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Hey everyone,

Hope you all enjoyed your weekend!

I didn’t do much, but I did watch an episode of Mickela Mallozzi’s show Bare Feet, which I just recently learned about –  where have I been??????

If you haven’t seen her show, you need to! Mickela is a dancer who travels around the world learning about the dance, music, and culture of each place she visits ( Best.Job.Ever). There is so much inspiration in each episode, I highly recommend watching! 

So why am I telling you this?

I’m telling you because she did an episode in Turkey and it is beautiful. She see’s Sufi dancers, discusses Turkish music with an expert and is taught belly dance and traditional Turkish dance.

 

*(Click on the screenshot to go right to the video!)

 

 

Screen Shot 2016-01-24 at 7.38.31 PM

 

 

 

The Rundown

1:50 The sufi dancers come in right at the beginning of the show

6:33 Mickela discusses music with Bora Ozkok: music historian, musician (find some of his cd’s here), folk dancer, Cappadocia Cave Suites owner. He shows Mickela how he plays the spoons, what he calls, “the original grandmother of the castanets.” This isn’t the first time I’ve posted about playing spoons – remember Sugar Mary Vartanian?!? 😉 Bora also teaches Mickela Turkish rhythms and she gets a chance at the spoons – which she plays incredibly well by the way. While I was watching this I had a flash back to the first time my teacher said I had to dance and play zills at the same time….lol…anyway…

12:52 Mickela learns belly dance from beautiful self taught dancer Ydm and does a great job.

Directly following this segment…

16:19 Ydm and traditional Turkish dancers perform.

24:59 Romani music and dance

 

Hope you enjoy!

For more info on Mickela and her show visit her website 🙂

 

 

 

 

So Here’s the Deal:

There’s not much out there on Boubouka. She is a Greek belly dancer who became well known in the 50’s and 60’s. She made appearances in several movies during that time. In 1956 at the age of 18, she moved to NY with her parents to pursue her dance dreams. And that’s it – that’s all I know!

If you guys know more, please share!

This is why I think she is so interesting:

Boubouka didn’t miss a single musical cue, she picked up on everything and translated the music into beautiful intricate movements or slow sinewy undulations . She was very uninhibited but somehow balanced her more aggressive movements with grace. What do you think?

xoxo

N

p.s. Happy New Year!!!!!!!

 

Music and dancing starts at 2:19 (in below video)

 

Videos were found on youtube.com. They are not my original content.

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.

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

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

20150120-092222.jpg

L to R: Torkom, Kay, Ahmed, Me

 

Wow! I think I lost 5 pounds after Ahmed Hussien‘s Egyptian style workshop last night!

Ahmed started out with some pretty intense warm ups, during which he was cheering us on and making us laugh – his positive energy is completely contagious!

Then he moved into some combinations followed by a choreo which we worked on for the rest of the night. He was warm, encouraging, gave helpful corrections and made us all feel at ease as he interspersed his teaching with funny anecdotes.

I will be totally honest with you guys, there were basically 3 sections of the choreography – even though we did this a billion times I still messed up the second section single every time – but it didn’t matter at all – that’s how much fun I was having. I’m telling you all right now if Ahmed comes to your neck of the woods you don’t want to miss his class!

Here is an older video of him – how can you not smile watching this? 😀

Happy dancing guys!

Xoxo

N

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?

As a follow up to my latest post ” The Art Of The Drum Solo,” I thought it would be fun if this weeks #bellybeatz playlist was all drum solos – yiiiiiiip! Listen below + tell me what you’re favorite drum solos are – I will add them to the playlist! 🙂


Also, just as a side note check out Isreali pop star Sarit Hadad kill it on the darbuka  – bad.ass.

 

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