Filler
Photo of Shira

 

 

PHOTO CREDIT: Above photo by John Rickman Photography, San Jose, California.

A Review of

Zaïda: Belly Dancing for Older Women

by Phoebe Kathrine Carter

 

---------------

Summary

This book is a print version of the articles that appear on Zaïda's web site, also titled Belly Dancing for Older Women. It explores the benefits that belly dancing can offer mature women and provides practical advice on logistical issues such as costuming and where to perform.
Cover

 

---------------

Fact Sheet

Title

Zaïda: Belly Dancing for Older Women

Author

Phoebe Kathrine Carter

ISBN

0-595-20948-3

Publisher

iUniverse.com, Inc.

Category

Non-Fiction: General Belly Dancing

Rating

StarStarStar

Number of Pages

143

Published In

2001

 

---------------

Description

This book consists of a collection of articles that originally appeared on Zaïda's web site, titled "Belly Dancing for Older Women". She decided to publish a book for the benefit of potential readers who might not be willing to read the articles online, but would feel comfortable with a book. The theme that runs like a thread throughout the entire book is that of encouraging older women to try belly dancing and providing them practical advice for doing so.

The articles have been transferred directly from the web site to the book, each forming a chapter. Topics include benefits of belly dancing, creating a costume, dealing with psychological barriers, learning to teach, performance pointers, choosing music, and health benefits of belly dance.

In what seems like a rather odd digression, there is a chapter on belly dancing for men written by a male dancer known as "Ankh". I'm still trying to figure out how this topic relates to the book title, Belly Dancing for Older Women. The advice it offers for male dancers is fine, it's just puzzling to see it in this book.

A chapter titled "Interesting Moves" provides text descriptions of how to do some belly dance moves. I personally don't believe a person can learn to belly dance from text on a printed page, but I feel this chapter could have merit as a means of offering alternate explanations to help students work through something that may have confused them in class.

The book closes with several "Repartee" chapters which reproduce the content of emails Zaïda has received from users of her web site, including her responses to them. These chapters might appeal to people who enjoy reading Letters to the Editor in newspapers and magazines.

 

---------------

Is It Right for You?

 

You Will Probably Enjoy This Book If...

  • You are an older woman who is intrigued by belly dancing, but hesitant to try it.
  • You are seeking practical advice on costuming and performance environments suitable for an older dancer.
  • You feel somewhat uncomfortable with using the Internet.
  • You like having a tangible book to hold in your hands, rather than reading a computer screen or loose pages printed from the Internet.
  • You realize that web sites can vanish overnight and want to archive Zaïda's in printed form.

 

This Book Probably Isn't Right for You If...

  • You would rather just read everything on Zaïda's web site free of charge, without paying anything for the printed book.
  • You'd be annoyed by reading a book that appears to have been assembled without much attention to continuity and overlap.

 

---------------

What I Liked, What I Didn't

 

What I Liked:

  • This book is easy to read, using simple language such as that used in ordinary conversation. It's the kind of book I could relax with at the end of a busy day without thinking too hard.
  • Zaïda's love for belly dancing comes through. It's always fun to talk with enthusiastic people, and her writing style bubbles over with enthusiasm for belly dancing.
  • Zaïda's advice on health, posture, performing for older audiences, and teaching is solid.
  • The chapter on male dancers provides practical advice for male belly dancers. Every teacher who has a male student should read it.

 

What I Didn't Like:

  • The book's style is disjounted. It gives the impression that it consists of notes that the writer has jotted down, rather than being a finished product. It lacks cohesion
  • The book is quite redundant. Many things are repeated multiple times. For example, the same instructions on how to do "Zaïda's Shimmy" appear in two completely separate chapters. I grew very weary of Zaïda's frequent comment that belly dancing gives you a "party piece" you can perform for your friends.
  • Although the chapter on male dancers contains useful information, I couldn't quite figure out how it applied to belly dancing for older women. I can't quite imagine suggesting to a male student that he purchase a book titled Belly Dancing for Older Women in order to obtain advice on how to be a credible male belly dancer.

 

---------------

Conclusion

If you have access to the Internet, you can read the contents of this book on Zaïda's web site at users.mrbean.net.au/~phoebe . She created the book for people who aren't likely to be surfing the Internet, which is probably a valid assumption for many older women. Even though it's all online, you might enjoy having the information bound neatly into a book for archival purposes, since web sites come and go.

 

---------------

Disclosures

Zaïda and I have exchanged links for many years, but our correspondence has been minimal. I purchased the copy of the book that was used to create this review.

 

---------------

To Buy It

 

Contact Information

Web Site: www.mrbean.net.au/~phoebe

 

---------------

Copyright Notice

This entire web site is copyrighted. All rights reserved.

All articles, images, forms, scripts, directories, and product reviews on this web site are the property of Shira unless a different author/artist is identified. Material from this web site may not be posted on any other web site unless permission is first obtained from Shira.

Academic papers for school purposes may use information from this site only if the paper properly identifies the original article on Shira.net using appropriate citations (footnotes, end notes, etc.) and bibliography. Consult your instructor for instructions on how to do this.

If you wish to translate articles from Shira.net into a language other than English, Shira will be happy to post your translation here on Shira.net along with a note identifying you as the translator. This could include your photo and biography if you want it to. Contact Shira for more information. You may not post translations of Shira's articles on anybody else's web site, not even your own.

If you are a teacher, performer, or student of Middle Eastern dance, you may link directly to any page on this web site from either your blog or your own web site without first obtaining Shira's permission. Click here for link buttons and other information on how to link.

 

 

Explore more belly dance info:

Top >
Belly Dancing >
Product Reviews >
Index to Book Reviews

 

Share this page!

On Google+
 

On Facebook
 

 

 Top > Belly Dancing > Product Reviews > Index to Book Reviews

| Contact Shira | Links | Search this Site |