Updated: Mar 27
Dexter Williams I want to start off by saying that I have the greatest respect for belly dancing. It is without question one of the most beautiful and graceful forms of dance in the entire world. It had its origins in Egypt, and many of the bellydancers today (mostly female) do their work in Cairo. Their modern Egyptian bellydance style, noted for its controlled and precise movements, has had a great influence on the development of the Egyptian style. Through the centuries (starting with pre-18th century), belly dance has proven to be popular in the Middle East. There it has had contexts as a social dance and as a performance art. Belly dancing didn’t catch on here in North America until it gained major attention at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. It was the dancers in the exhibition “A Street In Cairo” that gained the most notoriety at the Fair, and one of the dancers in particular stole the show. Nicknamed “Little Egypt”, she was a young lady from the Middle Eastern country of Syria named Farida Mazar
I was first interested in belly dancing when I watched it on TV shows and in feature films, but it was never central to the story’s plot. I thought it was unique in its form and style, like no other type of dance. No film has ever had belly dancing as the centerpiece of its story, and the few films that have had belly dancing at the forefront have been either out of necessity or have bordered towards exploitation. This fact prompted me to write a feature-length screenplay that treated the art of belly dancing in a very respectful manner – and it was going to be family-friendly. The only problem was I couldn’t find the right type of story to bring the script to life. Then one night while watching YouTube, I watched a music video featuring an amazing belly dancer named Rachel Brice. In the video she wore a costume that made me believe she was a dancer from ancient times. At that very moment, I had gotten the inspiration I needed to create the perfect bellydance story. That story – which would be unlike any dance-oriented story before it – would be called “Second Dance”. “Second Dance” tells the story of an American college student and aspiring dancer named Samantha. She’s been having dreams involving a mysterious belly dancer. Hearing about Samantha’s recurring dreams, her best friend encourages her to join a belly dance class headed by a spiritual woman named Akila. Intrigued by Samantha, Akila learns of Samantha’s story…then she tells Samantha that her dreams are actually repressed memories of a previous life as Farida Mazar Spyropoulos, a Middle Eastern belly dancer who was the first of her kind to perform for American audiences. From there, with Akila’s help, Samantha goes on a journey of self-discovery as she tries to fulfill her unlikely destiny as one of the best belly dancers in the world.
The experience of writing “Second Dance” made me appreciate belly dancing, and the women (and men) who perform it in front of audiences all across America and around the world, even more than I have before deciding to write it. I feel this beautiful and graceful art form hasn’t gotten as much respect as it truly deserves. One day I would love to bring this very special story to the silver screen so that audiences can see belly dancing in a whole new light and a whole new way.
Dexter is an award-winning American screenwriter who has written fifteen feature film screenplays and seventeen short film screenplays, virtually all of which being a personal reflection of his interest in the paranormal and metaphysical. He has written scripts in the genres of: comedy, drama, fantasy, horror,
science fiction, thriller, and western. ACCOLADES FOR SECOND DANCE:
Sacramento International Film Festival: Official Selection (Semifinalist)
Oaxaca Film Fest: Official Selection (Nominated for Best Overall Script and the New Horizon Award)
Los Angeles Cinefest: Semifinalist
Cindependent Film Festival: Official Selection
North American Film Awards: Special Jury Award Winner
Indie Visions Film Festival: Best Feature Script Winner