As many of you know, I spent almost 6 years of my life living and working in Egypt at the Meridien-Heliopolis in Cairo. During my time there I conducted a lot of field research, seeking out people to interview about the various dances found throughout the country and more. Since my return I have been visiting Egypt one to two times a year to conduct even more research.
What you may not know, is that a lot of the research film taken during those 6 years, and several subsequent years is still sitting in my office, unwatchable, in cassette format.
Recently I tried to find all of my old tapes that had been scattered about my office and storage unit and my assistant and I found over 200 cassette tapes packed with research footage on the various dance zones of Egypt.
Unfortunately, due to the number of tapes, I can’t afford to get even half of them transferred to digital media in order to share them. So we had an idea.
Today we are launching a Kickstarter campaign.
Kickstarter is a crowdfunding program where people like you can show your support for projects that you believe in.
Visit our Kickstarter campaign to see more about our project, and to see all the wonderful rewards that we have available as thank yous for donating (tank tops, custom made artwork and more!).
To reward our backers, and to fund further research in the field of Egyptian Dance and Folklore, we will be creating (if we are funded) the Journey Through Egypt Dance Archive. This will be presented as a monthly membership service.
Some of the key points of our new program:
Bellydancers, Middle Eastern Dance Artists, Oriental Dancers, however you like to be named, if you are interested in, and driven by, the dances of Egypt, this membership is for you.
From dancers just starting on their journey, to those who have been on the path for decades, there is information here that will be of interest to everyone. The Journey Through Egypt course and our recent blogs have already proven that a desire for accurate cultural information is alive and real, and this program is the next step in the proliferation of knowledge to our dance community.
Even if you don’t fancy yourself a researcher, there’s no problem! You’ll be able to listen to my commentary (both written and verbal) and follow links to articles to learn everything I know about each week’s clip. The people, the terms, the dances; if I know it, I’ll share it, and if I don’t know it, I’ll be happy to say so.
Knowing where the gaps in our knowledge are helps us to hone our future research. In addition to posting these clips each week there will be the ability to debate and discuss each video with other members of the JtE Dance Archive, along with myself. Your questions about each video will be collected and researched and any updates to our collective knowledge will be posted in the group as well.
Not only will you be learning more from direct research footage, but you will have a hand in shaping the direction of future research and study.
By bringing this raw footage directly to you, in easily digestible chunks to fit into your busy schedule, the Journey Through Egypt Dance Archive will help bring you closer to the roots of your dance a little bit more every week. Understanding the roots of our dance, and the culture of the place that helped shape it into what it is today is essential to any dancer, and what better way to get to know these roots, and this culture, than through documented video straight from the source.
So if you believe in our project, or want to support the dissemination of information to our bellydance community please visit our Kickstarter campaign to see more about our project and consider donating to the cause.
In addition to the creation of the JtE Dance Archive we have the first ever run of Journey Through Egypt Tank Tops & Long Sleeve shirts, custom made artwork, and more to thank our backers for their time and support.
Anything you can donate is more than helpful, and even if you can’t donate you can still help out. Spread the word! Share our project on facebook, on twitter, pinterest – whatever your favorite social media site is. The more people who hear about this, the more likely we are to succeed.
Thanks for being the best readers, this blog and this project couldn’t happen without all of your support and kindness.