Beautiful items for sale!

 

As featured on the cover of the Modern Tribal Bellydance with Asharah DVD.

As featured on the cover of the Modern Tribal Bellydance with Asharah DVD.

(Psst… if you sign up for my newsletter, you’ll get a special 10% off coupon for everything in my Etsy shop.)

I’m clearing out my stash of beautiful things. Lucky you!

Complete costume items, supplies, and prints of my art are all up for sale in my Etsy shop right now. Once these items sell, I will not be getting more of the same. Everything is from my personal collection, with the best intentions that they would end up on my costumes. There are a few items I inherited from my grandmother, including a gorgeous vintage Navaho silver and turquoise necklace.

Other items you’ll find:

  • Kuchi beaded tassels
  • Central Asian beaded medallions
  • Crystal and other assorted beads
  • Miao Chinese hair sticks
  • Reproductions of my own art
  • Two handmade costume bras
  • Costume skirts from Tombo Studio

Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter and get your coupon!

Giclée print of my pen and ink art





An open letter to the administration at Mills College

Recent proposed curriculum changes at the small, private, women-only, liberal arts institution Mills College, which sits in the Oakland hills in the San Francisco Bay Area has threatened the Dance Department there. Mills’ Dance Department is one of the oldest of its kind in the nation, and it happens to be where I am currently earning my Master of Arts in Dance. The MA program has revolutionized dance, and how I think about dance.

Here’s what I wrote in response to the proposed cuts, and the power that I believe dance has for all bodies, particularly in the 21st century.

Sign the petition to save the undergraduate major at Mills College!

Dance is not just movement. Dance allows us agency over the one thing we all have: a body.

What’s in a body? Our selves, our being, our identity. Our family histories. Our presence. Every place we have ever been, seen, heard, and walked through. Everything we have ever done.

Dance is not an activity relegated to the elites of society, the super-bendy, the strong, or even those with four limbs. Dance is for anyone with a body.

Dance has been the realm of the subaltern, the marginalized, the disadvantaged, the activist, the protester, the visionary. Take away everything else, and we still have our bodies. With our bodies we express our hopes, our dreams, our aspirations… our fears, our pain, our sorrow, our anger, and our joy. We are rebels, yes, and our cause is justice.

Dancers are some of the most mindful, community-oriented, well-rounded people I know.

Dancers in higher education must be leaders, exceptional team players, fast learners, and problem solvers. We are motivated. We are always striving to improve ourselves and those around us. We are interdisciplinary. We work with lighting designers, set designers, costumers, seamstresses, musicians, visual artists, writers, historians, social scientists, psychologists, politicians, programmers, biologists, chemists, and physicists. Some of us are these things. Dance teachers are a hybrid of instructor, psychologist, physical therapist, body-worker, analyst, scientist, and community leader. And even though we are the most underpaid, underfunded, and under-appreciated art, we are very much equipped for life in the 21st century, thankyouverymuch.

So what happens when we as a society start chipping away at dance in higher education? We eliminate the one discipline that allows humans agency over their bodies, themselves, their identity, their very essence. You take away the voices of the marginailized, the disadvantaged, the minorities. Dance is one of the few disciplines not dominated by cis-white-hetero men.

You can’t take our bodies away from us, and we will fight for dance as long as we have agency over our bodies.

You might see this as “just” eliminating the Dance Major. But we see it as an affront to our entire art form. Centuries of struggle, expression, and fighting for social justice. We see it as an affront to our very bodies.

Do you dare take dance away from us?

Sincerely,
Abigail Keyes


Donate to Survivors of Domestic Violence

In response to the recent events and revelations regarding Tribal Fest, a yearly festival that has been a cornerstone of tribal, fusion, and experimental belly dance for the past 15 years, the Salimpour School is collecting gently-used clothing as well as new personal hygiene products to donate to survivors of domestic violence. Fleeing an environment of abuse is terrifying; your donations can restore hope to those who need it.

Please bring your items to:

The Salimpour School of Dance
425 San Pablo Avenue
Albany, California

From Suhaila Salimpour:

Objectification of women is not acceptable. I do not tolerate this behavior, and I will not support a venue that actively engages in or supports this type of behavior. 

The recent Tribal Fest situation gives us a great opportunity as a community to have an open dialogue. Every belly dancer who performs publicly faces objectification at least once, if not many times, during her or his career. This is a matter that faces the entire community, not just tribal and tribal fusion dancers.

There are women victims who don’t have a community and support group like so many of us do. And I would like you to consider how you can reach out to one of those groups to make a difference.

With other dancers in my area, I would like to organize a clothing drive to collect for a local women’s shelter for victims of domestic violence. Many of these women have to escape from their homes with just the clothes on their backs and then have to re-invent their lives. Shelters are in need of clothing to help these women dress for work as well as their daily life, and I would like to be a receiving point for donation items in our community. Clothing for children as well since a lot of these women escape with their children. Please send or drop off gently used clothing, shoes, and jewelry to the Salimpour School. Let’s join together and put energy from the recent incident into a positive endeavor.