Carnival of Stars 2018

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COS 2018 Queen of Egypt Contest
Has transformed into a Showcase.
Last year i was up on stage introducing the contest and espousing the idea of the contest as a concept of living history, much like the Renaissance Faire had started out to be. I also spoke of the long history of BD contests that started here in the US and now has spread worldwide, to showcase new talents as well as promote a culture of dancesport within the BD community.
This year the producers of COS and Amina have decided to let the contest model go realizing it doesn’t align with preservation or presentation of the Golden Era of Classical Styles of Bellydance. Instead of a contest, it will be a showcase, where dancers can share their efforts at the study, embodiment and preservation of the music, musicality and stylings of dancers of the classical era.
Each of the dancers today, whether they are past winners or contestants in the contest, or local stars in the community, put in a considerable amount of effort in study to share with you some of their inspirations from the past.
We are in an amazing time in “our BD history”, so much excellent talent and artistry-on contest stages and Youtube. It has become obvious to some, that the Western talents are now influencing the way some of our Egyptian superstars are dancing or at least choreographing for their Western students!
Today’s dancer is more likely to be influenced by a Russian, YouTube superstar or a contest winner, nothing wrong with that, I’m not attaching a judgement to this, it just is. I too like great dancing!
Not sure why I think of food, except for the obvious, LOL>>>food like cultural dances are a representation of the heart of the peoples in which it was born. But if you think of the popularity of cooking shows & competitions that has created a cult like following of viewers and connoisseurs of food. It’s beautiful, expertly prepared food, sometimes spare in it’s portions stunning in the presentation, but may leave you hungry and unfulfilled. This is what we are used to in dance now.
On the other hand of that “cult- like” following, you might find a chef with a more discriminating palate, who is wanting to satisfy his long time customers who need nourishment and satisfaction in good quality food. Customers who enjoy the camaraderie and celebratory nature of mealtime. He isn’t going to look for inspiration in a chain or even a Michelan rated establishment, he is going to travel to some small town not written about in the travel books and try to reproduce the recipes which aren’t written down and have been passed on for generations. Recipes with only the finest, freshest ingredients, nothing out of a can, untainted by chemicals or fly by trends. Food that is better the 2nd day, plenty to share and you can share in an evening of conversation over. Meals that are Delicious in their simplicity, sophisticated in taste, nourishing to the families and community in which they are served.
Traditionally, the food from Middle Eastern regions took all day in preparation and all evening to consume the food and not only was the immediate family present, but extended family and other members of the tribe.
Today, In reality, they may be purchasing the humus and bread from TJ’s!
And in reality, the 2 analogies of food aren’t true either! They are extremes! How often do your meals look, feel or taste like a cookbook cover, when was the last time you cooked all day and fed a houseful?
When was the last time you had a contest worthy, picture perfect performance, that satisfied you and your audience completely, when was the last time you had a long, luxurious performance that met the appetites of a community and reminded them of home?

Lest, the younger generations of dancers think I’m demeaning or degrading of their dance or style, or romanticizing the past, please take no offense. If you stick around another decade or 2 or 3 you may be bemoaning the current dance scene as well. It seems it’s the natural order of things. As In life as in dance!
Hopefully you can appreciate the subtle nuance, musicality, humour and the joy these dancers are hoping to transmit.

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