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Morgana's Oriental Dance Blog
Wednesday, 15 October 2008
Get a dancer's consent -- get the the picture?
Topic: Raqs Sharqi Rants

Sabah al kher, my friends -- a few word about photos and photographers.

First, my debt of gratitude to all my friends who have photographed me over the years, in performance and in model settings; your talents have helped me to share my life in Middle Eastern dance. This includes practical ways, such as flyers, business cards and Web site promotions.

Photography is a great art form, and a way to chronicle events -- it's journalism, in my book, as a professional journalist's POV. And I love to take photos too, for fun, and for my work as a journalist.

But as technology has made photography and videography more accessible, many who want to become more proficient with these tools often try them out at performance events, including dance events. Which is fine, as long as the performer has given consent, and the events producer has given consent.

Why does this matter so much? Because the photo that looks great to the photographer might not always reflect well on the dancer -- especially a dancer in performance, which is quite challenging to photograph. Sharing these photos could hurt the dancer's reptutation and even her ability to secure future gigs.

Also, what if someone just took your photos and started posting them everywhere without your consent? Think about it as a concern from one artist to another.

If you are in a public space, there aren't any legal prohibitions on taking photos. That said, if you extend professional courtesy to a performer, any performer, by asking his or her permission ahead of time -- and offering to share your work with them -- you are more likely to build a rapport in which both parties can help one another.

And events producers and emcees, do your part -- make announcements about any policy regarding photos or videos before the event starts. Never assume the person in the audience knows, because there is no unversal policy that applies to all events.

The photos on my Web site were all taken with  my consent and for that I remain grateful to the photographer for professionalism and courtesy, as well as enriching my site with their work and talent.

Let us support one another as artists with mutual respect and communication, which will also help educate everyone about our work and our journey to get there and share it as something truly beautiful and inspiring.

 


Posted by margaret-smith at 11:51 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 15 October 2008 12:07 PM EDT
Monday, 13 October 2008
Hey Hey We're The Mummies
Mood:  silly
Topic: Fun Stuff

With Halloween approaching, I have to say -- this remains forever my favorite time of year. And it's the best time of year to indulge in the darkly fantastic, the horrific and humorous, the playful and mischievous side of ourselves as Oriental dancers.

We've just watched a perennial favorite, "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein," with a very classy, dignified and moving Bela Lugosi, though obviously older and not enjoying good health, as the once and forever Dracula of film.

And, the perfect follow up -- "Abbott and Costello Meet The Mummy," which is full of period camp, but actually features some lovely stock images of Cairo including the majestic Muhammad Ali Mosque.

When I came back from Egypt the first time, I put it on immediately. And let's not forget Boris Karloff as the amazing Im Ho Tep in Universal's "The Mummy."

 'Tis the season -- our favorite mythic figures of film return to join us late in the night for a moon dance.

 


Posted by margaret-smith at 11:40 PM EDT
Moves and grooves in the Green Mountain State
Mood:  happy
Topic: Nomad Notes

Salaam, my friends,

 Larry and I have just returned from Vermont, and a wonderful weekend at Tapestry of Middle Eastern Dance sponsored by my beautiful friend, Sabah. She  sponsors of Katia of Boston, in workshops and a show, in Vermont's capital, Montpelier. (Sabah was also my roommate during Katia's Treasures of Egypt trip in 2006.

As you can see, our darling cat, Jake, missed us -- here he is in my costume bag as soon as we returned!

It is a great time of year to be in Vermont; the air is lovely and fresh, and the leaves are sporting their gorgeous foliage colors and a mist comes down from the mountains each morning. This is a great setting for a workshop with Katia -- who is one of the master instructors in our art form, and reminds everyone who studies with her that no  matter how long a dancer has been studying or performing, there is always something new to learn, or a learned technique that can be seen with new eyes!

 The showcase featured several great solos and troupe performances, including a Bedouin dance choreographed by Katia and including Sabah and many of her students, and our friend Mahira. (Not only is Mahira a great dancer but she is the purveyor of all manner of delectable dance costumes and trinkets. I even got myself a nifty pair of Isis wings in an iridescent apricot color I'd never seen.)

Larry managed to get in some fly-fishing, and we had some time to relax together and even watch some television (We're pretty taken with Tina Fey's impersonations of Sarah Palin -- so spot on it's scary.)

 Most of us Oriental dancers have to be discriminating about our dance budget. But I would say that an intensive course is a worthwhile investment for a dancer at any level. It's great to 'feel good,' and to have other people tell you that you are doing great. We all need that encouragement. But we also need to hear and see what we could do better, and how to make what we've already mastered something truly special and memorable for any audience.

 If you have been out performing for a while, you can begin to get a bit comfortable, maybe too comfortable, and even start sliding back into old habits. Always see yourself as a student for life -- as does anyone in any profession -- and promise to yourself  never to stop learning.

Here is a video of myself  in the showcase, performing to the classical Egyptian standard, "Tamra Henna." This piece of music has been with me my entire dance career, and each time I try to hear and feel something new in its richness and beauty.

And so I am yours, a student of the dance for life, inshallah --

 

 


Posted by margaret-smith at 6:37 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 13 October 2008 11:38 PM EDT
Thursday, 9 October 2008
Loreli at Athenian Corner, Lowell, Mass.
Mood:  happy
Topic: Dance Events


 Ahlan Wah Sahlan!

Welcome to Morgana's blog of all things Oriental Dance.

 

Tonight I'm going to see my friend Loreli dance at the Athenian Corner, in Lowell, Mass. She is an incredible Oriental dancer --- beautiful and creative, and inspiring.
If you would like to join us, why not click on the Athenian Corner
Web site to make a reservation.

Hope to see you there!


Posted by margaret-smith at 5:01 PM EDT

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