Desert Spirit Films
Monique Monet
Ideas of Dance
Art of Costuming
Rev. Dance Film
Kay's R.D.Review
Mata Hari
Nobody's Puppet!
Free Spirit
Tramps & Thieves
Got The Message
Video Baladi
Review by Taaj
Last Stand by Kay
Sacred Surprise
Video Op
Dancing For Love




Monique Monet

(Originally published in The Chronicals)

     Dance is an art form.

     At its best it is, for me, a powerfully magical expression of divine energy. And at the highest, purest level of dance expression, the dancer herself becomes secondary to the swirling energy she invokes.

     That was the philosophy I was raised with. And my own personal experience has, many times, verified its truth.

     I can guarantee that almost all of our dance-related problems, from minor but chronic annoyances to major heartbreaks, can be traced back in some form or another to our, usually unintentional, betrayal of the true reality of dance.

     It's so easy to be swept away in the roaring stream of compromise (there are so many experts insistant upon telling you how to perform your dance their way). An even greater danger is that of being buried alive in the sucking quicksand of our pop culture and its plastic judgments.

     Money, or the lack of it, is probably the worst devil of all poking his pitchfork of discontent into the aspiring creative

dancer. (Sad but true, money and art often do not go hand in hand.)

     One very talented and attractive Middle Eastern dancer I know seems constantly upset about the puny pay she receives for her performances. Also, she refuses many worthwhile dance opportunities by holding fast to her motto: no money, no dance. But then when she does perform for payment (usually in a restaurant or bar) she is immediately back to her original complaint about the small (in comparison to what she feels she deserves) payment she receives - -

a hopeless cycle.

     She doesn't enjoy the magic of dance because she is constantly trying to make dance into something it isn't.

     The German author and mystic, Goethe, said "Never do anything you love, for money". That certainly applies to dance. If your primary objective for getting involved in dance is money-making, you will be disappointed.

     Even if you love dance in and of itself but feel compelled (to prove you're "professional") to seek out people and places who will pay you to dance, your performance pleasure will be tarnished by the influences, judgments, and coersive or restrictive demands of your "employers".

     Most of my dance friends hate it when I say this, but the truth is there's no money in dance! At least not what most capable adults would consider real money.

     Another accquiantance of mine, up North, actually earns a living as a kind of dancer/promoter. But earning that meager living seems to require twelve hour days, usually seven days a week. And it definitely causes her more stress than pleasure. If she put that same time, talent and personality into selling real estate she'd be a millionaire.

     Dancing can be a beautifully transcendental art form - - but, it's a crummy job.

      But even more misguided than those who desperately try to sell their dance, are those who passively allow it to be taken away from them. Your dance is your divinely inspired art, no one can express your dance as well as you.

     There are many inhibited, uncreative people in the world too afraid to fully live their own lives. All too often they vent their frustration by trying to demean or destroy the dreams and creations of their more talented and liberated neighbors.

     More times than I'd care to remember I've seen a gifted Middle Eastern Dance artist stand passively by as some aggressive amateur critic insidiously chips away at the dancer's artistic expression. Almost always the criticism is not of her actual skill and talent as a performer. It's of a more personal nature. The frustrated critic usually infers, via sly insinuations, that there is some immense problem that must be faced and delt with.

     And, too often, the sensitive dance artist accepts these envy-inspired cheap shots as the gospel truth . Maybe that last performance was too non-traditional. Maybe I really do look ridiculous on stage. I wonder if I should gracefully retire from performance and focus on teaching.

     The dance artist cannot allow herself to be shot down by attacks from the creatively challenged. She needs to make herself tough enough to stand by her dance, stand up for her art. It's critical that she realize the truth; that no one can perform her unique expression of movement except she. If she allows herself to be stopped by someone else's envy or inhibitions the world may be deprived of a truly magical and inspired dance creation. And definitely she will cut herself off from the sacred connection available to her as an artist.

     Analyze your own feelings about yourself as a dancer: Do you often feel like a demeaned and underpaid laborer? While on stage do you paste on a Cheshire cat smile, even when you sometimes feel serious? Have you ever felt the urge to apologize to your audience because you're not a human Barbie? Or felt embarrassed for putting too much of yourself into a dance? If so, it's very possible that other people are defining for you what your dance is supposed to be.

     A true artist can't be under anyone's thumb. No one can make rules for you.

     You, as the creative performance artist, must view yourself as a cultural leader and innovator, not as a meek pop culture captive. Martha Graham, founder of

"modern dance", created her own dance form (and was still performing when she was in her seventies).

(Martha Graham)

     One of the greatest dancers I ever saw was an untrained, plump woman whose performance consisted of simple Sufi-like twirls - - but somehow she generated a beautifully mystical energy that held all of us in the audience spellbound.

     In your creative world you must be the boss. You decide, artistically, what's right and wrong.

     But it's also important to remember that you are secondary to the sacred artistic expression that is channeled through you. To be

a real artist, you must allow yourself to become a tool of the divine. And when that happens, when that cosmic magic kicks in, nothing can stop you from presenting a truly inspired, never-to-be-forgotten performance.

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[Desert Spirit Films] [Monique Monet] [Ideas of Dance] [Art of Costuming] [Rev. Dance Film] [Kay's R.D.Review] [Tee-Shirts] [Mata Hari] [Nobody's Puppet!] [Free Spirit] [Tramps & Thieves] [Got The Message] [Video Baladi] [Review by Taaj] [Last Stand by Kay] [Sacred Surprise] [Video Op] [Chorihani] [Dancing For Love] [Spellbound]