It's MY music

I was on facebook awhile ago and one of my fellow bellydancers posted a question about a song. She knew the song by ear, but not knowing Arabic and not having a name, she was searching for a way to find the title of the song for a future performance. One of the first comments was from another bellydancer suggesting certain websites, male Arab friends of hers, and the general advice of finding some Arab guy, singing what you can of the lyrics, and seeing if he was familiar with the particular song. This other bellydancer added in parentheses that she could find an Arab girl "if you're sure she's not going to become a professional bellydancer and 'steal' all of your great finds to use in her own sets". 

Although I didn't respond to that particular comment, it really upset me. Where did we get the idea that music produced and performed by someone else is "ours" and we can't share it with anyone because they'll "steal" it? Is it because it's in Arabic and we are American bellydancers, many of whom don't speak the language, so that "finding" a song is like finding buried treasure?

Now, don't get me wrong, if you made the music yourself, by all means, do what you want with it...but if you made it yourself, I would assume that you're a musician and would like to expand your fan base. If you cut and edited the music yourself, is it all that painful to say the names of the songs, then clarify that you did the editing for your own performances? You know, share the source material. Throw me a freakin' bone here...

I have seen so much of this "it's mine" stuff when I began bellydancing professionally. "I'm sorry, but this is my music." Oh, really? When did you record it? And why do you sound like a man when you sing? "This is my restaurant." Oh yeah? When did you guys open? And just to let you know, there's this guy over there running the place saying that it's his...

I'm not condoning dancers who go into a restaurant where another dancer currently performs and try to undercut her pay by offering a lower price in order to get the dancing job for herself - not at all! If ya do that, get out of this business. I'm also not condoning dancers who hear someone else's set and then "magically" perform the same numbers the next week, or who hear a song and then "magically" have almost the same choreography to the same piece at their next show. But, is it really that hard to tell someone, "The song is called ____ by ____. I really like it and I'm glad you do too." ??

My fellow bellydancers, it's a competitive business, like any other art/entertainment/dance business. It's based on talent, connections, timing, hard work, and a little bit of luck. You can be replaced at any time. One accident can take you out. But let's not let that get between us. Let's not gang up on others, let's build each other up. Let's be a community. We really have something special here: a dance form that has room for improvisation, personal influences, and the dreaded "c" word: change. 

I think we can all agree that helping another person never brought us down, but rather helped us, too. If someone takes advantage of your kindness, it's not a valid reason to stop being kind or to stop helping. Remember, there's kharma ;) So share your music if someone asks: our dance is beautiful, other languages are beautiful, so why not share it? I'm sure the artist would appreciate it as well...

Let me know what you think, and as always, Happy Dancing <3

Share this:


I fell in love with belly dancing when I was 16 years old. I was a Russian dancer with a group from my church and we were performing at an international party when I saw belly dancing for the first time. I couldn't stop watching the dancer and decided from that point on that I would focus all of my dance energy on belly dancing. The rest is history...


Post a Comment