Follow Me

Close

One of my favorite parts of visiting the Serena Belly Dance Museum was seeing all of her old albums. Take a look and listen to the belly beats playlist! Enjoy!

 

 

 

There are still several albums that I can’t find recordings of online, but you can order the vinyl if it interests you.

Here are some of the albums that were not on Spotify, but are on itunes.

The Greek Way – Gus Vali: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-greek-way/id979494971

Festive Dance Music From The Middle East – Eddie “The Sheik” Kochak & Hakki Obadia Orchestra: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/festive-dance-music-from-middle/id1004020686

Exotic Belly Dancers – Middle Eastern Ensemble: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/exotic-belly-dances-classics/id268865865

 

 

 

 

 

Hey guys! I decided to make a list of the workshops I wish I could take from different studios across the country. Hope you find it useful!

NYC

Aszmara’s Master Class: Drum Solo Imrpovisation with Live Drums

INSTRUCTOR: Aszmara

WHEN: February 7th/ 1:30-4:30 PM

WHERE: Anahid Sofian Studios 29 West 15th Street

COST: $55 pre-paid by Feb 1rst – $60 at the Door

 

The Dalia Carella Dance Collective Presents: Dance Elements Intensive Mastering Critical Dance Skills, from Fundamentals to Performance

INSTRUCTOR: Dalia Carella, Ramzi El-Edlibi and Diane Hutchinson

WHEN: February 7th /11-12PM, 12-2PM, 3-5PM

WHERE:Nola Studios, 250 W. 54th Street, 10th Floor, Studio 1

COST: All Three Workshops – $135 preregistration, $155 at door $20 Savings!

 

WASHINGTON D.C.

Hula Hoop Dance

INSTRUCTOR:  Debora Jackson

WHEN: February 6th/1:30-3:30PM

WHERE: Sahara Dance: 4433 Wisconsin Avenue, NW

COST: $35

 

Cabaret-Dabke Fusion

INSTRUCTOR: Omoladun

WHEN: February 20th/1:30-3:30PM

WHERE: Sahara Dance: 4433 Wisconsin Avenue, NW

COST: $35

 

MIAMI

Passport to Africa with Kukuwa

INSTRUCTOR: Kukuwa

WHEN: February 13th/2:30-4:30PM

WHERE: Belly Motions Studio 8235 South Dixie Highway

COST: $30 in advance/ $40 day of

 

Belly Dance Stage Makeup 101 Workshop with Siufer!

INSTRUCTOR: Siufer

WHEN: February 27th/2:30-5:30PM

WHERE: Belly Motions Studio 8235 South Dixie Highway

COST: $55 in advance/ $60 day of

 

CHICAGO

How to Turn Your Audience into Friends (and Minions) with Dawn

INSTRUCTOR: Dawn Xiana Moon

WHEN: February 7th/2:30-4:30PM

WHERE: Arabesque Studio 3120 W. Belmont

COST: $35 in advance/ $40 at the door

 

BOULDER

Lebanese Cane (presented by Sadie)

INSTRUCTOR: Simon Sarkis

WHEN: February 27th/11-12:30PM

WHERE: Kinesi Studio 5603 Arapahoe Rd. Unit 6

COST: $45

 

 

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 🙂

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

gawaher

SO HERE’S THE DEAL:

There isn’t much info out there on Gawaher. I actually stumbled upon her when I was trying to find something about another dancer – Kawakeb, who I still haven’t really found anything about :/ Anyway, what I did find about her is from Academia de Danza Arabe Priscilla Adum‘s Facebook page. Gawaher was a golden age dancer born September 15th 1930 in Lebanon. She had a successful decade long career in Egypt where she made about 13 films. She retired from dancing in the 1960s when she married, her husband did not approve of her dancing. However, she came out of her retirement and danced in a few more movies after she and her husband were divorced. Unfortunately, she wasn’t allowed to have contact with her daughter after the divorce.

Academia de Danza Arabe Priscilla Adum posted a photo (seen above) that was from a vintage issue of Al Kawakeb Magazine (Egyptian celebrity/film magazine). The photo was accompanied by this article:

THE SAD GAWAHER

The Atomic Dancer Gawaher visited me at Kawakeb’s offices in Beirut. She was wearing a summery fabric dress made at Carven of Paris, and she asked me “What’s your opinion of me?”
“In regards to what?” I answered
And she said, “About {my} dance, art, beauty and elegance?
I swallowed hard and said, “Great!”
At this point, Gawaher raised her head and said, “Then why haven’t you written about me in Kawakeb Magazine? Am I not good enough or what?”
I swallowed hard again and said, “But today you live the life of a housewife and not of an artist, so can we ask you, what was the reason for your retirement?”
Gawaher stood up and said, “I understand, and you’re right. I’m torn between my love of art and my love for him.”
I disliked asking her who the lucky man was because it’s none of our business.
Gawaher continued talking and said, “He doesn’t want me to appear onstage in a belly dance costume.”
I asked her, “Do you love him that much?”
And Gawaher responded and said “Up to now, I’ve been unable to distinguish and I can’t decide which I love more. Him, or art.
And then the (former) Atomic Dancer left sadly.

WHY I <3 HER:

I love being a detective and going on the hunt to find dancers that I haven’t heard of yet. Although I can’t say Gawaher is one of my absolute favorites, here is what I love about her:

I love the way she holds herself and her facial expressions, she really exudes confidence. I also like the fact that she strips the dance down to it’s essence and focuses on each smooth movement. She is very poised and graceful and I find her story to be an interesting one.

Watch videos of her below and tell me what you think!!!

xoxo

N

Oh – and HAPPY FRIDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

[vimeo https://vimeo.com/105988835] [vimeo https://vimeo.com/103203102] [vimeo https://vimeo.com/103203309] [vimeo https://vimeo.com/103200839]

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!

20141119-180346.jpg

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