Follow Me

Close

UPCOMING EVENTS IN ORDER OF DATE:

*Want to add an event to The Belly Blog’s calendar + What’s Coming Up Wednesday? Email me at thebellyblog13@gmail.com

FRIDAY, JANUARY 30TH 2015

Anahid Dance party

ANAHID SOFIAN MIDDLE EASTERN DANCE PARTY FRIDAY JANUARY 30, 2015

If you’re in the NYC area, you don’t want to miss this party! I always have a great time at Anahid’s!

FEBRUARY 22ND, 2015

sira sword master class feb 22

SIRA’S DRAMATIC SWORD 2 HOUR MASTER CLASS. FEBRUARY 22ND

I have taken many classes with Sira and she is THE BEST! Don’t miss out on this opportunity to learn from a master!

MARCH 16-21ST, 2015

Ahmed Workshop March 16

AHMED HUSSIEN MASTER CLASSES – 2ND ANNUAL SPRING IMMERSION 2015 WITH LIVE MUSIC

Jealous of everyone in California! This should be amazing! In case you don’t know my feelings on Ahmed see two posts ago lol 🙂

xoxo

N

Modeling for Bellydance Photo Shoots

By Ansuya

Backstory

My modeling journey began at the age of 8 years old when I first enrolled in Le Mannequinette modeling school in Ventura, CA. There, I learned to walk the runway. I loved it so much I was given the “Model with The Best Attitude” award at the end of the session. I was then accepted into the LA Belle Modeling Agency in Santa Barbara, Ca where I learned to pose for the camera and then went on to shoot with popular local photography artists. From there I entered my local hometown pageant and won Miss Teen Ojai 1989 using runway, dancing, and interview skills. It was then that my mother decided we should try living in Hawaii, which was rich with local modeling opportunities as well as being a gateway into the Japan Bellydance market, perfect for a model of my petite height. In Hawaii I was accepted into the Amos Kotomori agency, worked a few local print jobs and then went on two spend two months living in Tokyo Japan represented by the Yoshie Modeling Agency. While there I was able to work for Shiseido. Little did I know I would be back to Tokyo almost a dozen more times as a Bellydance artist.

Modeling Meets Bellydance

On my last trip to Japan in 2014, I was able to combine my passion for Bellydance and modeling in a landmark shoot for Japan Bellydance Magazine. It was an honor to shoot with the amazing photographer, “Nam” and to be interviewed by the magazine about my modeling skills specifically relative to Bellydance. It was a full circle moment for sure. Since my early modeling days, I have found myself called upon to model in my Bellydance career for a multitude of fantastically creative reasons. From modeling for press, marketing campaigns, CD and DVD covers, and costuming lines, having these two words meet is the highest experience I feel you can have as a model. With complete freedom to celebrate ones shape, size, and personality, modeling for Bellydance photo shoots can be a wondrous experience of empowerment.

Sharing My Secrets

read more

 

So…. what does it take to make a great drum solo???

I asked 16 amazing dancers and 2 drummers, and here’s what they had to say! 

Yasmine“Leave room for playfulness when there are pauses. Add rhythm changes for variety.”~ Yasmine
@Yasminedance

Uza Mitra “The drummer has to be good and work with the dancer. It has to be musical, not just for show. Both the drummer and dancer need to be emotionally connected to the music.” ~ Uza Mitra (read my interview with Uza here!)
@uzanyc

Tava Naiyin“I want to see that a dancer is breathing, relaxed and having a good time; showcasing technique is fine but not at the expense of those three qualities.” ~ Tava Naiyin
@DancingTava

Tatianna“Dynamic presence, sharp accents & a fluidity in emotion.” ~ Tatianna

Sadie Marquardt“Charisma it ultimately what makes a great drum solo!  If the dancer is playful and engages her audience into the fun and excitement of the music then they have succeeded. Clean, sharp isolations and combos are also important but don’t forget to add movement around the stage, and fluid soft movements as well” ~ Sadie Marquardt

Buy Sadie’s drum solo instructional dvd – “Drum Solo Secrets” here!
@SadieMarquardt

Sira“Fire. Really hitting accents with a punch but having dynamics in movement for greater effect. I get drawn in more by someone who’s soul is driven by a drum solo than someone who is just technically solid.” ~ Sira
@Bellydancer_NYC

Ranya Renee“I like a good mix of spontaneity and control, freedom and containment. And, the dancer cannot be the victim of the drummer—she must remain calm and take her time, even if she feels the drummer is pushing her. So, she has to listen well…but push back if necessary—by choosing not to hit everything thrown at her—to retain her power onstage. She has to be the leader and control the chaos. In a nice way, of course.” ~Ranya Renée
(check out my interview with Ranya here!)
@ranyarenee

Rachel Kay Brookmire“Drum solos are best when there is dynamic and playful chemistry between the drummer and dancer.  It feels like the audience is invited to be part of their party.  A great drum solo has a range of emotional expressiveness, and excellent timing with exceptional technique.” ~ Rachel Kay Brookmire (read my interview with Rachel here!)
@saharadance

Mariyah“Most importantly, I like to see a dancer genuinely having a good time and also really connecting with the music, interpreting dynamics, subtleties etc., just as you would any piece of music, and of course connecting with the drummer if it is live.” ~ Maryiah
Buy Mariya’s drum solo instructional DVD – “Belly Dance Drum Solos: Concepts for Dancers and Drummers” here!
@Mariyah13

Layla Isis“I would say most importantly it’s all about being in the moment, letting your connection to the music/drummer and your audience dictate the mood of the phrasing, be it powerhouse hips and shimmies, precise intricate flutters, or full, fluid movements. If she’s really in the moment, you will never see her thinking or anticipating – it’s just unfolding to the surprise of everyone, which is true of any good dancing.” ~ Layla Isis

Kay Kizi'ah“To me a great Drum solo has a unique take and something unexpected. Meaning most of us are familiar with 4/4 rhythms and kind of know how we would take the accents. Its great to anticipate a dancers accent and then for them to do something different. For  me that is always very impressive.” ~Kay Kizi’ah (read my interview with Kay here!)

Dorit“Just two words: listen, move. And eye contact with whoever is the percussionist of the moment.” ~Dorit
@DoritMusic

Eva Cernik“Spontaneity!” ~ Eva Cernik

Badaweyah Kareem“To me, if there’s an oud leading the drums. There’s nothing sweeter than watching a dancer layer their shimmies with the sound of an oud and accenting with a drum.”

“Connecting with any instrument is so the key for me. Drummers are displaying great talents with their skills and the language of whatever rhythm they’re playing. A novice dancer connecting to that rhythm and the musician can display far more beauty than an experienced dancer with great shimmy skills and techniques.” ~Badaweyah (check out my interview with Badaweyah here!)

Alia Thabit“A great drum solo focuses on the dancer–the drummer’s job is to make her look fabulous. It has consistency so the dancer can hit the changes with confidence, and wild style so she can get crazy and have fun.” ~ Alia Thabit (read my interview with Alia here!)
@aliathabit

Aszmara Sherry“I love a Drum Solo that has meat on the bones with interesting rhythm changes that create drama in the piece.  But not too many changes!  Too many changes take away from the arc of the piece.

There are drum solos that start off with a few accents and build faster and faster to a climax – love those.  There’s the typical maqsoum walk around beginning that warms the audience to the coming interplay of dancer and musician, goes into beledi, saidi  and/or masmoudi, drops tempo down to a slow trance ayub that increases tempo to a frenetic ending.  Those are fun, too – especially when shared with a musician on stage!

The interplay with a musician is what makes drum solos so exciting – there’s a walking the tightrope feeling of being totally present in the moment, reading each other’s inner music and expressing it outwards to the audience.” ~Aszmara Sherry

DRUMMERS

     Michael Beach“I could and should write a book about this. There are so many different dance styles now so a drum solo is such a personal thing. One dancer may want Folkloric/North African rhythms, some want very basic, some want strictly Egyptian Saidi, some don’t even want a drum solo and others might say, “ Play whatever you want.” I always try to meet and discuss the music and the drum solo with dancers before we go on stage. It only takes a few minutes. We figure out your level and knowledge of the music and rhythms, I take requests and then I have a ‘formula’ I use with dancers that allows us to end together. In my opinion, we can do just about anything in the solo but it’s really about the big ending. If you can really end together —— that’s what brings the house down. “~ Michael Beach, Brothers of the Baladi
@BrothersBaladi

Richard Khuzami “First: both musician and dancer should understand that the dancer is a musician playing the original instrument: their body, and the musician must understand that they need to dance with their drum in order for it to sing. With this they will have a common language they both understand. And if they did not have time to practice or value spontaneity they should work out the signs (or punctuation) beforehand that allows the free flow of ideas questions and answers.”~ Richard Khuzami

Here’s what some of you had to say:

watch some drum solos! (some of the videos you have to skip to the end)

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLjrrLz1h3298WUFZ233UrYTCSICvFGbcV]

share some of your favorite drum solo videos in the comment section! 😀

hope you all have a great weekend!

xoxo

N

Her achievement was beauty, a delicate, fantastic beauty, created with brush and pencil. Almost unschooled in art, her life spent in prosaic places of the West and Middle West, she made pictures of haunting loveliness, suggesting Oriental lands she never saw and magical realms no one ever knew except in the dreams of childhood … ~St Louis Post-Dispatch

If you ever need inspiration for costume, mood, etc, definitely look up some art nouveau illustrators. Virginia Frances Sterrett is one of my all time favorites and she did an incredible illustrated version of the Arabian Nights (above).  She was born in 1900 in Chicago and unfortunately passed away when she was only 30. Just to put her in a little more context, she was illustrating in the same time period that  Badia Masabni was dancing, and her first commissioned work was published in 1920, the year after Tahia Carioca was born.

Hope you enjoy!

xoxo

N

Screen Shot 2014-11-15 at 11.30.16 PM

Today I edited my first song, Batwannes Beek, by Warda. It was very daunting thinking that I had to cut an 8 minute song in half – especially Batwannes Beek…I’m still not sure if it sounds perfect – but the point is, there’s a way to do it!

For those of you with macs, I found awesome instructions online that are so easy to follow!

And S/O to Lili Zayda for sending me on the right track!

xoxo

N

 

In honor of The Belly Blog’s new look, get inspired by all gold everything!!!! #goldisagirlsbestfriend

xo

TBB

Bellyrical

I was introduced to Bellyrical on twitter. It’s Japanese belly dance music by DJ Cool-K, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE it!

Listen here and get yo groove on!

 

 

 

 

This past weekend was Rakkasah East! I didn’t get to go, but my awesome friend Lili Zayda did and she took some pics for me. Rakkasah is a belly dance festival that features vendors, performances, and workshops. If you missed Rakkasah, mark your calendars now for Spring Caravan in NJ – May 2nd – 4th.

Did anyone get to go to Rakkasah this past weekend? How was it???

SO HERE’S THE DEAL:

Tülay Karaca (pronounced Karaja) is a Turkish dancer who rose to fame in the 80’s. Her signature vivacious style and incredible zill playing combined with her famously revealing costumes brought her much success over the years. She has been credited as being very influential on the American Cabaret scene.

WHY I <3 HER:

You’ll see when you watch the videos… because- dang! She is amazing! Honestly once you watch her dance, you won’t even pay attention to her “risqué” costumes, I mean come on… the 80’s weren’t her fault…

Tülay’s style is so natural and elegant. In the videos you’ll see that she will be moving around so gracefully and then all of a sudden a kick will come out of nowhere, she’ll drop to the floor, or add in a very quick turn. I love that her dance is so unpredictable and dynamic. Karaca’s was famous for her zill playing, she would even play solos for herself on her zills, typically after a drum solo. You can see this in “Tulay Karaca on Turkish Television Part 2,” and you will be wowed!

Take a look at the videos below, and let me know what you think!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLjrrLz1h3298ia-R0mPwtEzNIfnDk3vur]

xoxo

TBB