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May 7, 2015 10:10 EDT

Bridging the Cultural Divide with Belly Dance

iCrowdNewswire - May 7, 2015


Bridging the Cultural Divide with Belly Dance

by Wanda Richards

Why is there friction between West and Middle East. We lack cultural understanding. In “Alice Becomes Aziza” Alice finds belly dance. The book, a cartoon, and toys teach the Middle East culture.

Page Length:
< 50 Pages
Book Status:
Completed Manuscript

Why is Belly Dance important for children today? Belly Dance is  a healthy way to exercise that isolates important muscles and focuses on spinal alignment.

More importantly, Belly Dance is not for just one body type, race, or gender. Belly Dance teaches self-confidence and self-expression.

About the Book

My book, Alice Becomes Aziza, is about a girl who isn’t long and lean and isn’t cut out for Ballet and Tap classes, as she’s found out from two very embarrassing experiences. She thinks that she’ll never be able to take dance classes until she passes by a studio where a woman is teaching belly dance. Mesmerized, Alice drags her mother into the studio. The teacher stops the class and smiles at Alice. “Oh, you would make a wonderful belly dancer,” she said as she ties a jingly hip scarf around Alice.

“What is your  name?” The teacher asks. “Alice.” She responds.

“I think in this class we will call you Aziza.” The teacher tells her as she brings her up to the front of the class. 

What I Need

Although the book is written, I need help in getting a graphic artist to illustrate the book. Then I will need a budget for marketing and getting the book into preschool classrooms.

I am a multi-published author and know how to get publicity for the book, but I need of funds to launch the book. At that  point, I have designed a child’s costume to go along with the book and will be designing other toys and costumes.

Interview with Wanda Richards

What do you plan to do with the funds you raise?

Alice Becomes Aziza is just the start of what I’d like to accomplish. I want to turn children on to belly dance because it is the kind of dance that welcomes everyone regardless of nationality, body type, race, religion, etc. It celebrates the way a person’s body is and not what it should be.

But belly dance can be more than that for our world. The West needs to understand the Middle East so that we develop a mutual understandingr. The only way to overcome this is to educate people when they’re young.

Through Alice Becomes Aziza, children will become interested in the music and culture of the Middle East. As an accompaniment to the book, I want to sell a children’s clothing line of belly dance attire. (Think the Pinkalicious concept.)

After I procure the artwork for the book, I plan to develop a cartoon series that will have music with Middle Eastern rhythms and fun facts about the Middle Eastern culture – camels, oases, pyramids, etc. If children learn early what other cultures are like, we won’t have such pre-conceived notions that lead us all in the wrong direction.

What do you plan to do with the funds you raise?

The funds I’m looking to raise are for hiring an illustrator. The book will be large and appropriate for preschools, kindergartens, and first grade.

Hiring a quality illustrator is paramount for this book. The storyline of Alice Becomes Aziza is straightforward, but the emotions need to be conveyed by the artist and that’s why I need money.

Once the book is published and is being used by early education teachers, I plan to start designing belly dance costumes the children can wear for their classes and parties. I plan on designing comfortable and durable harem pants, leotards, zills (clackers), and scarves.

After that, I plan to produce a cartoon and will use the artwork for the book to make the cartoon.

I hope you plan on investing in me and my project because I promise you it will be a fun ride. If you believe in me and my idea, I’d like you to help me take this concept to the top.

What was your inspiration for the book?

I took belly dance classes and I was very inspired about the multi-cultural nature of the classes. In addition, regardless of your body type you can come to be a great belly dancer.

I was also turned on by the costumes, which are really the way the people in the Middle East and Africa have always dressed.


Mooresville, NC

Member Since Apr 2015

Wanda is a multi-published author in Historical Fiction and Young Adult. She obtained a Masters in English from George Mason University and currently writing a variety of literary genres.

Contact Information:

Wanda Richards

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