THE TIME HAS COME
There are times that most of us, to some degree, hate unwisely and love
unwisely. However, to look down upon other dancers who simply take a
different view that conflicts with our own, to create artificial
distinctions and factional animosities through prejudice and
misconceptions, or to label and tag them through irresponsible
demagoguery is a very sad and deplorable thing. Surprisingly enough,
some members of our dance community, as well as those who constantly
preach on of "Professionalism”, (like little boats given over to the
mercy of the winds and tides of prejudice) continue to do the same.
Heaven forbid if you don't belong to their group and share their
views-as they will crucify and devour you. Some of these prejudiced
people are masters of rumormongering; their gossip mills are so busy
that they cannot see anything constructive and positive around them.
Some have a way of enlisting "Professionalism” and all our values on
their side, against all whom they judge to be their enemies.
Moreover, there are other subtle forms of belittling, humiliating and
dehumanizing other fellow dancers, often expressed in such statements
as: "She is a good dancer aside go from the fact she belongs to the X
group", or "She is a true professional in spite of her political
affiliation to the Y party", or alas, "Such a versatile person wouldn't
be a wasted talent had she belonged to our organization". How often have
we all heard such statements in conventional gatherings or at private
meetings ? If my reading is accurate, such is the outlook of a larger
part of our dance community than we may care to admit.
If perpetrators mean their conduct as a joke, they display a degree of
insensitivity and rudeness that should not, under any circumstances, be
justified or tolerated. If, on the other hand, they are attempting to
deliberately taunt their fellow dancers who are not of the same group or
political affiliation, the outrageousness of their conduct is even more
despicable. Whatever the purpose, our Middle Eastern Dance Publications
and leaders in the Dance Community have an unambiguous obligation to
treat this kind of behavior with the seriousness it deserves and should
demonstrate that this kind of conduct cannot be condoned.
In some cases, the problem is one of mistrust. One does not have to be
a psychologist to realize that rumors and gossip thrive best in an
atmosphere of generalized mistrust. It all does not matter that a tale
is unfounded and clearly unreasonable. It usually survives because it
squares with some people's hopes and fears. When people in our dance
community act upon others negatively, it may be due to assumptions of
superiority (social, intellectual. moral, or some other kind of
superiority) which, in reality, is a reflection of an inferiority
Laughing or sneering at unfamiliar ideas and customs could be a
reflection of ignorance, limitation of vision, or narrowness of
intellectual and moral horizons. It can also be stated that people often
see what they train themselves to see. A couplet puts it rightly: Two
men looked out from the bars- one saw mud, the other the stars.
Perhaps it is time that all components of our dance community
acknowledge that to be different is not necessarily bad. Let's face it;
very few ideas can be shared and very little can be accomplished if
people are in total agreement with each other. Moreover, unity does not
mean thinking about the same things in the same way. It means using the
difference to find common truth; and out of our diversities we can try
to develop a kind of community that is supportive to each other. Being
different allows for the honesty of an open mind and a quest for fuller
freedom. Every dancer must find their conscience their guide. Robert
Frost put it rightly, "People have got to think. Thinking isn't to agree
or disagree. That's voting." It would be a very unfortunate and tragic
thing if voices of reason and moderation were subdued as to be all but
inaudible. All Middle Eastern Dancers cannot possibly be expected to fit
into one mold. Each must exercise their own freedom, as well as their
The ethics of mutual up-building is fundamental to the survival of
Middle Eastern Dance. We must have a keener sense of bonds that unite
us, a more steadfast determination to let no barriers divide us.
Prejudice of any kind has no place in Danse Orientale. Guided by
unselfish leadership, we must refuse to compromise in matters of
essential issues and to insist that preoccupation with secondary things
is deadening to true professionalism.
The time has come to eradicate all devitalizing and paralyzing
"viruses" of hate and keep ourselves from the provincial mind, break
down our prejudice, expand our horizons, widen our outlook and have
noble understanding for our fellow dancers.
The time has come for all Middle Eastern Dancers to live and teach the
creed of fellowship without frontiers, so that factional animosities
would be drowned in a sea of unity amid all our diversities. After all,
the blood in the veins of Middle Eastern Dancer everywhere is the same.
2001 - Zaghareet! Magazine- All Rights Reserved.