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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? ūüėÄ

Happy dancing guys!

Xoxo

N

Last month I traveled to D.C. or my aunt’s 60th birthday. My aunt and cousin have both taken/ are taking classes at the famous D.C. belly dance studio, Sahara Dance. My cousin spoke so highly of Sahara’s well known owner Rachel, that I decided to send her a message to see if she would like to meet up for an interview. Lucky for us, she said yes! yay!

We decided to grab coffee at Whole Foods and sit and chat/interview. Let me just tell you – this woman is amazing! Not only is she the founder and director of Sahara Dance, she is also the director of both of Sahara’s dance ensembles, Raqs Sahara and Raqs Caravan East, she created an intensive teacher training program, and…oh yea – she’s an incredible dancer!

The path that led Rachel to creating Sahara dance included learning from some of the best. She studied with both Autumn Leah Ward and Yousry Sharif as well as Sahra Saeeda (whom she also did a dance enthnology tour with in Egypt), Yasmina Ramzy, Haida, Faten Salama, Aida Nour, Jillina and others. All of this training allowed Rachel to cultivate her own vision for belly dance. She focuses on community, mindfulness, celebration of all body types, and developing belly dance as an art form.

I really can’t say enough good things about Rachel. When I was editing her interview I couldn’t stop smiling watching it – she’s just such a warm person, so wise¬†and articulate, warm and sweet, humble, inspirational and incredibly cool. I hope you guys enjoy getting to know her as much as I did.

For more background info on Rachel visit the Sahara Dance site.

*disclaimer – the filming quality is a little low budget, content quality is high ;)*

TBB: How did you get started in belly dance?

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrPlZ-K5dgI]

TBB: What type of belly dance/ME music speaks to you the most?

RKB: I love Egyptian dance, I love Egyptian music, I like a lot of different types of music that fall into the belly dance genre or can easily be adaptable to belly dance movement, but  Egyptian is my first love.

TBB: What is your favorite song right now?

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IIn7FIexx8I]

Listen to White Flag by Gorillaz feat. Syrian National Orchestra :

[spotify id=”spotify:user:1272124796:playlist:5E0SMWQXJWsrhXiXo5tXa5″ width=”300″ height=”80″ /]

TBB: Who were some of your belly dance mentors?

RKB: Autumn Leah Ward  is my first teacher and probably my largest influence and then from there Yousry Sharif is certainly a big part of my dance training, Yasmina Ramzy, Sahra Saeeda, Hadia, and then going to Egypt and studying… there are a lot of influences, but those I think would be primary.read more

The very talented and lovely Kay Kizi’ah is hosting what is sure to be an amazing dance show next Tuesday in NYC.

Check it out below!

And remember guys if you want me to promote your events just email me at thebellyblog13@gmail.com or message me on twitter of Facebook orrrr leave a comment on this post!

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Nisreen

Attention NYC dancers! Nisreen will be teaching a Saidi series at the Ripley- Grier Studios ( 520 8th Ave. 16th floor), Mondays from 7:30- 9:00 p.m. October- November.
Info from Nisreen:
This eight-week course will introduce Saidi dance and cane work from the ground up. Classes will include an Egyptian technique warmup, cane technique and drills, and Mahmoud Reda-inspired combinations. We’ll discuss the cultural and performance contexts for the dance and typical characteristics of Saidi music. We’ll also work on movement techniques to capture the Saidi flavor. Finally, you’ll learn the mechanics and philosophy of twirling with confidence, ways to use the cane to frame your movements, and also a few nifty cane tricks. ūüėČ

The series is $200 if paid in advance by¬†Friday, Sept. 26. You can pay via Paypal to¬†nisreendance@gmail.com¬†or contact me to make other payment arrangements.¬†We need a minimum number of people for the series to run, so please sign up by¬†Sept. 26, and encourage your friends to join in. If you’re interested in the series but have a schedule conflict with any of the Mondays, please let me know. Please note that payments¬†are nonrefundable.

Sounds like it’s going to be a great workshop!

For more on Nisreen visit her website here!