Snake Hips, Anne Thomas Soffee
Book review (ISBN 0-
by Sara Shrapnell.
One advantage of the wet weather through this summer has been finding the time to
read a whole book in almost one sitting. This light-
In opening the book Soffee apologies for ruffling "some marabou" by recounting stories
of bad behaviour and changing names of some of the dancer -
Belly Dancing for health and relaxation, Tina Hobin
by Sara Shrapnell.
This book was written in 1982, and in some ways has aged very well. It still remains
an excellent resource for those new to the dance and those who want to re-
The book starts with a brief yet interesting history of the dance and the instruments
used and finishes with some patterns for making your own costumes. Between is a
list of movements to take the dancer from posture to floorwork, stopping off with
some veil exercises and Zill patterns along the way. For some of the movements it
is very interesting to read them broken down and to try them as described -
Scattered through the book are suggested choreographies or routines -
Books on movement help us to be grateful that we can see dancing either live or on
video, and take our hints from these. And yet a good book on movement, as this is,
tells us more about the muscles, timing and tone than the videos can. I would love
to see an updated version and will review her next book soon -
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
By Sara Shrapnell.
The Red Tent has been a slow burner in terms of book sales. First published in 1997
it was launched without any fanfares or advertising budget, just another historical
novel taking up room in the bookstores. Today it is to be found in the best sellers
section, having achieved many awards over the years, but most importantly having
become a top seller due to word of mouth. If you read this book you will want to
tell your friends, and they will tell theirs -
It isn't an easy book to begin to read, and to be honest I picked it up and put it down four or five times before settling into it. If it hadn't been for all the fantastic reviews on line and the enthusiasm of my friends, I would have given up on it. If this is you, then give it another go. I promise it will be worth it.
Based on the story of Rebecca, Leah, Jacob and Dinah from Genesis, the story starts
with a complex family tree that left my head spinning and my eyes rolling to the
ceiling. Sometimes a book just doesn't want you to love it. But once past that
first chapter the rest is so beautifully written and the characters so rich and real
that it truly becomes un-
In the Bible (so I hear), Dinah is given no voice and her story is only told from
the perspective of her brothers, and yet she is key to the twists in the stories
of Jacob and his family. The drama waiting to happen to this delightful child is
only one of the tensions that build. We also have the strange relationship between
four sisters, born to different mothers and in different standing, who all marry
the same man. Every combination and balance of female relationships are examined
and explored in a delicate and non-
The Red Tent itself is used as a device to gather the women together to tell the stories of their mothers, their faith, their hopes, loves and feelings. It is debatable if women in this area used a Red Tent at that time, but this is a historical novel, so minor things like that should not be allowed to distract from this cracking good tale, which absorbed me totally into their world. So much so that on walking the dog over the hills I saw a field of sheep, who reminded me of those that the family herded so that I had to remind myself that I had never seen the camp, the hillsides or the sheep!
As Dinah grows, she sees how her mother and her sisters work together and against each other to get the best for themselves and their sons, how they each take a role and how their skills are valued. As she grows she becomes a skilled midwife, travelling to Egypt and we get a glimpse of Egyptian life of that time. All of this is painted with richness and in vivid colours, so that you feel part of the story.
Although nothing to do with Bellydance, I do not hesitate to recommend this book
for anyone interested in the women of the Middle East in the time of the Old Testament