Thursday, July 30, 2020

Introduction to Belly Dance as a Form of Service

Erotic/Sensual dance is a type of service that often comes up when discussing slavery. It was actually one of the types of service that drew me into the world of M/s. Although, it is obviously not exclusively the realm of M/s. We’ve all seen images of harem girls in diaphanous silks dancing in the middle of a great hall for a sheikh or sultan. Orientalist artworks are some of my all time favorites, even if somewhat problematic from a cultural perspective.

My initial interest in belly dance came from the idea of including it in my offerings as a slave. Its actually a prominent feature of the slavery depicted in the Gor novels. One of the books is even called Dancer of Gor. Although the dances described in the books are not explicitly belly dance, their descriptions do imply that belly dance is what inspired them.

Dance has long been a way for people to express intense emotion. We have long used it to express sensuality, passion, and, well, outright sexuality. For the s-type, this can manifest in various forms. We have performative dances, in which you dance for your partner, or some other audience, and then participatory ones, in which you dance with your partner.

I’m going to speak about belly dance (a performative dance), as that is what I have experience in and they are something you can learn even if you are unpartnered. It is also something that can be learned independently. There are classes and workshops during normal times, but I will be providing resources for distance or independent learning due to current conditions. I also learned independently myself.

This style of dance can be a wonderful addition to your service repertoire as well as easily incorporated into any fitness routines you might have. It’s fantastic for learning how to be aware of your body, as isolation is a big aspect of the dance. You can even use some of the hip movements to spice up the bedroom once you’ve mastered them.

Costuming can be a thrilling way to express your sensuality with this dance, and costuming is important. While nudity is fun and all, belly dance costuming is all about the mystery and the movement. You want your costuming to enhance and emphasize the movements of the body, to draw attention to the delicious way you express the music and demonstrate your control over your body. Yes, you can do it nude, but it’s less fun that way. It’s amazing what a good costume can do to improve your dance.   

There are several styles of belly dance, but they are broken up into 3 main categories.


  • Tribal
  • Cabaret
  • Oriental


Tribal and Cabaret are both American styles, tribal having been created in America by an American woman, and Cabaret being a style that developed in the 60s and 70s and is a combination of different elements of oriental styles which evolved from MENAHT (Middle Eastern, North African, Hellenic, and Turkish) immigrants combining their different styles.

Oriental refers to the various regional styles of the MENAHT regions, although the most popular professional styles are Egyptian and Turkish. I specialize in Egyptian styles.

Keep in mind that tribal and oriental have very different movement styles and terminology, so it’s best to concentrate on one style to start. American Cabaret includes elements and terms from both of these styles, but on the whole, resembles oriental more than tribal.

Tribal


Tribal or American Tribal Style is an improvisational dance style that is typically performed in groups, although it can be performed as a solo. This is the style in which you find the more “gypsy” aesthetic costumes. (It is important to note that “gypsy” is considered a slur and its usage is frowned upon within the belly dance community) Huge multilayered circle skirts, tassels, hair pieces, coins, baubles, flowers. It is also most often performed with finger cymbals.

Tribal fusion is a set of styles that are based on the tribal dance vocabulary but incorporate elements of other types of dance. Any type of dance. Latin, hip hop, Bollywood, ballet, etc. Hence fusion. If you see solo performances of tribal, they are typically tribal fusion.

Tribal/fusion styles are the easiest to find classes for (In my personal experience) because there is an established teaching format.

ATS Example:


Tribal Fusion Examples:

General fusion:


Flamenco Fusion:


Indian Fusion:


Caribbean fusion (More of a Cabaret Fusion than Tribal):



American Cabaret


As mentioned before, American Cabaret is a style born of the MENAHT immigrants in the 60s and 70s and combines elements of oriental styles to create something new. This is probably what most Americans think of as belly dance. Two piece sparkly costumes, lots of chiffon, and coins and fringe. It is often performed with finger cymbals as well, but this is not required. It shares elements with tribal styles. AmCab came first, but I am unsure who developed the current terminology used in both styles. American Cabaret has a largely Turkish foundation as far as move set and posture.

Examples of AmCab:

Modern:


Vintage:


Group:



Oriental


Oriental (Raqs Sharqi [Arabic], Oryantal Tansi [Turkish]) refers to the various regional styles of the MENAHT region. This includes Egyptian, Turkish, Lebanese, and Persian (Iranian), among others. There are other folkloric styles within these different cultures, but they would not necessarily be called “oriental dance” although belly dancers will learn and perform them on stage.

There are so many of these and my expertise is with Egyptian, so I’m just going to link you to several examples.

Egyptian:

Modern:


Baladi:


Saidi:


Shaabi:


Turkish:

Modern:


Turkish Rom:


Lebanese

Modern:


Dabke:


Persian:

Oriental:


Bandari:


Traditional:


Iraqi:

Hosa:


Kawliya:



Men Belly Dance Too!


Don’t feel left out, guys! There are lots of male belly dancers out there, so you can totally join in on the sexy fun. There are male dancers that practice more feminine styles, and others that choose to go with a more traditionally masculine effect. The point is, men can do it too!

Male Belly Dancers:

Classical:


Lebanese:


Tribal Fusion:


Modern Egyptian:


Egyptian Oriental:


Egyptian:


Tribal Fusion:


Modern Egyptian:


Props


There are also a number of different props that can be incorporated into the dance, although you want to learn the basics first, of course. Here is a list of examples of different props and how they are used in performance. Any one of them can add a degree of sensuality and complexity to your dance.

Veils: 

Double Veil:


Hand Veils:


Isis Wings:


Melaya:


Poi Veil:


Fan Veils:


Sword:

Tribal:



Cabaret:





Cane:

Fire:

Shamadan:


Candle Tray:


Votives:



Where Do I Start?


If you’re interested in learning belly dance, my first recommendation is to look at examples of the different styles and find which one speaks to you the most. If you can’t decide? There are numerous online tutorials for Tribal, Fusion, AmCab, and Egyptian/Turkish belly dance on YouTube for you to try and see what feels best with your body.

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t pick it up right away. And don’t be afraid to try. Trust me, EVERYONE sucks when they first start. Isolation is a bitch to learn if you’re not used to it, and you have to get a feel for the music. Because, that’s the biggest part of this and any other type of dance, being able to feel and interpret the music. Choose music that speaks to your soul. Find the music that makes you feel things, gives you emotion that you can express with your body.

Belly dance is a very body positive style. It is for all bodies, regardless of size or gender. I don’t necessarily consider myself particularly sexy, but I always feel sexy when I belly dance. But, remember, this is a dance, an art. It is something you have to learn. Don’t go into it thinking you’ll master it in an hour, because you won’t. It takes time and effort just like any other art.

Resources For Learning


DVDs

https://worlddancenewyork.com/collections/beginners

This site has a lot of great programs with high production quality. They also have burlesque and exotic dance programs if those interest you.

http://www.cheekygirlsproductions.com/

This site has numerous programs on various types of belly dance from beginner to advanced. I find these programs tend to overall be a bit meatier than some of the WDNY programs, although they are somewhat lower budget productions.

https://www.bellydance.com/instructional-belly-dance-dvds

Here you can find many of the programs from the other two websites, but also DVDs that you can’t find elsewhere. This site also has different costuming options if you are interested in those, as well as music CDs.

Youtube (Free):

https://www.youtube.com/user/Labellydanceacademy

This channel has been posting full length classes on their youtube channel during quarantine, as well as hula and yoga classes.

https://www.youtube.com/user/tiazzawilson

She is currently inactive, but she has hundreds of little bite-sized lessons to pick from, as well as some workouts and choreographies that you can dip your toes into.

Online Classes:

https://daturaonline.com/ (Tribal Fusion)
https://bellydanceapp.com/en/Home (Oriental & Oriental Fusion)


Books:

The Belly Dance Reader
The Belly Dance Reader 2
The Belly Dance Handbook: A Companion For The Serious Dancer
Grandmother's Secrets: The Ancient Rituals and Healing Power of Belly Dancing
Tribal Vision: A Celebration of Life Through Tribal Belly Dance
The Belly Dance Book : Rediscovering the Oldest Dance
American Tribal Style® Classic: Volume 1
The Belly Dance Book of Practice Prompts: Inspiration for Tribal, Cabaret, and Fusion Dancers
HowExpert Guide to Belly Dancing: 101+ Tips to Learn How to Belly Dance from A to Z

Egyptian Belly Dance in Transition: The Raqs Sharqi Revolution, 1890-1930

  • This is a very dense anthropological volume. I recommend it for those interested but it is NOT light reading at all.


Before They Were Belly Dancers: European Accounts of Female Entertainers in Egypt, 1760-1870

  • Another academic work. I have this, but have not yet read it, so I can’t speak to its readability, but it’s one of those recommended to those interested in the history of the dance.



Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Tangled Thoughts of a Little Slave

I've gone through a handful of primary labels over the years and slowly added more descriptors to my list of subliness. One of the earliest was slave, and is still one of my main identifiers. The most recent has been Little, a product of my last relationship. I had looked into the label in the past, feeling I had some tendencies, but I rejected the idea at the time because the sheer obnoxiousness of the littles I had met at the time had put me off associating myself with them.

Since my last relationship was with an actual daddy dom, and not just a man who wanted to be called daddy, the little aspect became more apparent. I added that to my list of labels, but it wasn't until this past year that I really embraced it, I guess. Part of me wonders if I'd done so much sooner, I might still be with my ex, but I suppose thinking about that is an exercise in futility.

I reupped my Kindle Unlimited subscription recently, so I could read more spanking smut. I usually go for spanking/domestic discipline romance, but I stumbled across some DD/lg stuff and have mostly been reading that. It reminds me a lot of my last relationship, although I never really got a punishment spanking with him. Part of me craves that. They're always my favorite scenes in those books. What can I say? I have a particular kink. It's why I like brat play, because I want something like that, but I'm too much of a pleaser to actually do anything to warrant it.

Because, while I enjoy the nurturing aspects of the DD/lg dynamic, I can't turn off the slave bit. Acts of service are a big thing for me, particularly cooking. I like to feed people. I'm fucking good at it. I hate cleaning my own house, but I enjoy cleaning as a service. The slave part of me wasn't an aspect I got to express a whole lot in my last relationship. The TPE aspect was there. He was very much always in charge. He was also very much a daddy, and I loved that about him, but he didn't require much service from me. So, I was a little bit pleased when he got sick once, and I got to roll up in there with my arsenal of Kleenex, soup, and cigarettes, and clean up while he slept.

So, how do I reconcile the two? How do I feed both aspects? How do I find a man who can be both daddy and master? Because I'm very much both little and slave. That's part of why I chose the pet label a few years ago, as I felt it kind of encompassed elements of both. I don't know if I necessarily feel that it fits anymore, but I'm not sure what label I'd want to go with. The label you pick tends to influence the type of men you attract. As much as slave and little can coincide, they can attract polar opposites in terms of men. I mean, I list everything on my profile. But who reads those, right?

I guess I'm just in a bit of flux right now. I mean, I know what I am. I just haven't figured out how to effectively express it in a concise manner. I find the pet label gives too much of an impression that I'm into animal pet play, but I dunno what to go with yet.

I think reading these smut books has been a mistake though, as it often is, as it just reminds me how lonely I am and how few opportunities I have to express the submissive and masochistic aspects of my soul.

Bleh.


Wicked Wednesday

Monday, April 6, 2020

Star Talker: Part 32: Magnanimity

Rha'han

“Which brings us to the next point of business. I understand you speak several Terran languages?”

She straightened a bit, her brow arching again. “I do. All five of the intergalactic Terran tongues. There are others, but I assume those are the ones you mean.”

“I trust that includes the language of the Jin Fai?”

“That would be correct.”

“As I’m sure you have surmised, we do not have an interpreter who is familiar with that language. We require your skills.”

Another laugh bubbled up from her throat. It sounded forced. “And why, exactly, would I do that, sir?”

Amrach blinked, surprise evident on his face. Displeasure quickly replaced it. “Because I ordered it.”

Her lips twisted in thought, her brow furrowing. “I do believe I just pointed out that you had twenty-seven innocent men executed.” Both brows lifted as she leaned forward in the chair, resting her arm on the table. Her next words came slow and clear, as if she were speaking to a dull child. “Twenty-seven of my friends and colleagues. I have been kidnapped, and the rest of my colleagues are in captivity, some marked off to be enslaved. Why should I help you with anything?”

Amrach’s eyes flashed dangerously, but he made no other movement to indicate his anger. “My lady,” his voice was deadly calm, “you would do well to remember to whom you speak.”

She smiled again, and Rha’han began to feel that the smile was somehow dangerous.

“Oh, Radiance, I am fully aware to whom I speak,” she said, her tone deceptively sweet. “You see, my work, unlike my colleagues, is limited to this planet and primarily this continent, so I inevitably depend upon your good graces, sir, to continue in that work. But,” she leaned back again, relaxed and confident, her kohl-darkened lids half closed in a gaze that was almost seductive, “I am fully aware of my value. Otherwise every man in your damn family wouldn’t be slapping brands on me like some prized heifer.”

Rha’han’s attention snapped to her at that last statement. He said nothing, but eyed her curiously.

Amrach continued to stare unblinkingly at Selima. “Everyone that is not currently sitting at this table? Get. Out.”

There was a collection of salutes and bowing before everyone quickly exited the room, leaving the three of them alone.

“What value do you presume to have, madam?”

Selima sat up again, returning his piercing stare with her own. “I am a polyglot. We’re not terribly common and in high demand, given your request for me to interpret for you. Beyond that, whether you knew it or not, you violated the terms of a contract. A very significant contract, I might add. Violation of the non-aggression agreement results in summary blacklisting from Centauri services and invites retaliation from the Federation’s defense contracts. What you do not seem to understand, Radiance, is that I am the one person on this planet who can prevent such an unpleasant outcome.”

She smiled again, eyes brightening.

“I think you might overestimate your value.”

The smile became a predatory grin, revealing her fangs. Her pupils narrowed into slits. “Not remotely, sir. You see, I’m not just the only Centauri personnel on this planet who speaks your language. I’m the only Centauri personnel period that speaks your language. And, while Fahim Ashrad does speak English, well, he’s not here, and even so, whose report do you think they’ll believe?”

“You assume you will be allowed to make such a report.”

She looked down, licking her lips with a small chuckle. “The Bassir facility makes monthly progress reports. One will be due soon enough. When it is not sent, and Centauri Prime cannot make contact, they will look for us. And, I assure you, however impressive your cyber security protocols might be? They don’t hold a candle to the level of expertise that exists within the Centauri network. They will find out what happened. I won’t have to do a damned thing. But,” her gaze drifted back up, eyebrows lifting thoughtfully, “I do not want that to happen. As I said, my work is here. I need both access to you and the Archives to complete it. So I am inclined to help.”

The smile widened again into that almost frightening grin. “With conditions, of course. So, Your Radiance,” she leaned back again, draping one leg over the other, “welcome to the negotiation portion of this interrogation.”

They sat there in silence for an interminable moment, just staring at each other. Selima seemed rather pleased with herself, fangs fully on display in a victorious grin. Amrach’s eyes were wide and glowing, but Rha’han couldn’t tell whether it was shock or fury that filled them. Amrach laced his fingers together and regarded her over them, tapping his thumbs together in thought.

“I knew from the moment you walked in why Rha’han laid claim to you, but now I see what my brother must have seen in you as well. Well played, madam,” he said with a conciliatory nod.

Selima shrugged. “Well, he’s been funding my--very specific--education for the last fifteen years, so you might blame the whole of this on him.”

“What?” said Rha’han, startled.

“Excuse me?” Amrach sat up straighter.

“Fahim Ashrad has not spoken to me since he dropped me off with the Centauri when I was a child, but I was funneled into particular courses of study at the behest of my benefactor. Had no idea who said benefactor was until the service agreement with Klothar was drawn up.”

Amrach pressed his fist to his mouth and took a deep breath. “Rha’han?”

“Sire?”

“I know how I’m going to end your quarrel with your father,” Amrach said, staring at him intently. “I’m going to fucking kill him.”



Wicked Wednesday

Monday, March 30, 2020

Star Talker: Part 31: Interrogation

Rha'han

Something changed the moment she sat down in the chair directly across from the Shara. Only the slightly longer than normal blink of her eyes as she sat hinted at the discomfort in her rear he’d placed there. Rha’han made a concerted effort not to smile at that. Aside from that small tell, everything about her seemed strangely at ease. Her shoulders slid back into a relaxed posture. She leaned back in the chair, limbs draped lazily over the arms of it, glittering with the bangles he’d gifted her this morning, fingers encrusted with blue gems. Her olive skin shone with the gold powder Daila had purchased, making her look ever more Lo’Rahni despite her diminutive size. Her wine red lips curled into an easy smile, parted ever so slightly, but not enough to display the small fangs he knew were there. The pupils of her eyes seemed unusually dilated for the amount of light in the room. 

Amrach eyed her carefully, frowning. “You’re so small.”

Selima laughed. The sound startled him. He’d not heard it before. It sounded natural, melodious, almost a song erupting spontaneously from her throat. He wondered how natural it was though, as she still managed to keep her fangs from showing. But perhaps she’d simply been trained long ago to hide her teeth.

“Well, you’re rather large, Radiance, so I imagine most are small next to you.” Her smile lit up her face as she rested her head in her left hand.

Amrach continued frowning. He simply looked rather stern, but Rha’han could feel his confusion. He shared it.

“We’ve been able to communicate somewhat with your colleagues through the translation software on the tablets they were for some reason permitted to keep,” Amrach began, throwing a glare at Rha’han. “Can you tell me where you acquired this program?”

“Certainly,” Selima said brightly. “I wrote it. It’s not finished, of course, I still have another year on the assignment, but I transferred the alpha version to my colleagues during transport. Given that I was separated from them and not a single Klotharan that came to the facility spoke English, I assumed they’d need it. Hard to follow commands if you can’t understand them.”

Rha’han couldn’t hold back the derisive snort he gave at those words. The woman spoke Klotharan like a native and she sure as hell didn’t follow his commands. His uncle’s gaze slid to him briefly in silent warning before returning his attention to Selima.

“For what purpose are you creating this program?”

“The mission of the Centauri Scientific Federation is, first and foremost, the acquisition and preservation of holistic knowledge spanning all realms of study. Beyond this, we provide access to such knowledge to those who would aid in its cultivation and protection in order to facilitate communication, cooperation, and understanding between the disparate races of the cosmos.” The words flowed easily from her lips, a recitation she’d obviously been trained to repeat.

“Why Klotharan?”

She smiled. “Klotharan is my second language, the first to awaken my love of languages. It wasn’t much of a chore to learn. Klotharan is not dissimilar from my mother tongue.”

“I must say, your elocution is impeccable.” He glanced at Rha’han. “And your grasp of our formal protocols is impressive.”

Rha’han’s face remained blank. He had no idea how she had known to wait for the Shara’s touch to rise. 

“My tutors were very strict about my studies in that regard. I was left with a number of resources when I was sent to Centauri to continue my studies.” Her shoulders dropped in an elegant shrug. “Not much beyond language, unfortunately. I am an ethnologist at heart, so I jumped at the chance to be able to come here and study your cultures when His Highness Fahim Ashrad expressed an interest in bringing Klothar into the Federation’s contracted users.”

She dropped her eyes to the table. “If you’ll forgive my impertinence, Radiance, it was a wise move to do so. I think Klothar, and Lo’Rah, can benefit from such a partnership. Isolation creates weakness, and, while you do engage in intergalactic travel and…” her gaze went to a male slave standing near the door behind Amrach, “trade...your exoplanetary alliances are few and fledgling. Which the Jin Fai have noticed.”

Amrach tapped on a tablet in front of him and scrolled with his finger. “Your colleagues would have us believe that your delegation had nothing to do with the attack on my empire, but your words give me cause for concern. Your knowledge of the Jin Fai’s perceptions.”

Selima lifted a brow and gave a tight-lipped smile. “The Centauri Federation is a non-militant entity. We have no stake in the political squabbles of governments that access our service. Absolute neutrality is what allows us to operate efficiently. However, being that the CSF is a Terran-born institution, our Archives hold a disproportionate amount of data on governments and peoples that originated on Terra. We cannot control how the information we provide is used, so long as it is not used against us, but we do pay attention.”

She idly rubbed a thumb over the turquoise stones on her wrist before looking up. “We had nothing to do with the Jin Fai’s actions and had no knowledge of it before your men attacked us and killed nearly thirty Centauri scientists.”

Rha’han noticed her pupils contract into slits briefly before dilating again. Amrach was looking down and did not see.

Wicked Wednesday

Monday, March 23, 2020

Star Talker: Part 30: The Shara

Selima

If I had once compared Rha’han to Apis, I was sorely mistaken when I laid eyes upon the Shara of Klothar. The man at the head of the room was a veritable giant. Even with the distance between us, I had to lift my head slightly to look him in the eyes. He was thickly muscled like the soldiers that had captured me, more so than I might have expected of a monarch. As Rha’han had claimed, he resembled Rha’han greatly, although his braids were longer and peppered with silver. His horns were the same as Rha’han, only thicker and longer. Golden rings with huge gems adorned his horns and golden beads were woven into his hair and his beard. He wore a long garnet tunic that ended below his knees, embellished with silver and gold embroidery, the trim encrusted with small gems. All four of his biceps bore the same coiled cuff that Rha’han wore and each of his hands wore a number of golden rings.

For the briefest of moments, I met his eyes. I had thought Rha’han’s eyes golden, but his were the color of molten metal and just as bright. The kohl around his eyes made them even brighter, seeming to peer into my soul with the intensity of his gaze. His face bore the lines of age, but he didn’t feel old. With what I now knew of Rha’han’s age, I imagined he was probably in his sixties, but nothing about him was frail.

He had the look of a warrior. A belt of thick gold chain was slung around his waist with links the size of my fist. At each hip was a long sheath of gleaming leather with jeweled hilts glittering in the light of the room. They looked like they might be long daggers in his hands, but in mine they would be short swords. The richness of the hilts spoke of decorative purpose, but I had little doubt they would be as lethal as the more utilitarian models I had seen on the soldiers.

I held his gaze and drifted forward, away from Rha’han to half way between him and the Shara and dipped into a deep curtsy, dropping my gaze to the floor. I waited there in silence. I could feel a dozen sets of eyes on me. It felt like an eternity before the sound of his heavy boots began to make their way toward me. My thighs strained to maintain the bend, but it was one of the customs I remembered from my childhood training, so I waited. Finally, he gently touched me on the shoulder and I rose. He was so close, I had to tilt my head all the way back to look at him. My head didn’t even reach his chest. I was about eye level with his belly. After a moment of towering over me, he backed up a step or two and spoke.

“I am Amrach Malikar of the Horned Crown, Shara of the Klotharan Empire.”

I curtsied again, a short dip, before rising again. “I am Selima Fouad of Centauri Prime, official interpreter for the Centauri Bassir mission.”

The Shara narrowed his eyes slightly and studied me for a brief moment. “Yes, I keep getting told about this mission, but I had not heard of it before this week. Which is why you’re here, my lady. It seems my own people insist on keeping things from me. Authorizing secret research expeditions without my consent. You will give me the answers I seek.” 

I frowned. “I am confused. I would not think the ruler of an empire would be personally conducting interrogations.”

Amrach smiled, looking me up and down and arching a regal brow. “You are correct. Normally I would leave such matters to my soldiers, but you are a...special...case. There is something about you that causes my family to disobey me, and I am curious to know what that is.”

He made toward a relatively small table and gestured toward the seat nearest me. “If you’ll have a seat, my lady. Rha’han, you may sit there, but you will not interfere with the discussion. Understood?”

Rha’han nodded and took the designated seat. “Yes, Sire.”   


Wicked Wednesday