One of the best ways to get info on Middle Eastern dance is through internet discussion. There isn’t a lot of quality academic work out there, and depending on the info you seek, sometimes your best bet is someone online. With so many options, which one is right for you? Here are my takes on the three forums I use: Bhuz, tribe.net, and Bellydance Livejournal Community.

  • Bhuz is my favorite. The forum’s members are eclectic from stars like Aradia and Michelle Joyce to local heroes to people like me. The information varies from technique advice to becoming pro to music to history. Bhuz has a reputation for being more Oriental vs. tribal. There are some tribally-inclined, but it is overwhelmingly Oriental. People tend to be blunter, so if you want to be handled more delicately, I can’t say I’d recommend Bhuz. These are very serious dancers. However, I do think their bluntness is good for those who wish to be professional; even though it can be abraisive, people in the proverbial real world are abraisive. Bhuz is also excellent to find out information of workshops.
  • tribe is good if you’re looking for a very concentrated group of info. This forum is frequented by many tribal and fusion types, so they’re the ones giving most of the info. Big celebrities like Rachel Brice or Suhaila Salimpour have their own tribes (groups) and frequently appear. Tribe tends to have a more relaxed atmosphere than Bhuz. People still have serious conversations, but they also are a little more mild on a whole. I find I get a lot of good dance costuming info on tribe. The worst thing I can honestly say about tribe is that it has tendency to go down. A lot and for long periods of time (a few days). Tribe is also good if you have other interests; it isn’t strictly dance oriented.
  • Livejournal’s Bellydance community is much softer than the other two. The people who participate in this community tend to be extraordinarily supportive. A lot of newer dancers tend to be in the LJ community, and the more experieneced dancers are more than happy to help them out. They do have serious conversations for time to time, but it is predominantly like a group of people getting together for  fun. People like to show off their latest creations or choreographies. There isn’t so much of the serious feedback you can get from Bhuz or the kind of conversation and info that I usually get out of Bhuz. If you’re looking for a more gentler approach to the online world, this community may be it.

I haven’t experienced other communities, but I feel like these three will give you all that you need to know.

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