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Share your Bhuz memories here

Bhuz is gone. After years of declining participation, the site’s official Facebook page made this announcement today (on Facebook, which is rather ironic).

Regarding the Bhuz forums: After several years of declining participation (and two years of ad revenue that fell way short of covering surprisingly large expenses) my mom, Rosey, the owner of Bhuz.com, decided to step away from the site.

Thanks for being a part of Bhuz. Personally, it was an amazing retirement job for my mom. She learned to code, she indulged her love of sparkly shiny things, and she developed relationships with many of you. She wants you to know that she is now happily raising ducklings, listening to opera, and enjoying her grandchildren.

The site has been saved to a hard drive for archival purposes. I am working on a new (much less elaborate) iteration of Bhuz, but since Facebook has made forums obsolete, it will be more of a reference site than anything else.

Panjo, the sales app, will still maintain the swap meet (http://www.panjo.com/p/bhuz)

Please stay in touch with your Bhuz friends on this Facebook page if you haven’t already.

Wishing you happy dancing,
Jessica Hannan Sultan

I was a Bhuz addict, with over 12,000 posts to my credit. I first fell in love with the site through the UBDC thread – Ugly Belly Dance Costumes. It was a controversial thread, quite nasty at times, but so funny. The main targets were monstrosities like the Corn Queen, a costume beaded with plastic corn cobs, and the various nipple-tasseled tourist costumes with fallopian tube decor on their tuna-can-shaped belts.

The thread was 30 pages long when I found it. Yes, it poked fun at people’s creations and that wasn’t nice (although mostly they were the creations of companies looking to rip us off with poorly rendered handiwork). But the women of Bhuz were so smart and so funny — jokes about fringe as thin as Golem’s hair, and bedazzled buttcracks and Suzy Nippletassels — that I knew I’d found my tribe.

The site was my primary teacher for a while. We could discuss for weeks about exactly which muscles drove this or that shimmy, or what it meant for movement to be “skeletal” rather than “muscular.” I would frequently stand up at my computer and do moves with my hands on my body to feel which muscles were contracting. Luckily I worked at home; I think this was happening in offices and cubicles around the world.

I first learned about styles of bellydance on Bhuz, and it was where I learned that there is enough richness in this dance form to keep me a humble student for the rest of my life. I made lifelong friends there, many of whom I’ve now met around the world. And I first had the idea for Hafla For Humanity through that community.

What are your best memories of Bhuz? The way any thread longer than 4 pages became a Monty Python reference or turned to underwear? The sockpuppet identities and dramas? The running gag of sharing recipes to silence trolls?

Please share your memories below, we’d all love a chance to have a little “wake” for our favorite dance site.

35 Comments

  1. Taji Dancer –The descriptions on how to do a “jewel”. Every different way you could imagine. And they all learned it from a reputable source. And being able to find out what songs meant. And being able to help newer dancers w/ helpful comments on their videos. Getting technical sound advice. Getting teaching advice. Choreography advice. SEWING!!! ADVICE!!! Physical therapy advice. Health advice. Menopause advice. BD community interaction advice. All different viewpoints. And the one and only Zorba.

    1. I loved all those descriptions of moves and the Jewel was the absolute best. That and the discussions/arguments over ‘glute led’ shimmies.

  2. Oh Bhuz. I never commented, but I lurked quite a bit. Seemed like with any thread by the time I got there everything I wanted to say was already said in a much more eloquent, succinct manner by the quick witted people there.

    I will miss pouring through threads of fun costumes, information about what people are working on, what music everyone’s listening to, etc.

    Sorry I didn’t get around to actually commenting Bhuz. I’ll miss you.

  3. I still have in a drawer the print off of the jewel thread. Bhuz helped set a high standard for what dance can and should be for those of us who weren’t close to major dance communities. I loved making friends with people who expanded my worldview- the social worker in California who went off the rails being silly with me about how to pronounce “Bhuz” (buzz? Booze? Bahuzz?), wise Lauren, English and European dancers who were horrified to learn that US citizens avoid medical care because of the exorbitant cost, the kind Chicago area dancers who welcomed me warmly as a beginner and still bring love to my life, and realizing that Big Names were just regular people like me, often with day jobs like mine and a dance journey similar to mine. That helped me realize that was true in other spheres- artists, politicians, and community leaders are just people who decided to Do a Thing, and I could, too.

  4. Badass belly dance costumes, fringe, fringe, fringe, Bordello Belly Dance Thread, Bellydance dinosaurs, the list goes on.

    I think thing I liked most about Bhuz was the international flavor and the ability to come to this dance from many perspectives. Yes, there were the mean girls, the purists, the dancers who were in it for the ARRRRT. But there were also many of us who were there to learn, exchange information and build a community. And maybe sell a costume or two! 😉

  5. Oh… the Bella threads… as people waited for delivery of their new Bellas, and then posted photos of them for us to all drool over. The fun of each new NikkiJ portrait (kicking myself for not getting in on that). And the most epic “Ignore” party that spanned the globe. Bhuz will live on in our hearts and our minds (and hopefully the archive that will be forthcoming some day).

  6. I miss Bhuz. So much information! Just recently, I was researching for an article I’m writing, looking for sources on the history of tannoura, and I ended up getting a lot of leads from old Bhuz threads. Foolishly, I just bookmarked the posts instead of copy-pasting, and now they are gone :'(

    I started out in a small dance community without a lot of guidance, so Bhuz was like a teacher to me. I was so clueless about stuff like music, costumes and styles (my first teacher only owned one CD of bellydance music!), and although the bluntness of certain Bhuzzers could be a bit painful, I’m forever grateful to those who pointed me in the right direction. Without Bhuz (and shira.net, of course), I would never have become the dancer I am today. I also loved the sense of community there, with all the in jokes and silliness (the coffee table dance, the wardrobe of justice, crassles, etc…)

  7. Like many others I learned *sooooo much* from Bhuz over the years. I think i joined in 2004 so that’s over a decade of learning from a generous international community of dancers. I made virtual friends and real-life friends from participating on the forums, and bought and sold many costumes! I will miss the ‘gorpy’ technique discussions and whenever a sticky situation arises in life I will ask my self: WWLD? 😉

  8. I too was a big Bhuz addict for years! It was such a great source for information, sharing experiences and I loved browsing through the swap meet section :). I also met some lovely overseas dancers, thanks to Bhuz (waves to Jessica Hannan Sultan, Voula, Thalia Hamdi & Manon)! Sad yet understandable it’s ending.

  9. (bintbeled on Bhuz) The Ignore Party! I think it was Azhia who posted something — maybe a question she then found the answer to — and didn’t know how to delete the thread, so she just wrote “please ignore” and our crazy Bhuz friends turned it into a virtual party with fancy cocktails and silly shenanigans.

    I loooved the “What Are You Working On” threads.

  10. I learned so much from Bhuz over the many years that I was an active bellydancer! I stayed up all night reading the Ugly Bellydance Costume Threads laughing until my stomach hurt. I feel like I made so many fast, fierce friends there, some of whom are still my FB ( and hopefully one day real life) friends! Oh the Flounce Offs! The summoning of the 3am Zill Brigade! And so much to learn from Zumarrad and others about the history of bellydance, separated from the whole Wendy Buonaventura myths 😉
    FB will never quite replace Bhuz. I was actually just thinking of logging back on to catch up and see who was still there. Cheers, Bhuzzards!

  11. Some of my favorite folks from Bhuz I still hang out with online elsewhere… but I remember spectacular revelations, like finding out that Ozma of Japan grew up in my hometown… like finding out how certain dancers had fervent followers and equally fervent detractors… like discovering that the word “certification” could cause an online riot.

    The Bhuzzers I admired most were those patient, patient teachers who would answer the same questions over and over from newbies. They were always willing to explain one more time why your shimmy would lock up or what CD had good basic rhythms.

    But even though I am not a pro, I really appreciated those who would come online and discuss proper business practices, pricing, and how to negotiate with restaurant owners! This is some of the least communicated information and I have no doubt it helped many!

  12. I am happy to have been one of the driving forces in one of the most “controversial” threads ever on Bhuz — The Illinois Hafla Suckage Thread! It started with a flounce (another Bhuz-word) and devolved into a thread with a life of its own. Lauren was creative with her skills in map making and giving the world a proper view of what the Midwest USA actually looks like.

    That thread aside – Bhuz was my go-to site for many questions, advice taken and given, and inspiration on many dance issues. I haven’t visited consistently for a long time, but I would check in every once in a while. Hope to see many of you on the various Facebook threads. And my best wishes to Rosey and family. Have fun with those grandkids!

  13. I was on Bhuz from my days as a “Baby Belly”, and learned a TON. Yea, the politically correct snark crowd got on my nerves at times – but “ya gotta be tough to work the waterfront.”. Was able to learn at the “virtual knee” of some of the best in the biz, and I hope I was able to help a few along the way myself.

    Only in Belly Dance would someone opine that “FB has made forums obsolete” – in EVERY other field of interest that I have (and I have quite a few), forums (fora?) are not only doing well, they’re flourishing and new ones pop up all the time. There are so many posts that I can’t keep up! In every instance, these forums are comprised of lots of people who are on FB, and lots who are not – but you seldom see the FB apologists that now seems to fill “Belly Dance land.” *shrug* Whatever – this too shall pass.

    In the meantime, I’ll encourage folks to come to http://bellydanceforums.net/ which is still alive and could use the conversations! So let’s all flounce over to there!

  14. Oh, my gosh. I learned so much through reading the wonderful, informative posts from all the knowledgeable dancers.

    I initially found Bhuz by searching for a used bedlah for sale. I found that, but I found so much more.

    I learned a lot about the dance, of course, but I also learned about people and places. For instance, I still remember Zumarrad’s posts about the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquake. I learned about the belly dance scene in Japan (Ozma). I “met” Lauren and have since been following her travels and adventures around the world.

    I learned about jewels and magency and ethics and costume repair.

    I learned about the best way to pad a bellydance bra.

    I learned about belly stockings and about L. Rose Designs.

    But it was the fun, the silliness, the support, and yes, sometimes the drama, that occasionally kept me at my keyboard until the wee hours.

    Remember Freddie climbing a building in a bedlah?

    Remember scrutinizing videos to see if the dancer was wearing underwear, or if that really was **gasp** raqs beaver?

    Joyce, the suckage thread, flounces, the zill brigade, and the wardrobe of justice have already been mentioned.

    I came for the costumes. I stayed for the cameraderie.

  15. I made friends, I made enemies. And some frenemies. I learned a ton, taught a little, and shopped too much. I sat and read until my but fell asleep… and then start and read more. And then I flounced!

    I’m so very thankful for the friends and connections I made through Bhuz, as they are still inspiring me and pushing me to do better – be better – on a daily basis. I miss you guys. And now… I’m starting to cry! ;P

  16. Awww…..so sad 🙁

    No more Secret Habibi? I can’t believe it will actually be gone. I learned so much from Bhuz, it was what opened up my eyes to the wide world of bellydance. I learned about Fifi Abdo and Souheir Zaki, I learned about all the different styles throughout the world, I learned who Eman Zaki and Bella were.

    Bhuz made me a better, more informed dancer.

    Also – 80% of my costume collection is from Bhuz 🙂

  17. Two threads I will never forget:
    1) the “Illinois haflas suck” thread that Donna already mentioned–in which a dancer complained about not being able to get a performance slot in a few Chicago-area shows, and then concluded that the whole state of Illinois was at fault. This thread included Lauren’s infamous photoshopped map of Illinois that showed Chicago taking up 98% of the state. It was super funny but I guess you had to be there.
    2) another thread that required moderator-intervention whose title got changed to “comments on teaching and learning” or something like that, started by a troll-like person who was learning to dance from youtube videos and was rejecting all sincere forms of help. Um, well it was funny too, but I guess you had to be there as well. In that thread I wrote a song about coco puffs that was sung to the tune of ya mustafa. And someone shared a really great recipe for basbousa.

  18. And how many 3/4 shimmy threads were there? Knee-driven vs. glute-driven shimmies? Jewels?

    At its heyday, bhuz functioned like a collective hive mind: if you were looking for any bit of information and couldn’t find it on the internet, someone on bhuz would know where to find it.

  19. Such a bummer…
    I learned so much from Bhuz as a baby dancer, and while I haven’t been active in a while, I will never forget:

    1) Stalking the Swap Eshta’s latest sparkly creations (thank god she’s on Facebook)
    2) Soaking up inspiration on the What Are You Working On thread
    3) Learning what “flouncing” is…
    4) Discovering the magic of The Star of the East on the Oum Kalthoum thread

    *sigh*

    1. Thank you a million times for that!! I laughed until I cried seeing it again. But it’s not just the video of course, it’s the title that is the perfect example of Bhuz humour – The Wardrobe of Justice.

  20. I have not been on Bhuz on years but I heard of Bhuz’s demise I wanted to say simply Bhuz not only expanded my belly dance world it expanded my life. I meet online and irl so many fabulous women who inspired me to do things I truly do not believe I would have before. I will always be a bhuzzer and will always have a laugh over some of the often wild conversations. Regards, tattood1 aka Christina Tinah Silva

  21. Beafarhana here.

    I loved the choreography/improv challenges, though I was often rubbish at completing them! I used to love seeing other dancers’ versions of the same piece of music, seeing how they heard it differently, brought out different elements.

    And I *have* to mention Secret Habibi, which was a marvellous, stress-inducing but happiness-generating bhuz institution, which I was privileged to Elf for four years (or was it five? bother, I can’t go back to the bhuz archives to check!).

    I made so many good friends through bhuz, some I’m able to meet up with in real life often, others occasionally, and some I probably won’t ever meet in person, but they’re still real friends.

    Thanks go to Rosey for keeping bhuz going as long as she did. I feel bad now that I had drifted away from it. I never really went away, I still read, but the tone changed, the people changed and it just stopped feeling like the personal space it had been for so many of us.

    Guess I’ll be checking out OD more now!

  22. Goodness just reading these commments are bringing back so many memories!! I miss Bhuz and I miss the community it created!

    Also, I have a Moroccan Pita recipe that has been a favorite in my house for 10 years or so, that I got off of one the threads we were trying to kill by posting recipes. I’m pretty sure it was posted by danidance 🙂

    xoxox – Danielabellydance

  23. I was so sad to hear about losing Bhuz! I have not been following it regularily as of late, but was an avid Bhuzzer at one time. I learned so much, laughed so much (I was a proud member of the Illinois Hafla suckage), loved Secret Habibi, and purchased the best costumes! There is just too much to mention, it leaves a hole in my bellydance heart!

  24. Two words: Ignore Party.

    Love,
    Azhia

    P.S. I’m afraid if I read the comments I will start crying. I see so many familiar names on here. Miss you!!!

  25. im very sad to learn it is no longer – i used to go on it when i was younger and wanted to be a bellydancer so i would lurk and search of answers for questions i had and i learned so much! years latter im looking to re start learning again only to find that invaluable resource is no gone – it had so much that you could never learn much else where!!!! im very disheartned its gone but also thankfull i was there

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