The Unusual State of Affairs in the Belly Dance Business

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Belly Dance Business

Just last week I was surfing the internet and found that one of my articles is posted on a “pole” dancing site. At first I was like, “It’s got to be a mistake.” And then as I saw my article in all its glory underneath a photo of a gal spreading her legs dancing on a pole, the reality sunk in. I commented on the site stating belly dancing and pole dancing are on opposite ends of the spectrum. I was not a happy camper about it but I realized that as my name and articles get out in the world there’s no telling what can happen. It occured to me that I had to keep up with my belly dance business image and content.

A couple of years ago we found one of my videos up on an adult website and thank God Daniel was able to get them to take it off  but only after writing a serious and to the point email. I had actually written to them three times asking them to take me off their site and they ignored me. Daniels message hit home and they relented. I was finally able to relax because it really bothered me that this website put me up without my permission. But as each one of you becomes more well known in your career be aware that you may find your photos or videos on websites that leave a lot to be desired.

Another aspect of our dance field and business is having your ideas, articles and shows plagiarized by other people. I had an article plagiarized by a well known dancer and I actually had people write me to tell me it looked like my article. It pretty much was except for the fact they made it look like she was being interviewed. It was a sly cover up but people aren’t stupid and after a while of writing for various magazines it became clear this was a possibility that unfortunately came true. I think it backfired because you can’t respect someone who doesn’t come up with their own ideas especially in the writing arena. Everyone has their own way of thinking and talking that eventually when put down into words sounds just like them. That’s the beautiful part about creative expression and why I like to write.

So what I want to do is to share with all of you ideas of what to do if you feel your creative expression is being plagiarized or used without your permission. Copy Right all your work which includes, videos, articles, website, blog and curriculum. If you come up with an idea and you put forth the effort to make your idea or thoughts into a reality, then protect them. Also every once in a while type in your name and see what comes up. If you see yourself up there with pole dancers, adult stars or questionable content take action and get your intellectual property, photos or videos off the site by writing them and making them aware you know you’re up there. Most sites that do this think you won’t find out at least until it’s too late.

There are belly dance sites that have my content up and I am always honored that my peers put my articles or quotes up. So I think you have to use discretion when you find your work is up on another website. I feel that as a community that if there’s anything I have to say that someone agrees with then go for and put it up. But I’m talking about my belly dance community not exotic dancing or questionable films and magazines.

And I have to include this one in because this can also happen to unsuspecting dancers. Years ago when I was in Dallas a group of dancers ganged up on another dancer that was being a snot to them and they put her up on a call girl site. I know they got a good laugh out of it but it caused problems for this particular dancer because she actually got calls. I don’t know what happened because I left while this was all taking place but I can tell you that this kind of behavior only makes the community look bad. Personally I would hope that our fellow dancers would have more integrity then this but sometimes it just isn’t the case.

So be aware of what can happen if your name gets out into the world. Understand that a photo of you can be on questionable websites or that you can be placed on a website that has nothing to do with belly dancing at all. Be vigilant and aware of your image because it is the one thing we have the right to be in control of.




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About Leyla Najma
Lifelong professional Belly Dancer dedicated to providing "Belly Dance Instruction That Is Easy To Understand And Learn That Connects The Dots"


2 Responses to “The Unusual State of Affairs in the Belly Dance Business”
  1. aflynn1a says:

    Good Morning Leyla,

    Thank you for talking about this! I guess I am a little naive because I would never have thought things like this could happen but it really made me think and with the power of the internet it is easy to get other peoples ideas, pictures, video and put them in places that they do not belong. You have an excellent point about making sure your work is copy righted. I have been thinking about doing this with some of my stuff but not sure how to do it. This way it makes sure that you own the material. Thank you for sharing this! I must say I have learned more from you and I appreciate you knowledge and talent so much!



    • Leyla Najma says:

      Hello Najla,

      I’m glad you found my post informative. I did it actually because just recently I had a well known dancer take my verbiage off my post and used it for her website. I feel writing and talking is very personal and it is a real issue for me when people take my ideas and thoughts and use them or I should say twist them into their own. She actually put me on her newsletter list without my permission and that’s how I found out about her plagierizing what I have on my blog and websites. It’s weird what people will do.
      So as you get out there just be aware of it. As far as copy righting your work just put copy right at the end of your work and the date. That way people know it’s your text, videos or verbiage. And I can’t say enough, serf the internet every so often just to make sure your pics aren’t on bizarre sites.

      Mucho Hugs,