Anonymous Donor Rights Bellydance Wrongs, Restores Faith in Humanity

I’ve had an unexpected development in the story of my issues with Club Bellydance that I must share immediately. Some backstory for those of you who may be new:

In February 2013 I was the local sponsor for Club Bellydance, which I wrote about here. Although the show was fabulous, I had a great deal of trouble getting paid for our first act contribution to the show, which I wrote about in this article for the Gilded Serpent, and I had also blogged the email I sent directly to Miles Copeland.

Yesterday before class Dawn at the Spirit Room said she had a surprise for me. It turned out that an anonymous donor – and extremely kind and generous person or persons – had read my post and wanted to help. That donor sent me a money order for $415, the amount we had been owed by Bellydance Superstars for the show! Obviously I was absolutely delighted and grateful that this party would be so generous and caring. Please allow me to express my feelings in interpretive dance:

Disco Kitteh is pumped!

Disco Kitteh is pumped!

Now, I think I may not have made it 100% crystal clear in my blog post, which was to be an accompanying read for the GS article, but after 4 months of bugging people I did finally get paid by Bellydance Superstars, although I never did receive a reply from Miles Copeland or Stevo Glendinning regarding my criticisms of their business practices. I have since added an editorial note to that post. But now I still have this check and it was anonymous so I can’t return it. I am certain that the donor/s would want this to go to a good cause so here is my plan: I will be donating a portion of the proceeds to two bellydance charities. First for my dance sisters at the Lovely Dozen in Grand Forks I will be donating to their Shimmython to benefit the American Music Therapy Association. Second, as I am the team leader for Grand Forks’ Shimmy Mob 2014, I will be donating the remainder to a local organization to help victims of domestic abuse. You can learn more about Shimmy Mob here.

To the donor/s who so have been so gracious and generous: Thank you from the bottom of my heart! You are the sort of person/people who keep the good energy in the universe flowing. You are truly helping others. Blessings to you and yours!

Excuse me, I need get a tissue. I seem to have something in my eye…

A Letter To Miles Copeland

ED NOTE: I may not have made it clear in my original posting that I did in fact get resolution from BDSS accounting 4 months after the show. I had chosen to publish this letter as an expression of my concern about BDSS business practices, and as information to other potential sponsors. Please see the full story at the Gilded Serpent.

As some readers of this blog may know, in February of 2013 I sponsored Club Bellydance in Fargo/Moorhead. It was a pretty fantastic time, I must say, but there were some rough spots, particularly after the actual performance was said and done. The Gilded Serpent has kindly published my account of the entire experience which you can read here. As indicated in that article, on June 14, 2013 I sent the following email to Miles Copeland and I am publishing it here as information for anyone considering being a local Club Bellydance sponsor. As of publication I have not received a reply from Mr. Copeland, but this email was the impetus to finally get some resolution from accounting.

Dear Mr. Copeland and associates,

My name is Erica Franklin and I was the Fargo sponsor for Club Bellydance in February of this year. I am writing directly to you because I am having some rather serious problems with follow-up after the show and I have not been able to get any sort of useful response. It has been 4 months since the show and I have still not been paid. That also means my dancers have not been paid, so that is not reflecting well on me. After consulting with some colleagues I have decided to appeal to you directly for assistance. Please be aware that since my inquiry for advice resulted in a great deal of debate and interest, I will be sharing your reply with others.

I was initially contacted by Stevo Glendinning of course, but he never did give me a payment timeline. The day after the show my door volunteer informed me that Stevo asked him for the cash admissions, and when they were relinquished, Stevo did not count the money, but just wadded it up and put it in his pocket. Obviously this was a bit troubling. I had emailed Stevo but he has not replied to me. Since then I have been in contact with Roxanne Goon, who has made efforts to assist in resolving this, but accounting isn’t really her department so I felt I should not bother her with this issue any further. I would like to mention here that she has been very helpful and a genuine pleasure to work with.

But I digress. After 4 months and no resolution I appealed to some of my dance colleagues for advice. The replies I received were quite surprising. It appears that my issue with BDSS was not at all isolated, and in fact delayed payment and non-payment appears to be a rather serious and widespread problem amongst your sponsors and vendors. BDSS appears to be generating a bad reputation in this area. Some other sponsors have suggested that they would not produce Club Bellydance on future tours. Vendors had similar attitudes.

BDSS has done so much to promote Middle Eastern Dance in the years since it began, it is really heartbreaking to see that the company has developed such a poor reputation. I would like to see BDSS recover from this situation and that is why I am taking the time to inform you of how bad things have become. I hope you realize that because of the internet and workshops all over the country, we all know each other and talk to each other all the time. It’s just like any other profession or serious hobby. I hope you will take this to heart.

Because I do not believe Stevo has any receipt of payment I will give this info to you:

20 pre-sale tickets @ $20 ea = $400
67 door admissions @ $25 ea = $1675
Total ticket sales = $2075
$2075 x .20 = $415 due to me

Please let me know if you have any questions. I anxiously await your reply.

Club Bellydance – So Awesome!

CurtainCall

The big event has happened! If you missed it you may not see the likes of this spectacle again for a very long time. Bellydance Superstars’ Club Bellydance came to the Garage Bar in Moorhead, MN and it was AMAZING! We had so many different styles of dance, it was a wonderfully diverse showcase of talent. I can’t say enough good things!

I want to take the opportunity to thank everyone who made this thing happen:

Bellydance Superstars Nathalie, Rebecca, Sabrina,Victoria, Sabah and Moria for coming to sunny Fargo/Moorhead to share their talents with us all. We love you!

The Lovely Dozen: Ana Ari, Amaya, Aremi, Saphira, Thura and Briste Aen, with solos by Ana Ari, Aremi and Saphira. They traveled from Grand Forks to participate in this great event.

Aremi

Aremi

Ana Ari

Ana Ari

Saphira

Saphira

Local favorites, The Shimmy Sisters: Annakiya Seher, Talea Jajel, Mystique, Ezra, Ella Za Beth and Kelebek Aslan, with solo by Ezra.

Shimmy Sisters

Shimmy Sisters

Ezra

Ezra

Gaia Sophia (Partner Joan was not able to join us unfortunately) traveled 3 hours from Pine River, and Ashley Throw came all the way from Minot. Cherish did not have as far to drive; Her tribal stylings have long been known in Fargo through her teaching at NDSU and work with Amber Waves.

Gaia Sophia

Gaia Sophia

And especially Ezma Siddiqah, my friend and dance partner who co-produced the show. She researched media, spent hours typing and re-typing info in community calendars, helped sort out the lineup, made the programs, came to meetings at the Garage Bar and generally kept me sane. All that and she dances beautifully!

Enchanting Erica and Ezma Siddiqah

Enchanting Erica and Ezma Siddiqah

Stevo Glendinning and Roxanne Goon from BDSS for contacting us in the first place and making sure we had everything we needed along the way.

Al and Tamara at the Garage Bar for hosting the event, and Ladyking Cole for introducing us.

Jarica Jordan and Jack Fantom for volunteering their time at the door and merch – your friendship and support mean a lot!

Our wonderful audience for showing up and cheering us on!

My parents for providing photos and my brother-in-law and sister who provided video that will be forthcoming.

And my husband Paul for also taking pictures and putting up with me and my glitter.

Me and Mikayla

Me and Mikayla

Victoria, me, and Moria

Victoria, me, and Moria

Every time I try to wrap up this post I think of someone else who contributed to this event. It takes a village to raise the roof! Let’s do it again real soon!

Apologies: Many photos, especially of soloists Gaia Sophia, Ashley Throw and Cherish and group number by The Lovely Dozen did not turn out because of the harsh stage lights. If you have any good ones please send them my way!

UPDATE: Thanks to Annette for getting a great pic of Gaia Sophia (above).

Fabulous February

Chocolate Veil

Chocolat du Trois at the Winery

Hi everyone! January is quickly coming to a close and there is so much going on in the next month! Let’s take a look:

NOW: Dance class at the Spirit Room just completed week 2 of 10 – having fun with veils! Read the interview with Enchanting Erica on their blog.

Feb. 2, 10pm: Uni-T Ball at the Legacy Ballroom, above the Pickled Parrot, 505 3rd Ave. N in Fargo. The best drag and burlesque in town!

Feb. 12, 7:30pm: Club Bellydance featuring me, of course, and my partner Ezma Siddiqah, Saphira, Cherish, Ana Ari, The Shimmy Sisters, Aremi, Ashley Throw, Gaia Sophia & Joan Anderl-Schaefer, Ezra, and The Lovely Dozen, and of course BELLYDANCE SUPERSTARS Sabah, Moria, Nathalie, Sabrina and Victoria! Get your tickets HERE. $20 advance, $25 at the door. This is going to be EPIC! The Garage Bar, 3108 9th St. S., Moorhead, MN (next to the Safari Theater).

Feb. 14 & 15, 9 pm: Erotic Art Show, DK Custom Framing @ Gallery 14, performance downstairs at New Direction. Sexy art, saucy new acts from Bad Weather Burlesque and some yummy erotic poetry. Not to be missed! Art show starts at 7pm, live performances start at 9pm.

Feb. 16, 4-7pm: (note correction to time) Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School, DK Custom Framing @ Gallery 14. Show off your artistic skills drawing Bad Weather Burlesque‘s gorgeous performers. Dry media only, no photography.

Feb 23, 7pm: Special show at The Winery, theme to be announced.

I don’t think I could possibly pack any more in! Will March be more restful? NO! I’ll be attending a week-long belly dance intensive at Jawaahir! I am so excited – I can’t wait!

Photo courtesy Shaun Johnson

Club Bellydance Update!

ClubBellydanceGreetings Friends and Fans! We’ve been able to flesh out some more info for you because I know you are dying to get your tickets and make your plans to see Bellydance Superstars and our awesome regional belly dancers! Here’s the haps:

When: Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 7:30pm

Where: The Garage Bar 3108 9th Street South Moorhead, MN 56560

How much: $20 in advance and $25 at the door (plus tax/fees) GET YOUR TICKETS HERE!

Who:Enchanting Erica and Ezma Siddiqah
The Lovely Dozen
The Shimmy Sisters
Gaia Sophia of Nebu Ka’ Tribal and Joan Schaefer of Sofia Tribal
Featured solos from:
Ezra, Cherish, Ashley Throw, Aremi, Ana Ari, and Saphira
And best of all, Bellydance Superstars Sabah, Moria, Sabrina, Rebecca, Nathalie and Victoria!

Join us on Facebook for additional updates, photos, etc. This is going to be amazing!

Here’s a preview for you!

BELLYDANCE SUPERSTARS ARE COMING TO FARGO/MOORHEAD!!!

More details as they become available. Mark your calendars for February 12, 2013 at the Garage Bar 3801 9th St. South in Moorhead, MN. This will be a 21+ show.

AWESOME!