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On March 20th I went to see the incomparable Sadie bust a move at Drom in NYC. The show was presented by Nourhan Sharif and included a talented roster of dancers including Samantha Diaz and Tandava, a great dancer who produces a show called Blood on the Veil.

Every dancer was incredible. I was especially excited to see Sadie dance in real life and she did not disappoint. Her drum solos are killer! After the show I was able to take a quick pic and I just have to say that not only is she incredibly talented, but she’s so sweet and humble 🙂 Definitely check out her website for upcoming events, online classes and dvds!

 

Okay so before we get started on Hoda, let me just tell you the back story about this post. I came across Hoda’s name a while ago and wrote it down on my list of posts to do. Yesterday, I picked her name at random and began to do some research, only to find there was nothing out there about her. This intrigued me more, so I searched through all kinds of sites – saw some things that I can’t un-see, lol, and finally came upon another blog that mentioned her name. The awesome/very informative blog is called unmundodeluz and it’s run by dancer, Giselle Habibi, who is a Mexican journalist, translator, belly dancer, and total sweetheart. The site was in spanish, but thanks to the interwebs I translated the page and my curiosity was heightened even more. Giselle wrote that Hoda was known for having clairvoyant dreams and that other dancers were superstitious and scared of her. I looked at the bottom of Giselle’s post and found that this information had come from a book entitled, “El Reinado de las Bailarinas” by Shokry Mohamed. So, I started trying to find the book. It doesn’t exist in America – obviously (*pulling out hair!*). I found out it was published in Madrid and I began searching for the title in Madrid library databases -Resultados de la búsqueda…0000. I looked for a bibliography so I could find out where Mohamed got his info – nada. Then I thought – why not just email Giselle? So that’s what I did, and literally minutes later I had a response and images of the section from the book about Hoda AND photos! I was so excited and it really reminded me of how tight knit our community is and how it and extends far beyond national borders  – so thank you, thank you, thank you Giselle for making this post possible! <3

SO HERE’S THE DEAL:

Hoda Shams El Din was one of the many amazing golden era dancers that performed at Badia Masabni‘s Casino Opera Club.

She was born in Damascus Syria in 1930, of Armenian parents (have not been able to confirm this). At an unknown time Hoda moved to Cairo, where her belly dance career began. She was an active dancer from about 1945-1965 and during that time was also featured in several films.

Okay so I know this party was over a month ago, but  it was so much fun, I just had to write a bit about it.

First of all Anahid Sofian is a legend and if you’re ever in NYC you really need to take class with her! (Anahid’s info.)

She also happens to throw a great party. The incredible, dynamic, passionate (and a million other adjectives) Aszmara was the special guest artist and she literally blew my mind as usual. In addition there were several AMAZING dancers including Najma, Teodora, Uza Mitra, and  Zobeida (interview with Zobeida coming soon!).

Of course all of this was topped off with great live music. Nabil Bekkali played the keyboard and Richard Khuzami was on drums – he’s awesome by the way and a great teacher 🙂

Anahid ended the night with some Armenian line dancing which was great – just a fun night all around 🙂

Hopefully more fun events to come!

Enjoy your Friday!

xo

N

A HUGE thank you to the lovely yoga instructor and belly dancer Krystle Hope! Her class on back bending is AMAZING. A great back bend can take your performance to another level *imo*, but it’s easy to do it wrong – as I’ve learned the hard way haha. Krystle gives perfect instruction to help you increase spine flexibility and core strength to execute the perfect back bend!

 

First a bit about Krystle:

“Krystle Hope is a belly dancer, certified yoga instructor, and dedicated practitioner committed to promoting empowerment through achieving mind-body-spirit wellness. Passionate about health and wellness, Krystle has received her Life Coach and Holistic Nutrition Specialist certifications through Southwest Institute of Healing Arts in Tempe, Arizona, and offers Holistic Health and Wellness Coaching as a member of the International Association of Health Coaches. Krystle is also a certified Hypnotherapist and utilizes her mind over matter technique to facilitate long-lasting lifestyle changes. Join Krystle on a journey to wellness and create change in your life.”

For more information about Krystle Hope and Serenity Haven, visit www.SerenityHavenStudio.com.

Thanks again Krystle!!! <3

I am so so so so excited about this you guys! This month TBB will feature mini yoga classes for belly dancers by belly dancers that are also yoga instructors! Belly dance and yoga *in my opinion* are so intertwined and yoga can be the perfect supplement to your dance practice 🙂

This week the beautiful Shanti Vina takes us through some hip openers – so key for belly dance 😀

 

First, a bit about Shanti:

Shanti is a professional bellydancer and yoga teacher in Los Angeles, Ca.  She has been performing dance since the age of 5 years old.  Shanti found yoga 18 years ago has been a professional instructor for 14 years.  She has performed in bellydance companies for over 6 years and currently has a career as a soloist.  Shanti dances in 150 shows and teaches on average 300 classes a year including workshops.  She travels, performs and instructs worldwide.  Check out her website: www.shantivinalove.com or follow her on Facebook here and twitter @shantisuperstar.

Thank you so much Shanti for putting this video together!!!!

Watch Shanti’s 10 min hip opener mini class 😀

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EBLzFDzBpoU]

Here is another great video by Shanti: 10 Mintue Fat Burning Bellydance Workout with Shanti Vina

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Il0xQZbe4W8]

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 HERE’S THE DEAL:

Samara was born as Tahira in Baghdad, Iraq, 1963. She was born into a traditional Muslim family that wanted her to study engineering in Lebanon. They were not to pleased when she decided to do something more…creative. After moving to Lebanon, Tahira took the stage name, Samara, and became very inspired by Nadia Gamal, whom she asked for lessons. Nadia taught Samara three dances and advised that she develop a unique style.

Samara took that advice to heart and man did she come up with some unique stuff! She incorporated Polynesian, Greek and Indian and Spanish dance inspiration into her routines. She was also influenced by nature, for her NYE show in 1995, her concept was – the sea. “Her show opened with a huge clam shell on stage. As the music started, the lid was raised, and Samara slowly emerged, representing a pearl. Her costume was of the elaborate Lebanese variety, all in pearls,” (Samara: Sayyida Raks Sharqi, Best of Habibi). Even beyond incorporating different forms of dance, Samara had music written just for her (she also had her own band), and even used some American New Age fusion in her sets.

Samara’s distinct style gained her popularity and the name “Sayyida Raks Sharqi”(*) from the Lebanese press meaning, “Mistress of Oriental Dance.” After her first three years dancing in Lebanon (1981-1984), she began traveling and dancing around the world, ushering in her golden age from the mid 80’s-early 2000’s. She started out traveling to the cities of  Kano and Lagos in Nigeria and Abidjan in the Cote d’Ivoire. She later traveled to Europe and Arab countries as well.

Being so popular Samara had to regularly switch up her show, she would do this every 4-6 months, adding in new inspirations and music. She wanted to keep her fans on their toes and felt it was necessary for her to keep growing as an artist. She always wanted to out do herself, which in my opinion, is the best form of competition.

Learn more about Samara here.

Why I <3 HER:

You’ll see when you watch the videos! She is completely mesmerizing, I couldn’t stop watching video after video and I tried really hard to not make the longest youtube playlist of all time lol 😛 She’s very lively, incredibly creative and on top of that she has amazing technique. I’m also fascinated by her fusion of different styles, especially with all this talk I’ve been seeing recently about styles/categories of belly dance.

I hope you all enjoy the playlist!

xoxo

N

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLjrrLz1h329-zpqReULnJZZd7m61raLOc]

*I don’t know why Raks has a K and Sharqi has a Q…anybody?