafla’s are organised by Oriental dancers/teachers, not by theatre directors or event managers. I suspect because the later would not organise an event that is not profitable.


The number of applications from dancers, at announcing a hafla, is overwhelming. Within a day after posting the info on the Internet, there already is a back-up list. I totally understand why dancers do it, but it is not a good thing. At least, if you give a damn about the future of this dance. The point is: dancers are dancing because they want to be on

the podium. Because they want to show their skills, or because they want to build a name for themselves, or because they bought a new ‘cossy’ and want to show it off. NOT because they want to give the audience a night to remember. They are there, merely for themselves. It’s an ego trip. Look at me, I am on a stage! The audience has become, in many cases, a side issue. I don’t think we should wonder about the implications. If you organise a dance show, not from the viewpoint of the audience, but merely driven by the desire of dancers to perform, you will end up with a poor show and no audience. If you are an organiser and you don’t require a certain dance level (by auditioning the dancers), or you favour your dance buddies in the line up, you are not working towards a professional result. Having said that, I guess most organisers will argue that they are not even trying to put on a professional, entertaining, financially sustainable show. They are merely offering a podium for women to simply dance and have fun.. Right. If we all do that.. and all merely attract those same ten audience members (spouses of dancers, or their mothers), then please don’t even talk about wanting Oriental dancing to be accepted as a ‘normal’ dance style and being showed in a good light, finding it’s way to the professional stages and being paid acceptable prices to perform. Who is giving this dance art a bad name? We are. If we don’t take ourselves seriously, why would anyone else? If we keep on showing a poor image of Oriental dance ourselves, don’t be surprised about being ridiculed by jury members of talent shows. If we don’t even raise the bar up from the ground, let alone a bit higher, don’t be angry by getting a request to dance for ‘a meal’ or for ‘exposure’.

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What was different about the dance company I saw, was that they were there for me, the audience, not for themselves. They were putting the performance (and the group) above themselves. They were there to entertain us and were not holding back.

They were being professional. It was not a show about twenty dancers wanting to shine and be in the spotlight. It was a group of dancers that had worked their butts of, for years and years to reach a certain skill level, before even thinking about being on a stage. They moved completely in sink. There weren’t any ‘star dancers’, they were a group and a damned good one. And it was great to watch. I was not sorry to have spend money on the ticket and I would certainly consider to see the next show as well. Such a contrast to the free, or almost free shows, hafla’s and open stages.. I don’t get inspired there. I don’t leave the building thinking this was great. The only kick I have gotten from shows like this, is the adrenaline rush from being on the stage myself - as I am sure most dancers will recognise. Thus perpetuating this phenomenon. Being on a stage, for you. It is not a good idea. It is arrogant and egocentric. More ‘serious’ dance styles, where you have to practice years and years before even thinking


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of performing (and never having a guarantee you will ever be ‘up there’!), are not as attractive to dancers who want to be in the centre of attention. Who are there to claim their ’15 minutes of fame’ without actually having to do a lot for it. I have seen it so many times in this ‘scene’. On of the clue’s you are dealing with someone like that, is finding out they are not open to (constructive) criticism. Dancers who are not interested in taking (mental) notes, who immediately admit that dancing is for their own enjoyment and who think you are spoiling their fun by pointing out that photo shoots are to promote, not for hedonistic self-indulgence. Well, be my guest. Actually, in classical ballet, amateur dancers embrace the idea that you have to study long and hard, then audition at an academy and then, maybe, end up on a stage. Perhaps even in a leading role.. but most of the time not. The stage not being the coveted object of desire, but the skills needed to get there are. They actually love the hard work, don’t even dream of letting other things get in the way of their training, giving up a lot of other stuff they really like in order to perhaps, one day, reaching their goal. Most never get there, lots of really talented, hard working and devoted ones. And they LOVE criticism. It is not a negative. It is a chance, an opportunity to grow and learn.


quote from the article by Dan Savage, a producer of Burlesque shows: ‘Drag queens were the darlings of the club and alternativeperformance scenes in the 1990s. Back then, every bar had a drag show, every theatre was doing a cross dressed production of something-or-other, and no fundraiser or arts event was complete

without at least one drag performance. As the scene boomed, the

half talents and the opportunists poured in. Soon there were too many shows and too many queens, and a lot of it was crap. The barrier to entry was simply too low: A guy just had to be willing to put on a dress. When audiences caught on—when they finally admitted to themselves that they were watching an awful lot of crap—the drag bubble burst and the audiences disappeared. The drag scene limps along to this day, a poorly made-up shadow of its former self.’ He also talks about the the predictability of the performances that leaves the audience thinking ‘NEXT!”, the boredom kicking in and he ends with: ‘It’s a sign of decadence - but the wrong kind. It’s not the kind of decadence that thrills and arouses. It’s the kind of decadence that precedes decay and collapse.’ Wondering if this is/ has happened to the Oriental dance scene too, Brad Dosland put the question on the Internet. He quoted Mr. Savage: ‘Because without some negative feedback, without criticism, the local burlesque bubble is destined to burst. [ ] A scene that is too supportive and uncritical can become incestuous and closed >>

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when performers stop doing it for the audience and only do it for each other.’ Mr. Dosland asked: ’What percentage of audiences in your market would you guess are neither family nor friends of folks in the production? He also put the question out there to what extend the stage production fail causes/explains the necessity of workshop income (for professionals). The article statements by Mr. Savage and the added questions by Mr. Dosland have gotten a lot of support, in the Oriental dance scene. Dancers say that they do recognise the abundance of self-regard. The key lies partly with the instructors/teachers. Praise is good for business, their own business, but if this praise is given to much or to often, it leads to ego and the trouble starts. But also there is the realisation that the scene, because of its nature (opposed to the classical ballet world f.i.), attracts students who are not prone to selfcriticism or modesty: the so called ‘six week wonders’ who very soon think they are ready for the stage or even to teach.. For those, sturdy criticism from their teacher will hardly ‘help’ get them in check. On the contrary. As one respondent wrote: ‘We can’t let every student sign a contract stating that they will not perform until their teacher gives them the okay..’ (Ellen Killian Barnes) Another writer states that many bellydance performances and even whole shows seem to be ‘theatrical masturbation’ nowadays, with no regard for the audience. (Sedonia Sipes) Another part of the responsibility lies with the organisers of events, promoters and sponsors. Real professional events should be distinctively different from student recitals. There should be auditions, thought going into the line-up.

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ut the trouble lies in the fact that the biggest part of the responsibility rests with the dancers themselves and that a substantial portion of them are not ‘humble individuals, who understand the need for hard work, study and perseverance [ ] willing to pay their dues.’ (Rhonda Higgins) So everyone is (also) pointing at someone else, what resposibility is concerned: organisers,

teachers, dancers.. all merely wanting to make a living. And so the conclusion seems to be that there is nothing that can be done, really. Also there is the commercial factor: organisers want to earn a living and invite large troupes to a show in order to bring in ‘large contingents of proud family and friends’ (Brad Dosland) to the show, all buying tickets. And teachers that talk about the ‘sisterhood of Oriental dance’ a lot (for commercial benefit) find themselves in conflict with putting in sturdy standards after that. Dancers/performers who want to get gigs in order to pay for their costumes, to wear at gigs, etc. Which brings me to the next point or question: why in heavens name do amateurs need professional costumes? Back in the old days, amateurs made their own costumes because they could not afford the pro ones. How, in these times of economic crisis, do we find the cash for these mere hobbies? And I have seen shows, danced in very plain costumes, that were great, and shows with dancers in costly pro costumes that were gruesome. It’s not in the costume. Of course, costume makers and designers are very happy with self-overrating -‘Because I’m worth it!’- and star struck customers. Mr. Dosland rightfully asks: Where are the critics? ‘Why does this community have zero critical media?’ Naming names, outing the ‘bad ones’, reviewing events honestly.. A credible voice who speaks up on behalf of the audience (with no conflict of interest). And the response to that was: ‘In our community it is more likely that the critic will be clawed to death’ (Rhonda Higgins). So that’s what we can do, all of us. We can stop being fake-nice and stop calling critical dancers/people with an opinion ‘bitches’. ‘Somehow many women equate criticism with a put down and often seek larger implications in the criticism (She must have ulterior motives for criticizing me, etc.) [ ]’ (Nazaneen Raqs). Gibson Pearl wrote something very similar to what my own evaluation would be: ’In art school I don’t remember ever feeling weird around the other students after a critique. [ ] It was understood that it was all meant to encourage improvement.’ And Jaki Hawthorn adds: ‘No one believes the comments are actually about them unless it is specifically directed to them (and even then they just get mad)’ So why is this same reaction not seen in classical ballet (also a ‘women’s world’)? I can only reach one conclusion: in Oriental dance it is about the dancer, not the dance.. That’s what’s wrong with it (at least what the ‘not so pro’s’ are concerned).


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If you

Lynette Harris, founder of ‘The Gilded Serpent’, known to all of us, commented on the questions raised by Brad Dosland:


‘The whole inspiration for creating Gilded Serpent was because the community needed critique. We hoped that with a lower overhead that we would not have to fear the loss of advertising. In fact, we found that

the more honest critique we had, the more readers it brought! The community had actually come a long way in acceptance of honest critique. I could show you the very mild criticism that caused major freak outs when we first started. Being a critic is a thankless job and burns people out very quickly! It has really burned me out too. We still welcome it!” I am wondering weather or not those ‘more readers’ were attracted because of the fact that they had accepted honest critique, or because they liked reading about others being criticized.. We are scared, because by criticising dance or scene, we are perceived to be criticising individuals, because everything is taken personally. Here is another entry I would like to share with you, from Shira Dotnet: ‘You ask: Where are the reviews with valid, expressed reasons? Well there are consequences to writing those: 1. Pointing out the negatives can cause some readers to become upset even though they don’t know the dancer(s) involved. There is that saying that is so pervasive among women:

”If you can’t say something nice about someone, don’t say anything at all”.

And because I point out the warts, some people perceive me as a meanie. 2. Pointing out negatives can cause the person who created the product to target you for drama. 3. Pointing out negatives will upset the friends and fans of the dancer(s) involved. 4. Critics are often looked upon with disdain by those who deem themselves to be “artist” [ ] And here is part of Samira Shuruk’s comment: ‘I think hafla’s and community events are vitally important. I think they are SO vitally important in fact that I think they deserve better than to be a “dime a dozen.” [ ] The stage is a place to be earned (yes, even at a student level). Unless a student is planning on going pro and close to that level, there is not a ‘need’ for frequent performances. It is a ‘desire’ for some, but not a ‘need’. That distinction is imperative in understanding some of the problems we face. [ ] Self indulgence or self entitlement will not make better performers or better public representations of the art. [ ] If EVERYONE wants to perform all the time - where is the genuine time needed for student growth? If EVERYONE gets to dance all the time - well, what are the standards and quality going to be?

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don’t w

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s k n i h t y d o b y r e l Ev a i c e p s e r a ’ y e h t ‘Feelin

g like a godd ess’ ca n get o ut of h and..

Time, education, feedback, realistic self-assessment and work, work, work, that’s what it takes. My feeling is that the “need” for the student to perform sometimes outweighs respect of the dance or even respect of the audience- and this creates an imbalance. ’ Read the entire tread (and other very interesting conversations) on the Biz for Belly Dance forum on Facebook, by Samira Shuruk: (& scroll down to Brad Dosland’s topic called: Too Much Support = Bad Product (or type this title in the search box - look for the ‘magnifying glass’ icon top right on the page, under the main picture)


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As I stated myself in this particular thread: ‘So is this a ‘sign of the times’ instead of a ‘dance scene problem’? And is it even possible to educate on this subject, since there will be those who ‘get it’ form the start and those who never will.. ? An American Survey that started in 1966, showed these results: Research (by US psychologist Jean Twenge and colleagues) suggests that more and more American university students think they are something special. It (the survey) asks students to rate how they measure up to their peers in a number of basic skills areas - and over the past four decades, there has been a dramatic rise in the number of students who describe themselves as being “above average” for academic ability, drive to achieve, mathematical ability and self-confidence. And while the Freshman Survey shows that students are increasingly likely to label themselves as gifted in writing ability, objective test scores indicate that actual writing ability has gone down since the 1960s. Another study by Twenge suggested there has been a 30% tilt towards narcissistic attitudes in US students since 1979. (The Oxford English Dictionary defines narcissism as: “Excessive self-love or vanity; self-admiration, self-centredness.”) “Our culture used to encourage modesty and humility and not bragging about yourself,” says Twenge. “It was considered a bad thing to be seen as conceited or full of yourself.” In ‘The Narcissism Epidemic’, co-written with Keith Campbell, Twenge blames the growth of narcissistic attitudes on a range of trends - including parenting styles, celebrity culture, social media and access to easy credit, which allows people to appear more successful than they are. Legions of self-help books have propagated the idea that we each have it within us to achieve great things - we just need to be more confident. ”Now the interesting thing about that belief is it’s widely held, it’s very deeply held, and it’s also untrue.” Over 15,000 journal articles have examined the links between high self-esteem and measurable outcomes in real life, such as educational achievement, job opportunities, popularity, health, happiness and adherence to laws and social codes. Yet there is very little evidence that raising self-esteem leads to tangible, positive outcomes. “Self-control is much more powerful and well-supported as a cause of personal success. Despite my years invested in research on self-esteem, I reluctantly advise people to forget about it.” says Roy Baumeister of Florida State University. He was the lead author of a 2003 paper that scrutinised dozens of self-esteem studies. Forsyth and Kerr studied the effect of positive feedback on university students who had received low grades (C, D, E and F). They found that the weaker students actually performed worse if they received encouragement aimed at boosting their self-worth.

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And researchers from the Haas School of Business of the University of California came to the same conclusions: “Research shows that 94 percent of teachers is convinced they function above average, which is even statistically impossible.” Excessive self esteem has an ‘upside’ in social status: completely undeserved it will give the impression that someone is successful. Often though, it is not a very good signal to go by. More here: And: And:

Why is Social Media a bad influence? People can choose what they reveal about themselves, they can brag, they can leave the things out that could shed a negative light on them. Research suggests that comments and feedback from friends are mainly positive. ‘Facebook is like a mirror that does not show us who we really are, but shows us at our best behaviour.’

Of course, we all know this, but still, we can get impressed by others and their seemingly perfect lives and (dance) careers. So all this suggests that it is a ‘sign of the times’, but that doesn’t mean that we have to leave it at that. Because that is really not the way to bring back the goddess culture.

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Look, I a Adam Kotsko’s thesis is that we love sociopaths because sociopathy opposes social awkwardness. It is Don Draper versus any Woody Alan character. James Bond versus John Cleese’s Basil in Fawlty Towers.. Which one would you rather be? The first ones seem to have gotten the better deal..

Say you’re waiting in line at the drugstore and some woman cuts in front of you, on purpose, giving you a big –but obviously fake- smile, saying ‘You don’t mind, do you, dear? Love your coat!’, does not wait for you to answer and turns her back to you. She’s a different kind of person than you. She can do things you can’t, sees the world’s rules differently, which specifically means she understands that there are no ‘world rules’, that rules are decided by those with power for their own benefit. Ultimately, the only thing you have over her, is the feeling that you’re not a jerk. But you also know very well that they do what they want and aren’t bothered at all that you, a loser, think they’re a jerk. The difference between you and them, according to Kotsko, is that they manipulate the social connections whereas you are mired in them. They can detach, you can’t. Your only compensation is that you have moral superiority. Stories of people who existed outside the bounds of rules, were usually divided into good versus evil, but there seems to be a recent mass deconstruction of morality alongside the increase of individuality. We need to ‘make it’ on our own and more ‘evil’ is permitted to do so. This might be why we (secretly) admire TV characters who get ahead by being amoral and uncaring, like Borat, Tony (the Sopranos), South Park characters, House, or Ricky Gervais in The Office. Kotsko argues that the popularity of the ruthless sociopath reflects our dissatisfaction with a failed social contract, living in a world that rewards the evil and uncaring, rather than the good. It makes us long for characters who know precisely what to do next, even if it is the wrong things. Everywhere Kotsko uses the word “sociopath” he is probably more accurately describing “narcissist.” Narcissists usually are very charming and outgoing – if they want to be (which is usually when they can profit from it), often are very popular (in a rather superficial way) and come across as very selfassured: they are the centre of attention at parties. Social Media are perfect places for them, because they can get attention very easily (by posting a lot of obvious statements, like ‘stop animal cruelty’, that gets them a lot of (affirmative) response, without actually having to do anything or even think about their own contribution to the subject). Since they have a hard time actually engaging in a discussion (if the topic is not about them, they get easily bored), talking about a problem or accepting criticism, this superficial way of communicating is perfect for them. Since dancing (more specifically: performing) is being in the centre of attention (like other performing arts, high profile jobs, etc.), you might find a lot of them in our midst and perhaps you are one yourself. True narcissism does not usually questions itself, so if you are wondering you might be ‘okay’. On stage, we also admire them: they seem so (overly) confident and loving the limelight, opposed to the (more common) notion of ‘Why in Gods name am I doing this to myself?’ We wish we were more like them, so we could enjoy our performance more, or be better at it without all the nerves. Obviously I am merely expressing an opinion here and are not a psychologist, or otherwise certified to ‘accuse’ fellow dancers of -isms. I am very aware that I am not giving a complete picture and am rather caricature about it, based on my own experiences. Painting: Echo and Narcissus by John William Waterhouse (1849-1917) Buy Adam Kostsko’s book ‘Why we love sociapaths’ via Amazon: and the book review (on which this text is loosly based upon), by The Last Psychiatrist

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am a star!

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Dekka daybed by: Furn ID Design Studio Information via: http://www.furnid. com/

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Wall Piercing by Oren Pinhassi Information via:

Coffee table ‘Taj Mahal’ by Studio Job ( )

Information via: taj-mahal-tafel-stud job

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Woven Leather Rug by Pl端mo Woven-Leather-Rugs.html

Turkish Slippers by Pl端mo Turkish-Slippers.html

Floor Cushion by Pl端mo Hindustani-Floor-Cushion.html

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‘Hamam Towel’ by Plümo Hamam-Towel.html

Africa inspired Cushions Information via L’Atitude:

(cushions on the left) imports-from-marrakesh-zemmourpillow-7.html

and Beldi:

(cushions on the right)

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The Friend

Sohrab Sepehri (The Friend 1967, Abridged)

She was grand. She was a noble native of today. Her realm was all boundless spheres. And always, she so intensely sensed, the ways of water and earth. The tone of her voice pictured the anxious sadness of the truth. Her eyes recalled the reviving direction towards the roots. She played the intimacy of her soul. And she portrayed the straightness of her love in all sharp bends of her time, for the mirrors. She was alike the rain full of the freshness of its flow. She was alike the trees, spread in the ease of lights. One night, for us, she spelled, so plainly, the green prayer of innocence that we reached out for the kind texture of the soil and we revived… alike the refreshing accent of a pail. But it couldn’t be that she’d stand against the crystal belief of the birds. Thus, she went to the limits of naught and laid in the wake of the white serenity of lights. And she didn’t believe, She didn’t believe at all, caught in the midst of these rotating gates, we would be left massively alone. Yes, even to taste a piece of fruit, we are left extremely alone ever since she is gone. (Translation: Maryam Dilmaghani, November 2006, Montreal)

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12 October


Siegen (DTL). Olga Muth (Alsou) and her El Sharq Dance school for Oriental dance, are organising the ‘Secret of Orient’ show in October of this year, presenting the Yana dance Ensemble from Russia, lead by Yana Braterskaya with Chronis Taxidis on darburka, other international performers, like: Kasper der Gaukler, Viktoria Sary and Yasmina el Rakkasah and her own dancers from the Aslou El Sharq dance school. SECRET OF ORIENT will take place on saturday, Oktober 12th, 2013 at 19:30 o’clock at the Siegerlandhalle, Siegen. For more info:

Olga Muth

Tickets through: RenderPortalPage.aspx?wasTransfered=1 Yana Ensemble:

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A little Inspiration

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SHOPPING Clockwise: Clutch MEHRY MU, Navy Rez Pochette, html Decorative Paisley Hook by Pl端mo

Glitter flats by Anniel -scarpine da balletto Italiane

Sereni Bullet Sandals by Aspiga White woven cotton hammock Hanging Mat by Pl端mo html

Leather Pouf handmade-moroccan-leather-pouf-bright-colors Stunning Cobra Gold Sandals by Aspiga

Old bedouin silver necklace from Yemen

by Arabia Felix Jewels

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This page: India Circus Frankfurt, 2010

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This page: Orientale Ilhan Show Premiere ‘Every bird has the color of its call’ Germany, 2013

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assion .....! Well, passion makes you suffer and you love it.. The danced emotions are obviously a very important part of the interpretation of the song ... It is like a melody becoming visible ..... so

that our ears and our eyes come into the enjoyment of the composition and harmony of the performance, together. There is of course a number of dancers who also indulge their inner ear and the heartbeat of their soul in dance .... and their signals, sent from the stage are very well visible and palpable, but it should be possible to have more performances matching emotions to music at an even higher level ... And more and more dancers engage in this “opening up” ......


dance show is not just a series of dances with different titles, but a sophisticated web, woven of tension and emotional highlights, trough the order of the dances as well as the selection of the music

.... For the audience, a beautiful harmonic series of thoughtful performances is very important ... because then the build up suspence keeps things interesting. More and more organizers and choreographers work towards this point. It’s very gratifying to see and witness this, because in this way oriental dance becomes a high-class show dance that meets the demands of an upscale and interested audience. André Elbing.

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This & opposite page: Orientale Ilhan Show Premiere ‘Every bird has the color of its call’ Germany, 2013

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This page: Orientale Ilhan Show Premiere ‘Every bird has the color of its call’ Germany, 2013

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This & opposite page: Orientale Ilhan Show Premiere ‘Every bird has the color of its call’ Germany, 2013

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This page: Orientale Ilhan Show Premiere ‘Every bird has the color of its call’ Germany, 2013

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This page: Orientale Colors concert Ratatouille & Violette Tribe 2012

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This page: Orientale Colors concert Ratatouille & Violette Tribe 2012

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This page: India Circus Frankfurt, 2010

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This page: Maja at 360째 Orient Die Sho Osnabruck, 2013 Opposite page: India Circus Frankfurt, 2010

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This page: Zar Ceremonie with Aziza Bab Al Nougoum Gala Show Nancy, France 2013

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This & opposite page: Ra’idah (Hungary) , winner of the 2nd. place at the Orient Expo/ European Belly dance Championship Germany, 2013

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This page: Ahmed Fekry /Tanura dancing 360째 Orient Die Show Osnabruck, 2013 Opposite page: Nyla Reiter at Nelifers Jubilee Show 10 years of dance - 2013

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This page: Die neue Reise der Karawane by Manis Sjahroeddin Germany, 2013

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This page: Orientale Ilhan Show Premiere ‘Every bird has the color of its call’ Germany, 2013

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This page: Orientale Ilhan Show Premiere ‘Every bird has the color of its call’ Germany, 2013

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Would you like your show to be photogra (-also available for solo & group photosho Andre Elbing contact information: Tel:+49-(0)2207 703 007 Fax: +49-(0)2207 703 006 Mobil:+49(0)171 777 67 16 Skype: Sultan-von-Samarkand Email:

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This page: ZouZou Zarko Polotent show Storys for Children Netherlands, 2009


aphed by AndrĂŠ Elbing? oots-)

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Oud is derived from the wood of the tropical Agar (Aquilaria) tree, which is believed to have originated in the Assam region of India from where it spread to Southeast Asia. When it becomes infected with a mould known as Phialophora Parasitica, the wood of this tree reacts by secreting a precious dark and sweetsmelling resin, which is the ingredient used to make Oud. Whether extracted by distillation from wood, or by melting the resin, the oil is not irritating and can be applied directly onto the skin, or added to a perfume combination as a base note. Due to its rarity and high demand, as well as the difficulty in harvesting the oil, Oud is one of the most expensive oils in the world. Numerous sources report its value to be about 1.5 times that of gold. For this reason, it is sometimes called liquid gold.

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OUD by: CHRISTIAN DIOR haute-arabia-the-fashion-incubator-1/ tagged/perfume

REMINISCENCE en/fashion/parfums/classiques/ classiques+liste/P-4OUD100-F36_ SANSCOLORIS-EN-OUD.htm

VAN CLEEF & ARPELS oud-an-enchanting-scent#close

GUERLAIN en/base.html#/en/news/ (not shown)

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Your Mag

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Advertisements/Advertorials ISPAHAN Magazine is read by an always increasing number of readers, all over the world, via the internet. Advertisements in any other language apart from English will reach less readers, but is perfectly okay, of course. Our advertisement space is very reasonably priced, not anywhere near the standard tariffs! Formats: - 1/4 page (10 x 14 cm.), - 1/2 page horizontal (14 x 20 cm.), or vertical (10 x 28,5 cm.) - pages (20 x 28,5 cm.) Send your advertisements as Jpeg, PSD, EPS or Photoshop document in a good resolution (300 Dpi).

Special services: Creating an add for you/ Translating/ or helping you change the Format, all at a

reasonable fee. It is possible to include one or more links, or Hyperlinks in your advertisement at very low costs. And you can also promote your event in the ‘Upcoming Great Event’ format (150 words text, 50 words background, 1 picture of the organisation, including (hyper)link). You can reach us via:

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 also 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 to 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 a street wedding)? 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).

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ISPAHAN Magazine Have a wonderful Summer!

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Dance! Otherwise we are lost.. Pina Bausch

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ISPAHAN Magazine 6  

ISPAHAN Magazine: an Oriental Dance Glossy. Summer issue.