Follow Me

Close

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

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

Well…I couldn’t find much info about this Golden Age beauty – but luckily there are tons of videos! So check them out below and let me know what you think!

Happy Almost Friday!

xoxo

TBB

LOVE this one!

very cool that she’s using zills!

 

*Please note these videos were not uploaded by The Belly Blog. They were found on Vimeo and uploaded by The Carovan! 🙂

 

SO HERE’S THE DEAL:

Kitty was born in 1927 in Alexandria, Egypt to Greek parents. She was famous for her fusion of western and oriental style and she danced in almost 50 films! Unfortunately, that’s about all the info I could find on this vintage beauty.

WHY  I <3 HER:

Her positive playful energy and her smile 🙂 of course she has some killer moves too 😉

 

 “I grew up in a very diverse atmosphere but was always taught to honor my roots, this is what I bring to dance and what is evidenced in the shows I produce.”

 

On the 15th of last month, I was lucky enough to be included in Kay Kizi’ah’s event: Katrina’s School’s Out Hafla Summer Edition. It was the first time I ever really got to spend time with Kay, who is very prominent in the NYC bellydance scene. She is a talented, passionate dancer and such a warm and sweet person.

In addition to dancing, Kay has been working at a high school for eight years as a special education teacher working with emotionally disturbed children. She has also been an adjunct at the College of New Rochelle for six years, teaching courses in the Psychology Department.

In fact, her event, which included 17 performers, was also offered as a part of a summer college course called “Dance as a form of Cultural Expression”. This course is 6 credits, matriculated, and was the first Middle Eastern dance course offered at The College of New Rochelle. The course, taught by Kay, was offered last year and became SO popular that despite budget cuts, it was offered again this year and recieved double enrollment!

Kay has her students approach the study of Middle Eastern dance from theoretical, cultural, spiritual, historical and practical angles. They study the history of the dance, learn basic movements, interview dancers, write poetry, and view clips of the great stars like Fifi Abdo and Nagwa Fouad. Attending shows, like the Summer Hafla, is an important part of the course. Students get to see dancers of different ages, genders, sizes, and races express themselves and dance in a way that is true to them and their own style.

I was so impressed with the organization of the show, the line up of dancers, and with how amazing and chill Kay is, so I approached her about an interview, and lucky for me – she said yes! 

So…here goes!

TBB: How and why did you get started in bellydance?

KK: I was a middle school teacher, and one of my colleagues wore a low key hip scarf to work. I liked how she walked with it on and I asked her what it was. She invited me to class, and as usual, I was hesitant, but it sounded like fun. I passed on it the 1st Friday night and the next one I said, ” Ok, I’m going.”

TBB: What is your favorite bellydance style?

KK: Definitely Egyptian!  To me it’s about the music. There are so many instruments and hidden layers, so many dynamics and I really feel at home when I hear it.  I used to say “I like that song” for instance: Alf Leyla, Princess of Cairo (Princess of Cairo on iTunes), Bitwannes Beek (Bitwannes Beek on iTunes) and people would say “That’s Egyptian.”

read more

“Archaic dances still influence our moving center, for they are rooted in the cosmic memory of our planet. They may disappear into past but always find their way back to us through research work and spiritual identification.”

So Here’s The Deal: 

It’s hard to know where to start with Nelly Mazloum. She was an intellectual, an entrepreneur, an actress, a choreographer, a dancer, a teacher of modern, ballet, egyptian folkloric, and traditional oriental dance.

Where was Nelly from?

Nelly-Catherine Mazloum-Calvo was born in Alexandria, Egypt in 1929. She was of Greek and Italian descent. Her father was a jeweler from Naples, Italy and her mother was a pianist from Anatolia. Her parents owned a hotel across the street from the Alhambra theatre.

How Nelly began to <3 Dance!

When Mazloum was just 2 years old she suffered from poliomyelitis, or paralysis of the legs. With lots of hard work from her pediatrician and his wife, who was a ballet teacher, Mazloum was able to walk again at age 4. And then there was no stopping her! “Dance became her passion and the very symbol of life.”

How It All Started: 

She officially began her dance career at age 5 and was called a prodigy child by the media. In 1939 she landed her first film role in a greek film, I Prosfygopoula (The Refugee Girl).

Nelly performed modern dance and ballet at the Casino Opera run by Badia Masanabi (click here to read more about Badia!). Although she danced in the early afternoon, she would stay into the evening to watch Samia Gamal (Read up on Samia!) and Tahia Carioca (Learn more about Tahia!).

Nelly’s golden years were the 1940’s. During this time she performed and acted in approximately 17 films. She performed oriental dance in only a few, Shahrazad (1941) and Soliman’s Ring (1946).

In 1947 she established a ballet school in Cairo for girls from elite society. She also trained dancers for the National Opera House in Cairo.

At 19 years old, in 1948, Nelly was named the Prima Ballerina at the Royal Opera House in Cairo.

read more

Although there isn’t much info out there on Ms. Zizi Mustafa I gathered some tidbits for you, just to give you an idea of how cool she was:

  • Zizi was born in 1943 in Cairo, Egypt.
  • She worked as an actress and a dancer. Some of her famous acting roles were in  “The Pickpocket” (1963), “The Wife of an Important Man” (1987), and “Ragel Wa Sitt Settat” (2007).
  • She performed in many clubs including Cave du Rois in London (Gilded Serpant).
  • Managed by Safaa Farid the last 9 years of her career.
  • Could do up to 18 shows a night. Wowwwwwwww…. tired just thinking about that…
  • Her daughter is Mina Shalabi, a famous Egyptian actress

What the internet is missing in info about this incredible dancer, it definitely makes up for in videos! Watch the below and get inspired!!!! 

Watch Zizi get her groove on! Click here!

and here!

and here!!!!!

Happy Thursday!

xoxo

TBB

imageimage

 

SO HERE’S THE DEAL:

Mona El Said was discovered at a popular disco called Triang A Go Go in Cairo. It was there that Leila Murad told her, “You should dance, because you should be an artist.” That was all Mona needed to hear. She began dancing professionally at 13. Due to her fathers great disapproval of her dancing, Mona left Egypt in 1970 and moved to Lebanon to be able to pursue her dream of becoming a famous dancer.  She fulfilled her dream dancing in Beirut at the best clubs.

Mona found her way back to Cairo in 1975 as a dance star. Her fame, talent, and originality got her gigs at the most upscale Cairo hotels. As mentioned on her website, Mona highly disapproves of counting music saying that it stops you from feeling the music. She “focuses on feeling and emotion, new, innovative movement and creates magic on the stage with her energy.” Mona also notes that is important to listen to the speed of the music and not speed up unless the music calls for it.

Mona’s command of the stage and her audience and her regal presence earned her the nick name of “ Princess of Raks Sharki,” from non other than Tahia Carioca. Egyptian newspapers and magazines nick named her “Sa’mraa El Nile” or “The Bronze of the Nile.”

Aside from dancing in clubs and hotels Mona starred in seven Egyptian films and was featured in many others.

read more

Register for the workshops here

About Assala:

From early in Assala’s childhood in Iraq, she was surrounded by the rich traditions of Iraqi culture and Oriental dance. She spent many evenings accompanying her mother to work, where she assisted in the preparation of weddings and henna parties. Assala would watch in awe how the women danced at these parties. These past experiences played a major role of her interest of dance, and helped influence her art.

Assala studied at the University of Baghdad, graduating with a degree in Education. In 1993 she moved to Switzerland, and was determined to preserve the rich traditions of her heritage through furthering her studies in oriental dance. She turned to the shaabi people (people from the countryside and working class) who keep their traditional way of dance and music. Assala believes that learning authentic traditions is where wisdom in dance comes from. This is why Assala has found the shaabi people have transcended a highly refined school of dance. She also furthered her studies with the addition of pilates, yoga and breathing techniques. Her ultimate goal is to combine traditional folk dance with proper technique.

With an immense repertoire of dance styles, Assala is trained in shaabi (Nubi, Saidi and Gezwazi), classical and modern Egyptian Sharqi, Baladi, Sufi dance, Zar, Tribal Fusion, Iraqi Gypsy and El Kawliya dance. Assala pays particular attention to dance forms that are at risk of becoming lost like Zar and El Kawliya dance. She has helped to preserve these dance forms by reintroducing them in her teachings and performances.  Through her many years of research, performance, and teachings, Assala has developed her dance into a recognized and highly appreciated art form. Currently, Assala performs and teaches internationally in Middle Eastern countries such as Egypt, Jordan and Syria, and also Switzerland and now in the U.S.

Buy tickets here!

youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9dlPM239zU?feature=oembed&w=500&h=374

The YouTube ID of 138dL0zwxdw?feature=oembed is invalid.

Iraqi born Assala Ibrahim will be teaching two workshops in New York City February 20-23, 2014. Iraqi dance and Zar. Please keep checking the event and tumblr pages for updates. http://assalainnyc.tumblr.com/