Monday, 27 June 2011

Asmahan of London

The delightfully, theatrically batty Asmahan of London, teacher at the delightfully batty Pineapple Studios (where Madonna filmed her studio scenes for the video to Hung Up, dontcha know), and some of her students, talk raqs with the Guardian:

Saturday, 25 June 2011

I will fight you for him

As previously mentioned, in August Jilly and I are off on a belly dance based holiday (RAKS BE). Because it is the year 2011, RAKS BE has a Facebook page. Anyone is welcome to publicly declare their "like" of it and write on its wall.

You might think that a Facebook page for belly dancers might attract a certain undesirable element of the heterosexual, internet-using, male population. Happily, thus far that has not been the case. In fact, to the joy of RAKS BE attendees everywhere, the reverse has been true.

One wall post has emerged head and lightening-surrounded shoulders above the prosaic venue announcements and questions about whether or not to bring a melaya to fill the RAKS BE page with testosterone-soaked, female-attracting magic.

Here is the delectable Mouh Friend:

Be still, my beating heart. I apologise for the quality of this image, but I think the suave-itude is still dripping of the screen in waves, isn't it? This is obviously the profile picture of a man with a deep knowledge of, and abiding respect for, oriental dance. His FB page confirms as much: his favourite movie is Rambo and he supports Real Madrid, the belly dancer's football team of choice.

"Please ask for friendship with me in Facebook", murmurs Mouh, and ladies -- we had better move fast. We may ask for his friendship, but reading between the lines it seems obvious that Mouh will offer a lot more in return. Mouh already has ten Facebook "friends", and at least eight of them are young, attractive women.

16 is a barely manageable number of eyes to scratch out as we literally claw our way to becoming Mouh's best girl, but if you want to really impress Mouh hand-to-hand combat skills may not be enough. Familiarity with heavy weaponry and falconry would be advantages.

Plus, you'll have to make it past me and my nun-chucks if you really want a chance to share Mouh's heavily Photoshopped world. Verily, the course of true love never did run smooth.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Thought for the day

How pleasant is the day when we give up striving to be young - or slender.

William James, US philosopher

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

It's not just you

Yesterday was all about the "OOFF!" But today is about the more Mudane Moments of Merde.

You don't need to spectacularly face-plant in order to walk off stage or out of class feeling like the most unco-ordinated set of limbs ever to be attached to a torso: but don't worry because ....

... it's not just you.

Though, it must be said, the little girl who uses her errant hip scarf as a prop is For The Win! A budding Cassandra Fox*, methinks.

*Mini-disasterette strikes at about the 6-minute mark.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Ryan Dunn memorial post: Agonising moments in belly dance

Ryan Dunn, erstwhile star of the ridiculously sado-masochistic MTV franchise Jackass, was killed in a car accident this morning. No one who has reported this sad fact, including me, can help but mention that 34 year-old Dunn will be best remembered for inserting a toy car into his anus. On camera. Perhaps it is best to leave no legacy at all than one like that.

My point is that Ryan would likely have appreciated the clips in today's post. However, if you are not an overgrown teenage boy with all the finer feelings of a pair of medieval forceps, you may not want to watch this first one at all. Or at least, you may want to watch it through your fingers.

She's a pretty good dancer, so if you want to enjoy this without the horrifying ending, I'd recommend just hitting 'stop' the moment she breaks into her backwards chou-chou shimmy. Are you ready? 'Kay, let's do this:

Ye gods - but I can assure you that there's a slightly longer version of this clip that clearly shows she gets up and carries on like nothing happened! Now that is a professional. Hopefully she got a good stiff drink while she was down there.

This is not a professional, and because it doesn't involve falling from a great height on to the business end of a bar you should find this pretty bearable. At least, it's not in the same league as The Wardrobe of Justice:

And tomorrow, there'll be more of the same but without the pain. Can't wait!

Saturday, 18 June 2011

The Furry Dance

Yes, my friends, you read that correctly. Part of travelling involves the learning of new things, and I learnt something as I passed through the Cornish town of "Helston: Home of the Furry Dance". When I saw that on the town's welcome sign, I had great visions of beardy men clad in fur, dancing like bears and badgers.

Alas, this is not the case.

Still awesome though!
There was also a church hall offering "sequence dancing" classes -- assuming that was just a new euphemism for "line dancing" I got my snicker ready, but actually "sequence dancing" is this. It's true, y'all - travel broadens your horizons.

PS: It's true that I also thought "Furry Dancing" might involve people who are, y'know, um, "into animal costumes in a grown-up way" cough, blush furiously, but we SO don't need to go there ...

Friday, 10 June 2011

Harem dancers: Lisa Guiraut

Lisa Guiraut (Leila) is best known as the dancer who catches the eye of Sean Connery's Bond in From Russia With Love (1963). She also had dance cameos in the TV show Espionage (in the episode The Weakling) (1963), starring Dennis Hopper and Patricia Neal, and in the classic 1962 film The Days of Wine and Roses.

UPDATE [23/02/12]: After months of searching, I have found a pic of Lisa in the "dancing on the yacht" scene from The Days of Wine and Roses! If anyone has a clip please let me know.

She was in a German TV mini-series in the late 1960s, had a walk-on part in a 1982 French farce about a bank clerk "given" a prostitute as a retirement gift. And then ... nothing. Not even a Wikipedia page.

EDIT (31 October 2011): Originally this post featured a clip of Lisa dancing in the 1966 Charlton Heston vehicle Khartoum. Unfortunately, it's been removed because the YouTube account holder had breached terms and conditions. Here is a still picture of Lisa in Khartoum instead:

Her costume here is not at all authentic given that the film is based on General Gordon's ultimately doomed defence of Khartoum in the early 1880s. On the other hand, Laurence Olivier is not at all authentic as the Mahdi (Muhammed Ahmed), and Charlton Heston is not at all authentic as a Victorian Englishman. So at least there is a vein of consistency there...

As soon as I can find another version of this clip I'll re-post it! In the meantime, you can download the whole film from this site:

Good luck with that if you're brave enough to try it.

UPDATE 21/3/13: Many thanks to Jennifer over at the fabbo Orientalish for reminding me of the description of the real General Gordon's response to Egyptian dance in Lytton Strachey's Eminent Victorians:
"On his way up the Nile, he was received in state at Khartoum by the Egyptian Governor-General of the Sudan, his immediate official superior. The function ended in a prolonged banquet, followed by a mixed ballet of soldiers and completely naked young women, who danced in a circle, beat time with their feet, and accompanied their gestures with a curious sound of clucking. At last the Austrian Consul, overcome by the exhilaration of the scene, flung himself in a frenzy among the dancers; the Governor General, shouting with delight, seemed about to follow suit, when Gordon abruptly left the room, and the party broke up in confusion."

Tuesday, 7 June 2011


Geddit? "Tattuesday"? It's like running the words "tattoo" and "Tuesday" together, because it's Tuesday and I'm posting pictures of tattoos!

BWA-hahahahahahahahaha (etc). Ah ha. Heh. Hee. Hoo-boy. Yeah. ^wipes tears of mirth from eyes^


There's a blog called Tattoosday? That's quite similar to my joke, innit? Damn. Oh, well - the old anarchist maxim that "nothing is original" claims another victim.

I went looking for belly dance tattoos. Lots of dancers have 'em, but I wondered if anyone had tattoos of dancers. Guess what?

Time for our favourite game: Upper Arm or Side Boob?

From JudgesJudy.blogspot we have this spineless lady, who is seemingly made of Play-Doh and in the process of being Raptured. We can only assume that parts of her legs are already bound for the big hafla in the sky. JudgesJudy no longer exists - probably because its writer kept losing perspective. Ba-DOM-Dish.

From Heather Shaun's blog we have this linear representation by Florencia Nisrine. It's a reasonable guess that Florencia was not responsible for that moon/star combo. Oddly, the heathershaun.blogspot is also defunct, probably because of all the FEMALE NUDITY.

Last of all in our list of inky lovelies is this accomplished effort:

From Tattoosday
I asked Jilly if she "had some ink." That was the wrong question to ask a squid, but Jilly really is quite the pin-up. Who would ever have guessed?

Monday, 6 June 2011

Dancing with National Geographic

The narration on this is just priceless - it sounds like a spoof but it's not. The problem is not what is said so much as how it's said. Most snort-worthy bit for me is "...the time of the fay-rows...".

"When Christian missionaries landed in 1820 they were shocked by the scantily clad people performing ungodly dances. So shocked they persuaded the then-king to ban the dance. ... Except for a few people who managed to get official permission, it was performed in secret. ... Learning the dance requires dedication and hard work."

Geeeze, that sounds familiar.

And, just because this is fascinating, here's a clip on the Geisha:

Friday, 3 June 2011

Isadora movie review

Recently I was lucky enough to review Isadora for FilmWerk. Since they own the copyright on my work for them(!), the review can't be reproduced on this blog, but if you're interested in my 5 cents' worth you can read my hopeless witterings here. It really is a terrific film, and the extras are fab. It's a total bugger that Redgrave didn't get the Oscar.

Persuade someone to buy you a copy for Christmas.