Gilded Serpent is always full of such amazing gems. I have recommended it many times before, and continue to advocate frequent visits to see what treasures you find about bellydance past and present. Yes, I know it continues to be difficult on the eyes design-wise, but..the articles! The interviews! The photos! Lynette has really turned her labor of love into a go-to resource for so much fantastic firsthand accounts of bellydance history and evolution.
My most recent find? An article written by Rita Alderucci, a.k.a. Rebaba of Hahbi ‘Ru. A gorgeous woman and dancer, with a difficult past of addiction, which she shares very candidly in this piece.
“It was at this low point in my life that my nearest and dearest, both my immediate family and my Hahbi’Ru family, came to my rescue in the unwanted form of an intervention to save my life. With nothing but love and fear for my life they put their foots down, and took away the last connection I was desperately trying to hold on to which was dancing. I had convinced no one but myself that I could keep dancing in that horrible condition. Thank God, they were brave enough and scared enough to say “NO MORE”, and do the one thing that would force me to get the help I needed, take the dance away.
In my story that follows I will take you on my life journey, the good and the bad, dancing and then not dancing. I hope this will entertain you as well as help you understand a little about the illness of addiction.”
I actually never knew that she had been a member of Bal Anat (there are some photos of her at 13 years old when she began to perform with them within the article!)
“Her classes gave us so much more than just a Belly dance. Jamila, with her wonderful story telling and strong hand as a teacher gave me, and many like me, a new and fantastic feminist life-path that was strong and woman-dominated. It gave me a sense of pride and self-esteem for the very first time in my life. It was the first time in my short life that far that I felt truly special, beautiful, and talented! I was mature enough to realize that I wasn’t alone in my new found sense of self-worth. Many young American women who began taking Jamila’s Belly dance classes at this time had similar experiences.”
These snippets are from the first installment of her story, but get this…the story is told in SEVEN PARTS (with more to come I hope–the most recent installment was posted as recently as 1/4/12)! There are seven articles written about her journey in the dance and life, travels around the world, even her lovers and misadventures, and it is all fantastic. You can find all seven articles at her bio page here