Beginning and Scope
This book—one of our many artistic collaborations—was Vonda’s idea to deliver information that has become second nature to her understanding of both the Sailmpour family as well as this dance form as a whole. Vonda’s first exposure to this dance was with the Jamila Salimpour Format. As many in her generation of dance student, researching, studying and watching (over, over and again) the great classic belly dancers was the norm of what you did and shared with your dance sisters. She began working directly with our School in the late 1990s. As her love for the art grew, so did her desire to learn about the dance, culture, and history of this beautiful dance form. She wanted to complete her knowledge of the Salimpour Format and “fill in the blanks” including Jamila’s Habibi articles and wonderful stories she heard first hand from Jamila.
Vonda (and I) were surprised at how much knowledge was being lost in the new generation. In 2013, The Salimpour School published the Jamila’s Article Book: Selections of Jamila Salimpour’s Articles Published in Habibi Magazine 1974-1988. Our goal was to use the articles for the students in our School to begin their own research. We quickly found that our students had a difficult time sorting through countless sources and determining whether those were based on true scholarship, conjecture, and, in some cases, a confusing mixture of both.
We decided to create a compendium of topics raised in the Article Book. The goal was to provide a solid, referenced, and verified introduction to topics from which students could continue their own research. Although this book can be used alone, it is important to remember that the scope and selected topics have been limited to those raised in Jamila’s Article Book. ¹
The Right Woman
We had our compendium idea, and now we needed to find the right person to sort through the massive number of sources and find the relevant information and weight the information and write concise treatments of topics and and and… Honestly, we wanted to find someone who was skilled in and passionate about both research and dance. Fortunately, one of my long-term students, Abigail Keyes, was available, interested, and motivated to take on the project. Abby has won academic awards for her writing, and she has significant work experience in “critical path” writing. And she did an incredible job of creating this resource.
The Salimpour School is dedicated to promoting solid instruction in technique and scholarship. Every belly dancer—whether professional, beginning, or even just thinking about taking a class—should read this book and keep it as a primary source of information.
The content from this post is excerpted from The Salimpour School of Belly Dance Compendium. Volume 1: Beyond Jamila’s Articles. published by Suhaila International in 2015. This Compendium is an introduction to several topics raised in Jamila’s Article Book.
If you would like to make a citation for this article, we suggest the following format: Keyes, A. (2023). Foreword for Salimpour Compendium. Salimpour School. Retrieved insert retrieval date, from https://salimpourschool.com/this-would-be-edited-for-each-article
¹ The first section, The Salimpour Story Part 1 (1926-1985), was compiled by myself, Jamila, and the editor through writings of and interviews with Jamila over the past ten years. This section covers Jamila’s major contributions to this dance form through 1985, when she effectively retired. Abigail assisted in editing the narrative to keep a similar authorship voice carried throughout the volume. The continuing Salimpour Story from 1986 on will be covered in future volumes.