ichibandasai: (Gai Sensei > All)
[personal profile] ichibandasai
Making this entry Viewable only to certain people for now

I was hoping I would never have to dig this video from the grave...as I loathe it to pieces. Look at it - I was 17 years old, about 20 lbs heavier and my dancing was not very up-to-par, in my opinion. I can recall very well that I was very ill during the performance as well and I was recovering from a head cold. But here I am, showing it to everyone because there is something in that video that is absolutely necessary for something that I would like to prove.

This is also perhaps an apology on my part. An apology to a certain person who claims to be the 'original Otaku-fusion Bellydancer', an explanation, and hopefully and end to this frustration. There seems to be a misunderstanding going around, fueled by her, and I would very much like to clear it up. I am almost amused to have to be writing about this, but this is sad and frustrating, and enough is enough. I hope that this will quell any unnecessary reputation for myself and my group.

With respect, I will not expose this person's name, so I will call her, 'Miss X'. I met Miss X at the first convention I attended since returning to America from Japan, a very tiny event in Alabama called, 'East Meets South' in late 2006. There, to my utter delight, I immediately noticed 'Otaku-Fusion Bellydancing' on the program. I was so, terribly excited to see that someone out there seemed to have the same idea as I, to fuse fandom with bellydance, and was actively pursuing it. I definitely had to see what it was about.

Needless to say, I went to her events..I no less than fawned, if some people may recall. I stayed after her events and hung on every second of the con, looking for this 'Otaku-fusion Bellydancer'. I finally had a chance to speak with her after her panel, in which I had explained that I do something similar, and that I would love for us to team up and perform at conventions together. I also brought my laptop down and showed her a few videos, for the purpose of illustrating that I, too, was a professional dancer. I then gave her my card, and asked her to contact me. At the same time, I was invited to be a guest at my first event in America. It was not until after a year or so when she finally did contact me, but it was not in interest of a partnership, rather than to ask me not to use the 'Otaku Belly Dancer' title, and to request it to be taken from the convention websites of which is was used. In our exchange of e-mails, I tried hard to kindly explain to her that I did not steal her ideas...and tried to appease her as much as I was able (despite the angry opposition of many), even offering to provide a link on our website. She, however, insisted upon credit to her for the idea, which is something I could not truthfully give.

Now, I was never the one who emphasized the term, myself. Living in Japan, I became quite aware of the slightly negative connotation of the word, 'otaku'. I acknowledged that here in the US, I can get away with using the term 'otaku' with pride, but in Japan, I was more hesitant to use the term regularly. Prior to going to Japan in 2005, I attended my first convention - Momocon...There, I had met a very dear friend of mine, Manny Camacho, and danced casually ...There, the nickname, 'Otaku Bellydancer', stuck. Now, in Japan, acknowledging the negative connotation of the word, 'Otaku', the term was only used lightly and only in jest. My friend would jokingly refer to me as the 'Otaku Bellydancer', but I rarely used it otherwise. I started performing in Japan with my dear friend Chanel, and the term was used to differentiate myself from her, since everyone knew me as the anime-loving, computer geek.

So, basically..."Which bellydancer is she?", "The 'Otaku' One".

...Performing at an event to an anime song and having it well-recieved by anime-fans gave me the idea to try my hand at performing in cons once I got back to the United States. I had no idea how to do it, and I did not even know if it was possible, but I knew I wanted to try.

If she claims 'otaku bellydance' is her original creation, I will not dispute that, but then it would be mine as well. Even though we have a similar idea, our styles and forms and ways about going about such are very, very different. I thought of it long prior to meeting Miss X, and with respect to her, I have explained repeatedly that I do not wish for her to feel as though we have stolen her ideas. Even before I was living in Japan, I was affectionately called an 'Otaku Bellydancer' by my friends, and it stuck ever since. The only similarity between our ideas is the idea to dance to anime music. However, independently of her, it was also my idea to dance in cosplay at times, and perform skits, etc. etc.

...Anyone can be an otaku bellydancer, in my opinion, and this is why I have never claimed to be THE one and only 'Otaku Bellydancer'. To me, anyone who claims to be 'otaku', and is a belly dancer, is an 'Otaku Bellydancer', just as a shoe that is red is a red shoe. Ms. Charo has been an otaku bellydancer long before she met me. Long before she knew of the Raqs Attaq!, she has been performing to anime music. She is both an 'otaku' and a 'bellydancer'. ...Simple as that. Everyone who knows me well understand that I take EXTREME pride of those who have inspired me, as I oftentimes talk fondly of them. If I had truly gotten the idea from her, her name would follow me wherever I'd go. But the fact of the matter is, as harsh as it may sound...I was as inspired to do 'Otaku Bellydancing' by her just as much as she introduced me to Anime and Belly dancing...which is none at all. These were two things that I discovered and loved years prior to meeting her.

However, here is something that I DID receive from her. Something that I can credit her for.

On that day that we spoke for the first time, Miss X showed me the proper way to flip a fan. This is why i do not perform it. As for anything else, however, I cannot give credit for something I truly did not take.

This is a situation that makes me...sad. If she is truly disinterested in partnership, I'll understand. However, this is a sentiment that I cannot identify with, for as long as there are those who have a love for both things, I find it very appealing to make friends with them and work together. I do this now, and it is many times more fun and gratifying than doing it alone.

As for those who I have inspired to take up the art form of belly dance, some of which are now a part of the group today, I am very honoured to be your mentor, and I am even more honoured to have introduced you to Oriental Dance.

It is to my great disappointment that it has turned out to be like this. I view all dancers as sisters in the belly dance community, and I am always eager to be a part of the family. It is very disheartening to realize that there exists what seems to be a rivalry...something I would have never expected.

Anyway, I digress. The video. The proof. If anyone can read Japanese, they'll know that it says, "Chanel, Rose, 'Otaku Bellydancer', Kokusai Festa 2005". The 'Kokusai Festa' was a debate-type event that occurred at our host school in Kanagawa, Japan. Our October 05 performance the earliest evidence that I have of the title being used, which was a little over a year before Miss X's panel at EMS.

For further clarification:


The video was sent by my friend, Sumita Koichi on that date - 11/07/05. So, obviously the video was taken prior to that. About over a year before I had first encountered Miss X. There is also a website that highlights one of our performances during a Christmas International Festival that year at a Military Base in Zama...which also uses the term...I would provide a link only if I could find it.

So, I am hoping I can clear this up... As an artist, if someone were to take my artwork, claim it as their own and make money from it, I know that I would feel very vexed and hurt about it, to say the least. So, needless to say...to be accused of doing something similar is quite hurtful and rather insulting. I am sure that there are a million other bellydancers out there doing something similar, if not the same. ...Take Amira, for example, and her awesome 'Princess Leia Bellydancer' act.

So, I apologize. I deeply apologize because I will not be dishonest enough to claim that my ideas once belonged to someone else, no matter how much I would have liked to appease her. There have been times where I have debased myself for the sake of pleasing others, but this time, I will not. Here is the proof.


Date: 2009-03-08 04:48 am (UTC)
infiniteviking: A bird with wings raised in excitement. (18)
From: [personal profile] infiniteviking

Date: 2009-03-08 04:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theflamingrose.livejournal.com
Ahaha...What was that for? She probably needs more of a hug than I do...

Date: 2009-03-08 05:00 am (UTC)
infiniteviking: A bird with wings raised in excitement. (17)
From: [personal profile] infiniteviking
Yeah, well, I'm giving YOU one. Got a problem? >D

Date: 2009-03-08 05:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theflamingrose.livejournal.com
...I cannot complain about the BEST HUGS IN THE WORLD! >D

No, but really...I think I am actually rather amused at this point. I've never known someone could get frustrated to the point of amusement. Anyway, what are your thoughts?

Date: 2009-03-08 09:52 am (UTC)
infiniteviking: Fanart of Ram from the movie Tron, fast asleep with a contented expression. (14)
From: [personal profile] infiniteviking


Always laugh at stuff, it's healthier than being annoyed? 8D

..no, srsly. >/ 'Otaku' isn't something you can copyright. She can claim a routine or a costume innovation for herself, or ask for credit for a skill she taught you (i.e. the fan), but saying she 'invented' otaku bellydancing is like someone saying they invented otaku cosplay. Applying a popular trope to a skill you have is a logical outgrowth of celebrating that skill, but to stop there and cling to it like a child in a corner totally misses the point. If she wants to continue to move in the same circles your troop frequents, the best way would be to stop whining, take her place in the growing fannish bellydancing community, and trade on her art, not her reputation.

Bottom line, if she's a good dancer, she'll be remembered for that. If she's a bad sport, she'll be remembered for that too. Only one of the two is likely to get her more frequent bookings.

Date: 2009-03-09 05:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theflamingrose.livejournal.com
...Thank you for your input. ^

Date: 2009-03-09 08:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mamtanaidu.livejournal.com
Many Many Happy Returns Of The Day!!!!!

Have a rocking year ahead.....

Date: 2009-03-26 05:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theflamingrose.livejournal.com
Thank you so much!!!! I am so glad to hear from you again! Look like I am not getting all my LJ notifications anymore...

Date: 2009-03-09 04:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] new-wave-angel.livejournal.com
Hi! *waves* Happy belated birthday!

Ah,a Real McCoy situation (or something like it? IDK)? Wow...O_o
That's pretty heavy. I hope this woman doesn't file a lawsuit over this.
But in case she does,you have proof,so...no worries?
From my understanding,it's not like she copyrighted the name or anything.
I wouldn't worry about it too much.

By the way,I saw one of your group's videos on Youtube recently (I think you were dressed like Rock Lee,but a girlier version? and you were facing off against someone?)and I thought it was really entertaining!:0) You guys are good!

Date: 2009-03-09 05:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theflamingrose.livejournal.com
It is turning out to be frustrating...this is why I had to make this entry so that witnesses could also put in their evidence and two-cents on the situation...Sometimes 'proof' alone is not enough for some people.

...And Yes! That was us...That was me in the SnJ Rock Lee and Ms. Charo as the SnJ Naruto XDDD It was shot at a horrible angel and couldn't see much ^//^ I am glad you liked it! We'll be doing another dance off between Snj Lee and Neji XD; ...And a bellydancing Gaara XD

Date: 2009-03-29 08:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ctg21361.livejournal.com
Hi, Rose, this is Charo. Hey, if there's an opportunity for Trap Tieria (Naruto v. Gundam 00 dance off?) at some point, I'll do it (Air Tran has a Harrisburg/Orlando route now)! *giggles* (Once the DVD from Spring Caravan is done, I'll share it with you.)

And, I'll give my input later. Have to take the dog for her walk. (Thanks again for the permission!)

Date: 2009-03-09 05:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cassthekitty.livejournal.com
Why do I have a feeling I already can pretty much guess whom the individual in question is. As a fan I tried to speak to her a panel about 2 years back and she was aloof and stand offish. Dare I say elitest. I lost all desire to want to learn due to that.

Meeting you last year rekindled my interest in bellydancing and I love it. I'm grateful for the experience and having a wonderful time dancing now. I go 5 times a week now. YAAAAY! I just started dancing this year and I know there are various forms of bellydance. So a dancer I figured the term "otaku fusion" was fusion of anime/otaku music with the bellydance. I mean what does she want, to have no bellydancer not use the term. It's not copyrighted or anything? I think not. I see nothing wrong with use of the term. I would love to see style of it grow and become more popular. I really hope this drama doesn't become some huge big deal. It would be a terrible shame. I say ignore her. You've done all that you can and appear to have quite professional about the entire matter. Make use of the term otaku bellydance/otaku fusion as a general term but not laying claim to being the founder/the first to help kill the drama.

I was really hoping to see you again at MTAC this year and hope your holding a panel

Date: 2009-03-09 05:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theflamingrose.livejournal.com
...Gah! That's the complete opposite of what should have happened! When I was first introduced to bellydancing, I was surrounded by a group of wonderful, kind ladies who were having a blast and being supportive of each other...That's what hooked me...and that is how the bellydance community should be in general, in my opinion!

I was given that same impression, I am very sad to say. Above all, I am so disappointed that it did not turn out to be a mutually beneficial partnership as I had wished. It's heartbreaking because I was so excited at first to see someone who had a love for mixing both things, and thought that it would be fun and awesome to collaborate...but it turned out to be pretty one-sided.

I am so honoured to hear that!! I really wish we could do MTAC this year...that performance of ours was so very successful and many people have been asking for us back...But unfortunately asking us, not actually requesting the con to have us back XDD... it's not our decision...it's the con's...And we had someone (who was working with the bands) literally squeeze us in at the last moment. We're doing Daigacon next week, and the theme for MTAC this year is ninja - it would have been perfect for our ninja belly-dance off!

Date: 2009-03-10 01:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cassthekitty.livejournal.com
nyoooooo! No Rose this year. Bummer. I wish ya'll were asked back. Yeah do remember you mentioning it was a last minute addition last year *sigh* That sux. Daigacon didn't know existed *blush* Had I known I woulda been able to make plans to attend. *pout*

I'm into my second month of classes and love love LOVE it! It's wonderful. We have a wide array of ages there. We have like women starting out in their 60s which I think is all kinds of awesome. Oh forgot its a tribal fusion form that's taught there. Everyone is very supportive and uber friendly. And I lost 10 lbs which is a nice bonus. *cue dynamic pose LOL*

I hope in the future more cons will pick up the more bellydance panels because I love the idea of fusion anime with it. I think its wonderful, fun and a nice change of pace. Just a note don't attempt AWA because she pretty much has that locked in as her baby. *rolls eyes* Plus some two cons in Birmingham, AL too.

Date: 2009-03-10 01:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theflamingrose.livejournal.com
...Apparently so. We sent an info packet and was informed so. XD

She stated that she was flattered that so many people out there (i.e. our group) was copying her style. Ironically, none of my girls knew who she was until she started claiming that we were copying her style, save for Raihn, who went, "Oh! Who is that? Is that the cellulite dancer?", which goes to show that there is no way that could have happened. Now, I love the way that bellydance is accepting of women of all body-types, so I was rather ticked when she spoke of her like that at first, but at this point...=_=; *sigh*

Well, we were not 'asked'...Since we were planning on being there as attendees that year anyway, we asked and the bands manager squeezed us in. Rarely we may 'volunteer' to do a con as panelists...and volunteered since that seemed to be a good opportunity since we'd be there anyway ...I do not do it often because it is taxing on us if we are not guests, and we have to pay our own way with transportation and rooms as panelists.

I didn't know daigacon existed either! It is a pretty new con, I think! We also have one in Alabama coming up, according to the bossman. XD

Date: 2009-03-10 03:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cassthekitty.livejournal.com
Yaaaay Bama! Lemme know which one so I can make sure to attend.

Date: 2009-03-09 07:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] akai_senshi.livejournal.com
Happy belated birthday!

Date: 2009-03-13 12:35 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I had a situation quite like this as well years ago with my cel painting & drawing panels.
I feel for you Rose dear, hope it all works out alright for you.

I take cash or paypal

Date: 2009-03-26 03:44 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
copypasta brought to you by my facebook inbox. and me (Ilia) and Michael Techie. Disclaimer: no disrespect to anyone

March 16 at 5:59pm
dude, lame. not to mention that "ideas" cannot be patented or capitalized on in the way she is claiming. also, there's no such thing as anything new. Everything is inspired from bits of other things, and chances are, some people will come up with similar concepts now and then.
Having said that, I invented the idea of sex. Anyone using any sexually-derived notions, performances, objects, or other materials and/or representations, for material or financial gain, must hereby give me $3.24, plus tax per incident. ~thanks

March 16 at 6:09pm
I'm so horribly in debt to you then.. :p

March 17 at 4:07pm
Don't worry--I have payment plan options.

Date: 2009-03-29 03:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] djinubito.livejournal.com
Haha, wow small world. I stumbled into your LJ from the boondocks community only to find that you know Cass. Good times. :) Just thought i'd say hey.

Date: 2009-03-30 03:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ctg21361.livejournal.com
Hi, it's Charo again, so here's my input.

Honestly, I never bought the 'invented' thing because there were already a number of us doing this type of thing. Some of us just did not aggressively market it for our own reasons (mine being that I'm not into performing that much because of my responsibility as a parent and a government worker. In addition, I already had my day as a polynesian, jazz and flamenco dancer. Instead, I teach the dance and perform only occasionally and it's to show this type of dancing during those occasions). In addition, you were called 'otaku bellydancer' in Japan. It was not what you self-proclaimed yourself to be. Someone gave it to you. As to the claim of copying, hey, we all represent different styles while she does tribal fusion. So far, it looks like she views you as a threat to her.

It's really sad that it has to come to this. Unfortunately, however, I have heard about the bellydance environment in the South (from a Georgia bellydancer I tend to buddy with at Suhaila Salimpour's workshops and weeklongs). She and another dancer from Georgia (who moved to California to study with Suhaila) described the bellydance scene in Georgia and I couldn't believe that they would go to such lengths as to cut veils with the swords, ruin costumes, etc. If there is no respect and support for each other, then we will never be respected as dancers. Suhaila has emphasized this in weeklongs, that's why those of us who study under her feel the need to support each other. The way you have reached out to other dancers of fandom is what the dance needs, not the selfish 'I'm the original' view of one who feels threatened by your presence.

You do not have to apologize for anything. You've extended an honor to us by reaching out instead of driving us away. Thank you very much.


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