Al Rakesa. Egypt’s controversial belly dance show – Is it worth watching online?

Al Rakesa

The belly dance show we were all waiting for that got cancelled!

While it was cut from TV in Egypt, it is still able to be watched online via youtube and lets face it, most of my readers would have been watching it online anyway.

The show is still worth watching for the following reasons:-

  • Dancing (no brainer!)

These are a must watch. Some great dances, some not so great. Ala Kushnir is on board and regular readers will know I am a big fan of hers. Some other quite accomplished dancers drop the ball so to speak and let nerves get the better of them. No one dances terribly though, I really felt for the dancers and think it is great they gave it a go.

There were a few obviously bad music choices. The Americans seem to be favouring fusion choices eg. one hip hop and one to the old classic ‘sway’. These would be better choices for a an audience that was mostly English speaking but this was filmed in Cairo. Personally, I have found that Middle Eastern audiences love the Arabic music but Western ones need a bit of fusion and props to help them relate to the dance. Instrumentals are good if you don’t feel comfortable about correctly interpreting the lyrics.

Do you agree with my ideas on music choices for different audiences? Please share your thoughts below.

  • Language 

If you are learning Egyptian Arabic it is kind of fun trying to work out what they are all saying. Lots of repetitive phrases makes it actually quite a good for practicing your listening skills. The disadvantage of course is that if you don’t understand enough, it quickly gets boring. Personally, I hate reality television in any language … so repetitive and so little content. The great thing about it being online is you just skip ahead to the action. By persevering with the full show you learn a bit more about the dancers but if you can’t handle it Al Rakesa has also uploaded clips of the individual dancers.

Uploading is sporadic so I have been keeping an eye on things for you.

I have made a playlist on youtube with the individual dances that have been uploaded so far. The earlier episodes have yet to have the solos added separately. Really inconsistent format by the producers. I will add solos to the list a they are uploaded.

  • Background dancers!!!! OMG!

Like a car wreck that you can’t look away from – some of the worst and most distracting background dancers in television history. Incongruous, poorly choreographed and concept poor. The drunk greek statue in the 12/10 episode are particularly awful but the bizarre cheerleaders in knee length skirt 1950’s style with neon futuristic bobbed wigs leave me wondering what drugs the costumiers were taking. Imagine a bad eisteddfod going on in the background, with moves that only occasionally matching the beat or feel of the dance. The only ones that make sense are the folkloric ones.

UPDATE! the latest lot of finalist solos have background dancing that makes sense!!! What a relief!

 

Al Rakesa on youtube can be found here https://www.youtube.com/alrakesa

You can find my playlist of the solos only here https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLApICzQclcZ5m-BtBJRX2QGV3Nnz6tBup

 

‘Al Raqisa’ Proves That Belly Dancing Isn’t Dead

 

Excellent article on an upcoming belly dance reality show, while discussing the complicated relationship Egypt has with belly dance. It will be exciting to see who features as dancers on the program. One of the judges in none other than Dina!

 

‘Al Raqisa’ Proves That Belly Dancing Isn’t Dead.

Copyright and Costumes. Do you own that look? Can you be sued?

As artists it is always one of those perplexing questions – how much of what I create do I own?

WARNING!! An Australian belly dancer just told me via facebook of her intention of getting rich by suing other dancers if they copied a costume element she recently performed with!!! She wrote that she had the ‘copywrite’ (sic) for it.

OUCH! So much for the sisterhood.

In this piece I will let you know what is the copyright standard for costumes in Australia. It may vary for other countries and is not to be taken as legal advice just a guideline. For more details see http://www.copyright.org.au/find-an-answer/browse-by-what-you-do/fashion-costume-designers/

This post is inspired by the most bizarre exchange a few days ago where the afore mentioned comment was made. I was shocked to say the least and it made me wonder -Mine

Exactly how much of your home made costume do you own?  Can you protect it?

“Key points

• One-off fashion garments, costumes and jewellery pieces are likely to be protected by copyright.

• You will generally only be able to rely on copyright protection if what you want to protect is a “work of artistic craftsmanship” (such as a one-off garment or necklace) or a design for an item you have not yet started to exploit commercially.

• If you intend to make multiple copies of items you have designed (such as a design for readyto-wear clothes), you will need to look at your options under design law, not copyright law, and you will need to do this before you start marketing or manufacturing the items.” (Australian Copyright Council, 2012, p1)

“Copyright is free and applies automatically: there is no registration system for copyright and no fees to pay.” (Australian Copyright Council, 2012, p3)

If you make something inspired by something you see in a show or online – can someone sue you? 

Copyright does not protect styles, techniques, information or ideas or concepts. 

Eg. “A particular style of clothing such as peasant-inspired clothing would not be protected by copyright, although a particular item of clothing in that style may be.” (Australian Copyright Council, 2012, p3)

So over all it seems – don’t copy anyone’s costumes exactly or without their permission – which is just common sense really. The copyright information sheet goes on to recommend getting someones permission in writing. (Australian Copyright Council, 2012, p4). If you really like something, either buy it from the original designer or put your own unique twist on it.

It is OK to publish photos of copyright protected works if it was the purpose of making a critique, review or reporting news (Australian Copyright Council, 2012, p5).

I fully support the rights of designers and artists in all genres, and have never attempted to make a copy of anyones costume. However, I never thought we would get to the point of people wanting to sue each other over costume elements in Belly dance that have been available in various styles for years. It made me very sad indeed.

How do you feel about your costumes? Would you try and sue someone if they made something similar? Where do you think the line of ownership should be drawn? Comment below.

(For those enjoying the hints on costume shopping in Cairo, the continuing parts of it are still coming. I posted this piece in between as it is quite topical.)

Reference

Australian Copyright Council (2012). Fashion & Costume Designers Information Sheet. Retrieved from http://www.copyright.org.au/find-an-answer/browse-by-what-you-do/fashion-costume-designers/

© Jade Belly Dance 2014  😉

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