Amir Thalib on youtube

yasmilah

New member
I believe Amir came up in discussion back on the old forum (pre-hacked), because I remember some "Oh Mys!" about the nudie pictures on his website, lol.....:eek:

This clip on YouTube is the first I've ever seen of his dancing, though. I have to say that I am very impressed! He is quite an entertainer!!! :)

 
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chryssanthi sahar

New member
Wow!!!! Amazing!!! Breathtaking!!! I am more than impressed! It was the first time that I saw Amir Thaleb's dance and I must say, I have a new male dancer favorite:) So he is now my number one, putting Asi on second and Horacio Cifuentes on third place:D
A really wonderful performance. I hope I can see him live some day. But, hey girls, don't imitate his style, it's typical men's style. He uses more shoulder than hip movements, which is typical for the Arabian males (well, he is Egyptian, isn't he?)
Yasmilah, thanks a lot for sharing this video:)
 

Yshka

New member
Wow Yasmilah!! Great clip.
I've actually seen him perform live... WOW!!! :D

(Chryssanthi, if you get a chance to see him live, go!! He's even more amazing on stage)
Thanks for posting!
 

Maria_Aya

New member
Mixed feelings .... I had heard so many things ... I guess that I'm not so used in this kind of dancing style from men.

Maria Aya:)

p.s. He is DAMN HOT !!!!!!!!!
 

Aisha Azar

New member
Amr Talb

Dear Group,
Oh my god.... I just wonder how much trouble I am about to get in this time...

Amir Taleb is a perfect example of a fine technician and great showman..... who completely misses the point of belly dance. I think, on the other hand, that I would love to see him Debke, which is a lot about the showmanship and technical prowess that I see in his performance.

Whew, I am going now to put on my asbestos undies, to steal a line from Leyla Lanty. I think I will make them the Catholic school girl underwear as opposed to anything out of the Victoria's Secret line.... more coverage that way!!

Regards,
A'isha
 

sedoniaraqs

New member
chryssanthi: Amir Thaleb's biography on his webpage says is Argentinian from an Arabic family.

A'isha: Is he really missing the point of belly dancing or is he doing, with intent, something else? What made you think that Amir thinks he is belly dancing or trying to pass off or label what he does as belly dancing? Is it his choice of music? His website (from the portions that are available in English) describes what he does as "Arabic dance". You have argued before that most Arab men that dance are doing not belly dance but mens' style beledi or shaabi. I'm not sure what to label his dance style but it is definitely drawing from the men's side of things.

Oh, and i have seen him debke, and he is fabulous!!! He is on one of Yousri Sharif's dance show videos, #4 or 5 I think. Did I show you that when we watched videos together at my house?

Sedonia
 

yasmilah

New member
Dear Group,
Oh my god.... I just wonder how much trouble I am about to get in this time...

Amir Taleb is a perfect example of a fine technician and great showman..... who completely misses the point of belly dance. I think, on the other hand, that I would love to see him Debke, which is a lot about the showmanship and technical prowess that I see in his performance.

Whew, I am going now to put on my asbestos undies, to steal a line from Leyla Lanty. I think I will make them the Catholic school girl underwear as opposed to anything out of the Victoria's Secret line.... more coverage that way!!

Regards,
A'isha
Dear Aisha, I think it's great how you say whatever you think, no matter what the backlash may be! I am the exact opposite (both in belly dance forums, and in "real life"- avoid conflict at all cost!!!). I don't think my way is healthy.....:eek:

I agree with you about this dance not resembling belly dance so much, but I also agree with Sedonia that I don't think he was neccesarily going for belly dance (except he is dancing to "Mashaal," I don't know--does that make it automatically trying to be belly dance?). He does have a magical stage presence, though!!!

btw, here is Amir's website:
http://www.amirthaleb.com/main.htm
 
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Amir's performance was a showcase of power and excitement! Regardless of his intent to perform "bellydance" or not, no one can deny he owned that stage! The energy in that room could have powered a small city, and his moves matched the power and tempo of the music.
I just loved his costume and then he removed the lower part of his jacket, and began Tanoura whirling, creating a nice folkloric segment to his performance.
Yasmine
 

Tarik Sultan

New member
Amir's style

Okay Lusy le'mme splain about Amir. I've met him on several occasions, in fact I was filming him on the other side of the stage in that performance. I got to hang out with him at Ya Halla Yall in Texas this summer. I saw his workshop and can testify that he can indeed do classical Raks sharki if and when he wants to. I asked him why he doesn't do it on stage and he said he doesn't want to look like everyone else. He wants to be different, unique, so he decided to do the movements with the shoulders instead of the hips.

As for his ethnicity, he's argentinian of Syian descent. as for women doing his stage style...I wouldn't like to see a whole routine done that way, but you could certainly add those shoulder elements and I have seen women dance socially where they did very littkle with the hips but more with the hands arms and shoulders, especially Lebanese and Palestinians.

P.s:

DROP AND ROLL A'ISHA! DROP AND ROLL!:eek:
 

Shanazel

Super Moderator
I liked the clip very much, but despite a few movements (here go the movements again) in common with belly dance, it never occurred to me to think of it as belly dance. I thought it was very masculine and dignified and wild all at the same time.

One of the reasons I did like it is because it was a middle eastern flavored dance by a male that wasn't trying to be belly dance- no adaptation of feminine belly dance apparel, etc. Guess I may as well drag out the flameproof panties along with A'isha, because after long and due consideration, I still consider belly dance to be feminine in essence and style and history. Any adaptations by a male are out on a limb of the belly dance tree, a good piece from what I consider true belly dance (ooh, better get out the flame proof BOB shirt, too).
 

Aisha Azar

New member
Amir

Dear Sedonia,
I don't recall seeing him at your house, but we did watch a bunch of videos and maybe we did watch Amir. I do say that men that are dancing at parties, etc, are not belly dancing, but doing shaabi or beledi. However, Amir Taleb was on stage and doing something much different. He is very polished as well.
I did not know whether or not he thought he was belly dancing, but his choice of music is an old belly dance standard (Meshaal), and is commonly used by belly dancers for the last 35 or so years. Music is a huge clue for me as to what I should expect. My first time hearing the music was on an old Nagwa Fouad video and she danced really well to it!
Since his musical clue was belly dance, it would be easy to assume he is going to belly dance to the music. His basic dance structure also suggested belly dance; entering with the veil or cape, walking around getting to know his stage and his crowd dancing with the veil a shortish time, etc., all belly dance structure. I kept waiting for hin to start dancing! His movement and his presentation were not belly dance , however.

Dear Yasmine,
Yes, he owned the stage. What he did with his ownership is in question. He is obviously an seasoned and powerful performer!

Dear Tarik,
I can roll, but the dropping part. ...Ye gawds, the knees ain't what they used to be. These days, being fat enough, I can roll when a soft breeze blows by!
I am curious to know what he said he was doing. Did he call it belly dance or some other thing? It had the feel of Debke throughout without the movement vocabuary and without the right music, but the attitude and the show quality were there. Sedonia said he is a fabulous Debke dancer and I believe her!!

Dear Group,
We have established that we do not think he is belly dancing in this clip. In that case, what do all of you think he WAS doing? I am very curious about your responses. I do not know what to answer to that question, myself.

Regards,
A'isha
 

Zorba

"The Veiled Male"
Guess I may as well drag out the flameproof panties along with A'isha, because after long and due consideration, I still consider belly dance to be feminine in essence and style and history. Any adaptations by a male are out on a limb of the belly dance tree, a good piece from what I consider true belly dance (ooh, better get out the flame proof BOB shirt, too).
Please forward your exact GPS coordinates so I can program my missile guidance system. :p But I'll agree with the second part of your statement - that's why I don't "Adapt", I "do". "Adaptations" do indeed put it out on a limb.

Whatever else can be said about Amir's performance, I was enthralled by what I'd call a kind of skirtwork in the beginning - way cool. Most males of my aquaintance minimize shoulder work because they consider it "feminine" - yet the "Belly Dance is feminine" crowd here considers it "masculine". Interesting!
 

zamora

New member
dang, i loved it...so, ah "butch",,,strong
i love the elements used
folkloric, dervish , a touch of a silent screen star of yester year
i specialize in teachoing male dancers..there is a lot to learn from here.
his yul brenner stance just makes it!
zorba, you will not agree, but his shirt is awesome...enough, just enough.
not all look good shirtless, but more than that, it makes one focas on the total dance, ....ah, the shirt ties him together
we like!
 

Tarik Sultan

New member
Dear Sedonia,
Dear Tarik,
I can roll, but the dropping part. ...Ye gawds, the knees ain't what they used to be. These days, being fat enough, I can roll when a soft breeze blows by!
I am curious to know what he said he was doing. Did he call it belly dance or some other thing? It had the feel of Debke throughout without the movement vocabuary and without the right music, but the attitude and the show quality were there. Sedonia said he is a fabulous Debke dancer and I believe her!!

Regards,
A'isha
Dear A'isha,
He didn't say what he calls it. To be honest, I get the impression that he just does his thing kind of organically without trying to categorise it other than entertainment or his unique interpritation of the music.

As for the rolling, seems like a false alarm. I think someone else is going to get the fire storm......Shanazeeeeel:rolleyes:
 
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Aisha Azar

New member
Amir Taleb

Dear Tarik,
I thought many people would call him a belly dancer, though no one here seems to have...??? I would not call his performance in that clip belly dance. What would you call that particular performance? Middle Eastern inspired performance art, maybe??? Sedonia says that on his website, he claims to be doing Arab dance, but boy, that's pretty vague.

Dear Shanazel,
I have a pair of sooper-dooper asbestos lined Union Jacks that you can borrow!!!

Dear Zorba,
You know where I stand on this issue of dance as feminine essenced, etc.... and you know I think men can dance as well as women. I think Mz. Shanazel feels the same. Almost everyone here seems to feel that Mr. Taleb was not belly dancing...what say you?

Regards,
A'isha
 

zamora

New member
i find it more like , a mens tribal regional dance.
earthy, folkloric, grounded
i feel the use of foot wear denotes he is from a rich provance/tribe.
to me it isnt raks sharqi, because of the boots.does he zill?
hmmmmm
.
 

Tarik Sultan

New member
One of the reasons I did like it is because it was a middle eastern flavored dance by a male that wasn't trying to be belly dance- no adaptation of feminine belly dance apparel, etc. Guess I may as well drag out the flameproof panties along with A'isha,
OH LORD CHILD, YA DONE DID IT NOW, NO TIME FOR THAT, RUN AND HIDE!:eek:

because after long and due consideration, I still consider belly dance to be feminine in essence and style and history. Any adaptations by a male are out on a limb of the belly dance tree, a good piece from what I consider true belly dance (ooh, better get out the flame proof BOB shirt, too).
I can see your point believe it or not. We all know that men also use the same movement vocabulary when they dance socially, so that's not in question. The issue is what happens on stage.

We may disagree on the motivation, but the fact is that the professional dance, Raks sharki was designed with the intention of expressing a certain feminine ideal. Its not that men didn't dance, but that no one had the intention of creating a dance to express their qualities. To further complicate matters, is the Euro-centric discomfort with the idea of men moving their hips and the colonized Middle Easterners fear of being misunderstood and seen in a bad light because of it.

Fast forward from the present. Its clear to those of us who really watch the dance that it is an art and of course fun, so it was only a matter of time before guys would want to get in on the game too. The problem is that there was no template to follow. We struggle with such concepts as costuming, show format, persona etc.

To an extent, we've had to follw the lead of the ladies, after all, they have led the way in the current stage presentation of the dance. The public has come to expect certain things in costuming. This is why I eventually had to adopt a more flashy costume if I was going to dance in clubs not to mention dueting with Morocco. My dowdy, folksy costumes looked like crap next to all those beads and sequines, I had to match.

Because of the uncertainty and lack of roll models, many guys who come to the dance end up immitating their female counterparts or taking on what we would consider, "feminine traits". Quite often, guys who want to dance stay away because they're afraid of being perceived or labled gay. The result is that quite often, the only guys who have the guts to dance are guys who are in fact efeminate, androgenous, gay or all of.... the... above:( DAMN IT! NOW LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO, GIMME THOSE FLAME PROOF UNDIES!
(Reporting from an asbestos bunker in an undisclosed location)
What we are on the verge of doing now is creating the understanding that we can express ourselves throug this medium without compromising our manly essence.

So I can understand your ambivilence. What is deing created is something a bit different and outside your realm of experience and expectation. A lot of people feel the same when confronted with something different. Put that together with guys who push people's buttons about gender roles and sexuality and you get, the fear of "where the hell is this going".
 
Amir

Hi Group, I visited Amir's website and my foriegn language skills are limited to French:p , however his pictures were definitely a visual feast! Just from the pictures alone, I get the impression of a strong, very masculine performer.

The problem with youtue videos, for me at least, is that the viewer only gets a snapshot of the performer and not the entire repertoire. No, his performance wasn't Raks Sharki, but I did identify several root elements from Middle Eastern style dances that we see in Raks Sharki style and IMO he fused very well within the context of the music. Tarik mentioned that he wanted to do something different, and he did just that.

I've been to enough Oriental dance shows and haflas where everyone is doing the same dance style to the same music. And it gets boring to watch 2 hrs of the same thing. Sometimes you can tell whose video the performerr just watched. As a performer Amir did just what I would expect a good entertainer should do. Up tempo music to engage the audience, anticipatory pause before entrance and while he was onstage, he kept the audience engaged the entire time. Judging from the claps and whoops, he elicited strong, visceral response from the audience and from me as I sat enthralled.
From what I just describd I would call him an Oriental Dancer.
Yasmine
 

Zorba

"The Veiled Male"
Oh nuts...

To put a label on what his dance is?

I'll take the honest route and say "i don't know".

Certainly his costume screams "Folkloric!!", which is what most so called male "Belly Dancers" hide behind. His movement vocabulary certainly encorporates much of what we call "Belly Dance" - but I'm too young a dancer to be able to label it beyond that.

Tarik is, as usual, quite right - and he manages to say things FAR better than I. The CURRENT STAGED PRESENTATION of "Belly Dance" has been, and continues to be, led by women. Which is, to my mind, a TOTALLY different question from "Did/do men do this dance" or "Is Belly Dance Feminine?".

To paraphrase Tarik, and as I say "somewhere" on my WebSite - the public expects a Belly Dancer to look like one - thus to be a "true Belly Dancer" (TM), one must be costumed like one. My gut reaction when I see a male covered from head to foot is that he isn't a "Belly Dancer", he's a "Folkloric Dancer". And I'm not saying there's a darned thing wrong with being a "Folkloric Dancer" - Amir certainly is an EXCELLENT dancer with outstanding stage presence regardless of what label we wish to apply. Indeed, I'm a "Folkloric Dancer" myself in a totally different tradition - I'm a Greek Folk dancer as well as a Belly Dancer. Two different things - and I get to "legitimately" wear a skirt with my Greek dance!

That may be the reason that I'm millitantly of the glitz and glamour Cabaret camp when it comes to Belly Dance - my "Folkloric" or "Tribal" or whatever side is taken care of my my Greek Dance interests.

Here I go rambling on again - probably not making any sense! I'll shut up now... :eek:
 
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