BADIA STAR dancer/choreographer of ZEYNA and RAKSET BADIA Series D, August 10 and 13 at 11 pm, August 12 at 3:30 pm. Rating: NNNNN
badia star is a woman with a mission: to reveal authentic Egyptian belly dancing to a world that mostly knows facsimiles. These days, due to fundamentalist Islamic moral codes, fewer Egyptian women perform their native dance, and now foreigners take up the scarves and belly chains. But Star believes that if they cannot understand the spirit of the culture, they won't express it authentically.
"This is why I've stayed underground," says the Toronto-based artist, who's performed for mostly Arab audiences around the world for 25 years. "Now it's time for me to get out and let people see something a little more authentic."
Star also wants to highlight the artistic value of this sensual dance. She experiences dancing as a divine energy flowing through her, but men's reactions often tell her they miss the point.
"Men will always interpret it as sexual," she points out. "I know what's going on in their heads. I educate them, make them have respect for me. "The goddess is before you! Pay attention!'"
Her company, Troupe El Kawakeb, were originally slated to perform a traditional dance in which lit candelabras are positioned on the dancers' heads. That was before she heard about the fire codes. Instead, they're performing a playful romp depicting village girls dancing with sticks.
Star also performs a mostly improvised solo.
"Traditionally, belly dancing is not choreographed," she says. "That is a very western concept. Belly dancers dance from their hearts, and the music tells them how to move. Every time they dance, it will be different."