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caught between darkness and light.
28 October 2009 @ 12:45 pm
I'm listing a variety of books on half.com...  help pay my mortgage!

Books: History, science, art, music, and more...

24 September 2009 @ 11:46 am
Come out and meet DCTribal!

Saturday, September 26, 2009
5:00pm – 8:00pm

Contradiction Dance Studio – Takoma Park, MD
7014 Westmoreland Ave., Ste. A
Takoma Park, MD

5:30 – 6:30pm
Town Hall meeting. Share your thoughts and wishes for the DC tribal dance community

6:30pm – 7:00pm Performances by student and professional dancers

7:00pm – 8:00pm
Dance, music, and party!

Pot Luck dinner
Swap meet! Bring your belly dance wares to trade and sell
Drummers and musicians welcome

Pass it on!
caught between darkness and light.
04 February 2009 @ 06:13 pm

caught between darkness and light.
10 December 2008 @ 05:18 pm
Hey everyone... New LJ feeds for both the Paladin blog and my website!

asharah_news Brand new!

bd_paladin Note the new underscore.

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caught between darkness and light.
10 December 2008 @ 01:29 pm
My new Asharah website:  http://www.asharah.com (clear your cache if the old one loads)

The NEW Bellydance Paladin blog:  http://www.bdpaladin.com

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caught between darkness and light.
09 December 2008 @ 03:57 pm

The Bellydance Paladin blog has moved! 

caught between darkness and light.
04 December 2008 @ 10:11 am
Before you head out to see the awesomeness of Winterkalte, come to the Vixen Variety show at the Palace of Wonders!

Because you know you wanna...
caught between darkness and light.
29 November 2008 @ 09:52 am
I just realized I have quite a few performances coming up this month....

  • Sunday, November 30 (TOMORROW): DC Tribal Cafe. Asylum Lounge in Adams Morgan. I'll be performing a special holiday/Christmas set. Doors at 6pm, performances at 7pm. $10 at the door.

  • Thursday, December 4: Vixen Variety Show, hosted by Romka. Palace of Wonders, 9pm. $10 at the door.

  • Saturday, December 13: Saffron Holiday Showcase, "The Spice of Life". My students and I be performing a brand spanking new choreography to Maduro's song "Glass Eaters", and I will be breaking out the holiday music for a solo. Signature Theatre, 5 pm and 8 pm, $25. Tickets available here.

Just when I think I get a break!  Haha!
caught between darkness and light.
05 November 2008 @ 08:42 am
I have always been proud to be an American. But for the last 8 years, I felt like I needed to apologize... to apologize for our bumbling leader, for our quagmire in Iraq, for the economy, for how we've squandered the support we had from the world after September 11th.

Now.... I'm not ashamed. A great weight has been lifted off the shoulders of so many of us who watched the last 8 years, cringing over every mis-pronounced word, every poor decision made.

There is so much work to do... but right now I will let my hope glow.
caught between darkness and light.
28 August 2008 @ 12:26 pm
I'm performing not one but TWO cabaret pieces tonight... in a cabaret costume. 


You read that right.

So... come to the Palace of Wonders tonight, and witness something that hasn't been seen in four years!  Me performing cabaret. 

You know you want to. 
caught between darkness and light.
27 August 2008 @ 01:45 pm
Try to imagine living in a time where your neighbors were covered in pustules, on the brink of death, because they , like many others before them, had contracted smallpox. Before Edward Jenner discovered in the late 1700s that innoculating a human with the cowpox virus made them immune to the deadly and disfiguring smallpox virus, smallpox ran rampant. A hearty, long-lived virus that can travel through the air and can "survive" outside a host for a long time, as far as viruses go.

Just in case you don't know what a smallpox case looks like, here are some images for you (yes, they are disturbing):

A baby with smallpox.
A man with smallpox.
Fast forward.

Imagine that you're a child growing up in the 1950s. You are excited about your annual family trip to Russian River, in northern California. But something this year is different... children at the river are contracting a deadly and crippling disease: Polio. A disease that starts, like many, with flu-like symptoms quickly attacks the nervous system causing paralysis not only in the limbs, but the lungs. No one really knew how it was spread, but the fear of contracting it struck parents and children. I can imagine that children, mothers, and fathers feared having to see a loved one in an iron lung... relying on technology just to keep them alive.

In the 1950s, the United States faced a series of polio epidemics. The year of 1952 saw at least 58,000 cases of polio. 58,000. "Bathing suits were locked away in closets, and nobody went to the public pools. When polio struck, movie theaters were shut, camps and schools were closed, drinking fountains were abandoned, draft inductions suspended, and nonessential meetings were canceled until the epidemic appeared to be over for the time being." [http://www.honors.umd.edu/HONR269J/projects/sokol.html] When Jonas Salk's killed polio vaccine was proven effective, the March of Dimes launched a massive immunization campaign. By 1964, the United States sees only 121 cases of the disease. By 1980, wild polio is eradicated from the United States.

And in case you don't understand what polio does to the body...

Children with polio in iron lungs.
A girl with a deformed leg, caused by polio.

My parents remember a time when smallpox was a viable communicable disease. They remember the last wild case of smallpox in the world: a young Somalian man in 1977. They remember a time when measles hijacked the bodies of their friends... when mumps cause their cheeks to swell up painfully... when whooping cough was a not so distant memory...

Parents against vaccinating their children today clearly don't remember the last smallpox case. They don't remember their friends contracting polio on a family vacation, and they probably never had to live through a case of mumps or measles. They take their good health for granted... and what do they do? They throw all that scientific progress in the public health sector to the wind when they decide that they won't vaccinate their own children.


Let your child DIE. Let your child be disfigured. Let your child be in PAIN. Let your child SUFFER because you believe the lies that vaccines cause autism and other debilitating conditions. Would you rather have your child die because of YOUR ignorance, arrogance, and hubris?  If you care so much about the well-being of your children, contemplate the images of those children above.

And while you're at it.... jeopardize the health of every child around you... oh, not just children, but adults as well. Your friends, your family... and their children. When your child contracts measles, they can pass it on to other children, and on to other children... MEASLES, which has been mostly eradicated for 30 years, is now back with a vengeance. It's only a matter of time before polio returns to the United States. Polio has been absent from this country for almost 30 years.  Are you going to help bring back that debilitating disease as well?  Because you're well on your way to doing so.

You might argue that you have the right to refuse to vaccinate your child, and that it is your right to refuse vaccination. You also have the right to refuse to wear a bicycle helmet... but wouldn't you rather keep your skull intact instead of your last moments on this planet being your skull splitting open on the pavement? Because refusing vaccination is like refusing to wear a safety helmet. You're endangering the LIFE of your CHILD and the children of those around you.  Refusing to vaccinate, in my not so humble opinion, is unethical because it has the potential of causing great harm, not just in the short term, but for GENERATIONS. 

With no love,


Here are some great vaccination posters...

Diptheria is deadly - Immunisation is the safeguard.
"Wellbee" says BE WELL! Take oral polio vaccine.
Be vaccinated this new year against smallpox. 
14 June 2008 @ 12:15 pm
heimdalltook some pics!
Nevermind the Bacitracin shininess...

caught between darkness and light.
11 June 2008 @ 10:47 pm

I hardly do the Professor justice, but here it is. This piece is a bit of a tribute to Rush and how they've inspired me through the years to just trust in my instincts as an artist and never ever compromise.

"...A spirit with a vision is a dream with a mission."

caught between darkness and light.
Why is it that belly dance periodicals don't seem to pride themselves on well-crafted, objective, and thought-provoking writing, and instead publish poorly-written, subjective, insulting, and inflammatory articles? Are we belly dancers as a community that nasty, ill-educated, catty, and insecure?

I would like to say that on the whole, most of us are well-educated, nice, and generally good people. If an outsider read the most popular of our online periodicals and message boards, she would not get that impression.

This dancer is tired of the poorly written articles that value style over substance and controversy over content.

Here's what I wish for:
  • Articles written by dancers who are experts on the subject matters on which they are writing.
  • Articles that focus on the art and history of this dance, rather than the gimmicks and controversies.
  • Authors who can proofread their own writing, or have the foresight to have a colleague proofread for them.
  • Authors who check their facts.
  • Authors who can identify and check their assumptions about other styles and dancers.
  • Authors who can take the time to spell other dancers' names correctly.
  • Authors who, if presented with a DVD or CD to review, have the honesty to tell the periodical, "I am not qualified to review this, so please ask someone else who knows more about this style/subject/dancer."
  • Performance and product reviews that are neither hate-fests nor love-fests, but are objective and analytical dissections of the performance or product in question.
  • Authors who, if they are offended by a particular style or dancer, do not immediately write an emotionally charged article for the sake of stirring up controversy. We are all passionate about something in this dance, yes, but we don't need to go insulting others to show others how passionate we are.
  • In relation to the previous point, authors who, when faced with something that offends them, take the time to understand and conduct some research on the offending style/dancer.
  • Authors and articles who don't resort to commenting on the appearance or costuming of a dancer. (Please comment on the quality of the dancing; frankly I don't care if someone was dancing in a baggy sweatshirt and sweatpants or if she's in a $1000 Eman.)
  • Publications who seek out quality authors, rather than just allowing their friends and favorite dancers to write articles.
I find it ironic (explained below) that one of the only surviving popular and prolific periodicals is the Gilded Serpent. Most of the Gilded Serpent's articles are either insipid "reviews" of recent events which merely describe a dancer's lovely new Bella bedlah or who performed at a recent stage show, or the articles are ignorant attempts that insult fusion styles of dance. The Gilded Serpent's core authors appear to have an agenda: one that praises the old school and degrades those of us experimenting and pushing this dance forward for a new generation of dancers. To its credit, the Gilded Serpent does accept articles by guest authors; however, I feel that these articles are lost in the cacophany of criticism and nearly substance-free articles. I feel that the Gilded Serpent has become the tabloid of belly dance news, and yet so many people continue to read it... because there are so few other options.

I assume (yes, I could be wrong) that most of the Gilded Serpent's readership is the same population of dancers that lament the passing of the more scholarly paper publications of Habibi and Arabesque, both of which developed a well-earned reputation for well-crafted, well-researched, and honest reporting on our dance. Where are all of those dancers who read these periodicals? Wouldn't you want to see our dance's publications rise up to the high standards that these now defunct periodicals set? Or did these publications perish because we as a community don't really have an appetite for academic research and writing on our dance? I would hope that isn't the case, but I fear that the passing of these magazines indicates that our community would rather wallow in insults and subjective ass-kissing and back-biting than to take the high road of objectivity, research, and integrity in our written products.
caught between darkness and light.
31 May 2008 @ 11:00 am
Mariana, a beautiful dancer from Brazil, filmed my "Grist" performance at Tribal Fest.

caught between darkness and light.
03 April 2008 @ 10:58 pm
Holly is a Supermodel!!

That is all.
22 March 2008 @ 04:25 pm
Join us for a celebration of life!   You really don't want to miss this great show that will benefit such an amazing woman.  Really.

Kaihea is a fusion belly dancer and fire performer in the Washington D.C. area who has been battling a serious illness for several years. For the first time ever at the Palace of Wonders, the fire and belly dance communities are coming together on stage to show their support and help raise funds for her medical bills. The show will acts by performers from near and far, and is well worth the cost of admission, even if it weren't for such a great cause. Join us for a wonderful evening of dance, fire, music, and celebration of life.

Performances by Alazka, Alexis, Asharah, Belladonna, Bronwen, Cari, Eugenia, Hilary, Ignytor, Loup de Loup, Malibu, Mavi, Na'la, Samira, Sera, and Silver Raven.

Wednesday, March 26th, 9:00pm

Palace of Wonders
1210 H St NE, Washington, DC

Buy your tickets here: www.BrownPaperTickets.com/event/29644
09 March 2008 @ 01:25 pm

caught between darkness and light.
20 February 2008 @ 09:33 pm
For those of you who like to read your friends' posts on LJ and still want to keep up with the BDP, just put your mouse pointer over the orange icon below and click "Subscribe."  BDP posts will show up on your LJ friends list.

15 February 2008 @ 06:34 pm
So, I've started a more formal blog about dance, life, philosophy, learning, and creativity over on Blogger.

My first couple of posts will be on what it means to be a student, the responsibilities of instructors, and integrity in art. I'll also post images, other people's blogs, words of wisdom, and any other material that I find inspiring.  People have urged me to share my ideas with other dancers, and this blog is an attempt to get over my insecurities about posting these thoughts for everyone to read.  By forcing myself to share my ideas, I hope to not only help other dancers, but also help myself discover my own potential not only as a dancer, but as a teacher and mentor.

I hope that you enjoy this, and I hope that my thoughts help fuel your journey as a student, artist, and human.

If you're interested in reading my ramblings, please point your browser to bdpaladin.blogspot.com/

(Umm... I'll also explain why I'm "bdpaladin".)
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caught between darkness and light.
12 February 2008 @ 06:29 pm
Anyone know of a reliable roofing company? 
This would be for the Alexandria area.  Thanks.
caught between darkness and light.
27 January 2008 @ 12:31 pm
Save the date!   March 2 workshop with Asharah, in Arlington, Virginia: Danse Mécanique.

More details under the cut.
caught between darkness and light.
06 January 2008 @ 09:14 pm
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Makes your morning mood: excitedexcited
caught between darkness and light.
05 January 2008 @ 12:21 pm
After about a month of back and forth with hosting registrars, it's up!  Click on the image.

Makes your morning mood: accomplishedaccomplished
caught between darkness and light.
02 January 2008 @ 06:57 pm
Uh, so I'm dancing at Shisha tomorrow... one of my rare appearances, I guess. :) 

And...  Maduro has t-shirts!

And stickers!

We set up a little CafePress shop yesterday to ring in the new year.  Check it out!