There is no question that Youtube has completely revolutionised the world of belly dance lessons and belly dance education. It is almost inconceivable to remember how we became aware of other belly dancers, not to mention the wonderful stars of the great age of belly dance.
My own belly dance learning, other than my tutor Sausan, was from the incredible U.S. publication titled “The Belly Dance Book”, edited by Tazz Richards. This book actually had pictures of Taheia Carioke and Samia Gamal; to me, this was precious.
Imagine my excitement when it became possible to easily search in Google these names and watch their dance footage. Access to belly dance performance lessons and teaching videos not only makes fair the belly dance scene, it also poses some questions. The first that comes to mind is how is it that not every devoted artist or famous belly dancer has got an Internet presence. Do these artistslack the desire, Internet entrepreneurship or business know how to exploit this new world medium?
One case in point, for for some time Dina of Egypt has been accepted as the number one Cairo bellydancer, yet her choreographies are often only available to us from phone cameras taken in badly lit dance clubs. There is no web presence nor even short demos to tantalise us to buy any professionally shot belly dance footage. Again, it could be the fame Dina has is is all she wants, however, I sometimes wonder what expert advice she has been given about the fact that many people are making profits from her exceptional skill. Does Dina know that other people are gaining financially from the views their Youtube account draw by including her trademark name.
Of course, there are others such as Sadie or Aziza who have gained fame and probably remuneration through having the benefits of incredible films, hordes of Internet fans worldwide and access to publice their latest DVD or master-classes.
The next question is does having easy access to our bellydance heroins take away from their mystique? When we look at Aziza in teaching mode and then if we are lucky enough to view her live, it is really more wonderful. My believe is that the flat screen medium of the laptop computer can never do justice to a real performance. She is, however, a bellydancer who has created followers and prestige through smart web based trading.
Finally, there are some of us who wish to connect with others online and also desire to put ourselves out there. For some, the web is a passive medium to be utilised for watching, consuming and often leaving posts. I feel unhappy, whether it’s misguided or not that some of our most loved belly dancers may have missed out on the boat on this one. You can bet your last pound that some out there are most definately gaining the profits.
Maysa Dancer is an belly dancer and writes articles on many subjects centred around belly dancing. Find out more about Maysa at http://www.thesecretsofbellydance.com/belly%20dance%20lessons%20for%20free.htm>belly dance lessons located at http://www.thesecretsofbellydance.com