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Meanwhile everybody knows it, the Bellydance Superstars are coming back again! They are up to their next Europe tour. (See tour calendar in this magazine.) Included are three German cities (Nuremburg, Ulm and Cologne) and „Hagalla“ will cover these, and in the next weeks there will be many bits and pieces about the BDSS which will interest the all of you, not only the German readers. Today we shall start with an interview with the “inventor” of BDSS, Miles Copeland.


Interview with Miles Copeland

by Marcel Bieger
Miles Copeland
Why a club tour through Europe now?

One of the biggest issues the BDSS faces in touring outside the USA is of course the cost of getting to a distant country and back - 18-20 airfares mean a large up-front cost. Lucky for us we have a Spanish tour booked for the whole troupe starting April 14 and ending on the 28th - and the promoter paid for the round trip airfares so that big expense was covered allowing us to try Club Bellydance in Europe.

Who choose the cities/venues?

Unfortunately we did not get final confirmation of the ending date of the Spanish tour until very recently - far too late to have a great choice of theatres available.  Needless to say - with all the bad publicity about the Spanish economy I was also partly fearful that the Spanish tour would not happen or would be reduced so if I committed an extensive Club Bellydance tour I could be hurt financially or worse have to cancel damaging the local bellydance organizations who have stepped up to work with us.

We also are aware that taking our show into cities that already had other events scheduled might not be good for us or local dancers so we had to choose carefully. We expect this tour to work well for everyone and the word to spread of its success making a longer tour easier next time - also when we have a year to prepare instead of a few months

CLUB BELLYDANCE trailer on YouTube:
Graphics/WebDesign: Konstanze Winkler
with Moria Chappell ...
... Petite Jamilla ...
...Sabah ...
.... Sabrina Fox ...
.... most recent member Inka ...
... and Stefanya
Why only six BDSS dancers (which is roughly half of the troupe)?

Touring with the full troupe of 14 dancers, one drummer and 4 crew is very expensive and too big a risk for me to take on my own.  With 6 dancers and 2 crew members we can use one transport, and the whole operation becomes vastly less costly to tour. AND VERY IMPORTANT - when we travel with the full troupe the show is 1 hour and 45 minutes long plus a 20 min intermission which means only BDSS dancers would perform. It means we cannot involve local dancers in the show as we can now do with the Club Bellydance concept.  Now the first hour can be local dancers - which is great fun for our BDSS dancers as well as they love to watch dance - and it is a great experience for local dancers to be working with dancers of the calibre of the BDSS. And we often find great local dancers we would never have had a chance to meet and ask to join the BDSS for a future tour.
Along the way we make new friends and learn which cities would work well when we bring the full show in the future.
What experiences did you make with the 60-cities-US-BDSS-Bellydance club tour?

The US tour worked on many levels - we developed great friendships in the local communities and we found several dancers we have asked to join on the next tour. The local dancers enjoyed working in a professional setting - as most of the time - at least here in the US - the only opportunity to dance is at restaurants and weddings, where it is difficult to present the dance as artistically as one would wish.

What can the audience expect?

One of the things people can expect is to see strong dancing from their local community PLUS see in the BDSS dancers how touring at our level so consistently really enables a dancer to push the envelope of artistic perfection and professionalism 99.9% of bellydancers never get a chance to do. Inka is relatively new to the company but is already very strong. - When you see her in one year from now after she has toured with the BDSS all over the world you will see what happens when a strong dancer is given the opportunity the BDSS gives.

What does it take to become a BDSS artist?

We do not choose dancers based on any criteria except one - how good they are and what we imagine they can be in the future.  It is talent and that something special that our dancers deliver - a talent that even a novice cannot but help to appreciate. We don’t care about famous names,

who the teacher was, what school she went to - only what that dancer can do on stage.

However - we also require from the dancer to be a fast learner of choreography - a pure soloist who can’t remember choreography is not useful in a show like ours so that would have to be the second criteria - then of course attitude etc.  So I can’t say we would add German dancers in the future or any other nationality – it’s down to the talent that we see, not the country they come from. Meanwhile I do believe, if Inka is a good example of German dance then we are sure to find great dancing all across your country, which is in itself very exciting.
BDSS on tour in Germany:

10.5. Nuremburg, Tanzschule Yamuna

15.5. Ulm, Tanzoase Ulm

16.5. Cologne, Pfarrsaal St. Konrad