I have been taking bellydancing classes for about 6 months, and I love it! But, I am apprehensive to tell my Jewish family about it because of their racist prejudices against Arabs. Are there any Jewish Bellydancers out there who have dealt with this?"Relax, ketzele: about 1/2 the dancers in New York, New Jersey, Florida & California are Jewish & the wrath of G-d hasn't yet descended on them. I'm a shiksa who grew up in Crown Heights & have danced at more Bar Mitzvahs, Bas Mitzvahs & weddings than I can shake a stick at, at tons of Sephardic parties, etc. & every Mizrahi occasion imaginable.
'Let there be peace on Earth, and let it begin with me.'
"Just tell your folks it's Sephardic & Mizrahi (I'm assuming they're Ashkenaz)
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven......" --Morocco
"This may help you in your dilemmma. I'm posting it to the list because more informed folks there could probably give you more details... I have just received the latest edition of SISTRUM (the magazine of danse orientale & music in Australia)...standard disclaimers! It has an article on Dance Camp in Israel (by Lisa Layal). It describes a week long dance study tour at Kibbutz Shar'ar Hagolan in the Jordan Valley. Shlomo Haziz, the choreographer /director of Israel's Yemenite Dance Theatre was one of the instructors. (Others were Elana Lentini and Sakti Rinek). I think it was organised by Joan Kafri Santa Fe, New Mexico USA. Apparently it ended with a grand concert for an audience of 600. So it sounds as if there is enthusiasm for and a following of middle eastern dancing in the region. I have no knowledge of whether or not these folks are Jewish. Perhaps one of the 12 dancers from the USA who attended the workshop could give more details. Regards" --Gill
"Bellydancing is an art form, recreation, excercise, so many things, but NOT, IMO [In My Opinion] anyway, a political statement. I don't know, maybe it is a political statement for some dancers? (uh-oh, is there a can of worms out there to be opened?) Anyway, tell them it's done in GREEK restaurants! ;-D
"PS I danced for big family reunion --all Jews (my family)--they loved it! (and nobody said nuttin' 'bout no Arabs)" --Adrian
"I have been involved in belly dance on and off since I was 17. So far my conservative Jewish family has not had a problem with it, despite their anti-Arab prejudices. I think the recent peace attempts in the Middle East have helped them see non-Jewish middle easterners as people. Then again my family isn't the swiftest when it comes to cultural stuff. Maybe they've never realized that belly dance has anything to do with middle eastern culture (I realize that sounds far-fetched, but you would believe it if you ever met my relatives.)
"I'm glad to hear of other Jews who have overcome their 'programming' and can see Egyptians, Palestinians, Lebanese, etc. as people just like us who love their children and want a peaceful life. Sometimes it's hard to remember when all we see in the paper are the actions of the radical Arabs, the zealots. I wonder how Jews would be perceived if all the papers ever published were stories about Kahana and his followers.
"Incidentally, I'm married to a Lebanese-American. Maybe my parents haven't said anything because they figure I'm a lost cause.
"Anyway, I wish you luck...with your family." --Terri Suckle
"Feiruz, one of the first Americans to dance professionally in Egypt, and based in Southern California, teaches at a Jewish community center (among other places). The classes, and the student concerts, are very well received by the Jewish community. I should note that we are not talking Orthodox . . ." --JJ
"And, even in Texas!!! One of my friends regularly gets calls from the Jewish Community Center and some of the retirement homes around the DFW area. A group of us danced at one in December for their monthly birthday bash, a lot of the retirees at that home were Jewish emigrants from Russia - they might not have understood our English speaking well, but they enjoyed the music and dancing.
"PS I must also confess that we also did a dance with tambourines to that song 'There was a robbery at my rabbis' (or something like that) that recently got raked over the coals as inappropriate - it seemed to go down well with this group!!" --Catherine
...a friend of mine is going to a kibbutsh in Israel in June and was asking for possibilities to practice oriental dance there. Any suggestions?"I received a flyer for Elena and various other people teaching in Israel, but am not sure whether the date has passed or not (I recall that I couldn't go, :-( so the date didn't stick in my head. ;-). Does anyone have that flyer?
"Also, Amoura/Debbie Goldman, who taught at the Orientale Danse Festival of Finland, works in Israel a good bit. She is not on-line, but I bet Studio Afifa in Turku knows how to get hold of her....;-) (she also works in Vienna, Austria; don't know where she'll be when...) She's charming and a smooth & strong performer, quite lovely." --Shakira
"...I have just received the latest edition of SISTRUM (the magazine of danse orientale & music in Australia)...standard disclaimers! It has an article on Dance Camp in Israel (by Lisa Layal). It describes a week long dance study tour at Kibbutz Shar'ar Hagolan in the Jordan Valley. Shlomo Haziz, the choreographer /director of Israel's Yemenite Dance Theatre was one of the instructors. (Others were Elana Lentini and Sakti Rinek). I think it was organised by Joan Kafri Santa Fe, New Mexico USA. Apparently it ended with a grand concert for an audience of 600..." --Gill